The Macedonian Sarissa:All images on this page are the property of Ryan Jones*
Hoplites vs. Pezhetairoi
in standard armor: linen
cuirass w/ 'skirt,' hoplon
(shield), Corinthian-style helm, greaves, and c. 7' spear.
of same. Most Greeks painted their
shields with sigals that
had personal or family meaning. Only a few poleis (e.g. Sparta) had
a 'national' symbol used on all shields. Armor was purchased by
individual soldiers, and thus, there was no such thing as a 'unirform.'
view of same.
the shield is smaller (and here, not concave),
the helm is Phrygian style, and he's wearing both greaves and a
bronze 'muscle' cuirass. Armed with a spear, not the sarissa.
Compare to the lighter armament of the Pezhetairos below.
with sarissa. Notice that the
sarissa is joined in the
middle. It's uncertain if that were the case with the historical weapon,
but it would make sense for both purposes of transport, as well as for
replacement parts. For Pezhetairoi (Foot Companions) the shield is
slung from a strap over the left shoulder (two hands are needed for the
weapon) and he wears neither cuirass nor greaves. The idea was that
a 15-16' sarissa would keep the enemy at such a distance, no heavy
hoplite body armor would be needed in a Macedonian phalanx.
and contrast Hoplite spear to Macedonian
(Yes, here the Macedonian is armed more like a Hypaspist.
Some Pezhetairoi may have worn cuirasses, but the idea for
Philip II was to lighten the Pezhetairoi load, plus lighten the
overall cost of an individual soldier's armament.)
lowered as for attack. Now
it becomes obvious why the shoulder
strap is necessary for the shield.
comparative difference in reach.
At most, a hoplite phalanx will have
two spearheads past the front line.
But a Macedonian phalanx has five.
the poor hoplite sees!
the Macedonian Pezhetairoi see.
Notice that the two sarissai form a bit of a
wooden 'wall' on the men's right, in addition
to the strap-slung shields on their left. Five
sarissai would only increase that 'shield.'
RETURN TO "The Greatest of the Kings of Europe" LECTURE
note to casual
on this page are NOT my own
and are NOT to be taken for use
without the express permission of Ryan Jones, to whom they
belong. Mr. Jones (U. of Calgary) built the sarissai seen on this
page and recreated the armor, and has kindly loaned these images to me
for use in my ATG course. Interested parties should contact him