Reinstating the Hoplite
Recent research into the military history of ancient Greece has questioned the central rôle traditionally ascribed to the famous hoplite phalanx by historians and suggested that even as late as the Persian Wars of 480–479 BC, Greek battles consisted essentially of open fighting and duels between individual combatants, in an almost Homeric fashion.
In this meticulous study, Adam Schwartz in turn questions the new orthodoxy. Departing from a detailed scrutiny of hoplite equipment and its physical characteristics, the author demonstrates that this equipment must in fact have been developed specifically to meet the needs of warriors fighting in phalanx formations, which, it is shown, can be traced back into the eighth century BC. In this way, the study is not only a reappraisal of the rôle of the phalanx, but also a significant contribution to the study of Archaic Greek history.
Great emphasis is, furthermore, placed upon the illumination of such crucial questions as the duration of the average hoplite battle and the rôle of the othismos – pushing – in deciding the outcome. In short, this book will quickly claim its place as one of the basic studies of ancient Greek hoplite battle.