Pre-Macedonian Phalanx Question: Spear posture

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ATXPaul
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Pre-Macedonian Phalanx Question: Spear posture

Post by ATXPaul » Wed Aug 11, 2010 4:28 am

I just recently acquired a dory and an aspis for reenacting, and I don't want to look like an idiot out there on the first day. (The rest of my panoply is being borrowed for now).

My main question is how the hoplites in a Classical (480 BC or so) phalanx hold their spears?

Ancient artwork almost universally depicts overhand, but in my practice I was getting extremely tired extremely quickly. Were hoplites of that time so hard that they could carry a three meter spear overhand throughout an entire battle? I find underhand much more useful, but rather unwieldy in a unit because the rear rank presses forwards against the butt-spike.

Any input?

grahambriggs
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Post by grahambriggs » Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:22 am

Try this. You'll need to scroll down.

http://www.strategikon.com/iwc2010/gallery.htm

lawrenceg
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Re: Pre-Macedonian Phalanx Question: Spear posture

Post by lawrenceg » Sat Aug 14, 2010 2:31 am

ATXPaul wrote:I just recently acquired a dory and an aspis for reenacting, and I don't want to look like an idiot out there on the first day. (The rest of my panoply is being borrowed for now).

My main question is how the hoplites in a Classical (480 BC or so) phalanx hold their spears?

Ancient artwork almost universally depicts overhand, but in my practice I was getting extremely tired extremely quickly. Were hoplites of that time so hard that they could carry a three meter spear overhand throughout an entire battle? I find underhand much more useful, but rather unwieldy in a unit because the rear rank presses forwards against the butt-spike.

Any input?
Conventional wisdom is that hoplite fights didn't last long. Plus people of that social class spent a lot of time hanging out in the gymnasium, so they might have been fitter than you.
Lawrence Greaves

mbsparta
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Post by mbsparta » Sat Aug 14, 2010 8:31 pm

No one knows for certain. I think there are ancient dipictions for both over and under hand styles. Overhand seems to make the most sense.

Mike B

willb
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Post by willb » Sun Aug 15, 2010 1:52 am

mbsparta wrote:No one knows for certain. I think there are ancient dipictions for both over and under hand styles. Overhand seems to make the most sense.

Mike B
The old over and under debate. This was debated some time back in The Society of Ancients with over being the final choice. The main problem with under is that you have to move your shield out of the way to attack your opponent. Somewhat hard to do when shields are overlapped with the neighbors in a phalanx formation.

will05
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Post by will05 » Sun Aug 15, 2010 9:59 pm

Have a look at the novel Gates of Fire. Forget the writer off hand, but the battles are very detailed. The spears didn't seem to last very long. They moved on to sword, knife, broken bits of spear hands ect. ect. You can really appreciate the commitment given through the Spartan trainning as it must have been very visceral......I imagine most of the battle was just waiting around , with the bits where you had to point the spear at someone not lasting very long.

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