Definitions

hoplite

hoplite

[hop-lahyt]
hoplite, heavy infantry soldier in the armies of classical Greece. Hoplites were usually protected by helmets, cuirasses, and leg armor. They carried large shields, javelins, heavy swords, and sometimes battle-axes and fought in the tightly organized phalanx formation. In classical Greece, hoplites were often citizens of city-states, who paid for their weaponry as a duty of citizenship. Among the most famous hoplites was Socrates, who fought for Athens during the Peloponnesian War.

Heavily armed foot soldier of ancient Greece whose function was to fight in close formation. They probably first appeared in the late 8th century BC. They were equipped with new and heavier armour, including a metal helmet, breastplate, and shield; each had a sword and a 6-ft (2-m) spear for thrusting rather than throwing. From then on, battles were won not by individual champions but through the weight of massed hoplite phalanxes breaking through enemy ranks. Though the phalanx was unwieldy and the equipment cumbersome, Greek hoplites were the best fighters in the Mediterranean world.

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