THIRD PRIZE: The Archaic Greek Way of War: Reassessing Martial Identities
The standing orthodoxy concerning Archaic Greek warfare had been that the phalanx, and the heavily-armoured Greek hoplite, had become standard practice long before the Persian Invasions. However, new interpretations of Herodotus’ descriptions concerning Marathan (490 BCE) have brought these old orthodoxies into question. The scarcity of the term hoplite from literary evidence before Thucydides and Xenophon has further cast doubt on when the hoplite-exclusive phalanx came to dominate Greek warfare fully. However, observing the martial identities of those warriors from the period before (Dark Age Greece (1100-650 BCE)) and comparing it to the values evidenced in Herodotus’ account of the Persian Wars can provide another avenue of approach. This paper seeks to shed further light on this topic by accessing it from this alternative perspective – by comparing the martial identities presented in the literary evidence available.