Greek Ranking

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Greek Ranking

Postby Anonymous on Mon Jun 23, 2003 5:50 pm

So now the day has come,

I'll just post this here, where it is safe for me :P This is my 101th posting and I am a Greek Hoplite no more. I've done some searching and I have come to find, that there probably isn't a 'Greek Optio'. Optio means helper, so what would that be, a Heraut? But wouldn't that be degrading?

as long as we have sth to do ;)


Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Tue Jun 24, 2003 1:54 pm

Chaire Hellene,

Not to sound lazy, but I can't make up a Greek ranking system if (a) we don't even know the proper order (which again differed from polis to polis), (b) for some Roman ranks there was no equivalent and (c) I have to make it for just one person. You see, rankings automatically change when a person has made a number of postings. Your rank is a special one which I have to assign individually. It's impossible to make two automatic systems. I'd have to make two systems then in which I assign each rank individually and that would be too confusing.

And, all in all, it's not all about form ranks... That's just fun & games ;).

However, do not despair. I might come up with something.

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Postby Q. C. Locatus Barbatus on Tue Jun 24, 2003 2:14 pm

I still can't understand how a man can be so proud to be "greek" :lol: , if you understand me well :wink: .

Just joking

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Postby Marcus Pomponius Lupus on Tue Jun 24, 2003 3:00 pm


Perhaps I'll come up with some more ranks during this summer (since I plan to read Poluainos' Stratègèmata ;-)), but for now I can only come up with two ranks (both go for Athens at the end of the Peloponnesian War)

Stratègos : Athens had in that period (around 430-400) 100 stratègoi

Taksiarchos : there appear to have been 10 taxiarchoi in that period, one per fulè

That's all I can offer for now

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Postby Anonymous on Tue Jun 24, 2003 10:00 pm

Chaírete sas,

Drákoon: no offence, but I am very aware. that's why I'm searching, for my *special* joke

Lupus: finally a constructive thought! I might read it myself, and then we could discuss it! :D Why thank you!



Postby Publius Dionysius Mus on Tue Jun 24, 2003 11:24 pm

Publius Dionysius Mus omnibus salutem

While there might have been some differences between the armies of the various Greek cities, they all had one thing in common: the Phalanx.

Selected from Peter Connoly's "Greece and Rome at war" (p.37-41):

The Phalanx - early development
During the 8th century BC the 'free for all' fighting method was abandoned for a revolutionary system: an orderly battle line. A phalanx was made up of 100 men strong lochoi, each lochos was divided in two pentekostyes (50 men) which were in turn divided into two enomotiai. Each enomotia probably consisted of 23 hoplites, a veteran rear-rank officer (ouragos or tergiductor) and a commanding officer (enomotarch). in battle the enomotiai would usually be drawn up in three files of eight men, with the rear officer standing alone at the back to make sure that the rear ranks did their job. When drawn up eight deep, the whole lochos would consist of 12 files. it was commanded by a lochagos who fought at the front of the right-hand file. the left half of the lochos was commanded by a pentekonter, similarly fighting at the front of the right-hand file of his unit. The new formation was adopted by all the city states and, although details varied from state to state, the basic organisation always remained the same.

The Athenian army
As far as can be seen, the Athenians retained the basic archaic lochos adn generally fought eight deep. The army consisted of ten divisions (taxeis), each commanded by a taxiarch. One division was drawn from each of the ten Athenian tribes. Each of these taxeis was subdivided into lochoi, but we know of no intermediate division between the taxis and the lochos. At Athens, as in all democratic states, the general (strategos) was elected. At Athens, ten were chosen annually, one for each tribe. In practice, only three went with the army, in which case each commanded in rotation on separate days.

Sparta - a military state (from a detailed account by Xenophon)
In Xenophon's day the strength of the Spartan lochos was 144, being composed of four 36-strong enomotiai. All that seems to have happened is that the strength of the enomotia had been raised with 50% so that the basic depth of the phalanx could be increased from eight to twelve. The Spartan army was organised so that every unit had its own commander. each enomotia was subdivided into three files, and then again into six half files. Each file and half file had its best man as leader and its second-best man as rear ranker. Two enomotiai were coupled into a 'fifty' (pentekostys), with its own commander (pentekonter). Two fifties were similarly joined to form a lochos, the smallest tactical unit of a phalanx. The lochos was commanded by a lochagos. The whole Spartan army was composed of six divisions. Each division (mora) was commanded by a polemarch and contained four lochoi. In pahlanx all the officers and file leaders would be in the front rank. The various officers - enomotarchs, pentekonters ans lochagoi - would fight at the head of the right-hand file of the unit that they commanded.

That's the most importan information available from P. Connoly's book. I hope it cleared everything up a bit.

Some further reading:
W.K. PRITCHETT: Ancient Greek Military Practices. (1971)
W.K. PRITCHETT: The Greek State at War (1971)
P. COUISSIN: Les Institutions Militaires et Navales de la Grèce. (1932)
Y. GARLAN: Recherche de poliorcétique Grecque. (1974)
J.K. ANDERSON: Military Theory and Practice in the Age of Xenophon. (1970)

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Postby Anonymous on Tue Jun 24, 2003 11:39 pm

Chaîre Locatus,

that's more than I bargained for! I guess you win our little "throw in a topc" contest ;)

It all resembles the timoktatía that Sóloon started. (Why didn't I think of that! comes trough mind, no jalousy, just stupidity) However, this implies that these ranks only represent quantity, sociali/ploitical status and maybe owning a horse...

guess this this pacifist is staying a Greek Hoplite (a great hounour I must add) but I do think this discussio is turning out quite nicely :D

in eirèn`è,


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