as the core of the Greek military from the 7th through the 4th centuries BCE, hoplites derived their name from the phrase to hobli meaning equipment or tool.
greek hoplites were heavy infantry soldiers, citizen soldiers who equipped themselves when called to fight for the police or city-state.
in Athens males from ages 18 to 20 completed two years of compulsory military service, when Athens was at war men up to the age of 60 could be called into action other city-states like Corinth similarly formed military forces when needed rather than have a professional standing army.
training during the first year included wrestling and other activities to build physical strength agility and endurance, the second year emphasized military duties such as patrolling living and Manning barracks and working alongside veterans
pup lights also spent time doing drills and becoming comfortable with the Phalanx formation, while simultaneously learning how to most effectively use their weapons
in a few city-states most notably Thebes, a small fighting force was kept on hand permanently the group of elite fighters and Thebes known as the sacred band of Thebes was made up of 150 men who swore to fight for each other to the death
the exception to the general system of calling an army when needed was Sparta where young boys were trained to be soldiers from a very young age. the militaristic nature of life in Sparta resulted in men being hoplites for their entire lives.
because Sparta was more focused on the military way of life training was more thorough and extended for much longer than any other city-states, all male citizens over age 20 were expected to be members of the permanent professional army.
according to Homer’s Iliad hoplites were identified by their spear, shield, and helmet, while walking in there tight lined formations, as citizen-soldiers rather than professional fighters hoplites were required to provide their own weapons as a result the quality of armor weapons and shields varied by wealth and social status.
Armour consisted of a caress a helmet shield and Greaves the caress included a breastplate and a backplate fastened together Armour was made out of bronze leather linen or some combination of these materials.
Greaves protected the shins they fell out of use during the 5th century BCE, round concave shields called hop wands were crafted out of wood leather and bronze as well with a band on the inside for the hoplites to put their left arm through an additional strap on the rim helped the hoplite hold on to the shield as he went into battle. shields were about three feet or 1 metre in diameter they protected soldiers from chin to shin, sometimes these shields carried special designs on them.
famous examples include the Gorgon from Greek mythology or the inverted V of the Spartan hoplites.
Spears known as Doru were made out of wood and the blade may not have iron or bronze the spear was about eight feet long hoplites also had a short sword known as the zyphus which was made from iron or bronze that was used only when absolutely necessary such as when a spear broke
swords were about two feet long making them less useful than a spear in battle because they had a shorter reach
bronze helmets included cheek guards and a nose cover essentially only having holes for the eyes and mouth, helmets gave soldiers limited visibility hoplites focused on their own actions instead of their neighbors but were also unable to see an enemy approaching from the side or the rear
everything a hot boy carried collectively known as a panoply weighed between 45 and 70 pounds a large majority of hoplites were accompanied by a slave who carried the rations in a basket along with bedding and a cooking pot
slaves also acted as attendants to the wounded HUP lights were divided into regiments and when they went into battle they formed a phalanx the Phalanx featured lines of tightly organized hoplites numbering 8 deep
the phalanx moved as one unit with shields lining the outside protecting the collective body extended Spears kept enemies at bay while music from a nearby flute called an olace dictated the pace
due to the structure of the phalanx with the shield covering half of the man to the left the formation generally moved with a slight angle towards the right therefore sometimes it led to the left flank of the Phalanx breaking formation first
Kenney opposing commanders would put their best troops in their own right flank to encourage the opposing army to break once the front lines of the Phalanx came into contact with an enemy the group stayed unified for as long as possible
once ranks were broken and to hand combat ensued phalanx was a successful military tactic and an effective psychological weapon at the Battle of Marathon against Persia in 490 BC the hoplite phalanx proved superior with sources albeit exaggerated once indicating at Athens lost 192 men and Persia lost 6400