The Ancient Library

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On this page: Himeros – Hippagretae – Hipparch – Hipparchus – Hipparmostes – Hippeis



speeches contain materials for the history of the events and of the manners of his time.

HimSros. The personification of longing and desire, and companion of Eros (q.v.).

HippagrStse. The three officers chosen at Lacedgernon by the ephors to command the horsemen who formed the bodyguard of the kings.

Hipparch (Gr. hipparchos). The Greek name for a commander of cavalry (see hippeis). In the jEtolian and Achfean leagues, this name was borne by an officer charged with other functions besides, who was in rank second only to the strategos.

Hipparchus. A Greek mathematician, the founder of scientific astronomy, born at Nicsea in Bithynia, lived chiefly at Rhodes and Alexandria, and died about b.c. 125. He discovered the precession of the equi­noxes, settled more accurately the length of the solar year, as also of the revolution of the moon, and the magnitude and dis­tances of the heavenly bodies. He placed mathematical geography on a firmer basis, by teaching the application of the latitude and longitude of the stars to marking the position of places on the surface of the earth. Of his numerous writings we only possess his commentary on the PhcenSmena of Eudoxus and Aratus, and a catalogue of 1,026 fixed stars.

Hipparmostes. A leader of the Spartan cavalry. (See hippeis.)

Hippeis. The Greek term for riders and knights. (1) Among the Athenians, the citizens whose property qualified them for the second class. (See solonian constitu­tion.) (2) Among the Spartans, the royal guard of honour, consisting of 300 chosen Spartan youths under the age of thirty, who, although originally mounted, after­wards served as heavy-armed foot-soldiers. The cavalry of Athens, which was first formed after the Persian War, and then con­sisted of 300 men, from the Periclean period onwards consisted of 1,200 men, viz. 200 mounted bowmen (hippotoxotce), who were slaves belonging to the state, and the 1.000 citizens of the two highest classes. They were kept together in time of peace, and carefully drilled; at the great public fes­tivals they took part in the processions. They were commanded by two hipparchi, each of whom had five phi/lai under him and superintended the levy. Subordinate to these were the ten phylarchi in com­mand of the ten phylai. Both sets of officers were drawn from the two highest

classes. It was the duty of the council to see that the cavalry was in good con­dition, and also to examine new members in respect of their equipment and their eligibility. (See boule.)

The number of horsemen to be despatched to the field was determined by the decree of the popular assembly. Every citizen-soldier received equipment-money on join­ing, and during his time of service a sub­sidy towards keeping a groom and two horses; this grew to be an annual grant from the state, amounting to forty talents ( = £8,000 in intrinsic value), but regular pay was only given in the field.

At Sparta it was not until B.C. 404 that a regular body of horse was formed, the cavalry being much neglected as compared with the infantry. The rich had only to provide horses, equipment, and armour; for the actual cavalry service in time of war, only those unfitted for the heavy-armed infantry were drafted off and sent to the field without any preliminary drill. In later times every mora of heavy-armed infantry seems to have had allotted to it a mora of cavalry, of uncertain number. By enlisting mercenaries, and introducing allies into their forces, the Spartans at length obtained better cavalry.

The utility of the Greek citizen-cavalry was small on account of their heavy armour, their metal helmet, and their coat of mail, their kilt fringed with metal flaps, their cuisses reaching to the knee, and their leather leggings. They did not take shields into action. As weapons of offence they had the straight two-edged sword and a spear, used either as a lance or a javelin. Shoeing of horses was unknown to the Greeks, as was also the use of stirrups. If anything at all was used as a saddle, it was either a saddle-cloth or a piece of felt, which was firmly fastened with girths under the horse's belly. The Thessalians were considered the best riders. Cavalry became really important for the first time in the Macedonian army under Philip and his son Alexander the Great. Although in earlier times the number of horsemen in the Greek forces was only very small, in the army which Alexander marched into Asia they formed nearly a sixth part of the infantry. The Macedonian cavalry was divided into heavy and light, both consist­ing of squadrons (llai) of an average strength of 200 men. Of the heavy cavalry the choicest troops were the Macedonian and Thessalian horsemen, armed in the

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All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.