Arming Greeks for Battle

Eero Jarva

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

 Arming Greeks for Battle

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This chapter explores the Greek armored infantrymen and the weapons they carried. The hoplite shield is called Argive. The Boeotian is a shield that appears on seventh- and sixth-century BC vase paintings and on Boeotian coins. Xenophon's ideal helmet was a hat-like helmet. Many vase paintings indicate that the corslets represented in them were built by cutting them from a sheet. Armoring of the limbs was restricted to the use of greaves and ankle guards. The principal weapon of soldiers for centuries has been the thrusting spear. There should be a metal reinforcement in the butt end of the thrusting spear and its head weight varies from ca 0.12 to 0.95 kg. Victory on the battlefield had necessitated effective weapons and armor. The depth of a formation could impose psychological pressure on opponents, while shield blazons presented terrifying, apotropaic warnings.

Keywords: Greek armored infantrymen; weapons; hoplite shield; helmet; corslets; thrusting spear; battlefield; shield blazons

Article.  10824 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Ancient Greek History

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