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Historical Warfare: The Macedonian Hypaspists

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The Macedonian Hypaspists

The Hypaspists were the elite arm of the Macedonian infantry. During a pitched battle, such as Gaugamela, they acted as guard for the right flank of the phalanx and as a flexible link between the phalanx and the Companion cavalry.

The Hypaspists were armed similarly to the Greek Hoplite, however they were far more mobile. This included the Hoplite shield, the Aspis, and the Linothorax. However the armour they wore often depended on the situation. When taking part in rapid forced marches or combat in broken terrain, it appears that they wore little more than a helmet and a cloak so as to enhance their stamina and mobility. However, when engaging in heavy hand-to-hand fighting, for instance during a siege or pitched battle, they would have worn body armour of either linen or bronze.

In terms of weaponry, they were probably equipped in the style of a traditional Greek hoplite with a thrusting spear called a doru. As well as this, they would have carried a sword, either a xiphos or a kopis. This made them far better suited to engagements where formations had broken down, making them well suited to siege assaults and special missions.

The Hypaspists role was to guard the flanks of the large and unwieldy pike phalanx, an armored soldier with an 18–22 ft. pike, the sarissa. The Phalangites were not particularly agile or able to turn quickly, so hypaspists would prevent attacks on the vulnerable sides of the formation.

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BBC Guides. (2018). The ancient Greeks at war. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/guides/zckr4wx [Accessed 15 Jul. 2018].

Cartwright, M. and Cartwright, M. (2018). Ancient Greek Warfare. [online] Ancient History Encyclopedia. Available at: https://www.ancient.eu/Greek_Warfare/ [Accessed 15 Jul. 2018].

Cartwright, M. and Cartwright, M. (2018). Peltast. [online] Ancient History Encyclopedia. Available at: https://www.ancient.eu/Peltast/ [Accessed 15 Jul. 2018].

HistoryNet. (2018). Peltasts: The Other Greek Warriors | HistoryNet. [online] Available at: http://www.historynet.com/peltasts-gr... [Accessed 15 Jul. 2018].


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