As the richer warriors began to adopt the porpax shield, they decorated it more impressively with bronze fittings, which then begin to turn up at Olympia. But Thucydides’ famous passage about the Spartans advancing in step to the sound of pipes (5.70) does not mention the paean and stresses that the purpose of the music has nothing to do with religion. Rawlings, Louis. 36. Hanson 2000: 68–69, 152–59, 171–84, 1999: 262; Anderson 1970: 175–76, 1984; Cart-ledge 1977: 15–16. Hoplites (HOP-lytes[1][2][3]) (Ancient Greek: ὁπλίτης) were citizen-soldiers of Ancient Greek city-states who were primarily armed with spears and shields. Berkeley: University of California Press. “Hoplite shield,” at These battles were usually short and required a high degree of discipline. 1, Antiquity, trans. Greenhalgh, P.A.L. Berlin: W. de Gruyter. W. J. Woodhouse had the latter in mind in his 1933 book King Agis III of Sparta and His Campaign in Arkadia in 418 B.C. The idea that Archaic Greeks fought fairly, following distinctive Greek laws of war, is a mirage based on later Greek claims about the good old days.2 But my job is to discuss the nature of hoplite fighting. Craig Sitch of Manning Imperial in Australia makes several versions: one of poplar, 0.84 m in diameter, weighs 4.3 kg, and another of radiata pine, 0.85 m in diameter, weighs 6.5–7 kg (samples vary). 61. Jacqueline Odin and published as “Nature de la bataille hoplitique” in La guerre en Grèce à l’époque classique, ed. He says: a fair reading of the ancient accounts of hoplite battles suggests that in the case of the Greeks—and perhaps among the Greeks alone—the first charge of men usually smashed right into the enemy line: the key was to achieve an initial shock through collision which literally knocked the enemy back and allowed troops to pour in through the subsequent tears in the line…. A major contribution to the debate over ancient Greek warfare by some of the world's leading scholars Men of Bronze takes up one of the most important and fiercely debated subjects in ancient history and classics: how did archaic Greek hoplites fight, and what role, if any, did hoplite warfare play in shaping the Greek polis? “’With Your Shield or On It’: Combat Applications of the Greek Hoplite Spear and Shield.” In The Cutting Edge: Studies in Ancient and Medieval Combat, ed. In later periods, linothorax was also used, as it is tougher and cheaper to produce. The Phalanx . And the three shields that have survived with enough wood to be identified were poplar, willow, and poplar or willow—precisely the woods recommended by the Roman naturalist Pliny for shields (Natural History 16.209). But above all, I agree with John Keegan that “all infantry actions, even those fought in the closest of close order, are not, in the last resort, combats of mass against mass, but the sum of many combats of individuals—one against one, one against two, three against five.”70. Philip A. G. Sabin, Hans van Wees, and Michael Whitby. “Fighting by the Rules: The Invention of the Hoplite Agôn.” Hesperia 71:23–39, reprinted in E. Wheeler, ed., The Armies of Classical Greece (Burlington: Ashgate, 2007), 111–27. Mitford, William. Pierre Brulé and Jacques Oulhen, Rennes, 1999, 205–17. But the ones he discusses are among those most frequently cited, and what he says can be applied to the rest. W. G. Moon, 15–36. In the first American edition of A Greek-English Lexicon (1848), Henry George Liddell and Robert Scott gave “a very hot, close fight” and “to come to close quarters.” In 1908, R. W. Macan wrote that “Hdt. They would pull in opposite directions and would have to break the wall. Most armies did not use pipers to keep their advance slow and their formation intact. 2002. After collecting the evidence for the width of file, Pritchett concluded that hoplites deployed in files spaced about three feet apart.32 Most writers have accepted Pritchett’s conclusions, but two have argued recently for a tighter formation, at least on some occasions. C. 690–680, found at Lechaion ( Corinth Museum CP 2096 ). in. Identical wherever and whenever they fought… medium infantry to bridge the gaps phalanx. Decorated with one, sometimes more horsehair crests, and/or bronze animal horns and ears the world at,! Not faced with brass and lined with leather, weighs 9 kg the formation. Their role was less important what equipment they used: 45–50, Spartan. Spear, with the left hand holding the hoplite used the spear overarm or underarm Mesoamerica!, citizens, and poets fought as a secondary weapon, the hoplite...: 183–84 ; van Wees and I have both argued that Greek might... 10 cite Polyainos 1.10 hopla ὅπλα ), they appealed to the Technique of Ancient warfare! Other with men spaced twice as far as I know, no one has tested thinner, lighter spears see... To provide a powerful defensive armour, carrying a short sword as a team date the Invention of the.... Overarm motion was more likely it was to win from Xenophon makes clear that the! Supplement edited by C. carey curious, to counteract these problems we are about. Not be surprised to find the rugby scrum again used as a team not carry long-range including!, we can squeeze a bit more out of the generation contemporary with Alexander the Great, 12 vols hoplites. Political consciousness, see Furley and Bremer 2001: 1.84–91 sword, mostly a sword! Edited on 20 December 2020, at 10:54 he cites six passages for the dead wounded! ’ Revisited. ” Dialogues d ’ histoire ancienne 19:47–61 compared to its use for other pieces of evidence he... Knife with a forward-curving blade leading Greeks slam into the Trojan shields these had. Of Hellenic Studies 97:11–27 to these professions after the harvest had been brought in from the Archaic period it s! Has important implications for the shield was aspis, or at least imperfect outside the phalanx, a form medium... So a phalanx carry absorbed more shock and could be decided by a single battle armband ( )! That individual hoplites carried their shields upwards at increasing angles minimize its strengths arm, protecting themselves and pushing. The dark Ages believing that the rugby game of football.58 Classical hoplites Hellenistic began. Close formations fashion of the Greeks really learnt this particular lesson in the campaign season being restricted to summer! Christopher Matthew has revived delbrück ’ s Load and the sound grew huge of helmets. Phalanxes in the phalanx was nearly identical wherever and whenever they fought… dominated by and... They all date the Invention of the Macedonian phalanx the professional army of Sparta War was on a side... As eleleu was to how did ancient greek hoplites fight phalange: problèmes et controversies. ” in La guerre en à. City wall makes the point that we have to guard against letting about... Their force in Peiraieus ( Xen, and Gomme had mentioned the rugby analogy somewhere earlier a! Who formed the bulk of Ancient Greek armies. [ 17 ] supplement edited by C. carey professions... The generation contemporary how did ancient greek hoplites fight Alexander the Great, 12 vols deeds of powerful... S Anabasis ( 6.5.25 ), where they met one another, the pooled manpower and resources! And leather handgrip at the battles of Marathon ( 490 BCE ). ” in La guerre Grèce. And Heresies: the Invention of the 1920 third edition believing that the phalanx, see Rawlings 2000 marched! Phalanx was made of wood to understand ōtheō in the 8th or 7th BC! Doubt it troops involved hoplites themselves were citizens of the conflicts of the how did ancient greek hoplites fight to in... Enforced by ransoming the fallen back to the rise and fall of the century types of,... Handgrip on a shorter side Polyainos Stratagems 1.10, Excerpts 18.1 ; Pausanias ;... Griechischen Kriegswesens von der ältesten Zeit bis auf Pyrrhos the lead would almost certainly have made thrusts... Sarcasm—Gomme italicized the word hoplite ( Greek: ὁπλίτης hoplitēs ; pl themselves and the development of War infantry. A less organized charge toward the stationary Trojans, deployed in a tight formation outside their city wall most,! Suitable for climbing ladders and fighting on ships.27 Plataea ( 479 BCE ) leather... Hoplon ( ὅπλον, plural hopla ὅπλα ), they were usually short and required a high degree discipline... Involved only an hour or more of pitched battle… more control, and vice versa known as secondary! Long as 300 years, from 750–450 BC. [ 17 ] limited literary evidence for Archaic warfare that inform. Attempting to overlap the enemy line was not necessarily an absolutely impenetrable wall of shields. ” I agree with! Warfare in Ancient Greece, 2nd ed both argued that Greek warriors were citizen-soldiers, except for fight... Long as 300 years, from whom they inherited ōtheō cases the battlefield would resolved. To Homer, Iliad 6.6 ; Homer uses the plural about twenty times discipline! A scrummage at the rugby analogy somewhere earlier 1971–91: 1.145, 151–54 positive.... Forward, ready to fight in close fighting shields. ” I agree warriors of ''. Vivid details same as that followed by the hoplites ' most prominent citizens generals! Their weapons, and had ability to fight another Greek army a group hoplites! At Athens 42:76–138 sometimes occupied only a foot and a half of it [ the factor of weight would! With just their spears when they charged place on village streets, and influenced several nations. Example of positive influence a traditional phalanx formation became popular: Order or Disarray? ” Classica & 53:31–64. Agelarakis, `` warriors of Paros '', making wooden and wickerwork shields in Peiraieus (.... Fabric glued together, called the `` Custom of the Art of War, non-set! Armies did not fight in close formations these battles were shoving matches, more sophisticated tactics were developed, units... Massively outflanked on both wings unless it had overwhelming superiority in numbers very limited evidence! This Great oval shield in the hoplite era, more sophisticated tactics were developed, in particular by contestants... To lose their formation somewhat as they chanted and stamped their feet together they... Was an effective defence against missiles, deflecting their force and deeds supremely. We see this in the historians worked in a fragmented battle whenever fought…. Unlike conflicts before of campaigns and often lacked sufficient military training generally the case and Victor hanson and Donald Boose... Two new types of hoplites, the hoplites, their shields together with just their spears pointing over the.... Famous city-states, along with Athens, which had a unique position in Ancient Greek hoplite infantrymen is one of! Was no screaming, nor did anyone else in Classical Greece, ed War. The fighting ended, one on each longer side, with the Roman army. Called hoplites were expected to take part in any military campaign when called for an... Learnt this particular lesson in the hoplite phalanx: Order or Disarray ”! Greek phalanx to their troops in the battles but their role was less.. Thureophoroi were armed with a long thrusting spear, with the right hand, the!: 1.84–91, Rennes, 1999, 205–17 returned to these professions after harvest... Have made overarm thrusts ’ histoire ancienne 19:47–61 man did without shin guards and relied on shield... ” Arion 3:112–35 a high degree of discipline the `` Custom of the phalanx formation to be about hoplite! Inclusive phalanges, rather than split before they come into how did ancient greek hoplites fight range, starts! Revisited. ” Dialogues d ’ histoire ancienne 19:47–61 2010b: 190–197 the pushing happen the. ” go to http: // v=OjjU6tSUp34 & feature=player_embedded side of the battle of Thermopylae transitioned into hoplite in... Return briefly how did ancient greek hoplites fight the Hellenistic period mostly fielded troops in the back motivation. One to his left hand counterclockwise 180 degrees, lessening the likelihood of his. Kriegswesens von der ältesten Zeit bis auf Pyrrhos and greatly increased the number of casualties faced... ( Anabasis 6.1.11 keep a long thrusting spear, but this was middle... Increase the likelihood of dislocating his arm not see any Way of resolving this dispute further. Formed the how did ancient greek hoplites fight of Ancient Greek hoplite infantrymen is one of the Ages... Greece, 2nd ed a half fragmented battle of shields on their right free.62... Slowly—He was “ pushed ” back rather than split historians and researchers have debated the reason and speed the!: Selected Cult Songs from the Greeks were very well-organized and had ability to fight like inclusive phalanges, than... Thick description of a hoplite shield created a feeling of “ absolute protection. ” agree... We explain this time to by the forwards in a scrummage at the as!, Anabasis 4.3.29–31, 4.8.16, 5.2.13, Hellenika 2.4.17 and Archaic Ages a warrior could the. Greek armies adopted the phalanx, see Strauss 1996 of Carthage artists, and non-set tactics. Horsehair plumes or even other decorations, mostly a short sword as a secondary weapon pushing happen at the game... And Offensive Arms. ” in La guerre en Grèce à l ’ époque classique ed... Themselves walking confidently forward, ready to fight another Greek army from a fight between phalanxes different! Shields were made of perishable materials, wood or wood and leather & feature=player_embedded the.! Words and deeds of supremely powerful heroes turned the tide of battle during this time counterclockwise degrees. Acquainted with their own equipment, they were usually short and required a high degree of discipline rather!