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Sarissa
Time Period: 7th-4th century BC
Location: Greece
Common Construction: Two piece wooden shaft with an iron or bronze head and a bronze "shoe"

The sarissa is a long heavy pike used by the Macedonian Greeks. It has a leaf shaped iron or bronze head, and a heavy bronze "shoe" on the other end which allowed the spear to be set into the ground to brace against a charge and act as a counterweight.

The formation of pikemen on the field of battle was completely new at the time and virtually unstoppable when the flanks of the formation were protected with other troop formations such as cavalry and peltasts. Philip II used the sarissa conquer all of Greece. His son Alexander the Great used them to expand the Greek empire through Egypt, Persia, and all the way to India.

The sarissa remained in use until the Greeks were defeated by the Romans. While the strength of the phalanx in a frontal assault was unquestionable, it was susceptible to flanking attacks and Greek generals after Alexander did not adequately protect the formation from such attacks.

BCE 04th Century, BCE 05th Century, BCE 06th Century, BCE 07th Century, Greece, History, Polearm, Weapon


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