It was the first time Zahnia had seen Tollesian hoplites up close—they were scary. Though not particularly tall, they were thick and muscular with plumed bronze helmets, bronze or linen torso armor, tall spears, and swords strapped to their hips. Their shields were big and round with bronze or leather faces and pictures of monsters painted on them. They had dark eyes with swarthy, olive skin and dark, curly hair and beards.
—Excerpted from First Empress
Hoplite kit and armor for First Empress. Female and male armor designs. Any feedback is welcome!
For hundreds of years, hoplites have served as the mainline infantry for the Tollesian city-states. In open field, hoplites fight in a phalanx—basically a nigh-unbreakable wall of shields and spears. Though phalanxes are virtually ineffective on broken or cluttered terrain, they’re virtually unstoppable in the open and can only be countered with another phalanx. All hoplites are geared with spears, shields, helms, and armor if they can afford it. Linen cuirasses have recently become the most common form of hoplite armor, but leather and bronze are also in high demand.
Though they tend to wear sandals while marching, most hoplites fight barefoot for better traction while in phalanx. Hoplite spears have a bronze spike on the butt end, for use as a weapon if their spear breaks or for dispatching wounded enemies at their feet as the phalanx advances. An effective stabbing sword, the xiphos is the most common hoplite sidearm in densely packed formations, though the kopis is also common.
Hoplites are generally recruited from the yeoman class or higher—people whose farms and homes are most at risk during an invasion and who thus have most to fight for. Queen Viarra prefers to fight on the phalanx when on campaign with her armies. (That’s supposed to be a scary cyclops face on the dude’s shield, by the way. Not sure if you can tell.)