Greek Warfare and Fortification

Philip de Souza

in The Oxford Handbook of Engineering and Technology in the Classical World

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780199734856
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Greek Warfare and Fortification

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  • Classical Studies
  • Greek and Roman Archaeology
  • Historical Archaeology


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Evidence for the study of ancient Greek warfare is not distributed evenly across all periods. In the course of the eleventh, tenth, and ninth centuries bc, iron was gradually adopted as a metal for making tools, ornaments, and, above all, weapons. The hoplite panoply seems to have been adopted in all parts of the Mediterranean where the Greeks settled, but its relative popularity and importance varied from place to place. As hoplite warfare became common, so the typical hoplite seems to have become less of a bronze armored elite warrior and more of an ordinary soldier. The aspects of ancient Greek fortifications and siege warfare are described. The tactical, technical, and engineering achievements of the ancient Greeks in the sphere of warfare were impressive, but not outstanding. Greek achievements in fortifications and siege warfare were similarly modest.

Keywords: Greek warfare; weapons; hoplite panoply; Greek fortifications; siege warfare; ancient Greeks

Article.  8493 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Greek and Roman Archaeology ; Historical Archaeology

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