What is a Hoplite in Ancient Greece?

Updated: January 09, 2023
A hoplite was an ancient Greek soldier who fought primarily with spears and shields.
Detailed answer:

A hoplite is a type of soldier in the Greek army of classical antiquity who was equipped with a heavy shield and spear to fight in the phalanx formation. The spear was used for thrusting and stabbing, while the large shield provided protection from missiles fired by enemy archers. They are also known as heavy infantry.

The word “hoplite” comes from “hoplon” meaning “heavy infantryman”. Hoplites were the citizen-soldiers of most Ancient Greek city-states, while only citizens who owned land could afford hoplite equipment. The military capabilities of hoplites made them the equal of cavalry (hippeis) and light infantry (peltasts) despite their lack of mobility.

Hoplites were organized into phalanxes, or large formations of men standing shoulder to shoulder in a square or rectangular shape. Each phalanx had anywhere from 50 to 200 men, who would fight together as one unit. In some cases, when two phalanxes met on the battlefield, they would join together into one larger formation called an “aspis” (plural: “aspides”). These large formations were capable of defeating smaller armies through sheer force of numbers.

The most famous battle involving hoplites was at Marathon, where they defeated the Persians (led by Darius) after running 26 miles/42 kilometers to fight them!

This type of soldier has become an icon for many reasons, and it is still remembered today.

What is a Hoplite in Ancient Greece?. (2023, Jan 09). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/qa/what-is-a-hoplite-in-ancient-greece/