Strength, Honour, Loyalty
— Provincial and National
— Ranks and Roles
— Nobility vs. Meritocracy
— Politics and Judiciary
— Responsibilities and Duties
— Annual Leave
— Families and Children
Equipment and Weaponry
— Gladiator-Specific Weaponry
— Swordplay and Technique
The military forces of Greece are strong and powerful but they do not operate in the way modern or ancient empires carry out their armed forces. Greece is the land of warriors - of heroes such as Achilles, Hector and Odysseus. It is a land in which all soldiers go to war with the belief that the Gods will decide victor. Based on bravery, strength and valour. Ergo, unified legions, specific group training techniques and ways in which a military force work together, were not employed in the Greek armies. There was no need for such training. Most of the Grecian kingdoms are located on islands, meaning that any battle waged is done so abroad or against an opposing force on their own shoreline. There is, therefore, no land or space to operate large legion manoeuvres as the Romans and Alexander the Great would later employ. Instead, the men of the Grecian military are organised into units and led by men who can inspire the necessary courage and drive in their troops. Their techniques and orders are more individualistic and the way in which they fight is often dependant on singular leaders; not in universal training. Soldiers are more often trained to remain in shape and to be extraordinary fighters on a one-on-one basis. Where larger groups of soldiers, reliant on shield walls or unified strategy would fail, a single Grecian soldier will continue forward without order, command or ally, able to fight alone. An army of such men is a ferocious fighting force.
While the Grecian armed forces appreciate individual achievements in their warriors, they know that numbers are required to win a battle. As such, all armies within Greece are organised into units under the particular command of certain ranks of soldier.
Provincial and National
Each kingdom's military is comprised of "military units". There is a unit of military per province in the Grecian realm. The men who fight in this unit are - normally - all born and raised of that province (though there is no rule to say that one cannot join a different province's military should they wish to). These provinces are led by a Captain, who has several Lieutenants beneath him to order and command the men. When wars or battles break out, multiple units are called upon to fight. The Captains remain in charge of their own unit but a Commander - who is a military leader at a national rank, rather than provincial level - will command the whole military force (multiple units at once), ordering the Captains as is required. If a battle is small in scale, a unit might be sent on its own, the Captain remaining the highest form of authority and no Commander attending to lead above them. If, on the other hand, the war is incredibly large, dozens of units may be sent with multiple Commanders to organise them all and then a General will be employed the oversee the Commanders. In this way Generals are rarely used in battle and for one to attend the battlefield in this way is a sign of a large scale war.
On the flipside of this. All Commanders and Generals come from provinces too and are some way tied to a particular military unit. They might have completed their training there to be a Commander or General, they might have worked up through the ranks in that unit. Either way, every Commander and General will be tied to a provincial unit in some way. It is then the choice of that Commander or General whether or not they stay affiliated with that unit and operate as their leader even when it is not required for a Commander or General to be on the front lines. So, for example, a General will lead multiple units and thousands of men into battle at a time of great war. But, if they are career soldier, they might also go into battle as the leader of a small provincial unit, in the place of, or in addition to, a Captain. This is not compulsory behaviour - however it is often the norm as Commanders and General intend on keeping their personal skills in combat and tactics strong and also look to have a single unit that they know incredibly well and who obey instruction perfectly, as the vanguard unit in any larger scale battles.
Ranks and Roles
Order is important within the military. Ranks are the terms used to describe a soldier's authority over other men and whether or not they are an officer. Roles are their speciality in terms of skillset: whether they are an archer, a charioteer etc. Each soldier will have both a rank and a role, though high-level ranking officers are unlikely to fight as their role and spend more time as the tactical leader of a group.
The highest point of authority in the military after the King. They are often considered on par with the Master of War though technically the Master of War outranks them. This is due to the Master of War often having been retired from active service for some time, while a General is always on active duty; they work well together. There are only one to three Generals within a single kingdom (tops) and their main responsibility is rare and infrequent: leading mass scale campaigns and large war efforts where multiple (approx. four or more) military units are involved.
A Commander is the next step down from a General and operates on a national level also. They are able to command several military units (up to about three) simultaneously and will most often than not be the highest point of military authority in any war or battle. For a General to become involved is rare. Most battles are of a scale where a Commander can handle lead command, to the point where some kingdoms don't have Generals at all, and will simply appoint one of their Commanders as Head Commander as and when needed in larger scale war efforts. A Commander is generally considered to be a role model to other soldiers and an expert in warfare.
A Captain is the leader of a provincial unit. They do not operate outside of their provincial military unit and while they will receive respect, trust and polite acceptance of help by others, because of their rank, they do not technically have any authority outside of their own unit. When going to battle, if only their military unit is being sent to combat, the Captain is then the highest form of authority in that battle. If they are being sent alongside other units, they are still the highest form of authority within their own unit of men but are inferior to the instructions of the Commander leading the army as a whole.
A Lieutenant is in charge of a single group of men within a provincial unit. A single provincial unit can operate as a small army and is separated by skillset; archers, infantry etc. A Lieutenant will be in charge of one of these: i.e. the Archery Lieutenant. Depending on the skillsets of the men available in the unit, a unit might not have every skillset available (i.e. chariots or cavalry). Archers, hoplites and peltasts are the most common, which means a Captain normally has three Lieutenants under his command.
When fighting at a national level, it is up to the Commander or General how they organise troops. Some might separate military units by skillset; i.e. assigning all of the archers from Unit One and Unit Two to work together while all the infantry from Unit One and Unit Two work elsewhere. They might prefer to try and organise their army in this manner. If this is the case, Lieutenants will stay with their group of men and Captains will be placed where they are considered to be of most value based on their own personal skills. If the Captain of Unit One is a particularly good archer, for example, he might be placed in charge of both of the archery groups that now form a new unit. On the other hand, some Commanders and Generals prefer to keep units intact, recognising the benefit and application of men who have lived and fought together for years continuing to do so. This is entirely down to the choices of the Commander or General and their assessment of the battle they are intending to fight.
Archers are the second most common form of soldier in Greece. They are often very skilled and normally a preference of speciality by the poor. Most anyone can form a bow and forge a few arrows from their surrounding woodlands or environments - especially if they're smart enough to recycle arrows during practice; swords and other weaponry are more expensive and harder to simply "come by". As such, many archers in the army are of the lower classes of society and were once hunters or woodsmen. As such they are a sturdy breed of man with quick reflexes. To be a good archer one must remain calm and collected in combat and be trained to use their weapons not just at long-range (though this is the most common) but in close quarter combat too. Most archery groups within units work very closely with the infantry. Only a step behind them, firing over their heads, in order to protect their path forwards. They do not hang back miles away but are in the thick of the fighting just like everyone else. It is most common for archery units to be supplied with a long knife as well as their bow and arrows.
This is exceptionally rare in Greece. A province will only have a cavalry unit if a General or Master of War has ordered one to be made - mostly as an experiment. Military combat on the back of a horse simply does not happen in the Greek realm. They ride chariots or go in on foot. "Cavalry soldiers" is listed in our application page, primarily for the use of officers. Most Commanders or Generals will lead an army either from the back of a chariot or the back of a horse, as this allows them to move between Captains and officers quickly, passing on orders and instructions. Many such Commanders and Generals will have their own specialities - archery, infantry; whatever they came up through the ranks doing. However, some of them prefer fighting from the back of their horse. This is the only real use for the "cavalry soldier" option in the applications page for Greek characters. Cavalry is a type of military style that is used in later centuries of warfare. Athenia is the only kingdom to "experiment" in this way and have a cavalry unit (run by the Antonis family) that they do not currently use in battle, as they consider its application in war.
A charioteering unit is the most expensive, the hardest to equip and train but also the most devastating in battle. Depending on the land (you need lots of flat land within your kingdom to raise and train such a force), the economy (supplying two horses per chariot, plus the cart itself is incredibly expensive in comparison to equipping someone with a sword or bow) and the war requirements (if your kingdom's army never fights on open plains or even ground, what use are chariots?) a kingdom may not even have a charioteering unit. If they do, due to the specific requirements needed, this will often be kept as a unit/force separate from provincial units, with its own Captain and Lieutenants. Or, a specific province that has the appropriate lands will be assigned as the charioteering unit; all other soldiers of different skills would then be required to join the neighbouring provinces' units instead. These forces are rare and expensive but in the right battle they are formidable. Both Taengea and Athenia have charioteering units. Colchis does not.
The most common sector of military men, the infantry is not as dull a role as the others may make it seem. While "infantry" covers any man who fights on his feet and with a close-range weapon, the personal preferences of an infantry fighter and the glory they can attain are limitless. As mentioned above, Greece did not operate in legion manoeuvres like the Romans but instead fight with the individual strengths and abilities of each fighter, heralding the strength of each within a group, rather than the power of the united group itself.
Hoplites are the most common form of infantry soldier. They fight with a doru spear and a hoplon shield. They wear a helmet, tunic, cuirass, greaves and sandals. They fight in close quarters with their spears and, when they are lost or broken, fight with a xiphos short sword that is kept in a sheath at their waist until needed.
A Peltast is not designed to be a fighter who enters into close combat like a hoplite. As such, their armour is usually much lighter, they don't tend to wear helmets and instead sport a pelted shield and as many javelins (akontia) as they can carry in their baldric or hands. They often hang back and throw their weapons ahead of the hoplites, thinning the enemy forces before they reach the hoplite fighters.
Nobility vs. Meritocracy
The sons of the nobility are often sent into the military. Whether this is temporarily; as a means of teaching the strength, valour and discipline, or a permanent career choice (if the House in question are very militant based) is up to the House itself. Members of the nobility are often given ranks of Captain and above. However, this is not a system similar to that of the Middle Ages and forward centuries. It is not a pure nobility privilege. They do not attain this ranks solely based on bloodline. Each rank requires a certain level of skill and favour from higher ranking officers to be appointed. The Nobility obviously have the favour already in place but they must have the skill. This, however, is not often difficult to attain. The sons of the nobility (unlike the lower classes) do not have every day jobs, roles or responsibilities. Instead, if they are aiming to enter the military, they would spend their entire time training, learning and practising their skills. As such, by the time they even set foot on the battlefield, they will often be more accomplished than the average soldier. The only thing a member of the nobility, trained in this way, would lack is actual combat experience. To counteract this, most nobles who are being set up for a career in the military will be sent to act as a retainer/assistant to a relative already on active military duty. E.g. the retainer to their uncle who is a Commander. This gives them active military service without officially joining the army and holding a position. This way, when they do officially enter the military, they do so with both skill and experience and will often enter in directly as a Captain - most often as the Captain of a province their family own. From there, they are expected to work up the ranks as anyone else would, their nobility no longer an advantage as most others they are peerage to will be of the same, if not higher, birth.
As the nobles who enter into the army require both the skill and experience to enter in at an appropriate level of officer, and are then required to impress in the same way others are, there isn't really any privilege or favouritism in regards to being noble. They simply have better resources and time to get them to a position of authority faster. On a commoner's path, all soldier begin at the bottom of the ladder - as a common trooper. They are then expected to impress their superiors if they are to be given rank and superiority. This might be through a particular, singular act of courage or impressive display of skill. It could be an on-going and diligent work ethic. It could be simple survival; that they have survived long enough in the army to now be the most experienced and skilled of the rest of their newer peers. Different behaviours impress different military commanders. A common soldier can rise up the ranks through Lieutenant to Captain but this is where discrimination in the army does offer privilege to those of noble birth. A commoner will never achieve the rank of General and would have to do something very, very impressive to even be considered for the rank of Commander. Those of common birth just aren't considered to have the intellect or education to manage the tactical and leadership side of being a high ranking military officer. The people of Greece are highly classist. Common soldiers are willing to obey noble officers because they believe them to be of a higher quality of man; their lives and birth arranged that way by the Gods. A common man, promoted to a higher rank than is normal, would likely (ironically) receive a lack of obedience from their fellow common soldiers; men would believe them to have risen too high, to be inappropriate for their role or to have sought it through deceptive means. Jealousy and ignorance combine to make a force difficult to lead. This is why the appointment of a common man to Commander is incredibly rare and would only happen if it could be guaranteed that this reaction would not occur (for whatever reason).
Politics and Judiciary
Unlike in modern times, where the military handles their own justice system, the military of ancient Greece is subject to the Senate. Whilst away at war, officers are responsible for simple judgements and punishments for poor behaviour. However, anything that is considered a breech of law - rather than simply a breech of protocol - and is an insult and reflection against the military as a whole is brought to the Senate for judiciary purposes.
This being said, issues such as these reflect badly on both the perpetrator and upon their immediate commanders, who are responsible for maintaining order and appropriate behaviour in their soldiers while away at war. Therefore, the officer is also the one under scrutiny should an issue ever be brought before the Senate. Due to this, many officers attempt to settle issues themselves, keeping the transgressions private and hidden. Such a choice is dangerous and the revelation that they were aware of such things at a later date would cause an even worse backlash but this is down to each man's personal choice on what they think is best, both at the time and for the future of both their's and the accused's careers.
How to Be a Soldier
The Grecians believe in hard work and earning your wage. As such, while tasks that accumulate to form daily military life are usually completed by the following ranks, it is not uncommon for higher ranking officers to "muck in" or for trusted lower ranking soldiers to be given tasks outside their normal duties. In general, the concept and ethos is that all are fighting for a common goal. As such, all tasks must be done. They are only assigned the way that they are in order to create order, stability and certainty of their completion. On the flipside of this, a particular nasty task - such as burying and re-digging excrement pits are necessary responsibilities that no-one likes to do and, as such, are normally reserved as punishments for minor infractions within the unit.
Below are a list of responsibilities that are solely the duty of each rank and then a list of daily tasks that are more general requirements for a military unit that are then divided between lower ranking soldiers and officers alike. As with all industries and occupations in the world there are always those who, on an individual level are more willing to jump in and complete their work and others that are more lacklustre but this is down to personal choice on the part of the character creator.
Responsibilities and Duties
— Oversees the entire war effort and reporting to the King.
— Keeps in regular communication with all Commanders and Captains. A General must know everything that is happening within the military sector of the entire kingdom.
— Assesses tactical analysis of battles and their command.
— Handles any diplomacy or peace talks.
— Is basically responsible for every victory or failure within the army - from battles to paperwork, from food supplies to the lives of the men.
— Performs the role of a General when they are not in attendance.
— Becomes the facilitator for the General's command when they are, ensuring that their word and instruction is obeyed to the letter.
— A General must answer to the king, a Commander must answer to the General - even if they are not there on the battlefield in question.
— Formulates regular reports to the General.
— Performs the role of General and Commander within his own unit, when they are not in attendance.
— Becomes the facilitator of the Commander's command when they are, ensuring that their word and instruction is obeyed to the letter.
— Handles tactical choices on the battlefield if they are the highest point of command in that battle.
— Closely monitors their unit's men, supplies, daily tasks and general effectiveness.
— Arranges their units training sessions and expeditions.
— Is responsible for keeping their unit entirely battle worthy, even in times of peace, so that they can be called on at any moment.
— Handles recruitment and the training of new soldiers.
— Assigns groups of daily tasks to Lieutenants, for them to assign to the men.
— Formulates regular reports that go directly to the General (if the Captain is currently the highest form of authority) or to the Commander (if a Commander is there to take over that authority).
— In charge of a particular role/type of soldier; e.g. archers, hoplites etc. (depending on the size of the unit there are normally two or three Lieutenants for the hoplites as they are the largest group within a unit - or it is managed by one Lieutenant, the position of which is considered to have more authority because of the ability to command more troops).
— Ensures all supplies are as required.
— Ensures that the soldiers make roll call, obey military law and are carrying out their duties to the best of their abilities.
— Assigns daily tasks to the men.
— Formulates regular reports to the Captain.
— Cleaning and Maintaining Armour and Weaponry.
Soldiers are expected to maintain their own equipment, ensuring it's clean and in good repair. Any broken equipment is fixed by the unit's blacksmith or leather worker but it is the soldier's responsibility to notice when such attention is needed.
— Sharpening Swords and Weapons
The sharpening of blades is not considered a repair but a task of general maintenance and is completed by a soldier themselves. Several wet stones are provided around military camps for this purpose.
— Looking After the Horses
Charioteers or cavalry soldiers are expected to look after their own animals and the chariots they draw or the equipment they use. Again, any issues or problems were reported to the appropriate expert but it's the soldiers that use the animals that are required to give routine maintenance - grooming, feeding and general check ups. Horse hands would look after the horses of officers, in their place.
Large war campaigns will often take a group of cooks or culinary staff with them in order to produce food of large numbers of soldiers in one go. But, when smaller military units travel to war the soldiers themselves take turns playing chef.
— Camp Maintenance
When a military unit travels they build camps wherever they rest. Soldiers are assigned duties to check on the camp and monitor certain elements - both in building it and taking it down. This includes fence and barricade building, tent repairs, building paddocks for the animals, watching over any livestock (kept for food purposes) and digging the pits used by soldiers for their bodily functions.
— Sentry Duty
A camp is only as strong as its watch. Sentry duty is a constant at wartime - day or night. This includes as the camp is being built, during supply runs and during the time the camp is being demolished in order to be moved. It is also important to maintain watch on the perimeter of a camp during a battle - not all soldiers go to fight immediately. Some are required to protect the home base, assets and rear.
Other tasks around the camp or on military campaigns were completed by specific experts in those areas, unless the unit is so small that they can't afford the additional pay of a non-militant soldier. As such, general soldiers might be required to either complete the following tasks, or seek experts in local towns or settlements, if they don't have a professional within the unit itself...
— Repairing Armour or Equipment
Metal and leather workers are required when fixing damage to armour, weaponry, horse tack or other such equipment.
— Message Running
This might sound like a simple task but messengers in the army were important. They have to be fast runners (very fast runners, in order to deliver orders or instructions at crucial moments) have exceptional memories as much information is normally given at one time and be entirely trustworthy.
— Bathing and Barbering
Soldiers have to look after themselves physically. There are soldiers dedicated to the health and hygiene of the unit, practices in barbering/shaving and treatment of chafe or damaged skin by armour.
— Dental Work and Surgery
Tooth extraction and surgeries are never pretty on a battlefield but sometimes they are necessary. This is one of the few roles that is highly unlikely to be completed by an average soldier and actually would have an in-house specialist to perform such tasks - even in a small unit. In large war efforts there are several physicians and a team of assistants to perform nursing tasks within an infirmary. In a tight pinch, where a physician is killed or unavailable, military units will occasionally throw the urgent medical tasks at a local veterinarian (someone they seek out if their horses need treating or euthanizing) or even the chef (he's good with a knife).
— Mixing Medicines
On large war campaigns, units take physicians whose sole expertise was focused on medicine making and apothecary work. In smaller military units, men use herbal remedies they are taught in their youth or seek out medicine from local settlements and towns.
— Recording and Scribing
Scribes are incredibly important to any war effort. They record all supplies, orders, actions, plans, maps, events and reports... everything is made a note of. This task is completed by an individual (or team of individuals) in a large war campaign but, in a small unit, is normally appointed to a general soldier (if they find one who is literate).
The life of a soldier is all encompassing. You do not simply "work" as a soldier, as if it's an occupation; you are a soldier. As such, there is no annual leave or holiday time as with a normal, modern day job or position in the armed forces. When a kingdom is not at war and a province is not on tactical or military training a soldier is free to do as he likes; go home, visit family, travel. However, if they have not returned to the appointed location at the appointed time for their next training expedition, they will be classified as a deserter of the army and will be tried accordingly. The punishment for desertion, most usually, is death. As such, it is uncommon for a soldier to stray too far from their unit, even when not on active service. Distance and travel creates all kinds of chances for delays or issues and one's life is more important to most than the chance to see a far off land.
Families and Children
Soldiers with families and children are given no additional leeway or time off from their services. When a unit is not at war or on training expeditions they, most usually, return to their province of origin. As most soldiers within a provincial unit are from that province, this then allows them to return to their families on a semi-regular basis (a few times a year at most - longer war campaigns can last years at a time). This is why most soldiers enlist in the province of their birth, as this is usually where their wives and children are.
The only exceptions or leniency a soldier who is also husband and father would be given is if there is a decision to be made on who to send home or who to not include in a particular military campaign, if all are not required. Those who have families will often be chosen to stay behind or returned to their homes before those who are unmarried.
Soldiers with families are also permitted time away from the army if their wife passes and children are left without a guardian. Normally, soldiers are expected to appoint a guardian for just such an occasion - an uncle, a grandparent... - someone who is automatically the caregiver of their children should something happen to the mother while they are away at war. If no guardian is available or circumstances conspire to leave their children unsupported, a sympathetic officer will normally allow the soldier to return home in order to make arrangements. Their transport in returning home is of their own to find - a war ship will not be permitted to return back to their homeland for one soldiers domestic affairs - and the soldier will be expected to return to the front lines within a "reasonable" apportion of time.
There is no paternity leave or time off when the wife of a soldier gives birth. It is a standard, sad and understood fact that most soldiers miss the advent of their children as they were more often away from home than not. It is not uncommon for a soldier to return to home to meet a baby or toddler they have sired for the first time.
No matter how long as military campaign lasts or how far a soldier will go in the name of his kingdom and monarch, women and children are never permitted to travel with the army. They always remain at home.
The Resources of a Soldier
All military units are given their armour and supplies by the kingdom. Archers are given their bows and quiver but are expected to build and maintain their own arrow supplies. Cavalry are supplied with helmet, greaves, and xyston but not a horse (hence why the few cavalry soldiers there are, are officers with noble background and therefore the money to afford a horse). Charioteers are supplied with the same as the cavalry but are assigned a chariot and two horses to draw it; the chariot and horses are supplied to two men - the driver and the archer/lancer who attacks from the back of the vehicle. Hoplites are provided with helmet, hoplon, cuirass, doru and xiphos. Peltasts are given a set of akontia (a half dozen or more), a baldric and a pelted. All soldiers are supplied with a chitoniskos.
Beyond these supplies that are the responsibility of the army to provide but the duty of a soldier to maintain, look after and report when broken, soldiers are also permitted to wear their own kinds of armour in addition to their military issue, if they so wish. Some commanders are stricter in what is permitted, wanting their soldiers to appear uniformed, while others are more open and supportive of fighters wearing what makes them comfortable - and therefore, more efficient. All soldiers, however, must maintain and utilise the weapons and armour given to them by the army. Any personal choices must be used in addition to that already assigned. Officers wear their own attire/armour and fight with their own choices of weapon.
The linen tunic worn by soldiers in the military. It is sleeveless but offers enough material at the shoulders to protect against chafing from torso armour. It is tied at the waist and ends just above the knees. It is worn over bare legs and, coupled with sandals, is a complete outfit.
A sturdy linen or possibly animal hide torso piece. It's close fitting and covers the torso front and back, has no sleeves and ends at the waist. This is not official military garb and tends to be worn as protection by hunters or by mercenaries. It might also be used, however, an under-layer to armour by soldiers if they personally wish to when fighting in cold weather.
A metal or leather plate that protects one pectoral. This is often worn over the heart and used in the hopes of protecting against arrows or offering a slight deflection from short-ranged weapons. It is fastened beneath the arm and over the opposing shoulder. It does not protect the back.
A heavy metal or leather shoulder piece - often formed from several hard layers to allow movement in the joint. Is often fastened beneath the opposite arm. Some soldiers choose to wear two Galerus - one on each shoulder - creating a cross of straps across the chest and back. It offers significantly more protection but restricts arm and chest movement. Galerus are never worn by infantry soldiers (whose primary weapon is a spear or javelin) for this very reason. They tend to be worn by commanders on horseback whose main attacks are directed beneath them instead of over or above; meaning that the Galerus are less of a hindrance and worth the defence they offer.
A full torso piece. Made from metal and fastened around the torso to protect both the chest and back, a cuirass can be rounded or it can be fitted and moulded. Moulded cuirass are called "muscle cuirass" and are only made for the wealthier armies (the rounded cuirass are cheaper and easier to produce but restrict movement slightly in a way the muscle cuirass do not). The highest levels of the army, or private soldiers can have their cuirass personally moulded to their own torso. This process involves goats butter, clay and the removal of a lot of chest hair. It is an expensive process and requires a blacksmith's personal attention and devotion to one piece in particular - they can't be mass-produced. As such, custom muscle cuirass are expensive. Those who own custom cuirass will require replacements to be made as and when their body shape changes. As such, having a custom cuirass crafted is not solely about the expensive of having it made the first time but the on-going cost of improvements.
Pieces of leather work bound around the elbows and wrists as joint support or protective pads.
Worn around the forearm, hoplites often wore metal bracers, while archers use leather. There are used to support and steady the arm when throwing weapons or drawing a bow string. An archer's bracer has an additional piece that encroaches over the back of the hand and ties around the based of the first and second finger - the digits that hold the bow string when drawing.
Metal protection for the legs stretching, from the top of the foot up to the knee. They are designed to be strapped tight to the limb so as not to impede movement. They are usually tied across the back of the leg but occasionally have an additional piece of leather or metal to support the back of the calf, the ties then being fastened down either side of the leg. Greaves are an additional piece of armour that are used more by high ranking soldiers or the wealthy than by the general infantry. They are most definitely used, however, by any man who fights from the back of a chariot or horse.
Smaller versions of grieves, ocrea has simple pieces of metal that are fastened in or around the straps of a sandal to protect specific bits of a fighters lower anatomy. This might be the ankle, the shin or the knee.
The Hoplon (also known as the Aspis) is a round shield preferred by the hoplite soldier. It is made from either wood, bronze or iron (in that order) depending on the strength of the fighter and the wealth of the military unit. They are a standard piece of equipment in the army and are almost always emblazoned with the symbol of their patron House or province.
A Pelted is the shield of the peltasts and what gives them their name. It is a crescent shaped shield (circular but for a smaller circle removed from its circumference to allow for a spear or javelin to be struck forward from behind it) and is often wooden and bound in animal hide or "pelt".
Baldric is the official name for the thick and strong leather strap that is fastened around and across the torso (from one shoulder to the opposing hip) that holds javelins, spears or a soldier's shield. It is worn most often by peltasts as hoplites only work with two weapons and a shield and can, therefore, hold their equipment in hand.
An amentum was a leather strap piece that allowed a better grip and harder throw on the pole of a javelin. It loops around the wrist and is designed to slip free one the javelin is launched, flying with the weapon. Generally the addition of an amentum prevents the slipping of the hand on the smooth wood and adds height, speed and distance to the shot.
A helmet is essential to be worn into battle. All hoplites wear helmets, as do most commanders. Peltasts or archery units kept at long-range are less likely to wear them. There are many different designs of helmet in the Greek realm: Colchians wear Corinthian helmets, Athenians and Taengeans wear Chalcidiean helmets. Plumes are only worn in helmets by offers ranking Captain or higher.
A spear, roughly five feet in length with a leaf-shaped pointed blade at the end. This is the main weapon used by hoplites - the main fighting force - in all Grecian armies.
Similar to a doru, with the same leaf-shaped tip but several feet longer. Designed to be used from the back of a chariot or by the rider of a horse (hence the additional length).
Again, similar to a doru, with the same leaf-shaped top but significantly longer in shaft. A Sarrisae is designed to be used as a defensive line against chariots or cavalry. Through a line of shields, the sarrisae is set at an offensive angle and can measure up to twenty-one feet in length, thereby threatening to skewer on-coming horses and chariots before they can reach the infantry forces.
A xiphos is the short-sword worn by hoplites that is kept sheathed until such a time where its needed - usually when their doru is lost or broken. The blade measures roughly eighteen inches in length and the hilt is short, often bound in leather or fabric and has a small hoop of metal at its end to support a soldier's hold, or be able to hold it on the thumb when firing an arrow or spear.
A longsword, as its name suggests, has a longer blade than a xiphos, measuring approx. two to two and a half foot. The hilt is often larger to balance the blade and can be used single or double handed. This kind of sword is more used for ceremony and handled by an officer than it is used in intimate combat by a foot soldier, unless said soldier is specifically trained with one.
A kopis is of similar length to a longsword but the blade is thicker and curved like a scimitar. These are usually used from horseback as they are longer and their curved blade allows for smooth, sweeping attacks. Kopis translates to "chopper" in Greek.
An akontia is a javelin. Unlike modern javelins with sharp points but little more, an akontia has a sharp, bronze tip at one end, making the weapon appear more like an overtly large arrow than a javelin. The tip is smooth and without a rim so that the weapon can be easily removed from the victim and reused. The shaft is normally shorter than a spear (approximately four to five foot long) and peltasts carry half a dozen of them in order to launch at enemies.
Not an official piece of military weaponry, a pugio is a short dagger, no longer than the length of a man's hand. It's usually carried by most men and often used to eat with as well as for personal self-defence or as a long-range weapon as it can be thrown a decent distance.
A Sica (plural Siccae) is a short dagger like a Pugio - a few inches longer and curved in the blade. It is used as a nasty form of stabbing weapon and never used as a throwing blade (due to the curved metal, it does not fly straight and is more likely to be boomerang back upon the thrower).
In this era of Greece, the bow (toxa) is a long-bow - straight in shaft with only the faintest curve. Recurve or compound bows are not in use in the Greek realm at this time. Arrows at this time were short shafts of wood, with tiny and sharp metal points. They did not have feathers upon the ends but instead had only a slot in the wood where it was to sit in the bow string upon being drawn. The benefit of fletching was only discovered later in history.
A sfendonai (or sling, or slingshot) is a strap of linen or thin leather/hide, used to launch small projectiles, like stones. While this may seem of little use in the military, clever soldiers might use such a thing (as simple as a child's toy) as a form of distraction, to launch messages or other extraneous uses.
An ethytonos is a large siege engine weapon operated by several men. It is in the form of a large crossbow, mounted to a tripod and is used to fire large arrows, battering rams or grappling hooks to attacking fortresses.
A palintonos is a large siege engine weapon operated by several men. This ballista appears more like a classic catapult and is used to throw stone projectiles. Where an ethytonos fires missiles in a straight line like a bow and arrow, a palintonos heaves its projectiles in an over-arching arc towards its target.
There are certain pieces of armour and weaponry that are used more by gladiators, than by military personnel. While a soldier can fight with almost any weapon they wish, the below are almost exclusively used by gladiators as they are weapons that are popular in the sport and have been made famous by Rome and other realms that support gladiator fighting.
A large oblong shield made from three sheets of wood, glued together and topped with a leather or canvas coating. Designed in such a way that they only have a certain level of durability, ensuring that they break at some point during the gladiator bought.
A plumed helment with front visor and small eye-holes. These are fashioned on the style of roman military helmets and are rare in Greece but occasionally used by foreign gladiators for an "exotic" feel to their image/aesthetic.
The name appointed to the short sword (similar to a xiphos) that is used by a gladiator. The style comes from Italy and was given the name because they are now often the primary sword of a gladiator - its Roman origins forgotten.
A net made of thick rope with weighted edges, used to entangle and trap an opponent, either one on their feet or on the ground. This enables a gladiator to deliver a killing blow with greater ease.
A trident shaped weapon with a similar length shaft to a akontia. It is used both as a spear in combat but also as a long-ranged weapon and thrown like a javelin.
A rarely used gladiator weapon outside of Italy but it is possible to be found on foreign gladiators. The gladius graecus is a left-shaped sword (very wide and thick in the blade at the hilt and then tapered to a point) of short to average length and is used in one-on-one combat.
A heavy, bronze helmet with a large face piece and small eye and mouth holes, used to protect the face in arena combat.
Swordplay and Technique
The Greeks are all about a lack of uniformity and trusting their soldiers to fight in the way that best assures victory. At the end of the day, in the ancient world, victor is whoever has the most soldiers left standing; whoever's men survive the longest. Battles are fought between armies that had many one-on-one skirmishes between each of their soldiers. As such, there is no official or uniform manner of fighting in Greece. Only a few techniques are used by military commanders - such as a shield wall (the linking of shields and the use of sarrisae to stop chariot attacks) - while the rest of the tactical choices and analysis comes in where to position troops and how to handle the army as a whole - not on the manoeuvres they carry out.
As such, your character's method of fighting is entirely up to you. The images below are different fighting techniques used at different points in history that you might be able to/want to employ with your militant character (click to enlarge).