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The Wise Coffin

IT'S HOPLITE, NOT PHALANX!!!

Rating: 7 votes, 1.57 average.
I have a strong pation for history; making it the reason that i like so much Total War. Of course that Total War is mainly about the conflicts, but those are the most interesting parts whend it come to portray a story. I like to see documentaries and i respect alot the people behind making them; but there is a issue that i find weird; not only from documentaries, but from what it seems everybody. WHY DO PEOPLE CALL THE HOPLITE FIGHTING STYLE THE PHALANX FORMATION!!! :angry:

From games to documentaries, they say that the hoplites do the phalanx. Even in mods from Total War they say as such. They are not even similar; their shields, spears, and the way to hold their formation is different. I always tought of the hoplites as doing the hoplite formation; but then i see this people that have many years studying ancient history calling them doing the phalanx. I am probably the only one to think this, but its sooooo annoying!



https://meresparaxenes.files.wordpre...0&h=200&crop=1http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-qKxIFskmCw...o%2BGrande.jpg

The styles of these two units are to different to be called phalanx. The one in the left is what i would call the Hoplite formation, where their large shield are use to be clipped between one another like a serpents skin or another reptile. Their purpose was to push the enemy with their 8 ft spears; where the image in the right shows the Phalangites, where their spears are much larger and used at waste level, and not above the shoulder. Their shields would not give them as much defence has the hoplites, but the soldiers in the back of the formation would raise their spears so to deflect arrow fire; and of course they were more safe from dying with the larger spears that made the enemy fear to enter in contact with the front of the phalanx.

So yeah....sorry about this rambling, but it really annoys me that everyone call the hoplites doing the phalanx, instead of the hoplite formation. I would consider the Phalanx an evolution of the hoplite formation, and not the same thing. :tongue:

Updated October 06, 2016 at 08:23 AM by The Wise Coffin

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Comments

  1. Gigantus's Avatar
    If it doesn't look like a duck, doesn't squawk like a duck, then it isn't a duck - maybe it's a swan?

    Thanks for sharing.
  2. Cyclops's Avatar
    Umm Xenophon describes Cleachus' hoplites' formation as a phalanx. That's at least 50 years prior to Phillip II's reforms arming his peasants with the sarissa. The term "phalanx" refers to the hoplite formation before it refers to the Makedonian pike formation.
  3. The Wise Coffin's Avatar
    Indeed. My confusion was that people many times call the Phalangites as Phalanx; so there is my confusion about this topic.
    Still the reference of Phalanx still looks placed by more modern influences, since the name seems to derive from the phalangites; but i can still be wrong about it, of course. Still, i will call the hoplites doing the hoplite formation :laughter:
  4. Phalangitis's Avatar
    Phalanx is a pack of soldiers close together so that each man protects with his shield the one to his left.
    There are many kinds of Phalaxes. Hoplitic, Obligue (still hoplitic) and Macedonian Phalanx. YEs the MAcedonian is a bit different cause the soldier has the sarissa wich needs both hands to handle but all are phalanxes.
    Cheers
  5. Charerg's Avatar
    Phalanx can be a really broad term. The later Greek writers called a Roman legion a "phalanx" for example. Technically it could refer to any organized (line) formation of heavy infantry, though in modern use it's usually used to either describe a hoplite phalanx or the Macedonian phalanx.

    Btw, hoplite is a pretty generic term too. Classical hoplites, Macedonian sarissa-bearers and Roman Legionnaries could all be called "hoplites". Though in modern use the term is generally restricted to the classical hoplites armed with the doru and the aspis. I'm pretty sure "phalangite" is a modern invention (rather than a term used in the ancient world), but I'm not absolutely sure about that.
    Updated October 07, 2016 at 02:47 PM by Charerg
  6. Iskar's Avatar
    Strictly speaking I would only call people carrying a hoplon hoplites, so a Macedonian phalangite, who has no shield at all, would not be a hoplite, and a legionnaire employing a Roman scutum wouldn't be either. Meanwhile the word phalanx originally meant "tree-trunk" and then also "roll" (as in "steam roll", only they did not have steam...) referring to a tightly packed battle line that would (steam) roll the battle field, so any such battle line, from pre-greek infantry, over classical hoplites, the Macedonian phalanx to the Roman legions could be called a phalanx. Maybe the frequent joint usage of "hoplite" together with "phalanx" then shifted the meaning of "hoplite" to be more general than a hoplon carrying soldier to a generic member of a phalanx formation.
  7. Charerg's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Iskar
    Strictly speaking I would only call people carrying a hoplon hoplites, so a Macedonian phalangite, who has no shield at all, would not be a hoplite, and a legionnaire employing a Roman scutum wouldn't be either. Meanwhile the word phalanx originally meant "tree-trunk" and then also "roll" (as in "steam roll", only they did not have steam...) referring to a tightly packed battle line that would (steam) roll the battle field, so any such battle line, from pre-greek infantry, over classical hoplites, the Macedonian phalanx to the Roman legions could be called a phalanx. Maybe the frequent joint usage of "hoplite" together with "phalanx" then shifted the meaning of "hoplite" to be more general than a hoplon carrying soldier to a generic member of a phalanx formation.
    It's rather that the term hopla came to mean "arms" in general (not just the shield). I suppose hoplon could have originally just referred to the hoplite shield (the classical writers use hoplon extremely rarely, they use the term aspis to describe the hoplite shields, generally speaking). Anyway, if we're speaking of Hellenic and Roman eras (rather than early Classical Greece), hoplite seems to have generally meant simply a "man-at-arms" (in other words, a heavy infantryman).

    Btw, the Macedonian "phalangites" did carry a shield (called Pelte Makedonike, about 60cm diameter) strapped to their left arm.
    Updated October 14, 2016 at 09:16 AM by Charerg
  8. AnthoniusII's Avatar
    Why people judge things when they lack of "native" languages words and terms?
    Phalanx is a close rank formation used/described originaly the tide infantry formation of the Mycenean infantry.
    So as phalanx we NAME the infantry formation (IN GREEK) that men are close enough to cover eachother or fight as one. Phalanx had atleast 4 stages. But it had NO MATTER what equipement or armor those that formed it had or how we called those warriors.
    So..just like all shileds were not spesificaly hoplon but , thyreos, pelte, aspis and so many other sub types, just like all spears were NOT spesificaly , dory, palton, kammakas etc, the same way phalanx could be Hoplite or another warrior type one. Hoplites formed their phalanxes based on their shield co-cover, Mukenean infantry men and later Ificrates (and the Macedonians) warriors formed phalanxes based on their spearheads co -cover. The OPoster makes a tiny mistake. Macedonian/Hellenistic phalanx was a rebirth of the Mycenean Phalanx and not an evolution of the Hoplite Phalanx. The two types emphasised in diferent war features. That is why hoplite phalanxes often brought Macedonian ones to a vary dificult situations. But just like Ificrates the Athenian, Macedonian army reformers had to make a choice: Quality but small numbers, large numbers superiority but less effectiveness. It was all about money and time shortage.
    CONCLUSION: All infantry formations ARE CALLED IN GREEK Phalanx (even those that 16th century Spanish infantry formed). I can understand that Hellenic/greek language is hard to figure out. An other missunderstanding...Macedonians did not call their phalanx infantry men "Phalangites" they called them Pezhetaeroi (hetaeroi on foot). Phalangites was a much later name given from people that wanted to give their readers a way to distinquish between diferent warrior types. In reality Macedonians had a pezhetaeroi phalanx but also a hoplite phalanx formed by their Hypaspistae that their name describes them as aspis (hoplon version) users.
    Updated October 19, 2016 at 07:23 AM by AnthoniusII