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Ancient Greece

Warfare in ancient Greece

A Greek and Persian warrior fighting each otherA Greek and Persian warrior fighting each other Ancient Greece was made up of several hundred city-states. City-states consisted of a main city or town and the villages around it. Each one was ruled by a powerful noble. Sometimes a noble was overthrown by a tyrant, someone who took power although he had no right to do so. By about 500 BC, each city-state had its own army. Sometimes city-states would form alliances with each other, and sometimes they would wage war with each other over territory and trade.

A hoplite (foot soldier) from Sparta A hoplite (foot soldier) from Sparta


One of the most formidable armies belonged to the city-state of Sparta in the south of Greece. When the Classical Age began in Greece, the city-state of Athens was a haven for thinkers and artists. To the Spartans, however, the important thing was to make war.

Most of the Greek armies were made up of young men who trained as soldiers for two years after they left school. They were called up to join the army if there was a war (when they were known as conscripts). The Spartans, however, had a full-time army who were always ready to fight.

When "at ease", a Greek soldier rested his spear end on the ground and his shield on his thigh. He also did this sometimes to show he wasn't scared of the enemy.

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