[fey-langks, fal-angks]
phalanx, ancient Greek formation of infantry. The soldiers were arrayed in rows (8 or 16), with arms at the ready, making a solid block that could sweep bristling through the more dispersed ranks of the enemy. Originally employed by the Spartans, it was developed by Epaminondas of Thebes (d. 362 B.C.). Use of the phalanx reached its apex when Philip II and Alexander the Great used the great Macedonian phalanx (16 deep and armed with the sarissa, a spear c.13 ft/4 m long) to conquer all Greece and the Middle East. Later, the Macedonian phalanx deteriorated and had few Macedonians in it; it was defeated in several battles with the Romans who conquered (168 B.C.) the Macedonians at Pydna. Thereafter the phalanx was obsolete. Because it lacked tactical flexilibity, the phalanx was a better defensive than offensive formation.
Phalanx (From Ancient Greek φάλαγξ (finger)) can have many meanings, as the original Greek also did: The Greek meaning was one of a military formation, it consisted of four sides resembling a rectangle. For the most part this strategy worked but was the only form they had, many times the battle was lost if the formation was broken. Phalanx may refer to:




The arts





  • The falanges (legions of spirits) of the Brazilian Umbanda religion


Search another word or see phalanxon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature