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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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The Hoplite Debate

The Hoplite Debate

Chapter 1 The Hoplite Debate
Men of Bronze

Donald Kagan

Gregory F. Viggiano

Princeton University Press

This chapter takes a more detailed look into the hoplite debate. It shows how modern historians of ancient Greece have come to develop a grand narrative. This “orthodoxy” explains the rise of the early polis in terms of a dramatic change or “revolution” in arms, armor, and tactics; the military revolution became a driving force behind the emergence of the characteristic political and social structures of the Greek state. A central part of the thesis is that the change in fighting style was directly related to recent innovations in arms and armor. Second, the phalanx depended on the weight and the cohesion of heavily armed men who employed “shock” tactics in brief but decisive battles. Third, it has been critical to identify the greatest number of hoplites with a middling group within the polis, which had the wealth to provide its own arms. Fourth, this middling group transformed Greek values.

Keywords:   hoplite debate, hoplite orthodoxy, ancient Greece, polis, Greek values, Greek state, phalanx, hoplites, modern historians

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