Spartan Warfare In the 7th Century BC a new era of warfare strategy evolved. Before this new strategy, foot soldiers engaged in battle in the form of one mob for an army. Then on the command of their generals they would run at each other and proceed to hack blindly at the enemy in front of them with little or no objective other than to kill him. This proved to be very messy and the victor of battle depended mostly on emotion and size of these mobs. In the name of strategy and organization, the phalanx was developed.
A phalanx is simply defined as a line formation with its width significantly larger then its depth. The depth of the phalanx is a variable which some suggest was decided by the army itself rather then by the leaders of the army. The smallest depth appears to have been that of one man deep. However this was a unique occurrence which is widely believed to be fictitious. The largest depth is that of 120 men deep which fielded at one time by the Macedonians.
On average, the depth of the phalanx appears to be about eight men deep. During the time of Alexander the Great, the phalanx was believed to be eight men deep, but some argue that it evolved into a sixteen man deep phalanx. The Spartans purposely varied the depth of their phalanx so as to confuse the enemy about the number of soldiers fielded. The phalanx proved to be a very valuable weapon for the military at that time. Armies that did not adapt to the phalanx formation were quickly slaughtered.