hoplite

hoplitic /hop lit"ik/, adj.
/hop"luyt/, n.
a heavily armed foot soldier of ancient Greece.
[1720-30; < Gk hoplítes, equiv. to hópl(on) piece of armor, particularly the large shield + -ites -ITE1]

* * *

Heavily armed foot soldier of ancient Greece whose function was to fight in close formation.

They probably first appeared in the late 8th century BC. They were equipped with new and heavier armour, including a metal helmet, breastplate, and shield; each had a sword and a 6-ft (2-m) spear for thrusting rather than throwing. From then on, battles were won not by individual champions but through the weight of massed hoplite phalanxes breaking through enemy ranks. Though the phalanx was unwieldy and the equipment cumbersome, Greek hoplites were the best fighters in the Mediterranean world.

* * *

▪ ancient Greek soldier
      ancient Greek heavily armed foot soldier whose function was to fight in close formation. Until his appearance, probably in the late 8th century BC, individual combat predominated in warfare. New and heavier armour now gave the foot soldier stronger protection: he wore a metal helmet, breastplate, and greaves; on his left forearm he carried a shield that replaced one hung around the neck; and he carried a sword and a six-foot-long thrusting, instead of throwing, spear.

      From then on, the compactness and weight of the massed hoplite phalanx breaking through enemy ranks won battles, not the individual brilliance of aristocratic champions. The normal depth of the line was eight ranks, but the Thebans in the 4th century were known to concentrate 50 ranks in one flank.

      While the phalanx formation was unwieldy, the equipment heavy, and pursuit difficult, Greek hoplites were the best fighters in the Mediterranean world and in great demand as mercenaries in Lydia, Babylonia, and Egypt.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • hoplite — [ ɔplit ] n. m. • 1732; lat. hoplites, mot gr., de hoplon « arme » ♦ Didact. Fantassin pesamment armé, dans l Antiquité grecque. ● hoplite nom masculin (grec hoplitês, armé) Soldat d infanterie de la Grèce antique, pesamment armé. (L armement… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • hoplite — 1. (o pli t ) s. m. Soldat grec d infanterie, pesamment armé, c est à dire ayant pour armes défensives un casque, une cuirasse, un bouclier rond et des bottines garnies de fer ; pour armes offensives, une longue pique et une épée. •   J ai voulu… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • Hoplite — Hop lite, n. [Gr. ?, fr. ? tool, weapon: cf. F. hoplite.] (Gr. Antiq.) A heavy armed infantry soldier. Milford …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • hoplite — heavy armed foot soldier of ancient Greece, 1727, from Gk. hoplites heavy armed, from hoplon tool, weapon …   Etymology dictionary

  • hoplite — ► NOUN ▪ a heavily armed foot soldier of ancient Greece. ORIGIN Greek hoplit s, from hoplon weapon …   English terms dictionary

  • hoplite — [häp′līt΄] n. [Gr hoplitēs < hoplon, a tool < hepein, to prepare, care for < IE base * sep , to concern oneself with > Sans sápati, (he) woos, cultivates, L sepelire, to bury] a heavily armed foot soldier of ancient Greece …   English World dictionary

  • Hoplite — The word hoplite (Greek: polytonic|ὁπλίτης hoplitēs ; pl. polytonic|ὁπλίται hoplitai ) derives from hoplon (polytonic|ὅπλον, plural hopla polytonic|ὅπλα), meaning an item of armour or equipment, thus hoplite may approximate to armoured man .… …   Wikipedia

  • Hoplite — Gravure d une statuette en bronze d hoplite L’hoplite (en grec ancien ὁπλίτης / hoplítês, de ὅπλον / hóplon « arme » ; l h français n …   Wikipédia en Français

  • hoplite — noun Etymology: Greek hoplitēs, from hoplon tool, weapon, from hepein to care for, work at more at sepulchre Date: circa 1741 a heavily armed infantry soldier of ancient Greece …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • HOPLITE — n. m. T. d’Antiquité grecque Fantassin pesamment armé, qui avait pour armes défensives le casque, la cuirasse, les bottines, garnies de fer; pour armes offensives la pique et l’épée …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 8eme edition (1935)

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.