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From Ancient Greek ὁπλίτης (hoplítēs, heavily armed foot-soldier), from ὅπλον (hóplon, arms, armor, weapon) (from which English hopl-). Compare Latin hoplomachus (gladiator).



hoplite (plural hoplites)

  1. (historical) A heavily-armed infantry soldier of Ancient Greece, wielding a one-handed spear and an aspis.
    • 1970, John Kinloch Anderson, Military Theory and Practice in the Age of Xenophon, page 141,
      However important the use of hoplites against, or in support of, troops of other arms had become, their chief function was still to fight other hoplites, though the battles of the early fourth century were very different from the ponderous confrontations that had filled King Xerxes and his courtiers with contempt.
    • 1991, R. K. Sinclair, Democracy and Participation in Athens, page 5,
      The Athenian hoplites who routed the Persian invaders on the field of Marathon in 490 created one of the great 'myths' of Athens.
    • 2006, J. E. Lendon, Soldiers and Ghosts: A History of Battle in Classical Antiquity, unnumbered page,
      Yet this war of ideals was also a war of many truces, for there were many grounds for accommodation between generals and hoplites. Generals were drawn from the ranks of the hoplites, as hoplites they fought; when they ceased to be generals, it was to the hoplite ranks that they returned. Such was the power of hoplite ideals that many commanders were delighted to compete as hoplites rather than as tacticians, as their frequent deaths in the line signify.

Related terms[edit]




  • (mute h) IPA(key): /ɔ.plit/
  • (file)


hoplite m (plural hoplites)

  1. hoplite

Further reading[edit]