The Nature of Hoplite Battle Author(s): Peter Krentz Source: Classical Antiquity, Vol. 4, No. 1 (Apr., 1985), pp.

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met in the so-called othismos or "shove. JacquesHarmand. John Salmon. after each stationed its soldiers about three feet apart and (usually) eight ranks deep. followed by Alfred Neumann.J. Badian. Philip of Macedon (London 1978) 150-53. and several anonymous John Buckler. Once their formation broke.PETER KRENTZ The Nature of Hoplite Battle How WAS a hoplite battle fought? Present orthodoxy holds that the two sides. 1981) 47-48. hoplite soldiers could be attacked by light-armed troops and cavalry. E. JohnWarry. The Greek State at War.88.." Der Kleine Pauly 4 (1975) 698. though he did not employ the terms pyknosis and synaspismos."1The object was literally to push through and break up the opposing line. readers. vol. J." JHS 102 (1982) 94-97. 63. Holladay. Military Theory and Practice in theAge of Xenophon (Berkeley 1970) 174-76. Heerwesen und Kriegfuihrung der Griechen und Romer (Munich 1928) 84-85. de Sumer i Rome (Paris 1973) 151. Greece and Rome at War (Englewood Cliffs. down ideas 1. Warfare in the Classical World (New York 1980) 37. Ira Gruber. Anderson. N." JHS 97 (1977) 15-16.2 Cawkwell for a summer travel grant which enabled me to write College at the and discussion improved by presentation They have been of Donald from the criticisms and have also benefited U.88. K.S. calling it 'wildest folly. in Johannes Kromayer and Georg Veith. "Hoplites and Heroes: Sparta's Contribution to the Technique of Ancient Warfare. ? 1985 BY THE REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA This content downloaded from 65. "Phalanx. 25. I would the like to thank Davidson presented here.42 on Thu. Kendrick Pritchett. Paul Cartledge. "Hoplites and Heresies. J. aswell as by pursuing hoplites. W. 15 Aug 2013 12:30:25 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 2. La Guerre antique. Peter Connolly. "PoliticalHoplites?" JHS 97 (1977) 87 n." since "the front ranks would seven men" period of and since individual have been better able to use their teeth than their weapons when a broad shield was jammed against the back with theweight of the othismos combats which appears to come in a second phase after a sometimes lasted a long time. 2 (Berkeley 1974) 175. A. George Cawkwell recently challenged this view. Johannes Kromayer gave a similar interpreta tion of battle in three phases. Naval War College Kagan.

But neither term is used by classical writers.5] 152) and Plut. 25. 18.3." Might compared an column? Xenophon's word for in battle formation is army regular "phalanx. For 8. and that of one cubit synaspismos.21.g") as to marching in it in not be translated "formed battle line. with each man occupying three feet).5.5. OvvETdTTETO. and the latter at Anab.88.4. and the synaspismoswhen the enemy marches against us. 15 Aug 2013 12:30:25 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . The only exceptions I have noted are the Townleyana scholia to Iliad 13.10 and Cyrop.42 on Thu.5.1) 96. Holladay asks. vol. Holladay (supra n.KRENTZ: The Nature of Hoplite Battle 51 proposes that terms found in the later tacticalwriter Asklepiodotos be attached to formations for three separate phases of hoplite battle: first an advance in solid line (pyknosis.352 (quoted by Pritchett [supra n.23 means can also describe an army are not used exclusively. example. Kendrick Pritchett. does not know of a formation that allowed each man less than three Greek feet (0. 4. I have said.26. and the weakness of the traditional view of othismos. Of these that of two cubits. is called pyknosis. amore reliable authority thanAsklepio dotos. W." 4. 7.5 Pyknosis always allows three feet."4 Cawkwell has nevertheless drawn attention to two areas thatmerit further analysis: the formation of a hoplite phalanx.3. Aristeid. 7. nor by later assumes writers in reference to the hoplite phalanx." as A.8.8 If synaspidoo something more than these expressions. W.6 It is not clear that the verb synaspi doo in Xen. Hell. For example.15.21.21. We use thepyknosis when we march the phalanx against the enemy.88. 4. 1 (Berkeley 1971) 144-54.3) and once (bymistake?) to six (12. then the shove or othismos with overlapping shields (synaspismos.7). Pritchett of the Macedonian that these descriptions phalanx can be applied to the earlier hoplite phalanx.7.23 ("as soon as the two forces had come near to one another. Kendrick Pritchett's chapter on thewidth of file inphalanx array sets out the evidence and shows that Polybios. Hell.21." and he often describes an army forming eig cpad?yya or E7r x.4. 8.7 But these terms forming 7.89 m).34. but the Arkadians ovcaor3t6ovTc. the troops of Archidamos in column. "would determine themoment at which the lines opened out and then closed up again? There was no refereewith awhistle. since theywere marching along a massed has a technical meaning.3 These neat phases are surely unworkable in practice. 2. each man with about one and one-half feet). This content downloaded from 65. 6. it is exceptional. and Cyrop. 4.Xayyoog. cnatQTdavvTO.3. J.3: "The interval of four cubits seems to be natural (xaat qroiv) and therefore has no name. 6. the one of two cubits and even more that of one cubit are forced forma tions. road. Hell. and synaspismos refers once to three feet (12. The Greek State atWar. But 3. then hand-to-hand fighting in open order (each man with about six feet). 7. the former at Anab. Asklepiodotos Tact. 5. Xenophon in in line for battle with some form of the verb Trrrco. 6. "Who or what.4.

an Athenian black-figure lekanis by the C Painter. we disregard the evidence about theMacedonian phalanx. Thucydides 9. 53a). an Attic black-figure cup. Hell.1.9] fig.2 = Greenhalgh [above. and in their each side overlaps the enemy's left with its own right. See. an early-seventh-century ivory seal fromArtemis Orthia (Cartledge [supran.71. c. 3]). (CVA Deutschland 4 [Braunschweig] pls. The City-Reliefs of Lycia [Princeton 1978] fig. thinking that [dXLoTa) to the shield of the man stationed the best protection is Trv JrvxvoTrlTa l This y vyxkhfoeo.88. all c. F. 2). a late-seventh-century Etruscan oinochoe (John Boardman. p.. an early-seventh-century Protoattic vase (CVA Deutschland 2 [Berlin 1] pls. c. no. 15 Aug 2013 12:30:25 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . a sarcophagus from Telmessos. 1/April 1985 perhaps the literalmeaning of the word should not be forced. is less helpful for the study of hoplite formation than at first passage a How What consider did SyXk0oltg? compact did a appears. for example. show a tight formation. 6. 2 and pl. recently described as "themost successful portrayal of hoplite tacticswhich has does not in fact fit the orthodox view of hoplite battle.5. 375-350 (WilliamA. 44).11 ("if we and you should be clearly Uvaacl6uoTL vTgc against the Lakedai will monians.3-note that the scenes on this monument that portray a battle already in progress show individual 125. 1-3).They fall into two categories: some. then. Eros in Greece [New York 1975] 74).9 others show a looser formation1 or (and these are too numerous to count) simply a duel or duels without any formation. 2 and pls. Childs.9] fig. 65). 1. P. See. c. Can the Macmillan painter have been trying to show the unity of the armies rather than the literal spacing?12In any case. as they come together. 80. an ivory pyxis from Chiusi. what other evidence exists for the width of file in the hoplite phalanx? Representa tions in art are notoriously difficult to interpret. no 119 = P. Early Greek Warfare: Horsemen and Chariots in the Homeric and Archaic Ages [Cambridge 1973] fig. 25a). 575-550 (ABV.C. the increased 12. and the aryballos from Thebes. Greenhalgh. then others join us") it is figurative. if either.1): All armies. 58. 11. an early seventh-centuryMiddle Korinthian vase.52 CLASSICAL ANTIQUITY Volume 4/No. is realistic?The Chigi vase. 3. 227. 6.J. p.9] fig. note 9] fig.42 on Thu. 550-525 (ABV. A single passage in Thucydides' account of the battle of Mantineia is the real foundation of the traditional view. L."1 are too far apart for the othismos which is about to begin. A. inXen. and could be translated "stand together. Early Greece (Atlantic Highlands. Stary. N. 1). 1980) in the shields art of relating the figures in a group" (Necrocorinthia [Oxford 1931] 99). 14 = Greenhalgh [supra n." If. the Chigi vase. The ranks survived. This content downloaded from 65. Which category. "marks an advance in the combats [figs."Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 45 [1979] pl. extend toward the right wing. since Thucydides says he is describing the norm (5. like the Chigi vase. 76.. 10.l] fig. 149-50 = Greenhalgh [supra n. Oswyn Murray. 56). As Humfry overlap Payne noted. 650-625 (Stary [supra n. for example.88.What is typical is the duel. a late-sixth-century Etruscan black-figure amphora (P. again the tight formation is exceptional. 650 (Salmon [supra n. 6. "Foreign Elements in Etruscan Arms and Armour: 8th to 3rd centuries B. because side as close as possible fear each man (&k brings his uncovered to his right. the aryballos from Rhodes.1] figs.

Anthony Snodgrass. Archaic Greece (Berkeley 1980) 103 with pl. 233). to dodge. P. 14. For two other illustrations. Greek Other Oared refer Ships (Cambridge 1968) 263-65. Salmon (supra n. a left that he could hold spare weapon it protected the left side better than the right.'4 it could be held at an angle a single-handed than shield.42 on Thu. 14.1) 85.15 Perhaps individuals found hoplite shields useful is that the epibatai who fought on triremes were board armed as hoplites. gap large enough to hold ?/of the Spartan army. Williams. found 7. see Thuc.'6 here there can have been no formation. so it be lost if would not the it. The weight. and that it did not effectively to reach the But given that it is difficult for a right-hander the back. Thracian Peltasts and Their Influenceon Greek Warfare (Groningen 1969) pls. find at Dura Europos. He might have thought three feet per man impossible. too cramped for hand-to hand fighting. Connolly's reconstruction of a bronze-faced hoplite shield. 15. so that the be larger than earlier round shields.5 and 7. This content downloaded from 65. Snodgrass. his reconstructions of a Roman rectangular scutum. and given that a hoplite could protect his right side by turning his body as well as by moving his shield (and would naturally do so in order to deliver a spear thrust). 8 and B.88.1) 13. Such fighting requires room to fake. Morrison and R. see J. at Sybota. weighed between 5. M. to wrong-foot the opponent by stepping backward as he delivers his blow or thrust. 131-32. some formation would In a land battle limited vision needed to know and hearing and the weight of the armor limited agility. Arms and Armour of theGreeks (Ithaca 1967) 53-54. Thucydides' . based on a fourth-century example in theVatican.dog [kalTc is little help without amore specific context. at Syracuse.1] 53.67. based on examples found in the Fayum and in Doncaster.49. his reconstructions of two Roman oval scuta. I follow A.'3 Could shield more could it have been used effectively by a soloist? It had several advan tages: the porpax or central armband helped support the weight.l) 16 and Cartledge (supra n. Best.D.5 kg. The maneuverability of the two-handled hoplite shield is part of the issue here. 15 Aug 2013 12:30:25 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Green halgh (supra n. an individual fighter would find the double handled shield preferable to its predecessors. ship since the have been desirable. based on a third-century A.9) 71-73. Vase paintings portraying peltasts carrying patible two-handled with shields a relatively shield is not incom prove that a double-handled the indication that clearest loose formation. hoplite dropped Its disadvantages were that in his hand. in J. a compactFyxX]olSg. to sidestep. therefore. 1. On each hoplite must have used only his own shield to defend himself.KRENTZ: The Nature of Hoplite Battle 53 formation have to be for a hoplite to feel safe? The next paragraph (inwhich twice) makes it clear that a lack of Thucydides uses the verb v^yxkqwo can mean a ~S^yxIJlt. G.5 kg ([supra n. For hoplites and discussion ences on deck can be Thuc. need hardly have been as tight as three feet per man. S. Not all have agreed: see Anderson (supra n. weighed 7. 16. so that blows would tend to glance off firmly the antilabe or leather thong. weighed about 10 kg each. T. that he would not be attacked from the side or rear helmet A hoplite 13. protect right side of his opponent.2. should not be exaggerated.88. compared to other ancient shields.

may have used theword in that loose. Vos. Of Nor was course hoplites did not always stand exactly six feet apart.3 and Paus. III. The comfortable limit. which pictures javelin.54 CLASSICAL ANTIQUITY Volume 4/No." Antichthon be wrong about (1980) 53-63. Philop. but they do show that hoplite equipment was not incompatible with fighting in a relatively open style.19 further benefit of this hypothesis is that it accounts for the evidence Philip II tightened the formation of the phalanx.21. and Its Effect of a Sarissa in the Use 9. Diod. 21. Ham 14 the B. Polyain. special situations. Snodgrass.9) 192-93. See the scenes on the Nereid monument of Xanthus.88. cf. Argive shields. Stary (supra n. Scythian Archers in Archaic Attic Vase-Painting (Groningen 1963) 61-78.2 17. This content downloaded from 65. Minor M. 6. and the six-foot synaspidoo in Polybios 12. 16. I should think. therefore.88. used the "Training Plut. 1/April 1985 while he was engaged with theman in front of him.10] fig. whom Polybios is attacking.2.1. until men of the front rank. A they adopted Greek equipment the end of that the sixth century.50. long after the Chigi vase allegedly shows the development of a close formation.29. since they could not have been used with sarissas. 370 (Childs.and stone-throwers among seventh-century hoplites. Arms and Armour (supra n.c. Against Markle not how far apart the men sarissa. c. fig. statement is supported at This heroes of the the synaspismos Troy. who says that the Achaians used a phalanx without synaspismos:. Granted. Markle. Philip devised the compact spacing of the phalanx (rv TrjgcfpkcayyoSg nrxvo6Tlqc). 8. 380 (Childs [supra n. as the Roman legionaries had (Polyb. The "natural" interval of Asklepiodotos (see n. How close did he need to be to his neighbor to feel reasonably protected? Within a spear's thrust. 20. 359-333 in Battle. M. though he concedes that Diodoros' source was probably Ephoros. 14-17).3) may be a recollection of the spacing in the classical hoplite phalanx. 19. induced tighter formations.. untechnical sense. Pausanias must see N. G. 15 Aug 2013 12:30:25 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions ." AJA 82 (1978) 484." the norm necessarily six feet rather than five. would be about six feet per man. Only such a hy pothesis would make sense of the evidence that some hoplites fought in a relatively loose formation: Tyrtaios 8. 18. the vase-paintings which show that between 530 and 500 theAthe nians experimented even after with Scythian archers shooting from between and tactics. challenges the accuracy of this passage in his "Use of the Sarissa by Philip and Alexander of Macedon. F.20 imitating by Plutarch. 20 and pls.3.6-8).42 on Thu.4. 18. Consider the position from the point of view of the enemy hoplite: how farwould hoplite A have to be from hoplite B for an enemy to enter not have the gap and attack A from the side? Far enough so that the enemy would to worry about a spear or sword in his back from B while his attention was directed towardA. Markle is primarily concerned with whether Philip's infantry mond.35-38. 11) and on the heroon at Trysa. c. Kallisthenes. L. A reader objected that these examples of experimentation and variation do not come from the classical period.18 the traditional battle-axes which the Etruscans continued to swing. such as the storming of a city wall. stood. using the hoplites' shields for protection. According toDiodoros.7 may not be a mistake after all. But the typical battle order allowed significantly more than three feet per man.13) 83-84.

Anderson. Anab.KRENTZ: The Nature of Hoplite Battle 55 a phalanx without close-order formation was possible." CSCA 9 [1976] 3.88.2. "push" from the earliest writer on Greek military affairs. according to the literary evidence.78.47. Gomme. W.2) and that.37. 25.39. D.62 m (J.which allowed about 0." The burden of 22.26 something and go elsewhere are rather loose. Pritchett's belief that the hoplite phalanx and theMacedonian phalanx foughtwith shields almost touch ing led him to conclude that the difference between the hoplite formation and the Macedonian formation corresponded to the difference in the size of the shields: 0.22But ten centimeters would not have been a noticeable difference on a confused battlefield." Classical Weekly (now Classical World) 36 (1942) 15-16. 12. 4. Hell.10 m.1. 13.9.1. 1. the instances like "make to retreat" or "compel to give ground. now hand-to-hand. according to the archaeological evidence (preferred by Pritch ett). tions. In these uses the verb otheo in his battle descrip repeatedly it must mean must word be metaphorical. Thuc. perhaps as much as 0.17. these words should be taken figuratively rather than the word is that the classical historians inherited literally.14.44. 12. The formations There Yet needed.6.89 m.23] 176-79).80 m to 1." or collision of masses is no othismos Homer as of armed men. The change in spacing was more than 0. and the assumption thatmeasurements for either the hoplite phalanx or theMacedonian phalanx can be determined by shield size must be discarded.1.Aemilius 19. under the right conditions. following Snodgrass [supra n. 654. He developed the hedge of sarissas that later so frightened Aemilius Paullus (Plut.1 andAilianos Tact. 336.42 on Thu.274. 2. notes that themonuments may not illustrate the shields carried by the rank and file). 23. The range in width of hoplite shields is at least four times that large.148.88.24 tions of Greek battles. 8. 6. Asklep.2. 16. otheo (and compounds) inHdt. prevented the enemy from penetrating close enough to do damage with shorter spears and swords. Figurative: othismos inHdt. or about three times thatmuch. 9. II Both the noun and the verb for "push" can be used both literally and The noun othismos is not very common in contemporary descrip figuratively. 24. Xen.10 m. "Shields of Eight Palms'Width. Homer. was not literally shield-to-shield.136.89 m.18. great heroes and their followers fight now at a distance. Tact. Literal: othismos in Xen. Xen. 7.25 A crucial point In the Iliad. see A. Essays in Greek History and Literature (Oxford 1937) 135. from 0. Fraser. If the tacticians are correct (contra Pritchett) that the shield used by theMacedonian Foot Companions was eight palms in diameter. Polyb.4. 3. or about 0. 5.23 Inmy view.20 m (see Anthony Snodgrass.420. and A. 15 Aug 2013 12:30:25 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . In most cases.78. 26. then theMacedonian formation. 5. Anab. K. Even if a few passages are thought to show knowledge of hoplite armor and tactics (a view I reject.3. 3. the heroes can disengage in the sense of "shock. Early Greek Armour and Weapons [Edinburgh 1964] 64). but the verb otheo and its compounds appear fre quently.26. Philip devised the tighter formation because themass of his infantry could not afford the armor necessary for hand-to-hand combat. 17. This content downloaded from 65.58. For earlier suggestions of this thesis. "TheMyth of the Phalanx-Scrimmage.295. 6. they cannot include all the following: 8. otheo inHdt.

"28Why did the historians single out the clash of shields for specificmention.100.104. 4. might have been individual.3. 5.11. 4.56 CLASSICAL ANTIQUITY Volume 4/No. they killed. for their spears (which they still have now) are strong and long.7. 2.1. Cyrop. Xenophon 27.34.1.43.8. 4.96.4. and fitting against the shoulder they aid inpushing (T6dcB0oOal).42 on Thu.e.60-65. Xen.25. Ages. 17.7-8. the thrust ing of spears? combat so close Perhaps because they meant to indicate that the fighting was at close range.1.3.2). there is no proof here that hoplites in the rear ranks pushed their comrades in front. But everywhere else the fighting was stubborn. had the advantage both in numbers and inweapons. they died. The pushing.4. a single hoplite against a single enemy hoplite. A push with the shield could knock the oppo nent's also shield found aside or make him lose his balance-a that Xenophon use of the shield attested had it in mind when he specifically forAlexander theGreat at Tyre (Diod.3. In a few cases the pushing was undoubtedly literal. Hell.2): "No contact was made between the extreme wings of either army.1. 28. This technique is in Homer.4. no gingerly feints or tentative jabs at a comfortable distance."Or Xenophon's account of the fictitious against shield (Od)0LOi battle of Thymbrara (Cyrop. Hell.12. 7.2.46. and their shields cover theirbodies much better thanbreastplates and small shields. rather than.Mak ing their formation they advanced and pushed (W)0ovv).4. Hell. but In most historians. 7. 7. The Egyp tians. 2. say.they fought.19. The Persians were not able to hold.1. 15 Aug 2013 12:30:25 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .52.29 of naval cases Homer's that a small slip might be fatal.4-105. Take Thucydides' account of the battle of Delion (4.4.446-49 = 8. but striking and being struck they retreated step by step. 30.2.31 related. however. 6.14..5.72. since they had little shields in their hands. 7. 8.225 and 9.96.25. but the terminology is correct: the Lakedaimonians kept their formation and This content downloaded from 65. 4. 6. See also othismos at Hdt.3. 6. Hdt. cf. 1/April 1985 proof.1. since both were held up by water-courses in the way. i.63.18.30 What they intended of many separate. therefore.13) may be rhetoric rather than history. Pausanias' description of a battle in the FirstMessenian War (4.33-34): Here was a terrible fightwith spears and lances and swords.2.3. 4.27 and I believe wrote that at the battle of Koroneia "dashing together the shields they pushed (?W9OoiVto).12. 9. though literal. 8. 31. 7. 29.62.3. 7.3.35. 4. forced the other to give ground as a result of the outcomes When tells us that at individual but closely combats. 7.19. 8. until they reached the towers. Iliad 4.30-31.4.1. 2. Thuc. 7. 7. with shield pressing &aorrbwv. Thuc.88.36.38.70.4. Xen.4.88.33. Neither of these passages need imply a mass shove or shock tactic. 4. use of otheo makes good sense in the classical to describe the results They even used this verb and its compounds to convey is that one side gradually battles. rests on those who would claim that the classical historians changed this familiarmeaning of otheo in battle contexts.2.

or fighting with hoplite weapons. .42 on Thu. For what it is worth. the "revealing detail" argues against Holladay.KRENTZ: The Nature of Hoplite Battle Leuktra the Spartans held out for a time. This sort of thinking would serve a purpose if it persuaded a significant number of the commoners to stand their ground in battle. This content downloaded from 65. step by step. They were not armed as hoplites. 6. he means not that theweight of the Thebans &veXcGQovv literally pushed the Spartans back. and probably that of his Spartan friends. seems to have been that . nevertheless theMessenians forced back (Pl3dovral) the Spartan right.1] 96 n.32 The surprisingly scanty evidence about training forwar does not contradict this interpretation and may even support it.88. If his interpretation of them is correct. so they had nothing to contribute but weight for the othismos. Holladay ([supra n. 32. but the reasoning is not sound. Anderson cites two sources. K."33J. theywould damage the view that individual skillswere important.1.9-10). saying that he instinctively knows how to fight hand-to-hand (2.3. nor will it be useful to one who does not understand by his holding how to use it and has not had sufficient the speakers consider practice? of experts in hoploma In the Laches. thus adding bulk and mass to it. In the Cyropaedia Cyrus is encouraging the Persian commoners to fight because he needs more troops (2. while no tool will make a man an artist or an athlete merely it. at close quarters it was impossible to miss. To bolster his contention that "Xenophon's own opinion. 374d): or Is a man who takes a shield or another piece of military equipment in hoplite or any other kind of tool on that day a competent combatant fighting.14).l) 84-86.1. This rhetorical purpose must be kept in mind when we hear Cyrus telling his newly equipped men that nobles will now have no advantage in hand-to-hand fighting (2. Anderson (supra n.11). the Lakedaimonians particularly used othismos and attacked man against man (d0Oow)6 ViXLOTac XgQ0 tEVOL o0 AaXE6calpo6VLOL xali &vri &v6ei VriovTEg-that is.4. They have justwitnessed an exhibition were superior in weapons-handling.15-16). Hell. Why would the Spartans intentionally add mass to the enemy army ifweight would decide the battle? 33. but that the Spartanswere overcome by the Theban numbers rather than by the superiority of the Theban hoplites or by a failure in their own courage-neither of which the pro-Spartan Xenophon could credit-and forced to retreat. training. 23) points to "the revealing detail that Boeotian merchants and baggage-carriers grouped themselves behind the army.4. Xeno phon's Cyropaedia and Plato's Laches.88. . As part of his argument that the deep Theban ranks at Leuktra were intended to add weight to the othismos rather than to serve as reserves.9). The commoner Phe raulas agrees. and numbers. individual Spartans pushed their individual opponents with their shields)." This argument twists the evidence: Xenophon is clear that the merchants and baggage-carriers tried to leave before the battle but were driven back by enemy forces (Hell. and that men who had been trained to close with the enemy would not need to be shown what to do once they reached him. they "pushed" (aduroavTo) King Theopompos and routed (eeVcWavTo)the Lakedaimonians opposed to them. Plato expressly denies that a well-equipped but un trained soldier can be good (Rep. the usefulness chia. 15 Aug 2013 12:30:25 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . but finally JTO6 To o6Xov 57 d(0oUievoL (Xen. 6.

Epameinondas called the Boiotian plain the orchestra (dancing floor) of war (Plut. he says." GRBS 23 (1982) 225-29-but the evidence does not justifyWheeler's assertion that "the origins of instruction in hoplomachia are certainly Arcadian. not groups. Xen. with a combination spear-scythe (183c-184a). But and Laches that does not prove that the Spartans did not have their own teachers in their own tradition. Drill in (see. Lac. on fat men see Plut. "Those honor helped not soldiers the gods best with dances are best in war. 37.2.36Agility and dexterity were enhanced by dancing. to march his troops in whatever 34. 530-45. military theory stressed eTtacia. "Without shields were aimed primarily at individuals.88. if itwere of a great deal of the fact that these "experts" avoid any use. Laches." wrote Aristotle (Pol. 21." Chiron 13 [1983] 13). Spartan hoplomachoi must have existed since the institution of the agoge." AntCl 48 (1979) 508-48.58 CLASSICAL ANTIQUITY Volume 4/No.. Here is another argument against the orthodox view of othismos. This content downloaded from 65. 15 Aug 2013 12:30:25 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . learn to move at the same time to duck an assortment or good of missiles order. is right that such teachers did not go to Sparta. 2. esp. tion (oUvTacLg) hoplites are useless. e. as he wants to have it. 1/April 1985 by one Stesilaos. Mem. century. at least by the early sixth century. 35. makes a stronger case for individual training than for public training. Ephoros indicates existed who that earlier in the mid-sixth it began at Mantineia The ideal hoplite was agile elsewhere.12. No doubt the Lakedaimonians had no interest in such devices.4-5. 192c-d. For similar sentiments in other authors see Pritchett (supra n. Ridley." Wheeler himself writes else where: "The question of Spartan employment of hoplomachoi fromArcadia or elsewhere must be left open.42 on Thu.1) 215-16.3)-an imagewhich hardly suits the orthodox view of othismos. It may be that weapons-training was so common (ifmostly informal: ac cording to Xen. 'The Hoplite as Citizen: Athenian Military Institutions inTheir Social Context. with references.34 Hoplomachia did not originate in fifth-century Athens. with Everett L. disagrees with Nikias. On agility and the use of arms see Nepos 15. Nikias maintains that the art is good exercise and that only such men as practice it are trained for war. his view of the "experts" is that they were gimmick-loving frauds-he himself had seen Stesilaos fighting.5. weapons-training. and he makes do not show that the Spartans had no interest in But Laches' remarks Sparta."37 Dancing may but the leaps and maneuvers in formation.g. The Spartans would not have overlooked this art.35 It may have and strong rather than have with a massive and bulky.7).5-10) was not intended solely to enable it was also to direction he wished. Athens had no public training in the fifth cen tury) that it is largely ignored by writers concerned with more complicated matters. Mor. 3. poorly. Pol. 36. Mor. for obviously all could swerve Greek or parry a forma variety of blows with common shieldmovements.88. FGrHist 70 F 54. On the dance in armor seeWheeler (supra n.35). however. 11. The evidence gathered by Ronald T. 1297b17). but this does not preclude the Spartans themselves from serving as hoplomachoi" ("The Hoplomachoi and Vegetius' Spartan Drillmasters. Wheeler's discussion. An army engaged in a mass formation a general shove would be like the "crowd going out of a theater" castigated by Xenophon in reference to cavalry without formation (Hipparch. 193c) or of Ares (as Plutarch has it atMarc. "Hoplomachia andGreek Dances in Arms.

it had to be supported. 4.88. (Cambridge. "Plutarch on Leuktra. "it would not be surprising if our phalanx should be cut through.The Nature of Hoplite Battle KRENTZ: 59 teach hoplites how to avoid getting in each other's way. In either case. theAthenians and their allies atXen. except a very few" (6.3.1-3). 205-10.39The Thebans on one wing: 25 deep at Delion (Thuc.17). adopted over be before those in the rear ranks had taken and the battle flanked. the Spartans advanced into battle to the music of flute-players (Thuc. to their allies who TravTEXc.42 on Thu. 47. John Buckler." Symbolae Osloenses 55 (1980) 75-93. lined up 16 deep.5) 135.2. 4. What determined the formation of a phalanx. "Epaminondas and Thebes. in this case. The Syracusans at Thuc. Hell. L. like the proverbial chain. Of interest too isKeegan's argument that shock has never taken place: "Large masses of soldiers do not smash into each other. a deep phalanx could be out in On practice. 11. and "The Decline of Sparta. 100-101 on what happened to the French mass.18. )4 38. either because one gives way at the critical moment. esp." Xenophon says in his Anabasis (4. with soldiers trained to leave each other room to fight. Anderson rightly stresses that a credible reconstruction must account for the large number of Lakedaimonian dead. being attacked by many weapons and men. "Ifwe advance drawn up only a few ranks deep. Hell. (Xen. probably only a wedge was 50 deep.18.8. For recent studies of Leuktra see Anderson (supra n. was only as strong as its weakest link.88. the side which turns and runs does so not because it has been physically shaken but because its nerve has given" (71). and The Theban Hegemony." To ensure that the line could withstand the deaths or disabling injuries of some of the front-line fighters. would have avoided the fate of the French mass at Agincourt. Pritch ett has assembled the data on depth of phalanx (supra n. M. fail to pay enough attention to this point. well-disciplined Spartans considered 8 12 ranks deep enough. 4. 39.99)." CQ 66 (1972) 260-63. Isokrates could speak rhetorically of a depth of one been age of heroes (6. 1980) 46-69. Devine. 371-362 B.22). while criticizingAnderson's solution.3-5 and Arrian Tact. See John Keegan's study of Agincourt in The Face of Battle (New York 1976) 79-116. "Embolon: a Study inTactical Terminology" Phoenix 37 (1983) 201-17." CQ 77 (1983) 397-99. compared and finally no fewer than 50 deep at Leuktra were 16 deep). drawn up 100 deep. The well-trained.C." Cyrus says inXenophon's Cyropaedia (6. if depth was not for literal pushing? A hoplite phalanx. Cawkwell and Buckler. or because the attackers during the advance to combat lose their fainthearts and arrive at the point of contact very much inferior in numbers to the mass they are attacking. he argues that This content downloaded from 65. Hell.67. but such a formation would never have the other hand. "When phalanxes are too deep to reach the enemy with weapons.93. it will mean disaster for the whole phalanx. Cawkwell.11). 40.2. A. esp. and if this happens anywhere. 5. Mass. deep (Xen.4. rather than the entire 6. A hoplite could hardly do more to hinder his comrade's freedom of movement than to push him in the back. others. An experienced hoplite army. 6. might in a former any effective part in the fighting.70). less confident.1) 192-220.38 To keep their army in formation. Devine's proposal does better: taking his cue from the evidence thatEpameinondas used a wedge (Etp3oov) at Leuktra (Ailianos Tact.4).12. "will prevent one another from fighting. G.4. "how can they hurt their enemy or help their allies?" Later Cyrus claims that the Egyptians. 15 Aug 2013 12:30:25 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . tried even deeper formations at Nemea wing.

that it is questionable whether their technical vocabulary can be applied to the hoplite phalanx. Confident of their abilities. the wedge hypothesis would significantly enlarge the killing zone and would significantly lessen the danger to the Thebans of being out flanked. was routed-i. 42.88. The Greeks stationed some of their braver men in the rear to stem this tendency.4).1. "TheHoplite Reform andHistory. leaving the rest of theTheban army to be drawn up in conventional order.42 and in a great many battles one side.88.3. see Jeffrey Henderson." JHS 85 (1965) 110-22.60 CLASSICAL ANTIQUITY Volume 4/No. For other references inAristophanes to fear causing incontinence. 44.41Nevertheless. Hell.25-27. whole armies sometimes fled before coming into contact with the enemy. 8-9). Snodgrass. Xen.1. Snodgrass argued that hoplite equipment was adopted piecemeal by individualswho did not at firstuse "hop in a phalanx.8. others would take their places-must have made even the coura geous think about running away. they into battle. TheMaculate Muse (New Haven 1975) 189. quiet advance to the sound of flute-musicmust have had a devastating psychological effect on their opponents. 43.3.e. This content downloaded from 65. Kleom.Aristophanes did not TOLVoxckXov. With some hesitation. Orneatians. It would also explain Diodoros' statement that the Spartans advanced in a moon-shaped formation (15. switch from "Homeric" to "hoplite" warfare. Mem. The effect of my argument that hoplite battle consisted of amultiplicity of individual Salmon combats is to increase on gradual have placed the emphasis transition rather and John Snodgrass in the than sudden revolution A.41-42. The difficulties with this hypothesis are that the tacticians' sources are unknown.. Cyrop.l) 203-5. 6. M.43 Here we can see another did not run and shout to keep up their courage as they charged ex ad vantage the Spartans created for themselves. which the scholiast exaggerate when he called War 6 xala plains as d5jn TCOv6t&a eictav arCoTlX)vToWv. Hell. 1/April 1985 Psychology was also an important consideration. 3. perhaps themost impor tant consideration. Peace 241. or part of one side. not only the point of the wedge. 3.72. Front-line soldiers would fight well only as long as they knew there were men behind them to relieve them if they tired or carry them out of battle if they were wounded. a this interpretation Salmon modified of the seventh. On the other hand. and it would exert a psychological pressure on the enemy. The sight of an unbreakable phalanx-the realization that however many men one killed.44 The essential elements of the panoply were in use in but the phalanx was not invented until around the late eighth century. A. 4.42 on Thu. rather than yield ing ground gradually ("pushed" back). the Ar gives at Koroneia (Xen. 41. 7.17. especially the soldiers behind the front line who had not yet entered the killing zone. 15 Aug 2013 12:30:25 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . most of the Arkadians at the "Tearless" (from the Spartan point of view) Battle (Xen. See also Pritchett (supra n.31). and some Athenians at Mantineia (Thuc.3. He concludes that the Theban wedge required only 1. middle by introducing lite tactics" the Pelopidas and the Sacred Band formed the head of a wedge in front of the regular Theban line. their calm. I accept the wedge-but I do not think its precise shape or the number of men involved can be known. The Kleonians. M. Depth of formation would give them a psychological lift. and thatXenophon seems to imply that the entire Theban armywas 50 deep. the hoplites ran. 5.3): their line bent around the point of the wedge.55. The Spartan temple to Fear perhaps recognized its decisive character in battle (Plut. measured.376men.

p.15) 106.88. D. 46. I agree with Geoffrey S. Salmon (supra n. That than does not mean that the early phalanxes were numbered in hundreds rather than thousands. these leaders adopted it. The Homeric Xao6g did not rank to When or the side. 48. conceded now by Snodgrass (supra n.46 When improved equipment became available. particularly during the fifth century. which shows a variety of one-on-one may be the most realistic of all the battle-paintings. But the essence of a hoplite battle remained the hand-to-hand fighting of individual hoplites in the front rank.-P. instantly disappear no doubt they acquired the new panoply too-with the approval of the existing hoplites." Problemes de la guerre en Grece ancienne. the and file could afford move it.47 only in the ranks were more vulnerable the aristocratswho could afford the new equipment. in the Louvre. Vernant [Paris 1968] 113). Kirk that the kac6S was not only young noblemen. Though experiments such as that of the Scythian archers could take place.1) 90-92. etc.42 on Thu. Later the formation became more standardized. Beazley.6). two-on-one.45 But the phalanx was not an invention of the seventh century.1) 94. J. probably c. 47. The painting by the C painter on the bowl of a tripod-pyxis and two-on-one struggles. Already in the Iliad warriors form ranks (phalanges: only once in the singular. The Development of Attic Black-Figure (Berkeley 1964) pl. generally the light-armed fought separately from the phalanx.659-60). it is not surprising that his Lykians did not try (Iliad 16. one-on-one. Hoplite armor itself became lighter over time.KRENTZ: The Nature of Hoplite Battle 61 "transitional phalanx" stage. during which hoplites fight ing in a phalanx might throw a javelin before thrusting a spear or might use a sword as an alternative weapon to the spear. but I think he would mean that the exploits of ignores psychology when he argues that a great anonymous kca6s the leaders would be "relatively inconspicuous" ("War and theWarrior in the Homeric Poems. ed.88. 15 Aug 2013 12:30:25 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Nestor knows the importance of stationing the brave men in the front and the rear. 6. forcing the less courageous in themiddle to fight (4. If a Sarpedon could not withstand Patroklos. Such an arrangementwould give a conspicu ous role to themen in the front line. no. Contra Salmon (supra n. three-on-two. 58.48 Davidson College 45. 675-650. especially if theywere better armed than the subsequent ranks. 8. 122 = J.297-300). This content downloaded from 65. At first the number that most men of hoplites must have been small. ABV.

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