Greek and Italian Hoplites

First strip of hoplites have reached ready state. As much as I would have liked to see them ready and on tabletop last year – all four stands of them, I just could not get myself around the shield designs. Each base will have 36 troopers and each shield should at least look a bit different than another – and it would be nice if the initial four bases would be differentfrom each other. So, essentially I have been defeated by force of 144 tiny round shields.hoplites1

Now I spent two days at leisure pace painting the troops and found it actually quite nice, something a kin to the Macedonian/Seleucid phalanx so reminder should not take terribly long to finish. I thought that linothorax would probably been more likely armor than bronze cuirass.

hoplites2Greek mercenary hoplites are hugely important force – nominally they are for Syracusan Basic Impetus army, but in practice they would be employed all over the place as Roman & Carthaginian Italian allies etc.


Hoplites are so named because of big round wooden shield called Aspis [or hoplon]. Either the entire aspis or just the rim was covered with very thin layer of bronze and the whole weighted around 7kg. Entire panoply of hoplite could consist not only shield and helmet, but bronze or linen cuirass [linothorax], bronze greaves for either left leg, or both. Weapon was around 2.5m long spear [opinions vary, some imply that the length was considerable longer] called doru which in course of time extended to the Macedonian sarissa measures. Short sword called xiphos was common side arm.

The whole was somewhat heavy and modern day estimate puts the weight around 30-32 kg. However, not everyone carried whole panoply – in fact, that would have been an exception more than a rule. Poorer classes had to do with aspis, doru and helmet, while linothorax was probably the most common family heirloom at the time for those wealthy enough to have one. Being extremely durable, relatively cheap, relatively light piece or armor, linothorax likely passed from father to son. Greaves may have been used or not –  only entirely certain aspect is that bronze greaves are pain to wear in long march, even if well fitted – something that has perhaps not always been an option. Personally I doubt that greaves were worn eagerly by men if it meant day of march with them on.

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2 Responses to Greek and Italian Hoplites

  1. Jon Freitag says:

    Great hoplites and especially nice work on the shields.

    • Tichy says:

      Thanks. I think they turned out okay but need to put more effort on next ones. I thought it would be easy to do the rest, the looked the unpainted ones and thought not again – and got to paint some Napoleonic stuff instead. One day soon…

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