They’re The Ones That You Want

If you were going into battle in ancient Greek times, the guys you would want on your team were the hoplites.  They were citizen-soldiers of the infantry and recruited from the wealthy middling ranks of society, particularly the farmers.  Hoplites were fierce fighters.  They were heavily armed.  And they were the military ideal.  The term “hoplite” stems from “hoplon”, which refers to the big round shield that these men carried.

Greek Hoplite Leather Armor:

Greek Hoplite Leather Armor

As they charged into battle, hoplites were dressed to the nines in full armament.  They wore breastplates, shoulder pads, helmet, shin guards, thigh guards and forearm guards, and some sort of foot protection.  In addition to armor, the hoplites also came with eight-foot long spears, short swords, and large bronze shields (hoplons).  With the armor and weapons, the total weight a soldier carried was between 60 to 70 pounds.  For the average man, it would be virtually impossible to move with such a bulk of equipment, but for the hoplites, known for their strength, agility was a piece of cake.

Hoplites were responsible for acquiring their armor and weaponry and were given basic military training within each city-state, as they were required to serve in the standing army for a duration of time.  If you were a citizen of Sparta, then your training was even better.  This city-state was set apart for their lifelong combat training and their military prowess, which earned them respect and power.

It is one thing to have the right equipment, but for success, you must also have the right moves.  For this reason, hoplites fought in a phalanx formation, a rectangular mass military formation made up of heavily armed infantry men.  This formation consisted of several ranks and a large number of soldiers.  The phalanx formation was used primarily when waging war against other Greeks, who adopted the same model.  On occasion, the formation was also used in battling foreign adversaries until those enemies created tactics to gain victory over the phalanx.

Spartan Armor – Bronze:

Spartan Armor - Bronze

Though the hoplites have died off, their influence has managed to survive and to enter our culture in various forms.  For example, hoplite warfare has been portrayed in movies such as Troy and 300 among others.  These soldiers have also invaded the video game world in such strategy games as Civilization, Rise of Nations, and Age of Empire.  The terms “hoplite” and “Phalanx” also appear in other games and varying forms of media.

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