2012 - Hoplite & Phalanx - Classical Philology 107 ECHEVERRIA

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HOPLITE AND PhALANX IN ARcHaIc aND CLaSSIcaL GREEcE: a REaSSESSMENt fernando echeverría S 1. Introduction: A Matter of Concept CHOLARSHIP ON THE Archaic Greek military has been frequently reduced to a discussion on the rise of the hoplite and the introduction of the phalanx. The methodological approach to the issue has often consisted of an attempt to “discover the phalanx” in the sources: to identify a closed formation or a specific kind of heavy-armed warrior in the scattered pieces of lite
  291 Classical Philology   107 (2012): 291–318[© 2012 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved] 0009-837X/12/10704-0001$10.00 HOPLITE AND PHALANX  IN ARCHAIC AND CLASSICAL GREECE: A REASSESSMENT󰁦󰁥󰁲󰁮󰁡󰁮󰁤󰁯 󰁥󰁣󰁨󰁥󰁶󰁥󰁲󰁲󰃭󰁡1. I󰁮󰁴󰁲󰁯󰁤󰁵󰁣󰁴󰁩󰁯󰁮: A M󰁡󰁴󰁴󰁥󰁲 󰁯󰁦 C󰁯󰁮󰁣󰁥󰁰󰁴 S CHOLARSHIP   ON   THE   Archaic Greek military has been frequently re-duced to a discussion on the rise of the hoplite and the introduction of the phalanx. The methodological approach to the issue has often consisted of an attempt to “discover the phalanx” in the sources: to identify a closed formation or a specific kind of heavy-armed warrior in the scattered pieces of literary, iconographic, and archaeological evidence. As a result, research on the Archaic Greek military has at times been carried out with the hoplite and the phalanx already in mind.The debate on the srcins of the hoplite and the phalanx has been instru-mental in the general interpretation and understanding of the Archaic period for a considerable number of scholars: those supporting the idea of a “hoplite reform” have argued for the existence of tight connections between military developments and broader social, political, and economic transformations in Archaic Greece.  1  Others, more critical of the determinism inherent in the “phalanx-polis” equation,  2  have tried to make new sense of the scarce, scat-tered, and at times contradictory pieces of evidence, and offer alternative explanations to the Greek military evolution in the Archaic period that imply a reconsideration of the nature and the role of the phalanx.  3 In such a long-standing and broad discussion, conceptual accuracy in de-fining the terms “hoplite” and “phalanx” becomes essential. Attempts have This paper was written during a postdoctoral stay at the University College of London, funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation. It offers an updated revision of my previous treatment of the issue (Echeverría 2008, 144–91), to which I refer for a complete catalogue of sources, texts, and references. I have considerably revised the arguments exposed there, and moderated the blunt exposition of particularly contro-versial ideas, but the catalogue of references remains indispensable. All dates are B . C . E . and all translations of ancient texts are my own unless otherwise noted.I am greatly indebted to Hans van Wees for reading an earlier draft of the paper and making valuable com-ments. I also appreciate the challenging remarks of CP  ’s anonymous referees. They all contributed to improve the ideas and arguments presented here. All remaining mistakes are of course my own.1. Lorimer 1947 and 1950; Andrewes 1974; Detienne 1968; Greenhalgh 1973; Cartledge 1977; Salmon 1977; Latacz 1977; Snodgrass 1964, 1980, and 1993; Murray 1980; Bryant 1990; Hanson 1990, 1991, and 1999; Bowden 1995; Schwartz 2002 and 2009.2. About determinism, phalanx, and the polis, see Echeverría 2008 and 2010.3. Pritchett 1985; Wheeler 1991; Storch 1998; Krentz 2000 and 2002; van Wees 1986, 1988, 1994a, 1994b, 1995, 1997, 2000, 2001b, and 2004; Rawlings 2007; Osborne 2009. To a lesser extent, Forrest 1966, Starr 1991, and de Ste. Croix 1983 and 2004.  292 F ERNANDO  E CHEVERRÍA been made to define both concepts,  4  but practical use and repetition have re-sulted in the fossilization of working, informal definitions of them: the hoplite is commonly regarded as a heavy-armed warrior identified by a specific set of weapons, of which the Argive shield is the paramount item; the phalanx is usually connected with closed order, neat files and ranks, the use of “hoplite” equipment, cohesion, and discipline. These broad definitions, corresponding roughly to the military situation of the Classical period, are rarely questioned by modern scholars, and their meanings are thus generally taken for granted. But since no chronological or geographical connotations are usually attached, both “phalanx” and “hoplite” can be (and have been) transferred to various contexts and historical periods, from Homer to Polybius, from Etruria to the Near East. This results in a methodological problem.This work is a reconsideration of the concepts of “hoplite” and “phalanx” from the point of view of the extant literary and epigraphical evidence. As it will be argued here, both “hoplite” and “phalanx” are concepts belonging to the Classical period. Whether they were formulated then for the first time or reinterpreted from older and previous notions will be elucidated below, but the extant evidence suggests that the terms as we conceive them must be linked to the specific literary and intellectual circumstances of the Classical period.2. T󰁨󰁥 H󰁯󰁰󰁬󰁩󰁴󰁥Let us start with the hoplite. Commonly interpreted as the quintessential Greek heavy-armed infantryman, the hoplite has been consistently and repeat-edly situated in the Archaic period, whether in the fragments of Tyrtaeus and Callinus or in the painted scenes of Archaic vases. This identification has been possible usually through the so-called “hoplite panoply,” the set of weapons typically associated with the hoplite. It is a fairly established consensus that the Corinthian helmets, spears, breastplates, and Argive shields depicted on Greek vases represent hoplites in a fairly accurate way.The crucial element in that identification is the Argive shield. Anthony Snodgrass long ago connected the blazons on vase paintings with the Argive shield,  5  thus facilitating an equation that has been (and still is) extraordinar-ily influential. The equation is based on two connected arguments: first, the alleged qualities of the Argive shield (supposedly more fitted for the phalanx due to the presence of the double grip and its combination of concavity, broad surface, and sturdiness), and second, its identification with the Greek term ὅπλον (to be discussed below). Thus the following picture emerges: a new type of warrior (the hoplite), determined by a new set of weapons (the “hoplite panoply”) and characteristically belonging to a middle class of propertied farmers (the “hoplite class”), would evolve through the eighth and seventh centuries, leading to a new tactic (the phalanx).  64. Hanson 1990 and 1999; van Wees 2001a and 2004; Wheeler 2007, 192–93; Schwartz 2009.5. Snodgrass 1964, 61–63.6. Among others, see Nilsson 1928, 246; Andrewes 1974, 34; Snodgrass 1965a, 115 and 1980, 101–2; Cartledge 1977, 23; Holladay 1982, 99; Bryant 1990, 497–98; Jameson 1992, 158; Donlan 1997, 45–47; Han-son 1996, 290–92 and 1999, passim; Schwartz 2002 and 2009.  293 H OPLITE   AND  P HALANX Serious criticism, however, can be raised against this view. The identifica-tion of a set of weapons is not reason enough by itself to talk about “hoplites,” especially in the Archaic period. Moreover, scholarship tends to apply the term to realities far beyond the limits of what ancient Greeks themselves considered or intentionally recognized as a hoplite. It is necessary to review the literary sources in order to reconsider the actual meaning of the word “hoplite” and the possible contexts for its use.  7 Argive Shield, Hoplite, and ὅπλονThe first step must be to dig into the srcins of the term “hoplite.” As John Lazenby and David Whitehead have recently shown,  8  there is a widespread consensus that the hoplite took his name from his most characteristic weapon, the shield, which was supposed to be called ὅπλον. Scholars have accepted this view for decades.  9  The apparent connection between hoplon  , hoplite, and Argive shield is considered so strong that, as Lazenby and Whitehead point out, “textbooks and reference works on warfare serve it up with monotonous regularity as if stating a simple fact.”  10  But this connection is actually based on at least two assumptions: first, that hoplon   is the most common term in Greek to designate the Argive shield; second, that the term “hoplite” derives from it. Both assumptions have been proved to be wrong.The first assumption can be traced back to Diodorus, who stated (15.44.3) that “the hoplites were called srcinally after their shields [ἀσπίδων], exactly in the same way as the peltasts were called after their πέλτη.” As Lazenby and Whitehead show, the phrase mixed up the terms hoplitês   and aspis  , making the statement confusing and unreliable.  11  Diodorus’ testimony seems to jus-tify the idea that the Argive shield could be connected with the term hoplitês   around the first century C . E ., but it in fact makes a much stronger connection between the Argive shield and the term aspis  . In the Archaic period, both Archilochus (frag. 5) and Alcaeus (frags. 179 col. 2.6, 357.8) refer to their shields as aspis  . If these aspides   are in fact Argive shields (which is likely but uncertain), then the connection of the weapon with the term aspis  , confirmed by Diodorus and Pausanias, could find some firm ground. This connection seems much clearer in the Classical period.  127. What follows is a cursory analysis of the literary evidence which, for obvious reasons of space, cannot be undertaken at length here. Arguments that would perhaps require more patient exposition are thus merely summarized, relying on relevant bibliography to complete the picture. I am, however, confident that the gen-eral scheme retains its consistency.8. Lazenby and Whitehead 1996.9. E.g., Adcock 1967, 3; Hammond 1967, 110 and 1982, 340; Murray 1980, 124; Ducrey 1985, 49, 50, pl. 27; Hanson 1990, 27; Anderson 1991, 15, 272; Mitchell 1996, 89; Schwartz 2009, 25; even Lazenby him-self, 1985, 30. LSJ maintain that hoplon   is “the large shield from which the men-at-arms took their name of hoplitai  .”10. Lazenby and Whitehead 1996, 27.11. Lazenby and Whitehead 1996, 28. It is exactly the same mistake made by Pausanias when dealing with the institution of the armored race in the Olympic Games circa 520 B . C . E .: in 5.8.10, he states that in that period “a hoplites’ race [τῶν ὁπλιτῶν ὁ δρόμος] was established,” but he again uses the term aspis   (and not hoplon  ) when explaining that the runners had to carry their shields (–5: τοὺς δραμόντας ἀσπίσιν).12. Thucydides, for example, refers to the shield as aspis   12 times, most likely shields of the Argive type. For the Argive shield in the Classical period, see Hanson 1990, 65–71. As a result, instead of hoplitês  , the term ἀσπιστής (present in Homer Il  . 4.90, 4.201, 4.221, 5.577, 8.155, 8.214, 11.412, 13.680, 16.490, 16.541, 16.593,  294 F ERNANDO  E CHEVERRÍA Regarding the second assumption, Lazenby and Whitehead have convinc-ingly shown that hoplites did not take their name from their shield (ὅπλον), but from the whole panoply (ὅπλα).  13  It is possible, however, to be much more precise: analysis of the group hoplon  /- a   in Archaic Greek literature reveals that it srcinally had no firm connection with military matters, the connection emerging and consolidating only gradually. We are naturally dealing here with poetic language, characteristically unsystematic, so it must be treated with caution. The group, however, seems to derive from a stem srcinally mean-ing “tool” or “implement,”  14  while the plural, much more frequently used, referred generically to a set of tools.  15  In this semantic context, references to weapons or any kind of military equipment represent a clear minority, both in Homer and in later Archaic poetry.  16  At this time, the military sense of hopl  - is thus just a possibility (a rare one) in a group with a broad and still unspecialized meaning. The connection of the group with a military meaning will become firmer and more widespread only at the beginning of the fifth century,  17  while the first unequivocal identification between the Argive shield and the term hoplon   (in the singular) will appear much later, in Xenophon ( Hell  . 2.4.25).  18 Here, as in the following arguments, we are dealing with the unfortunately unbalanced distribution of the literary sources, concentrated in the Classical period and almost nonexistent in the Archaic period. The argument ex silentio   is always controversial, and must be treated with caution, but it is an argu-ment at hand, and a fairly useful one if we stick to what information we have and avoid hypothesizing about what we do not have. Since the discovery of entirely new narratives coming from the Archaic period is out of the ques-tion (least of all narratives in prose), and only further examples of lyric and epic poetry could be expected to be found, I will consciously treat the extant evidence as representative of the literature of the age and thus as suitable for and then lost until recovered by Euripides Heracl  . 277; El  . 443; HF   1192; Ion   198; IA  1069) should have been preferred to designate a shield-bearer.13. Lazenby and Whitehead 1996, 33.14. The group is almost certainly connected with the verb ἕπω (“to be about, to busy oneself with,” LSJ), with a “- lo  -” suffix. See Chantraine 1990, s.v. “ hoplon  .”15. The term appears 19 times in Homer, 17 of them in the plural form. Their meaning is commonly “tackle” of a ship, and even “tools”; the two cases in the singular are usually translated as “rope.” The verb ὁπλίζω can be found 23 times as well, but 21 of them are referring to the common action of “preparing” (a chariot, a ship, or even a meal). These patterns (predominance of the plural form, generic meaning as “tools”) are preserved in the scarce testimonies of the extant Archaic Greek literature. Detailed information and a complete list of references, sources, and meanings, with a discussion of other related terms (such as ὁπλότερος/ὁπλότατος or ὅπλη), can be found in Echeverría 2008, 151–52.16. Hopla   as “weapons”: Hom. Il  . 10.254, 10.272, 18.614, 19.21. Hoplizô   as “to arm oneself”: Hom. Il  . 8.55; Od  . 24.495. Hesiod uses hopla   in a possible reference to weapons ( Theog  . 853), and we later find the term πάνοπλοι in Tyrtaeus (11.38), the word ἔνοπλοι in a fragment also attributed to Tyrtaeus (frag. 16b, Page 857; see Page 1967, 455), and the expression βίην ὑπέροπλον in Mimnermus (frag. 9.3). The terms panoploi  , hyperoplon  , and enoploi   certainly indicate a military meaning, but the fact that they seem to be variations that are just mentioned once suggests that Greek vocabulary is still exploring the different possibilities of the broad semantic field of hopl  -. Apart from these, there are no further references in Archaic literature until the fifth century.17. Hopla   as “weapons” in the first half of the fifth century: Pind. Pyth  . 10.14; Nem  . 1.51, 7.25, 8.27, 9.22, 10.14; frag. 106.6; Simon. Epig  . 6.215.2; Bacchyl. Dub  . 62b.10; Dyth  . 18.33. See also IG I 3  1 (Athenian cleruchs in Salamis; Meiggs and Lewis 1988, no. 14), dated to c. 500.18. See Lazenby and Whitehead 1996, 31.
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