Christopher Matthew's groundbreaking reassessment combines rigorous analysis of the literary and archaeological evidence with the new disciplines of reconstructive archaeology, re-enactment and ballistic science. He focuses meticulously on the details of the equipment, tactics and capabilities of the individual hoplites. In so doing he challenges some long-established assumptions. For example, despite a couple of centuries of study of the hoplites portrayed in Greek vase paintings, Matthew manages to glean from them some startlingly fresh insights into how hoplites wielded their spears.
These findings are supported by practical testing with his own replica hoplite panoply and the experiences of a group of dedicated re-enactors. He also tackles such questions as the protective properties of hoplite shields and armor and the much-vexed debate on the exact nature of the 'othismos', the climax of phalanx-on-phalanx clashes. This is an innovative and refreshing reassessment of one of the most important kinds of troops in ancient warfare, sure to make a genuine contribution to the state of knowledge.
Christopher Matthew has just completed his doctoral thesis on hoplite warfare at MacQuarie University in Sydney, where one of his assessors has said he 'singlehandedly advanced the whole field'. He has also been invited to lecture on the subject at other Australian universities. This book, closely based on his doctoral thesis, will be his first, although he has already had several articles published in academic journals. 'He is currently working on a new translation of Aelian's work on tactics and co-editing (with Dr Matthew Trundle) Beyond the Gates of Fire: New Perspectives on the Battle of Thermopylae, both of which will be published by Pen & Sword.
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About the Author
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations vii
List of Tables ix
List of Plates x
1 The Hoplite Spear 1
2 Wielding the Hoplite Spear 15
3 Spears, Javelins and the Hoplite in Greek Art 19
4 Bearing the Hoplite Panoply 39
5 Repositioning the Spear in 'Hoplite Drill' 60
6 The Reach and Trajectory of Attacks made with the Hoplite Spear 71
7 The 'Kill Shot' of Hoplite Combat 93
8 Endurance and Accuracy when Fighting with the Hoplite Spear 113
9 The Penetration Power of the Hoplite Spear 130
10 The Use of the Sauroter as Weapon 146
11 Conclusion: The Individual Hoplite 165
12 Phalanxes, Shield Walls and Other Formations 168
13 The Hoplite Battle: Contact, Othismos, Breakthrough and Rout 205
14 Conclusion: The Nature of Hoplite Combat 238