Ancient Greek Hoplomachia


In ancient Greece, as Athineos mentions, the Madineans and the Arcadians were the inventors of hoplomachia! And, according to Eumorphus, the above also thought up the weapons and armaments of those involved.

The ancient Greeks were trained in hoplomachia through a dance called Pyrichi, that had standardized defensive and offensive moves. According to Plato it is a faithful representation of the hoplite during battle: moving to the side to evade the opponent’s strike, retreating to gain momentum, lunging forward, ducking to be as small a target as possible. Other similar armed dances were the Prylis, the Kretan Orsitis, the loud dances of the Kourites and the Koryvantes.
Plato in his “Laws” suggests the introduction of hoplomachia lessons in the training areas, as a necessary element to the physical education of youths.

In Sparta and Athens hoplomachia was never a medium of physical education for the youths.
Only in the 3rd century BC did the leader of the Achaean League introduce hoplomachia to the gyms. By the 2nd century BC hoplomachia training was similar to nowadays with a head covering for protection. The equipment included a short sword, a spear, greaves, a metal helmet, metal shield and leather or metal breastplate.

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