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Hoplite equipment
5th and 4th century B.C 

 

 

 

1.

The core of the shield, made from planks of wood.

2.

Wooden laminations, which run along the sides.

3.

Thin leather lining covering the inside of the shield.

4.

Thin bronze sheet bonded to the outside.

5.

Outer shield bands, ending in palmettes.

6.

Inner shield bands, separated from the outer bands.

7.

The arm-hole, plain style from the classical period.

8.

Pair of staples with palmette finals.

9.

Ring fittings, often rosette shaped.

10.

Tasseled cords attached to the finials forming a rope handle.

11.

Tasseled cords attached to the ring fittings forming loops.

12.

Corinthian Helmet with a pronounced cranial ridge.

13.

Cap made of a woven material and worn under the helmet.

14.

Main body of the composite cuirass.

15.

Greave made of bronze and worn clipped onto the shin.

16.

Garter worn underneath the bottom edge of the Greave.

17.

Spear, usually fitted with a leather seamed grip.

 

 

Hoplite equipment lightened in the second half of the century, the tunic is now an exomis (2,3,4) that replaced the chitoniskos. Another garment was  the ephaptis a kind of shawl often wrapped around the forearm (5,6,7). In place of the closed helmet he wears a pilos felt hat , this shape was also copied in bronze (11,12). This type of helmet probably originated in Laconia. During the campagn on Sphacteria in 425 BC the Lacedaemonians suffered from the poor protection of the pilos helmet from arrows. You will notice that cuirass and greaves have been abandoned. The reasoning for the lightening of the hoplite equipment by the Lacadaemonians in particular during the Peloponnesian war would have been the increased use of light troops by their enemies and the need for the younger hoplites to be more mobile. The Lacedaemonians would often use the tactic of getting the younger men in the front ranks to attempt to catch the enemy light troops much like police snatch squads at demonstrations. The Boeotian helmet was also derived from a travelling  hat and was used by cavalry as well as infantry (8,9,10). As the hoplite line became deeper and cohesion became more important than mobility the trend  towards a 'light' hoplite was reversed in the 4th century to a more armoured soldier and a lengthening of the spear.

 

 

 

1.

The muscle-cuirass often with rows of pteruges.

2.

Hinges and rings for the two plates.

3.

Hinge and pin to allow the cuirass to be opened at the side.

4.

Rings with leather thongs to close the other side of the cuirass.

5.

Shoulder pieces attached to the breast plate and back plate.

6.

The skull resembling a Chalcidian helmet in outline.

7.

Cheek pieces leaving apertures for the eyes and mouth.

8.

The lobate skull constructed with three pieces.

9.

Plume to be worn with Phrygian helmets.

10.

spear head type E with long and wide blade.

11.

spear head type J with long and Narrow blade.

12.

spear head with shorter and wider blade.

13.

spear head type R with tapered socket.

14.

spear head type M small and plain with a flat blade.

15.

spear head with wide socket and full length central midrib.

16.

spear head type F with small spear head made of bronze.

17.

spear head type H, can be very small .

18.

Spear-butt shaped like a talon attached to a socket.

19.

Spear-butt with the talon separated from the socket.

20.

Spear-butt decorated with geometric incised ring pattern.

21.

Spear-butt decorated with bronze rings.

22.

Spear-butt made of iron and fitted with a lead ring for balance.

23.

Spear-butt, much smaller example made of iron.

24.

Spear-butt, later model with a more rounded talon

(c) Osprey Publishing