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J. Douglas




PostPosted: Sat 01 Apr, 2017 11:17 am    Post subject: Hoplite Shields         Reply with quote

So, I have seen a few pictures showing Spartan, Athenian, or Macedonian Hoplite phalanxes with their two hand pikes, but with shields strapped to their shoulders, forearms, and other parts of the arm. These have mainly been far from historical sources, so can anyone verify if they really did use pikes with strapped-on Sheilds?
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Thanks anyone! Happy


If anyone is curious as to why I am asking, it's not for my own Benifit. It's FOR SPARTA! Big Grin

~JD (James)
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

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PostPosted: Sat 01 Apr, 2017 6:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Generally the word "hoplite" is reserved for those who fought with an aspis and one-handed spear. A more general word, "phalangite", is used for everyone who fought in a phalanx. Two-handed pike wielders were called "sarissaphoroi". The iconographical evidence suggests that a two-handed pike was used with a smaller shield that was held with a band on the forearm and controlled with a strap across the shoulder. I don't think we have any surviving examples to confirm this. Connolly's "Greece and Rome at War" is a good introduction to this subject. He proved through experimentation that a sarissa could be used properly with this kind of shield. Sparta never fought like this until Cleomenes' reforms in 227 BC,

Here is one of Connolly's illustrations


Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

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PostPosted: Sat 01 Apr, 2017 7:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There are definitely a few surviving bronze facings from the smaller Macedonian shields, and yes, it's not hard to hang it from a cord or strap around the neck in order to use both hands for the sarissa. I've done it a couple times, but need to experiment a little more to figure out the details. It might actually work better to not put the left arm through the porpax (armband), because that makes the shield rest a little low. If you shorten the strap so that the porpax actually rests on or above the forearm, it's at a good height and your arm is at a better angle to support the pike.

Oh, and you don't really lean forwards like that while holding a sarissa! It's got too much leverage. You'll actually be leaning backwards slightly, unless the point is resting on the ground!

Matthew
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