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Friday, 15 March 2013

Successor Elephants

















Here are a few photos of some recently painted Seleucid and Ptolemaic Successor Elephants with an elephant escort of Cretan archers on the flank of the Ptolemies. The elephants and crew are by Aventine, A & A, Gripping Beast, 1st Corps, Old Glory and Vendel/Molon Labe. The Cretan archers are Foundry figures painted by DPS.

I can't help quoting from the famous passage in Polybius' Histories (5.84-85) on the Battle of Raphia as this, and the cover illustration of Duncan Head's Armies of the Macedonian and Punic Wars, inspired me when painting the elephants and crew:

Only some few of Ptolemy's elephants came to close quarters with the foe: seated on these the soldiers in the howdahs maintained a brilliant fight, lunging at and striking each other with crossed pikes. But the elephants themselves fought still more brilliantly, using all their strength in the encounter, and pushing against each other, forehead to forehead. 

The way in which elephants fight is this: they get their tusks entangled and jammed, and then push against one another with all their might, trying to make each other yield ground until one of them proving superior in strength has pushed aside the other's trunk; and when once he can get a side blow at his enemy, he pierces him with his tusks as a bull would with his horns. 

Now, most of Ptolemy's animals, as is the way with Libyan elephants, were afraid to face the fight: for they cannot stand the smell or the trumpeting of the Indian elephants, but are frightened at their size and strength, I suppose, and run away from them at once without waiting to come near them. This is exactly what happened on this occasion: and upon their being thrown into confusion and being driven back upon their own lines, Ptolemy's guard gave way before the rush of the animals.
















13 comments:

  1. These are amazing, always good to see nellies

    Ian

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  2. Fantastic looking elephants, and great explanations...pictures are very nice too!
    Phil.

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  3. Thanks Ian and Phil, always a lot of fun elephants!

    Mike

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  4. Those are terrific; great to see so many nellies together!

    Simon

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  5. Thanks Simon, you can never have too many elephants!

    Mike

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  6. That just looks cool! Very nice looking nellies and good explanation!

    Christopher

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  7. Impressive display of elies! You certainly make the case of not having enough elephants. Best, Dean

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  8. Rampaging pachyderms - great stuff

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  9. Thanks Christopher, Dean and Grimsby Mariner. I'm painting another batch and hope to do a big elephant parade at some stage.

    Mike

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  10. Fantastic looking elephant to elephant battle. I would like to create something like that with Burmese.

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  11. Thanks Colin, there's something about elephants that always capture the attention.

    Mike

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  12. Now that's cool. Impressive bunch of elephants, they look great!

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  13. Thanks Mike, the Aventine nellies are the best!

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