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Author Topic: Military Ranks in Ancient Greece  (Read 3959 times)
Archon Praefectus

Merit: 30
Posts: 888

« on: May 14, 2006, 07:36:03 PM »

It was suggested that, for our militia, we forego the basic ranking system and adopt something more in character with the Isles.  That is, something more Lacedaemonian.   During my research, I found an excerpt from Peter Connoly's "Greece and Rome at war".

Quote from: Greece and Rome at War (p.37-41)
The Phalanx - early development
During the 8th century BC the 'free for all' fighting method was abandoned for a revolutionary system: an orderly battle line. A phalanx was made up of 100 men strong lochoi, each lochos was divided in two pentekostyes (50 men) which were in turn divided into two enomotiai. Each enomotia probably consisted of 23 hoplites, a veteran rear-rank officer (ouragos or tergiductor) and a commanding officer (enomotarch). in battle the enomotiai would usually be drawn up in three files of eight men, with the rear officer standing alone at the back to make sure that the rear ranks did their job. When drawn up eight deep, the whole lochos would consist of 12 files. it was commanded by a lochagos who fought at the front of the right-hand file. the left half of the lochos was commanded by a pentekonter, similarly fighting at the front of the right-hand file of his unit. The new formation was adopted by all the city states and, although details varied from state to state, the basic organisation always remained the same.

The Athenian army
As far as can be seen, the Athenians retained the basic archaic lochos adn generally fought eight deep. The army consisted of ten divisions (taxeis), each commanded by a taxiarch. One division was drawn from each of the ten Athenian tribes. Each of these taxeis was subdivided into lochoi, but we know of no intermediate division between the taxis and the lochos. At Athens, as in all democratic states, the general (strategos) was elected. At Athens, ten were chosen annually, one for each tribe. In practice, only three went with the army, in which case each commanded in rotation on separate days.

Sparta - a military state (from a detailed account by Xenophon)
In Xenophon's day the strength of the Spartan lochos was 144, being composed of four 36-strong enomotiai. All that seems to have happened is that the strength of the enomotia had been raised with 50% so that the basic depth of the phalanx could be increased from eight to twelve. The Spartan army was organised so that every unit had its own commander. each enomotia was subdivided into three files, and then again into six half files. Each file and half file had its best man as leader and its second-best man as rear ranker. Two enomotiai were coupled into a 'fifty' (pentekostys), with its own commander (pentekonter). Two fifties were similarly joined to form a lochos, the smallest tactical unit of a phalanx. The lochos was commanded by a lochagos. The whole Spartan army was composed of six divisions. Each division (mora) was commanded by a polemarch and contained four lochoi. In pahlanx all the officers and file leaders would be in the front rank. The various officers - enomotarchs, pentekonters ans lochagoi - would fight at the head of the right-hand file of the unit that they commanded.

I found the quote here

Jack McDonald,
President of the Radioactive Republic of Jasque
Former Archon Basileus of the Politeia
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