Philip’s War Machine
Mon May 11 00:02:01 2009
There were a number of factors that made Philip’s war machine irresistible. Some of them, like the change to the longer sarissa, and tighter Phalanx formation could have been copied by the Greeks. The change in logistics, traveling without a substantial baggage train which facilitated more rapid movements, may also have been duplicated. But the political, social and economic transformation needed to turn an army of part-time citizen hoplites into a full time professional phalanx army would have altered the Greek world beyond recognition.
The Greek hoplites were full time citizens, landowners and statesmen. They fought in order to support and protect their social, economic and political institutions. Participation was limited to citizens, a group somewhat limited by birth, status and wealth. The Greek army supported and defended the state. In Macedon the state supported the army. It was organized to supply the finances and personnel for a full time professional army. Quantity and quality were required for Philip’s army not wealth, status or landholdings. These changes were incompatible with the traditional Greek polis and hence very difficult to duplicate.