I don't really want to get into this because people often fight over it and
have fixed opinions without having read hardly anything. Oh well, here goes.
Hoplites were nearly all farmers who owned their own land. Most had to work
hard. They sometimes assembled to practice but most didn't like this as it
kept them from important work. Many people argued against training, saying
it was unnecessary. These people had fought several times and knew what they
were talking about.
These people were citizens by right of land-ownership, but lived much like what we'd call peasants. Many had a slave or two to help with the farm. Absolute discipline and training were not necessary, and often lacking, but were good for those who had it. Yes, everyone knew his place in the formation and these people got into formation quick and without confusion. The part about knowing where to step when someone fell shows a lack of understanding of what was happening in a battle. Everyone stepped forward whenever they could. They couldn't just stand and wait til someone fell. The vast majority of hoplites were not professional soldiers and really had little training. There were a few professional mercenary units, which were noted as being better than citizen ones. There were also the Spartans, who did train and were feared by others. Phillip of Makedon created a professional army consisting largely of phalanx units. After his time other rulers made their own, but here we're no longer talking about citizen hoplites who formed to fight for their polis. For Gloranthan comparisons the Sun Domers are generally like citizen hoplites, altho they emphasize training more than most. Their templars are the professional units. Dara Happan phalanxes are also professional.
Dreading answers to this
End of The Glorantha Digest V8 #145
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