As a result, five rows of men could present their sarissa to the enemy! Not purely a defensive formation, the phalanx could advance forward with pikes churning through virtually any opponent with ease. Philip II of Macedon changed how armies were trained and enhanced the phalanx formation by introducing the idea of the 'professional soldier' to Macedon, providing his warriors with training, a smaller shield, and a longer spear known as a sarissa which, besides simply being able to inflict greater casualties at a further distance, had the added advantage of masking the formation’s movements … phalanx differed from the older Greek hoplite formation. Like the Greek phalanx, only those in the front ranks wore body armour, with the most common protection being a helmet for those in the rear. At close range such large weapons were of little use, but an intact phalanx could easily keep its enemies at a distance; the weapons of the first five rows of men all projected beyond the front of the formation, so that there were more spearpoints than available targets at any given time. The sarissa (or sarisa) was a 3 to 7 meter (13-21 feet) long double pointed pike used in the Macedonian phalanx.It was very heavy for a spear, weighing over 5 kg (12 pounds). Originally the sarissa was used as a missile or a hand-to-hand weapon and was about 3 m long; later, its length increased to 6–7 m. Soldiers of the six forward ranks of the phalanx grasped the sarissa in their hands so that the weapons stuck out as much as 6 m in front of them. Originally the sarissa was used as a missile or a hand-to-hand weapon and was about 3 m long; later, its length increased to 6–7 m. Soldiers of the six forward ranks of the phalanx grasped the sarissa in their hands so that the weapons stuck out as much as 6 m in front of them. Alexander’s core unit in the phalanx was the syntagma, normally 16 men deep. Soldiers would be butted in by pikes on either side, thus the phalanx needed to be defended by light infantry on its flanks. Before the charge, it would tighten its files to close formation or even compact formation (synaspismos). From the elite hoplite infantry of both the Illyrians and the Greeks to the hardened warriors of Thrace and Paeonia, all would struggle to combat Philip’s sarissa-wielding phalanx with their shorter spears. phalanx, armed with the long sarissa, or spear; the pick of the cavalry were the Companions, led by Alexander himself on the right wing. It had a short iron head shaped like a leaf and a bronze shoe that would allow it to be anchored to … Flaws. Once researched, it makes Hoplites 10% less vulnerable to hack attacks. Alexander’s core unit in the phalanx was the syntagma, normally 16 men deep. Worldhistory.us - For those who want to understand the History, not just to read it. The shaft of the sarissa was 1.5 inches thick and made of a hard elastic wood called cornel. Measuring around 5.5 metres (18 feet) long, the sarissas of the first several rows of men would jut out through the front line, creating a wall of piercing death. Second, Philip armed part of his cavalry with the sarissa for the first time at the battle of Chaeronea in 338 B.C., and this is the earliest attested use of that lance by the Macedoni-ans. The sarissa used by the infantry (phalanx) was a long shaft of wood with tips of iron on either end. The sarissae were carried in two pieces before a battle and then slid together when they were being used. Macedonian Sarissa: Spartan-Hunting Spear of Philip II. He created the sarissa, a spear 18 feet long and held in both hands, rather than the hoplite’s one. Sarissa's were nothing more than thrusting spears but in Alexander's phalanxes, the sarissa - now growing to some 18 feet in length - allowed the phalanx … DOI link for Philip II – the sarissa phalanx and heavy cavalry. Philip II of Macedon saw both the potential and limitations of the Greek phalanx and sought to improve it and make it truly unstoppable. World History Forum. Edition 1st Edition. Finally, I will consider how the Mace-donians carried and wielded the cavalry lance and argue that this weapon was employed against not only hostile cavalry but even infantry. A sarissa wielding infantry phalanx would have been 8 to 16 ranks deep. The sarissa was made of one unbroken shaft of wood so that it would withstand a charge from infantry or cavalry. In addition, there were lighter armed troops, such as the scouts, and less-coordinated but highly…. Polybius states that the biggest weakness of the phalanx is its uselessness in rugged terrain, but we know that under competent leadership the phalanx had won victories even while crossing rivers. It was very heavy for a spear, weighing over 12 pounds. In total, the the sarissa weighed more than any other spear in use. Sarissa's were nothing more than thrusting spears but in Alexander's phalanxes, the sarissa - now growing to some 18 feet in length - allowed the phalanx … Article Publication Version. School of American and Global Studies Faculty Publications with a focus on History, Philosophy, Political Science, and Religion. He created the sarissa, a spear 18 feet long and held in both hands, rather than the hoplite’s one. The phalanx was also vulnerable to attacks to the sides and rear during battle as the positioning of the sarissa made it difficult for the phalanx as a whole to combat an enemy than wasn’t directly in front. So long as its rear and flank were protected, the formation was extremely powerful both as a defensive and an offensive weapon. Philip II – the sarissa phalanx and heavy cavalry book. Dory-Hoplites vs Sarissa-Phalanx. The sarissa formed the spines of the bristling Macedonian phalanx. The primary differences between Alexander's hoplite and that of ancient Greece was in the length of the sarissa. The sarissa differed from other pikes or long spears used commonly in Greece and nearby countries in its extraordinary length. Finally, I will consider how the Mace-donians carried and wielded the cavalry lance and argue that this weapon was employed against not only hostile cavalry but even infantry. It’s time to create a phalanx everyone! The Sarissa (or Sarisa) was a 13-21 foot long pike used in the Macedonian phalanx (a body of troops standing or moving in close formation.) Try to get through that! All credit goes to Alexander’s father, Philip, who invented (or perfected) the concepts of the sarissa phalanx with its eighteen-foot pike, the oblique order, the use of heavy cavalry, and many, many more innovations. As a result, five rows of men could present their sarissa to the enemy! Sarissa Phalanx. Equipment. Alexander’s army was like Star Wars compared to that. …the Macedonians’ use of the sarissa, a 13- to 21-foot (4- to 6.5-metre) spear that was roughly twice the length of the pikes used by the Greeks. A critical review of this evidence not only allows the changing length of the sarissa to be calculated in a modern unit of measure, but also examines descriptions in the ancient sources that suggest the forerunner to the Hellenistic pike phalanx was created a generation before the rise of Macedon as a military power in the mid fourth century BC. The soldier was able to wield the sarissa with two hands as he made use of a smaller shield than other spear wielding soldiers. The sarissa formed the spines of the bristling Macedonian phalanx. The Macedonians, for instance, used a huge spear, called sarissa, which was approximately 20 feet long. The sarissa-bearing phalanx would usually march to battle in open formation to facilitate movement. Wrightson, Graham, "The Nature of Command in the Macedonian Sarissa Phalanx" (2010). At close range such large weapons were of little use, but an intact phalanx could easily keep its enemies at a distance. Book Combined Arms Warfare in Ancient Greece. It had a short iron head shaped like a leaf and a bronze shoe that would allow it to be anchored to … Alexander the Great is well known for leading his armies to many victories as he battled through Europe. The sarissa formed the spines of the bristling Macedonian phalanx. Instead of an aspis they had a much smaller shield. The Sarissa (or Sarisa) was a 13-21 foot long pike used in the Macedonian phalanx (a body of troops standing or moving in close formation.) …the decisive innovations in arms—the sarissa, a pike nearly one and a half times as long as the spear of the Greeks—tactics, and training belong probably to this first year. The length and weight of the weapon made it too cumbersome for skirmishes, city fighting, or moving over mountainous terrain. Originally the sarissa was used as a missile or a hand-to-hand weapon and was about 3 m long; later, its length increased to 6–7 m. Soldiers of the six forward ranks of the phalanx grasped the sarissa in their hands so that the weapons stuck out as much as 6 m in front of them. By Graham Wrightson. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Jon Guttman. In a second article, entitled "Use of the Sarissa by Philip and Alexander of Macedon," I will argue that Philip dox view that Philip devised the sarissa-armed in-fantry phalanx. Sarissas were used in Macedonia to form tight formations of protection and assault…creating an awesome spiked wall. Recommended Citation. The infantry, known as the Macedonian phalanx, was ingeniously armed with a 4.5 to 6.5 metre pike (greek: sarissa) which was held in their right hand, and a shield (aspis) in their left.. As the phalanx advanced in formation, the sarissa was held pointed outward toward the advancing enemy. “Training in the Use of the Sarissa and its effect in battle, 359-333 B.C.”, Antichthon , vol. The head of the weapon was 20 inches in length and weighed 2.7 pounds. The long length of the sarissa meant that in these very close formations, 5-6 pike points protruded from the front line of the infantry towards oncoming tro… Nineteenth-century historians were fascinated by the Macedonian phalanx and its characteristic weapon, the sarissa. The primary differences between Alexander's hoplite and that of ancient Greece was in the length of the sarissa. The sarissa was a highly specialized weapon that could only be used to maximum effectiveness through the use of strict formations such as the phalanx formation. Book Combined Arms Warfare in Ancient Greece. Amazons – Who Were the Ancient Female Warriors? A critical review of this evidence not only allows the changing length of the sarissa to be calculated in a modern unit of measure, but also examines descriptions in the ancient sources that suggest the forerunner to the Hellenistic pike phalanx was created a generation before the rise of Macedon as a military power in the mid fourth century BC. It had a short iron head shaped like a leaf and a bronze shoe that would allow it to be anchored to the ground to stop charges by enemy soldiers. The effectiveness of the sarissa and Alexander’s tally of victories was as much a psychological weapon as a physical one, as armies that saw the phalanx knew they were in for a battle they were unlikely to win. Terrain had a significant bearing on its effectiveness, infantry could not effectively wield the weapon on uneven ground as it led to breaks in the line of pike points and made it difficult and dangerous for soldiers to move. The weapons ability to decimate an oncoming army with minimal losses made the sarissa one of the most feared weapons of its time. Philip’s great general Parmenio commanded the Thessalian cavalry on the left. European History. Sarissa is a Greek myth technology in Age of Mythology that is available to worshipers of Athena and can be researched at the Military Academy or Armory. Add a photo to this gallery Philip II – the sarissa phalanx and heavy cavalry book. The sarissa was long enough (18-22 feet) to keep an enemy … Not purely a defensive formation, the phalanx could advance forward with pikes churning through virtually any opponent with ease. In a second article, entitled "Use of the Sarissa by Philip and Alexander of Macedon," I will argue that Philip 14, 1980, Mixter, J.R. “The length of the Macedonian sarissa during the reigns of Philip II and Alexander the Great”, The Ancient World , vol 23, no 2, 1992, Manti, P.A. The sarissa (or sarisa) was a 3 to 7 meter (13-21 feet) long double pointed pike used in the Macedonian phalanx.It was very heavy for a spear, weighing over 5 kg (12 pounds). The phalanx that clashed shield-to-shield with its enemies across an open plain and slugged it out, rank against rank? So long as its rear and flank were protected, the formation was extremely powerful both as a defensive and an offensive weapon. 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