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Financing ancient military operations

Printed From: History Community ~ All Empires
Category: General History
Forum Name: All Battles Project
Forum Discription: Forum for the All Battles military history project
Printed Date: 18-Aug-2022 at 09:51
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 9.56a -

Topic: Financing ancient military operations
Posted By: Drusin
Subject: Financing ancient military operations
Date Posted: 15-Feb-2012 at 09:41
I have a general question about ancient military history.  Where did all the materials related to various wars come from, where was it mined, where was it processed, who transported it all, and where did it go?

Posted By: Centrix Vigilis
Date Posted: 15-Feb-2012 at 09:56
That's not necessarily a 'general question'.
It is in fact a regional and or nation state specific one and the commercial relationships or alliances they had with neighbors. And or as a result of tribute viz a vie conquest or thru assimilation of additional provinces and populations taxation in the form of resources and manpower.
Numerous deposits of varying minerals..useful for military purposes were found throughout the classically defined region. And one should then, I believe, proceed into the direction of classical weapons making/styles employment usages and productions by a specific location. For example Greece or Egypt.
Where they ended up is a  linked question of economics and reusage in the form of either trade and or capture or reassignment of a force or location of a field army in general... as much as anything else.
My man Salah is the best qualified, imo, to comment further with specifics in this era.

"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence"

S. T. Friedman

Pilger's law: 'If it's been officially denied, then it's probably true'

Posted By: Drusin
Date Posted: 15-Feb-2012 at 10:15
Were they possibly getting materials from regions afar from the battle grounds? I suppose troops are mobile and therefore answers that question.  I'm curious about ancient trades and how they were connected to war, ie securing choice routes, ports and mining resources.  I have a suspicion that megalithic sites round the world may have been used for storage and transport of goods and peoples as well as serving as trade centers thus explaining some of the ancient emphasis on celestial alignments, a big permanent astrolabe may have served in navigation.  I'm wondering if it's possible mining outposts like England were a part of a larger scale interaction that involved military interests.  

Posted By: Drusin
Date Posted: 16-Feb-2012 at 20:03
Here's another piece of the where did all that metal come from puzzle.

  "The Copper Trail is part of a chain of evidence presented at the conference stating that oceans were not barriers in ancient times, but were moving highways — allowing many peoples from many places to travel to the land that now is the Americas at many times before Christopher Columbus "discovered" it Many of those seafarers came to what is now known as Michigan, to gather and transport native copper back to their home countries, fueling the world's Bronze Age. Bronze is 90 percent copper alloyed with 10 percent tin. Michigan has more than 5,000 ancient copper mining pits, some as deep as 30 feet and all so old they were filled almost to ground level with decayed vegetable matter and wind-blown soil when they were discovered in the mid-1850s. Thousands upon thousands of stone hammers (used to batter pieces small enough to carry, from big, heated copper nuggets) were found in and around the mining pits. The story of Michigan's copper is not taught in our public schools today, but thanks to Fred more than anyone else, it will be in the future — and it certainly should be. It's a fascinating story and part of our nation's early history. " -

Posted By: Drusin
Date Posted: 17-Feb-2012 at 17:18
Mt Olympus was being mined. Copper was a big resource. It's like today, the winner is who ever controls these trade routes and they get to write the history of their times.  I think the Greek mythology was based in some reality of their world and not just figments of a very creative and imaginative culture.  Defeating the Old Sea gods would have secured the ocean's trade routes.  Control of the underworld relates to mining operations, and Zues it seems got to be the administration for it all.  

Mining on Cyprus -

Posted By: Drusin
Date Posted: 17-Feb-2012 at 17:50
This would be considered piracy by today's standards:
    "A major source for material goods introduced to Greece was the booty from the Persian Wars. The capture of the Persian camp at Plataia (479 B.C.E.), whose wealth far exceeded anything within Greek imagination, became legendary and was probably the single largest intrusion of Persian (and other foreign) goods into Greek society (Herodotus, 9.80-83), but there is reason to suppose that substantial booty was also won at Marathon (490 B.C.E.) and especially at the battle of the Eurymedon River (466 B.C.E.), as well as at various other engagements on land and sea throughout much of the 5th century B.C.E. A portion of the spoils was dedicated to the gods (cf. Thucydides 2.13.3-5; Harris, pp. 109-10, 204-6)...." -

Thanks be to Centrix Vigilis for this lead.

Posted By: Drusin
Date Posted: 20-Feb-2012 at 18:47
A very nice person form Megalithic Portal sent me this link about ancient obsidian trade and manufacturing.  This would also have been worth it's weight to carry, the edges of a well crafted obsidian blade is as sharp as a razor blade. -

Posted By: Delenda est Roma
Date Posted: 14-Aug-2012 at 11:29
Actually obsidian is far sharper than any metal, too bad that its too fragile. Its currently used in scalpels. As for your question Spain was a major source of tin and silver.


Posted By: Guests
Date Posted: 16-Apr-2013 at 03:44
Financing wars was mostly about logistics. Even many armies with standardized pay and ranks such as Rome relied on captured loot to entice soldiers financially- the logistics enabling sieges and operations in foreign places was the larger cost of a campaign (maintaining army was a constant cost whether on campaign or not but cost to supply army food, tools, weapons, etc when much higher during campaigns). 

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