Silvannen Gerrard


Previous Education

BA (Hons) Ancient History – The University of Manchester
MA Classics and Ancient History – The University of Manchester

Thesis Title

The Cavalry of the Seleucid Empire and its “Exotic” Supplements: Cultural Interactions in Hellenistic Warfare


Dr. Andrew Fear
Dr. Polly Low

Research Summary

My research is intended to investigate the developments and changing tactical roles of Hellenistic cavalry (323/2 – 146 B.C.), with particular focus on the Seleucid Empire, in conjunction with the introductions of various different “exotic” troops.

My thesis will investigate the provocative claims of several scholars who have argued that the tactical roles of the Hellenistic armies regressed into an imitation of Classical warfare. Although such arguments oppose our traditional understanding of the development of the Hellenistic armies’ immediate predecessor, the immensely successful Macedonian army of Philip II and Alexander the Great, Serrati in particular has suggested that these changes primarily happened because of a decline in the quality of the cavalry. Therefore, my research will determine whether such claims are warranted, and if so, exactly why such changes occurred.
Secondly, since in the aftermath of Alexander’s conquests, the “Greek world” was suddenly a much larger and complex place, I intend to investigate what effect these socio-political developments had on the evolution of the Seleucid mounted corps. As such, I shall explore the various “exotic” troops that were utilised by this kingdom throughout the period, such as scythed-chariots, elephants, and cataphracts, amongst others, in order to assess how they fit into this wider cavalry picture.

Research Interests

Military History
The Seleucid Empire
Hellenistic History
Ancient Greek History
Cross-cultural Studies