Soldier nomenclature

Mar 2018
984
UK
A rather dull question I'm afraid, but I'm working a game at the moment and I need some names to describe different types of soldiers and I'm coming rather short. I'm trying to find a single word (or at most a two word name) to distinguish between two different types of hoplites, essentially an "early" hoplite up to the Persian wars and a "late" hoplite from the Peloponnese War onward. Any suggestions for better names than "Early Hoplite" and "Late Hoplite"? And yes, I know that the distinction between them is fairly arbitrary, but that's the nature of game design where continuous changes have to be lumped into discrete steps.

Similarly, what would be the name for a soldier who fights in armour (chainmail?) with a sword, large shield and javelins, in the manner of Samnites, Legionaries and (IIRC) some Celts?
 
Mar 2018
984
UK
All good ideas! Thorakitai is pretty much exactly what I had in mind but the name had completely left my head.

As for the Hoplites, history might develop completely differently in the game than in RL, so naming them after a person or epoch seems a tad anachronistic, I think I'd rather refer to their equipment. Something like "Bronze Hoplite" and "Linothorax Hoplite"?
 
Nov 2016
1,606
Germany
In terms of tactics, classical Hoplites could be called "block Hoplites" (block hops) in the sense of "phalanx Hoplites" or "formation Hoplites", while the more free-operating Hellenistic Hoplites could be called "mobile Hoplites" (mob hops). Of course, block hops and mob hops are not terms for specialist science, but for game and RL it could be all right.
 
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Matthew Amt

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
3,074
MD, USA
In terms of tactics, classical Hoplites could be called "block Hoplites" (block hops) in the sense of "phalanx Hoplites" or "formation Hoplites", while the more free-operating Hellenistic Hoplites could be called "mobile Hoplites" (mob hops). Of course, block hops and mob hops are not terms for specialist science, but for game and RL it could be all right.
"Free-operating"??? Hellenistic hoplites didn't fight in line??? That's news to me! Especially considering that every other type of heavy infantry DID...

Sorry, way off-topic...

Matthew
 

Matthew Amt

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
3,074
MD, USA
All good ideas! Thorakitai is pretty much exactly what I had in mind but the name had completely left my head.

As for the Hoplites, history might develop completely differently in the game than in RL, so naming them after a person or epoch seems a tad anachronistic, I think I'd rather refer to their equipment. Something like "Bronze Hoplite" and "Linothorax Hoplite"?
"Archaic hoplite" and "Classical hoplite" might be better, but I tend to go with things like "Persian-War-era", etc.

I'd stay away from "linothorax" partly because it's a misleading term, much abused and misapplied in modern usage. But also because the Greeks didn't tend to separate hoplites by armor--men in bronze cuirasses fought right alongside those in leather or other organic armor. And the proportions as well as the absolute amounts of armor in any particular army are hot topics, not settled at all.

Of course the English equivalent to "thorakitai" is "armored infantry". Who often fought in the same formations as UNarmored infantry!

I realize you will have to simplify and codify things, though, so I'm not being very helpful, sorry!

Matthew
 
Nov 2016
1,606
Germany
"Free-operating"??? Hellenistic hoplites didn't fight in line??? That's news to me!
By that I mean "operating variably". The term "free" is probably misleading.

Wikipedia: Thorakitai

Thorakitai were used in armies of the Hellenistic period in a variety of tactical situations. They were a type of armoured but mobile infantry who did not require a rigid formation to be effective in combat.

The Oxford Handbook of Warfare in the Classical World
Brian Campbell, ‎Lawrence A. Tritle - 2013

The thureophoros fought principally with javelin and sword while protecting himself with the thureos, a large oval shield used in Italy by Pyrrhus's allies as well as his Roman opponents. The mobile thureophoroi were much better suited to rough terrain than phalangites. They could be deployed ahead of the phalanx as skirmishers or along its flanks for protection. As at Ausculum, they could be interspersed among the phalangites in order to fill any gaps that might develop.
 

Matthew Amt

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
3,074
MD, USA
By that I mean "operating variably".
Okay. I don't really want to get into a debate about it here, it's just amusing to me that (according to too many modern authorities) earlier hoplites could ONLY function in a completely rigid and unmaneuverable phalanx, while later ones were somehow magically able to be much more flexible. Even though, to me, they ALL fought in linear formations, with very little *functional* difference at all! (Except that earlier ones carried throwing spears, which implies some flexibility or looseness of formation, while later spears were longer, implying more rigidity...)

The thureophoros fought principally with javelin and sword while protecting himself with the thureos, a large oval shield used in Italy by Pyrrhus's allies as well as his Roman opponents. The mobile thureophoroi were much better suited to rough terrain than phalangites. They could be deployed ahead of the phalanx as skirmishers or along its flanks for protection. As at Ausculum, they could be interspersed among the phalangites in order to fill any gaps that might develop.
Again, I understand that this is just a quote from somewhere, and we don't have to argue it out, but there is no evidence (that I've heard of!) for thureophoroi using javelins. They are invariably shown with a single spear, and in written accounts they're just regular line infantry.

Matthew
 
Mar 2018
984
UK
So what would you call Samnite or Legionary style Infantry in one word? I'd be quite happy to make it not completely Greco-centric too, so something Celtic or Persian would be even better.

As for Hoplites, I think I'll go with "Archaic" and "Reformed." Those should be understandable to a layman (and the latter clearly better), while still being historically sound, and vague enough to make sense in a game world where history might develop very differently