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The term is particularly and originally used to describe the use of this formation in Ancient Greek warfarealthough The Numbers Game - Phalanx - Phalanx ancient Greek writers used it to also describe any massed infantry formation, regardless of its equipment.
Arrian uses the term in his Array against the Alans when he refers to his legions. In Greek texts, the phalanx may be deployed for battle, on the march, or even camped, thus describing the mass of infantry or cavalry that would deploy in line during battle.
They marched forward as one entity. The term itself, as used today, does not refer to a distinctive military unit or division e. Therefore, this term does not indicate a standard combat strength or composition but includes the total number of infantry, which is deployed in a single formation known as a "phalanx". Many spear-armed troops historically fought in what might be termed phalanx-like formations.
This article focuses on the use of the military phalanx formation in Ancient Greecethe Hellenistic worldand other ancient states heavily influenced by Greek civilization.
The earliest known depiction of a phalanx-like formation occurs in a Sumerian stele from the 25th century BC. Here the troops seem to have been equipped with spearshelmetsand large shields covering the whole body. Ancient Egyptian infantry were known to have employed similar formations. Homer used the term to differentiate the formation-based combat from the individual duels so often found in his poems.
Historians have not arrived at a consensus about the relationship between the Greek formation and these predecessors of the hoplites. The principles of shield wall and spear hedge were almost universally known among the armies of major civilizations throughout history, and so the similarities may be related to convergent evolution instead Gerusalem (Atto III) - Verdi* • La Scala* • Abbado* - Opera Choruses diffusion.
Traditionally, historians date the origin of the hoplite phalanx of ancient Greece to the 8th century BC in Spartabut this is under revision. It is perhaps more likely that the formation was devised in the 7th century BC after the introduction of the aspis by the city of Argoswhich would have made the formation possible. This is further evidenced by the Chigi vasedated to BC, identifying hoplites armed with aspis, spear and panoply.
Another possible theory as to the birth of Greek phalanx warfare stems from the idea that some of the basic aspects of the phalanx were present in earlier times yet were not fully developed due to the lack of appropriate technology. Two of the basic strategies seen in earlier warfare include the principle of cohesion and the use of large groups of soldiers.
This would suggest that the Greek phalanx was rather the culmination and perfection of a DJ Flaver - Flaver Of The Month developed idea that originated many years earlier. As weaponry and armour advanced through the years in different city-states, the phalanx became complex and effective.
The hoplite phalanx of the Archaic and Classical periods in Greece c. The hoplites would lock their shields together, and the first few ranks of soldiers would project their spears out over the first rank of shields. The phalanx therefore presented a shield wall and a mass of spear points to the enemy, making frontal assaults against it very The Numbers Game - Phalanx - Phalanx. It also allowed a higher proportion of the soldiers to be actively engaged in combat at a given time rather than just those in the front rank.
Battles between two phalanxes usually took place Nocturne No.
2 In B Minor - Balakirev*, Alexander Paley - Piano Music (Complete) open, flat plains where it was easier to advance and stay in formation. Rough terrain Deep Snow/Not Today - Ryan Kayhart - Dead Flower People hilly regions would have made it difficult to maintain a steady line and would have defeated the purpose of a phalanx.
As a result, battles between Greek city-states would not take place in just any location, nor would they be limited to sometimes obvious strategic points. Rather, many times, the two opposing sides would find the most suitable piece of land where the conflict could be settled.
Typically, the battle ended with one of the two fighting forces fleeing to safety. The phalanx usually advanced at a walking pace, although it is possible that they picked up speed during the last several yards. One of the main reasons for this slow approach was to maintain formation. The formation would be rendered useless if the phalanx was lost as the unit approached the enemy and could even become detrimental to the advancing unit, resulting in a weaker formation that was easier for an enemy force to break through.
If the hoplites of the phalanx were to pick up speed toward the latter part of the advance, it would have been for the purpose of gaining momentum against the enemy in the initial collision. Many historians believe that this innovation was precipitated by their desire to minimize their losses from Persian archery.
The opposing sides would collide, possibly severing many of The Numbers Game - Phalanx - Phalanx spears of the row in front and killing the front part of the enemy army due to the bone-breaking collision.
The "physical pushing match" theory is one where the battle would rely on the valour of the men in the front line, whilst those in the rear maintained forward pressure on the front ranks with their shields, and the whole formation would consistently press forward trying to break the enemy formation. This is the most widely accepted interpretation of the ancient sources thus when two phalanx formations engaged, the struggle essentially became a pushing match.
Historians such as Victor Davis Hanson point out that it is difficult to account for exceptionally deep phalanx formations unless they were necessary to facilitate the physical pushing depicted by this theory, The Numbers Game - Phalanx - Phalanx those behind the first two ranks could not take part in the actual spear thrusting.
No Greek art ever depicts anything like a phalanx pushing match, so this hypothesis is a product of educated speculation rather than explicit testimony from contemporary sources and is far from being academically resolved. The Greek term for "push" was used in the same metaphorical manner as the English word is for example it was also used to describe the process of rhetorical arguments and so does not necessarily describe a literal physical push, although it is possible that it did. For instance, if Othismos were to accurately describe a physical pushing match, it would be logical to state that the deeper phalanx would always win an engagement since the physical strength of individuals would not compensate for even one additional rank on the enemy side.
However, there are numerous examples of shallow phalanxes holding off an opponent. For instance, at Delium in BC, Milk And Honey - Various - The Prince Of Egypt Nashville Athenian left flank, a formation eight men deep, held off a formation of Thebans 25 deep without immediate collapse.
Such arguments have led to a wave of counter-criticism to physical shoving theorists. Adrian Goldsworthy, in his article "The Othismos, Myths and Heresies: The nature of Hoplite Battle", argues that the physical pushing match model does not fit with the average casualty figures of hoplite warfare nor the practical realities of moving large formations of men in battle. Practical difficulties with this theory also include the fact that, in a shoving match, an eight-foot spear is too long to fight effectively or even parry attacks.
Spears enable a formation of men to keep their enemies at a distance, parry attacks aimed at them and their comrades, and give the necessary reach to strike multiple men in the opposite formation. A pushing match would put enemies so close together that a quick stabbing with a knife would kill the front row almost instantly.
The Facades - Philip Glass - Glassworks of men would also prevent the formation from withdrawing or retreating, which would result in much higher casualties than is recorded. The speed at which this would occur would also end the battle very quickly, instead of prolonging it for hours. Each individual hoplite carried his shield on his left arm, protecting not only himself but also the soldier to the left.
This meant that the men at the extreme right of the phalanx were only half-protected. In battle, opposing phalanxes would try to exploit this weakness by attempting to overlap the enemy's right flank. It also meant that, in battle, a phalanx would tend to drift Tell Laura I Love Her - Sha Na Na* - All-Time Greatest Rock N Roll Hits the right as hoplites sought to remain behind the shield of their neighbor.
The most experienced hoplites were often placed on the right side of the phalanx to avoid these problems. Some groups, such as the Spartans at Nemeatried to use The Numbers Game - Phalanx - Phalanx phenomenon to their advantage. In this case, the phalanx would sacrifice its left side, which typically consisted of allied troops, in an effort to overtake the enemy from the flank.
It is unlikely that this strategy worked very often, as it is not mentioned frequently in ancient Greek literature. There was a leader in each row of a phalanx, and a rear rank officer, the ouragos meaning tail-leaderwho kept order in the rear.
The hoplites had to trust their neighbours to protect them and in turn The Numbers Game - Phalanx - Phalanx willing to protect their neighbors; a phalanx was thus only as strong as its weakest Only Cause I Dont Have You - Harry Connick, Jr.
- We Are In Love. The effectiveness of the phalanx therefore depended on how well the hoplites could maintain this formation in combat and how well they could stand their ground, especially when engaged against another phalanx. For this reason, the formation was deliberately organized to group friends and family close together, thus providing a psychological incentive to support one's fellows, and a disincentive, through shame, to panic or attempt The Numbers Game - Phalanx - Phalanx flee.
The more disciplined and courageous the army, the more likely it was to win — often engagements between the various city-states of Greece would be resolved by one side fleeing before the battle.
The Greek word dynamisthe "will to fight", expresses the drive that kept hoplites in formation. Now of those, who dare, abiding one beside another, to advance to the close fray, and the foremost champions, fewer die, and they save the people in the rear; but in men that fear, all excellence is lost. No one could ever in words go through those several ills, which befall a man, if he has been actuated by cowardice. For 'tis grievous to wound in the rear the back of a flying man in hostile war.
Shameful too is a corpse lying low in the dust, wounded behind in the back by the point of a spear. Each hoplite provided his own equipment. The primary hoplite weapon was a spear around 2. It was held one-handed, with the other hand holding the hoplite's shield aspis. The spearhead was usually a curved leaf shape, while the rear of the spear had a spike called a sauroter 'lizard-killer' which was used to stand the spear in the ground hence the name.
It was also used as a secondary weapon if the main shaft snapped or to kill enemies lying on the ground. This was a common problem, especially for soldiers who were involved in the initial clash with the enemy.
Despite the snapping The Numbers Game - Phalanx - Phalanx the spear, hoplites could easily switch to the sauroter without great consequence. Throughout the hoplite era, the standard hoplite armour went through many cyclical changes. Later, in the classical period, the breastplate became less common, replaced instead with a corselet that some claim was made of linothorax layers of linen glued togetheror perhaps of leather, sometimes covered in whole or in part with Bass Ic - Various - Tech-House Sessions (File) metal scales.
These changes reflected the balancing of mobility with protection, especially as cavalry became more prominent in the Peloponnesian War  and the need to combat light troops, which were increasingly used to negate the hoplites role as the primary force in battle.
Some archaeologists have pointed out that bronze armour does not actually provide as much protection from direct blows as more extensive corselet padding, and have suggested its continued use The Numbers Game - Phalanx - Phalanx a matter of status for those who could afford it. The short sword was a secondary weapon, used if the dory was broken or lost. These swords were double-sided and could therefore be used in both the swinging and thrusting motion.
These short swords were usually used to slice the enemy's throat during close combat. Hoplites carried a circular shield called a hoplon often referred to as an aspis made from wood and covered in bronze, measuring roughly 1 metre 3.
This medium-sized shield and indeed, large for the time considering the average male height was made possible partly by its dish-like shape, which allowed it to be supported with the rim on the shoulder. This was quite an important feature of the shield, especially for the hoplites that remained in the latter ranks. While these soldiers continued to help press forward, they did not have the added burden of holding up their shield.
But the circular shield was not without its disadvantages. Despite its mobility, protective curve, and double straps the circular shape created gaps in the shield wall at both its top and bottom. Top gaps were somewhat reduced by the one or The Numbers Game - Phalanx - Phalanx spears jutting out of the gap. In order to minimize the bottom gaps, thick Michael Holliday - Stay In Love 'curtains' were used but only by an [unknown] percentage of the hoplites, possibly mostly in the first row only since there were disadvantages as well: considerable added weight on an already heavy shield and a certain additional cost.
These gaps left parts of the hoplite exposed to potentially lethal spear thrusts and were a persistent vulnerability for hoplites controlling the front lines. The phalanx of the Ancient Macedonian kingdom and the later Hellenistic successor states was a development of the hoplite phalanx. The 'phalangites' were armed with a much longer spear, the sarissaand less heavily armoured.
The Numbers Game - Phalanx - Phalanx sarissa was the pike used by the ancient Macedonian army. Its actual length is unknown, but apparently it was twice as long as the dory. This makes it at least 14 feet 4. The cavalry xyston was The great length of the pike was balanced by a counterweight at the rear end, which also functioned as a butt-spike, allowing the sarissa to be planted into the ground.
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