Phalangite

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Phalangite (φαλαγγίτης) is the Greek name for

Phalangites had an advantage over other spearmen of ancient times due most notably to their massive sarissas. Under Alexander the Great the sarissas would have reached a length of 18 feet (5.5 m). They used a shield around 2 feet (60 cm) in diameter, and wore a breastplate and a helmet for armor. They also carried a dagger as a secondary weapon, but due to its length of around 10 inches (25 cm), it was rarely used in combat. Phalangites were nearly impregnable from the front because of the massive length of their pikes, but they were tactically cumbersome and were vulnerable from the sides because a phalangite could not turn quickly with the giant sarissa. The phalangite's pike, the sarissa, was perceived as the Macedonian counter-part to the famed Greek Dory carried by all Greek Hoplites, which was sturdier, heavier, and shorter than the Macedonian sarissa. The Greek hoplite was also more heavily armored, had a larger, sturdier shield, and as mentioned before, their spears were heavier and sturdier, which meant more impact damage upon thrust. However,the Macedonian sarrisa was 15 feet in length as opposed to the Greek Doru, which was 6 feet long. Additionally, the Macedonians' shields allowed for more defensive maneuvers by the phalanx, as the sarrisa was a 2-handed weapon and the Macedonian shield could be strapped onto the phalangite's arm to provide an effective defense while not compromising the unit's offensive punch.


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(incomplete)

  • Larousse (Encyclopaedia in French)