Ancient Greek Army, Armour and Weapons

Each individual city-state had their own individual army; there was no central Greek army.

Armies consisted of Infantry Spearman (Hoplite), Greek Archers (Toxotai), Light Infantry Javelin Throwers (Peltasts) and Skirmishers (Psiloi).

Armies fought in a Phalanx formation (Hoplites standing shoulder to shoulder in rows with shields locked together and spears pointing forward). This was believed to have been developed by the Spartans.

Infantry Spearman (Hoplite)

Hoplite armour was expensive and was mainly handed down through the generations. They carried the following:

Doru

Wooden handled spear, approximately 6 – 9 feet (2 - 3 metres) in length with a flat leaf shaped spearhead at one end and a short spike at the other end, used one handed.

Sarissa

Long spear approximately 13 – 20 feet (4 – 6.2 metres) in length. This replaced the Doru.

Xiphos

A short double-edged sword, used as a one handed secondary weapon in the event of a broken spear. It was approximately 1.5 feet (50 – 60 centimetres) in length and made from bronze or iron. It was worn from a belt (baldric) over the shoulder.

Hoplon

A circular shield 3 feet 3 inches (1 metre) in size, made from wood, faced with bronze and leather. It weighed approximately 18 – 33 pounds (8 – 15 kilos) and was supported from the shoulder.

Other weapons used in battle:

Xyston

This was a long thin thrusting spear approximately 11.5 – 14 feet (3.5 – 4.25 metres) in length, used mainly by mounted cavalry. It consisted of a wooden shaft and spear point at both ends and was a two handed weapon.

Kopis

This was a heavy curved knife with a forward curving blade.

Toxa (Bow) and Short Sword

These were carried by Greek Archers (Toxotai)

Pelte

This was a light shield made of wicker, carried by light infantrymen (Peltasts) and archers (Toxotai)

Armour

Cuirass

Heavy bronze breastplate to cover the front torso, worn by infantrymen.

Chitoniskos

Sleeveless tunic

Greaves

Armour to protect the legs with a metal exterior and felt padding.

Helmets

These came in many types and changed over time. These included:

Corinthian

Made of bronze. Covered the head with slits for the eyes and mouth.

Phrygian/Thracian

Made of bronze. The skull was drawn into a peak to shade the eyes and give protection to the upper face. It also had large cheekplates made separately from the skullpiece.

Chalcidian

Made of bronze. It consisted of a pair of cheekpieces, neck guard and nasal bar. It was lighter to wear and did not cover as much of the face as other helmets.

Boeotian

This was an open helmet allowing good vision and hearing. It had a dome skull and down sloping brim.

The only fighters that were not given any armour or shield were the skirmishers (Psiloi). They were used to harass the enemy before the battle commenced.

They would carry a bow (toxa), javelin (akontia), sling (sfendonai) and sometimes stones. They were also given a dagger and short sword.

Catapults were also used in battle.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked