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Phalanx warfare: Closing of the ranks
#57
So if I have the crowd othismos theory down, it goes like this:

1. Hoplite phalanx clashes with other phalanx. Both sides commence spear fencing. (this only works if both sides are hoplites).
2. At some point the distance between promachoi hoplites on opposing sides decreases from spear fencing distance to shield against shield. Maybe they are too aggressive, maybe a spear broke.
3. This starts a sword fight up close between promachoi, but from rearward crowd pressure it forces others in the phalanx to close with their opponents aspis to aspis, like a zipper effect.
4. Once a section of the phalanx is shield to shield, pushing naturally starts. This changes the dynamic within the battle completely.
5. Rear ranks add to the pushing, they don't start it. The shape of the aspis gives breathing room for the body so the men aren't asphyxiated in the crush.
6. Over time, knowing that this frequently occurs during hoplite vs. hoplite pitched battles, some enterprising city states that drill their men (like Sparta and Thebes) started planning for this occurrence, in the sense that knowing it can happen they took steps to ensure that if it did happen they would be better prepared (shorter swords, deeper ranks, better command and control).

Is this about correct?

If it is, where does the natural wheeling movement to the right occur, whereby the hoplites take shelter in their mate's shield? Is this during spear fencing or othismos pushing?
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RE: Phalanx warfare: Closing of the ranks - by Bryan - 09-16-2016, 03:16 PM

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