Hoplites were armoured infantry. From about 700bc the most important soldiers in ancient Greece were infantry equipped with a large round shield, a helmet and armed with a long spear. They were known as “hoplites”, which means “armoured men”. Every citizen of a Greek state was expected to fight in the army during a war. Each man had to provide his own equipment, so men had different types of body and leg armour and often painted different designs on their shields. Some men put the first letter of their name on the shield. In some Greek states if a man did not own any arms and armour he was not allowed to vote in elections.
from "100 Things to Know About Arms and Armour" by Rupert Matthews
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