Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Roman Phalangites and Hoplites
#1
Salvete omnes amici! Did the Romans ever use hoplites or phalangites in battle? I'm not talking about Rome during the Latin and Italic Wars, I mean during the late republic and imperial period.

Gratias vobis ago!
HONOR VICTORIAQVE TECVM

John F.
Reply
#2
No, by then the Romans defeated the countries that used that type of soldier. Why would they? There's just Caracalla's reported Alexandrine phalanx, but that's most likely a propaganda move: Look, I'm like Alexander and my soldiers are like Alexander's!
Greets!

Jasper Oorthuys
Webmaster & Editor, Ancient Warfare magazine
Reply
#3
Jasper is not entirely correct, a tomb stone has been found which called the infantryman a 'phalangarii', also see this link- http://historum.com/ancient-history/1347...anxes.html
Adrian Coombs-Hoar
Reply
#4
It all has to do with what you are meaning with the terms 'hoplite' and 'phalangite'. If you mean what most gamers mean, that is the Greek hoplite as armed in the 5th century BC and the Greek sarissa bearing phalangite as used by Alexander or Pyrrhus, then no, the Romans did not arm themselves in this fashion, apart from some more or less uncertain exceptions. However, both these terms in the sources only mean infantryman of the line, so the Roman legionnaires are also called hoplites and yes, we can also have phalangarii etc.
Macedon
MODERATOR
Forum rules
George C. K.
῾Ηρακλῆος γὰρ ἀνικήτου γένος ἐστέ
Reply
#5
Did you have a look at that line I posted George?
Adrian Coombs-Hoar
Reply
#6
The argument is semantic. If you want to define a "phalanx" as a formation that utilises some kind of shield wall then the Romans used phalanxes just like every one else for three thousand years.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
Reply
#7
(11-01-2015, 08:39 PM)Dan Howard Wrote: If you want to define a "phalanx" as a formation that utilises some kind of shield wall then the Romans used phalanxes just like every one else for three thousand years.


And Roman-era writers in Greek, from Josephus to Julian, commonly call Roman legionaries 'hoplites', without (as far as we know!) implying any difference in equipment or tactics.

So it seems the only possible adoption of Macedonian-style phalanx organisation would be the innovation of Caracalla mentioned above. This is described by both Herodian and Cassius Dio (who may have been eyewitnesses), but doesn't seem to have lasted long. The "discens phalangarius" ('trainee' or 'trainer' phalangite) on the inscription that Adrian mentioned may have been connected to this experiment, although he came from Legio II Parthica.

This page provides a summary of the literary evidence.
Nathan Ross
Reply
#8
The point about my post on this thread is that there is some evidence that the Emperor Caracalla did attempt to recreate a Macedonian style Pike Phalanx, with the infantry armed and armoured how Caracalla believed Alexander's infantry were armed. It may or may not have seen action, but does not appear to have survived beyond Caracalla's death.
Adrian Coombs-Hoar
Reply
#9
There is nothing to suggest that Caracalla's phalanx was ever used in battle so the best answer to the OP is "no"; the Romans never used Greek-style hoplites or phalanxes in battle during the time in question.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
Reply


Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Roman Phalangites? Spartan198 18 4,897 09-26-2008, 03:28 PM
Last Post: PMBardunias

Forum Jump: