The life of a greek hoplite
The hoplite army consisted of heavily armoured infantrymen. The battlefield would be flat and open to facilitate phalanx warfare. One of the solutions for this morale-based predicament was to make the phalanx deeper with more men, so as to psychologically reinforce rather than physically support the ones in the rear. Equipment was not standardized, although there were doubtless trends in general designs over time, and between city-states. As for the oath in question, it was found in a preserved state on an engraved 4th century BC stele, inside the ancient Athenian deme township of Archarnae. The phalanx advanced at a walk or faster, often accompanied by rhythmic music from aulos players, and shouting a tremendous war-cry paean. So far 3 popular theories exist: Gradualist theory[ edit ] Developed by Anthony Snodgrass, the Gradualist Theory states that the hoplite style of battle developed in a series of steps as a result of innovations in armour and weaponry.
In fact, by historical accounts, even men with physical infirmities were liable to serve in the Spartan army, with the greatest example pertaining to Agesilaos or Agesilaus IIthe limping warrior-king of Sparta who oversaw numerous forays into Asia Minor while also playing a successful part in the Corinthian War.
This resulted in the left flank usually breaking formation first, and so this was the flank a competent commander would attack with priority, and he would therefore ensure he had his best troops on his own right flank.
The hoplon shield was put together in three layers: the center layer was made of thick wood, the outside layer facing the enemy was made of bronze, and leather made up the inside of the shield. Thus, the whole war could be decided by a single field battle; victory was enforced by ransoming the fallen back to the defeated, called the "Custom of the Greeks".
Fighting formation The backbone of the Greek army was the 'hoplite'. Matured hoplites did not carry long range weapons including javelins. The hoplite phalanx is a frequent subject in ancient Greek art At this point, the phalanx would put its collective weight to push back the enemy line and thus create fear and panic among its ranks. It seems likely that both motions were used, depending on the situation. Each soldier went through a rigorous boot camp training. Thus, only those who could afford such weaponry fought as hoplites; as with the Roman Republican army it was the middle classes who formed the bulk of the infantry. Click on each of the scenes to find out about some famous ancient Greek battles Start activity The war at sea Greek warships had oars as well as sails. All the men living in a Greek city-state were expected to fight in the army. In battle, the triremes tried to get close to the enemy ships, and if possible crash into them. It was steered by long oars at the stern or back of the ship. One of the main ships used for battle was called the trireme. The more disciplined and courageous the army, the more likely it was to win—often engagements between the various city-states of Greece would be resolved by one side fleeing after their phalanx had broken formation. So without further ado, let us check out ten incredible facts you might not have known about the Greek hoplites. Surviving examples of breastplates and helmets also display engraved decoration.
Soldiers usually held their spears in an underhand position when approaching but once they came into close contact with their opponents, they were held in an overhand position ready to strike. The average farmer-peasant hoplite typically wore no armour, carrying only a shield, a spear, and perhaps a helmet plus a secondary weapon.
Cartledge and Hanson estimate the transition took place from — BC. It was made up of lots of smaller states. Some other evidence of a transitional period lies within the text of Spartan poet Tyrtaioswho wrote, "…will they draw back for the pounding [of the missiles, no,] despite the battery of great hurl-stones, the helmets shall abide the rattle [of war unbowed]".
The battle became somewhat of a pushing match where the first phalanx to break generally lost the battle. Historians and researchers have debated the reason and speed of the transition for centuries.
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