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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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Not Patriots, Not Farmers, Not Amateurs: Greek Soldiers of Fortune and the Origins of Hoplite Warfare

Not Patriots, Not Farmers, Not Amateurs: Greek Soldiers of Fortune and the Origins of Hoplite Warfare

Chapter:
(p.176) Chapter 9 Not Patriots, Not Farmers, Not Amateurs: Greek Soldiers of Fortune and the Origins of Hoplite Warfare
Source:
Men of Bronze
Author(s):

John R. Hale

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691143019.003.0009

This chapter argues that neither the leisured class of aristocrats who vied for high social and political status within the polis nor the middling citizen soldiers who defended their farmland provides the origins of archaic Greek arms and tactics. Instead, the chapter suggests looking for the first hoplites fighting as mercenaries in the service of Eastern monarchs in areas such as Syria, Egypt, and Babylon. These soldiers of fortune fought in search of gain and glory, not to defend a civic ideology or ethos. Evidence for this thesis can be found in lyric poetry and in inscriptions, pottery, and the remains of hoplite armor discovered outside Greece. Here, the mercenary service is considered the “Main Event” of Greek military history in the seventh century, in contrast to the sporadic battles between poleis.

Keywords:   Greek soldiers, Greek mercenaries, archaic Greek arms, mercenary service, Greek military history, lyric poetry, hoplite armor

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