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Everything posted by hylonomus

  1. I think most people advocating the overarm grip is misunderstanding the form. Just because you are holding a spear between your thumb and forefinger with shaft pressed against your forearm doesn't mean you can't attack over a shield wall. All you have to do is raise your elbow level with your shoulder and you can easily attack over a shield or ally's shoulder. In fact, now that you are using your thumb to intuitively guide your weapon, you deliver a sure thrust that can be driven home without being easily knocked away or parried. This method would effectively increase range and killing effectiveness without sacrificing anything. An army of hoplites using their spears like this would completely decimate an army using the overarm grip before they could even attack. Artwork is not proof of military practice, its just a picture designed to look good. Overarm grips are easier to draw and have better composition. Besides these pieces of art, a few cryptic texts are the only thing offering any real evidence of either form. Instead, you must apply what is already known about martial arts and anatomy to what would be practical. Any martial artist on earth would laugh at the notion of fighting with the overhand spear grip, or guiding a thrusting weapon with your pinky and shoulder instead of your thumb and forearm.
  2. You can master anything "in practice." That doesn't change physics. Just because you train to do something wrong, it doesn't make improper use of muscle and bone structure coupled with a complete disregard for physics suddenly effective.
  3. Good points. Sorry if things got heated, sometimes these debates get me excited. I personally still think that the overhand grip would be far too unwieldy in combat, and there is no real evidence of it being used outside of vase paintings. I don't believe art such as this has any merit toward historical accuracy, as artists tend to worry more about composition, heroic poses and symbolism.
  4. Control is always important, and you still disregard all the shortcomings of the overarm grip and ignore the many other benefits. And in practice, it's actually easier to deliver a clean, killing strike over a shield wall with an underarm grip. This method is much less likely to be parried by another spear or evaded.
  5. You still fail to disprove any of my points, instead simply claiming I am wrong without backing anything up. Holding a spear with your pinky facing the enemy severely limits range. You can't get full extension, and you can't defend against anybody using the same attacks against you. You basically get a single target, and you better hope he doesn't have a helmet and he's using the same stupid stance you are. Also, what if you are fighting an enemy slightly taller than you? It's physically impossible to hit a target higher then your own face, not to mention the strain on your shoulder and wrist. If someone is attacking you in the same place over and over again, it's ridiculously easy to counter them, whether they are in a phalanx or not. If the Greeks fought all their battles in such a way, they would have gotten their asses kicked all over the Mediterranean. The grip you are describing would only be effective against another hoplite standing directly in front of you, less than four feet away, and only if you manage to hit his neck or arm. Funny how most Hoplite wounds were to the legs and groin... I'm open to being proven wrong, that's how you learn. So far though, you've failed to do anything but cement my theories.
  6. You can block the guy directly in front of you in a heated battle. What gets you is the man you aren't paying attention to. Also, loose formations were just as common as tight phalanxes, and the notion of a clashing shield wall is up to debate as well. Squaring off with the enemy at spear range and skirmishing them with probing strikes was far more likely. Smashing your front line into the enemy ranks would put some of your most experienced troops at unnecessary risk. If you look at the above vase picture, you will notice there is plenty of room between shields to fit a spear at armpit-level. Also, the shields were designed to extend beyond your elbow to protect the man to your left, so there would be no arm to get in the way of an underarm grip. Some shields even had cutout sections specifically designed to fit a spear through. You can have an interlocked shield wall that still makes room for movement necessary to be combat-effective. Standing uncomfortably close and having men pushing shields into your back would severely hamper combat prowess. Furthermore, you want to be low and obscured by your shield. Waving your spear over your head not only leaves your entire arm and armpit vulnerable, but telegraphs all your movements to your opponent.
  7. Xenophon, Anabasis, Book IV "Along the line the order had sped "to keep their spears at rest on the right shoulder until the bugle signal; then lower them for the charge, slow march, and even pace, no one to quicken into a run." Lastly, the watchword was passed, "Zeus the Saviour, Heracles our Guide."" You can easily attack over a shield from an underarm stance. In fact using the term "underarm" is misleading, what's important here is thumb placement. Imagine how a fencer holds a foil, this gives you the most control. You can still raise your arm above your head, but you'd be leading with your thumb. This way you can still attack different parts of your opponent's body, or enemies to the left or right of your opponent. This position also allows you to easily disengage or parry other spears without anything protruding from behind you to disturb your allies or throw you off balance. Holding your spear upside down is just goofy.
  8. You never hold a weapon with your pinky facing the enemy, I don't care who you are. You get no stability, no control and no reach. When you hold a spear like that, you are taking away every advantage a spear has, and gain none. When held correctly, you grip the shaft between your thumb and forefinger and keep the counterweight flush with your elbow. This is more natural and allows you to deliver powerful thrusts, as well as more easily work around your shield without limiting your strikes to a single target. It isn't difficult at all to hold your weapon like this in a tight formation, in fact its much more limiting to march and fight in tight formation with an overhand grip. Would you want to fight with the blades of your allies spears resting inches from your face? Do you want to march and fight all day with your arm raised? You can't do that for long, simple anatomy. The ranks would be filled with dislocated shoulders. And how is bringing up art, the only real reason reenactors hold their spears like that, "cute?" that's a bit insulting, especially considering how wrong you are on various points. For one thing you said that the only vulnerable spot on a Hoplite is his neck and arms, which is wrong. According to texts, most injuries at the time were in the legs, groin and abdomen, indicating usage of underarm thrusts. Writings also describe spears being thrust through shields and breastplates, something that requires force that can only be delivered through the superior underarm thrust. If you study, you will learn that Hoplites marched with their spears resting on their shoulder, and then lowered them into an underarm grip before combat. You can do this while maintaining tight formation, unlike an overhand grip which requires open space to transition to. Texts also speak of finishing off downed enemies that you march over with the lizard killer, which is a matter of convenience. You wouldn't flip your spear all the way around just to stab an enemy with your counterweight while marching, would you? Also, think of safety! In an overhand grip, you are constantly swinging a counterweight around the heads of the troops behind you and if you are in back you are holding a blade over the shoulder of the troops in front. If someone knocked your spear to the side, you would clock the guy next to you in the back of the head, and on top of that your wrist isn't strong enough to recover, and you let your whole team down. Logic, physics, historic texts, all the evidence is stacked in favor of underarm use. What evidence do you have of overhand use beside what is depicted on vases or used by misinformed reenactors?
  9. Care to elaborate? This is an ongoing debate. I don't believe that spears were ever held that way. The pose is depicted in art, but that's for the sake of composition. Many realistic period depictions of Greek warriors, (those showing things like tight formations and armor) actually show the underhand grip. Other than that, and the obvious javelin throwing stance, there isn't any real proof that is the way spears were held. Seriously, get some dowels and some fencing masks, get a trashcan lid or something as a shield, and then try doing some sparring. Try both grips and you will find that no warrior that fights for his life would adopt such a silly stance. You can't even effectively raise your shield to block arrows if your spear is resting over your shoulder. Also, a great deal of combat consisted of parrying other spears, probing the enemy for weaknesses and attacking people a few men down the line who aren't expecting it. Doing all these things with an overhand grip is impossible. It's a matter of physics. Sure, there are vases with depictions of overhand spear use, but the soldiers also have their chest exposed and their genitals flapping free. There is also a tremendous amount of pottery painted with realistic warriors with the underhand grip.
  10. Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe soldiers in any period held their spears like that. While commonly depicted in art, in reality holding a spear overhand is very cumbersome, and soldiers would instead grip the shaft underhand, with the non-business end braced against their forearm. Javelin throwing is another story, but no melee combatant would hold his spear overhand. Pick up a broom handle and give it a try yourself, you'll find that the overhand grip is very limiting. I understand if the animation looks better the other way, or if there is technical reason troops are depicted that way in-game. It just seems like you guys are trying to emphasize historic accuracy in your art style. Otherwise the game looks great, keep up the good work. I'm looking forward to a release.
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