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Men of BronzeHoplite Warfare in Ancient Greece$
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Donald Kagan and Gregory F. Viggiano

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691143019

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691143019.001.0001

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Hoplite Hell: How Hoplites Fought

Hoplite Hell: How Hoplites Fought

Chapter:
(p.134) Chapter 7 Hoplite Hell: How Hoplites Fought
Source:
Men of Bronze
Author(s):

Peter Krentz

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691143019.003.0007

This chapter takes aim at Victor Davis Hanson's The Western Way of War and its highly influential and popular conception of how hoplites fought. It critiques the orthodox view—especially the version of Hanson—concerning the actual weight of the hoplite panoply, which the chapter argues was far lighter than the traditional estimate of about seventy pounds. The chapter proposes a different interpretation of the various stages of hoplite battle, such as the hoplite charge into battle. In this view, the evidence supports neither the picture of a mass collision between armies nor the concept of a mass pushing of troops or the account of the othismos as a rugby scrum. Furthermore, this chapter contends that the phalanx did not consist exclusively of hoplites before Marathon. It suggests, however, that even in the fifth century hoplites never actually fought in a cohesive formation.

Keywords:   The Western Way of War, hoplite fighting, hoplite panoply, hoplite orthodoxy, hoplite battle, mass collision, hoplite formations

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