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Battle on the Mall - Spring 2015

a group of people holding shields and shields

Students in the course Paideia: Citizen, Soldier and Poet in Classical Greece took to the Mall to try their hand at hoplite warfare.

a group of people holding shields

In order to get a feel for this type of warfare, Wabash students armed themselves with shields, spears, and swords, formed into two opposing armies (Athenians vs. Spartans) and advanced against each other, experimenting with various maneuvers.

a group of people holding shields and shields

Lessons learned: how difficult it is to move with heavy armor (students wore backpacks full of books to approximate the typical weight—65 lbs.—of hoplite armor), how useful a spear can be at farther range vs. a sword at closer range, and even the sounds of ancient battle, including marching songs (paeans) that armies used when advancing against the enemy.

two men holding shields and swords

One student commented that the hardest part of the experience is the discipline necessary to stay in line and not break rank.

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