The Classical Greek Experience

John W. I. Lee

in The Oxford Handbook of Warfare in the Classical World

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780195304657
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 The Classical Greek Experience

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  • Ancient Greek History


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This chapter introduces the diverse troops, equipment, formations, and tactics that characterized the period from about 500–350 BC, exploring non-Greek as well as Greek military forces. Moreover, the battle mechanics and the experience of battle are analyzed. The chapter then suggests some possible fruitful directions for future research. Most Greek cavalry was been lightly armed and preferred to fight from a distance using javelins or bows. The victories of Greek hoplites in the Persian Wars resulted in massed heavy infantry combat and the exclusion of non-hoplites from the phalanx. Greek commanders exercised combined arms battles during and after the Peloponnesian War. The study of classical battles might greatly profit from archaeological reconstruction of arms and armor, and from practical experiments performed under controlled scholarly conditions.

Keywords: Greek cavalry; Greek military forces; Greek hoplites; Persian Wars; infantry combat; Greek commanders; Peloponnesian War; arms; armor

Article.  8703 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Ancient Greek History

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