Antioch was a Great City

a colour painting in Late Roman style with cities, marked by small drawings, interconnected with lines with points and distances marked
The city of Antioch on the Peutinger Table as reproduced by M. Weber on

On the late Roman map called the Peutinger Tables, three cities are represented by a man with a crown on a throne: Rome, Constantinople, and Antioch. To a cartographer in the fourth or fifth century CE, these were the three seats of imperial power.

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Arrian on Alexander the Great and Cappadocia

a directory to a used bookstore pasted on a concrete pillar and overlaid with large stickers with a dragon theme; in front of the table is a display of hardcover fantasy novelsby Rebecca Yarros
Russell Books in Victoria, BC has been colonized by dragons! Rawr.

The late George Cawkwell said that Xenophon’s Hellenica is for conoisseurs who can spot what he refuses to talk about or misrepresents. The whole year that he left out of his history may have been an accident, but he had strong ideas of what should and should not be talked about. Arrian’s Anabasis has some of the same quirks. Lets have a look at how he describes Alexander the Great’s march across Anatolia.

(Alexander cut the Gordian Knot). Next day he started for Ancyra in Galatia, where he was met by a delegation of Paphlagonians, who expressed their wish to be on terms of friendship with him, offering the submission of their people, and begging him not to march their troops into his territory. Alexander in reply ordered them to take their orders from Calas the governor (satrapes) of Phrygia, and then proceeded to Cappadocia, where he received the submission of all territory bounded by the River Halys and also of a large tract to the west and north beyond it. Then, leaving Sabictas as governor (satraesp) of Cappadocia, he advanced to the Cilician Gates. When he reached the position where Cyrus had once encamped in his campaign with Xenophon, he found the Gates strongly held.

Arrian, Anabasis, 2.4 tr. Aubrey de Selincourt (Greek text here)
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Why Do Armies March through Gaza?

a line drawing of Palestine, Syria, and south-eastern Turkey with coasts, rivers, ancient cities, and dotted lines indicating roads
The roads of Palestine in the Achaemenid period, after Graf 1994: figure 1

On another site, someone asked why armies have been marching through Gaza for thousands of years. I don’t have anything useful to say about Hamas’ torture, murder, and kidnapping of about a thousand unsuspecting elders, civilians, children, and tourists, or the Israeli government’s blockade of water, food, and medicine to the several million civilians in Gaza in response to the murders and kidnappings, but I can talk about geography and ancient warfare.

My regularly scheduled post (about Vitruvius and the design of forts during the Roman Principate) will come out next week instead! When commenting, keep in mind that my site is not the place for people to share angry opinions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and I will moderate accordingly. Because I will not have time to moderate or respond to comments until Tuesday 31 October, comments on this post will not be enabled until then.

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