Athenian military

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The Athenian Empire around 450 BC

The Athenian military was the military force of Athens, one of the major city-states (poleis) of Ancient Greece. It was largely similar to other armies of the region.


In army, like practically all Greek armies, was the heavy armed hoplite. Along with every hoplite went an attendant, a lightly armed man, either a poor citizen who could not afford a regular suit of armor (panoplia), or possibly a trusted slave. These attendants carried the hoplite's shield (aspis) until the battle, and most of the baggage. While generally armed with javelins, they sometimes had spears, slings or bows. They acted as skirmishers before the pitched battle, and were assigned to guarding the camp during the actual fight. When the fight was done, they did their best to cover the retreat or slaughter the fleeing foes if their own hoplites were victorious.[1]

During and after the Peloponnesian Wars, the use and importance of light troops increased with the introduction of the peltasts: lightly armoured, if at all, and armed with javelins and a shield, the pelte.[1] Their effectiveness in battle, even against the best-trained heavy hoplites, was demonstrated by the Athenian general Iphicrates, who annihilated an entire Spartan mora with his peltasts.[2]


Athens, a civilization facing the sea, had a large contingent of warships. The main vessels were called triremes. With these boats, Athens obtained hegemony over the rest of Hellas and the greatest moment of the polis. The triremes included two sacred ships, the Paralus and the Salaminia.[1] This is no surprise since the defeat at Marathon by the Greeks was spoken highly of.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Davis, William (1910). A Day In Old Athens. ISBN 9781419100796.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Phillips, David (2004). Athenian Political Oratory: Sixteen Key Speeches. Routledge. p. 230. ISBN 9780415966092.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


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