spears and pikes

From: Karin Goihl & Daniel Fahey <goihlk_at_zedat.fu-berlin.de>
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2001 19:34:43 +0100

>Firstly, it may be a mistake to lump pike and shield users into the same
>category. The length and wieldiness of the weapon. combined with the fact
>that they may well have used it with both hands makes it dangerous to
>assume that Alexandrian pikemen fought similarly to Greek hoplites for
>example. And after all, the pikemen generally performed very well against
>hoplite units.

The pike/sarissa was used two-handed. There isn't any doubt about that. Hoplites sometimes did well against sarissa-armed troops also. They both had similar ideas of how battle was supposed to occur, so there were similarities, but you are right that there were differences too.

>In turn, pikemen did not fare well against the Roman legions, though the
>reasons may be difficult to judge, and certainly difficult to test in

I suggest reading the examples again. Legions often did poorly against phalanxes. This "pikemen did not fare well against the Roman legions" thing is an oft repeated error. Both had their advantages and disadvantages, and both lost to the other often enuf. But read the examples yourselves. It's much more instructive to do so than to read other people's explanations of why such-and-such happened when such-and-such is only an assumption. Some people today practice with pikes and know about testing in re-enactments.
Arf Wilson, are you still with us?

End of The Glorantha Digest V8 #241

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