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Little background - I am taking a class on ancient warfare. We have two primary textbooks we use in class. The first is "Warfare in the Ancient World" which is written by one of the instructors Brian Carey and was published in 2005. The second is "Origins of War: From the Stone Age to Alexander the Great" by Arther Ferril and published in 1997.

Now in the Brian Carey book the Hoplite is said to be named after hopla a general term for the gear a hoplite wore into battle and that the shield is called the aspis. This is on page 38. As I understand it this is the terminology accepted today.

When I read Ferrill (who I will avoid further comment on because after reading two of his books I do not really like him) I am told that the hoplite is named after the hoplon which is the name for the shield. This is on page 101.

When did this change? Was what Ferrill wrote accurate as far as things were thought in 1997? Or is he one of the authors or continuing perpetrators of the myth about the name that has been around for so long?

Part of the reason I ask is the first book by Brian Carey, at least according to the Bibliography and citation section, draws rather heavily from Ferrill but he doesnt copy him on the naming item and makes no comment why. But then again Carey has no problem straight out saying that Alexander the Great died of malaria, a statement that I know he cannot back up since no one knows exactly what Alexander died of or even the exact time frame of illness and death since the accounts conflict with each other. So I dont consider Carey all that great a source since he makes such bold unsupportable statements.
Read this: The Myth of the Hoplite's Hoplon
J. F. Lazenby and David Whitehead
The Classical Quarterly, New Series, Vol. 46, No. 1 (1996), pp. 27-33

http://www.jstor.org/stable/639557

If you cannot access it, email me
Thanks. Sounds to me like its just a really old brain bug that lazy or misinformed historians continue to pass around because they are not looking at any of the origional source material itself.

Would you consider it to still be a fairly common mistake in the community? Or if you came across it today would be an indication of someone sticking to older inaccurate sources?
I read something about your instructor Carey here: http://antoninuspius.blogspot.com/. He doesnt seem to be a very great source.
Part of the problem is that there was no word specifically for what we now call the hoplite shield- double-gripped and domed. A Greek hoplite would call his shield and "aspis", but he might call any big shield an aspis or a hill that looked domed might be called aspis. Sometimes it was qualified as "Argive aspis", for tradition holds that the particular shape arose there (Pliny even found names of the two men who first created them). I have also seen "Laconian aspides" mentioned, and sometimes the distinction between aspis and peltae can get blurred too.

Hoplon, to my knowlede refers to a tool associated with warfare. Thus a Pan-(h)oply was all of ones gear for war, and a Hoplite was a man geared for war. Since a shield is part of the hoplite's gear, perhaps his most important item, it could be referred to as "hoplon". But this was not a common usage and it is not from the shield alone, but the whole panoply that a hoplite gets his name.
Laconian Aspices? Very interesting, is there any more information about it?

I wonder why they made a distinction, perhaps because the Lakonian shield had a different size?
Quote:I read something about your instructor Carey here: http://antoninuspius.blogspot.com/. He doesnt seem to be a very great source.


Very interesting. I find the article funny and accurate. It is also a bit ironic a well. For our research paper in the class he has required at least 9 source with at least 3 of them being primary sources. So he demands a higher percentage of primary sources than he himself used to write the textbook.

I am surprised the review made no mention of Alexander the Great considering Carey decides to ignore all the various opinions and theories on his death and state flat out that Alexander died of malaria. In fact he does not even mention that there are other theories. If you read his book alone you would think everyone knew Alexander died of malaria.
Well, I know I had read years ago the hoplite was called tha tdue to his sheild, 'sometimes' referred to as a Hoplon, or aspice.....
But that was some time back......Only very recently have I become aware of the dislike of this description. :roll: :?
Quote:Laconian Aspices? Very interesting, is there any more information about it? I wonder why they made a distinction, perhaps because the Lakonian shield had a different size?

No there probably was not, though the famous spartan shield dedicated as booty from Pylos is not perfectly round, but slightly oval. From Pritchett's book "The Greek State at War", the phrase "aspides lakedaemonikai" appears in an ancient inventory of treasures.
I thought that was just due to the crushed state of it.... :?
Im quite certain it is round but in a crushed state. The word hoplon till today means ''arm/weapon''. Hoplite means ''man at arms''. We have to consider that in classical era, where warfare had an almost ritual form there were 3 basic categories of fighting men. Cavalry, hoplites and ranged skirmishers. Except the class of skirmishers where there is variety in weapons, cavalry and especially heavy infantry are almost uniform. That uniformity is expected from men that fight within a system and not just running ahead in mad tribal charges like hooligans. So less or more if you wanted to be part of the phalanx you had to have a certain minimum equipment.
Personally i dont expect great variations or localised special gear ever to be found, for warriors fighting in phalanx. ''Lakedaimonian shields'' propably meant the origin of a devoted spoil of war. Not a special kind of shield.
Quote:Im quite certain it is round but in a crushed state.

Can you reference that? I would very much like that shield to be round for a variety of reasons, but I have not seen proof that it was.

As to laconian shields, it is very unlikely that there was any difference form other apsies. There is clearly variation in the diameter of aspises, but I do not know how much of this was contemporary and within the same army.
Quote:
Quote:Im quite certain it is round but in a crushed state.

Can you reference that? I would very much like that shield to be round for a variety of reasons, but I have not seen proof that it was.

As to laconian shields, it is very unlikely that there was any difference form other apsies. There is clearly variation in the diameter of aspises, but I do not know how much of this was contemporary and within the same army.

I ve seen it and im 99.9% sure that it is a normal round shield not at its best state. We are talking about the one with the inscription ''???????? ??? ????????????? ?? ????'' right?
I've seen it too, and am also 100% certain.
Well,I've seen it too and i'm 100% sure that one cannot say if it was round or oval simply because it is horribly preserved. Fragments mostly. So i would say it used to be round like all the other well preserved shields. It's illogical to suggest the oposite, you can't say that oval hoplitical aspides existed based in this item.
Khairete
Giannis
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