David Kuijt wrote:
I suppose "javelinmen" is intended for troops who exclusively threw pointy sticks (i.e., didn't do much of anything else), rather than be applied to any troops that ever threw pointy sticks.
Yes; and what I'm wondering is how exclusively those Indians were dedicated to stick-chucking. Fighting in a static style would typically mean you're ready to fight in hand-to-hand with enemy who close; if this applies to the "Hereditary and mercenary javelinmen" of the Classical Indian list, they ought perhaps be called something else. On the other hand, close combat does not seem to have been emphasized in ancient India, most troops being armed with bows or javelins, so perhaps enemy closing wasn't much of a concern, and static javelin-chucking with no particular backup plan was a viable tactic. The Arthashastra
does say that infantry belong on rough ground where elephants and chariots don't want to go, IIRC.
On the third hand, ancient Indian warfare really
isn't my field of expertise, so maybe I should just shut up