Elvish-Oronai hoplites Military Formation in Yeia | World Anvil

Elvish-Oronai hoplites

  True to the military traditions of their forefathers, the half elf offspring of the Oronai that lives in the main cities of Brire and Stormitia defend their homes, families and realm fighting as hoplites. This type of warrior is one of the most feared and respected soldiers in the South of Teria, not even the Wesdalandian knights dare to charge against the solid wall of bronze and steel of the hoplite phalanx.      


  As everything related to the Elvish-Oronai World, the tradition of hoplite warfare dates back many centuries ago in old Oronia. It is said that the Oronai copied this style of fighting from the early elf armies (although this claim is disputed). The early Ikarian armies also fought like hoplites although they later abandon this system.   Hoplites were the main battleline of the Oronai armies until the invention of the pike phalanx in the 3rd century AP. Since then, the hoplites, composed mainly of citizens from the cities of Oronia became a support unit of the pike phalanxes, only acting as the main battleline in case of emergency. Every Oronai city has a militia formed by their male citizens, ready to defend their homes and the surrounding territory.   When the Oronai reached the South during the conquests of Boros The Conqueror and founded their new colonies, their government was organized following Oronai traditions, and this also included the exitance of a militia of hoplites. By the 650s AP hoplite warfare became archaic and old fashioned among the various armies of the Oronai realms. But not in the South were, due to their impressive forests, pike warfare was limited to the few valleys and forests glades. Because of that, hoplite warfare continued in the Elvish-Oronai realms.      


  Although they are commonly referred as Elvish-Oronai hoplites, the reality is that, like the South itself, the warriors that form the phalanx are different in origin. Certainly most of them are half elves but also oronized elves (Elves that adopted the Oronai culture) but also humans either natives of Oronai itself or descendants of Oronai settlers. The latter are most of the time the officers that fight in the position of honour, at the right flank of the phalanx.   And, unlike the human Oronai world, here in the South women are also allowed to fight as hoplites (although because of their speed most of them fight as archers or skirmishers). Specially in the Kingdom of Stormitia, where the elven influence is higher, its very common to see half elf, human or elf women fighting side by side with their male comrades or sometimes, even their own husbands!.   Once war is over, most of them return to their homes, and continue their lives peacefully until they're recall again by their city and their king.   Being part of the hoplite system is considered both an honour and an obligation of every citizen of an "Asti" the city. And no citizen can participate in politics without having served their city at least once in times of war.    


  The equipment of the half-elf hoplite is not different from their human forefathers and counterparts. Its main protection is the big rounded shield, the hoplon, a courass, sometimes made of bronze, scales (following both Blatian and Elven influences) or a linen cuirass called Lynothorax. And finally a helmet. There are a lot of types of helmet, but one of the most iconic in this part of the world is the Brirean helmet, sometimes known as Elvish-Oronai helmet, descended from the helmets worn by the Oronai cavalry. It protects both from the enemy attacks and also from the sun, and is of course, very fancy if you decided to add a crest. Greaves are also used to protect the leg and the knees, as the hoplite shield cannot cover this part of the body, however, some hoplites don't use greaves and instead choose to wear leather cavalry boots.   As offensive weapons, the half elf hoplite uses mainly an spear, design to stab the enemy, and a sword, usually short that he uses as a last resort. Nowadays however, its not uncommon to see hoplites carrying elven style sabres instead of short swords.      

Fighting Style:

  In battle, half-elf hoplites form a wall of bronze and steel, as the chronicles say. They protect both them and the comrade to the left side. In theory this makes them invincible from the front, but it has a flaw, because the man on the flanks is exposed to enemy attacks from the right side. Thus, it is advisable to any commander that use this type of unit to protect their flanks with other units. Many times, a battle against the half elf hoplites is decided with them charging at the enemy and make them run.   While facing an enemy they are usually helped and protected by archers (mostly elves recruited from the forest villages) whose job is to cause as much casualties to the enemy as possible before the phalanx charges into enemy lines.   If the hoplites fight alongside the famous Oronai Phalanx , and in absence of other type of troops, their main task is to protect the flanks of the pike phalanx and, if possible, outflanking and surround the enemy.  
Elvish-Oronai hoplites in battle formation by Callyxtus

A very interesting tradition

  Hoplites have been fighting for centuries and thus, they have developed peculiar traditions and codes of honour. When fighting against other Oronai, they can't pursue the routing enemy nor can they attack their camp during the knight. Battles between Oronai armies, and in this case Elvish-Oronai (like the various wars between Brire and Stormitia) are fought almost ceremonially. The opposite armies form in a plain and then one of them decides to attack until it makes the other run, casualties in this type of conflicts between half-elves are not high (compared to the wars between the Oronai human realms or the Elvish-Oronai wars against their Wesdalandian neighbours).   In the heat of the battle a peculiar tradition is also respected. If a hoplite wants to surrender to another hoplite and thus been taken prisoner, he has to either thrown their weapons or, in most cases, try reaching the enemy's leg and hug it. This is the hoplite sign of surrender, and those who dare to kill a surrendered foe shall incur the wrath of the gods. Not in vain, one of the sides of the Goddess of Many faces (the Oronai goddess of war) is called Elea or "Merciful" in Oronai, symbolizing mercy towards a surrendered foe.   Once a battle ended, a prisoner’s exchange might occur between the victorious and defeated armies, if not, the prisoners would have to wait until, either a ransom is paid or the war ends.   Curiously, because of their code of honour, Wesdalandian Knights are also subject to this rule of war and they are treated well while being taken prisoners of war by an Half-Elf army. The same cannot be said of the common peasant infantry of their armies, that often show no mercy to their foes.
Overall training Level
Assumed Veterancy


  • According to the law men until their 60s, half elves until they are 180 years old and elves until they are 400 can be called to serve as hoplites
  • If you see a hoplite with paintings or their arms and face, he or she is most likely a Stormitian half-elf or elf. They preserved the old elven tradition of war paintings and when they go to war, and specially before a battle they decorate their bodies and faces with various paintings. Many say its a religious thing, design to protect the warrior and absorb the power of the forest.
  • As half-elves usually have magical powers, it has been stated that using magic in a hoplite battle, especially against fellow Oronai is forbidden and dishonourable.
  • Hoplite shields in the South have very different decorations, ranging from old family symbols, city symbols and tetragrams, faces of the king, Oronai or elven deities or even the name of the soldier. Some like the face of a lion or a bear or a Dragon Bird are design to inspire fear.

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Cover image: by Callyxtus


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