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To a question of use of fighting elephants in the Hellenistic Egypt (3-2nd centuries BC)

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Southern Federal University


In article the history of elephant army corps of ptolemeevsky Egypt is stated (III - it is gray. 2nd century BC). Application of fighting elephants became one of the main features of the Hellenistic military art; seeking to possess the strongest army of elephants, Egypt Ptolemeev and the empire of Selevkidov in the 3rd century BC entered real "arms race". Battle at the Raffia (217 BC) became its culmination; in the general opinion, the African elephants Ptolemeev lost to the Indian elephants Selevkidov. However Ptolemaeus continued to use fighting elephants, apparently, before unsuccessful invasion into Syria in 145 - during the subsequent period the Egyptian elephants are not mentioned in sources. The disappointment in fight results at the Raffia played in it certain, but hardly a crucial role. Nevertheless, it remains the most known battle in which the elephant building Ptolemeev was involved.

Fighting elephants became widely known in the West after Alexander of Macedon's fight with Indians at Gidasp (July 326 BC). It convincingly showed possibilities of new weapon in a classical antiquity; as M. Rostovtsev notes, "over time the high reputation of fighting elephants did not decrease as failures of elephants of Pierre in Italy were compensated by stunning success in

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wars with Celts" 1. The founder of a new Egyptian dynasty, Ptolemaeus LAS also was involved in battle (Ptolemaeus the I Sotera, are right. 306-282 BC).

By the end of government of Alexander the Great in the Macedonian army own elephant case numbering about 200 animals appeared. After Alexander's death the regent Perdikke got it. Ptolemaeus who became the satrap of Egypt originally did not try to get own elephants - moreover, became famous mainly as the fighter against them. In 321, defending Camel fortress from troops of the regent, he blows of a sarissa blinded the leader of elephants Perdikki, wounded the driver and inspired with the example soldiers fyu XVIII. 34). Then in battle with Demetry of Gaza (312 BC) Ptolemaeus and Selevk - too caused a stir at Gui-daspe - broke the attack of enemy elephants, having ordered to establish on their way prickly obstacles fyu to XVIII. 34; XIX. 83).

After the victory in the battle of Gaza Ptolemaeus got all elephants of the opponent whom, according to Diodor, was 43 fyu XIX. 82). Perhaps, they became the first in the Egyptian army though, according to P. Armandi, Ptolemaeus could fight the first elephants off Perdikka 9 years ranshe2. It is possible that at the beginning of the 3rd century BC Ptolemaeus bought new animals, but hardly it were enough to cover natural losses. Analyzing data on the grandiose parade in Alexandria held by Ptolemaeus the II Filadelf (the rights. 282-246 BC), G. Skallard comes to conclusion that the father left to the tsar about 30 slonov3.

1 Rostovtzeff M. The Social and Economic History of the Hellenistic World. Oxford, 1998. Vol. I. P. 383.
2 Armandi P. Histoire militaire des elephants, depuis les temps les plus recules jusqu&a& l&introduction des armes a& feu; avec des observations critiques sur quelques-uns de plus celebres faits d&armes de l& antiquite. Paris, 1843. P. 78.
3 Scullard H. The Elephant in the Greek and Roman world. London, 1974. P. 125.

The history of the elephant building Ptolemeev for all the 3rd century BC was connected mainly with the Syrian wars - series of the conflicts with Selevki-dami because of Kelesiriya (southern Syria and Palestine rich with timber and the crossings of important trade ways which were the center). Any of the parties could not prove convincingly the rights for the disputed territory therefore Ptolemaeus I and Xie-levk I refrained from war. Situation changed at the beginning of the 3rd century with change of governors in both kingdoms. By then in the possession Selevka the fighting elephants became an important part of armed forces; in the east new animals were regularly bought. Originally also the Egyptian tsars, however could do it then the overland message with India was interrupted. It was impossible to transport animals by sea even for rich Egypt. Ptolemaeus had to find other source of receiving elephants.

By then in the territory of actually Egypt the elephants died out for a long time, they were found to the south - in the territory of modern Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia. Most of modern researchers considers that these elephants belonged to forest subspecies of the African elephant; still Poliby (Ro§u. V. 84) noted that they it is less and more weakly indiyskikh4.

The Egyptian Pharaohs hunted elephants long since; their images meet on the rock paintings in the Top Egypt dated the beginning of the III millennium BC. But from this does not follow that animals were caught (and the more so tamed) - at drawings there are only scenes of hunting. Besides the elephant does not appear in the Egyptian mythology or on the Egyptian monuments. Apparently, interested Pharaohs exclusively elephant kost5. About whether the next people owned art of catching and training of elephants (in particular, inhabitants of the Sudanese kingdom Meroe6) whose experience could be useful to Ptolemaeus, authentic certificates are absent.

The first expedition from Alexandria, perhaps, was directed to the South even at the end of Ptolemaeus' reign by I; a certain Philo headed it. However historians connect active studying internal regions of Africa with his successor - Ptolemaeus the II Filadelf; at the same time Ya. Zaybert notes that as he did not participate in Alexander's campaigns and wars of diadokh, personal experience in treatment of elephants not imel7.

As P. Armandi writes, Ptolemaeus "sent to investigation the ships under Ariston's command, Satire, Timosfena and others that they passed along the coast of cave men, i.e. that part of Ethiopia which stretched up to an entrance to the Arab passage. They had to explore the coast, land, contact with natives to open the places abounding with elephants" 8. Satires Ptolemeev on the bank of the Red Sea founded the first colony, having called it in honor of the sister of the tsar Filote - a swarm. Evmed near the Lake Monoleve laid the most known hunting basis - to Ptolemaid Epifer (Hunting), or Ptolemaidu Feron. The inscription on the Pitomsky stele (between 270 and 264 BC) says: "... he built the great city for the tsar and gave it a nice name of the tsar... it broke fields on the earth never knowing a plow. It caught many elephants for the tsar and sent them by sea to the tsar to please it" 9.

4 By the sizes and weight the forest elephants concede to both the Indian, and better known sa-vannovy African: height is 2-2.5 m and weight is 2-4.5 t against respectively 2-3.5 m / 2-5 t and 3-4 m / 4-7 t. As it is considered, in antiquity the forest elephants were widespread in the North and the East of Africa.
5 Sukumar R. The Living Elephants: Evolutionary Ecology, Behavior, and Conservation. Oxford,
2003. P. 81.
6 In the temple in Musavvarat-es-Sufra there are images of elephants; it allows to assume that inhabitants of the kingdom were able to tame them, however they could learn it after Ptolemeev.
7 Seibert J. Der Einsatz von Kriegselefanten//Gymnasium. Bd. 26. 1973. S. 355.
8 Armandi P. Op. cit. P. 81-82.
9 Tsit. on: Cohen G. The Hellenistic Settlements in Syria, Red Sea Basin and North Africa. Berkeley, 2006. P. 341.

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Sources mention also other travelers founding new settlements and hunting the camp - Antifila, Stratona, Konona, Demetriya and others. However already on the place it became clear that the local community had no experience of catching of elephants - so, "cave men" hunted them for the sake of meat (Plin. Nat. Hist. VIII. 8). G. Skallard gives indicative endurance from Agafarkhid: "Ptolemaeus disposed that hunters did not kill elephants as those are necessary to him live... but he not only did not convince them, but also heard in reply that they will not exchange the customs even for all kingdom Egyptian" 10. Thus, Ptolemaeus had to form own hunting parties.

In catching and domestication of elephants Indians deservedly were considered as the chief experts. Apparently, they adjusted hunting in Africa; with the purpose to employ experts Tolomeo Filadelf sent to India special embassy led by Dionisiyem11. The curious passage can be found at Elian: "Presented to Ptolemaeus II... a young elephant; he grew up where speak in Greek, and learned to understand him. Earlier was considered that elephants understand only an adverb of Indians" (Ael. De Nat. Anim. XI. 25). Subsequently the word "Indian" in the Hellenistic world became nominal for drivers of elephants irrespective of their origin. In this value it is used, in particular, by Poliby (Polyb. I. 40.15).

Indians How exactly caught elephants, Strabo describes, referring to Megas-fena - the selevkidsky ambassador at court of the tsar Chandragupta: ".mesto, deprived of vegetation, about 4 or 5 stages in a circle circle with a deep ditch, and connect an entrance very narrow bridge. Then the shelter let in three or four most quiet females, and hunters wait, lying in an ambush, in the covered huts... When elephants entered the shelter, hunters imperceptibly lock an exit, then let in the strongest tamed elephants fighters there and force them to fight with wild and at the same time exhaust with hunger" (Strab. XV. I. 43). Tells about a similar method also Ariane in Indyk (Arr. Ind. 13). According to Pliny, "in Africa the elephant is enticed into a hole" (i.e., probably, they were caught not herd, and one by one), however earlier the herd of elephants was driven "into the narrow tesnina dug so that to deceive animals its length; caught there, they were tamed hunger; as proof the animal had to take that quietly the branch stretched by one of hunters" (Plin. Nat. Hist. VIII. 8). Though, perhaps, the same method described by Me-gasfen means here. According to D. Kistler, digging of holes did not suit for catching of elephants - the probability to kill or to cripple seriously zverya12 was high.

Too old, young and sick animals then were released. The elephants who reached 20-year age were considered as suitable for training. According to the Indian treatise "Artkhashastra", "the best view of an elephant following: 7 elbows of height, 9 elbows in length and 10 in volume. Such is there has to be a size at 40-year age. Average quality the elephant is 30-year-old, and the lowest quality - 25-year-old" (Artha. II. 31). Whether it is unknown, however, these rules for the African elephants worked.

The caught animals were carried at first from Eritrea by sea, then landed in Bie-renike Trogloditike. From there elephants were overtaken the land in Koptos on specially constructed road, and then, down Neil, to Memphis - there was the main elephant house Ptolemeev. The road from Berenika to Koptos took 12 days, because of a heat it was necessary to go nochyyu13. A part of animals selected for a zoo which Ptolemaeus II opened in Alexandria. For shipping special transport vessels - elefanter were under construction; "they were very wide and had special staircases that

10 Scullard H. Op. cit. P. 130.
11 Tarn W. Ptolemy II//The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology. Vol. 14. No. 3/4 (Nov. 1928). P. 251.
12 Kistler D. War Elephants. Lincoln, 2007. P. 73.
13 Cohen G. Op. cit. P. 320.

elephants were easy to be got and brought from them" 14. They usually sailed, but not on oars therefore they strongly depended on weather conditions and season - from Egypt they went to the South in June-September, and came back in October-maye15. The travel there and back took 1-2 months depending on wind force.

Diodor tells about dangers of such swimming: "The vessels carrying elephants have big draft because of heavy load and subject sailors of big and terrible danger. As they sail, frequent at night, wind continually throws them on a bank, on rocks. Sailors cannot descend from the ship as water is deeper than the human growth and when all their attempts to make a start poles and to release the ship do not lead to anything, they throw overboard everything, except food stocks" f_o III. 40. 4-6). It is possible for this reason sometimes found bones in fragments (Ptolemaeus disposed to leave them as a monument to the died sailors and edification to others) slonov16.

Upon return elefanter usually hauled grain freight for remote settlements. Follows from the letter sent in 224 from Berenika to other base in the south that on the way on the South transport sank; Bereniki's inhabitants ask companions not to worry, saying that new transport is already almost ready and will bring grain pozzhe17.

Most likely, training elements taught elephants even before loading on vessels - the begun to panic animal easily could damage and even to sink the ship. Therefore hunting the camp were equipped with shelters and rooms for trainers.

Hundreds of people went to rule of Ptolemaeus II on catching elephants to Eritrea. One such expedition could last the whole year. Work was risky and dangerous so soldiers were engaged in it. They had to pay generously: "The second Ptolemaeus, being an aficionado of hunting for elephants, did not feel sorry for gold in an award that who, risking life, caught these terrible animals", - Diodor f_o writes III. 36.3). One document 223 BC contain the order of the royal banker in Apollinopola (Edfu) to give a salary for another expedition - 4 silver obols a day. As P. Levek notes, paid hunters of elephants as much how many to copyists of the highest razryada18. However, apparently, there were not always enough volunteers - U. Tarn puts participation in hunting in number of duties with which were assessed radical egiptyane19.

As a result Tolomeo Filadelf managed to assemble impressive corps of the African elephants; Appian determined its number in 300 animals, and St. Jerome - in 40020. Most of researchers consider these figures excessively overestimated, however D. Kistler believes that they included not only fighting elephants therefore quite realny21.

At Ptolemaeus to the III Evergueta (the rights. 246-221 BC) and Ptolemaeus the IV Filopator (rights. 221-204 BC) to hunters were necessary to leave further and further on the South and to found there new bases - population of elephants was reduced. We learn from Diodor's composition that Ptolemaeus III sent for search of new hunting grounds "to the country of ikhtiofag" one of the confidants, Simmiya; that studied the country in the most attentive way" f_o III. 18. 3-4). Gradually the chain of the Egyptian colonies and hunting camps was stretched on the coast of the Red Sea to Bab-el-Mandeba (opposite to modern Aden). On the map of the African coast of that time poyavi-

14 Armandi P. Op. cit. P. 83.
15 Kistler D. Op. cit. P. 72.
16 Scullard H. Op. cit. P. 131.
17 Bevan E.R. The House of Ptolemy: A History of Hellenistic Egypt under the Ptolemaic Dynasty. London, 1927. P. 177.
18 P. Levek. The Hellenistic world / Lane from fr. E. Chikova. M, 1989. Page 199.
19 Tarn W. Ptolemy... P. 259.
20 Scullard H. Op. cit. P. 133.
21 Kistler D. Op. cit. P. 73.

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foxes new names - Pifolaya, Leahy, Pifangel, Lev, Harimort ^гаЬ. XVI. IV. 15). "With full confidence we can claim that opened for Everget new trade ways, military posts for communications of Egypt with Ethiopia. Hunting for elephants at it had to reach huge scales. Perhaps, already at that time elephants began to be delivered to Alexandria by land, way less dangerous, than sea", - P. Ar-mandi22 writes.

Fighting elephants originally reminded "antiquity tanks" a little. Soldiers, if they were (apparently, at the early stage "crew" it could be limited only to Karnak), sat directly on a back of an animal - most likely, Indians did not know fighting towers, and they were invented in the Mediterranean independently (according to one version, at the beginning of the 3rd century BC 23). The wooden framework was sheathed by boards or thick skin, and then became attached to a back of an animal ropes or chains. Concerning details of a design of towers, their weight and the extent of opinion of researchers differ - the corresponding descriptions in sources are absent, and the remained images can be interpreted in different ways. Usually towers represent continuous, however N. Secunda mentions the atypical "open" tower at ptolemeevsky elephants reminding some kind of korzinu24. Perhaps, such became with the purpose to lose weight and not to overload an animal.

The tower was designed for three-four soldiers who armed, onions and darts. Thus, together with Karnak (Indian or the African) the persons could make "crew" to the 5th. There is an opinion that the African elephants Ptolemeev were too weak to bear on themselves a tower; it is divided, in particular, by Item Konnolli25. However, as G. Skallard notes, Ptolemaeus IV in fight at the Raffia anyway should use towers - otherwise selev-kidsky crews just would replace sarissam of his kornak and soldat26.

About whether Ptolemaeus protected the elephants armor, there are no authentic certificates. N. Secunda gives reconstruction of scaly armor of the African elephant of sulfurs in the work. 2nd century BC 27, but does not explain whether there was it ptolemeevsky or selevkidsky tradition (it is about Ptolemaeus' elephants the VI Filometor who got to Selevkidam). Perhaps, attributes for intimidation of the opponent (a red body cloth, a bell on a neck of an animal) in the building Ptolemeev were used; judging by the image which remained in a tomb in Mariss (a game. 3rd century BC), ears of an elephant could paint red too.

It is unknown also whether the building Ptolemeev was organized as describes Asklepiodot: ".pr elephants the chief of one elephant is called "зоарх", two — "терарх", and connection — "terarkhiya", "эпитерарх" — the chief of 4 elephants, and connection — "epiterarkhiya", "иларх" — the chief of 8 elephants, and 16 — "ale-fantarkh", "керарх" — heading connection from 32 elephants, and the chief of their doubled number — "фалангарх" and their connection will be called the same on each administration" (Asclepiod. IX). On the other hand, G. Skallard quite assumes that the ilarkhiya from eight animals could be the main division in the field boya28; perhaps, it was right also for the Egyptian army. For support of elephants in fight groups of easy infantry were usually used.

22 Armandi P. Op. cit. P. 86.
23 Plutarch mentions fighting towers in Evmen's biography (Plut. Eum. 14), however G. Skallard, in particular, considers this fragment the latest insert. It refers emergence of towers on elephants by the time of the wars of Pierre in Italy, i.e. approximately to 280 BC (see Scullard, H. Op. cit. P. 241).
24 Sekunda N. Seleucid and Ptolemaic Reformed Armies 168-145 BC. Vol. 2: The Ptolemaic Army under Ptolemy VI Philometor. Stockport, 1995. P. 40, 72.
25 Connolly P. Greece and Rome at War. London, 1998. P. 74.
26 Scullard H. Op. cit. P. 143.
27 Sekunda N. Seleucid and Ptolemaic Reformed Armies 168-145 BC. Vol. 1: The Seleucid Army under Antiochus IV Epiphanes. Stockport, 1994. P. 72, 78.
28 Scullard H. Op. cit. P. 236-237.

However about real fighting application of the elephant building Ptolemeev in sources there are almost no data. It is known that they were used in the first three Syrian wars, but extent of their participation in battles is not clear - except for that, the fact that elephant cases often passed from defeated to the winner. In particular, the well-known inscription in Adulis painting Ptolemaeus' progress III in the 3rd Syrian war (246-241 BC) mentions in the structure of its army of elephants "from the country of cave men and Ethiopia". In the same place it is said that after the victory Ptolemaeus got the Indian elephants protivnika29. Unfortunately, it is unknown how many animals Selevk II had at the beginning of the campaign how many got to Ptolemaeus and how (in fight, as contribution, or, perhaps, it occupied the royal elephant house in Apamey). One is clear: had to remain with Selevk enough elephants acquired by his grandfather and the father after the victory over galatians in 273 (if only by then the most part of herd was not sent to Babylon), and Ptolemaeus as a result received the mixed case - and from the African elephants, and from trophy Indian.

However in the following, 4th Syrian war (219-217 BC), the new Pharaoh Tolomeo IV Filopator exposed only 73 elephants against Antiochus III's army, it depends at Syrians was 102 (Ro§u. V. 79). However, P. Armandi considers that it could be not all Egyptian elephants: "Said that Filopator created the placement on 500 elephants in Alexandria; if it so, then leaves that only the strongest participated in a campaign and prepared" 30.

Decisive battle of this war took place on June 22 217 BC at the Raffia; it is well known, thanks to the story Polibiya, and is the first documented mention of participation of the Egyptian elephants in fight.

According to B. Bar-Kokhby, Ptolemaeus already when choosing the place of fight considered advantage of the enemy in elephants and an easy cavalry. Therefore he chose the site protected from two parties by sandy dunes; it was ahead of Antiochus and in expansion, having put the elephants ahead of flanks. As a result Antiochus could not cover with elephants the easy infantry in centre31. Thus, both tsars divided the elephant cases. The most part of animals was on "royal" flanks - 60 elephants of Antiochus on his right flank against 40 elephants of Ptolemaeus on its left.

Fight of elephants opened fight at the Raffia: Antiochus's elephants attacked Ptolemaeus' elephants and overturned them. Poliby, left the bright description of this attack: "Some elephants of Ptolemaeus rushed on enemies; the soldiers who were located on elephants valorously battled from towers; working with sarissa at a short distance, they struck blows each other, but animals fought even better, with exasperation rushing some on others. Fight of elephants happens approximately thus: having stuck each other canines and having linked, they press with all force, and everyone wishes to keep for himself the taken place, will not overcome the strongest yet and will not take aside the opponent's trunk. Only the winner manages to take defeated sideways, he will wound him canines just as bulls horns. Ptolemeev elephants the most part feared fights that happens ordinary to the Libyan elephants. The fact is that they do not take out a smell and a roar of the Indian elephants, are frightened as I believe, their growth and force and run away immediately still from far away. So it happened and now. In a disorder the animals began to restrict ranks of the soldiers." (Ro§u. V. 84). At this moment on the left wing of Ptolemaeus, having bypassed elephants on the one hand, the perfect cavalry of Antiochus led by him, and on the other hand - the Greek hired infantry collapsed. All wing of Egyptians was upset and began to recede.

29 The Hellenistic Period: Historical Sources in Translation/Ed. By R.S. Bagnall and P. Derow. Oxford,
2004. P. 51-53.
30 Armandi P. Op. cit. P. 87.
31 Bar-Kochva B. The Seleucid Army: Organization and Tactics in the Great Campaigns. Cambridge, 1976. P. 134.

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However on the right wing the situation was displayed exactly the opposite. His commander Ekhekrat waited, than the first phase of battle will come to an end, and, seeing that Ptolemaeus' elephants refuse to attack Antiochus's elephants (Ro§u. V. 84), used the Greek mercenaries against east infantry which was opposite, and itself at the head of a cavalry bypassed the left wing of the Syrian army and struck to it to the flank and the back. About whether elephants battled on this site, there are no data. Perhaps, 33 elephants on the right wing of Egyptians did not engage at all and, respectively, did not sustain losses.

Thus, the right wings of both armies crushed the left wings resisting to them. The outcome of battle was turned by fight of the phalanxes standing in the center and which were left without cover. By then the most efficient troops of Antiochus, including him, in the battlefield were absent - they pursued the Egyptian parts broken by them. On the contrary, Ptolemaeus after damage of the wing could return; the phalanx inspired with it overturned selevkidsky heavy infantry, and Antiochus did not manage to come to the rescue to it.

Battle ended with a victory of Egyptians. "The number of the fallen Antiochus's soldiers was a little less than ten thousand of infantry and more than three hundred a cavalry; more than four thousand people were taken prisoner. From elephants three remained in the field of fight, and two others fell from wounds. On Ptolemaeus' party was the killed about 1500 people of infantry and to the 700th cavalry; elephants fell 16, and the most part is captured by the enemy" (Ro§u. V. 86).

Polibiya's data on losses are often quoted in historical literature, however G. Skallard considers them wrong - Antiochus's soldiers just could not capture nearly 60 Egyptian elephants as in general they lost battle. Most likely, according to the scientist, in this case either Poliby, or the copyist mixed tsifry32.

According to the inscription left in November 217 BC in Pitom, Ptolemaeus got all elephants of Antiochus. Defeat at the Raffia finished the 4th Syrian war. The campaign of the Syrian army to Egypt was broken, Antiochus III refused claims on Kelesiriya for some time.

This battle had two main results. First, as U. Tarn notes, the tactical role of elephants in fight changed - they "were not used as a barrier against a cavalry any more. They battled with each other, and victorious Indian elephants broke through an enemy system" 33. Secondly, in antique literature the thought of weakness of the African elephants in comparison with the Indian widely extended; gradually it became some kind of axiom. However, in this regard it is not clear how to treat Polibiya's phrase about the "some elephants of Ptolemaeus" who rushed on enemies. It is possible how G. Skallard and especially M. Charles who devoted to this question separate statyyu34 assume it just and there were those few Indian elephants remaining with Ptolemaeus who could battle against Antiochus's elephants as equals. On the other hand, according to Skallard, perhaps, also you should not deprive of the African elephants of their deserved glory - to all other, they strongly lost to the opponent number (40 against 60). If someone from them in such conditions did not begin to panic and accepted battle, it characterizes them very positively. G. Delbryuk in general is inclined to explain defeat of Egyptians not with the best qualities of elephants of Antiochus, and art of the Syrian kornak - they it was from India and owned the profession far better than kornak of Ptolemeya35.

32 Scullard H. Op. cit. P. 143.
33 Tarn W. Hellenistic Military and Naval Developments. Cheshire, 1998. P. 98-99.
34 Scullard H. Op. cit. P. 143; Charles M. Elephants at Raphia: Reinterpreting Polybius 5.84-85//Classical Quarterly. 2007. Vol. 57. P. 306-311.
35 G. Delbryuk. The history of military art within political history. M, 2005. Page 455.

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It is known that after the victory Ptolemaeus IV sacrificed four elephants to god of Geliosu36. Sometimes it is written off for disappointment from fight results too though after the Raffia Ptolemaeus by an example of the predecessors continued hunting. The fact that its scales began to be reduced soon can be explained with the general deterioration in a situation in the state, including because of a large revolt in the Top Egypt in 206. Ptolemaeus managed to restore the power here only in 20 years. At the same time there is also other point of view: new elephants were simply not necessary as due to successful catching and a victory in war Ptolemaeus IV already brought together them dostatochno37.

The position of an elefantarkh (the chief over elephants) remained at the Alexandria yard for a long time, however, according to P. Armandi, the African elephants were used mainly on parades, and in the war - only "those which were received from India" 38. In fight at Paniona (apprx. 200 BC) who became Antiochus III's revenge for defeat at the Raffia, elephants as a part of the Egyptian army are not mentioned.

Apparently, Ptolemaeus' invasion the VI Filometor became the last business of the Egyptian elephant case (the rights. 180-145 BC) to Syria. However with death of the tsar (Iosif Flavy (Jos. Ant. IV. 8) reports that the cause is too there was an elephant - Ptolemaeus' horse was frightened of a roar and dumped the rider) the campaign failed, and the opponent got all elephants. For Selevkidov it was new experience - earlier he did not happen to order the African elephants. Ptolemaeus, obviously, from now on completely lost interest in this type of military forces. Catching, maintenance and training of elephants demanded big expenditure which the weakening state was not able to afford.

In such a way that served as a true reason for refusal of the Egyptian governors of use of fighting elephants (whether only disappointment with fight results at the Raffia or much more serious reasons of economic or political property), anyway it is possible to note that "arms race" with Selevkidami Ptolemaeus was lost. This fight remained the first and last real battle in the history of the elephant case of the Hellenistic Egypt.


One can consider war elephants as most picturesque feature of Hellenistic warfare. In the 3rd century BC Hellenistic rulers of Egypt were engaged in the elephant arms race against their Seleucid rivals. Seleucid and Egyptian elephant armies fought each other at Raphia (217 BC), and Ptolemaic African elephants reputedly lost that crucial battle to Seleucid Indian elephants. However the Ptolemies continued using their elephant corps for some time. Seemingly they have discarded it completely after 145 BC, but the battle at Raphia remains the only known major battle of Ptolemaic elephant corps.


Pedagogical Institute Southern Federal University


36 To F. Sham. The Hellenistic civilization / Lane with fr. N. Shevchenko. M, 2008. Page 126.
37 Cohen G. Op. cit. P. 48.
38 Armandi P. Op. cit. P. 88.
Michael Hill
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