A red-figure vessel currently in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York depicts a line of spearmen riding dolphins. What is this object and how should we interpret the scene that decorates it?
“Hoplites” of the seventh century BC were “men of bronze”. A few centuries later, they had shed most of their armour, as a marble lekythos in Leiden shows.
Greek shields from at least the later eighth century BC onwards were often decorated with abstract or figurative blazons.
It is often assumed that the ancient Greeks practised one type of warfare. This is problematic, as can be illustrated by a quick look at the early history of Tarentum, Southern Italy.
Roel Konijnendijk, Joshua Hall, Matthew Lloyd, Owen Rees, and Josho Brouwers talk about the ancient Greek hoplite.
One of the most interesting battles mentioned by the Greek historian Herodotus is perhaps the “Battle of the Champions”, fought between the Spartans and the Argives.
The typical Greek word for shield was not hoplon, and the hoplite is therefore not named after it. Yet, the myth persists.
Ancient generals came to appreciate the value of combined arms. But why is it a good idea to deploy a mix of different kinds of warriors?
In this book, Christopher Matthew aims to reassess existing models of hoplite warfare by adopting a more hands-on approach.