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Committee Members

Rebecca Edwards (Committee Member), Bruce Laforse (Advisor), Jeannette Marchand (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Humanities (MHum)


The purpose of this paper is to explore the developing roles, tactics, and fighting methods of javelin-armed soldiers in classical Greek warfare. The chronological scope of the paper will be broad, incorporating early evidence from the eighth century B.C.E. but focusing on the fifth and fourth centuries. Throughout the thesis I will argue that javelineers and especially peltasts earned an increasingly prominent role in Greek warfare due to several interrelated factors: constant warfare occurring on increasing and unprecedented scale; professionalization of military leadership; growing frequency of large-scale campaigns waged on diverse terrain; and an overall increase in the use of mercenary infantrymen in warfare. The expanded use of the javelin soldier was part of a general development of combined arms tactics used by Greek commanders during the Peloponnesian War, the Expedition of Cyrus, and the various wars waged among the poleis during the early fourth century. Also taking place during this time was a trend toward specialization among leaders of javelin troops; this paper will highlight some of the accomplishments of peltasts and javelineers under such leadership in order to illustrate their potential effectiveness against hoplites and other arms in various contexts.

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