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Othismos: Classical vs Crowd Theory Othismos
#16
Quote:The re-enactors don’t even make an attempt to defend themselves with their weapons... there is no way that you would just let someone run into you like that.

Yet we know that hoplites found themselves at times shield to shield, so they surely did "allow" their foes to close to that distance. How exactly it occurred and how often is an opened question.

Quote:You just cannot fight with someone pushing you from behind, especially when you are trying to use an 8 foot spear!

Perhaps more importantly you cannot strike at a man you are shield to shield with using at 8' dory with a 5' reach in any stance. Thus othismos was a time for swords for the front rank...and fists and teeth. The video does show quite clearly though that men can use "weapons", their batons and even those pelta-sized shields, with men pressing up against their backs.

Quote:I would also argue that the 'T' stance is ideal for using a spear. You can bear the weight of your shield across your arm and shoulder and still be able to move it to deflect blows. Your spear arm is unrestricted, and being unprotected, it is furthest away from your opponent. Most of the force against you would be onto your shield, so the side stability is not much of an issue. I do think that Hoplites would change stance as the situation dictated as you have noted.

I would say two things and I mean them with complete respect. Be sure you are in a side-on stance, not a 3/4, and try it with a broom handle or something. Make sure your feet and hips are in a straight line perpendicular to the foe. My guess is that you will find yourself moving to a 3/4 stance because the full side-on greatly limits the range through which you can torque your torso, thus the power of your thrust and more importantly your reach with the weapon. Reach is very important in a spear-fight. Watch what happens to your feet when you strike hard, your back foot will surely want to move out of line to the right as your hips try to tilt forward. After the first strike you are in 3/4, which is probably the best compromise between protection and range of motion for striking.

Quote:If you have a few ranks behind you pushing, what happens if you lose your footing or is killed? Does the whole column of men fall on their faces?

This is a common misconception because crowds like this are not something we are used to. Its similar to the often espoused position that a charging file will trip over itself if it tries to pull up short (I have yet to crash into the cars in front of me when an unseen light ahead turns red). At this density there is nowhere to fall at peak pressure. Your corpse it held standing as we are told happened at Adrianople. If the pressure reduces enough for the man to fall, the man behind simply leans over the narrow gap created to meet the enemy who is doing the same from the other side until you hit the ground and he steps over, or on, your supine form. If there were for some reason enough room for you to fall, lets say that your foe does not move forward, then you simply take a step forward and the pressure evaporates. Because it derives from leaning, any space immediately removes the intense pressure. If there is any key to understanding this it is that the crowd cannot form unless it is resisted and the converse is true, the forces evaporate if the crowd disperses. Thus every time one side gives way, the whole crowd loosens and repacks as the victors move forward. When one side breaks, the pressure reduces gradually, if quickly, as ranks peel off and the victors don't just fall like bowling pins. that sort of falling can happen with fast pushing wedges by the way rather than gradual crowd pushing.

Quote:If it interests you I will write my theory in full along with illustrations?

I am greatly interested in others opinions. Remember though, we are talking about full, all rank, othismos. Anything less would be a different model, though still welcome for discussion. Also, what I am writing is only about the othismos phase of battle- we probably agree in large part about doratismos. The fact that we can agree about doratismos, while an orthodox othismos advocate cannot, is a strength of my model.

Quote:Riots have some definite advantages as they have a lot of people pushing and striking, with little regard for the opponents' health.

I agree, you can't buy this level of live "reenactment", hell, they even have round shields. The amount of weapon-damage is easy to overrate, surely most hoplites spent the whole battle picking ineffectively at eachother or jostling with shields with bound up weapons. Once one side breaks the whole dynamic changes.
Paul M. Bardunias
MODERATOR: [url:2dqwu8yc]http://www.romanarmytalk.com/rat/viewtopic.php?t=4100[/url]
A Spartan, being asked a question, answered "No." And when the questioner said, "You lie," the Spartan said, "You see, then, that it is stupid of you to ask questions to which you already know the answer!"
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#17
Quote:.....I'd say that those two clips demonstrate why pushing tactics would be a failure!
Mind you, Paul B. could have chosen far better examples, such as the Korean riot footage featured on RAT some time ago, as an illustration of Roman combat! ...On second thoughts, perhaps the lack of actual fighting allows illustration of 'pure' pushing. And against an unresisting crowd it is a total failure for the most part.

You seem to have put forth both your arguement and my response, thank you Paul! :wink: Point 1) the other clip would have been a nice shot of Romans, but we are not concerned with Romans. 2) Yes, 3 ranks of trained men pushing against a crowd of unmotivated peace-nicks is a total failure. Now you see why the crowd othismos is superior at depth.


Quote:The 'herding' Paul refers to produces, as he says, a crowd more difficult and denser to try and move. The failure of the flanking column of 'yellow-jackets' to drive down the flank ( and presumably the intention was then to turn in and 'herd' the crowd from two directions) illustrates that excessive depth isn't much help either.....

That flying column of yellow jackets is not pushing anyone, so their depth is irrelevent. They are attempting to beat back the crowd members and "herd" them. This gains no benefit from depth- in this they may as well have been cavalry. By the way, I did not say that herding produces greater density, it might, but it doesn't have to. It is the pushing that forces organization on the crowd. Herding is a bit like pushing by proxy, you force your foes to move back into their allies, who logically do no push them away, but move with them until some density is reached for which they cannot easily pack further. This is the mechanic for almost all of the many double envelopments, like Cannae, where we see troops packed to useless density by the actions of horses and light troops- both of which cannot push physically at the level of heavy infantry. By the way, I think the yellowjackets stop because they reach the intersection in any case.
Paul M. Bardunias
MODERATOR: [url:2dqwu8yc]http://www.romanarmytalk.com/rat/viewtopic.php?t=4100[/url]
A Spartan, being asked a question, answered "No." And when the questioner said, "You lie," the Spartan said, "You see, then, that it is stupid of you to ask questions to which you already know the answer!"
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#18
....and a further thought that I expressed some years ago to Paul B. as a fatal objection to 'othismos/pushing' combat is that the officers/leaders stood at the head of each file. Can you imagine the Officer furiously back-pedalling and screaming "NO!NO!" as the grinning file of 'squaddies/GI's' propel him relentlessly on to the waiting spears of their foes?? :lol: :lol:

...unlikelier still, when the file leader/officer is also the respected head of your family/clan, and you are going to have to go home and explain how 'Uncle Cleon' met his end.....

I venture to suggest that you can't "push" against a line of furiously jabbed pointy things/spears - you just can't get close enough to your opponents - and any 'othismos', if it does mean physical pushing, was not done as a co-ordinated phalanx ( it couldn't be - a co-ordinated shove on a 1,000 yard front? ) but rather 'localised', sporadic, and for the most part accidental. Like the 'fighting' riots, what you would see is a line seething and writhing along its front, but trying to maintain all-important cohesion, with sections moving forward, fighting for a minute or two, then drawing apart until one side 'breaks' - remembering that all retreats must start from the rear!!

The "Just one more step and we'll win" cliche attributed to Epaminondas, Iphicrates and others is in reality an exhortation to tired, frightened men to 'hang in there' and grit their teeth - or bite their lip, in the words of Tyrtaeus the Spartan poet, up their aggression, and 'force' their opponents back.....but not by co-ordinated shoving !!
"dulce et decorum est pro patria mori " - Horace, ODES
(It is a sweet and proper thing to die for ones country)

"No son-of-a-bitch ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country" -GeorgeC Scott as General George S. Patton
Paullus Scipio/Paul McDonnell-Staff
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#19
Paul B. wrote:
Quote:Point 1) the other clip would have been a nice shot of Romans, but we are not concerned with Romans.

The first, and most important thing to note is that 'Heavy Infantry' i.e. shielded men fighting 'en masse' in close order produces much the same hand-to-hand combat - there was nothing particularly unique about 'phalanx' combat and certainly not supposed 'othismos'. The other clips would have been valid illustrations too - perhaps the more so because the ingredient of 'fighting' is added.....

Quote: Herding is a bit like pushing by proxy, you force your foes to move back into their allies, who logically do no push them away, but move with them until some density is reached for which they cannot easily pack further. This is the mechanic for almost all of the many double envelopments, like Cannae, where we see troops packed to useless density by the actions of horses and light troops- both of which cannot push physically at the level of heavy infantry.

Precisely the point! Any boxer or martial artist will tell you about 'distance' ( or re-enactor who actually fights, for that matter! ) and in combat it is even more acute - the penalty for getting 'distance' wrong is death!!
'Herding' through the threat and reach of lethal weapons and resultant fear is far more of a motivator for forcing opponents back on each other, with resulting confusion, than a supposed 'body-to-body' suicidal shoving. Psychologically, you can't get humans to do the latter intentionally ( exceptions e.g. kamikazes,duly noted! ) - the will to live is usually too strong.......


Anyhoo, this is an old debate !........Let us leave it, and just see what insights Cole and co. can provide...
"dulce et decorum est pro patria mori " - Horace, ODES
(It is a sweet and proper thing to die for ones country)

"No son-of-a-bitch ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country" -GeorgeC Scott as General George S. Patton
Paullus Scipio/Paul McDonnell-Staff
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#20
Quote: there was nothing particularly unique about 'phalanx' combat and certainly not supposed 'othismos'.

Some of us obviously believe there was, and as I asked above I'd like to limit the thread to discussions of literal othismos, not sniping for a figurative interpretation of pushing, so lets just end that discussion here.


Quote:Precisely the point! Any boxer or martial artist will tell you about 'distance' ( or re-enactor who actually fights, for that matter! ) and in combat it is even more acute - the penalty for getting 'distance' wrong is death!!

If you have a pelta and spear and I have an aspis and sword, then yes the penalty for fighting shield to shield is death for you- victory for me! 8)

Quote:'Herding' through the threat and reach of lethal weapons and resultant fear is far more of a motivator for forcing opponents back on each other, with resulting confusion, than a supposed 'body-to-body' suicidal shoving. Psychologically, you can't get humans to do the latter intentionally ( exceptions e.g. kamikazes,duly noted! ) - the will to live is usually too strong.......

Except we just saw them doing just that in the riot video, so evidently it does not take a Kamikazi to push shield to shield. And we know that Greeks did so as well. The question is not did they ever knock shields, but what happened after they closed that distance. Since I have no problem with doratismos, we would agree up to that point, and it is from there that this thread starts.

Quote:Let us leave it, and just see what insights Cole and co can provide

Why on earth do you think I am writing all of this for him???
Paul M. Bardunias
MODERATOR: [url:2dqwu8yc]http://www.romanarmytalk.com/rat/viewtopic.php?t=4100[/url]
A Spartan, being asked a question, answered "No." And when the questioner said, "You lie," the Spartan said, "You see, then, that it is stupid of you to ask questions to which you already know the answer!"
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#21
....and a further thought that I expressed some years ago to Paul B. as a fatal objection to 'othismos/pushing' combat is that the officers/leaders stood
Quote:at the head of each file. Can you imagine the Officer furiously back-pedalling and screaming "NO!NO!" as the grinning file of 'squaddies/GI's' propel him relentlessly on to the waiting spears of their foes??

Where in the crowd video did you see a front rank policeman being propelled into the crowd out of control? It is the file that follows its leader in this example.

Quote:I venture to suggest that you can't "push" against a line of furiously jabbed pointy things/spears - you just can't get close enough to your opponents - and any 'othismos', if it does mean physical pushing, was not done as a co-ordinated phalanx ( it couldn't be - a co-ordinated shove on a 1,000 yard front? ) but rather 'localised', sporadic, and for the most part accidental. Like the 'fighting' riots, what you would see is a line seething and writhing along its front, but trying to maintain all-important cohesion, with sections moving forward, fighting for a minute or two, then drawing apart until one side 'breaks' - remembering that all retreats must start from the rear!!

Paul, this arguement is not even internally consistant. You cannot close with spearmen, but if you do you can only do so sporatically??? Who ever said that this has to occur on a 1,000 yard front in perfect coordination! I have told you so many times my fingers are numb that this need not be the case and more specifically that this level of coordination along the front of a parataxeis is not needed. I just showed the undulating front of the police line in that video.
Paul M. Bardunias
MODERATOR: [url:2dqwu8yc]http://www.romanarmytalk.com/rat/viewtopic.php?t=4100[/url]
A Spartan, being asked a question, answered "No." And when the questioner said, "You lie," the Spartan said, "You see, then, that it is stupid of you to ask questions to which you already know the answer!"
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#22
Paul B. wrote:
Quote:If you have a pelta and spear and I have an aspis and sword, then yes the penalty for fighting shield to shield is death for you- victory for me! 8)
...whilst that might be something of a mismatch, and the reason peltasts fought generally at a distance, so no self-respecting peltast would get into such a position, I'd venture to suggest to suggest that the skills of the individuals might play a part too.... :lol: :lol: :lol:

Quote:Paul, this arguement is not even internally consistant. You cannot close with spearmen, but if you do you can only do so sporatically???
Don't take things out of context, please ! I am sure most readers would understand I mean 'close' to combat distance i.e. spear thrusting range...

Quote:Who ever said that this has to occur on a 1,000 yard front in perfect coordination! I have told you so many times my fingers are numb that this need not be the case and more specifically that this level of coordination along the front of a parataxeis is not needed. I just showed the undulating front of the police line in that video.

My apologies.....you did indeed concede that a co-ordinated push by a whole phalanx was impossible long ago in our debates - though you began by advocating a 'mass-shove' by a phalanx......when I look back, I note that your hypothesis has evolved considerably, from a 'mass-shove' by a whole 'crowd/phalanx' packed belly-to-back unable to do anything but shuffle forward, to a much more dynamic 'leaning in/domino' model, and now, apparently...
Quote:Where in the crowd video did you see a front rank policeman being propelled into the crowd out of control? It is the file that follows its leader in this example.
....with no pressure at all on the leading rank ??? Subsequent ranks don't 'push' into the leader's back ?? Where is the irresistible co-ordinated 'crowd push' generating "thousands of pounds of pressure" like a crowd disaster in a football ground or pop concert causing asphyxiation, but for their aspides ( incidently only occurring in confined spaces) that your hypothesis began with? Now we are down to small groups or individual files 'shoving' by 'leaning in' - but not exerting pressure on the leading ranks?

It seems to me that you have all but come round to my way of thinking!! Smile D lol:

Quote:Except we just saw them doing just that in the riot video, so evidently it does not take a Kamikazi to push shield to shield.
...sure against passive unarmed people - no 'kamikaze' involved! And to save you the trouble I'll concede that in massed fighting, there will indeed be times in the 'seething and writhing' when charging or pushing brings men shield to shield despite the lethal weapons ( it can be sen in more violent rioting for example) and that is how men are killed in hand-to-hand combat - unable to maintain 'distance'.
Quote:Since I have no problem with doratismos, we would agree up to that point, and it is from there that this thread starts.

...since 'othismos' was a rarity in Hoplite battle, ( see e.g. "Land battles in 5 C BC Greece" by Fred Ray) presumably you mean on those rare occasions when 'shield-to-shield' combat came about ?? :wink:

Anyway, since you want to start with that as a given, I'll drop out and wait for reports Cole and co.'s next experiments ( or anyone else's, for that matter Smile D )
"dulce et decorum est pro patria mori " - Horace, ODES
(It is a sweet and proper thing to die for ones country)

"No son-of-a-bitch ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country" -GeorgeC Scott as General George S. Patton
Paullus Scipio/Paul McDonnell-Staff
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#23
People reading this would never guess I like you so much! Now back to the struggle:

Quote:My apologies.....you did indeed concede that a co-ordinated push by a whole phalanx was impossible long ago in our debates - though you began by advocating a 'mass-shove' by a phalanx......when I look back, I note that your hypothesis has evolved considerably, from a 'mass-shove' by a whole 'crowd/phalanx' packed belly-to-back unable to do anything but shuffle forward, to a much more dynamic 'leaning in/domino' model, and now, apparently...

This is a point I hoped to have addressed above. There are multiple ways in which the whole mechanic of entering othismos could occur. It is not so much a change of opinion as a broader presentation. Initially my concern was to show how a charge directly into othismos, as the current orthodoxy holds, is inferior to a shorter charge by densely packed ranks. As I mentioned above, once you have the ranks pulling up short, you open the possibility for extended doratismos. If, as seems to have been the case, men move into shield on shield range from spear range, their files could pack in behind them there. This would be directly analogous to the way the police came up in support when the whistle was blown in the video. Of course there are many ways to get hoplites into such a position, I don't pretend to have an exhaustive list. One last note is that it might be just as dangerous to move out of shield on shield range as it was getting into it, so there may be incentive to support the men at that range.


Quote:Where in the crowd video did you see a front rank policeman being propelled into the crowd out of control? It is the file that follows its leader in this example.....with no pressure at all on the leading rank ??? Subsequent ranks don't 'push' into the leader's back ?? Where is the irresistible co-ordinated 'crowd push' generating "thousands of pounds of pressure" like a crowd disaster in a football ground or pop concert causing asphyxiation, but for their aspides ( incidently only occurring in confined spaces) that your hypothesis began with? Now we are down to small groups or individual files 'shoving' by 'leaning in' - but not exerting pressure on the leading ranks?

No, you misunderstand. This is perhaps the hardest thing I have to convey. There is no great pressure without contact, both from behind and from in front. Thus great pressure it put on the back of the front rankers of both sides, but almost no movement. No one is being "propelled" in any sense. It is more like a squeeze, and when one side cannot take it any longer they take one step back. This releases the pressure until their foes take one step forward. Now this takes place basically simultaneously, but it is enough to cause variation in pressure over time. You are confusing this with the shuffling charge I mentioned as a superior alternative to the running charge, but the situation I describe in this thread, like the crowd video, is where the men are already in contact with the enemy. The heart of the system has always been one file pushing against another by leaning- this goes back to my first article. The only reason you need files beside them is that the other files help them stay in line. One thing that I may finally be able to show you in this video is that you don't need lateral boundaries like walls. If men in a file in a dense crowd with no boundaries tried to push out to the sides they would have to compress them crowd in that direction to make room. Just like when the police in the video try to push into a disorganized crowd, the act of pushing turns the crowd into a solid wall on that side of the file, preventing the man moving out of file. Only near the edges of the formation will the crowd be able to give way and allow such movement. This is why the edges and rear of the formation are not in a "crowd", and must actively resist pushing in their direction. Pushing to the right seems to have been a common feature of these formations for a variety of reasons, but holding them back on the right might require you to station your officers on that flank.
Paul M. Bardunias
MODERATOR: [url:2dqwu8yc]http://www.romanarmytalk.com/rat/viewtopic.php?t=4100[/url]
A Spartan, being asked a question, answered "No." And when the questioner said, "You lie," the Spartan said, "You see, then, that it is stupid of you to ask questions to which you already know the answer!"
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#24
Quote:This is why the edges and rear of the formation are not in a "crowd", and must actively resist pushing in their direction. Pushing to the right seems to have been a common feature of these formations for a variety of reasons, but holding them back on the right might require you to station your officers on that flank.

I'm not sure I understand that passage and that entire paragraph entirely.. Do you mean that the natural drift towards the right of a hoplite formation could actually be of (incidental) use to make sure that the formation remains packed at the sides? On the left side because men on the left push to the right in order to find more shelter? And on the right because this is where the most effective men are placed that can push against the drift towards the right? Would that mean that placing the elite units to the right is beneficial not only to combat the opponent's strongest flank (the shielded side) but also in order to keep the formation from "spilling out" to the right?
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#25
There is no way to know why the right side was considered the honorable one where usually the best troops were placed,but there are certainly many good explanations. It was already a tradition (we don't know how old) by the time we have "detailed" accounts of battles.

Paul B,i myself don't have doubts that things evolved very closely to what you describe once men found themselves shield to shield. Pretty much because there is no other way. And those videos prove it. I am basicly reffering to the body stance once others are pushing or even "supporting" you from behind.
To me the real debate is-or should be- to what extend this situation was desirable by either of the two parataxeis. For this thing we don't have evidence,we only have clues,that are debatable,as is evident from these discussions.
Personally i believe that this random thing of othismos was more and more desired by armies,but i also suspect that only experienced men would seek to enter in such situation. I prefer to say experienced (and brave) "men" rather than "phalanxes" to simulate the fact that othismos would never be a total,simultaneous situation but rather groups of men (enomotiae? lochoi?) would engage and perhaps disengage from it during battle.
I know that you agree in this too, but an important point is: how many armies had the experience among their men,and the morale to make othismos a frequent phenomenon? I can't help thinking that this was the secret weapon of the early lacedaemonian phalanx,and perhaps the Peloponnesian War that prosuced thousands of veterans was the main reason of the "decline" of the spartan phalanx in comparison to other armies.
But still the question remains, was "othismos", with all the different forms that it might have been taking at the same time, the esence of hoplitical battle? Because i don't think that it was a matter of the promachoi being forced to enter in it,but rather their spontaneous eagerness to really clash with their oponents. Then,their comrades would literally have to support them by adding their trikes behind their backs,and this means leaning towards them. And in such a case,the older rear rankers wouldn't let the other ranks leave their promachoi unsupported.

So,Paul M, disliked officers wouldn't get pushed into the wall of spear points unless they hadn't invoked this themselves. At the same time,we simply don't know that officers weren't actually gotten rid of in such ways, but i dare say this is very unlikely to have happened frequently given the form of ierarchy in greek armies. After all, even a false charge could condemn all ten Athenian Generals after Arginousae without such risky attemts.

Khairete
Giannis
Giannis K. Hoplite
a.k.a.:Giannis Kadoglou
a.k.a.:Thorax
[Image: -side-1.gif]
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#26
Sorry guys, I'm completely under the gun at work, I have barely skimmed since my last post. I'll read and respond this weekend...

Have fun!
Cole
Cole
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#27
Quote:Do you mean that the natural drift towards the right of a hoplite formation could actually be of (incidental) use to make sure that the formation remains packed at the sides?

If there was a rightward drift, and Thucydidies can be trusted for at least one percieved reason for it, hoplites wanting to cover their right side, then I think it natural that this would lead to crowding from left to right. It is usually assumed that whole units of men veered to the right, but kept their spacing, thus leading to a situation where two opposing blocks overlapped one eachother's right flank. I think it just as likely that spacing also reduced. This would not be formal, like a standard 1.5 foot decrease to what will later be called synaspsmos from close order. This may have been men who began with shields not overlapped at the start of the terminal "charge", ending with a slight overlap or at least less space between them. Adding up even small increments over the front of a line can lead to the percieved right wing overlap as both lines contract in opposite directions, even if there were no actual lateral movement at all to the right for the line as a whole. For me, I think it was something of a combination of drifting and contracting.

But yes, any "need" to push left ot cover your right, unshielded, side will tend to hold the crowd together in othismos.

Quote:And on the right because this is where the most effective men are placed that can push against the drift towards the right?

I think that officers would be more likely to be able to control any rightward drift, but as Giannis points out we have no clue why it started and where. This is simply food for thought.

In general I agree with all you wrote Giannis. One thing I have thought of is that othismos is perhaps the ultimate "democratic" tactic. You need every man in the unit to actively do something, and you benefit from unity within the group and the total spirit of the army. In doratismos, if you have a few front ranks of highly skilled fighters, the rest are basically moral support. If I had an army of farmers and I had to face the smaller, but professional group of warriors of a Tyrant, I'd sure love to be able to take it to othismos. When facing an opponent who is more highly skilled than you with a weapon, the best tactic is to close range on him so that he cannot use it effectively. If he has a spear, you move to sword range, if he has a sword, you move to knife range, and if he has a knife, you wrestle.

Then a second question becomes, once othismos was a possible stage of battle, how often was it used? Maybe it was a rare possibility at first, but always a threat. Maybe after its introduction it even went out of favor for a while and no battles actually lasted past doratismos. Then again, as you mentioned, those Spartans with their walk to battle that would allow them to maintain close spacing and enter othismos either quicker than their foes or directly on contact would seem to have a huge advantage. If I were an Argive and pulled up from my charge in with the file spacing a bit screwy and watched the Spartans walking right into "spear range" in tight files, I'd run too! Maybe this time they don't want to play at doratismos, and my file is not quite ready to support me.
Paul M. Bardunias
MODERATOR: [url:2dqwu8yc]http://www.romanarmytalk.com/rat/viewtopic.php?t=4100[/url]
A Spartan, being asked a question, answered "No." And when the questioner said, "You lie," the Spartan said, "You see, then, that it is stupid of you to ask questions to which you already know the answer!"
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#28
I would chime in on the issue of the rank that was lifted off it's feet. I do not think (in my personal view) there could be any more unnerving part to "Othismos". The phenomenon of being lifted and not being able to do anything (attack or defense) would be a psychological factor that should be taken into consideration. This would be a very good reason for a rout to occur. Maybe the whole point of clashing shield to shield was to get this to occur to the other side and very little spear or sword work was necessary. I am unable to think of a proper name for the "lifting" for future reference purposes. :wink:
Craig Bellofatto

Going to college for Massage Therapy. So reading alot of Latin TerminologyWink

It is like a finger pointing to the moon. DON\'T concentrate on the finger or you miss all the heavenly glory before you!-Bruce Lee

Train easy; the fight is hard. Train hard; the fight is easy.- Thai Proverb
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#29
Here is a page from a book on crowd disasters that discusses some of the things I described above. He discusses "high-energy" crowds. Othismos would be ultra-high energy because those guys are actually trying to generate maximum pressure and, if I correct about the aspis protecting the diapragm from compression, they could survive much higher pressures. Note he mentions how a rythmic element like rock music with heavy bass can increase the energy. I think this is where the dance training of Greeks comes in. Even without the music playing they are used to moving in lines and groups in unison.
Also note that less than ten men can generate 1,000 pounds of force. It is one thing when I say it, another to read it independantly Smile
Paul M. Bardunias
MODERATOR: [url:2dqwu8yc]http://www.romanarmytalk.com/rat/viewtopic.php?t=4100[/url]
A Spartan, being asked a question, answered "No." And when the questioner said, "You lie," the Spartan said, "You see, then, that it is stupid of you to ask questions to which you already know the answer!"
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#30
Folks,

Since my last posting I've had time to decompress by both reading the thread in it's entirety and gathering with a couple of my closest friends (Christian and Aurora) to conduct a few further experiments. One of the results of that is that I have an ice pack on my face as I type this, but more on that later. I'm going to respond in sections as this will progress more naturally in that fashion.

*** The Classical Stance ***

When I used the term "classical" stance, I am referring to a stance for pushing consistent with the descriptions of Arrian in Tact. 16.13-14, where he tells us that men don't stand shoulders square to front, but rather pushes on the shoulder and the side of the man in front of him. This is also consistent with Xenophon's Cyropaedia, where he tells us in 7.1.33 that the Egyptian's shields are an aid to pushing when set on the shoulder.

When this is combined with the many images and figures of hoplites, a stance with the hips anywhere from 45 to 90 degrees off of the line of the shield would appear to be consistent, and satisfy Arrian and Xenophon.

Thus, the pushing stance looks much like this:

[attachment=1:3fwks02o]<!-- ia1 Othismos - Classical.JPG<!-- ia1 [/attachment:3fwks02o]

Christian, Aurora, and I all tried it out, and while as an inveterate fencer he tends to adopt a 90 degree stance, while Aurora and I tend more to the 45 degree range, all of us were able to exert forward pressure against a fixed object (a wall) despite the difference . As we exerted that pressure the shield was pushed back from the more commonly seen shield square across the front guards we see on vases, where the shield is angle out from the body at the bottom, until it was pushed back into our leg. So, there were in effect 4 points of contact: our shoulders, our elbow, hand, and thigh.

*** Combining Pushing in the "Classical" Stance ***

If Arrian and Xenophon are correct, and the art representative, we should be able to combine our pushing efforts in this stance.

First Christian put his aspis to my side and shoulder and pushed as hard as he could. I could feel the increased pressure in my shoulder and my thigh as I was driven harder against the wall. However, the convex surface of the aspis nestled so perfectly into the curvature of my side above the hip that there was no rotational pressure at all; the additional force was being transferred directly through my body to my shoulder, while the counterpressure of my leg kept the shield from rolling under. Finally Aurora joined the file, and added her not inconsiderable strength to the press. The pressure on my shoulder and thigh increased even further, and the lead aspides literally groaned aloud under the strain. Throughout this, neither Christian or I felt the least pressure driving our bodies to rotate square to the fore.

*** Conclusion: Pushing from Classical Sources ***

Based on this, I am comfortable concluding that the method for collective pushing that can be derived from Arrian and Xenophon and classical imagery is a functional method for delivering addition force. In addition, one of the arguments against, namely that the pressure from behind must drive the body square to fore does not appear to be borne out by experiment. Rather, the convex outside face of the aspis fits neatly into the curvature of the body in this stance, and force is directed straight through to the lead shoulder. Pressure on the face of the shield does cause the bottom lip to the aspis to be pushed back, but it makes contact with the thigh when it is perpendicular. Its my feeling that this allows the force generated by an individual hoplite's efforts to be be delivered straight ahead. When many individuals are combined in a file pushing creaties an additive effect that produces a significant force because it is all directed in a line parallel to the ground, as shown in the following diagram:

[attachment=0:3fwks02o]<!-- ia0 Classical Othismos File - Arrow.JPG<!-- ia0 [/attachment:3fwks02o]
Cole
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