Hoplites are elite infantry units with a high amount of damage. How the Aetolians Resisted a Superpower (Blog #1). The Hoplite Phalanx. Hoplites needed a zone in which to fight, to wield their spears (or swords, once spears broke) and move their shields in defence. The term is particularly used to describe the use of this formation in Ancient Greek warfare, although the ancient Greek writers used it to also describe any massed infantry formation, regardless of its equipment. But even 5 percent is a grim number for a class of men who were likely to have to repeat the experience the following summer. The treatment of female prisoners may be imagined. The following is an edited extract from Robin Waterfield’s latest book Creators, Conquerors, and Citizens: A History of Ancient Greece. Hoplites fought in a tightly-packed formation called a phalanx. Sure the phalanx was ALMOST unbreakable, from the front. It is the weakest of the elite infantry units that are trained at the Academy in the Bronze Age. A life-and-death struggle between the two most powerful Greek city-states in the wake of their combined successes against the Persian invasion of Xerxes in 480-479 BC, the conflict dragged in communities from all over the Greek world on one side or the other. In the numerous wars of the Successor states the expense of the supporting arms and cavalry, and widespread use of mercenaries, caused the Diadochi to rely on phalanx vs. phalanx tactics. Battles of the Ancients by Tristan Hughes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Why Was Alexander the Great's Corpse so Important to His Successors? So the other side then deployed as well, without interference from their enemies, and when they were ready battle was joined. The phalanx was the primary infantry battle formation in classical Greece. Tyrtaeus of Sparta sang of the death of an elderly hoplite. Their formation was the Hoplite phalanx. May 2013 edited August 2013 in General Discussion. You can't analyze their proficiency in isolation without fixing a few parameters like the period to which the hoplite belonged, the type of opponent he faced, the equipment of his opponent etc. He has written more than 50 articles for magazines such as Ancient Warfare, Medieval Warfare and Ancient History. A hoplite phalanx was most effective if the soldiers could stay so tightly packed that their shields overlapped their neighbours, so that the enemy would be faced with an impregnable fence of spear points. Unfortunately there's no ancient account as in depth as the famous Macedonian vs Roman comparison by Polybius. The Spartan Hoplites were the elite. Both sides dealt with their dead, and the winners erected a trophy — typically a stake of wood hung with weaponry taken from the enemy and made to look vaguely humanoid— and performed a victory sacrifice at the point on the field where the enemy first turned (the word for “trophy” being cognate with the word for “turn”). Every decision had to go through a chain of command, like the military today. The title of hoplite was thus one of some minor prestige, and carried with it some additional political rights. It is mainly used to serve as “shelter” for security staff during an attack with firearms and/or explosives and is easily deployable everywhere these persons are operational (airport control, … This is why the Greek phalanx kept changing and eventually used what amounted to a pike. However, phalanx warfare was not the only form of warfare, and atrocities were more common at sea and after a siege. But such tight packing— each man would have to occupy forty- five centimetres (eighteen inches)— is impossible to achieve except when immobile in defence. Pyrrhus won these battles but the maniples put forth a valiant effort and caused heavy casualties. Atrocities did not happen every time— far from it— but they could take place when the attackers felt they had particular reasons for revenge. 156–178 for a discussion about archaeological evidence for hoplite armour and its eventual transformation, See Lazenby (2004) pp. Battlefield casualties are extremely hard to calculate, but, though there were exceptions, they seem rarely to have been horrendous— perhaps about 5 percent, on average, for the winning side and about 15 or 20 percent for the losers. Hoplite vs macedonian phalanx. Until then, land battles had primarily come down to individual hand-tohand combat, with warriors trying to kill the bravest and best fighter on the other side so as to demoralize the opposition. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the relevant author and Battles of the Ancients with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Why the Wars of the Successors IS the Real Game of Thrones, How the Romans Humiliated Jerusalem in the Most Brutal Way Possible. The so-called ‘tribe’ in Greek city-states were rather a politico-military evolution, contrary to what ‘tribal’ warfare… Terms in this set (5) Hoplite. Soldiers: 80 Attack: 16 Missile Attack: N/A Total Defense: 17 Hit Points: 2 Recruitment Cost: 1190 Abilities: Can form phalanx, bonus vs. cavalry, excellent morale, powerful charge, very good stamina, can sap. The combined arms tactics used by Alexander and his father were gradually replaced by a return to the simpler frontal charge tactics of the hoplite phalanx. This article is an edited extract from Robin Waterfield’s latest book Creators, Conquerors, and Citizens: A History of Ancient Greece. Hoplites were organised into regiments or lokhoi (several hundred men strong), and they fought in ranks eight or more men deep (known as a phalanx), and standing close together, half of the shield of one man protected his neighbour on his left side. Hoplite. Round 2: Phalanx has higher ground. +2 bonus vs cavalry +2 bonus vs elephants Main differences are that hoplite phalanx is more defense oriented while shieldwall is a bit more offensive. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this siteâs authors and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Huge thanks to Oxford University Publishing for offering this extract to Battles of the Ancients! PLAY. Zopyrionâs Scythian Expedition: Macedonâs Teutoburg Forest? After th… By thinning this down to 4 ranks we can get a front ~24 meters wide. Hoplites are elite infantry units with a high amount of damage. The phalanx was much more rigid, but overwhelmingly powerful in a frontal assault. Sometimes in a hoplite battle, it has been suggested that when two opposing hoplite formations were 600 feet apart they would let out a loud battle cry and charge at the opposing phalanx (see Sekunda 2000, 26). Â© Tristan Hughes and Battles of the Ancients, 2017. Perhaps the crew of one of their ships had been murdered, or they had been forced to undertake a long siege, or simply if they had good enough strategic reasons. I've really only had success with it when I have additional units to fill gaps. The first theory is Gradualism. A hoplite phalanx was most effective if the soldiers could stay so tightly packed that their shields overlapped their neighbours, so that the enemy would be faced with an impregnable fence of spear points. How Close Was Alexander to Conquering Southern Italy? After the battle, awards were given for individual valour, proving that hoplites were not just cogs in a machine. In the numerous wars of the Successor states the expense of the supporting arms and cavalry, and widespread use of mercenaries, caused the Diadochi to rely on phalanx vs. phalanx tactics. Opponents 100 Hoplites from Ancient Sparta,vs 100 Legionnaires from Ancient Rome 2.Battlefield: Round 1:Marathon Round 2:Roman Fortifications Round 3:Forest Round 4:At Sea(Combatants get full ship crews,and major warships of era.) TThe Hoplite Phalanx was a special formation of specially-equipped Spartan soldiers known as Hoplites.It changed the way land engagements were fought. Until late in the fifth century, there was rarely any attempt to pursue the enemy back home, and then to besiege his town and subjugate the entire state or impose a regime change; warfare was mostly seasonal, restricted to a few weeks in the early summer. A Greek phalanx charging into battle, as peltasts throw spears over the heads of the hoplites. How Did Alexander the Great Sustain His Army? The phalanx (Ancient Greek: φάλαγξ; plural phalanxes or phalanges, φάλαγγες, phalanges) was a rectangular mass military formation, usually composed entirely of heavy infantry armed with spears, pikes, sarissas, or similar pole weapons. They do not, however, win versus pikemen. In a game I play they depict the hoplite as having a rather short spear. Goldsworthy, A. Phalanxes were subdivided into smaller tactical units which, to a certain extent, could act independently to counter developing situations, and this too shows that phalanxes were not always supposed to be tightly cohesive. Test. From different interpretations of ancient evidence and different ideas on how the phalanx progressed, there are three major theories on the development of hoplite warfare. The phalanx (Ancient Greek: ÏÎ¬Î»Î±Î³Î¾; plural phalanxes or phalanges, ÏÎ¬Î»Î±Î³Î³ÎµÏ, phalanges) was a rectangular mass military formation, usually composed entirely of heavy infantry armed with spears, pikes, sarissas, or similar pole weapons. But the relatively low casualty rate was also due to the fact that hoplite battles of Greeks versus Greeks were fought according to certain conventions. Signup today and receive free updates straight in your inbox. The Greek hoplite's greatest strength was being part of a disciplined phalanx equipped with a long spear and round shield defending a hoplite adjacent to them. They can easily bring units down, but are relatively slow and vulnerable to archer fire and conversion. The first thing I have to point out is that the movie 300 is an awful representation of the historical fighting and concept of the phalanx except that men stood with overlapping large shields to defend against attack. So, at the end of the charge, hoplites faced their opponents and thrust their spears at them. 27 comments. anandm. As opposed to the chaotic essence of warfare in the earlier eras, by late 6th century BC, the Greek hoplites were beginning to fight as a part of an âinstitutionâ which was drilled in a phalanx formation â where every member looked out for each other; and thus the aspis shield was considered as the most crucial part of a hoplite equipment. Learn. The neck, thighs, and groin were the most vulnerable parts for a hoplite. So far 3 popular theories exist: (1997) "The Othismos, Myths and Heresies: The Nature of Hoplite Battle". Enjoy the article? How the Battle of Himera Signalled the Start of the Sicilian Wars. Popular Products. Of course, battlefield massacres occasionally happened. Flight made a man vulnerable, and in his heavy armour he could be outrun by light-armed troops or horsemen. 4) The Romans had officers, who could make field decisions. This meant that hoplites had highly coordinated movements, which would be needed for a fighting force of that size. Round 3: Genghis has higher ground. 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Flashcards. In Legion versus Phalanx Cole weighs the two fighting forces against each other. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. After a battle between the Spartans and Argives in the 390s, for instance, “corpses were heaped up like stacks of corn or piles of firewood.”. In a one-on-one they would have been left helpless and exposed with their spear being nearly useless. Be it a regular hoplite in phalanx formation, eastern spearmen in square formation (This formation turns them from chumps into champs. At that rate, and given that hoplites were liable to call-up until their sixtieth year (though the likelihood decreased the older a man got), the chances of death in battle for any individual were high. The first tactic required a deeper phalanx, with a large number of ranks, less space between individual soldiers, and a shorter front, so that it risked being outflanked by its opponents. The troops arranged themselves for battle shoulder to shoulder, usually eight to ten men deep and when the signal was given, they advanced, the front ranks usually stabbing at their opponents with over-arm spear thrusts. It required incredible courage, because, in order to kill, a hoplite had to risk being killed himself. . At the battle of Beneventum a few years later the Romans finally prevailed, with help from Pyrrhusâ elephants which charged back into his own lines. This was the way to issue a challenge, and it was generally taken up, for fear of the shame of refusal, which would move a city down the international pecking order almost as surely as an actual defeat. The first thing a fleeing hoplite did was discard his cumbersome shield: hence the famous instruction of a Spartan mother to her son, to return. Arrianuses the term in his Array against the Alans when he refer… Coming from the rigidly military Greek city-state of Sparta itself, they held to the old style of warfare. The Spartans had to stick with the original battle plan. (1999), "Arms and Armour of the Ancient Greeks", Johns Hopkins University Press, This page was last edited on 11 December 2020, at 18:26. The hoplites would lock their shields together, and the first few ranks of soldiers would project their spears out over the first rank of shields. That is, until the Romans developed the legion and cracked the phalanx. How Did Eumenes Defeat The Legendary Craterus? Hoplites are usually very well armored, are pretty good vs cav, high melee defense levels and their hoplite phalanx action will give them some excellent additional bonuses. Armour was fairly effective, but uncomfortable. How a Wealthy Greek Kingdom Descended Into Fratricidal Civil War, The Greeks in the East: How a Powerful Greek Kingdom Arose in Afghanistan. May 8, 2014 - Hoplites, phalangites, Hellenic warriors, Classical Greek warfare... all that kind of stuff. Mongol cavalry charge vs Spartan phalanx. Murray Dahm is a freelance historian and the author of Greek Hoplite vs Persian Warrior for Osprey. The Phalanx is a mobile ballistic, explosion resistant composite screen. And an ordinary peltast must flee like a peasant before a knight once the phalanxes get moving. Along the way their peltast/hoplite experiment failed because absolute order was necessary to a phalanx and that disrupts it too much. History Periods. DooDoo Butter Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 345. The Spartan Hoplites were the elite. Huge thanks to Johnny Shumate and his fantastic illustrations! So the winner was whoever still held the field once the other side had fled, and when the losing commander applied for a truce during which his dead could be collected, that counted as an official admission of defeat and the battle was over. This was not all- out war. Lendon, p. 182: The phalanx was known to the Romans in pre-Republic days, whose best fighting men were armed as hoplites. 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