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Hoplites and longche
#1
So, since I was last posting here a lot, I have come to the realization that for much of the early hoplite period they threw spears.  The very early representations clearly show a throwing spear and javelin, or maybe a pair of what would later show up in Hellenistic times as longche.  We could discuss that if you disagree, but I think it best fits the evidence that the early hoplite fought not in a dedicated offensive phalanx, but in something much more like a saxon shieldwall or roman fulkcum where the threw missiles and acted as a wall for others throwing missiled behind them.

My real question has to do with late hoplites.  I have always been troubled by two things.  First, how did hoplites fight sarissaphoroi? I have never seen this described definitively.  Second, why does Diodorus talk about all those thrown spears?  I don't believe that Epaminondas was throwing spears at anyone, but obviously there was some reason the idea of a hoplite throwing a spear was not comical to his readers or those of his sources.  Love to have Ephorus's original.  But if we accept that you can throw a spear and still be a hoplite- ie carry and aspis- is it possible that prior to the switch to thureos Greek infantry was carrying a pair of longche again?  I know its off the wall, but I bring it up because if there were evidence for such it might have been overlooked simply because of our assumption that hoplites were always single dory users.
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#2
A hard question to answer, Paul. I can't recall off-hand any of our literary sources referring to 'hoplites' and 'longche', but a word search in the LSJ might prove productive. In iconography, weapons intended for throwing usually have an 'ankyle'/throwing loop permanently attached - there are several representations of the two spears carried by early hoplites, one large [dory?] and one smaller with a thinner shaft, and with 'ankyle' attached [longche?], but nothing like this for late hoplites, which militates against the idea. A second clue is whether a 'sauroter' is depicted, for it affects flight characteristics negatively and is thus never seen on weapons intended for throwing.

Neverthless, a 'dory' could be thrown a short distance - certainly longer than a 'sarissa' length and a frustrated hoplite might hurl his spear into the 'sarissaphoroi'.....

On balance of probability I don't think late hoplites were likely to be equipped with longche......
"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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#3
(08-25-2016, 10:19 PM)Paullus Scipio Wrote: A hard question to answer, Paul. I can't recall off-hand any of our literary sources referring to 'hoplites' and 'longche', but a word search in the LSJ might prove productive. In iconography

Yea, you know what that's like, any spear drawn as a line without an obvious sauroter can be magically made a longche.  I'll pass ;Wink Just food for thought.  Sarissaphoroi could be rearmed with longche at times right?
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#4
Italian pottery shows short spears, perhaps double purpose. But I think they are usually Apulian or Campanian.
Giannis K. Hoplite
a.k.a.:Giannis Kadoglou
a.k.a.:Thorax
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#5
Paul Bardunias wrote
"Sarissaphoroi could be rearmed with longche at times right? "

Yes, the 'longche' seems to have been the traditional weapon of Macedonian warriors prior to the introduction of the 'sarissa', and there are plenty of descriptions of fighting - e.g. sieges and so on - where sarissas would be an impossibility.

We have one reference to a Macedonian being armed with both 'sarissa' and 'longche' in order to fight a duel, [Curtius IX.7.19] and in iconography the soldiers on the Aghios Athenasios tomb frieze are clearly 'heavy infantry' and carry 'longche' ( carrying a 'sarissa' indoors would be impossibly inconvenient! Some of our sources say the weapon Alexander snatched from a guard to kill Cleitus was a 'longche', others a 'sarissa', but as it apparently took place indoors, 'longche' seems more likely)..........
"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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