The Armed Forces of Athens
The unit of the Athenian citizen army, like practically all Greek armies, is the heavy armed infantry soldier, the hoplite. An army of "three thousand men" is often an army of so many hoplites, unless there is specific statement to the contrary. But really it is of six thousand men, to be entirely accurate: for along with every hoplite goes an attendant, a "light-armed man," either a poor citizen who cannot afford a regular suit of armor, or possibly a trusted slave. These "light-armed men" carry the hoplites' shields until the battle, and most of the baggage. They have javelins, and sometimes slings and bows. They act as skirmishers before the actual battle: and while the hoplites are in the real death-grip they harass the foe as they can, and guard the camp. When the fight is done they do their best to cover the retreat, or slaughter the flying foe if their own hoplites are victorious.
Next Chapter : The Peiraeus and the Shipping
Back to A Day in Old Athens Contents
The Greek Word Library
Reference address : https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/ancient-Greece/old-athens-armed.asp?pg=4