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Katie Neal





Joined: 17 Jul 2006

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PostPosted: Thu 19 Oct, 2006 1:14 am    Post subject: Spartan vs Samurai. Who would win?         Reply with quote

this is pure hyperthetical. there are no greacian spartans left and no pre-industrial age samurai's left so it will have to be based on.

skill. (whether they fight better in groups or one on one combat)
Material. of armour and weapons
the arms and armour they had.

Typical Spartan: Corinthian helm, bronze breast plate, greaves, bracers, sandles and red tunic.

arms: 5 foot "spartan" round shield, 6 footer spear with butt spike. and a Kopis or falcutta.

Typical Samurai: full suit Japanese style armour with or with out "western" solid breast plate influence, sandles and helm with a face covering.

arms: Katana, Wakasashi and japenese spear.

let the debate begin!!!
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George Hill




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Oct, 2006 2:42 am    Post subject: Re: Spartan vs Samurai. Who would win?         Reply with quote

It's obviously unfair to give the Spartan bronze and the Samurai steel, but........... The Spartan will still thrash him.

Of coruse, if the contest involes anything to do with art, the Samurai will win.

To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
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Taylor Ellis




PostPosted: Thu 19 Oct, 2006 3:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Unless you believe that individual fighting ability is soley dependant on ethnicity there is no way to answer this question.
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Oct, 2006 4:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Two-handed spear against shield and spear? My money's certainly on the Samurai. I'd also say his armour is a bit better.
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Mike Arledge




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Oct, 2006 5:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Spartans really weren't meant to fight one on one. While no doubt there were all individually excellent warriors, the Spartans were known for their ferocity in the phalanx. The Greek style of fighting during that time was about staying in line and covering your left side mate with your shield. Swordsmanship was rudimentary, and greek spears were far too long to be of much use in single combat.

So, based upon all that, its just a difficult question to resond to, times, tachnology and tactics were so different.

Mike J Arledge

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David Wilson




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Oct, 2006 8:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The classic Spartan sword was actually a very short double-edge sword -- not much more is known about it other than that. There's a rather famous anecdote from history, when a Spartan warrior complains to his commander that his sword is much too short, to which his commander replies, "get closer!".

I am not sure how long the Spartan shorty was, but it probably wasn't a whole lot longer than a Tanto....

As to the Spartans using a Kopis or Machaira, well, it's possible, on an individual basis and depending on time. But during most of the "classical" Greek era they used the (really) short sword.

David K. Wilson, Jr.
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Oct, 2006 10:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
and greek spears were far too long to be of much use in single combat.


I don't know about that. As I understand it, they could be gripped in the center of the shaft, making for pretty good balance. Less nimble than a sword, certainly, but far from useless in single combat.
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Mike Arledge




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Oct, 2006 10:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:
Quote:
and greek spears were far too long to be of much use in single combat.


I don't know about that. As I understand it, they could be gripped in the center of the shaft, making for pretty good balance. Less nimble than a sword, certainly, but far from useless in single combat.


First, I never said useless, just not of much use. Second, gripping in the center of the shaft would put the spear length at roughly 3-4 feet. Which, while longer than the sword they carried is much shorter than say a Japanese Spear. I would not want to fight anyone hand to hand wearing full greek panoply, much more suited to staying safe in a phalanx.

Below is a cool article on Greek swordplay derived from art


http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0077-8958%28...size=LARGE

Mike J Arledge

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Katie Neal





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PostPosted: Thu 19 Oct, 2006 10:53 am    Post subject: Spartan vs Samurai. Who would win?         Reply with quote

This is great, im seeing real passion with these answers.


bronze is not as good as steel, its softer, dosent hold an edge well and bends from true, iron is better but nothing compared to steel. so weather they weilded a iron falcutta or a bronze kopis. the spartan would be at a disadvantage.

the samurai had decent armour, leather, metal chain and wood but it was made to with stand a more slashing/hacking blow then a thrust. which is what the greek would do with his spear. this puts the samurai at a disadvantage.

allso the spears in the phalynx whiich you gents are thinking about are called cyrissa's. 14ft long and useless one on one. im referring to their shorter breathren the 6 footer spear with butt spike.

i'd think that the spartan would win. they both worriorshave an amazing warlike want and spirit, but i think the spartan useing a shield would be the decider.

how would a samurai get around a 5 foot shield, when there cuture doesnt use, train or fight with them??


just a thought
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Max von Bargen




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Oct, 2006 11:23 am    Post subject: Re: Spartan vs Samurai. Who would win?         Reply with quote

Katie Neal wrote:
This is great, im seeing real passion with these answers.


bronze is not as good as steel, its softer, dosent hold an edge well and bends from true, iron is better but nothing compared to steel. so weather they weilded a iron falcutta or a bronze kopis. the spartan would be at a disadvantage.

the samurai had decent armour, leather, metal chain and wood but it was made to with stand a more slashing/hacking blow then a thrust. which is what the greek would do with his spear. this puts the samurai at a disadvantage.

allso the spears in the phalynx whiich you gents are thinking about are called cyrissa's. 14ft long and useless one on one. im referring to their shorter breathren the 6 footer spear with butt spike.

i'd think that the spartan would win. they both worriorshave an amazing warlike want and spirit, but i think the spartan useing a shield would be the decider.

how would a samurai get around a 5 foot shield, when there cuture doesnt use, train or fight with them??


just a thought


I don't mean to be rude, but I think you may have some of these measurements wrong. According to Peter Connolly's Greece and Rome at War, the standard Greek spear was 2-3 m long, with an average of about 2.3 m, which is equivalent to (I just did the calculations) about 7.55 feet, which seems similar to 6 feet but actually can make quite a difference. The sarissa was a later Macedonian weapon which was never used by the Spartans (at least certainly not during an epoch when they were still using Corinthian helmets). It's not unreasonable to make that error, though. The fact is that there were two types of phalanx, one used by the Macedonians that you're thinking of, and an earlier one used by the Greeks in which they employed shorter spears like the type described above, so the weapons could be easily confused.

I can't find any measurements for shields, but five feet as the diameter of a round Argive shield strikes me as extremely unwieldy, unnecessary, and inconsistent with contemporary artwork and modern reconstructions which show it as covering just the torso and thighs. I think I read somewhere else that the diameter was closer to three feet.

Sorry to butt in, but I hope this information will help to make this discussion more accurate. Very interesting, and keep it up! Speaking of which, my two cents: don't forget the samurai's also got a spear, but my money's still on the Spartan.
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Florian H.




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Oct, 2006 12:14 pm    Post subject: Re.: Spartan vs. Samurai         Reply with quote

Good evening everyone
I think the better warrior would win Happy
In spartan society every newborn child was shown to a council which decided whether the baby is allowed to live or not. So I think in general spartans might have been physically tougher because spartan society had no room for any form of physical deficiency. Their whole life was affected by military life, strength and valor in a much more extreme way than in feudal japan I think. For example could a spartan have been excluded from society if he behaved cowardly in war for example.They lived in a social and military unit, much like romans did, called a Syskenie and if one was excluded he lost all his civil rights. So I think spartan martial society was much more extreme. Sparta didn't have city walls, and it's said that this was because they didn't need them.
Also I think in one on one combat the outcome is not so much depending on the equipment, besides one is armed with a firearm and the other one with a stone. If they don't know each other and their way of fighting luck might be as decisive as choosing the right way to attack. So maybe intuition, witts and a lot of luck is much more important than being whether japanese or spartan. I think certain martial societies gain their fearsome reputation because they spawn armies of equally capable warriors and conquer lands and kingdoms with them and not because they have individual champions, because besides acting as inspiration for the masses having one good warrior in your army is worthless in a military context. I don't know any example where one individual would have been decisive for winning a war besides the fact that he inspired his men. So a spartan or a samurai could have been beaten by ANY warrior.
Just my opinion of course Happy
Best regards, Florian
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Alexander Hinman




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Oct, 2006 3:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Spartan vs Samurai. Who would win?         Reply with quote

Max von Bargen wrote:
Katie Neal wrote:
This is great, im seeing real passion with these answers.


bronze is not as good as steel, its softer, dosent hold an edge well and bends from true, iron is better but nothing compared to steel. so weather they weilded a iron falcutta or a bronze kopis. the spartan would be at a disadvantage.

the samurai had decent armour, leather, metal chain and wood but it was made to with stand a more slashing/hacking blow then a thrust. which is what the greek would do with his spear. this puts the samurai at a disadvantage.

allso the spears in the phalynx whiich you gents are thinking about are called cyrissa's. 14ft long and useless one on one. im referring to their shorter breathren the 6 footer spear with butt spike.

i'd think that the spartan would win. they both worriorshave an amazing warlike want and spirit, but i think the spartan useing a shield would be the decider.

how would a samurai get around a 5 foot shield, when there cuture doesnt use, train or fight with them??


just a thought


According to Peter Connolly's Greece and Rome at War, the standard Greek spear was 2-3 m long, with an average of about 2.3 m, which is equivalent to (I just did the calculations) about 7.55 feet, which seems similar to 6 feet but actually can make quite a difference.

[snip!]

I can't find any measurements for shields, but five feet as the diameter of a round Argive shield strikes me as extremely unwieldy, unnecessary, and inconsistent with contemporary artwork and modern reconstructions which show it as covering just the torso and thighs. I think I read somewhere else that the diameter was closer to three feet.


Max is spot on with the measurements, at least according to at least one of my Classics professors, who gave (basically) those measurements during a discussion on the Peloponnesian War.

Your comment on the softness of bronze is in itself incorrect. Work-hardened bronze, which was used for the edge of any kind of cutting impliment, is much harder than pure iron or your basic mild steel could ever become (without the inclusion of more carbon, of course!).

David is correct about the Spartan sword.

Florian, your description of Spartan society, as I have understood it, applies only to a sector of the nobility, the Spartiates, who then lead much larger sections of hoplites (mercenary or Laconian) and sometimes helots.

My verdict? As always, it's the warrior more than the weapons. Both of them in this particular instance are well-equipped, but I think the Samurai has a slight edge in terms of armour. The shield, granted, is a big plus for the Spartan, but the Spartan's exposed foot is a particularly obvious target, and likely exploitable by a spear used in two hands.
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Oct, 2006 5:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
bronze is not as good as steel, its softer, dosent hold an edge well and bends from true, iron is better but nothing compared to steel. so weather they weilded a iron falcutta or a bronze kopis. the spartan would be at a disadvantage.


Actually, it's my understanding that bronze weapons are as good as if not better than iron weapons.

Quote:
the samurai had decent armour, leather, metal chain and wood but it was made to with stand a more slashing/hacking blow then a thrust. which is what the greek would do with his spear. this puts the samurai at a disadvantage.


If anything, Japanese armor was primarily designed to protect against arrows, not swords. I don't see what it'd be especially vulnerable to spear thrust. The Japanese certainly used plenty of spears themselves. I have trouble imagining the Spartan doing anything to Japanese armor with one-handed thrusts. He'd probably have to go for the gaps.

Quote:
The shield, granted, is a big plus for the Spartan


Unless his spear was really thin, I'd argue that he'd be better off dropping the shield and wielding the spear with both hands. I'm a big fan of George Silver. By his system, this fight is simple: the Spartan gets thrashed. As Silver wrote, the short staff has the advantage over the sword and target. Many yari are very close to Silver's perfect length of eight to nine feet. The Spartan's spear isn't a sword, but, wielded in one hand, it might as well be one.
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George Hill




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Oct, 2006 7:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:

Unless his spear was really thin, I'd argue that he'd be better off dropping the shield and wielding the spear with both hands. I'm a big fan of George Silver. By his system, this fight is simple: the Spartan gets thrashed. As Silver wrote, the short staff has the advantage over the sword and target. Many yari are very close to Silver's perfect length of eight to nine feet. The Spartan's spear isn't a sword, but, wielded in one hand, it might as well be one.


Yes, but he was also using a set of weapons unfamilar to Silver, who might have said "The spear and hoplong have the vantage' had he known about them and how to use them.

A hoplong isn't exactly a round target.

To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
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Felix Wang




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Oct, 2006 7:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Many of these comparisons are balanced, but this one is probably not; I would favor the samurai. Several of these points have already been mentioned.

The samurai's spear is in two hands - it is much, much faster than a spear in one hand, and has a longer reach; it can be better used for slicing and can be wielded as a staff.

The samurai's armour was quite capable of stopping thrusts, it had to stop plenty of arrows and more than a few Japanese spears.

The Spartan's gear is optimized for fighting in line; half of his aspsis covers the guy on his left, and his right is partly covered by another man's shield. This is not optimal gear for fighting one on one. The samurai's gear is not so specialized. Training a hoplite concentrated on formation drills, whereas training a samurai included a huge amount of single combat work.

Both men carry a spear and a short sword, and will have a good idea of what they can do. One carries a two-handed longer sword, which is unlike anything a Spartan is likely to have ever heard of, let alone fought against. The Spartan has a shield, which might cause some trouble for the samurai, but of the two, the katana is probably more dangerous than the aspsis.
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Harry Pretat




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Oct, 2006 7:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Based on what I know and the information presented here, I would have to go with the Samurai, but the comparison is rather unfair I think. As Felix W. said, the Spartan's equipment is designed to work in formations and the Samurai's is more suited to individual combat.

I wonder what might happen if a Spartan army faced a Japanese army?
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Oct, 2006 8:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Yes, but he was also using a set of weapons unfamilar to Silver, who might have said "The spear and hoplong have the vantage' had he known about them and how to use them.


People certainly didn't use ancient Greek weapons in 16th-century England, but I'm sure Silver had some idea of how they fought back then. Educated people of the day knew the classics quite well.

And anything having the vantage against the short staff would turn Silver's ranking on it's head. It idea that it would be a set of weapons quite similar to the sword and target is ridiculous. It's just as likely that Silver would have considered the katana superior to everything else.

Quote:
A hoplong isn't exactly a round target.


It's round and it's a target. In fact, if I did a little digging, I could probably find a 16th-century source calling Greek shields targets. As I said, Matthew Sutcliffe called Roman shields targets and suggesting going back to that style.
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George Hill




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PostPosted: Fri 20 Oct, 2006 1:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

[quote="Benjamin H. Abbott"]
Quote:

It's round and it's a target. In fact, if I did a little digging, I could probably find a 16th-century source calling Greek shields targets. As I said, Matthew Sutcliffe called Roman shields targets and suggesting going back to that style.


Yes, but it's a much larger and heavier shield then you tended to see in Silver's age. A hoplong is a very particular shield rather in a class by itself, or so I'm brought to beleive by SPADA 2.

And of couse it's worth remembering that they called every shield by buckler or target doing one time or another. Kipling (who is completely out of period but also with such an education) calls a Roman shield a buckler at one point. OF course, he also gets Tyr mixed up with Odin.

What's more, we really don't know enough about how the Spartans used their spears in conjunction with their shields. We know they did, we have pots with single combat scenes with this set up depicted on them,achilleson't have much information beyond that. )The usual hector vs achellies stuff.)

Some have suggested that the spears may have had very thin shafts, and been very very lightweight, and therefore suprisingly agile. (But also fragile?) Does anyone have any evidence either way on this? IF this is true, it's more like spear vs a very long rapier and a very large target then anything, (With the rapier having a huge head of course, and thereby making holes Silver might not have complained about.)

To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
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Adam Simmonds





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PostPosted: Fri 20 Oct, 2006 3:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

after giving this much careful thought,
i have come to the conclusion that it would depend on whose gods were stronger - the spartans or the samurais. if both sets of gods were of equal strength, then it would probably come down to who died first Idea

cheers, adam
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Martin Wilkinson





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PostPosted: Fri 20 Oct, 2006 4:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As someone has said, it won't come down to who's equipment is better, it'll come down to who's the better warrior.

[quote= "Benjamin H Abbott"]It's just as likely that Silver would have considered the katana superior to everything else.
[/quote]

I doubt it, Silver favoured cut AND thrust weapons, the Katana is a cutter, not a thruster. Whilst it undoutedly can thrust, much like a thin rapier can cut, it's not great at it, as it's not designed for it.

Silver had his favoured weapon at hand, the Cut and Thrust sword of Rennassaince Europe. The Katana would've been a flawed weapon to him, like the Rapier was.

"A bullet you see may go anywhere, but steel's, almost bound to go somewhere."

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