Spartan Warfare

Topics: Sparta, Ancient Greece, Military Pages: 3 (1257 words) Published: October 8, 1999
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...
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