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Phalanx warfare: Closing of the ranks
Hi Paul, oh such a pleasure to revive some of the old rat feeling!

Yes you may be right that a report from the second Marathon deserves a new thread, but I too have been visiting here once a month or so, and then just to check for any interesting topics.

I am indeed a bit dissapointed about the relative lack of documentation of our event, especially videos, and part of it is my fault, because i was one of the organisers. 

However, i hear that Paul Bardunias will include the results of our single scientific experiment in his upcoming book, so this will compensate somewhat for the lack of other videos.

Now i'm sure that dozens of schoolkids will have hours of footage from our presentations but it is impossible to obtain them!

And to remain on topic, it is quite hard to go into open order once the ranks have closed, with the follow the leader method. It is a nightmare to have one file about face between two unmoved files, and even worse to walk backwards. 
The phalanx is a very organic thing, it can shift shape very quickly if individual men move fast to avoid an obstackle and take their position again, without disrupting the general cohesion. Having a few men move few steps backwards to acomodate one man to their front doesn't sound too bad, especially since the front rankers remain virtually unmoved. 
But all this becomes too technical when you dercribe it, and besides we know it was used at some time, but men who formed formations very similar to that of the classical hoplites.
And one or two sources we in fact classical, not even hellenistic i think.


Paul, it seems we were writing at the same time! Nice figures!

On the early sources of Arrian, the earlierst mentioned is Pyrrhus of Epirus and his son Alexander. He also mentions Klearchus, not the one who lead the ten thousand but another, unspecified who.
Other source is Eupolemus, who must be the Macedonian general who led Cassander's forces, so he's 4th century bc, and the rest are probably later.
However later on Arrian specifies that of the infantry there are three types of soldiers, first of which are the hoplites (not phalangites), and their weapons are the shield (not pelte,who spevifies is lighter and smaller than the aspis) and the spear,like the greeks, or Sarissa like the Macedonians.
In other words, Arrian doesn't distinguish between the hoplites and phalangites, and he believes that according to his sources the same maneuvers were used by both greek and macedonian phalanxes.

I'm sure you are aware of all this, but when we say that there are not drill manuals for the greek hoplites, this is only half true, because neither Arrian nor Asklepiodotus really distinguish between macedonian and greek style phalanxes for their work. In contrast they specify that their manuals are written for both. And their earlier sources are 4th and 3rd centuries bc, a time when the classical type hoplite was still a major presence on the battlefields!

EDIT: Xenophon too uses technical terminology about the formations in Cyropaedia, which are explained in Asklepiodotus and Arrian, although Xenophon is not listed among their sources, since he didn't write a manual. But it is to say that the terminology was very precise and very old, is Xenophon uses it for his general audience in the 4th century

Giannis K. Hoplite
a.k.a.:Giannis Kadoglou
[Image: -side-1.gif]

Messages In This Thread
RE: Phalanx warfare: Closing of the ranks - by Giannis K. Hoplite - 08-21-2016, 10:35 PM

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