Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 35

Thread: Nude Hoplite Evidence?

  1. #1

    Default Nude Hoplite Evidence?

    Hey, Im looking for some valid sources that prove the fact that Hoplites eventually got rid of their heavier armor and fought essentially nude. Helmet/shield/spear. Mobility was king.

    I just received a comment on a paper I wrote in which I mentioned the fact hoplites eventually fought naked. The prof said "Newp, they were all heavily armored" Well, im gonna write a second paper in responce to that comment detailing the evolution of the hoplite and phalanx, from early Greek period, through to the Hellenistic Age with the macedonian phalangites.

    I've had problems finding sources, mainly due to the fact this revelation is relatively new, and history books are not that frequently updated ;p

    In anycase, if anyone can provide any legitimate sources I can cite in my paper i'd much appreciate it. Books, articles etc.

  2. #2
    Opifex
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    New York, USA
    Posts
    15,154

    Default

    Umm, you sound really confident, but you don't have any sources or proof. Isn't that a problem?


    "If ye love wealth greater than liberty,
    the tranquility of servitude greater than
    the animating contest for freedom, go
    home from us in peace. We seek not
    your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch
    down and lick the hand that feeds you,
    and may posterity forget that ye were
    our countrymen."
    -Samuel Adams

  3. #3

    Default

    -sigh-

    The myth that they fought naked comes from the fact that they were often portrayed that way in statues and vases... to look more heroic.

  4. #4
    Eric's Avatar Praepositus
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    5,149

    Default

    Very true. If you were standing shoulder to shoulder with you fellow Hoplies about to charge a walking wall of spears and shields that form the enemy, would you want to be nude? I think not. Besides, fighting in the nude exposes some *ahem*sensitive places
    Better to stand under the Crown than to kneel under a Flag

    Life is fleeting, but glory lives forever! Conquer new lands, rule over the seas, build an empire! World Alliances

  5. #5
    Freddie's Avatar The Voice of Reason
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    9,530

    Default

    If mobility was "King" then why would they use a phalanx?

  6. #6

    Default

    1) I am looking for relevent written sources. Osprey is probably the most authentic dipictor of historical correctness out there. Osprey dipicts Spartans armorless, ass bared in somecases.

    2) This is not so much a question of Hoplites fighting naked, but rather the antiquated idea that Hoplites ALWAYS fought with a Corinthian helmet, greaves and a breast plate. This is simply untrue.

    3) Freddie, please do not confuse the Macedonian Phalanx with the Greek Phalanx. The differences too great to explain here. Suffice to say, the Greek Phalanx had virtually nothing in common with the Macedonian Phalanx. Mobility was possible with the Greek Phalanx, and eventually became key. Lateral movement was not important, rather forward movement. When the enemy you are fighting is lightly armored, and moving away from you quickly peppering you with projectiles, armor becomes a death trap. The faster you can close to your enemy the better, the faster you close and not be exhausted is even more important. Armor in the later periods was sacrificed. Spartans no longer wore armor as of 500BCE. Conical Helmet, Shield, Tunic and Spear, junk hanging out was up to the individual.

    4) Eric, the sensitive parts were never exposed. The Hoplon protected the Hoplite, from the knee up to the shoulder. The spear was weilded in an overhand thrusting action. Junk never exposed. Tunics usually worn, pants were optional. See Osprey.

    5) Comerade Alexeo, the idea that Hoplites portrayed on art as naked to be more heroic is a belief that is ancient. The newest ideas suggest Hoplites in the later periods did fight naked, or close to it. They fought without armor and only shield helmet and spear, with varying degrees of clothing. This is NEW information. You do not need to be a rocket scientist to realize the update of historical information is not quick, nor is it forcoming. Historians by nature are generally "Old guard". The fact is, this information is coming out, the problem isnt in reading about it or learning about it. The problem is finding this information in sources that are citable. The most likely source for such information will be historical periodicals and such. This brings me to my next point.

    6) This is not a thread for Laymen. Just because you like to think that Hoplites fought with a corinthian helmet, full greaves and a breast plate is fine and dandy. It is a romantic picture. However, reality is far from the modern portrayal of Hoplites. Im looking for actual historians and grogs, who may have access to the historical periodicals I am looking for. I know there are some .org people who lurk here, maybe I can dig up my old .org login/password.

  7. #7
    Kscott's Avatar New and Improved!
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Wtf
    Posts
    6,362

    Default

    I believe the spartans in RTW are pretty accurate, the ones in RTR even more so..

    It would make sense to atleast have something covering your genetials when everyone is walking around with long spears..

    Patron of Basileous Leandros I/Grimsta/rez/ Aemilianus/Publius/ Vizigothe/Ahiga /Zhuge_Liang Under Patronage of Lord Rahl
    MY TWC HISTORY

  8. #8
    Eric's Avatar Praepositus
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    5,149

    Default

    @InvadedCanuck: I doubt your information and your concept of how arrows work. Hoplites were not so vulnerable to arrows as you think. For starters they have that bigassed shield(look at the start of the Battle of the Beach in the movie Troy for an example of shield use) that would deflect many arrows. And that heavy armour serves as protection against arrows. The only spot were an arrow could do any real damage to a Hoplite was the throat and that was a rather small target which would probably be blocked by the shield when the Hoplites were in formation. One the prime reasons the Persians lost in the Persian Wars was because Hoplites wore all that armour. If they had fought the way you describe then they would have been devestated by Xerxes and his Persians. Hoplites were not Blitzkrieg Fighters. A Hoplite advance was slow and methodical so as to keep their formations intact and cohesive. They only charged the last few yards
    Better to stand under the Crown than to kneel under a Flag

    Life is fleeting, but glory lives forever! Conquer new lands, rule over the seas, build an empire! World Alliances

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by King of Atlantis
    I believe the spartans in RTW are pretty accurate, the ones in RTR even more so..

    It would make sense to atleast have something covering your genetials when everyone is walking around with long spears..
    The helmets for sure are, I don't know about the robe though - a tunic was much more likely.

    No offense InvaderCanuck, but your attitude seems to be "I know I'm right because I read somewhere that hoplites might have fought naked." It's quite off-putting.

    It's true that all hoplites did not wear a Corinthian helmet, greaves, and a breastplate - probably because they had to pay for their equipment. Nevertheless, the archaelogical evidence strongly supports that such equipment was predominantly worn.

    Besides, its your butt out there - if you can't afford the armor, don't fight as a hoplite, be a peltast or something!

    I suppose it's possible that some fought naked, but they must have been really stupid - and whatever city they were in must have been stupid too, to make him a hoplite instead of some auxiliary.

    Also, while many contemporary depictions show naked hoplites, they usually tend to be one-on-ones or some other "heroic" image; a lot of vases - including many of those that show more than one hoplite - show them in, yessiree, a helmet, tunic, and greaves.

    There are also descriptions of how light troops like peltasts and cavalry really came into their own only when pursuing burdened hoplites, who are also described as shedding their expensive armor in a usually vain attempt to escape. Battlefields after a decisive win might be littered with the stuff.




    Drop the attitude please.

  10. #10
    PyrrhusIV's Avatar Primicerius
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    3,059

    Default

    He is talking about after the Persian wars my friends, way after, closer to the Time of Alexandros III of Makedonia. It is true that Hoplites in many, many instances were fighting nude, or extremely close it it. They were still considered heavy infantry though, for they carried the very, very heavy Hoplon....

    A hoplon gave an enormous amount of protection, in-fact, the Hoplite styles of greece were based around this. Every man would have his shield interlock, like a Shield Wall. So only the last man on the left flank of the hoplite Armies would be exposed, only have his body would be covered. This is why it became common practice for the foes of Greece, Rome and Alexander (He being Macedonian) to concentrate the main attacks on the Left flanks of Greek infantry during battle.

    Think, you are in the Hot/humid mediteraenien Climate, how long does it take your culture to realise armour needs to be less constrictive and more mobil? This is the main reason the greeks adopted the Thracian Peltast. Come on everyone, the Athenian General Iphikratis reformed the whole Athenian military in the late 300's B.C, around 390 i believe. He made the army lighter, while still keeping some elements of heavy infantry uniform. Athens had a great advantage until Philip of Makedonia because of this.

    Also remember everyone, that the Greeks and Romans were not "horrified" like some of us today are, in the battle sense, of Nudity. Nudity was very acceptable back then, very acceptable, cultural and militarily, though less sometimes the latter. Less armour, meant more manoeverability *sp?*.

    I only know this info for I am taking my major in Classical History and I'm writing a book about Pyrrhus. So, if you have a Question about the Greeks or Romans, i'll gladly answer.

    PyrrhusIV

  11. #11

    Default

    Which Persian wars are you referring to? The Persian invasion of Greece? Or Alexanders Invasion?

    The reason why the Persians lost in their invasion was Salamis. Hoplites were not a core part of Alexanders army as far as I know. Rather the Greeks fought in the Macedonian Phalanx style.

    The Greek Phalanx was not a slow and methodical advance. It was slow enough to keep unit cohesion, however, they DID charge. Cohesion was lost, only after the lines reformed did any sort of cohesion re-emerge. This is not a cohesion like the Macedonian phalanx which was methodical in all things. The Greek Phalanx was essentially a shield wall with men stabbing over their hoplons. The Macedonian Phalanx had arrow protection due to their sarrisas.

    Eric, it is a fairly well known and documented fact the Spartans fought without armor from about 500 BCE on. The question isnt did hoplites fight in armor. Yes they did. The question is, did they ALWAYS fight in heavy armor. The answer to that is no they did not. It obviously suited the conditions and opponent they were fighting. The idea that Hoplites ALWAYS wore heavy armor is antiquated and outdated.

    Please never cite "troy" as a historical reference ever again. I'd be an ******* and say everything you said is irrelavent due to your using of Troy as a citation. I won't.

    In anycase, I won't be looking at this thread anymore if these are the types of responces im going to get. "Look at troy". Im looking for scholarly info here, I know there are these people around, perhaps I posted in the wrong place.

  12. #12
    Eric's Avatar Praepositus
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    5,149

    Default

    I still think that Armour would be preferable. If your fighting in only a thin tunic and maybe greaves and your enemy gets past your shield then you're pretty much screwed. Besides, the weight of armour adds to the momentum of a Hoplite charge. If the hoplites all had armour then they would have more weight to throw into a charge. As our old friend Centurion Marcus has always said 'Momentum is overwhelming'. The heavier battalion of hoplites would be able to crush the enemy's front line beneath their shields and throw the enemy formation into disarray. This is disatorous for soldiers whose combat efficiency depends of the cohesion of their formations. Lightly armoured hoplites would be far less effective in a phalanx charge because they would get crushed beneath the shields of the heavier hoplites and they wouldn't have the fail safe that armour provides if the enemy gets past your shield

    P.S: I was using Troy as a reference to the protection that a shield provides against arrows. The formation the Myrmidons used is a viable formation and could have been used by Greek soldiers of that era. The rest of Troy is total :wub: but some parts are viable
    Better to stand under the Crown than to kneel under a Flag

    Life is fleeting, but glory lives forever! Conquer new lands, rule over the seas, build an empire! World Alliances

  13. #13
    PyrrhusIV's Avatar Primicerius
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    3,059

    Default

    Which Persian wars are you referring to? The Persian invasion of Greece? Or Alexanders Invasion?
    I was referring to the Persian Invasion of Greece.

    The reason why the Persians lost in their invasion was Salamis. Hoplites were not a core part of Alexanders army as far as I know. Rather the Greeks fought in the Macedonian Phalanx style.
    I never said that Alexander's army was entirely composed of Greek hoplites, most of them fought in the Macedonian Phalanx, although 12,500 Greek's acompanied Alexandros to Asia Minor.

    In anycase, I won't be looking at this thread anymore if these are the types of responces im going to get. "Look at troy". Im looking for scholarly info here, I know there are these people around, perhaps I posted in the wrong place.
    Was just trying to help you.

    PyrrhusIV

  14. #14

    Default

    Phyyrus, you're the type of person im looking for ;p Can you provide me with any source material etc? I'd be extremely obliged.

    Alexeo, if my attitude is condescending, it is because I did not want to have to wade through endless replies of people who really had no clue what they were talking about.

    Frankly, until Phyyrus I was getting the responces I sort of expected. Dood, in troy they had armor. Again, this is not a question of historical fact. It is fact. Anyone who has done any sort of serious research into this fact has come to this realization. Only people who have taken a very basic history course would not know these things, which is very likely and no fault of their own.

    As I stated in the topic post, im looking for relevent sources I can cite.

    The problem I have, is people who do not know one way or the other, passing off their lack of discovery as fact. "I havent heard about them fighting unarmored or naked, BLASPHEMY!".

    Take it as you will.

  15. #15

    Default

    Phyyrus that was not directed at you, rather Eric ;p

  16. #16

    Default

    Hoplites were not meant to be maneuverable - that wasn't their point. It was a matter of shock and willpower, not personal prowess.

    Naked hoplites are psychologically very bizarre. The human body naturally flinches from a sharp point - phalanx warfare must have been utterly terrifying - and, even though it would do one little good, it would make one much more comfortable to be wearing a tunic just because there is something between you and the spear point.

    As for the heat issue, there's certainly a point there. However, consider:
    1) It's not the Greeks weren't used to heat. They kinda lived in it.
    2) Battles didn't last long enough - sometimes only a half-hour or so - for it to really matter in the face of adrenaline.
    3) The Greeks at Marathon managed to sprint some hundred yards in the heat in full armor and still to beat up the Persians. A historian actually reenacted this to prove that it was possible.
    4) Why not just wear a tunic? They're light and comfy - no heat problem there.



    It's also a matter of fitness too. Greek armor was not uber-heavy - the bronze greaves covering the legs could be relatively light, since its almost impossible to hit a guy's legs in classical phalanx combat, while the breastplate could be leather or quite simple plate mail (having worn chain, I can testify that it's not that heavy) due to the hoplon's protection. The heaviest part would be the helmet - and we know that they were eventually made lighter anyway - and of course the massive shield, which doesn't count since they always carried it. These guys weren't jogging around in cataphract armor or anything!

    The idea of Corinthian helmets, sculpted breastplates, etc. likely comes from the fact that the infamous Spartans wore such equipment at Thermopylae and the fact that, let's face it, Corinthian helmets just look cool. Nevertheless, the idea of a completely naked hoplite is really too convoluted to imagine ever occuring on a large scale.

  17. #17
    PyrrhusIV's Avatar Primicerius
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    3,059

    Default

    Hmm, well, i will name of few of these sources right off the top of my head, if you give me a little while i'll go find some better ones, but.....

    The History of Rome I,II,III,IV,V - Theodor Mommsen published 1897 (The Greatest modern Work on Rome since Roman Historians themselves)

    Hannibal - Theodor Ayrault Dodge

    Alexander- Theodor Ayrault Dodge


    and if you want to cite a book intended for Young readers (ages 8-13) a book by the Osbourne publishing company Ancient Greece.

    I will look for more soon. Dont worry, i myself took your comment the wrong way
    PyrrhusIV

  18. #18

    Default

    Alexeo, i've said repeatedly this isnt so much a question of fighting buttassnaked. Its fighting unarmored. Im fairly certain i've said they fought in varying degrees of dress. However, Greeks didnt have pants ;p Im sure most wore tunics of some sort, the question comes to the bottom half. Im sure you had some covering up and others letting it all hang out. Perhaps the topic would have been better "unarmored" rather than "naked".

    In anycase, it looks like Pyrrus is going to have some of the info im looking for.

  19. #19
    Eric's Avatar Praepositus
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    5,149

    Default

    It is true that some Hoplites only wore a helmet and tunic and only carried a spear and shield. These Hoplites were called Ekdromoi and were used against skirmishers such as Peltasts. But, the normal Hoplites would wear armour for the protection it gives against a spear point or a sword blade. Besides, not all Greek Armour of that era was made of bronze, on the contrary many Hoplites wore a lighter, more flexible cuirass of hardened leather. This provided the Hoplite with a balance of protection and mobility.
    Better to stand under the Crown than to kneel under a Flag

    Life is fleeting, but glory lives forever! Conquer new lands, rule over the seas, build an empire! World Alliances

  20. #20
    PyrrhusIV's Avatar Primicerius
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    3,059

    Default

    I know, i double posted.. woops

    Hoplites were not meant to be maneuverable - that wasn't their point. It was a matter of shock and willpower, not personal prowess
    It depends upon the time period you talk about. Remember, a Bronze hoplon was very heavy, the shock from a lightly clad man running could easily knock you down. Hey, ever played football and been hit by a man and tackled? Just think of a man more muscular, and charging you with a Bronze shield, which trust me, hurts alot more than a football pad, then imagine him stabbing you with his spear, your gone.

    Naked hoplites are psychologically very bizarre. The human body naturally flinches from a sharp point - phalanx warfare must have been utterly terrifying - and, even though it would do one little good, it would make one much more comfortable to be wearing a tunic just because there is something between you and the spear point.
    Classical greek fighting was extremely terrifying and bloody, very gruesome. Your right, the body does flinch from a Sharp point, but our bodies adapt. No offense, but if every Roman soldier flinched when he was attacked, Rome would of fallen within days . Same with modern events, if we are used to something, we adapt.

    It's also a matter of fitness too. Greek armor was not uber-heavy - the bronze greaves covering the legs could be relatively light, since its almost impossible to hit a guy's legs in classical phalanx combat, while the breastplate could be leather or quite simple plate mail (having worn chain, I can testify that it's not that heavy) due to the hoplon's protection. The heaviest part would be the helmet - and we know that they were eventually made lighter anyway - and of course the massive shield, which doesn't count since they always carried it. These guys weren't jogging around in cataphract armor or anything!
    Are you saying that full bronze, or even half-equipped bronze armour isnt heavy? wow. It is extremely heavy. They didnt wear Plate mail, neither did they wear chain.

    PyrrhusIV

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •