EPISODE 23 : HOPLITES AND THE SPARTAN WAR MACHINE
This time around folks it is my great honour to have Professor Paul Bardunias as my guest on the show. Paul is a co-author of the book 'Hoplites at War: A comprehensive analysis of heavy infantry combat in the Greek world - 750 to 100 BCE.
Fittingly we discuss just that, developing the concept of Hoplite warfare in Greece from its advent in the mid-8th century through to the eve of the Persian wars.
Paul takes us through his 3 fundamentals of war during this time period: the men, the tools and the group. Painting a detailed picture of hoplite traditions, arms, armour and tactics for both the non-Spartan and Spartan warriors during the period.
We finish with a mock battle between Spartans and Argive troops to get a feel for two armies at war on the plains of the Peloponnese.
I hope you all enjoy, and take good care.
The Spartans tend to evoke images of bloody battles fought on almost mythical fields, of warriors pushing back against an oriental despotism that was irreconcilable to the Greek way of life . Accomplished with spear, shield and led by the 'Bad Boy' king Leonidas, these are only a few tantalising details to a tale that begins almost a 1000 years before the legend of Thermopylae and the 300 Spartans. The gaps in between are the focus of this podcast and I intend to flesh them out in their entirety.
Understanding the Spartans and their role in the greater scope of ancient Greek history requires rewinding the clock back to the bronze age with the siege, fall and extirpation of Troy and the Trojans as a people. Names like Hector, Helen, Achilles and Agamemnon will come up often as we scour Homer's epics for the earliest mentions of the Spartan story. So lets turn first to Troy and begin a chronological look at the ancient people of Sparta, in an exciting odyssey into the Past.