The World of Christian Cameron

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Glossary Related to the Tyrant Series

Airyanãm (Avestan) Noble, heroic

Baqça (Siberian) Shaman, mage, dream shaper

Daimon (Classical Greek) spirit

Epilektoi (Classical Greek) The chosen men of the city or of the phalanx; elite soldiers
Eudaimia (Classical Greek) Well being. Literally, “well-spirited.” See daimon, above.

Gamelia (Classical Greek) A Greek holiday.
Gorytos (Classical Greek and possibly Scythian) The open topped quiver carried by the Scythians, often highly decorated.

Hoplite (Classical Greek) A Greek soldier, the heavy infantry who carry an aspis (the big round shield) and fight in the phalanx. They represent the middle class of free men in most cities, and while sometimes they seem like medieval knights in their outlook, they are also like town militia, and made up of craftsmen and small farmers. In the early Classical period, a man with as little as twelve acres under cultivation could be expected to own the aspis and serve as a hoplite.
Hipparch (Classical Greek) The commander of the cavalry.
Hippeis (Classical Greek) Militarily, the cavalry of a Greek army. Generally, the cavalry class, synonymous with “knights.” Usually the richest men in a city.
Hyperetes (Classical Greek) The Hipparch’s trumpeter, servant, or supporter. Perhaps a sort of NCO.

Kopis (Classical Greek) A bent bladed knife or sword, rather like a modern Ghurka knife. They appear commonly in Greek art, and even some small eating knives were apparently made to this pattern.

Machaira (Classical Greek) The heavy Greek cavalry sword, longer and stronger than the short infantry sword. Meant to give a longer reach on horseback, and not useful in the phalanx. The word could also be used for any knife.

Parasang (Classical Greek from Persian) About 30 stades. See below.
Peltastoi (Classical Greek) Literally, those who carry a small, light shield (LSJ). An intermediate class of warriors between the psiloi and the hoplite. Sometimes lightly armored or wearing helmets or carrying shields.
Phalanx (Classical Greek) The infantry formation used by Greek hoplites in warfare, eight to ten deep and as wide as circumstance allowed. Greek commanders experimented with deeper and shallower formations, but the phalanx was solid and very difficult to break, presenting the enemy with a veritable wall of spear points and shields, whether the Macedonian style with pikes or the Greek style with spears. Also, phalanx can refer to the body of fighting men. A Macedonian phalanx was deeper, with longer spears called sarissas that we assume to be like the pikes used in more recent times.
Pous (Classical Greek) About one foot
Psiloi (Classical Greek) Bare, naked men (Lexicon of the Homeric Dialec, 1924) Light infantry skirmishers, usually men with no armour and minimal weapons, slings or perhaps javelins, or even thrown rocks. In Greek city-state warfare, the psiloi were supplied by the poorest men, retainers, or even slaves.

Sastar (Avestan) Tyrannical. A tyrant.
Stade (Classical Greek) 178 meters, about 1/8 of a mile. The distance run in a “stadium.” Sometimes written as Stadia or Stades in the Tyrant novels.   30 Stadia make a Parasang.

Taxeis (Classical Greek) The sections of a Macedonian phalanx. Can refer to any group, but often used as a “company” or a “battalion.” The Macedonian taxeis in the Tyrant novels has between fifteen hundred and two thousand men, depending on losses and detachments. Roughly synonymous with phalanx, above.
Thorax (Classical Greek) A breastplate or corselet. (Lexicon of the Homeric Dialect, 1924)
Toxotai (Classical Greek) Archers. In Greek warfare, usually trained men from the lower classes with a bow. Athens had a corps of them. Also, in some sources, horse archers or Scythians, who were also sometimes called hippotoxotai or horse-archers.

Xiphos (Classical Greek) A straight-bladed infantry sword, usually carried by hoplites or psiloi. Classical Greek art, especially red-figure ware, shows many hoplites wearing them, but only a handful have been recovered and there’s much debate about them. The author thinks that there was a whole martial art devoted to their use. More on that later…

Author’s Note

Very little survives of the Scythian language, and I am an author, not a linguist. I chose to represent some Scythic words with Avestan, and some with modern Siberian words, and some with Ossetic words, all with the intention of showing how difficult a language barrier is, even when many words share common roots. I have a very little skill with Classical Greek, and none with any of the other languages mentioned, and any errors in translation are entirely my own.

In addition, as you write about a period you love (and I have fallen pretty hard for this one) you learn more. Once I learn more, words may change or change their usage. As an example, in Tyrant I used Xenophon’s Cavalry Commander as my guide to almost everything. Xenophon calls the ideal weapon a machaira. Subsequent study has revealed that Greeks were pretty lax about their sword nomenclature (actually, everyone is, except martial arts enthusiasts) and so Kineas’s Aegyptian machaira was probably called a kopis. So in the second book, I call it a kopis without apology. Other words may change — certainly, my notion of the internal mechanics of the hoplite phalanx have changed. The more you learn…