Organization: Military Units

The organization of our group, military and civil, is based on the
historical organization of Sparta around the date of 500 BC.

Spartan military units are based on the Phalanx. The Phalanx was a "block" of soldiers ranging from 4 to 50 ranks deep and as wide as the number of troops allowed. It was composed of units called Phyles. The Phyles were grouped together to form larger units.

The historical accounts of the exact organization of the Spartan Army at this time is somewhat sketchy. We know that there were five Lochoi consisting of about 1000 Spartiates each. Each Lochos was recruited from one of the five oba (villages) of Sparta. The accounts mention units called Pentekostys. The word means fifty, but we do not know if there were fifty men in a Pentekostys at this time period. Earlier and later accounts mention the Enomotia or "sworn band".

The earlier Enomotia consisted of perhaps 60 men (around the end of the 7th century BC). Later accounts (c. 418 BC) list the enomotia as 32 men, and the Pentekostys as 128 men - at a time when the Spartan Army numbered about 2500 men. Another account lists the Enomotia as 36 men and the Pentekostys as 72 men. We have tried to use numbers that consistent with the historical evidence, but the exact historical organization at this time is uncertain at best.

It should be noted that the numbers refer to the Spartiates, or full
citizens, of Sparta. This does not include other classes of troops, which were often more numerous than the Spartiates.

Demi-phyle: The smallest unit is the Demi-phyle (half file). This is a unit of about 6+ soldiers. The leader is called a Demiphylarch

Phyle: The next largest unit, and basic building block of the army, is the Phyle (file). This is a unit consisting of two or more Demi-phyles (12+ soldiers). The leader is called a Phylarch.

Enomotia: The next largest unit is a Enomotia, a unit consisting of three Phyles (36+ soldiers). The Enomotia was roughly equivalent to the Company of a modern army. The Enomotarch is the Captain of this unit.

Pentekostys: The next largest unit is the Pentekostys. This unit consists of five Emomotiai (180+ soldiers). The Pentekostys was commanded by a Pentekoster.

Lochos: The next largest unit consisted of approximately 1000 soldiers and was operated like a Division in a modern army. The Lochos was smaller than a modern Division, but the Spartan Army was only 5000 Spartiates at this time.
The Commander was called a Lochagos.

Classes of Troops
Spartiate: A full citizen of Sparta, required by law to participate in a single occupation as his life's work - soldier. This meant that he could devote much of his time to training for and fighting in wars. This constant training made him unequaled as a warrior. The Spartan calmness in battle and precision in maneuver made him a terrifying foe. As a Spartiate he was a member of the Assembly and could vote.

Perioikoi: A citizen of an Allied City of Laconia, the region around Sparta. Kind of a militia member, like the national guard, called out for wars in Laconia (Lacedaemon). The Perioikoi trained for a few weeks each year, like the regular troops of every other city in Greece (except Sparta). The Perioikoi or militia made up about half of the Spartan Army and was very important, though they were not Citizens of Sparta.

Helots: Today, the helots are sometimes referred to as slaves, sometimes as serfs, sometimes as baggage carriers. There status was probably somewhere in between these. Helots that worked the farms seemed to be tied to the land like the serfs in medieval Europe, they were not bought and sold like the slaves in Athens. In this time period it was customary that one helot accompanied each hoplite on campaign as a baggage carrier. There is also a record of helots fighting with the Spartiates. For the battle of Plataea in 479 the army consisted of 5,000 Spartiate hoplites, 5,000 Perioikoi hoplites, and 35,000 helot psiloi.

Types of Soldiers:
Hoplites: soldiers in heavy armor, armed with a spear and Hoplon shield.
Psiloi: soldiers without armor.