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Phalanx warfare: Closing of the ranks
#4
    Anatol Wyss wrote:
Quote:I have from "warfare in the classical world" 2001 by John Warry that in order to close the ranks, the rear half of the emotiai would move up in between the files of the front half, like this; http://imgur.com/darrnBB Was this how it was done? 

(As I've understood it - the basic enomotiai was earlier made up of 4 files of 8 men in each, later when the mora became the larger standard unit, the basic enomotiai was made up of 3 files, each with 12 men. So to close the ranks, the initial columns of 8 - or 12 deep, would then become 4 - or 6 deep. Several references claim the standard depth of the phalanx formation usually was 8 men deep though, but not whether this was in closed or open formation - before or at the initial clash of shields. Either way, I can't get the numbers right.)

Also, did the opposing phalanxes at the battlefield marsch towards each other in closed formation, or did they close the ranks just before the  clash?


Although I left RAT many years ago, I occasionally look in (annually? LOL!) and noticed Anatol's thread, which did not answer his question, but instead 'hijacked' the thread onto another subject - perhaps a moderator might care to move everything from JaM's second post onward to its own thread on the subject of Christopher Matthews books? I was one of many who tried to assist Christopher, but alas he preferred his own convictions and 'interpretations' and produced  very flawed works, both in their data and methodology. [digression: I regard his works and the equally flawed work of Aldrete, Bartell et al in respect of the non-existent Greek so-called 'linothorax' as the worst and most misleading works on hoplite matters ever written - and I speak as someone who has studied and been published on the subject for over 40 years.]

It was I who contributed the section on Hoplite closing of ranks, and much else, in "Warfare in the Classical" World by John Warry (1980) but I was not the first to make this discovery. Both J.K.Anderson "Military Theory and Practice in the Age of Xenophon"(1970) and Peter Connolly "Greek Armies"(1977) also refer to this drill, which comes from the works of Xenophon, who refers to aspects of drill frequently in several works. The best description is in a book of advice about many subjects, disguised as a work of fiction ( the "Cyropaedia") and I attach a diagram of how this worked, together with Xenophon's words, below. The beauty of this simple system for 'closing up' is that it did not involve any change to frontage, and being basically 'follow-the-leader', could be learned and performed by amateur citizen hoplite militias. Note that it works for a depth of 12 too - or any even number. ( I published this and discussed it on a thread here many years ago but cannot now access it due to RAT's many metamorphoses) As to moving from marching in column in 'open order', the deployment into phalanx is also described by Xenophon. The phalanx would then generally advance in 'open' order until at a suitable distance (often 'charge distance' - 100 yards or so) it would halt, close up, and then launch an attack.....
"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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RE: Phalanx warfare: Closing of the ranks - by Paullus Scipio - 08-18-2016, 06:43 AM

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