Lokhos


Lokhos

A "lókhos" or "lochos" (plural "lokhoi"), from the Greek λόχος, was a tactical sub unit of Classical Greece and of the modern Greek army. The term derived from the ancient Greek for ambush and the men carrying out the ambush, but in practice, its meaning was essentially that of "war-band", a body of armed men. This translation has been used traditionally, e.g. for the Sacred Band of Thebes. However in modern context, a more correct rendering would be "company".

ize and organisation

Evolving as it did with ancient Greek warfare from that of tribal Greece to that of the Greek city-states, the "lokhos" varied in size and organisation over time and from city state to city state, ranging in size from about 100 men to about 640 men. The best surviving description of the "lokhos" is that by Xenophon in his "Anabasis", however this must be taken as being illustrative of a particular time and place, that of 5th Century BC Sparta, rather than being truly representative.

Spartan "lokhos"

The Spartan "lokhos", according to Xenophon, consisted of 640 men, composed of 4 "pentekostyes" of 160 men, with the "pentekostyes" in turn being composed of 4 "enomotiai" of about 40 men each. The lokhos in turn formed half of a "mora" there being 6 "morai" in the Spartan Army. The morai would normally be commanded by a Polemarch, and the "lokhos" by a "lokhagos". However the actual numbers would vary depending on the needs of a campaign. Spartan military organisation relied on dividing its citizen army into 8 age classes and full strength "enomotiai" consisted of 5 men from each of the age classes. However, it was unusual to draw men from the older age classes, so on campaign an "enomotia" would consist of 30 to 35 men with the "lokhos" and" mora" being correspondingly smaller. [cite book
last =Hackett
first =John
authorlink =John Winthrop Hackett Junior
coauthors =
title =Warfare in the Ancient World
publisher =Sidgwick and Jackson ltd
date =1989
location =
pages =255
url =
doi =
id =
isbn =0-283-99591-2
] If only the first 4 or even fewer age classes were called up, than the "short" organisational "lokhos" would be grouped together to form a full strength tactical "lokhos".

Whatever the theoretical size of the "lokhos", units of about 300 men appear frequently in the classical Greek records, this being the number of the Sacred Band of Thebes, the Spartans at Thermopylae, and the number on each side of the "Battle of the Champions" fought between Argos and Sparta in 546 BC. This number would give a frontage of about 40 shields given the traditional 8 deep phalanx, and probably represents the smallest number needed to form a useable phalanx.

Modern use

The term "lokhos", along with the associated rank of "lokhagos" and its derivatives, has been revived in the modern Greek military for a company-sized command.

ee also

*Cohort a Roman military unit of about the same size as a large lokhos
*Sacred Band for a number of units named "Ieros Lochos" in Greek history
*Tagma (military)

Reference


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