A hoplite (from ta hopla an interpretation tool or equipment) to be the many common type of heavily armed foot-soldier in old Greece indigenous the 7th to 4th centuries BCE, and most simple citizens that Greek city-states with sufficient method were supposed to equip and make themselves accessible for the duty when necessary.

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Athens had actually a system of compulsory military business for 18-20-year-olds, yet during a war, all male citizens as much as the age of 60 might be called up to the armed forces. Various other cities throughout ancient Greece complied with a comparable policy which expected that hoplites were not professional soldiers and also often lacked enough military training, back some states did maintain a little elite experienced unit, the epilektoi. The most well known of these was the spiritual Band that Thebes, a unit written of 150 pairs of male lovers who swore to safeguard their partner to the death. Sparta, wherein all male citizens over 20 to be members of a permanent expert army, to be the notable exemption to this technique of only calling up an army when absolutely required and, consequently, their hoplites were famous for their military prowess.

Weapons & Armour

The major weapons of a hoplite infantryman to be a lengthy ash timber spear (doru) and also a quick sword (xiphos). The spear measure up on average 2.5 metres (8 ft.) in length and was fitted with a copper or iron blade and also a four-sided end spike (sauroter). The sword was likewise of iron with a straight or periodically curved blade (machaira or kopis) no much more than 60 cm in length. No doubt numerous hoplites likewise carried a dagger (encheiridion) as extra insurance. Security was detailed by a leather-lined copper helmet which might vary in design, was frequently crested, and also protected the head, neck, and face. A corselet or breastplate (thorax) of copper or leather (later reduced to a laminated linen vest to save weight - a linothorax), bronze greaves (knemides) to protect the shins, and sometimes arm-guards were likewise worn. The hoplite lugged a large circular shield (hoplon or aspis) some 80 cm (30 in.) in diameter and weighing as much as 8 kg. This was made of wood or stubborn leather, faced with bronze, and also was hosted with the left arm put through a main band (porpax) and gripped via a strap (antilabe) attached to the shield rim. Shields often carried certain designs - the most famous being the turning back V-shape that Spartan hoplites - and emblems - particularly popular to be the gorgon indigenous Greek mythology through its association with an altering the onlooker right into stone. Surviving instances of breastplates and helmets also display engraved decoration. Completely armoured then, the hoplite was required to carry some 20 kg the equipment and so good physical training have to have given one next a strong advantage (e.g. The well-trained and also professional Spartans). Precisely because every one of this tools amounted to rather an investment, being a hoplite likewise indicated the the individual had actually a specific status in broader Greek society. In addition, the copper cuirass and shield that the hoplite - taken, because that example, together booty ~ a military project - to be often devoted at sacred sites throughout ancient greek from Delphi to Delos.


Hoplite Phalanx

Hoplites were organised into regiments or lokhoi (several hundred males strong), and also they battled in ranking eight or more men deep (known as a phalanx), and standing near together, fifty percent of the shield of one man protected his neighbour top top his left side. This, interestingly, supposed that the phalanx often moved front at a slight edge to the appropriate as males sought to save behind the shield of their neighbour. This caused the left flank generally breaking development first, and also so this to be the flank a skilled commander would assault with priority, and he would, therefore, for sure he had his ideal troops top top his very own right flank. The Greek phalanx progressed at a walk or faster, often accompanied by rhythmic music native aulos players, and shouting a incredible war-cry (paean). On engaging the foe the hoplites very first thrust their spears, normally overarm. After that initial contact, the opposing lines usually went v a collection of pushing and shoving (othismos) and close-quarter fighting v swords i beg your pardon only ended when one side damaged ranks. The search of retreating hoplites to be usually only over a brief distance in stimulate to preserve the protective close formation.

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Greek Hoplites Fighting
Jan valve der Crabben (CC BY-NC-SA)

Hoplites were instrumental in Greek warfare and also the to win of Greek armies over Persia at the fight of Marathon (490 BCE) and the battle of Plataea (479 BCE) throughout the Greco-Persian Wars. The weaknesses of the phalanx development - strike from the flanks, behind by light cavalry, or when on stormy terrain - were occasionally exploited by more wily commanders; however, the formation, albeit through lighter-armed infantry, was still in use through Hellenistic and early roman inn times.

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Mark is a background writer based in Italy. His distinct interests include pottery, architecture, people mythology and also discovering the concepts that all human beings share in common. He holds one MA in politics Philosophy and also is the publishing Director in ~ WHE.