This essay Spartan Warfare has a total of 1236 words and 5 pages.
In the 7th Century BC a new era of warfare strategy evolved. Before this new strategy, foot soldiers (known as hoplites) engaged in battle in the form of one mob for each army which on the command of their generals runs at each other and proceeds to hack blindly at the enemy with little to no direction other then to kill the enemy in front of them. This proved to be very messy and the tide of battle depended mostly on emotion and size of an army. In the name of strategy and organization, the phalanx was developed. A phalanx is simply defined as a line formation with its width significantly larger then its depth. The depth of the phalanx is a variable which some suggest was decided by the army itself rather then by the leaders of the army. The smallest depth appears to have been that of one man deep. However this was a unique occurrence which is widely believed to be fictitious. The largest depth is that of 120 men deep which was fielded at one time by the Macedonians. On average, the depth of the phalanx appears to be about eight men deep. During the time of Alexander the Great, the phalanx was believed to be eight men deep, but some argue that it evolved into a sixteen man deep phalanx. The Spartans purposely varied the depth of their phalanx so to confuse the enemy about the number of soldiers fielded. The phalanx proved to be a very valuable weapon for the military at that time. Armies which did not adapt to the phalanx formation were quickly slaughtered. The use of the phalanx allowed the Greeks to win the Persian Wars.
Many historians believe that the development of the phalanx led directly to social changes occurring throughout Greece during the time of the phalanx's implementation. The phalanx formation allowed men to participate in the military who otherwise could not have because a much smaller investment in weapons and armor was needed to participate in the phalanx. The combined increase in the number of those participating in the army and the increase in importance of the common foot soldier lead to the common man being increasingly treated better by the ruling classes.
Eventually this may have led to the invention of democracy.
The most noticeable difference between ancient Greek and modern warfare is the amount of "intelligence" information. Today our military maneuvers are almost exclusively reliant on information we get from satellites, scouts, or spies in the opposition. The ancient Greeks totally ignored this area of military strategy. Countless tales of armies meeting each other by chance or armies passing within miles of each other without knowledge of the other. Intelligence information seemed to have come by chance for the ancient Greeks rather then by conscious effort.
Surprise is also an element of war which in modern times is taken very seriously and which was taken very lightly in ancient Greece. In fact there is evidence that ancient Greek soldiers raised their voices in the form of a marching song when they were told that an enemy was near and may be caught unprepared. This war song, called a paian, was also used to promote organization in the marching army so that all soldiers would march with an even step. In addition, the paian was used to promote courage and bravery. A paian was also used on ships to announce the nearness of the enemy. When the actual battle was joined the paian turned into a war cry. The Spartans often accompanied the paian with a flute or several flutes. The Spartan King would lead the paian as well. The use of the paian for attack appears to have Dorian roots. The Spartans are usually the ones associated with the use of a paian. Thucydides mentions that when the Dorians, from other city-states, started a paian when they were serving in an Athenian army, fear was struck into the hearts of the Athenians.
Finally the sizes of the armies were very different from what we are accustomed to today. We are familiar with armies of tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions. The entire Spartan army was estimated to be under five thousand men.
In the beginning, Greek armies showed almost no pay structure. This was do to the fact that military participation was seen as
Topics Related to Spartan Warfare
Phalanx, Hoplite, Spartan army, Sparta, Greco-Persian Wars, Ancient Greek warfare, Macedonian phalanx, phalanx formation, weapons and armor, line formation, phalanx, hoplites, persian wars, macedonians, foot soldiers, social changes, new strategy, spartans, spartan, greeks, generals, new era, historians, mob, occurrence, emotion, proceeds
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