Yes, They Never Forget.



Classical Age War Elephant Coin


Classical Age War Elephant Coin



King Pyrrus of Epirus favored the use of war elephants in battle. He was many times in his life fond on a war elephant himself. He first came upon them when campaigning in India for his cousin Alexander. The Greeks preferred Indian elephants, which were smaller and more aggressive. In Carthage, present day Tunis, larger African elephants were trained as war animals.


War elephants were great as shock troops. Horses were scared to death of them, looming large, trumpeting, armored beasts stomping enemies, impaling opponents on armored tusks, and horses tended to panic around pachyderms. Infantry were terrified of them. The thing about elephants is that they are quite emotional. That means they as we said, occasionally panic. And when war elephants panic, they tend to trample their own troops.


King Pyrrus was killed in battle in Argos in 272 BC when he was knocked from Nicon, his elephant. Nicon then raged at the combatants around him, cleared a space for Phyrrus and carried him aloft, running, out of the battlefield.


Pyrrhus and His War Elephants




Source: Plutarch, Life of Pyrrhus.




1 thought on “Yes, They Never Forget.”

  1. Plutarch mentions an elephant named Nicon that lost its rider and went berserk trying to retrieve him. Plutarch does not claim that the rider was Pyrrhus.

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