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Thread: Regarding ptolemy's elephants

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    Member Member Roebbah Urtz's Avatar
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    Sep 2015

    Post Regarding ptolemy's elephants

    I came across this interesting article: any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Arrogant Ashigaru Moderator Ludens's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Re: Regarding ptolemy's elephants

    Quote Originally Posted by Roebbah Urtz View Post
    I came across this interesting article: any thoughts?
    Interesting, though not the definite answer that the article's title implies. For starters (and as the article itself admits), Polybius may have been mistaken about the size of the Seleucid elephants. In fact, Polybius himself makes clear that he is speculating when he attributes the Ptolemean elephants' unwillingness to engage to their smaller size. It could have been any of a number of things (strange smells, lack of training, unwilling mahouts), and it's not as if Polybius (or even Ptolemy) could later review video footage to compare the actual sizes. A charging elephant will always seem huge to the person who is about to receive the charge, even if he is backed up by an elephant of his own.

    A definite answer is probably impossible, anyway. We simply don't know enough details to resolve such questions. I am wondering, though, if the Ptolemeans continued to use war elephants after the battle. Was this a one-off experiment, or did they employ war elephants more often?
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