Alexander the Great is well known for leading his armies to many victories as he battled through Europe. The sarissa formed the spines of the bristling Macedonian phalanx. The sarissa was long enough (18-22 feet) to keep an enemy at bay but sectioned for easy travel on the march. The Sarissa (or Sarisa) was a 13-21 foot long pike used in the Macedonian phalanx (a body of troops standing or moving in close formation.) An illustration of the Macedonian phalanx. The sarissa was a long pike used by the infantry of Phillip II (King of Macedonia 359 – 336BC).. (Illustration by Gregory Proch) The sarissa-bearing phalanx would usually march to battle in open formation to facilitate movement. https://www.britannica.com/technology/sarissa, ancient Greek civilization: Alexander and the Greeks. Originally the sarissa was used as a missile or a hand-to-hand weapon and was about 3 m long; later, its length increased to 6–7 m. Soldiers of the six forward ranks of the phalanx grasped the sarissa in their hands so that the weapons stuck out as much as 6 m in front of them. The extreme length of the sarissa meant that up to five layers of pikes protruded ahead of the front man – allowing the phalanx to steamroll any opponent. The soldier was able to wield the sarissa with two hands as he made use of a smaller shield than other spear wielding soldiers. Originally the sarissa was used as a missile or a hand-to-hand weapon and was about 3 m long; later, its length increased to 6–7 m. Soldiers of the six forward ranks of the phalanx grasped the sarissa in their hands so that the weapons stuck out as much as 6 m in front of them. Philip’s great general Parmenio commanded the Thessalian cavalry on the left. Finally, I will consider how the Mace-donians carried and wielded the cavalry lance and argue that this weapon was employed against not only hostile cavalry but even infantry. In total, the the sarissa weighed more than any other spear in use. The shaft of the sarissa was 1.5 inches thick and made of a hard elastic wood called cornel. Originally the sarissa was used as a missile or a hand-to-hand weapon and was about 3 m long; later, its length increased to 6–7 m. Soldiers of the six forward ranks of the phalanx grasped the sarissa in their hands so that the weapons stuck out as much as 6 m in front of them. A sarissa wielding infantry phalanx would have been 8 to 16 ranks deep. Book Combined Arms Warfare in Ancient Greece. As a result, five rows of men could present their sarissa to the enemy! Soldiers would be butted in by pikes on either side, thus the phalanx needed to be defended by light infantry on its flanks. Flaws. E. Epic of Gilgamesh. The effectiveness of the sarissa and Alexander’s tally of victories was as much a psychological weapon as a physical one, as armies that saw the phalanx knew they were in for a battle they were unlikely to win. Philip II – the sarissa phalanx and heavy cavalry . The weaponhead of the sarissa was a sharp iron blade. The sarissae were carried in two pieces before a battle and then slid together when they were being used. A critical review of this evidence not only allows the changing length of the sarissa to be calculated in a modern unit of measure, but also examines descriptions in the ancient sources that suggest the forerunner to the Hellenistic pike phalanx was created a generation before the rise of Macedon as a military power in the mid fourth century BC. Macedonian Sarissa: Spartan-Hunting Spear of Philip II. Theophrastus, an ancient author of the time the sarissa was in use, wrote of the pike reaching up to 18 feet, although the exact length is still debated. Wrightson, Graham, "The Nature of Command in the Macedonian Sarissa Phalanx" (2010). The sarissa (or sarisa) was a 3 to 7 meter (13-21 feet) long double pointed pike used in the Macedonian phalanx.It was very heavy for a spear, weighing over 5 kg (12 pounds). Polybius states that the biggest weakness of the phalanx is its uselessness in rugged terrain, but we know that under competent leadership the phalanx had won victories even while crossing rivers. Macedonian Sarissa is a type of Martial Arts revolving around spears and shields.However, physical techniques have been used as well, with particular emphasis on punching techniques. Originally the sarissa was used as a missile or a hand-to-hand weapon and was about 3 m long; later, its length increased to 6–7 m. Soldiers of the six forward ranks of the phalanx grasped the sarissa in their hands so that the weapons stuck out as much as 6 m in front of them. dox view that Philip devised the sarissa-armed in-fantry phalanx. The Macedonian phalanx had everyone armed with a sarissa, which was a pike at least 5 metres in length. Each phalangite carried as his primary weapon a sarissa, a double-pointed pike over 6 m (18 ft) in length. Macedonian phalanx. Not purely a defensive formation, the phalanx could advance forward with pikes churning through virtually any opponent with ease. DOI link for Philip II – the sarissa phalanx and heavy cavalry. Jon Guttman. Despite the influence the sarissa had over the course of many ancient battles, and the advantages it gave its army, the weapon was not without its limitations. Version of Record Publication Date. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Complicated training ensured that the phalanx wielded their sarissas in unison, swinging them vertically to wheel about, then lowering them to the horizontal. This smaller shield could be slung around the neck. Philip II of Macedon saw both the potential and limitations of the Greek phalanx and sought to improve it and make it truly unstoppable. Finally, I will consider how the Mace-donians carried and wielded the cavalry lance and argue that this weapon was employed against not only hostile cavalry but even infantry. Arrian, The Campaigns of Alexander, Penguin Classics, (1971), Markle, M, “The Macedonian Sarissa, Spear, and related Armour”, American Journal of Archaeology , vol. The weapons ability to decimate an oncoming army with minimal losses made the sarissa one of the most feared weapons of its time. The phalanx was also vulnerable to attacks to the sides and rear during battle as the positioning of the sarissa made it difficult for the phalanx as a whole to combat an enemy than wasn’t directly in front. Macedonian phalanx. Before a battle the sarissa were carried in two pieces and then slid together when they were being used. Forums. DOI link for Philip II – the sarissa phalanx and heavy cavalry. The sarissa formed the spines of the bristling Macedonian phalanx. The phalanx of the Ancient Macedonian kingdom and the later Hellenistic successor states was a development of the hoplite phalanx. …the Macedonians’ use of the sarissa, a 13- to 21-foot (4- to 6.5-metre) spear that was roughly twice the length of the pikes used by the Greeks. Ancient History Bulletin Graham Wrightson, South Dakota State University; Download Document Type. The weaponhead of the sarissa was a sharp iron blade. The 'phalangites' were armed with much longer spears (the sarissa; see below), and less heavily armoured. The infantry, known as the Macedonian phalanx, was ingeniously armed with a 4.5 to 6.5 metre pike (greek: sarissa) which was held in their right hand, and a shield (aspis) in their left.. As the phalanx advanced in formation, the sarissa was held pointed outward toward the advancing enemy. World History Forum. Sarissa is a Greek myth technology in Age of Mythology that is available to worshipers of Athena and can be researched at the Military Academy or Armory. The sarissa used by the infantry (phalanx) was a long shaft of wood with tips of iron on either end. Each phalangite carried as his primary weapon a sarissa, a double-pointed pike over 6 m (18 ft) in length, weighing about 6.6kg (14.5 pounds). Dory-Hoplites vs Sarissa-Phalanx. The secondary weapon was … It’s time to create a phalanx everyone! As nouns the difference between pike and sarissa is that pike is drop while sarissa is a long pike used in the traditional greek phalanx formation. The sarissa was a highly specialized weapon that could only be used to maximum effectiveness through the use of strict formations such as the phalanx formation. In a second article, entitled "Use of the Sarissa by Philip and Alexander of Macedon," I will argue that Philip Alexander’s core unit in the phalanx was the syntagma, normally 16 men deep. Alexander’s core unit in the phalanx was the syntagma, normally 16 men deep. Command in the Macedonian Sarissa Phalanx Page 73 Sekunda can excuse the sparsity of the term kerux in the papyri, surely the same argument can be applied to the lack of references to the other two supernumeraries.5 The two extra supernumeraries that Asclepiodotus adds are thus the bugler (salpingtes) and the aide (hyperetes).Kerux usually signifies a herald who passes on orders by voice It was very heavy for a spear, weighing over 12 pounds. Wrightson, Graham, "The Nature of Command in the Macedonian Sarissa Phalanx" (2010). Thread starter Epic of Gilgamesh; Start date Jun 9, 2020; Tags classic world dory hoplite phalanx sarissa vs. warfare; Home. However, some were convinced that reports of the sarissa’s extreme length must be mistaken, while others struggled to reconcile the The long length of the sarissa meant that in these very close formations, 5-6 pike points protruded from the front line of the infantry towards oncoming troops, an intimidating sight for any opposing army. The phalanx that clashed shield-to-shield with its enemies across an open plain and slugged it out, rank against rank? Edition 1st Edition. Equipment. So long as its rear and flank were protected, the formation was extremely powerful both as a defensive and an offensive weapon. It had a short iron head shaped like a leaf and a bronze shoe that would allow it to be anchored to … Polybius states that the biggest weakness of the phalanx is its uselessness in rugged terrain, but we know that under competent leadership the phalanx had won victories even while crossing rivers. This heavy weight was offset by by a shield, and the absence of a breastplate to weigh down the soldier. The sarissa was made of one unbroken shaft of wood so that it would withstand a charge from infantry or cavalry. Instead of an aspis they had a much smaller shield. The primary differences between Alexander's hoplite and that of ancient Greece was in the length of the sarissa. The sarissa or sarisa (Greek: σάρισα) was a long spear or pike about 4–6 metres (13–20 ft) in length. The length and weight of the weapon made it too cumbersome for skirmishes, city fighting, or moving over mountainous terrain. 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