Ch 10 Summary Notes: Hoplite Army

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Classical Studies
CLAS 1000
John Walsh

CHAPTER TEN: HOPLITES AND TYRANTS SUMMARY NOTES THE HOPLITE ARMY HOW IT WORKS:  Typical Greek settlement obsessed with its survival  Conflict between city-states due to limited resources  Produced need for defense against other cities  Cities couldn’t afford a standing army; men had to man the farms  Hoplite army was created o Drawn from richer peasants – had to be able to afford own armour  Trained to fight in tight rows one behind the other (called a phalanx)  Fighting style provided ultimate protection for soldiers o Each person in phalanx linked shields and used them to protect the person to their immediate left o Soldiers held spears in right hand o Moved as one unit  Cooperation = VITAL; each soldier depends on one to the right SPREAD OF HOPLITE ARMY:  Only effective counter force to hoplite army was another hoplite army  Greek city-states had to create own hoplite armies to protect themselves against hoplites from other cities  Explains dominance of hoplite army in Greece from 7 century onwards HOPLITE ARMY VS. HOPLITE ARMY:  Normal battle was low level affair  Primary aim = show of strength o More for assertion of identity than killing for sake of killing  Actual capture of a rival’s city beyond hoplite capabilities  When two armies met, they would shove into each other  Prod and slash until one side gave way  Successful army raids opponents’ city and crop  Large battle was rare SPARTAN HOPLITES:  Fought four large battles between 479-404 BC  Historian Thucydides recorded two of these in account of Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC) o Famous Spartan battle in Peloponnesian War – movie 300  Spartan custom to fight long and hard but spend no time in pursuit o Sparta’s army was standing – the soldiers’ only job was to be a soldier o Huge population of Helots (slaves) manned the farms all year while men were away o Spartans at battle always paranoid Helots would revolt in absence of army o Tried to keep battles short HOPLITE WARFARE AND CITY-STATES:  Rise of hoplite army sparked important shift in loyalties  Some think hoplite warfare a result of community spirit  Others think growth of communities result of hoplite warfare  Hoplite expected to give his loyalty to his POLEIS (city-state)  Most important virtue to Greeks now was courage used in service of community THE TYRANTS OVERVIEW:  Aristocratic prominence in Greece in 6 century  Fragmented world of 7 century led to new energies undermining aristocratic powers  Some cities adapted peacefully – gov’t could be expanded to include citizens  Others could not contain tension  Aegean Greece, after 650 BC, city gov’ts overthrown by citizens who resented aristocracy o Called the “Tyrants”  Many tyrants glorified cities and were patrons of art  Tyranny arose when Greeks saw that overseas settlements provided a model of gov’t where aristocracy was disposable o Many tyrants were of aristocratic descent o Scorned by exclusion from power o E.g. Cypselus of clan Bacchiadae – Cypselus’s mother forced to marry outside the clan depriving her children of claim to any power o 657 BC – Cypselus overthrew Bacchiadae and sent them to exile  Sometimes two tyrants made alliances and helped each other out  Ultimately, tyranny could not be sustained in a city  By 550 BC, tyranny was abolished in Greece o Exception: Athens and the Peisistratid tyranny (until 510 BC)  Tyrants boosted trade and economy in cities but never succeeded in creating ideal leadership that inspired loyalty  Tyrants usually replaced with Oligarchies or Democracies SPARTA: th  Dominant role in Persian Wars of 5 century  Conflict with Athens during Peloponnesian War  Sparta is part of region called Laconia  City of Sparta originated from scattered villages o When villages came together, compromised was that Sparta ruled by 2 hereditary kings  Largely aristocratic body of councilors – the gerousia (elders)  Sparta began subduing surrounding cities (perioikoi)  These cities were dependent on Sparta but maintained own settlements- provided contingents for Spartan army  By 8 century Sparta conquered Messenia o Land divided among Spartan citizens o Local Messenian population reduced to slave population – Helots  City of Argos became suspicious and inflicted a military defeat upon Sparta  Messenian rebellion took 20 years to subdue  During these years Sparta becomes oligarchic
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