Poitiers Supper 25th November 2010
"Une soirée très agreeable"
A Scholarly Lecture and Delightful Evening
On 25 November 2010, thirty members and guests met for a convivial Poitiers Supper at Davy's 'Bangers' wine bar in the City. Supper was preceded by an illustrated talk on 'Archery in Ancient Greece' expertly and entertainingly given by Court Assistant Tony Kench, drawing on his classical education and love of Greece.
Tony described the Persian invasions of Greece in 490 and 480BC, when vast Persian archer armies were heroically repelled by heavily armoured Greek hoplites at the Battles of Marathon and Plataea, and the Persian navy was destroyed at Salamis by nimble Athenian triremes. Tony described the horseback archery prowess of the neighbouring Scythians, a number of whom settled in Athens, and followed the golden classical age of 5th century Athens, from which we derive our earliest notions of democracy, drama and philosophy. Athens was finally defeated in the Peloponnesian War by the military state of Sparta in 404BC; its military strength was removed and its empire broken up, but its culture continued to thrive. Eventually the whole of Greece was over-run in 336BC by Philip of Macedon, which many saw as "the end of Greek freedom", paving the way for the empire of his son Alexander the Great.
The Peloponnesian War had included a few battles where archers had a significant role, but generally speaking archers in Ancient Greece (along with spear-throwers and stone-slingers) had only a supportive role as distant skirmishers; the serious fighting took place face to face between the citizen armies of hoplites.
A summary of the talk will appear shortly on the Company website.