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Hoplite spacing and formation
#16
Hi Giannis,

I think your 'D' is costing you spear length range because the right arm is further back than in 'C' or 'E'.

'E' I see as superfluous. If you put a column between two others, they can turn their shields a bit while the columns deploy between them, so that the shields end up overlapping.
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
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#17
Yes they do lose some length range,however we're talking about some cm here...less that 10.I don't think this is a problem. But look how the shields are locked.Lets say the want to unlock shields while not in battle,in order to maneuver.How would they do this?It'a impossible in (D).
(E) does not allow very close formation,and does not explain why the hoplites tried to protected by the hoplite to his right(as Thucydides states) and also it is not very stong during the othismos.Finally,it also doesn't allow the shields to be locked and unlocked easilly.Given all these,(E) can be rulled out.The debate should be between C and D
Khaire
Giannis
Giannis K. Hoplite
a.k.a.:Giannis Kadoglou
a.k.a.:Thorax
[Image: -side-1.gif]
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#18
Quote:The debate should be between C and D
We agree on that! What do you think of my drawing?
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
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#19
Quote:What is the point of this ? To show that people often have false perceptions?....such a poll is only valid among those familiar with the sources !

Please read the sources before you vote !!! And demand the other options ( each of the formations could be 'front on' or 'side on/left foot forward) ' Confusedhock:
Given the option, I would vote B. side on/left foot forward...... Smile

The majority are not always right ! ( or even most of the time...... Sad )

Well, I have read a few sources, and recall the mention of overlapping sheilds. Also, most reliefs show overlapping shields.

Also the 'tendency of the phalanx to creep left to remain in the cover of the neighbours shield?

This is better fitting of C, as D is only tip of circle to tip of circle... no density to the shield wall, which is what phalanx warfare was about, IIRC?
Visne partem mei capere? Comminus agamus! * Me semper rogo, Quid faceret Iulius Caesar? * Confidence is a good thing! Overconfidence is too much of a good thing.
[b]Legio XIIII GMV. (Q. Magivs)RMRS Remember Atuatuca! Vengence will be ours!
Titus Flavius Germanus
Batavian Coh I
Byron Angel
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#20
Quote:
Giannis K. Hoplite:2fowhpdz Wrote:The shields in C,for instance would actually be a little to the side,so each hoplite would be exactly next to the one in his right.
Giannis, my point exactly.

I voted for C because in D, the rim of the shield would harm the shield-arm of the man to his right.
The hands of course are normally covered by the shield, unlike as drawn in this diagram. Therefore this would be my option, call it C2, E:

yes, this would be it I believe! 8)
Visne partem mei capere? Comminus agamus! * Me semper rogo, Quid faceret Iulius Caesar? * Confidence is a good thing! Overconfidence is too much of a good thing.
[b]Legio XIIII GMV. (Q. Magivs)RMRS Remember Atuatuca! Vengence will be ours!
Titus Flavius Germanus
Batavian Coh I
Byron Angel
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#21
I guess for a change I wasn't overthinking things. I voted C because the strong point on the shield would be the elbow side; the weak point at the hand. With D, the weak side can be separated more easily from the wall, with C, the strong point supports the weak point.

Just as likely, though, is the shields overlapped however they came to, with no particular regard to order or whatever. Could be my shield would be in front of both my neighbors, or behind. I can't make a definite decision based only on body mechanics.
M. Demetrius Abicio
(David Wills)

Saepe veritas est dura.
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#22
Quote:
Giannis K. Hoplite:33aplg1s Wrote:The debate should be between C and D
We agree on that! What do you think of my drawing?

Yes,your drawing is the same as mine for C.And we agree in the comments you made about it also.I mean about the the extend of overlapping shields and that the hand should be under the next shield etc. I just wanted to draw all the ways myself s they can be fairly compared.
Khaire
Giannis
Giannis K. Hoplite
a.k.a.:Giannis Kadoglou
a.k.a.:Thorax
[Image: -side-1.gif]
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#23
Quote:Paul B,in othismos they would stick their chest in the shield,exactly the same as in (D).The right sjowlder would be deeper in the bowl of the shield,and thus the shields are slightly to the side.

Giannis, your D is impossible. You cannot bring the left arm across the body enough to both be squared on to the enemy line and overlap over the shield to your right to a substantial degree. In your diagram they are not even really overlapping and the shield extends too far to the right as it is. As to "unlocking", either C or D simply require a turn of the body left or right- they only overlap on one side.

The other problem with a squared-on left over right is that your chest is against the left rim of your own shield and the left rim of your neighbor's shield- not the continuous seal we get from D. This is precidely why those who have esposed othismos have opted for the sidelong stance with the shoulder pushing into the bowl of the shield.

As to the interpretation of vase images, read Van Wees last book where he uses the same images you speak of to support the scheme in A. The arguements you would surely raise against him are probably much like those I would raise against you.


Quote:I guess for a change I wasn't overthinking things. I voted C because the strong point on the shield would be the elbow side; the weak point at the hand. With D, the weak side can be separated more easily from the wall, with C, the strong point supports the weak point.

In battle the shield in both C and D would be resting against the chest or shoulder while pushing, so this does not matter.

Quote:the rim of the shield would harm the shield-arm of the man to his right.

That worry is probably an artifact of the drawing. In reality the curve of the shield might ensure that the rim is behind the arm of the man to your right.

Where are the reinactors when we need them???
Paul M. Bardunias
MODERATOR: [url:2dqwu8yc]http://www.romanarmytalk.com/rat/viewtopic.php?t=4100[/url]
A Spartan, being asked a question, answered "No." And when the questioner said, "You lie," the Spartan said, "You see, then, that it is stupid of you to ask questions to which you already know the answer!"
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#24
Listen then some body who has paractical experience:

A: is good for advancing in open order and allows psiloi to retreat through the ranks or advnce through them to engage enemy light troops.
The shiled can be by the side if out of missle range.

When the "synaspismos" command is issued you get a C
The right most stichos stays immobile and the rest lock shilelds upon them
Its easier and less unerving to get a C and the left most persom has a tendency to cling on his right so the "dvnace from the left" might be a little misleading

Also a "Gyriones" sculpture from British museum favors C plus the aetoms of the Delphic Treasuries.

Case closed!

Kind regards
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#25
To me it is closed Stefane,I know most re-enactors prefer left over right shield and I can post pics from various re-enactment groups,but in the past Paul has told be it was from re-enactors he actually got the idea of D (right over left shield).Perhaps you can post such pictures Paul? Because I haven't seen any reenactors prefering this. They either go with B (incorrectly as they don't lock shields) or with C. What about the medieval British shield wall?What would they do? Any re-enactors from that era? Of course it is not eaxtly the same,but there again we have round shields in close formation.
Khairete
Giannis
Giannis K. Hoplite
a.k.a.:Giannis Kadoglou
a.k.a.:Thorax
[Image: -side-1.gif]
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#26
Quote:Case closed!

I think you best reopen it and start by posting the sculptures you speak of. Most of what people put up as left over right is if anything edge-on- like the Chigi vase image. It is exceedingly difficult to portray right over left and a) show shield blazons, b) not make it look like the men are standing in a queue instead of a battle-line.

If someone argues for left over right and supports opened order, or the side-on stance for othismos, then I have no quarrel with them, I simply see it another way. In fact it may have varied over time with the side stance coming first in a less that perfect othismos.

The squared forward stance, with the right side of your chest covered by another man's shield is not effective in othismos. Any movement by that man forward, or you back, and the edge of his shield is now deep in your solar plexis. What looks nice or is practical to do in reinactment drill is not the same thing as what keeps you alive in the othismos. Your shield rim must be resting on your chest and thighs.

What is needed is a true experiment with all of the proper forces appied.

Quote:Perhaps you can post such pictures Paul?

No pics, I was told that in this fellow's experience the shield across the chest allowed for breathing in the heavy crowds of mock battles. From that piece of info I deduced the rest of it. It was years ago and probably on the phalanx, no recollection who he was. He may be on this site.

Also, "shield-walls" with anyting other than an aspis do not conform to the same mechanics. If a shield is flat and there is no belly to make room for your hand and allow the upper and lower rim of the shield to support it (perhaps an angled scutum could provide this to a lesser degree) , you will asphyxiate in the press as your own fist, which may or may not be broken by the force, jams into your abdomen. This is simply the consequence of the forces generated by crowds and thus the logical end result of literal othismos. Men is D will beat men in C at othismos every time because they can neither generate, now withstand the same pushing force. Now if othismos is a figurative butting of shields, then all of this is meaningless.
Paul M. Bardunias
MODERATOR: [url:2dqwu8yc]http://www.romanarmytalk.com/rat/viewtopic.php?t=4100[/url]
A Spartan, being asked a question, answered "No." And when the questioner said, "You lie," the Spartan said, "You see, then, that it is stupid of you to ask questions to which you already know the answer!"
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#27
This debate could, of course, go on indefinitely, like so many others because of our lack of imfomation, and so many 'possibles'.For what it is worth, I believe the formation drawn by Robert approximates the 'correct' Hoplite fighting formation - left foot thrown forward, shields at a slight angle, overlapping slightly....on occasions, slightly tighter or slightly looser formations could be and were used. ( first suggested by me after meticulous research 30 yeayrs ago on p.34 of "Warfare in the Classical World" -- noother model I have seen before or since fits the evidence better ). I am not going to go into reasons here, other than to say that I have studied the subject for over 35 years, during which time I have carefully studied the physical dimensions and characteristics of ancient battlefields as well as the size of troop deployments ( something seemingly few others have done, apparently).
Giannis said:-
Quote:First they formed a 16 deep phalanx in loose order and then the 8 rear came to the front.

Sorry, Giannis, but this is simply incorrect. We are told in the sources that Hoplites generally stood 8 or 12 deep ( less on occasion, more for e.g. Thebans). We are also told in the few surviving manuals that 'open' order is the 'natural' order and has no special name, that the phalanx normally 'closed up' to close order, shields touching/overlapping to fight, and that when a desperate defence demanded it, an even closer formation with only 18" front per man could be utilised ( overlapped shields). There are two ways to interpret '8deep' - either it means open or closed formation. The moment you put this onto physical battlefields it becomes apparent that formations '8 deep' or '12 deep' must mean in open order, which then closed up, halving its depth, just before action.This also makes much more sense from an efficiency point of view as well. Only a Macedonian phalanx generally formed up 16 deep, in open order, and then closed up to '8 deep', close order to fight.
I have pointed in the right direction, let everyone else do the research before responding. Smile )
"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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#28
Quote:Only a Macedonian phalanx generally formed up 16 deep, in open order, and then closed up to '8 deep', close order to fight.

Just a correction, this is not true. There are many instances of Hoplite phalanxes drawn up 16 deep- other than Thebans. The Syracusans faced the Athenians so, and there was a specific agreement among those Allied against Sparta in the Corinthian war that no contingent should be drawn up in more than 16 ranks- meaning some were likely to form in more.
Paul M. Bardunias
MODERATOR: [url:2dqwu8yc]http://www.romanarmytalk.com/rat/viewtopic.php?t=4100[/url]
A Spartan, being asked a question, answered "No." And when the questioner said, "You lie," the Spartan said, "You see, then, that it is stupid of you to ask questions to which you already know the answer!"
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#29
Quote:Hoplites generally stood 8 or 12 deep ( less on occasion, more for e.g. Thebans).
....

....and.....

Quote:Only a Macedonian phalanx generally formed up 16 deep, in open order, and then closed up to '8 deep', close order to fight.

...please excuse my emphasis, Paul......I am well aware that there are many, many exceptions !! Smile )
"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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#30
Quote:Giannis said:-
Quote:First they formed a 16 deep phalanx in loose order and then the 8 rear came to the front.

Sorry, Giannis, but this is simply incorrect.

If I said "First they formed 8 deep and then the 4 rear came forward would you be satisfied? There was not a standard depth.The 8 deep was just useful at some point against equal phalanxes in specific numbers and terrains,so don't need to correct me in this one. We both know very well that the numbers changed from time to time(especially for Sparta because of the change of the enomotia etc) My point is simple.First they took position in loose order and then they locked shields.To do so,the half rear came forward.
It seems you imply they actually fought in open order.I don't think you do believe so,but if not,then why did you disagree with the idea of locking shields the way i showed?
I don't see this need to disagree only to disagree. In many cases it happens now among me,you and Paul B(with whom we have the most serious real disagreements)
Khaire
Giannis
Giannis K. Hoplite
a.k.a.:Giannis Kadoglou
a.k.a.:Thorax
[Image: -side-1.gif]
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