Military of ancient Greece

Military of ancient Greece

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The military history of ancient Greece is the history of the wars and battles of the Greek people in Greece, the Balkans and the Greek colonies in the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea prior to 400 AD. Greek warriors: Hoplites, taking their name from the word 'Hoplon', meaning their shield. 'Hoplite' can be translated as 'man-at-arms'. The ancient Greek city-states developed a military formation called the phalanx, which were rows of shoulder-to-shoulder hoplites armed with spears that were pointed at the enemy, so that enemies would have to face rows of spears and shields. The phalanx was the core of ancient Greek militaries. Because hoplites were all protected by their own shield and others’ shields and spears, they were relatively safe as long as the formation didn't break. In a phalanx, the first two rows’ spears would point forward, and the spears behind them would be raised. Alexander’s Macedonian army had spears called sarissas that were 18 feet long, far longer than the 6–9 foot Greek dory. Hoplite armor was extremely expensive for the average citizen, so it was commonly passed down from the soldier's father or relative. The secondary weapon of a hoplite was the xiphos, a short sword used when the soldier's spear was broken or lost while fighting. Greek armies also included light infantry, including simple javelin throwers, the more armored peltasts, and cavalry to scout and drive off skirmishers. However, the rarity of horses made them far more expensive than armor, limiting cavalrymen to nobles and the very wealthy. Perhaps the most famous type of Greek cavalry was Tarantine cavalry, who originated from the city-state of Taras in Magna Graecia.[1] Some city-states also employed tactics using slingers and archers for longer-range skirmishing power.

Prehistoric and Ancient period

Ancient & Roman fortifications



  1. ^ Ueda-Sarson, Luke. "Tarantine Cavalry". Retrieved 20 March 2014.