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The Weaponry of Ancient Greece

written by: Percila Jackson • edited by: Noreen Gunnell • updated: 9/11/2012

Some of the weapons Ancient Greek's used, were quite common but some of their weapons were uniquely Greek; nonetheless, they were powerful and sophisticated.

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    There were many wars in the History of Ancient Greece. The weapons of Ancient Greece that the Greeks used in fighting these wars were varied, powerful, and sophisticated. Some of the weapons that the Ancient Greeks used were the spear, sword, armor, shield, phalanx, ballista, and warship.

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    Spear and Sword

    Mycenaean Swords 

    The spear, also known as the dory, was a very important weapon for an Ancient Greek warrior or hoplite. Spears were 6 to 8 feet long and were made out of a sharp iron head, a wooden shaft, and a bronze butt at the other end which was used in case the iron head broke. Hoplites also carried and used swords in battle. Most swords were double edged and they were effective at slashing and stabbing. Considered a secondary weapon, swords were only used after the spear was thrown or after the spear broke.

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    Armor and Shield

    Ancient Greek Bronze Helmet The Armor of an Ancient Greek soldier protected the soldier from the spears, arrows, and other weapons of the enemy and weighed about 60 to 65 pounds. The shield was used to smash the spears of the enemy and to protect Greek soldiers from the attacks of the enemy. Ancient Greek soldiers also wore helmets to protect their heads during battle.

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    Phalanx

    Greek Phalanx 

    A military formation that was developed by the Ancient Greeks and used heavily by Alexander the Great. The phalanx consisted of a tight formation of soldiers armed with spears and carrying concave shields. The phalanx protected soldiers from the arrows and attacks of the enemy. The spears of the soldiers in the front rows of the phalanx were projected forwards to attack the enemy while the spears of the soldiers in the rear ranks were projected upwards to defend the phalanx from arrows and projectiles.

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    Ballista

    The Ballista was an ancient type of crossbow and was one of the most powerful weapons of Ancient Greece. The Ballista could fire many long range arrows at the same time and it was a weapon that was useful in attacking forts during sieges.

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    Warships

    Ancient Greek Ship 

    Warships were important to Ancient Greek warfare because of the geography of Greece. Greece is surrounded by water. The earliest Ancient Greek warships were called pentekontors. They were long, narrow ships designed to go fast to overtake other ships and attack them. Pentekontors had twenty five oarsmen on each side to row the ship. Faster warships, triremes, were developed Around 500 BC that had seventy five oarsmen on each side and could go as fast as 14 knots in good weather.

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    Ancient Greeks were very good at warfare. They fought many wars both amongst themselves and against other countries. Some important weapons of Ancient Greece were the spear, sword, phalanx, ballista, and warship. The weapons that the Ancient Greeks used in battle were very sophisticated and greatly influenced the weapons technology of later years.

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