Thracian Weapons

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Club man from Trajan's columnClubs

 Hercules with his club, from the Rozogen treasureBridle frontlet






Before the advent of the famed rhomphia, some Thracians were armed with clubs. In Xenophon's Anabasis, the Thynians launch an attack on Xenophon's village. "When they were at the doors of the houses, some hurled javelins at them and others beat at them with clubs with which they were armed, so they said, in order to knock off the heads of the spears." (p. 324, Penguin edn). Clubs are commonly shown on Thracian art; although mostly included as the traditional weapon of Heracles, these do perhaps show what a Thracian club might have looked like.

Night attacks were a favourite Thracian tactic. Best even suggests that their success led to the adoption of this tactic by the Greeks, and the disastrous night attack on Syracuse by Demosthenes.

Top Left: a clubman from Trajan's column (variously identified as an auxiliary and as a barbarian).  From Roman Army: Wars of the Empire, by Graham Sumner, Brassey's 1997.  .clubvase.jpg (45605 bytes)Left: the vase from which the scen above was drawn-   plate 67 (p141) from Ancient Gold - Rozogen treasture, 4th century BC. The silver bridle frontlet is 32cm long, late fourth century BC, frm Mramor Moglia, Panagyuriste district (plate 102, p 172 from Ancient Gold...)




Hercules gives Diomedes a drubbing on this 4th c. silver gilt kylixDiomedes was the legendary  king of the Bistonians and the son of Ares and Cyrene.  He was killed by Hercules who stole his man-eating mares. 

Left: Hercules gives Diomedes a drubbing with his club.  Note the cloak markings, sword, and massive club. A 4th century silver gilt kylix from Kapinovo, Veliko Turnovo district.  History Museum, Veliko Turnovo Inv. No. 1728P.  Height of bowl 4.1cm, diameter 13 cm.   Click for a closer look.   Plate 104 from Ancient Gold: The Wealth of the Thracians.







Toucan.jpg (2064 bytes)Left: Greek light infantryman with a club, from the Osprey Men-At-Arms series book "The Greek and Persian Wars" by Jack Cassin-Scott.

Hercules with a clubRight: Part of a helmet, bronze, village of Gurlo, Pernik district, 5th Century BC. It bears a relief figure of the young Heracles. He holds a cudgel in his right hand. A lion hide hangs on his left arm,in which he holds the bow. A goritus (quiver) is fixed on his back by a strap across his shoulder










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This page last updated on Monday, 07 January 2002 by Christopher Webber

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