The ‘Hoplite Reform’ Revisited

Anthony Snodgrass

in Archaeology and the Emergence of Greece

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2006 | ISBN: 9780748623334
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653577 | DOI:
The ‘Hoplite Reform’ Revisited

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In classical Athens, someone in each community would be charged with the duty of mustering a given number of hoplites from their district. In his analysis of the Homeric battle scenes, Joachim Latacz cites the Homeric poems. His thesis won important support from historians and archaeologists: the implication was that any such episode as a ‘hoplite reform’, if indeed it had happened at all, did so at an earlier date than previously assumed, in time for its effects to permeate the text of the Iliad. This chapter argues that there is a substantial class of evidence, that of the actual surviving pieces of armour dedicated at Olympia and other sanctuaries, which is more robust than either new textual interpretations of Homer, or new readings of battle scenes in art. It argues that the systematic use of a pitched battle formation like the later phalanx, with tactics like those of the later synaspismos, has no part in hoplite warfare.

Keywords: Athens; hoplites; warfare; hoplite reform; phalanx; Homer; Iliad; Joachim Latacz; armour; Olympia

Chapter.  7069 words. 

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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