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[split] Phalanx warfare: use of the spear
#1
not just guess. Usually military formations  must be simple and possible to adapt in heat of battle, with full panoply. You can take some  men, dress them in full panoply and make them adapt those formation and observe what worked and what would not. Of course they would not be as fast or effective as soldiers who did this in ancient times, but if something is just not possible today, it was very much not possible also back then, because human physiology is the same.. our arms elbows, knees work the same way as back then, and if something is just too fatiguing today, it would be a problem back then as well.

This is for example why Chris Matthew theory about spear underarm use makes sense.. overhead use in tight formation would not even allow to put the spear into such position, or putting it back into marching/horizontal position.  (besides, whole idea that you would use 3m long spear holding it in the middle, and not benefit from its length kinda silly.. because in that case, you would be much better with lighter and shorter spear, something similar to what Zullu used, or even shortsword...)  (but of course i don't want to hijack this thread with this, and will delete it if its considered offtopic)
Jaroslav Jakubov
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#2
Using the spear in ultra tight phalanx formation
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#3
yeah, only problem with this is, nobody is standing behind them... and if there was another line, and you are holding a real dory instead of a broomstick, its length would project way beyond that rank, so your spear would endanger at least two- three ranks behind you.. and you still need a space to even get the spear from vertical position into horizontal.. with another man shield behind you just 3ft, it would be completely impossible to get the spear into position.. and once combat starts and men are tighter together, you would be unable to put the spear back into vertical position let say to rest your arm from blood loss fatigue...

i saw that video some time ago and even left a comment there (signed by my name..)


whole idea that 3m long spear would be held in the middle is very strange to me... especially, when center of balance of those spears was actually in the back, so if you held it in the middle, your spearpoint would not point down but up....

and i can quote Chris Matthew book where he actually had some guys using full panoply, just to feel muscle spasms and arm fatigue just after 5 minutes of simulated combat with overarm grip, while being completely incapacitated and unable to keep arms like this for much longer... Really doubt anybody would use such an awkward way of attacking, which actually only gives you problems - removes you huge amount of standoff that long spear provides, tires your men down in extremely fast fashion, and you are even unable to place the spear in that position within tight formation you are supposed to be in while using it...

[Image: 5i61.png]
Jaroslav Jakubov
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#4
Watch the video again, the spears are held at a 30-45 degree angle at ear level, no threat to anyone behind the front rank. Now compare that to any form of underhanded use, which is definitely something that will hit hoplites in the second rank with the sauroter.

Chris Matthew has his opinions, and he's primarily one promoting only underhanded use of the spears. Not everyone agrees with him. He's been torn apart on this website for years. You're not going to solve the debate in this thread, its been done to death half a decade ago.

Search: Matthew Overhand

Christopher Mathew's flawed analysis of the mechanics of hoplite combat
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#5
and im surprised so many people are arguing about it, and nobody actually cared to try it with real replica to hit something... if Chris was wrong, then it would be very simple to disprove what he wrote, yet, his tests are valid. No Human is able to deliver attacks with such posture for too long and his arms and wrists would be under imense stress just after few minutes... in combat, simple things are used, because complications kill you... getting tired in 5 minutes so you cant hold your weapon is something that is very problematic for everybody no matter what era he lived in...


i really dont care about artistic portrayals and those explanations, yet  I've seen a lot of guys backing their overarm arguments with Cigi vase, while ignoring very visible ankyle strips on silver head javelins  on the far right, while black head spears are there as well in horizontal position...  but i dont care.. yet, if somebody runs tests with live people using the spear that way,and reporting they were unable to do this for more than 4 MINUTES, while being incapacitated for another 15 minutes until all the muscle spasms ended... it kinda makes a very strong argument to not use spear in such ineffective way....


Quote:Watch the video again, the spears are held at a 30-45 degree angle at ear level, no threat to anyone behind the front rank. Now compare that to any form of underhanded use, which is definitely something that will hit hoplites in the second rank with the sauroter.
 but they dont have real spears in that video... no sauroters... point of balance is different...

besides, if somebody was foolish enough to hold his spear like this in formation... what would stop the other guys holding their spears at the rear end and underarm, using maximum reach and just thrust them forward into enemy heads??? they would be completely defenseless due to enemy spear having  more than 1m length advantage, due to being gripped at the back.... with Dory, reach is everything... if it wasnt, you would not use 3m long spears, but instead you would use something shorter and lighter... that would not tire you down in mere minutes...


edit:
 
which reminds me... If overarm use was a norm.. Macedonians would not need to use 5m long sarrisa to gain a reach superiority over Hoplites... even mere 3m long pike would be more than enough..
Jaroslav Jakubov
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#6
(08-11-2016, 05:19 PM)JaM Wrote: and im surprised so many people are arguing about it, and nobody actually cared to try it with real replica to hit something... if Chris was wrong, then it would be very simple to disprove what he wrote, yet, his tests are valid. No Human is able to deliver attacks with such posture for too long and his arms and wrists would be under imense stress just after few minutes... in combat, simple things are used, because complications kill you... getting tired in 5 minutes so you cant hold your weapon is something that is very problematic for everybody no matter what era he lived in...


i really dont care about artistic portrayals and those explanations, yet  I've seen a lot of guys backing their overarm arguments with Cigi vase, while ignoring very visible ankyle strips on silver head javelins  on the far right, while black head spears are there as well in horizontal position...  but i dont care.. yet, if somebody runs tests with live people using the spear that way,and reporting they were unable to do this for more than 4 MINUTES, while being incapacitated for another 15 minutes until all the muscle spasms ended... it kinda makes a very strong argument to not use spear in such ineffective way....


Quote:Watch the video again, the spears are held at a 30-45 degree angle at ear level, no threat to anyone behind the front rank. Now compare that to any form of underhanded use, which is definitely something that will hit hoplites in the second rank with the sauroter.
 but they dont have real spears in that video... no sauroters... point of balance is different...

besides, if somebody was foolish enough to hold his spear like this in formation... what would stop the other guys holding their spears at the rear end and underarm, using maximum reach and just thrust them forward into enemy heads??? they would be completely defenseless due to enemy spear having  more than 1m length advantage, due to being gripped at the back.... with Dory, reach is everything... if it wasnt, you would not use 3m long spears, but instead you would use something shorter and lighter... that would not tire you down in mere minutes...


edit:
 
which reminds me... If overarm use was a norm.. Macedonians would not need to use 5m long sarrisa to gain a reach superiority over Hoplites... even mere 3m long pike would be more than enough..

You're basing everything you're writing about endurance of what Chris Matthew wrote in his book. There are other opinions on the matter. Here's one (I'm sure you'll post on his channel and rip on his conclusions too, as you did with the other video):

Thrand's Overarm Spear Vs Christopher Matthew's Underarm spear! A Storm of Spears!
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#7
saw it already, same thing.. this is not DORY... this is a broomstick he is using.  But overall, its typical for all youtube videos, where somebody tries to make his point, so he adjusts the "test" to make it... his postures were incorrect, his underarm thrusts were intentionally flawed.


i would put this video to the same level as a guy buying a Chinese or Indian butted mail replica he bought for 200$ on ebay to prove how weak it is because he can penetrate it with just anything...
Jaroslav Jakubov
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#8
(08-11-2016, 05:58 PM)JaM Wrote: saw it already, same thing.. this is not DORY... this is a broomstick he is using.  But overall, its typical for all youtube videos, where somebody tries to make his point, so he adjusts the "test" to make it... his postures were incorrect, his underarm thrusts were intentionally flawed.


i would put this video to the same level as a guy buying a Chinese or Indian butted mail replica he bought for 200$ on ebay to prove how weak it is because he can penetrate it with just anything...

So what dory do you use for your tests that are historically accurate? Where are you getting the historically accurate dimensions for the shaft?

Also, you say you've see it already, how come you waited until six minutes ago in order to make comments on this youtube video to try to rip it apart? Did you forget the last time you watched it?
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#9
i've seen another one in the past, but didnt care to reply cause it didnt seen to me as important.  Yet, i will give him credit for one thing - so far, everybody thought javelins would have to be used at the charge, from running throw.. but i could very much imagine for example Roman Legionarii using their Pila and throw it at very short range during formation closing in.. you dont need to arch it to hit the enemy...

Yet, still standing behind my opinion that if you want to fight like this, you would not use 3m long spear for it... 2m long would be enough, or even shorter.. like Zullus Iklwa or Assegai.  and also Macedonians would not bother with 5.5m long pikes to overcome Hoplite Phalanx...


my point is, that if you wanna do some historically related test, you need to use historically correct items, and use valid testing methods. Otherwise we can throw the books into trashbins and teach youtube theories at universities instead.. I would very like to see that guy using the historically correct spear, in full hoplite panoply like this for let say 15 minutes, and then we would see how he feels about it..


edit:

Oh, and btw, he claims this was how spear was used even in Medieval, yet, to my knowledge i cant remember any medieval paintings with spears held in overarm grip.
Jaroslav Jakubov
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#10
(08-11-2016, 06:34 PM)JaM Wrote: i've seen another one in the past, but didnt care to reply cause it didnt seen to me as important.  Yet, i will give him credit for one thing - so far, everybody thought javelins would have to be used at the charge, from running throw.. but i could very much imagine for example Roman Legionarii using their Pila and throw it at very short range during formation closing in.. you dont need to arch it to hit the enemy...

Yet, still standing behind my opinion that if you want to fight like this, you would not use 3m long spear for it... 2m long would be enough, or even shorter.. like Zullus Iklwa or Assegai.  and also Macedonians would not bother with 5.5m long pikes to overcome Hoplite Phalanx...


my point is, that if you wanna do some historically related test, you need to use historically correct items, and use valid testing methods. Otherwise we can throw the books into trashbins and teach youtube theories at universities instead.. I would very like to see that guy using the historically correct spear, in full hoplite panoply like this for let say 15 minutes, and then we would see how he feels about it..

I ask again: 

"So what dory do you use for your tests that are historically accurate? Where are you getting the historically accurate dimensions for the shaft?"

How long was battle sustained hoplite battle? You're stating that the arm couldn't hold up for 15 minutes, are you implying that everything was fine and dandy after 15 minutes of nonstop close quarters battle?
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#11
why are you asking me? dont you have historical sources which tells you how long Dory was?  i guess if I quote CHris Matthew again you will not be pleased Big Grin

and for those 15minutes.. if one group could use spears without any physical reduction in effectivity for more than 15 minutes, and other was completely cnackered after just 5 minutes, i would guess that first group would just walk all over the second group in real fight with ease... fatigue in melee combat is the most important thing.. who can hold longer wins... besides, people are not suicidal.. they would not endanger themselves unnecessarily... they would want to keep the distance from enemy and hit them from safe distance.. only very small percentage of people in population is intentionally suicidal, and would actively search to kill an enemy in a fight.. huge majority would instead, try to keep themselves out of harm, and only then try to hit the enemy... many historical battle descriptions say that huge majority of losses happened when one side broke and tried to run... winning side just butchered whatever they could catch...
Jaroslav Jakubov
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#12
I'll ask again, provide either a primary source or an achaeological account of the dimensions of the shaft of a dory. How did they differ in length, diameter, wood, and taper from the "broom sticks" you claim were used in the two videos?

So hoplite battle was stationary, with the winning side simply being the side which could hold their dory up longer? How interesting!
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#13
yeah, because thats what i said, right?  NO, read again...

about spear length  lets quote Chris again ->


Quote:Kromayer and Veith, from an analysis of representations of the spear in vase paintings, calculated that the average length of the weapon was approximately one and a half times the height of its bearer.

 J. Kromayer and G. Veith, Heerwesen und Kriegfu¨hrung der Griechen und Romer (Munchen, 1928), p. 51

Hanson suggests that the average hoplite was 170cm tall. Angel also provides a figure of 170cm, while Gabriel and Metz base their conclusions on a height of 172cm. The bodies of Spartans discovered in the Kerameikos have been measured and, although the results of the forensic analysis into their stature have not yet been released, their height is said to be the same as that of a modern man; suggesting a height of around 170cm.

- Hanson, Wars, p. 59
-  W. Donlan and J. Thompson, ‘The Charge at Marathon: Herodotus 6.112’, Classical Journal 71:4 (Apr–May 1976), p. 341; Gabriel and Metz, Sumer to Rome, p. 71.
- Personal correspondence with J. Stroszeck of the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut 1–4 March 2008; see also: J. Stroszeck, ‘Lakonisch-rotfigurige Keramik aus den Lakedaimoniergräbern am Kerameikos υon Athen’, AA 2 (2006), pp. 101–120; van Wees, Greek Warfare, pp. 146–147; C.F. Salazar, The Treatment of War Wounds in Greco-Roman Antiquity (Leiden, Brill, 2000), pp. 233–234; W.K. Pritchett, The Greek State at War – Part IV (Berkeley, University of California Press, 1985), pp. 133–134; L. van Hook, ‘On the Lacedaemonians Buried in the Kerameikos’, AJA 36:3 (Jul–Sep 1932), pp. 290–292



Quote:A re-examination of the archaeological and artistic evidence, as well as modern estimates and calculations for the characteristics of the hoplite spear, demonstrates that the average hoplite weapon was approximately 2.5m in length, had an iron head weighing around 153g and bronze sauroter weighing 329g affixed to either end of a shaft that had either a uniform diameter of 25mm or tapered from 19mm at the front to 25mm at the back. The overall weight of the spear was over 1.3kg and had a point of balance approximately 89cm from the rear end of the weapon.
Jaroslav Jakubov
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#14
"and for those 15minutes.. if one group could use spears without any physical reduction in effectivity for more than 15 minutes, and other was completely cnackered after just 5 minutes, i would guess that first group would just walk all over the second group in real fight with ease... fatigue in melee combat is the most important thing.. who can hold longer wins... besides, people are not suicidal.. they would not endanger themselves unnecessarily... they would want to keep the distance from enemy and hit them from safe distance.. only very small percentage of people in population is intentionally suicidal, and would actively search to kill an enemy in a fight.. huge majority would instead, try to keep themselves out of harm, and only then try to hit the enemy... many historical battle descriptions say that huge majority of losses happened when one side broke and tried to run... winning side just butchered whatever they could catch..."

The only muscle group you acknowledged in previous posts having to do with fatigue in battle was the shoulder of the spear carrying arm. Is that it? I asked you "How long was battle sustained hoplite battle? You're stating that the arm couldn't hold up for 15 minutes, are you implying that everything was fine and dandy after 15 minutes of nonstop close quarters battle?" Suicide has nothing to do with anything being discussed, so I can ignore all of that. In the first sentence, the part in bold, it appears you're still implying that when it came to hoplite battle that the shoulder muscle is the only muscle that matters when it comes to fatigue. If this is incorrect, please state so clearly and tell me what muscle groups in a hoplite matter in the 15 minutes of sustained combat you believe they fought. If there are other muscles that can become fatigued, what are these muscles doing in hoplite battle that would make them fatigued?

Also, if a battle lasts longer than 15 minutes, what happens to Matthew's 15 minute rated underarm technique? Do he call it quits? Does anyone call it quits? Are there lulls in your imagined battles or is it nonstop for the start of the clash to however long it takes the battle to end?

Lastly, when it comes to the shaft of a dory, it says some are uniform of 25mm diameter (interesting how he came up with that very specific width). Either way, I googled broomsticks, and guess what? The most common diameter of the five types I checked was 23mm, which is negligible to the 25mm Matthew's states. When it came to both youtube videos I posted earlier, Thrand is using a spear much taller than he is (clearly not a broomstick and its tapered as well), and the ones used by the Greek reenactors are also tapered and a good part taller than their height (which is also longer than a broomstick). So where exactly is your beef with the weapons they are using? The slight difference in dimensions to Matthew's description doesn't negate the information they provided. At most it changes the point of balance a few inches, which again, doesn't negate the information they provided. 

The first youtube video shows that an overhand grip makes it easy to parry thrusts of other spears, something not really possible with an underhand grip. The second video demonstrates that with a controversial throwing method of a thrust used with an overhand grip the spear is capable of much more penetration, even against armor. I'm not going to imply the underarm was never used, especially when iconography shows it was, but both those videos lend more evidence of the effectiveness of the overhand method, which is in keeping with the point behind experimental archaeology.
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#15
no, guys using underarm grip reported no fatigue and could continue further... guys using overarm could not do such thing and needed a longer break.. some of them even after 15 minutes of a break still had muscle spasms...


[Image: zyvr.png]

this is the part one to the one I posted earlier.. but really, why don't you get that book and read it yourself?
Jaroslav Jakubov
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