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During the Dark Ages the most important part of the army in the battles was the cavalry. It was agile, fast in the tracking of the enemy, and good for surprise attacks. Of course, it was also an expensive element and not all armies had a horse for each soldier.

Around the 700 BC., a new way of fighting came in with the Hoplites. They were heavy armed soldiers that fought shoulder by shoulder arranged in lines. In the Phalanx, one of its formations, each one used his big shield to protect the left part of his body and the right part of the neighbors' body. They wore a metal helmet and, those who could afford it, also a breast armor and protection for the legs. As arms they used either a sword or a lance, which allowed them to fight from further.

In the rider attacks, the horses left a wide area open for the hoplites' lances, since these animals were then smaller than today and the weight of two armors, the riders' and theirs, was too heavy for them. Later, the horses were also provided with an own protection.

In the attacks against the hoplites, the aim was to break a hole in their front in order to find as much free attackable surface as possible. The most vulnerable part of the formation was the right external side, because there was no neighbor to protect it with his shield and it was just covered by a rotation system. Therefore, if the front was hit once it was difficult to escape from the enemies' arms. They moved slow and, on the run, they were a perfect gift for the riders.

But it was certainly a largely used -and feared- technique.

In this period stands out Sparta, specialized in an exclusive education in war and physical training. Family life there was as good as non-existing, since even women and children were included in this program.

Early History / Archaic Age / Classical Age / Hellenic Age / The Army / Timeline

 

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