-- Hoplon
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Hoplon (Aslo known as the Aspis)
Time Period: 7th-4th century BC
Location: Greece
Common Construction: Bronze with a leather and wooden core

The hoplon is a round Greek shield that covered the Hoplite from the chin all the way down to the knee, and extended past the Hoplite's left side to cover the next man as well. The name hoplon is used interchangeably with aspis. It was the most important piece of equipment on the battlefield; so much so that the soldier (Hoplite) was named after the shield.

The hoplon's core is made of thin layers of wood and leather, and then covered with a very thin layer of bronze. It is very heavy at 15-16 pounds, but its concave shape allows the Hoplite to rest it upon his shoulder rather than carrying the entire weight on the arm.

Unlike normal shields which have a center grip, the hoplon's hand grip is very near to the edge of the shield. There is a second grip that the Hoplite slid his forearm through nearer to the center of the shield. This gave the Hoplite a greater degree of control over the shield which is important because of the way the Greeks fought.

Greeks waged war in a formation called a phalanx. Each soldier was an integral part of a cohesive fighting unit, and each Hoplite's shield partially protected the man on his left. With a man on either side of the Hoplite, it was not possible to deflect blows, therefore the shield had to absorb the force of an attack. This made the shield the most important piece of equipment on the field. The loss of a helmet or a spear compromised a single soldier, but the loss of a shield compromised every soldier in the formation.

BCE 04th Century, BCE 05th Century, BCE 06th Century, BCE 07th Century, Greece, History, Shield

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