Hoplites were soldiers for ancient Greece. Hoplon was the name of the shield used by the Hoplite worriers. It is said that the Hoplites name came from their shield (Hoplon), but others argue that, Hoplites took their name from their arms and armor as a whole.
Hoplites were usually free citizens of Greece. In most cases they received basic military training and were responsible for obtaining their own armor for battle. Since armor was so expensive, it was usually passed down through families. There were many different styles of armor used by the Hoplites, usually ranging between 45-60 pounds. Some pheasant soldiers could not even afford armor and would simply fight with a hoplon, spear and possibly a helmet. The hoplites that had a little more money have linothorax, which was armor that was made from stitched fabric reinforced with animal skin or bronze. Linothorax was most popular because of it was not too expensive and was very durable. Those who had lots of money (upper-class) would wear a bronze chest plate. The helmets used varied over time, getting lighter and simpler as time went on. The main weapon that they used was a spear, which they called a Dory. There were different length’s used ranging from 7 feet up to 25 feet. The Hoplites would hold they dory in one had while holding their hoplon in the other. The pointy end of the spear was usually a leaf shape. The other end of the dory was usually spiked so that they could stand the spear in the ground.
Many of the Greek worriers had other jobs to attend to, and winters were too tough of conditions, so battles were generally fought during summer in a location that both sides would agree upon prior to battle. Hoplites generally fought using a Phalanx formation, which was rectangular mass of worriers armed with their hoplons, spears, and other similar weapons. They would march together toward their opponent and whichever line broke first was generally the losing side.
Hoplites were tough worriers who obviously made a name for themselves with many films now days based on these worriers. They were a strong and unforgettable people.
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3 responses to “Hoplites: Armor and Fighting Strategies.”
In any of your research did it ever mention who was picked to be in the front of the phalanx and who had the privilege of being in the rear? With war being so much more personal then than it is now, I can definitely tell you that I would want to not only be able to afford to be a Linothorax but also have the privilege of being in the rear of the phalanx. War takes on a whole new meaning when you are in the front row of the fighting. What I do admire is that they fought only seasonally. Could you imagine how much longer our wars would last if we only fought during certain months of the year? But then again, maybe if we make war more personable, and less like a video game, wars would not last quite so long. Either way, they were the real soldiers, those who fought with little to nothing for protection.
How old was the basic warriour? I note that their main weapon was the spear, but did they carry any backups i.e. sword or daggers? I like the fact that you bring up the fact that they were citizen soldiers.
I can tell you one thing. I would be doing anything I could to earn enough money to be able to have good weapons if I was going to war. I wouldn’t mind fighting but if all I had was a helmet and some weak spear, I wouldn’t be confident in fighting the oppositioin. Was their training good enough to make them good fighters? If a peasant had to go to war did he or she even get any training at all?