Ancient Greek Armour and Weapons
Posted on 25th December 2020
Each individual city-state had their own army; there was no central Greek army.
Armies consisted of Infantry Spearman (Hoplite), Greek Archers (Toxotai), Light Infantry Javelin Throwers (Peltasts) and Skirmishers (Psiloi).
Armies fought in a Phalanx formation (Hoplites standing shoulder to shoulder in rows with shields locked together and spears pointing forward). This was believed to have been developed by the Spartans.
Infantry Spearman (Hoplite)
Hoplite armour was expensive to manufacture and was mainly handed down through the generations.
Doru - Wooden handled spear, approximately 6 – 9 feet (2 - 3 metres) in length with a flat leaf shaped spearhead at one end and a short spike at the other end, used one handed.
Sarissa - Long spear approximately 13 – 20 feet (4 – 6 metres) in length. This replaced the Doru.
Xiphos - A short double-edged sword, used as a one-handed secondary weapon in the event of a broken spear. It was approximately 1.5 feet (50 – 60 centimetres) in length and made from bronze or iron. It was worn from a belt (baldric) over the shoulder.
Aspis (Hoplon) - A circular shield 3 feet 3 inches (1 metre) in size, made from wood, faced with bronze and leather. It weighed approximately 18 – 33 pounds (8 – 15 kilos) and was supported from the shoulder.
Xyston - A long thin thrusting spear approximately 11.5 – 14 feet (3.5 – 4.25 metres) in length, used mainly by mounted cavalry. It consisted of a wooden shaft and spear point at both ends and was a two-handed weapon.
Kopis - A heavy curved knife with a forward curving blade.
Toxa (Bow) and Short Sword - Carried by Greek Archers (Toxotai)
Pelte – A light shield made of wicker, maybe covered in goat or sheepskin, carried by light infantrymen (Peltasts) and archers (Toxotai)
Cuirass – A heavy bronze breastplate to cover the front torso and backplate, worn by infantrymen.
Chitoniskos (Chiton) – A Sleeveless tunic, wrapped around the body and fastened at one shoulder.
Greaves – Armour worn on the leg (shin) to protect against slashing and other attacks with a metal exterior and felt/linen or leather padding.
Helmets came in many types and changed over time. These included:
Corinthian - Made of bronze. Covered the head with slits for the eyes and mouth.
Phrygian/Thracian - Made of bronze. The skull was drawn into a peak to shade the eyes and give protection to the upper face. It also had large cheek plates made separately from the skull piece.
Chalcidian - Made of bronze. It consisted of a pair of cheekpieces, neck guard and nasal bar. It was lighter to wear and did not cover as much of the face as other helmets.
Boeotian - This was an open helmet allowing good vision and hearing. It had a dome skull and down sloping brim.
The only fighters that were not given any armour or shield were the skirmishers (Psiloi). They were used to harass the enemy before the battle commenced.
They would carry a bow (toxa), javelin (akontia), sling (sfendonai) and sometimes stones. They were also given a dagger and short sword.
Catapults were also used in battle.
Tagged as: Junior Ancient Greece
Share this post: