What Were Spears Called in Ancient Greece?

In ancient Greece, spears played a significant role in warfare. These weapons were not only powerful but were also essential for the success of Greek armies.

However, what were these spears called in Ancient Greece? Let’s delve into the fascinating world of ancient weaponry and explore the various names given to spears during that time.

The Dory

One of the most famous types of spears used by Ancient Greek hoplites was called the dory. This spear was approximately 7-9 feet long and had a leaf-shaped blade at one end. The dory was primarily used for thrusting at close range and was known for its effectiveness in phalanx formations.

The dory had a wooden shaft made from ash or cornel wood, which provided strength and flexibility. The spearhead was typically made of iron or bronze, adding weight to its thrusting power. The dory’s length allowed hoplites to attack enemies from a distance while still providing enough reach for effective defensive maneuvers.

Key Features of the Dory:

  • Length: Approximately 7-9 feet long
  • Spearhead: Leaf-shaped blade made from iron or bronze
  • Shaft Material: Ash or cornel wood

The Xiphos

Besides the dory, another type of spear commonly used in Ancient Greece was called the xiphos. Unlike the dory, which was primarily used by hoplites, the xiphos was a shorter weapon mainly favored by infantry soldiers.

The xiphos had a double-edged blade and was designed for close-quarters combat. Its length ranged from 18-24 inches, making it ideal for thrusting and slashing motions in tight spaces such as city streets or naval battles.

Key Features of the Xiphos:

  • Length: 18-24 inches
  • Spearhead: Double-edged blade

The Sarissa

In addition to the dory and xiphos, another spear that gained prominence during the Hellenistic period was the sarissa. This spear was notably longer than the traditional dory, measuring up to an astonishing 13-21 feet in length.

The sarissa was primarily used by Macedonian soldiers, particularly the famous phalanx formations led by Alexander the Great. Its extended reach provided an advantage on the battlefield, allowing Macedonian soldiers to strike their enemies from a distance while remaining protected behind their shields.

Key Features of the Sarissa:

  • Length: Approximately 13-21 feet long
  • Spearhead: Leaf-shaped blade made from iron or bronze
  • Shaft Material: Wooden shaft similar to the dory

In conclusion, Ancient Greek spears had different names depending on their design and purpose. The dory and xiphos were widely used by hoplites and infantry soldiers respectively, while the sarissa gained fame among Macedonian soldiers due to its impressive length. Each spear played a crucial role in shaping ancient warfare strategies and tactics.

If you’re interested in ancient weaponry or Greek history, understanding these various types of spears can provide you with a deeper appreciation for the art of ancient warfare.