This post is part of a series of image posts Ancient History et cetera will be putting together each month. Today’s post concerns ancient warriors!
Ancient warfare was vastly different from how it is conducted today; the vanquished could be certain that slavery or execution awaited them. Initially, ancient armies were made up of infantry units who would engage enemy forces on the field with spears, shields, some form of body armour and a helmet. In time, armies developed to include shock troops, peltasts and include strategies like the formation known as the phalanx.
The hoplite is the Greek solider most are familiar with. His complete suit of armour was a long spear, short sword, and circular bronze shield; he was further protected, if he could afford it, by a bronze helmet, bronze breastplate, greaves for the legs and finally, ankle guards.
The Aztecs engaged in warfare (yaoyotl) to acquire territory, resources, quash rebellions, and to collect sacrificial victims to honour their gods. Warfare was a fundamental part of Aztec culture and all males were expected to participate. Eagle knights were a special class of infantry soldier in the Aztec army and one of the two leading military orders in their society.
The Assyrian war machine was one of the most efficient military forces in the ancient world. The secret to its success was a professionally trained standing army, use of iron weapons, advanced engineering skills and most importantly a complete ruthlessness, which proclaimed the power of ancient Assyria across the Near East.
The Roman army was usually commanded by a consul. Roman commanders generally preferred an aggressive and full-frontal attack, and they had many strategies to break enemy lines such as the tortoise, the wedge, skirmishing formation, repel cavalry and the orb.
Aztec Eagle Warrior
Assyrian Warrior Relief
Greek Hoplites Fighting
Toltec Warrior Columns
A Warrior and an Amazon
War and the Moche – Behind the scenes at the Horniman Museum
Originally published by: Horniman Museum and Gardens
This collection of Moche ceramics depicts warriors on their way up in society and some soon to be on the way out. Permanently. Acknowledged Moche expert George Lau describes more and helps unravel some of Moche’s most mysterious practices.
And don’t forget there are thousands of wonderful objects you can see for free at the Horniman – why not pop in and explore further?