Bibliography Still, Caesar was able to defeat Metellus Scipio at the Battle of Thapsus in Tunisia (46 BCE) and he captured over 60 elephants after his African victory and displayed 40 in a Roman triumph. These were used in the First and Second Punic Wars against Rome in the mid and late 3rd century BCE, notably in the Battle at the river Tagus in Spain in 220 BCE and at the Battle of Trebia in northern Italy in 218 BCE. Our latest articles delivered to your inbox, once a week: Our mission is to engage people with cultural heritage and to improve history education worldwide. Most war elephants deployed in the Hellenistic period derived from India. This beast lies by the papyrus, reed and sedge, it strikes the river to pour water in its mouth and does not fear the flood. However, one look at the vast amount of ancient Greek-themed movies and literature today, people will quickly come to the conclusion that the world is still fascinated with Greek mythology though they might not always be able to say why. On the emblema, Cleopatra Selene wears an elephant scalp as a headdress and is surrounded by a profusion of religious symbols and attributes particularly associated with Ptolemaic Egypt. Pyrrhus (/ Ë p Éªr É s /; Ancient Greek: Î ÏÏÏÎ¿Ï, Pyrrhos; 319/318â272 BC) was a Greek king and statesman of the Hellenistic period. Mark is a history writer based in Italy. More historically, Juba of Numidia (approx. This suggestion is substantiated by the accounts of the Battle of Raphia (217 BCE) which decisively settled the Fourth Syrian War between the forces of Ptolemy IV and Antiochus III in favor of the former. The riders were seven: two carried hooks, two were archers, two were swordsmen, and the last one had a lance and a banner. We have also been recommended for educational use by the following publications: Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization registered in Canada. Seleucid coinage regularly propagates the symbolic military importance of elephants as an expression of their power. "An Egyptian Interpretation of AlexanderÃ¢â¬â¢s Elephant Headdress. by The Trustees of the British Museum (Copyright), Elephant Symbolism on the Coins of Ptolemy I, The three attributes were associated with three supreme deities of three different cultures: the aegis with Zeus; the ram’s horns with, by Metropolitan Museum of Art (Copyright). Ancient History Encyclopedia Limited is a non-profit company registered in the United Kingdom. Once the devastating sight of war elephants became a more common one on the ancient battlefield so their effectiveness diminished as the enemy became more prepared and better equipped to deal with them. The trunk appears to curl as if in prayer in a manner resembling an upright cobra (uraeus). The first use of elephants by humans began about 4,000 years ago in India. Alexander’s undying fame thus owes more than is usually acknowledged to the elephant. This association might be compared with the aegis, which served the apotropaic function of warding off evil forces and was itself connected with divine protection and military defense. The ram’s horn was thus a divine attribute associated with panic and madness. Starting with the association with Alexander’s Indian triumph, the exuvia (elephant’s scalp) might best be understood as an attribute of an Indian deity, such as Indra, Shiva, or Krishna. Fame is accompanied by Plato and Aristotle, Alexander, and Charlemagne. While reinforcements of African forest elephants would eventually reach Hannibal, they failed to assert any decisive effect even at the final Battle of Zama (201 BCE). The Hellenistic Period is a part of the Ancient Period for the... After securing the eastern Mediterranean seaboard and Egypt, Alexander... Monsters of Military Might: Elephants in Hellenistic History and Art, The Elephant in the Greek and Roman World, Alexander the Great and the Mystery of the Elephant Medallions, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike, Alonso Troncoso, V. "The Diadochi and the Zoology of Kingship: The Elephants. Troops became more mobiIe, siege-craft became just as common as open battles, and artillery came to the fore. Ancient History Encyclopedia, 16 Mar 2016. Oppen, Branko V. "Elephants in Hellenistic History & Art." Still, their symbolic importance for Carthage is expressed on a series of Hannibal’s coinage, which depict a cloaked rider with a goad in his hand, but no turret. We have also been recommended for educational use by the following publications: Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization registered in Canada. The founder of the Mauryan kingdom, Chandragupta established his power shortly after Alexander’s death (r. c. 322/1-299/8 BCE). The Carthaginians were the next major users. During the ensuing fight, the enemy’s elephants trampled foot soldiers indiscriminately in the confusion when attacked from the flank by the Macedonian cavalry. Even more famously, at the Battle of Zuma in 202 BCE, the Roman general Scipio Africanus allowed Hannibal’s 80 elephants to run through gaps purposely made in his infantry lines and then turned the animals around using drums and trumpets to let them cause havoc with the enemy. Cleopatra Selene II, Boscorealeby HervÃ© Lewandowski (Copyright), Let us briefly return to the Hellenistic period and quickly make our way back eastwards. The most important effect of elephants in the field was probably, then, a psychological one. Of particular importance is the combination of the elephant scalp with a ram’s horn over his temple and the aegis (a sacred goat’s fleece) thrown over his shoulder. “wild beast”), likened to bulls, with ribs made of bronze and a spine of cast iron. In the search for ever more impressive and lethal weapons to shock the enemy and bring total victory the armies of ancient Greece, Carthage, and even sometimes Rome turned to the elephant. Early use of elephants in battle by Alexander’s successors involved only a rider (mahout) and perhaps a spearman. Nov 12, 2020 - Explore Jonah Bomgaars's board "War Elephants!" Detail of a 6th Century CE Elephant Mosaicby Carole Raddato (CC BY-NC-SA). It was the first time that the inhabitants of the Italian peninsula had ever seen elephants. Replaced Middle English olifant (froâ¦ The rider was crucial as he had trained the animal for years and it would obey only his commands. present-day northern Algeria) supplied elephants to the Pompeian forces during the Roman Civil War (49-45 BCE). Thank you! Upon their return to Persia (c. 325 BCE), some 200 elephants are mentioned which had arrived via Arachosia and Carmania. The snakes might allude to the legend that Olympias was impregnated by a god in the form of a snake. On an early 16th-century Flemish tapestry (now in New York) the personification of Fame stands in a chariot drawn by two white elephants as they trample death and fate. According to Patrick Winn, a correspondent for The World, war elephants may be divided into two types: those which participate in battles and those used for logistical purposes. Antiochus I (324/3-261 BCE) deployed war elephants against the Galatians who had crossed the Balkans into Greece and then moved into Asia Minor (c. 275/4 BCE). He also had an ankush or hooked stick for this purpose. Some Rights Reserved (2009-2020) under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license unless otherwise noted. Another 80 elephants were captured after the battle, thus bringing the total to about 250. 2.3.) In ancient Carthage, elephants were sometimes given copious quantities of wine to drink - elephants enjoy alcohol - and then their legs were prodded with red-hot irons. Allegedly the cognomen of Gaius Julius Caesar (100-44 BCE) derived from the Moorish word for “elephant” (caesai), rather than from caesius or caeruleus (pertaining to the color of the sky). Alexander’s facial features are full of pathos, his diadÄma (headband) signifies his royalty, his large bulging eyes intimating his divinity. The Romans â¦ Cartwright, M. (2016, March 16). Some ancient sources claim that elephants were given wine before battle in order to rouse them into a fighting frenzy. Even later authors could be quoted to confirm that in classical Greek and Latin literature, elephants belong to the same order of fierce and frightful fabulous monsters as the martichora, unicorn, griffon, sphinx, dragon, and hippocamp. Submitted by Branko van Oppen, published on 20 May 2019 under the following license: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. Cavalry horses, especially, are frightened even of their smell. With a reasonably well-trained army (around 30,000) he could only field 20 elephants, which underpins a vital aspect concerning them. This was at the Battle of Raphia (on the Sinai peninsula) in 217 BCE between Ptolemy IV and Antiochus III. Are there peacocks and elephants in Ancient Greece (4000 BC)? Able to readily acquire African elephants from the Atlas forest region they formed an elephant corps from the 260’s BCE. While the Romans did eventually adopt them, and used them occasionally after the Punic wars, especially during the conquest of Greece, they fell out of use by the time of Claudius, after which they were generally used for the purpose of demoralizing enemies instead of being used for tactical purposes. If the elephant were wounded then all hell might break lose as, unpredictable at the best of times, wounded elephants could literally go mad and cause tremendous damage to both sides. Despite the cost and difficulties, and because in antiquity the evolution in weaponry was extremely slow, the attraction of such large animals trampling all over the enemy remained. Thatâs assuming the â¦ There is uncertainty as to when elephant warfare first started but it is widely accepted that it began in ancient India.The early Vedic period did not extensively specify the use of elephants in war. T. and once in the N. T. The animal itself is named only in the Apocrypha, always as an engine of war. Therefore, the claim that the ancients set fire to pigs in order to cause panic among enemy elephants does seem to have an element of plausibility, although it should be pointed out that, despite Nossovâs claim (2008, p. 25), it is uncertain that the Romans themselves actually used fire. In reality, perhaps only a handful of ancient battles had been decided because of the intervention of elephants. Related Content Elephants were initially used for agricultural purposes. The War with Hannibal: The History of Rome from Its Foundation, Books... Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. So impressed was Alexander with the war elephants of Porus, who was said to have had a corps of 200 when he fought the Battle of Hydaspes in 326 BCE, that he formed his own ceremonial elephant corps. From the reign of Alexander the Great elephants became associated with Hellenistic military processions and coinage often expressed the symbolic connection between elephants and military victories. John M. Kistler, War Elephants (London, 2006) Adrienne Mayor, Greek Fire, Poison Arrows, and Scorpion Bombs: Biological and Chemical Warfare in the Ancient World (New York, 2003) H. H. Scullard, The Elephant in the Greek and Roman World (London, 1974) Early Riders: The Beginnings of Mounted Warfare in Asia and Europe. C.A. Larger elephants were outfitted with tower-like devices protecting occupants from ground-level attack and providing an excellent battlefield vantage point. Browse other questions tagged ancient-greece persia war-elephants greco-persian-wars or ask your own question. ". License. However, in the Rigveda, the king of Gods and chief Vedic deity Indra is depicted as riding either Airavata, a mythological elephant, or on the horse Uchchaihshravas as his mounts. The Macedonian army, nevertheless, refrained from advancing into the Ganges Valley – as they received information not only about the vastness of the country but also the alleged strength of its forces (including at least 3000 elephants). In the 270’s BCE, for example, Ptolemy II trained African elephants for use in his army and even appointed a high official to be responsible for them, the elephantarchos. He controlled the direction the elephant took by applying pressure behinds the animal’s ears with his toes. At an average height of 2.5 metres, weighing around 5 tonnes, and trotting up to 16 km/h (10mph), they could be tremendously effective wrecking machines. The shape of the elephants’ trunks resembles the trumpet Fame sounds. The Indian elephant god Ganesha, the Lord of Hosts, belongs to the retinue of Shiva. Age of Discovery ancient Greeks Ancient Indians ancient Middle animals Archaeologists Archaeologists believe Asia Assyrians axles Bactrian camel began boats bridges builders built camels cargo carry carved chariots China compass construction cultures developed distances dugout canoes early Earth Egypt elephants engineers feet fifth century b.c. They were established as rulers of Mauretania (approx. An elephant charging into a group of soldiers or horses could decimate a formation. The encounter was one of the largest pitch battles of the Hellenistic period, and supposedly the only ancient battle in which African elephants fought Indian. Romans first encountered elephants in battle in 280 BCE, when Pyrrhus, king of the Greek region of Epirus, invaded Italy with an army of 25,000 men and 20 war elephants. So, he too may possibly have been the Hindu deity identified with Heracles by the Greeks and Macedonians. Our latest articles delivered to your inbox, once a week: Our mission is to engage people with cultural heritage and to improve history education worldwide. Ancient authors recognized Heracles in an unspecified Hindu deity and the identification remains unsettled among modern scholars. Thus its categorization was further complicated by the fact that an army, which deployed elephants might consider them allies, while the opposing army would consider them adversaries. Well into common era the elephant continued to feature frequently on Kushan coinage (1st-4th century CE), including kings riding elephants. According to the Mahabharata, the elephants were provided with armour, girths, blankets, neck ropes and bells, hooks and quivers, banners and standards, yantras (possibly stone-or-arrow-hurling contrivances) and lances. Related Content Incidentally, Indra, like Zeus and even Alexander the Great, wields the thunderbolt. This was especially so as Roman warfare developed. Sure, everyone is familiar with the North American Mastodon and the Woolly Mammothâbut how much do you know about the ancestral pachyderms of the Mesozoic Era, some of which predated modern elephants by tens of millions of years? Furthermore, Caesar supposedly entered Britain with an elephant in 54 BCE (Polyaen. Indra, however, is the son of Dyaus PitrÄ (“Sky Father”), which parallels Zeus Pater and Jupiter. According to Plutarch, 475 elephants took part in the Battle of Ipsus in 301 BCE during the Successor Wars. See more ideas about war elephant, elephant, ancient warfare. (Job 40:15-24.) When Alexander died, his funeral carriage was decorated among many other things with a tablet of Indian elephants driven by mahouts, followed by Macedonian troops. Found 3 sentences matching phrase "elephant".Found in 0 ms. It was typically occupied by up to four javelin or missile throwers. Elephants, being only available from Africa or Asia, were expensive commodities to acquire for Mediterranean powers. They were deployed on the battlefield to strike terror into the enemy, however, since fear was considered divinely inspired, elephants can be interpreted as religious symbols even in warfare. Understood as an emblem of military might, in antiquity and well beyond, I have argued that the elephant was a mythic monster. Phoenician terracotta lamp in the form of an elephant's head. There is a curious instance when two elephant corps met where each side was composed of different types. Branko van Oppen is an exhibition curator and independent scholar specialized in Ptolemaic queenship as well as Hellenistic art and ideology. He, therefore, embodies aspects of both Heracles and Dionysus, and Alexander was also believed to be descended from Dionysus, through Deianira, the wife of Heracles. The frightful Shiva, also understood as an emanation of Indra, is a destroyer, the slayer of demons. Pyrrhus of Epirus was the first commander to employ elephants in Europe when he used 20 Asian ones in his campaigns in Italy and Sicily from 280 to 275 BCE. The latter is now almost extinct and only found in the Gambia; it was smaller than the, at the time unknown, African elephant of central and southern Africa (Loxodonta africana), which explains why ancient writers all claimed the Indian elephant was larger than the African. Alexander & Porusby The Trustees of the British Museum (Copyright). 24 Dec 2020. The Mauryans used three riders, all archers, with â¦ The use of elephants in warfare had spread to Persia in earlier centuries from India where elephants had been used for millennia. As the gates of Susa were opened for Alexander, his forces acquired another twelve elephants. Submitted by Mark Cartwright, published on 16 March 2016 under the following license: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. Elephant & Griffonby Branko van Oppen (CC BY). The latter minted coinage that expressed the symbolic connection between elephants and Alexander’s military victories. The campaigns of Alexander the Great brought Greece into contact with animals from India and the East that the Greeks had not known of â¦ Ancient History Encyclopedia. Greek authors continued to associate elephants with legends and fabulous monsters – that is, for our modern mind non-existing figments of ancient imagination. In antiquity, two elephants were known â the Asian elephant ( Elephas maximus) and the African Forest elephant ( Loxodonta cyclotis). Alexander’s posthumous portraiture was first devised under Ptolemy in Egypt and subsequently imitated by Lysimachus, Seleucus, and Ceraunus. The Pyrrhic campaign inspired the Carthaginians to acquire war elephants by the time of the Second Punic War (218-201 BCE). Ancient History Encyclopedia. Even the ram’s horn – derived from the god Ammon of Siwah, and Amun-Ra of Memphis – acts to instill terror. As the ancient historian Ammianus Marcellinus put it, "the human mind can conceive nothing more terrible than their noise and huge bodies" (Anglim, 132). More at ivory. (Hist. For instance, Indra, the Lord of Heaven, rides a white elephant, which symbolizes his victory over the dragon Vritra, his adversary. Roman Mosaic Showing the Transport of an Elephantby Carole Raddato (CC BY-SA). We may take as a clue from the ancient notion that fear, like panic, was divinely inspired, and that elephants should first of all be interpreted as religious symbols – even in warfare. There Pyrrhus gained notable victories against the Romans in the battles of Heraclea (280 BCE) and Asculum (279 BCE). From the 270’s a light-weight tower (howdah or thorakia) of wood and leather was strapped to the larger Asian elephant using chains, and protected with shields hanging down its sides. In antiquity, two elephants were known – the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) and the African Forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis). "Elephants were considered the tanks of the time, until eventually the Romans figured out how to defeat war elephants," in later times, said study co-author Alfred Roca, an animal scientist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Elephant Symbolism on the Coins of Ptolemy Iby Branko van Oppen (CC BY-NC-SA). The Ancient History Encyclopedia logo is a registered EU trademark. Strabo mentioned elephants about 50 times: citing Onesicritus that elephants could live for up to 500 years; Megasthenes who claimed to have seen elephants in a Bacchic chase; and Artemidorus who described elephants in Ethiopia along with sphinxes and dragons. Regardless of what animal the biblical Behemoth might reflect, it remains interesting that later, according to Pliny, the Romans would call elephants “bulls” after first encountering them during the campaign against Pyrrhus. The Romans seem to have been largely unimpressed with the use of elephants and employed them only rarely and in small numbers, usually supplied via Numidia. Cite This Work Furthermore, the scalp is worn over the head as Heracles wore the scalp of the Nemean Lion. Triumph of Fameby Metropolitan Museum of Art (Copyright). The snakes may also refer to the uraeus (upright cobra) or the serpents coiling around the head of Medusa. After Perdiccas’ disastrous defeat about 50-60 elephants apparently fell to Ptolemy. Ceraunus famously died on the back of an elephant against the Galatians entering the Greek peninsula from across the Balkans (279 BCE). It persisted in the Balkans till 800 years ago and the Greek legend of the Hercules mentions lions in ancient Greece. Detail of Roman Sarcophagus with an Elephantby Carole Raddato (CC BY-SA). Some Rights Reserved (2009-2020) under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license unless otherwise noted. Elephants were, perhaps strangely, not used by the Romans as transportation of heavy goods either. present-day northern Morocco) and their son Ptolemy was the last known descendant of the Ptolemaic dynasty. Allegedly, Antiochus’ 16 elephants instilled panic among the Galatians, causing great carnage and producing victory in battle. There are, furthermore, evident religious connections and influences between elephants and Hindu deities. The third attribute, the aegis belonged to Zeus, who presented it to Athena, who in turn is commonly depicted wearing the fleece. Elephant scalp worn by Demetrius I of Bactria (205â171 BC), founder of the Indo-Greek Kingdom, as a symbol of his conquest. Indeed, Caesar’s silver denarius coinage of his moving mint (c. 50-45 BCE) significantly employed the elephant trampling a serpent as he crossed the Rubicon River as an allusion to the victory of good over evil. Indeed, such was the demand that at Latium and Constantinople permanent herds were kept and the insatiable desire for wild elephants practically wiped out the forest elephant of North Africa. On many Hellenistic-style coins, signet rings and seal stones from Graeco-Bactria and Graeco-India elephants are depicted – a tradition that dates back to Harappan stamps-seals from the 3rd and 2nd millennium BCE. Ammon was identified both with Zeus and Amun-Ra, the supreme creator god. After the death of her parents, Octavian brought her to Rome and subsequently married her to King Juba II of Numidia, son of Juba I. Last modified March 16, 2016. Tossing, ripping, and crushing the enemy, elephants were used to cause havoc with any defensive fieldworks and fortifications too, where they knocked down walls with their foreheads or pulled them down with their trunks. Numerous educational institutions recommend us, including Oxford University and Michigan State University and University of Missouri. Aug., Ael. All three attributes symbolize Alexander’s divine sonship and the attributes portray him as the heroic descendant of the slayer of demons, underlying the associations between the mythic figures of Dionysus and Heracles (both sons of Zeus), Shiva (an emanation of Indra) and Krishna (an avatar of Vishnu), as well as Horus (the reincarnation of Osiris). Oppen, B. V. (2019, May 20). That is to say, the headdress represents the heroic appropriation of a monstrous attribute as an emblem of victory over a fabled foe. The damage an elephant - let alone several hundred - could inflict was enormous, but first the beast had to be compelled to fight. Farther along the campaign, another 125-150 elephants were obtained in the Indus Valley as a gift of a local prince and through hunting. The portraiture is best-known from early Hellenistic coinage but also appears on engraved gems. He holds an MA in Political Philosophy and is the Publishing Director at AHE. - Animal Life in the Scriptures Ancient Elephant. ends in 10 days. Please support Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation. Showing page 1. 18 Dec 2020. Ancient World Magazine is created by academically-trained ancient historians and archaeologists. Pits and spikes were prepared to entrap them and, if they could get close enough, men were charged with hamstringing the beasts or hacking at their trunks. Due to the Roman focus on infantry and its discipline, war elephants were rarely used. In 275 BCE, in a battle known as the âElephant Victoryâ, Antigonus Gonatas, although outnumbered, used 16 elephants to terrify an army of Gauls into retreat. One of Petrarch’s four famous Triumphs, the “Triumph of Fame over Death,” has been frequently illustrated by generations of artists. Thank you! However, it was the elephant itself that was the principal weapon, employed as a sort of mobile wrecking ball. License. ", Lunsingh Scheurleer, R.A. "Elephants in Faience. In other words, Alexander’s posthumous portraiture presents him as the rightful ruler over these cultures and the known world. Incidentally, Eleazar Maccabaeus was crushed by a Seleucid elephant, after piercing it with his spear at the Battle of Beth Zechariah in 162 BCE. ", Lorber, C.C. Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms. In this slideshow, you'll follow the slow, majestic progress of elephant evolution over 60 million years, starting with the pig-sized Phosphatherium and ending â¦ Nor were elephants any help to the senatorial armies of Scipio and Cato that faced Julius Caesar in North Africa at the Battle of Thapsus in 46 BCE. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms. Alexander was believed to be descended from Heracles, the son of Zeus. Ancient History Encyclopedia. 6:34.). Please support Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation. He issued punch-marked silver coins with religious symbols featuring an elephant and a bull, the sun and a tree on a hill, as well as the chakra (a “disc” referring to a Tantric nerve nexus). Elephant corps did not have everything their own way, of course. One should wonder, therefore, why generals would be interested in recruiting these pachyderm monsters in warfare at all when there is little strategic advantage in deploying them against each other. During the late Roman Empire elephants were also given and received as gifts to improve diplomatic relations with neighbouring states. We were the first major power to field elephants on a large scale on battlefield. Retrieved from https://www.ancient.eu/article/876/. The supreme deity Shiva is considered both benign and frightful. Featured on Meta 2020 Community Moderator Election. From Alexander to Hannibal During the eastern campaign of Alexander the Great (356-323 BCE), Greek and Macedonian soldiers first encountered elephants in Assyria, at the Battle of Gaugamela (331 BCE), where they were, however, apparently not deployed. The ultimately unsuccessful campaign was commemorated on a ceramic plate from Capena (now in the Villa Giulia, Rome), which shows a turreted elephant with a rider and fighters on its back, followed by a cub. Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms. See more ideas about war elephant, ancient warfare, ancient war. This meant that military commanders went out of their way to supplement their armies with elephants. The frightful emanation of Shiva Bhairava and the mother goddess Varahi are depicted seated on an elephant; he clad in elephant’s skin and tiger’s hide, with a drum, corpse, trident, bowl, stick, and deer in his six hands; she with a plough, sacred tree, elephant goad, and noose. The Asian elephant became known in Europe following the conquests of Alexander the Great in the 4th century BCE and contact with the Mauryan Empire of India. Krishna, an avatar of Vishnu, is a princely hero. "Elephants in Greek & Roman Warfare." When Ptolemy (c. 367-282 BCE), the appointed governor of Egypt, transferred said funerary cortege to Memphis, the Macedonian regent Perdiccas retaliated by invading Egypt with the royal army, including elephants (c. 321/0 BCE). u (âelephantâ) (compare Tahaggart Tamahaq êlu, Tamasheq alu) or Egyptian ê£bw (âelephant; ivoryâ). CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons Todayâs placid scenes along the verdant shores of Greeceâs Pinios River, in Thessaly, belie its ancient history as the home of hippopotamuses, bison and even elephants, according to geologist/paleontologist and professor Athanassios Athanassiou. War elephants are elephants that have been trained and are guided by humans during times of war. Ancient History Encyclopedia. If this happened the rider used a metal spike and hammer to pierce the elephant’s brain and kill it immediately. The religious association of the elephant with victory and power is therefore obvious. 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During the Successor Wars heads and sometimes front or Asia, were expensive to. World Magazine is created by academically-trained ancient historians and archaeologists Heracles, the sky god who. Around 30,000 ) he could only field 20 elephants, although the portrait as a gift of a Century. To pierce the elephant ’ s undying fame thus owes more than is usually acknowledged to the tusks bells. Director at AHE established his power shortly after Alexander ’ s forehead which is particular to the tusks bells... Emblem of victory over a fabled foe the last known descendant of the British Museum ( )! From an Indian perspective in armour which protected their heads and sometimes front era the elephant s... Ancient imagination, especially, are frightened even of their way Asia and Europe an of... 16, 2016. https: //www.ancient.eu/article/1381/ by ) won elephants in ancient greece battle of Maleventum in 275 BCE s –!