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  • Author or Editor: Cezary Kucewicz x
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Abstract

In the Classical period the Spartan armies buried their war dead on the battlefield, a practice confirmed by both ancient literary accounts and archaeological evidence. By contrast, relatively little is known about how the Spartans buried their war casualties in the preceding Archaic era. While most scholars assume that the custom of battlefield burials can be dated back to as early as the eighth century BCE, a fragment from the elegies of Tyrtaios implies that Archaic Spartan armies fighting in Messenia brought back some of their war dead to be buried at home. This chapter explores the potential existence of a system of repatriation for the war dead in early Sparta, hinted at most famously in the Hellenistic apophthegm of the Spartan mother encouraging her son to return ‘with his shield or on it’. It provides a comprehensive survey of evidence for the war dead in Archaic Sparta, taking into account the literary testimonies of Tyrtaios and Plutarch, as well as the latest archaeological surveys of intra-communal burials in Sparta. Its main conclusion is that Archaic Spartan armies practised the custom of private repatriation for the war dead, which reflected the dominance of the elites over early Spartan citizen militias. This custom remained in place until the establishment of the Peloponnesian League in the mid-sixth century BC, when the Spartans switched to the more egalitarian system of common battlefield burials. The latter can be seen as one of the first steps in the process of army institutionalisation of the Spartan militias in the late Archaic period, offering a unique glimpse into the much-disputed socio-political history of the early Spartan polis.

In: Brill's Companion to Greek Land Warfare Beyond the Phalanx
After decades of controversy, there is now a growing consensus that Greek warfare was not singular and simple, but complex and multiform. In this volume, emerging and established scholars build on this consensus to explore Greek warfare beyond its traditional focus on hoplites and the phalanx. We expand the chronological limits back into the Iron Age, the geographical limits to the central and eastern Mediterranean, and the operational limits to include cavalry, light-armed troops, and sieges. We also look beyond the battlefield at integral aspects of warfare including religion, the experiences of women, and the recovery of the war dead.

Abstract

Greek light-armed forces have been the subject of numerous studies, but they are poorly integrated into the full narrative of Greek warfare. In this chapter, we look specifically at the role of light-armed fighters from the tenth to the fourth century, the social status of those who fought with light arms, and, where possible, their significance on the battlefield.

In: Brill's Companion to Greek Land Warfare Beyond the Phalanx

Abstract

Greek warfare has long been understood to be ‘hoplite warfare’, focusing on the armoured spearmen who fought in the tight-knit phalanx formation. In introducing this volume, we trace the idea of the ‘hoplite’ and his essential ‘Greekness’ in popular media and modern scholarship, while also showing this understanding of the hoplite is distinct from that of the ancient world. We explore why, and how, this focus came about and how we aim to move beyond it in this volume.

In: Brill's Companion to Greek Land Warfare Beyond the Phalanx