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When taking Xenophon as a source, the Spartan had considerable forces under their command during the Asian Campaigns and the Corinthian war.

A brief summery:
The Spartan general Thibron was send to Asia with 1000 emancipated helots and 4000 allies, all hoplites. Also 300 Athenian cavalry.
Remnants of the army who undertook the Anabis were incorporated in the army, around 6000 soldiers, mostly hoplites
Later Agesilaus took over command and brought another force 2000 emancipated helots and 6000 allies to Asia. Also all hoplites.
Agesilaus raised troops from the "Asian-Greeks", among them 1500 cavalry of superb quality.
The Odrysian king send 300 Thracian peltast en 200 cavalry to Agesilaus.
Spithridates defected too Agesilaus with 200 elite cavalry and later the Paphlagonians send 1000 cavalry and 2000 peltast.
I think it is safe to estimate that Agesilaus had more than 20.000 hoplites, several thousands skirmishers an 2000 cavalry under his command.

The Spartan "home army" which took the field at Nemea in 394 was also quite considerable:
6000 Laconian hoplites (of all spartan classes. Maybe 1500 - 2000 Spartiats ??)
9000 allied hoplites who stayed loyal to Sparta
600 cavalry, 300 cretan archers and 400 slingers

Although the bulk of the army were mercenaries and allies form all over Greece i think the army was in good quality. Agelisaus gave prices to the best units of hoplites, peltast, archers and cavalry ( prices in equipment, condition, training etc). His Ionian cavalry defeated the Thessilian cavalry prior to the battle of Coronea.

If Xenophon numbers are somewhat correct this proves the power Sparta still had. I hope someone wants to comment on these numbers or has more information about these forces (other sources, articles or books ??)

regards
Diodorus Siculus perhaps??
Quote: I think it is safe to estimate that Agesilaus had more than 20.000 hoplites, several thousands skirmishers an 2000 cavalry under his command.

And if those numbers stand up they cast the “achievementsâ€
A group that gets lost in the shuffle is the disenfranchised Spartiates. There numbers were growing as the number of full citizens diminished, and some percentage of these will have gone through agoge and been syssytia members recently. There were enough of them to make Lysander's bid for their (dis)affection a terrifying prospect to the spartiates.
[quote]And if those numbers stand up they cast the “achievementsâ€
Question. Would it be plausible for the Spartiates of this period to wear the linothorax, while emancipated helots and peroikoi wore a simple tunic? Or perhaps the peroikoi, being merchants, wore the linothorax while the Homoioi did not?
Quote:Question. Would it be plausible for the Spartiates of this period to wear the linothorax, while emancipated helots and peroikoi wore a simple tunic? Or perhaps the peroikoi, being merchants, wore the linothorax while the Homoioi did not?


This is certainly plausible. It s said that during the Peloponesian war Greek forces mostly abandoned their body armour (only two major hoplite battles in 31 years !!!). After that manny hoplites began to wear linothorax and musclethorax again.
The Spartans would als wear the openfaced pilos-helmet
But it's only speculation and pure modern thinking. 2 Major battes in 31 years says nothing. There were dozens other battles and these were not necessarily smaller that the usual,old,traditional,regional battles.
We just DON'T KNOW what they wore. No ancient source said that hoplites abandoned their armor. In fact there are mentions of soldiers being hit through armor. The speculation derives from the fashion of art in late 5th century. But was it just fashion? Interestingly,most people are ready to accept that the majority of hoplites abandoned armor at that time,but they consider nudity in all previous battle depictions as artistic license and heroic nudity!
Unfortunately the decline in Spartan economy among other things influenced the bronze statuettes production. These give a fairly good picture of Spartan soldier from the 7th-6th century bc. Guess what! They're exactly the same as any other hoplite from the rest of Greece!
Khaire
Giannis
Quote:But was it just fashion? Interestingly,most people are ready to accept that the majority of hoplites abandoned armor at that time,but they consider nudity in all previous battle depictions as artistic license and heroic nudity!

This is the major problem with relying on vase depictions. It is very difficult to say what is really current and what is anachronistic, as well as what is common and what is rare. Heroic nudity seems to me a valid concept, but heroic tunic-wearing is less likely. So I do believe in the loss of body armor. Since it is never completely gone, the question becomes how common was it and who wore it? Even when it appears to come back is unclear for we must deal with the possibility that the depictions are anachronistic or represent an ideal. In Europe is was fashionable to have your portrait painted in half-armor long after it had dissapeared from widespread battlefield use.

The one thing we do know is that helmets became more opened and offered less protection to the face and neck. It would be odd if armor was as useful as in the past that the only place it should dissapear was from the face and neck- your most vulnerable area considering the coverage of an aspis.
Quote:Heroic nudity seems to me a valid concept, but heroic tunic-wearing is less likely
Doesn't this mean that heroic nudity is also not so likely as well? What makes it unlikely? The nudity? If it was this,then why all those statuettes and vases with fully armed early hoplites with bell cuirasses,greaves,thigh and arm guards but NO chiton?

I don't believe that armor came and went away at any point,at least not as a fashion nor as an intentional lightness of armor. In all ancient societies there were a percentage with armor and one with less or not at all. What were the factors that made the Greeks abandon and then again re-equip themselves with even more armor than before?
There is also the possibility that the hoplites had the necessary armor and they used some parts of it or all of it according to the situation. For example in the late 5th century both Athenian and their allies and Laconian and Peloponnesian troops were used in naval battles,night asoults and ordinary phalanx battles. I'm sure if the passengers of a trirreme were ordered to form the phalanx and march in an enemy territory 2 kms from the coast,they were better armored than when they were disembarked in a small beach from were they would asoult a small enemy castle some dark night and return back on the ships.
Thucydides gives many times indication of body armor talking about "thorakes",even when the Plataeans asoulted the Spartan wall!
As for helmets, the later chalkidean helmets,for instance,did not provide less protection than the earlier Illyrian,nor the early chalkidean of the late sixth-early fifth century bc.
In my opinion the key is that hoplites took much different responsibilities from the Peloponnesian wars and afterwards. The Spartans in Sphacteria were ship passengers. The fact they wore pilos cap doesn't mean they always wore this type of helmet. Given that most young men during the Peloponnesian war took part in irregular skirmishing rather than hoplite battles,and many times served also as rowers as well as passengers(there are such instances mentioned),it is logical that most gravestones depict lightly armed men.
The problem is we don't know the percentage of armed men in a phalanx for any given period. How can we say they abandoned armor?
Khairete
Giannis
IMHO, I find it highly unlikely that the Greeks would abandon armour fully, and then "rediscover" their utility 50 years later. So I would surmise that a decent percentage of hoplites would still wear armour throughout this period.
Quote:Doesn't this mean that heroic nudity is also not so likely as well? What makes it unlikely? The nudity? If it was this,then why all those statuettes and vases with fully armed early hoplites with bell cuirasses,greaves,thigh and arm guards but NO chiton?

I idea of linking nudity and heroism is a common one, surely the root of the nude-fighting in some gauls. There is no simmilar explanation for showing men in combat in their every day clothes. Add to this that we see the characteristic unfastening of the right shoulder, which is a touch of realism that I think indicates authenticity.

Quote:What were the factors that made the Greeks abandon and then again re-equip themselves with even more armor than before?

Fashion and utility. There is a parallel to the lose of the cuirasse by early modern cavalry (a fashion I have seen attributed to the men of Gustavus Adolfus imitating their king who had a wound from a Polish musket that made wearing armor difficult. Just as likely that his men could not afford cuirasses.) Perhaps more important was the popularity of a variety of irregular light cavalry: bosniaks, hussars, etc. After a long period of loss, the cuirassier would reemerge as the preeminent cavalry of europe.

In the hoplite context we see them doing a lot more marching than simple to and from a set battleground. Hard marching mercenaries surely shed any superfluous and expensive elements of panoply. Were sons making do with partial inherited armor? Here wealth plays a role.

Add to this my Phalanx-as-crowd theory. If as I belive, the othismos became the preeminent phase of battle in this period, then men in the pressed ranks with their aspis before them had less need for a thorakes or greaves. The pilos helmet, widely adopted by the Spartans and Thebans (even more than the boetian) provided no protection for the face and neck, but was well suited to protect against the sort of chopping overhand blows expected in the press and better allowed both hearing and breathing. When the Othismos loses its dominance, these advantages dissapear.

Quote:The problem is we don't know the percentage of armed men in a phalanx for any given period. How can we say they abandoned armor?

I agree. Were most men armed? few? Did the percentage change over time or simply the portrayals? Were the front rankers armored or were the armored men simple scattered in the ranks? old men perhaps? Rich?

Hard to know.
Quote:Fashion and utility. There is a parallel to the lose of the cuirasse by early modern cavalry (a fashion I have seen attributed to the men of Gustavus Adolfus imitating their king who had a wound from a Polish musket that made wearing armor difficult. Just as likely that his men could not afford cuirasses.) Perhaps more important was the popularity of a variety of irregular light cavalry: bosniaks, hussars, etc. After a long period of loss, the cuirassier would reemerge as the preeminent cavalry of europe.

.
Going a littlte out of topic, I disagree in some details, the cuirassiers of Gustavus Adolfus times wore the lobster half armour, that never returned. Also, I would say that the preeminent cavalry of Europe to reemerge were lancers.
Going back to the topic, the main factor is the kind of war you are fighting. Armour is fine for short campaigns with pitched battles. The longer the campaign. the marches, the skirmishes, the more encumbrance armour gets. However, if the war gets very long and armies become very professional, armour returns as soldiers get servants to carry the armour.
Quote:Going a littlte out of topic, I disagree in some details, the cuirassiers of Gustavus Adolfus times wore the lobster half armour, that never returned. Also, I would say that the preeminent cavalry of Europe to reemerge were lancers.

A bit confusing because I was referring to the actual breast-plate when I wrote cuirasse, which Gustavus could not wear. Only a small portion of his armored cavalry were in half armor, such as those from Courland. The majority was in breast-plate alone- with our without buff coat.

Saddly, since I have a genetic affinity to lancers through my mother's Polish blood, the Cuirassier was the preeminent cavalry of the the early 19th c. They were the heavies, with the biggest horses and the most expensive, while the Lancers would always be considered light cavalry. I agree that were you on the ground at Albuera you might have a different opinion.
Quote:
Quote:Going a littlte out of topic, I disagree in some details, the cuirassiers of Gustavus Adolfus times wore the lobster half armour, that never returned. Also, I would say that the preeminent cavalry of Europe to reemerge were lancers.

A bit confusing because I was referring to the actual breast-plate when I wrote cuirasse, which Gustavus could not wear. Only a small portion of his armored cavalry were in half armor, such as those from Courland. The majority was in breast-plate alone- with our without buff coat.

Saddly, since I have a genetic affinity to lancers through my mother's Polish blood, the Cuirassier was the preeminent cavalry of the the early 19th c. They were the heavies, with the biggest horses and the most expensive, while the Lancers would always be considered light cavalry. I agree that were you on the ground at Albuera you might have a different opinion.
However, Gustavus enemies, Imperial and Catholic League cuirassiers, did wear half armour, that was what I was refering to.
And lancers returned as the preeminent heavy cavalry just after the Napoleonic Wars, when cuirassiers regiments were transformed into lancers everywhere.
Already in the last Napoleonic campaigns lancers were increasingly important, not just in the French army (Polish regiments) but also in other armies, acting as flanking units of heavy cavalry. Their increasing succes meant that by the time of the Franco-Prussian war all the heavy cavalry were lancers.
The reson for that is simple, and speaks loud about fashion in war. Lancers were dominant in Europe up to the late XVI century. Then cuirassiers displaced them, deployed 8 ranks deep, and armed with sword and pistol, their columns could cut through the line of gendarmes deployed en haye.
Then, when they no longer had to contend with heavily armoured gendarmes, cuirassiers started to deploy thinner and to carry less armour. By the time of the Napoleonic Wars, cuirassiers carried only brestplate and deployed in three distant lines of a single rank each. They were very vulnerable again to a line of lancers.
The development of fire arms, put an end to the return of the cavalry column of half armoured cuirassiers...
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