Old hoplites never die, they just get re-based.
classical Greek defender's of the City State
classical Greek hoplite is an iconic warrior. They were
famous for defending Greece from the Persian Empire. Then
they turned on themselves in long wars between the city
states vying for dominance (hegemony) over Greece, the
Aegean, and Asia Minor. The hoplite style of armor, large
bronze faced round shield, and bronze helmets sporting tall
horsehair crests are famously cool looking. Their style of
fighting in close ranks with overlapping shields and long
spears spread across the Mediterranean via their mastery of
the seas. Hoplites colonized and conquered areas of Thrace,
Asia Minor, Africa, Italy, and then as far as Southern
France. They dominated, and were copied by those in contact
with them. In some scholar's works they created the notion
of "The Western Way of War", that may be a stretch, but
these citizen soldiers did change history and laid the
foundations of Western Civilization.
The hoplite's armor
we see their shields in all their glory. The hoplite's round
wooden shield was often faced in bronze. Most carried
personal designs and color schemes that represent the
personal tastes of the soldier.
Colors and Crests
Newline Designs trumpeter is standing in the back ranks as
colorful warriors push forward in the phalanx.
These Wargames Foundry figures have been around for a long time. I call them mercenaries because they are wearing no body armor. This may be exaggerated as mercenaries probably could afford more armor than any typical soldier. There was a period in the Peloponnesian Wars where armor went out of style. But it appears that it came back. Helmet styles would change too. The heavy bronze Corinthian helmets hindered visibility and hearing, so the lighter conical "pilos" and other open faced styles became very common.
The pilos was comfortable because it was styled after felt caps, it was cheaper and easier to make - three great reasons for the budget conscious hoplite to consider.
The leather aprons were to attached to the shields block missiles or blows to the shins and knees. Uniformity is a rare thing, that's why I like the eclectic look.
Mercenary Greeks could serve everywhere in the Mediterranean, from Carthage armies to Persians. These are very useful units because they fit in so many armies.
I have a link to these as a "how to paint" page: HERE
Here the allies are taking on the mercenaries in a typical gaming scrum. Hoplites formed up in units 8 to 12 deep on average. Game units usually less than that, 2 to 3 ranks is common. The back sides on these linothorax clad hoplites are quite a pleasant colorful mess. Linothorax was a type of armor most likely made out of sheets of linen glued together till they were stiff and more protective than leather (but less than metal). As one can see this is a great place to add variety to your figures with different colors and piping.
The above Old Glory figures have high relief so they are easy to paint. A player often only sees the back of his miniatures so it is nice to make them look good there as well as from the front.
are a key part of the hoplite's look. The big round shields
offer a lot of painting room even in 28mm. This bunch has a
combination of hand painted designs as well as decals.
clash of the phalanx
phalanx formation was very difficult to breach so a fight
between two equal formations could be quite desperate. Most
often units would clash and then pull apart after the first
crunch, a combat could drag on, or sudden panic could end it
quickly. Spartans were famous for overawing their foes and
occasionally their enemies would simply flee rather than
face inevitable defeat. Often after the first phase of
a hoplite battle one side would catch the other on the
flanks, scattering the opposition.
the combat was equal one side would push the other front
ranks back and that might cause the rout. Officers fought to
the front so they were often wounded and killed on the
A swift pursuit
one side broke and ran then the pursuit would commence. Most
of the casualties would occur at this point as one unit
scattered and exposed their backs to the victors. Usually
the pursuit would stop before reaching the opposing
camp. The victors would return to the critical victory
point and set up a tropaion (trophy) out armor and shields
of the defeated.
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