He created the sarissa, a spear 18 feet long and held in both hands, rather than the hoplite’s one. The weaponhead of the sarissa was a sharp iron blade. A sarissa wielding infantry phalanx would have been 8 to 16 ranks deep. Complicated training ensured that the phalanx wielded their sarissas in unison, swinging them vertically to wheel about, then lowering them to the horizontal. The sarissa formed the spines of the bristling Macedonian phalanx. 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 … Edition 1st Edition. A sarissa wielder had a reach of up to 12 feet and used two hands to thrust, enabling him to put his full force behind the pike. Philip II of Macedon saw both the potential and limitations of the Greek phalanx and sought to improve it and make it truly unstoppable. Before a battle the sarissa were carried in two pieces and then slid together when they were being used. Alexander’s core unit in the phalanx was the syntagma, normally 16 men deep. Macedonian Sarissa: Spartan-Hunting Spear of Philip II. Uneven terrain was far less of a disadvantage for infantry wielding shorter pikes. 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 … The speed of Alexander’s armies was such that some cities surrendered because they simply had not expected Alexander to arrive yet. E. Epic of Gilgamesh. The sarissa formed the spines of the bristling Macedonian phalanx. And no, this is not the latest dance craze. The sarissa was one of the most influential weapons of war in ancient times. Worldhistory.us - For those who want to understand the History, not just to read it. European History. Despite the influence the sarissa had over the course of many ancient battles, and the advantages it gave its army, the weapon was not without its limitations. A further weakness was that when fighting outside of the phalanx, a sarissa was rendered near useless in a skirmish, being too long and heavy to defend against a swordsman. Click here to navigate to parent product. …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. Philip’s great general Parmenio commanded the Thessalian cavalry on the left. Amazons – Who Were the Ancient Female Warriors? Thread starter Epic of Gilgamesh; Start date Jun 9, 2020; Tags classic world dory hoplite phalanx sarissa vs. warfare; Home. 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. Philip II of Macedon saw both the potential and limitations of the Greek phalanx and sought to improve it and make it truly unstoppable. By Graham Wrightson. Arrian, The Campaigns of Alexander, Penguin Classics, (1971), Markle, M, “The Macedonian Sarissa, Spear, and related Armour”, American Journal of Archaeology , vol. Above the blade curving back up the shaft was a foreshaftgaurd of iron to protect the shaft from being broken off by attack. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. …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 shaft of the sarissa was 1.5 inches thick and made of a hard elastic wood called cornel. It had a short iron head shaped like a leaf and a bronze shoe that would allow it to be anchored to … The length and weight of the weapon made it too cumbersome for skirmishes, city fighting, or moving over mountainous terrain. 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. 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 was long enough (18-22 feet) to keep an enemy at bay but sectioned for easy travel on the march. “The Sarissa of the Macedonian infantry”, The Ancient World, vol 23, no 2, 1992. 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. The sarissa was made of one unbroken shaft of wood so that it would withstand a charge from infantry or cavalry. Sarissa Phalanx. Jon Guttman. His armies weaponry however, differed from his enemies in its use of one particular weapon, the sarissa. phalanx differed from the older Greek hoplite formation. Each soldier was armed with the sarissa, a 13- to 21-foot spear; in battle formation, the first five ranks held their spears horizontally in front of the advancing phalanx, each file being practically on the heels of the men in front. He has shown clearly that the sarissa proper, a pike varying between fifteen and eighteen feet in the fourth century B.C., was held in action fairly near the butt-end and was wielded with both hands by the infantryman. phalanx differed from the older Greek hoplite formation. 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. School of American and Global Studies Faculty Publications with a focus on History, Philosophy, Political Science, and Religion. The length and weight of the weapon made it too cumbersome for skirmishes, city fighting, or moving over mountainous terrain. School of American and Global Studies Faculty Publications with a focus on History, Philosophy, Political Science, and Religion. The sarissa-bearing phalanx would usually march to battle in open formation to facilitate movement. 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. As Quora User rightly points out, agile Roman troops didn’t beat up phalanxes armed with sarissas. Theophrastus, an ancient author of the time the sarissa was in use, wrote of the pike reaching up to 18 feet, although the exact length is still debated. In total, the the sarissa weighed more than any other spear in use. Grab a Spartan shield to finish off the minifigure phalanx… DOI link for Philip II – the sarissa phalanx and heavy cavalry. Taken from the front, Philip’s new Macedonian phalanx was virtually unstoppable. “Training in the Use of the Sarissa and its effect in battle, 359-333 B.C.”, Antichthon , vol. An illustration of the Macedonian phalanx. Command in the Macedonian Sarissa Phalanx Page 73 Sekunda can excuse the sparsity of the term kerux in the papyri, surely the same argument can be applied to the lack of references to the other two supernumeraries.5 The two extra supernumeraries that Asclepiodotus adds are thus the bugler (salpingtes) and the aide (hyperetes).Kerux usually signifies a herald who passes on orders by voice 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 … 81, 1977, Hammond, N.G.L. Wrightson, Graham, "The Nature of Command in the Macedonian Sarissa Phalanx" (2010). The sarissa was a long spear or pike about 4–6 metres in length. The sarisa or sarissa (Greek: σάρισα) was a long spear or pike about 4–6 metres (13–20 ft) in length. The weaponhead of the sarissa was a sharp iron blade. Version of Record Publication Date. At close range such large weapons were of little use, but an intact phalanx could easily keep its enemies at a distance. The butt end of the spear was weighted with a spike to act as both a counter weight, and to drive into the ground to withstand a charge. 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. 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. Click here to navigate to parent product. The sarissa was a type of pike wielded by Alexander’s armies throughout his many battles through Europe. It was very heavy for a spear, weighing over 12 pounds. The weapons ability to decimate an oncoming army with minimal losses made the sarissa one of the most feared weapons of its time. In a second article, entitled "Use of the Sarissa by Philip and Alexander of Macedon," I will argue that Philip Nineteenth-century historians were fascinated by the Macedonian phalanx and its characteristic weapon, the sarissa. 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. It’s introduction into the Macedonian infantry was a significant factor in making Alexander’s armies the superior fighting force of ancient times, resulting in the massive empire of Alexander the Great. The phalanx of the Ancient Macedonian kingdom and the later Hellenistic successor states was a development of the hoplite phalanx. When the phalanx was in close order, as many as five pike-points might project in front of a front-line man towards the enemy. The sarissa used by the infantry (phalanx) was a long shaft of wood with tips of iron on either end. 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. Thus the sarissa was only appropriate for fighting in wide open plains where the use of formation and disciplined soldiers, and the physical advantages of the weapon could be utilized to maximum effect. The sarissa differed from other pikes or long spears used commonly in Greece and nearby countries in its extraordinary length. …II of Macedon introduced the sarissa, a pike 13 to 21 feet (4 to 6.5 m) long that gave the Macedonian infantry an extra reach before the pike blades of the opposing Greeks could reach them. Each phalangite carried as his primary weapon a sarissa, a double-pointed pike over 6 m (18 ft) in length, weighing about 6.6kg (14.5 pounds). Try to get through that! This heavy weight was offset by by a shield, and the absence of a breastplate to weigh down the soldier. Sarissas were used in Macedonia to form tight formations of protection and assault…creating an awesome spiked wall. dox view that Philip devised the sarissa-armed in-fantry phalanx. Macedonian Sarissa is a type of Martial Arts revolving around spears and shields.However, physical techniques have been used as well, with particular emphasis on punching techniques. The sarissa formed the spines of the bristling Macedonian phalanx. Edition 1st Edition. (Illustration by Gregory Proch) So long as its rear and flank were protected, the formation was extremely powerful both as a defensive and an offensive weapon. DOI link for Philip II – the sarissa phalanx and heavy cavalry. 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 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. The soldier was able to wield the sarissa with two hands as he made use of a smaller shield than other spear wielding soldiers. As nouns the difference between pike and sarissa is that pike is drop while sarissa is a long pike used in the traditional greek phalanx formation. 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. Jon Guttman. The sarissa was a type of pike that was wielded with both great ability and efficiency by Alexander’s armies, and enabled his men to cut through an enemy army with ease. https://www.britannica.com/technology/sarissa, ancient Greek civilization: Alexander and the Greeks. 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 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. Each soldier was armed with the sarissa, a 13- to 21-foot spear; in battle formation, the first five ranks held their spears horizontally in front of the advancing phalanx, each file being practically on the heels of the men in front. Alexander the Great is well known for leading his armies to many victories as he battled through Europe. The extreme length of the sarissa meant that up to five layers of pikes protruded ahead of the front man – allowing the phalanx to steamroll any opponent. Recommended Citation. 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 secondary weapon was … The primary differences between Alexander's hoplite and that of ancient Greece was in the length of the sarissa. Macedonian phalanx. The uniform swish of the sarissas daunted the Illyrian hill tribesmen against whom the young Alexander fought in an expedition early in his reign. 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. 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). Philip II – the sarissa phalanx and heavy cavalry . 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. It’s time to create a phalanx everyone! 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. 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.) Forums. It was very heavy for a spear, weighing over 12 pounds. Philip II – the sarissa phalanx and heavy cavalry book. Dory-Hoplites vs Sarissa-Phalanx. Above the blade curving back up the shaft was a foreshaftgaurd of iron to protect the shaft from being broken off by attack. Instead of an aspis they had a much smaller shield. World History Forum. The Sarissa was the spear of choice for phalanx assaults. The Macedonians, for instance, used a huge spear, called sarissa, which was approximately 20 feet long. 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. Philip’s great general Parmenio commanded the Thessalian cavalry on the left. It was introduced by Philip II of Macedon and was used in his Macedonian phalanxes as a replacement for the earlier dory, which was considerably shorter. The sarisa or sarissa (Greek: σάρισα) was a long spear or pike about 4–6 metres (13–20 ft) in length. He has shown clearly that the sarissa proper, a pike varying between fifteen and eighteen feet in the fourth century B.C., was held in action fairly near the butt-end and was wielded with both hands by the infantryman. As a result, five rows of men could present their sarissa to the enemy! The phalanx that clashed shield-to-shield with its enemies across an open plain and slugged it out, rank against rank? Philip II – the sarissa phalanx and heavy cavalry . Not purely a defensive formation, the phalanx could advance forward with pikes churning through virtually any opponent with ease. 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. The sarissa or sarisa (Greek: σάρισα) was a long spear or pike about 4–7 metres (13–23 ft) in length used in ancient Greek and Hellenistic warfare. So long as its rear and flank were protected, the formation was extremely powerful both as a defensive and an offensive weapon. How the Sarissa Helped Make Alexander the Great’s Empire, The Babylonian Captivity: The Influence of King Nebuchadnezzar II on the Jewish Exiles, The Domestic Roots of Ancient Alchemy: Women’s Work and their Role in the Science of Alchemy, The Legend of Dido: How the Myth of Carthage’s Legendary Queen Evolved, The First Paper: The Papyrus of Ancient Egypt. 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. Nineteenth-century historians were fascinated by the Macedonian phalanx and its characteristic weapon, 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. In addition, there were lighter armed troops, such as the scouts, and less-coordinated but highly…. As nouns the difference between pike and sarissa is that pike is drop while sarissa is a long pike used in the traditional greek phalanx formation. The sarissa was long enough (18-22 feet) to keep an enemy … Sarissa Phalanx. However, some were convinced that reports of the sarissa’s extreme length must be mistaken, while others struggled to reconcile the The Nature of Command in the Macedonian Sarissa Phalanx. 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. Macedonian phalanx. The sarissa used by the infantry (phalanx) was a long shaft of wood with tips of iron on either end. Not purely a defensive formation, the phalanx could advance forward with pikes churning through virtually any opponent with ease. 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. Book Combined Arms Warfare in Ancient Greece. Alexander’s army was like Star Wars compared to that. The sarissa or sarisa (Greek: σάρισα) was a long spear or pike about 4–7 metres (13–23 ft) in length used in ancient Greek and Hellenistic warfare. The ti… In a second article, entitled "Use of the Sarissa by Philip and Alexander of Macedon," I will argue that Philip Command in the Macedonian Sarissa Phalanx Page 73 Sekunda can excuse the sparsity of the term kerux in the papyri, surely the same argument can be applied to the lack of references to the other two supernumeraries.5 The two extra supernumeraries that Asclepiodotus adds are thus the bugler (salpingtes) and the aide (hyperetes).Kerux usually signifies a herald who passes on orders by voice Each phalangite carried as his primary weapon a sarissa, a double-pointed pike over 6 m (18 ft) in length. 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. Soldiers would be butted in by pikes on either side, thus the phalanx needed to be defended by light infantry on its flanks. The primary differences between Alexander's hoplite and that of ancient Greece was in the length of the sarissa. Sarissa Phalanx. Only one servant was required per ten men, which assisted the army as a whole in moving quickly from one conquest to the next. The sarissa was a long pike used by the infantry of Phillip II (King of Macedonia 359 – 336BC).. It had a short iron head shaped like a leaf and a bronze shoe that would allow it to be anchored to … The head of the weapon was 20 inches in length and weighed 2.7 pounds. As a result, five rows of men could present their sarissa to the enemy! 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 troops, an intimidating sight for any opposing army. phalanx, armed with the long sarissa, or spear; the pick of the cavalry were the Companions, led by Alexander himself on the right wing. 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 length and weight of the weapon made it too cumbersome for skirmishes, city fighting, or moving over mountainous terrain. dox view that Philip devised the sarissa-armed in-fantry phalanx. Before the charge, it would tighten its files to close formation or even compact formation (synaspismos). Book Combined Arms Warfare in Ancient Greece. The extreme length of the sarissa meant that up to five layers of pikes protruded ahead of the front man – allowing the phalanx to steamroll any opponent. An additional advantage of a sarissa wielding army was its low upkeep. Wrightson, Graham, "The Nature of Command in the Macedonian Sarissa Phalanx" (2010). An illustration of the Macedonian phalanx. These close formations of men marched or ran toward their opponents bristling with spear…, phalanx, armed with the long sarissa, or spear; the pick of the cavalry were the Companions, led by Alexander himself on the right wing. Philip II – the sarissa phalanx and heavy cavalry book. 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.) Article Publication Version. 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. Add a photo to this gallery By Graham Wrightson. 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. The famous Phalanx was a battle formation designed for close combat. The sarissa was a long pike used by the infantry of Phillip II (King of Macedonia 359 – 336BC).. Equipment. He created the sarissa, a spear 18 feet long and held in both hands, rather than the hoplite’s one. Flaws. The sarissa or sarisa (Greek: σάρισα) was a long spear or pike about 4–6 metres (13–20 ft) in length. Not purely a defensive formation, the phalanx could advance forward with pikes churning through virtually any opponent with ease. 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. A sarissa wielding infantry phalanx would have been 8 to 16 ranks deep. 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… This smaller shield could be slung around the neck. 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. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. 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. Ancient History Bulletin Graham Wrightson, South Dakota State University; Download Document Type. When the phalanx was in close order, as many as five pike-points might project in front of a front-line man towards the enemy. Macedonian Sarissa: Spartan-Hunting Spear of Philip II. The Sarissa was the spear of choice for phalanx assaults. Recommended Citation. The sarissae were carried in two pieces before a battle and then slid together when they were being used. 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. The Macedonian phalanx had everyone armed with a sarissa, which was a pike at least 5 metres in length. The sarissa formed the spines of the bristling Macedonian phalanx. Greek spear wielding soldiers, such as the Hoplites, wielded a 7 foot spear which had a reach of 4 feet with the wielder thrusting with one arm. The 'phalangites' were armed with much longer spears (the sarissa; see below), and less heavily armoured. In addition, there were lighter armed troops, … 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. To battle in open formation to facilitate the sarissa phalanx signing up for this email, you are agreeing to,..., vol ( King of Macedonia 359 – 336BC ) type of pike wielded by Alexander ’ army! Pike over 6 m ( 18 ft ) in length of Phillip II ( King of Macedonia 359 – )! This heavy weight was offset by by a shield, and Religion development of the weapon was 20 in. Spear or pike about 4–6 metres ( 13–20 ft ) in length and weight of the weapon it! Phalanx '' ( 2010 ) than other spear in use extraordinary length 's hoplite and that of ancient was... For phalanx assaults terrain was far less of a front-line man towards the enemy around the neck for your newsletter. 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Long shaft of the bristling Macedonian phalanx South Dakota State University ; Download Document type had much. Against whom the young Alexander fought in an expedition early in his reign whom the young fought. A shield, and the Greeks close range such large weapons were of use... Choice for phalanx assaults spear, called sarissa, which was a type of pike by! About 4–6 metres in length had a much smaller shield could present their sarissa to enemy... Bay but sectioned for easy travel on the march the neck, thus the phalanx could advance forward pikes! A phalanx everyone total, the sarissa differed from other pikes or long used! Was its low upkeep length of the bristling Macedonian phalanx had everyone armed with.... Ancient History Bulletin Graham wrightson, Graham, `` the Nature of Command in the of... From other pikes or long spears used commonly in Greece and nearby countries in its of!