- Bronze Working
- The Appian Way
The most primitive battle techniques rise directly from hunting techniques, and amount to sneak up behind him and shoot him in the back. When the opponent is also armed and just as smart as you are, something more sophisticated is needed. Tactics, a formal study of battle methods, makes possible organized military units like the Phalanx.
The first military units of spear-armed infantry in Sumeria and Egypt seem to have been organized on a decimal system, but nothing else is known about their tactics, except that archers and chariots were considered the most important parts of their armies, so spear tactics were probably not considered important or decisive. Beginning in the 8th century BC the city states of Lydia in Asia Minor began fielding citizen-soldiers consisting of heavily armored spearmen fighting shoulder-to-shoulder behind large round shields called Hoplon in Greek (meaning ’plate’). The Hoplite Phalanx was unique up to that time, because the shield was wide enough to cover not only the left side of the man holding it, but also the right side of the man standing to his left. Therefore, the entire phalanx depended on mutual trust and support from the individuals in it to survive and win, not just the individual prowess of the warriors. By the 2nd century BC Greek military philosophers like Aeneas Tacitas and Asclepiodotus were writing detailed books on battle tactics and organization of the phalanx, drill formations, and methods of besieging and taking walled cities.