A Storm of Spears

Understanding the Greek Hoplite in Action

Christopher Matthew

 
Date Published :
October 2012
Publisher :
Casemate
Language:
English
Illustration :
33 b/w diagrams, 50+ color and b/w photos (in 16 page plate section)
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Hardback
ISBN : 9781612001197
Pages : 360
Dimensions : 9.25 X 6 inches
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Out of stock. Available in 6-8 weeks
$32.95

Overview
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The backbone of classical Greek armies was the phalanx of heavily armored spearmen, or hoplites. These were the soldiers that defied the might of Persia at Marathon, Thermopylae and Plataea and, more often, fought each other in the countless battles of the Greek city-states. For around two centuries they were the dominant soldiers of the Classical world, in great demand as mercenaries throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East. Yet, despite the battle descriptions of Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon etc, and copious evidence of Greek art and archaeology, there are still many aspects of hoplite warfare that are little understood or the subject of fierce academic debate.

Christopher Matthew's groundbreaking reassessment combines rigorous analysis of the literary and archaeological evidence with the new disciplines of reconstructive archaeology, re-enactment and ballistic science. He focuses meticulously on the details of the equipment, tactics and capabilities of the individual hoplites. In so doing he challenges some long-established assumptions. For example, despite a couple of centuries of study of the hoplites portrayed in Greek vase paintings, Matthew manages to glean from them some startlingly fresh insights into how hoplites wielded their spears.

These findings are supported by practical testing with his own replica hoplite panoply and the experiences of a group of dedicated re-enactors. He also tackles such questions as the protective properties of hoplite shields and armor and the much-vexed debate on the exact nature of the 'othismos', the climax of phalanx-on-phalanx clashes. This is an innovative and refreshing reassessment of one of the most important kinds of troops in ancient warfare, sure to make a genuine contribution to the state of knowledge.

Christopher Matthew has just completed his doctoral thesis on hoplite warfare at MacQuarie University in Sydney, where one of his assessors has said he 'singlehandedly advanced the whole field'. He has also been invited to lecture on the subject at other Australian universities. This book, closely based on his doctoral thesis, will be his first, although he has already had several articles published in academic journals. 'He is currently working on a new translation of Aelian's work on tactics and co-editing (with Dr Matthew Trundle) Beyond the Gates of Fire: New Perspectives on the Battle of Thermopylae, both of which will be published by Pen & Sword.

About The Author
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Christopher Matthew has just completed his doctoral thesis on hoplite warfare at MacQuarie University in Sydney, where one of his assessors has said he 'singlehandedly advanced the whole field'. He has also been invited to lecture on the subject at other Australian universities. This book, closely based on his doctoral thesis, will be his first, although he has already had several articles published in academic journals. 'He is currently working on a new translation of Aelian's work on tactics and co-editing (with Dr Matthew Trundle) Beyond the Gates of Fire: New Perspectives on the Battle of Thermopylae, both of which will be published by Pen & Sword.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
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Acknowlegdements
List of Illustrations
List of Tables
List of Plates
Abbreviations
Foreword
Preface

1. Hoplite Spear
2. Wielding the Hoplite Spear
3. Spears, Javelins and the Hoplite in Greek Art
4. Bearing the Hoplite Panoply
5. Repositioning the Spear in "Hoplite Drill"
6. The Reach and Trajectory of Attacks amde with the Hoplite Spear
7. The "Kill Shot" of Hoplite Combat
8. Endurance and Accuracy when Fighting with the Hoplite Spear
9. The Penetration Power of the Hoplite Spear
10. The Use of the Sauroter as a Weapon
11. Conclusion: The Individual Hoplite
12. Phalanxes, Shield Walls and Other Formations
13. The Hoplite Battle: Contact, Othismos, Breakthrough and Rout
14. Conclusion: The Nature of Hoplite Cpmbat

Notes
Bibliography
Index

REVIEWS
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"…groundbreaking reassessment combines rigorous analysis of literary and archaeological evidence with the new disciplines of reconstructive archaeology, reenactment and ballistic science…painstakingly examines and reconstructs details of hoplites' equipment, tactics and capabilities…Both experts and laymen can gain fresh knowledge from reading this well written analysis of ancient warfare…”

- Toy Soldier and Model Figure Magazine, January 2013

"…indispensable reading for anyone interested in ancient warfare."

- NYMAS Review, January 2014

...practical and thought provoking...a well-argued, well-written and well-illustrated chance to think about the problem anew.

- The Historian, July 2014

a significant contribution to the field of ancient military history...will force historians to re-evaluate the pertinent primary sources and their own reconstructions of the equipment and tactics employed on ancient Greek battlefields. A Storm of Spears is now must reading for all military historians, classicists, and serious students interested in a reconstructive archaeological approach to ancient infantry warfare

- Michigan War Studies Review, April 2015

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