from The Century Dictionary.
- noun The long lance used by the Macedonian phalanx. It was eighteen feet long in the time of Philip and Alexander, but was later shortened to fourteen. In the later writings of the middle ages the same name is given to the long lances then in use.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.
- noun a long
pikeused in the traditional Greek phalanxformation.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
He lined up his veteran Macedonians and with their deadly sarissa formation attacked the pursuing Thebans.
If even one infantryman swung his sarissa too far to the left or right, the whole line would become hopelessly tangled.
The sarissa was made to destroy hoplites, but the deadly formation would work equally well on barbarian warriors charging the Macedonian lines.
The sarissa spear formation used by Philip and Alexander.
But control of the sarissa was made possible by the elimination of heavy armor and weapons so that Macedonian foot soldiers, unlike their Greek or barbarian counterparts, could use both hands to hold and thrust their spears to deadly effect.
With their speed and maneuverability, well-armed horsemen could be an effective counter to the Macedonian foot soldiers and their sarissa spears.
If the foot soldiers of Macedonia with their long sarissa spears came up against the Persians, the troops of the Great King would lose.
The answer lay in a brilliant innovation developed by Philip—the sarissa.
Standard hoplite spears were eight to ten feet in length, but the sarissa was almost eighteen feet long.
He lined up his infantry in deep formation with their long sarissa spears aimed square at the woods in front of them.