Greece Military

Topics: Greece

An Importance of Military through History

Ancient Greece military goes way back, so does their uniforms. A uniform in this case is a protection device to help protect the greek warriors in war. When the city-states got bigger the Army’s got bigger. Greek Armies consisted of Hoplites, Cavalry, Archers, and Infantry. The ancient Greeks also used specific weapons, different kinds of warriors and military techniques in battle. Uniforms are very important. People had to buy their own supplies, so where they were placed in the war, (i.

Cavalry or infantry) depended on their wealth and social status. Their uniforms would consist of their clothing, greaves ( which are shin guards), a bronze helmet, linen tunic, breastplates, and bronze armor. 

Different Social Clothes 

Their clothing consisted of a linen tunic called a chiton, and leather sandals. A chiton was a tube of linen. Different social statuses wore the chiton different ways. If the chiton was clipped on the left shoulder only, usually by a button or clasp, with the right chest bare; this meant you were a slave or a worksman.

If it was clipped on both shoulders that meant that you were a free citizen. The chiton had a rope used as a belt around the waist that was tied in a square knot. This caused the top to fall over the rope, covering the rope and caused a skirt-like aspect on the bottom. They also wore sandals in combat made out of leather. They did not wear pants under their uniforms or underwear.

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Farmers & Traders

The greaves, a type of shin guard, started at the ankle and ended at the top of the knees. Greaves usually had a design at the patella. Warriors needed helmets because while they fought in war their heads were left exposed. Helmets were especially needed when hoplites marched in phalanxes. The helmet came down the face and covered the nose and the cheekbones. It was thought that it was the officers had a horse hair mohawk on their helmet. Warriors also needed breastplates. 

These consisted of metal plates joined together by leather straps on the top of the shoulders and the sides of the stomach. The sides of the upper body were left exposed. As history move forward they stopped wearing breastplates and started wearing thick linen or leather covering their torso. Eventually, they wore nothing over their chest due to the fact that they felt that they could move better without it. They also used shields to protect themselves. The Shield weighed about 15 pounds and was usually 3 feet in diameter. 

Shields were usually made of wood and leather-covered with bronze. Some Shields were thought to have had and picture of Medusa’s head on them because the Greeks thought it would ward off evil. They made most of their armor out of bronze. Bronze is a mixture of copper and other metals such as tin. Bronze is a hard metal. Farmers & Traders could afford to buy weapons and armor. Even though Warriors have a way to protect themself with uniforms they still need a way to fight back. Some weapons they used to defeat over a city wall was catapults, flamethrowers, and Stow slingers. 

Hand-held weapons they used consisted of long spears or javelins, and short swords. Most weapons are made with bronze, and iron. The spear, called a Dory, was usually just a little bit shorter than the warrior. The spear was used as a javelin and were thrown at the enemies from a distance. The spear had a bronze handle, with an iron tip on it. The swords, called a xiphos, was the size of a normal sword but after years the sword got smaller and smaller till it became the size of a dagger. 

The sword had a bronze handle too. Within the armies there were different types of warrior that had different jobs in the military. All Greek city-states had armies but Sparta was the only Greek city-state that had a permanent Army. People who can afford armor and weapons came to be part of the hoplites; therefore, hoplite soldiers were the wealthier men in society. The Hoplites, named after their shields called the hoplon, formed about half of the entire infantry. Hoplites were the Greek footed Soldiers. Calvary were soldiers on horses. Only the very rich men who could afford horses joined the calvary. Poor people ( which didn’t have a lot of armor) where are known as archers and stone slingers. They also fought with lighters and slingshot. Many people were warriors the role that each Greek person thought in the armed forces was directly dependent on the social position. Every man fought because it was their patriotic duty and obligation. 

Ancient Greece Forces

The role that each Warrior played in the army was directed to his social position. In most city-states, the people expected to fight were the most able male citizens whenever there was a war. Hoplites were the main fighter in the ancient Greece forces. By 400 BCE however, the city-states were needing fewer citizens to fight in wars, because the greeks were often hiring foreign soldiers to fight for their city-state. A trireme were the soldiers that controlled the seas. Since footed soldiers were so important to the army, they became a key role in their local government. The leaders were called Strategoi. Strategoi is a root word for the English word strategy. They knew they had to keep their best soldiers happy fighting. They were very important in warfare. 

At age 60 Soldiers retired to return to their city-state. In return for their services the retired soldiers received Land from the government which was for farmed by slaves. Spartan soldiers were considered the best in soldiers in Greece because Sparta was the most warlike city-state. Sparta warriors were needed because Sparta was the most warlike city-state in Greece. Bye 5000 BCE Sparta was one of the strongest greek civilization. The other one was Athens. A Spartan mother would tell her son that when he goes to battle he must return from battle either with his shield or on it. A Spartan warrior who died in battle was carried home on their shields. They were expected to fight to the death or never run away. 


A Spartan poet describes how Spartans should fight in this quote “ stay, young men, shoulder to shoulder, do not turn in Sprite or be afraid… and never drink when your face the foe. and do not leave your elders, whose needs are no longer Nimble, falling on the ground.” Sparts was the only city safe that the whole organisation of the city-state was based on warfare. Young soldiers were served as a kind of police force in Sparta. Spartan’s use capes and they were the only city state that did because when they were out in the warfield they had no place to sleep at night so they used their capes, called himation, was used as a shelter or a blanket. Spartan warriors removed their capes to fight. Spartans also had red Capes and chitons because the red did not show the people they were fighting if they were wounded or not. 

Also Because Red is an expensive dye and if the gods let them win a battle they were meant to be dressed their best. Also red is not a womanish color. Most historian believe Spartan warriors shields had the letter Lambda, which was a big L for Laconia of Lacedaemon, painted on the front of the shield. This became known as the Spartan symbol. In the battle all Greeks were valued bravely, especially the Spartan warriors. The military had many ways to fight, and many formation. A Phalanx was a group of footed soldiers, Hoplites, that stayed close together in close formations. 

Calvary Men 

A phalanx is several lines made up of soldiers. The main idea was to keep the front line unbroken since individual soldiers could easily be picked off. The soldiers stood shoulder to shoulder with their shield in their left hand guarding half their body and half the body of the man to the left of them. The soldiers formed in multiple lines. If a man in the front lines were killed a man from the line behind him immediately replaced the dead soldier. This style of warfare made it so that each men had to reply on the courage of the warrior next to him in the same way he relied on the neighbor’s good senses where it came to running the city. Phalanx formations tried to break the opposing phalanx army to attack the enemy’s rear armies. 

All fighters protected themselves by overlapping there shields to form a wall. They also had a long spear on hand. Calvary men wouldn’t willingly charge at a phalanx. They avoided this because it was most likely that their horses would get speared.The Shield was in the left hand and the right hand held a sword or spear. At a young age, like age 6 or 7, boys had to leave their homes and begin training to be soldiers. The boys were placed into different units called companies. The bravest and strongest boy in each company were chosen as the captain. All the other boys had to obey the captain’s orders. 

Greek city-states had different beliefs on what age a boy needed to be to enter into the military. In Athens boys between the ages of 18 and 20 trained as soldiers and then were called up to service. The Junior Warriors also learned writing, reading, music and dance at school. The rhythm of the drums at war played like music that the soldiers used as a uniformed dance to push forward. The dance was called pyrriche. While uniforms are important, the people in the uniforms are too. Their uniforms, techniques, weapons, and Fighters need to help and take home the win. No matter if they’re rich, slaves, or poor all of them can help defend their city state. 

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Greece Military. (2021, Nov 09). Retrieved from

Greece Military
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