Though he was inspired by Keegan, Hanson argues that Greek hoplites crashed into each other. See Eliot and Eliot 1968: plate 102, 2. The Greek hoplites were part of an ‘institution’ which fought in a phalanx formation where every member looked out for each other – and thus the aspis shield was considered as the most crucial part of hoplite equipment. Hoplites themselves were citizens of the various Greek city-states. “Hoplites and Heroes: Sparta’s Contribution to the Technique of Ancient Warfare.” Journal of Hellenic Studies 97:11–27. Marshall, S.L.A. But its history is complex. A Historical Commentary on Thucydides, 3 vols. How did hoplites fight? The Hoplites were the ancient Greek infantry. Josiah Ober and Charles W. Hedrick. [22] The large amounts of hoplite armour needed to then be distributed to the populations of Greek citizens only increased the time for the phalanx to be implemented. Not surprisingly, the great commentator on Thucydides, A. W. Gomme, objected: a Greek battle was not so simply “a matter of brawn, a steady thrust with the whole weight of the file behind it—a literal shoving of the enemy off the ground on which he stood” (did the back rows push the men in front? Too soon, and the men might lose their edge before they reached the enemy; too late, and faint-hearts might have dropped out before the unifying and invigorating chant began. Though the Italian tribes, namely the socii fighting with the Romans, later adopted the new Roman fighting style, some continued to fight as hoplites. If a hoplite escaped, he would sometimes be forced to drop his cumbersome aspis, thereby disgracing himself to his friends and family (becoming a ripsaspis, one who threw his shield). Delbrück 1975: 53, a translation of the 1920 third edition. The principle was very much the same as that followed by the forwards in a scrummage at the Rugby game of football.58. What would happen when one man faced a threat to the right and his left-hand neighbor one to his left? clashed against each other, and the sound grew huge of the fighting. Nilsson, Martin P. 1929. Raaflaub, Kurt, and Nathan Rosenstein, eds. First in Die Perserkriege und die Burgunderkriege (1887) and later in his multivolume Geschichte der Kriegskunst im Rahmen der politischen Geschichte (3rd ed. 58. Two years later, he developed this view in a long article, ‘Über die Einführungszeit der geschlossenen Phalanx,” in which he looked not to late sources such as Pausanias and Polyainos, but to Archaic poets.22 He argued that Euboians distinguished between hoplites and lightly armed men, excluding everyone but hoplites from the ranks during the Lelantine War, which he dated to the middle of the seventh century. Important recent advocates of this view include Lazenby 1991: 87–109; Luginbill 1994; Raaflaub 1999: 132–33; Eccheverría Rey 2011: 64–65. Boardman, John. Before George Grote, historians maintained that the Dorians introduced “the method of fighting with lines of heavy armed men, drawn up in close and regular order,” since Homer describes a different mode of combat and an anecdote in Polyainos credits the Herakleidai Prokles and Temenos with using pipers to help their men advance in rhythm in an unbreakable formation against the Lakedaimonians.16 Grote objected that the correctness of this view “cannot be determined … we have no historical knowledge of any military practice in Peloponnesus anterior to the hoplites with close ranks and protended spears.”17 Late nineteenth-century scholars then limited themselves to claiming that the Lakedaimonians had a trained mass formation by the time of the Messenian Wars in the eighth and seventh centuries. They had defeated the Thirty’s forces once, but as they anticipated the fighting to come, they needed to equip javelin and stone throwers with enough protection to let them join the hand-to-hand fighting. 2.4.25). Mitford clearly has literal pushing in mind, but it is unclear whether he imagines the Greeks in the rear ranks pushing their own men ahead of them. Oxford: Clarendon Press. “A Cup by Douris and the Battle of Marathon.” In New Perspectives on Ancient Warfare, ed. 2006. Look at how translators used to render Herodotus. They began their advance with spears held at the slope on their right shoulders, spearheads and thumbs upward. Berlin: G. Stilke. They had to trust their neighbours for mutual protection, so a phalanx was only as strong as its weakest elements. “Alternative Agonies: Hoplite Martial and Combat Experiences beyond the Phalanx.” In War and Violence in Ancient Greece, ed. Such armies could not match the Persians. They developed when Greeks adopted the Celtic Thureos shield, of an oval shape that was similar to the shields of the Romans, but flatter. Fagan hints at this hypothesis when he comments that “the development of [the mixed early phalanx], perhaps not coincidentally, was more or less contemporaneous with the height of Assyrian military sophistication” (2010: 99 n. 51). Greek writers applied the term “hoplite” to Egyptians carrying shields that reached to their feet and to Macedonians who used a much smaller shield.10 Did all Greek hoplites carry this porpax shield? It was not till Leuktra that the Greeks really learnt this particular lesson in the military art.59. In his view, aristocrats adopted the more expensive equipment first. The phalanx is an example of a military formation in which single combat and other individualistic forms of battle were suppressed for the good of the whole. A figurative “push” makes equally good sense in the other passages Pritchett cites as evidence of an ōthismós in the Iliad.68. 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). Hoplites: The Classical Greek Battle Experience. [20] Making estimations of the speed of the transition reached as long as 300 years, from 750–450 BC. Since all Hoplites had to buy and upkeep their own equipment, they were usually from the middle or upper classes. They would … stand so close that the edges of their shields actually touched.”28 If they needed to act more aggressively, they would bring in men armed with modified shields, cut almost in half so they weighed less and could be swung around more easily. 37. 1950. Berkeley: University of California Press. Once the men were in position, the general sacrificed the sphagia, the simple battlefield sacrifice that meant, in Michael Jameson’s words, “I kill. 1991–2008. He cites six passages for the thrusting with swords and spears. The term for the shield was aspis, or at least this is the terminology that all the ancient writers I've read used. P. H. Blyth’s reconstruction of the best-preserved example, a fifth-century poplar specimen now in the Museo Gregoriano Etrusco, weighs 6.2 kg. The ancient Greek city-states developed a military formation called the phalanx, which were rows of shoulder-to-shoulder hoplites. 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. 1920. The linen was 0.5-centimetre (0.20 in) thick. The Greeks used their weapons, not their shields, to drive Hektor back, slowly—he was “pushed” back rather than routed. But without quantification, we cannot simply assume that these words had the same technical meaning to hoplites that they did to phalangites. The formation proved successful in defeating the Persians when employed by the Athenians at the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC during the First Greco-Persian War. A Boeotian shield appears to have two cut-out arcs, one on each longer side, with the handgrip on a shorter side. Thereafter other Greeks emulated the exclusive phalanx and experimented with specialized contingents of archers and cavalry and even, at Athens, Persian-style mounted archers. Rüstow and Köchly 1852: 10 cite Polyainos 1.10. The Ancient Greeks at War. A number of scholars have followed John Boardman in arguing that the art reflects reality.11 Handling a Boeotian shield would have differed from handling a round aspis, because no one would want to hold a Boeotian shield with the arm bent at a 90-degree angle, positioning the cutouts to expose the throat and groin. The history and antiquities of the Doric race, trans. Pritchett 1971–91: 4.66 n. 200. If W. Kendrick Pritchett built the stage set for our understanding of Greek warfare and Anthony Snodgrass provided the costumes, Victor Davis Hanson made the actors come alive. In his words, cobbled together from different parts of the book:1. for at least the two centuries between 700 and 500 B.C., and perhaps for much of the early fifth century B.C. Once one of the lines broke, the troops would generally flee from the field, sometimes chased by psiloi, peltasts, or light cavalry. 25. The Thracian helmet had a large visor to further increase protection. See Krentz 2002: 35–37, 2011. In the fifth century the appreciation of it [the factor of weight] would seem to have been at least imperfect. Jameson, Michael H. 1991. Berkeley: University of California Press. John Hale may well be right: The first Greeks to use big, round shields might have been mercenaries employed in the east.73 When they brought their shields home, they used them in the early phalanges, fighting beside or behind aristocrats armed with the best defensive armor available and using lighter shields. Did the more experienced hoplites fight in the front or the back of the phalanx? in Hans van Wees, War and Violence in Ancient Greece, London and Swansea: Duckworth and the Classical Press of Wales, 2000, pp. The Spartans were the exception, for they advanced all the way to the sound of pipes, but Hanson suspects (I think rightly) that Thucydides gives “an idealized picture of even the Spartan army, which often did not follow such a textbook procedure.”41 Once they started moving, hoplites “lost the rigid conformity of finely tailored columns.”42 Obstacles such as ditches, clefts, clumps of trees, ridges and water courses, Polybios says (18.31.5–6), are all sufficient to break up a formation. 1998. Men of Bronze: Hoplite Warfare in Ancient Greece. If Keegan is right that in other times and places infantry lines did not crash into each other, we require good evidence for believing that Greeks were different. The Romans later changed their fighting style to a more flexible maniple organization, which was more versatile on rough terrain like that of Samnium. Shields were neither impenetrable nor unbreakable. 2004. The Face of Battle. [12] It also meant that, in battle, a phalanx would tend to drift to the right (as hoplites sought to remain behind the shield of their neighbour). A passage from Xenophon makes clear that doing the paean differed from marching in time to pipes (Anabasis 6.1.11). 4. W. J. Renfroe. Leiden: Brill, 81–100. Pittman 2007: 70–72. Though they mostly fielded Greek citizens or mercenaries, they also armed and drilled local natives as hoplites or rather Macedonian phalanx, like the Machimoi of the Ptolemaic army. Increasing angles, weighs 9 kg: 57 fighting by the Rules: charge! Return briefly to the right and his left-hand neighbor one to his left hand the., lighter spears to see whether they would pull in opposite directions would... 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