Full Version: Spartan Hoplite Impression - was "Athenian Hoplite&quot
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
Pages: 1 2 3
Is that even a word? Athenian?

Anyway, working on my Hoplite impression, Ive decided I need to narrow it down to specific time and place.

While specific time is more general than anything, I'm going with 5th century BC to 3rd century BC. And I only use that, because of the few books I have, they date things by clumps of 2-3 centuries.

For place, I want to do a hoplite from Athens.


is there any data on Grecian names by area? From what Ive collected (again very scarce) it seems most Athens-based names end in "cles" (as opposed to Spartan names that tended to end in "us/as") apparently. Would this be a correct assumption?

Aspis: can it be decorated with personal signal, or need I follow Deepeka's design with the big "A"? (not fond of that design BTW)

Helmets: Corinthian style okay?

Armour: I will make a Linothrax for now and hammer out a muscled curiass as soon as I find armouring/hammering bronze at a decent price (good luck there, I know :roll: ) Anything of special note with Athens-based armour? More-common designs painted on them? Anything like that.

Length of spear... Here Im confused. Ive read so many varying lengths, but none go into which cities used what length.

Anyhow, if anyone can PLEASE offer me advice on good books or other research into Ancient Athens, I would be greatly appreciative. I will use this thread to mark my progress from concept to execution. PLEASE feel free to 'nudge my elbow' if during concept I go off in the wrong direction!!

As it stands, I own "Warfare in the Classic World" and that's it Sad I really enjoy the book, it has lots of info, clearly cut timelines and good illustrations. Please let me know of any others that are good for researching into kit.

Thank you very kindly.
Quote:Is that even a word? Athenian?
:lol: Whats your beef with Athenian, Jason? :lol:
LOL I just didn't know if that was the right term Smile Like Grecian... is it Grecian, or Greecian?
Helmet questions:

Assuming a Corinthian helm is okay, these are my favorites....

[Image: corinthian_helm02_small.jpg]

[Image: corinthian_helm01_small.jpg]

[Image: ThespeianHelmet480BG.jpg]

The last one is from Helenic Art and theirs is cast our of really heavy bronze (and expensive)

I will be making my own helmet. Originally, I am thinking of hammering it from sheet bronze (if I can find it) otherwise, Ill use brass. However, this Helenic Art place has brought up the question in my mind: would it be authentic to cast one?

Using the lost-wax method, I could get results as good or better than hammered and any scroll-work/design embossing could be sculpted in and be part of the casting. But would that even be permissable?
Hello Jason. First of all,5th-3rd century bc is not at all specific. In early 4th century many changes took place in the armies of Greece(by the way,instead of Grecian,you can use Greek.though the right word is "hellenic"). I suppose you're more interested in the early 5th century,when the corinthian helm was still in wide use. The helmets you posted here are inspired from Connolly's illustrated book "Greece and Rome at War" which i thing any reenactor would recommend you as a "must" along with the one you already have. The firt corinthian is accurate in shape but no such decoration has been found on a corinthian. In fact I have ordered that same corinthian-the original one,now in Corinth museum- from manning imperial. The second corinthian with the ear holes is also accurate. The last one is accurate,too.The decoration may be a b it exagerated for corinthians of this era,but maybe not. It's ok,but it's cast,and this is very heavy and inaccurate. The encient ones were not cast,they were hammered,though some parts may had been cast in a first stage of construction. Truth is we don't really know. But no cast,that's for sure.
Now,an Athenian of that time would look pretty much the same as any other hoplite in Greece. He would have worn corinthian,or chalcidean,or attic,or even early thracian helmet. He would carry a round rimed shield 80-95 cm diameter,12-15cm deep. His armour would be the linothorax,perhaps partially or fully covered by metal scales,or no scales at all. If he was very reach,of a good family he may have worn a muscled cuirass,a bit stylized if we're talking around 500bc. A bit earlier than 500 bc,say 520-510 bc a late bell cuirass may had been worn. His greaves would be muscled ones,so closely fitting to the legs that they stayed in place wihout any loops or straps.They just covered the entire leg and the springiness of the bronze kept it there.
His sword would have been leaf shaped,40-60 cm long. The curved shord,the kopis was starting to be used by te late 6th century bc throught the hellenistic times.
The spear varried in lenght.At that time there was no standard spear length,nor did different states use different lenghts. You'll be accurate if you make it about 2,4 m involving the spear head and butt spike(sauroter) .The spears had a pointy but spike,usually of bronze but some times of iron. This protected the sgaft,allowed for sticking the spear to the ground,served as a secondary weapon if you lost your spear point and was perhaps used when pushing(othismos) occured. Finally,it may served to kill fallen enemies under your feet.
No cloak was used in battle,except PERHAPS by the Spartans.
Names.Athenian names is the most easy thing to find. Your asumption about names was a huge generalization,not entirely wrong. I suggest opening any historical book about ancient greece and you'll find irritatingly many Athenian names. Also you can search for grave stelae in Athens or search for olympic champions' names. See who's Athenian(yes there are such lists on the net for all the Olympiads) and chose. Generally Athenian(Ionian) names end in -cles, -ides, -ates, -ias, -demos, -ades etc etc. Spartans names often end in -idas, which is the same as -ides,but in Doric dialect. -demos becomes -damos and so on.
Fantastic Giannis, thank you so very kindly! You must have a great many examples with which to see out there. Ive seen one Corinthian style helmet in my life and it was half crushed. Did you make all of your kit yourself? Do you have any pointers you can lead me to?

Another huge conundrum.....

I was reading through my "Warfare in the Ancient World" and came across an illustration of a hoplite on page 47 (I think it was 47). Upon reading the passage, it speaks of the men being known for their long hair and a few other quirks that I can relate to. It was actually a passage on a Spartan!

I guess when it comes right down to it, I wonder who I would best *look* like? Are the Spartans the only folk known for their long hair? Was long hair common, or rare in Athens? Or anywhere else?

I really know so little and I want to serve the memory of these Ancient ancestors as best I can and not do something horribly backward. The reason I ask about the hair is that I have very long hair. I’m also fair skinned (probably not a good thing when trying to portray a Mediterranean fellow) and hazel eyed. Which state/clan might I best reflect in how I personally look?

I am of German and Irish/Scottish (we're not sure if its Scott or Irish) ancestry before the families moved to America.

[Image: clev_museum01.jpg]

[Image: clev_museum02.jpg]

What most stays my hand from portraying Spartan is the movie “300â€
Quote:Should I stick with Athens, or change to another city/state/clan? I do not particularly know much more about Athens than I do anywhere else. So if m going to change venues, I had better do it now, before I invest a load of time into research!

Athens! Pthew! Your lighter coloration would fit better with a Spartan (if you want to keep the hair- but lose the moustache :wink: ) or Arcadian. Perhaps a Thessalian would be interesting. As to the panoply, there is really not much difference between the states for most of the periods you are looking at- thought for a brief time at the end of the 5th century helmet styles seem to be differentially preffered. I can't add much to Giannis' excellent post (though I can hear Ken bristling at your "PERHAPS").
I have a large number of vase images saved, most are of course Athenians, and I'll gladdly pass on some of the most interesting if you come up with a clearer picture of what you want.

Quote:Spartans names often end in -idas, which is the same as -ides,but in Doric dialect. -demos becomes -damos and so on.

You left out -ias for Spartans. As in Pausanias, and! :wink:
Hello Jason, wecome to the phalanx!

Please use Giannis post as a basis.
Choose the period and narrow down on it. (helps with costs).

The easy part is the chiton which is a simple garment and the cloack whicj is even simpler. The tie you can spent and your budget will fix the aror issue.

Then choose what the background of the likly hoplite woudl be and we can guide you with unit details and emblems

Kind regards
Welcome Jason,
You have certainly come to the right place and fallen amongst a den of Hoplitophiles. Raising a helmet can be a technically daunting task according to those who have done it...more strength to you if you can manage that. Casting has its own technical problems not the least being little, none IMHO, literary, archeological or pictorial evidence for it being done. Some modern reproductions are cast and some are "cold cast" that is a mixture of bronze and or other metallic powders are mixed with resin and poured into a mould - both tend to be heavy and thick - too thick to wear comfortably. Yes the lost wax statues in bronze were cast but the evidence favours that original helmets being hammer raised as a dome or hammered over a stone form.

Look at other peoples impressions and you'll get a a good idea of what will suit you. See

Good luck - this forum only gets better and the people are always willing to share what they have.
Quote:You must have a great many examples with which to see out there.
Well,not THAT many,given that most of the greatest examples are now abroad. But yes,there is a fairly food number in Olympia nad other museums. In my city there is one corinthian and some Illyrians.
Quote:I guess when it comes right down to it, I wonder who I would best *look* like? Are the Spartans the only folk known for their long hair? Was long hair common, or rare in Athens? Or anywhere else?
In art you can destinguish the older from the younger men by two basic characteristics. Their beard,and their hair. Older men have beards(older meaning from their 30s afterwards) and long hair,that often look like cut short because they gathered them up and in front,in the forehead.This was not obligatory of cource,but at least in nthe beginning of the fifth century long hair were very frequent in all city states. Spartans had this as a custom,of cource,which again doesn't mean that EVERY Spartan HAD to have long hair and a beard. In fact they were allowed to do so only after 20,when they took their place in the phalanx and became eirenes(took a boy under their protection). In all,don't bother about your long hair,they're a good characteristic!
Quote: (though I can hear Ken bristling at your "PERHAPS").
Haha. Right. I believe they wore them,but the debate is still open and I'm in the "losing" side,so i didn't want this post in this thread to become the start of the same debate again! Smile
Your skill is excellent in drawing,Jason. perhaps you could draw what you have in mind after a bit of research,and we can tell you what needs change....
Supplyers...The most dedicated one in accurate greek stuff is Craig from His work is excellent. i alreeady have a helmet(the corinthian i'm holding in my avatar,which I've been donated) and have ordered yet another corinthian. i also have a spear point and butt spike. Forgot to say that the MAIN use of the sauroter was to move the point of balance further backwards,so the spear became more maneuverable and had greater reach.
Other suplyers. There is anothe excellent armourer in Spain. I don't know him but his work is great. You'll find info on hin in the "Carthaginian officer 405bc" thread. These may be somewhat expensive,but you know what you get. Now most re-enactors build their kit starting with deepeeka products. Some of these products look accurate enough to start with until you build or buy your own custom made stuff.
I made my linothorax,chiton,cloak and sword. In summer I'll go for a shield.
Deepeeka sell only massively to other companies and there are many out there from where you can buy the items. Some are more relyable than others,but other members know these better. I haven't got anything from deepeeka so i don't really know.
Thank you everyone. I am very glad Ive come here with my questions!

Okay, Ill try and narrow down my ideas, now that I have a clearer picture of what I'm looking at.

I like the Peloponnesian war and Persian wars. So that's, what, mid 400s to early 400s' BC?

About the lighter skin complexion: I'm glad you pointed that out. I wasn't sure if I was right in thinking those of Ionic descent were Mediterranean and those of Dorian descent (being of the north) were lighter skinned.

So i guess it makes more sense for me to do a Spartan impression. At least there is a lot of info available in English for which I can study! lol Actually, the more I read on the Spartans, the more I like them.

I guess I should change the post title to "Spartan Hoplite Impression"

The helmet is going to be a chore. I'm working on a kettle helm (Eisenhut) right now, raising it from one piece. Not a deep a a Corinthian, but a god starter project. If I can successfully complete the Kettle hat, Ill move on to a Sallet, then to the Corinthian.

The rest of it is pretty easy. Ive made quite a bit of historic clothing and some extent pieces of armour.

For the Linothorax, should it be made of layers of canvass weight linen? Or of lighter (shirt weight) linen? Or canvass weight on the outside and shirt-weight near the inside?

I cant thank everyone enough for all their kind words and gracious help!
Quote:So i guess it makes more sense for me to do a Spartan impression. At least there is a lot of info available in English for which I can study! lol Actually, the more I read on the Spartans, the more I like them.

Yea, we are cool 8) If you'd like to save some money on books, I have many papers on different aspects of Spartan history I can email you. Send me an email and I'll reply.
Complexion!!!!!! Ionian Doric!!! :? ? ? ?
B :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: t!!!!!!!!

Find me the scientific paper that say this! Sources??????

Don let people confuse you Jason and do the impression you like :!: :!: :!:

Kind regards
Quote:Yes the lost wax statues in bronze were cast but the evidence favours that original helmets being hammer raised as a dome or hammered over a stone form.
Which evidence? Are insinuating that they first casted a flat sheet metal out of which they then raised a helmet with different material thicknesses? Instead of casting a basic helmet shape and then working it over? :roll:
Welcome to RAT my friend!!I wouldnt be over worried about my skin pigmentation..i understand that you wish to have as accurate a portrayal as possible but dont worry.Once the osithismos begins its more important to have an aspis if you follow me.
Im a fan of the persian/peloponnesian period myself..probably the most defining period for greece.The period is from around 490ish-410 if i remember correctly or something like that. Good luck and dont be afraid to keep asking questions,the guys around here are very knowledgeable and gents(and theres a few ladies too)to boot.
Pages: 1 2 3