A “practical and thought provoking” study of the ancient military tactic known as the phalanx—the classic battle formation used in historic Greek warfare (The Historian).
In ancient Greece, warfare was a fact of life, with every city brandishing its own fighting force. And the backbone of these classical Greek armies was the phalanx of heavily armored spearmen, or hoplites. These were the soldiers that defied the might of Persia at Marathon, Thermopylae and Plataea and—more often than not—fought each other in countless battles between the Greek city-states.
For centuries they were the dominant soldiers of the classical world, in great demand as mercenaries throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East. Yet, despite the battle descriptions left behind and copious evidence in Greek art and archaeology, there are still many aspects of hoplite warfare that are little understood or the subject of fierce academic debate.
Christopher Matthew’s groundbreaking work combines rigorous analysis with the new disciplines of reconstructive archaeology, reenactment, and ballistic science. He examines the equipment, tactics, and capabilities of the individual hoplites, as well as how they used juggernaut masses of men and their long spears to such devastating effect.
This is an innovative reassessment of one of the most important early advancements in military tactics, and “indispensable reading for anyone interested in ancient warfare (The New York Military Affairs Symposium).