War in ancient greece

The largest, Spartacontrolled about square miles of territory; the smallest had just a few hundred people.

War in ancient greece

Hoplite A hoplite armed with an aspis and a doru.

War in ancient greece

Along with the rise of the city-state evolved a brand new style of warfare and the emergence of the hoplite. The hoplite was an infantryman, the central element of warfare in Ancient Greece. Hoplites were the citizen-soldiers of the Ancient Greek City-states.

They were primarily armed as spear-men and fought in a phalanx see below. The origins of the hoplite are obscure, and no small matter of contention amongst historians. Traditionally, this has been dated to the 8th century BC, and attributed to Sparta; but more recent views suggest a later date, towards the 7th century BC.

More importantly, it permitted the formation of a shield-wall by an army, an impenetrable mass of men War in ancient greece shields.

Men were also equipped with metal greaves and also a breast plate made of bronze, leather, or stiff cloth. Regardless of where it developed, the model for the hoplite army evidently quickly spread throughout Greece.

The persuasive qualities of the phalanx were probably its relative simplicity allowing its use by a citizen militialow fatality rate important for small city-statesand relatively low cost enough for each hoplite to provide their own equipment.

The hoplite phalanx[ edit ] Main article: Phalanx Reconstruction of a Hoplite Phalanx War in ancient greece The ancient Greek city-states developed a military formation called the phalanxwhich were rows of shoulder-to-shoulder hoplites. The Hoplites would lock their shields together, and the first few ranks of soldiers would project their spears out over the first rank of shields.

The Phalanx therefore presented a shield wall and a mass of spear points to the enemy, making frontal assaults much more difficult.

It also allowed a higher proportion of the soldiers to be actively engaged in combat at a given time rather than just those in the front rank. The phalanx formed the core of ancient Greek militaries. When advancing towards an enemy, the phalanx would break into a run that was sufficient to create momentum but not too much as to lose cohesion.

The battle would then rely on the valour of the men in the front line, while those in the rear maintained forward pressure on the front ranks with their shields. When in combat, the whole formation would consistently press forward trying to break the enemy formation; thus, when two phalanx formations engaged, the struggle essentially became a pushing match, [3] in which, as a rule, the deeper phalanx would almost always win, with few recorded exceptions.

When exactly the phalanx developed is uncertain, but it is thought to have been developed by the Argives in their early clashes with the Spartans. The chigi vasedated to around BC, is the earliest depiction of a hoplite in full battle array.

The hoplite was a well-armed and armored citizen-soldier primarily drawn from the middle classes. Every man had to serve at least two years in the army. Fighting in the tight phalanx formation maximised the effectiveness of his armor, large shield and long spear, presenting a wall of armor and spearpoints to the enemy.

They were a force to be reckoned with. Hoplite warfare[ edit ] At least in the Archaic Period, the fragmentary nature of Ancient Greece, with many competing city-states, increased the frequency of conflict, but conversely limited the scale of warfare.

Unable to maintain professional armies, the city-states relied on their own citizens to fight. This inevitably reduced the potential duration of campaigns, as citizens would need to return to their own professions especially in the case of farmers.

List of wars involving Greece - Wikipedia

Campaigns would therefore often be restricted to summer. Armies marched directly to their target, possibly agreed on by the protagonists.

If battle was refused by one side, they would retreat to the city, in which case the attackers generally had to content themselves with ravaging the countryside around, since the campaign season was too limited to attempt a siege.

These battles were short, bloody, and brutal, and thus required a high degree of discipline. At least in the early classical period, hoplites were the primary force; light troops and cavalry generally protected the flanks and performed skirmishingacting as support troops for the core heavy infantry.

The strength of hoplites was shock combat. Failing that, a battle degenerated into a pushing match, with the men in the rear trying to force the front lines through those of the enemy.

If a hoplite escaped, he would sometimes be forced to drop his cumbersome aspis, thereby disgracing himself to his friends and family. Other elements of Greek armies[ edit ] Greek armies also included significant numbers of light infantry, the Psiloi, as support troops for the heavy hoplites, who also doubled as baggage handlers for the heavy foot.

These included javelin throwers akontistaistone throwers lithovoloi and slingers sfendonitai while archers toxotai were rare, mainly from Crete, or mercenary non-Greek tribes as at the crucial battle of Plataea B. Greek armies gradually downgraded the armor of the hoplites to linen padded thorax and open helmets to make the phalanx more flexible and upgraded the javelineers to lightly armored general purpose infantry thorakitai and thyreophoroi with javelins and sometimes spears.

Eventually, these types effectively complemented the Macedonian style phalanx which prevailed throughout Greece after Alexander the Great. Cavalry had always existed in Greek armies of the classical era but the cost of horses made it far more expensive than hoplite armor, limiting cavalrymen to nobles and the very wealthy social class of hippeis.

During the early hoplite era cavalry played almost no role whatsoever, mainly for social, but also tactical reasons, since the middle-class phalanx completely dominated the battlefield.

War in ancient greece

Gradually, and especially during the Peloponnesian war, cavalry became more important acquiring every role that cavalry could play, except perhaps frontal attack.85 rows · War Start of the war Finish of the war Notes Trojan War: ca.

BC or . Read and explore the History of the Ancient Greek World from the Neolithic to the Classical timberdesignmag.comng important topics, such as Art and Architecture, Mythology, Wars, Culture and Society, Poetry, Olympics, History Periods, Philosophy, Playwrights, Kings and Rulers of Ancient Greece.

Then a little later, Greece was taken over by the Romans ( BC), which we know about thanks to Polybius. Learn by doing: make a Greek shield More about Greek hoplite soldiers More about Greek warships Bibliography and further reading about Greek warfare: Ancient Greek War & Weapons (People in the Past), by Haydn Middleton ().

Easy reading. Ancient Greek society placed considerable emphasis on literature and, according to many, the whole Western literary tradition began there, with the epic poems of Homer.. In addition to the invention of the epic and lyric forms of poetry, though, the Greeks were also essentially responsible for the invention of drama, and they produced masterpieces of both tragedy and comedy that are still.

Wars were very common in ancient Greece. The Greeks lived in little city-states, each one like a small town in the United States today, with no more than about , people in each city-state. These city-states - Athens, Sparta, Corinth, Thebes - were always fighting each other over their borders.

Sep 03,  · The term Ancient, or Archaic, Greece refers to the time three centuries before the classical age, between B.C.

and B.C.—a relatively sophisticated period in world history.

Ancient Greek warfare - Wikipedia