Interest Veterans Network

Are You a Hoplite?

Written by J Rawls

What is a hoplite? In a general sense, it is a heavy infantry soldier from ancient Greek history. The term is used today in Greece in a military sense as well, but we will look at the ancient variation. The ancient Greek city-states did not have standing armies, except for Sparta. Hoplites were well trained citizens that maintained their own arms, varying due to wealth and social standings. Does that sound familiar? It should, because we are doing it today.

Granted, that definition is a very base variation of looking at the hoplite, because historians will want more pertaining to social interaction, economic issues, and battlefield strategy of the ancient Greeks. We don’t need all of that at the moment. We know we won’t be forming a phalanx anytime soon.

What are we forming? We are forming the individual soldier, the hoplite, in a new standard. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I have training (military, LE, or elsewhere)?
  • Do I maintain my own arms?
  • Do I stand in the firm belief of protecting my country, family, friends, and/or way of life?
A statuette of an ancient Greek hoplite or heavy foot soldier, from the Berlin Museum, circa 1900. It is likely that at one point, he would have been holding a spear. Source: Getty Images. Retrieved from:

A statuette of an ancient Greek hoplite or heavy foot soldier, from the Berlin Museum, circa 1900. It is likely that at one point, he would have been holding a spear. Source: Getty Images. Retrieved from:

Many outside of the warrior class will confuse these individuals with regular militia. Although few may, most often it is the case that these individuals do not wish to associate with militias. This is part of the new hoplite mentality (let us not call them neo-hoplites, because that leaves a bad taste). Militias have been given a terrible name over the years, and they are scrutinized by the public. In turn, the new hoplite has kept them at a distance. They know of them, where they are, and what they do, but do not wish to participate.

The American Hoplite now maintains his or her own arms. They are well trained. They know many other American Hoplites and are prepared for anything. They keep “go bags” or at least know where all of their essential gear is located. They maintain their preferred weapon. This is where historians may chime back in to garner acceptance. The weapons are indicative to the financial capability of the hoplite. That isn’t to say the weapon is inferior, but I don’t know a single person that doesn’t want a more expensive gun or optics. Weapon selected, they train with what they have. They are disciplined and hardened due to many years of a new warrior generation being forged in the furnace of combat. They also number in the millions. This is no small group easily forgotten. This is the new veteran mentality to address the unease with corruption of the world.

Let us also look across the pond. Those of the warrior class in other countries are not left out. Some nations do not allow weapons to be maintained at the level of the United States, but those warriors are able to improvise and adapt as well. They keep their ruck in the closet and their blades sharp, and they are trained and have stood shoulder to shoulder with the U.S. through these many years of combat. Though we all have national pride, the warrior class extends far and wide.

Why now? What makes them different from, say, 60 years ago? Simple, culture changed. Over 60 years ago, everyone, not just the warrior class, knew war. Things have changed greatly since then. Warriors feel it, we know it, and we adapt to it. As people forget about the chaos of the world, the new hoplite stands ready. Unknown to us, we have reverted back to an ancient form of readiness in resurrecting the hoplite. If you are a hoplite, you now know your lineage. Rest easy in knowing you are not alone.


What are YOUR thoughts?

Are YOU a Hoplite, in more ways than one?

This article specifically addresses those individuals with firearms who stand at the ready in case of conflict, but we can extend the Hoplite to many other areas of our personal and professional lives…

Consider this food for thought… Today’s warrior class is more intelligent, motivated, trained, and better equipped than ever before, but despite the changes in era or technology, one thing never changes… the warrior mentality, and this is something not exclusive ONLY to military service members. Whether in your personal life or your professional life, whether in uniform or not, and whether you’ve ever served in uniform or not, the warrior mentality is a universal constant. It is the drive, the internalized motivation, the sheer willpower to succeed, to overcome any and all odds, the desire to find purpose and the reach for success in all things… Those with the warrior mentality are generally the leaders of nearly every industry the world over, and they arm themselves with knowledge and skills readily employable and deployable so as to best lead from the front…

In that respect, well-armed individuals come from ALL walks of life. They ALL have the warrior mentality… but not ALL arms are physical weapons able to take life… In the course of your leadership development path, what other forms of arms would be useful to a hoplite? Besides weapons of steel, what else would you – the warfighter – arm yourself with to be successful in your own endeavors – personal or professional, business, military, or even survival?

Let’s discusses our thoughts in open forum. Let us know YOUR thoughts in the comments below! Open discussion helps everyone learn and grow.

About the author

J Rawls

Jeremy Rawls is a former active duty Marine with two combat tours in Iraq. He was part of the invasion in 2003 and later returned for the take down of Fallujah. After leaving the Corps, he worked as a contractor for the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security with two contracts in Afghanistan. He is currently a freelance writer.

1 Comment

  • We see many examples of the hoplite today in many countries. In popular media, there are a large (and growing) number of people making videos about their personal gear and equipment, training and instructional videos, and even opinions too. In America, those who choose to exercise their rights and carry (whether open or concealed), and those who own one or more firearm or weapon, train with it and maintain it, and prepare themselves for the possibility of its eventual use, fit well into the hoplite category. In Switzerland, for a different example, every citizen is a part of the national guard, and over a third of the population take their service rifles home, but a larger portion of the population keeps and maintains their own personal firearms as well. Here too do we see the hoplite of today…

    But I see many more examples outside of those who maintain arms too. The preparation for conflict is indeed a daily ritual for many in business, travel and leisure, industry, foreign relations and politics, and more. Essentially, the hoplite is a citizen soldier whose job is to remain ready for the possibilities of conflict, and this idea of “being at the ready” extends well beyond weapons of defense and war alike, but into the briefing rooms, negotiation tables, classrooms, and meeting halls as well. Knowledge and skills in Leadership, Conflict Negotiation and Resolution, and even Logic and Reason, are rightfully the “arms” kept, maintained, built upon, advanced, and honed by many of those who stand ever ready to engage and control the conflict they lead others into within their own daily lives. Once more back to the military example, these exact same “arms of knowledge” aid leaders and commanders in real engagements, prepare the soldier for war in the best ways possible, and aid the average Joe for eventual victory whenever the might inevitable occur…

    There exist all manner of “arms”, and as such, it is possible to extend today’s definition of the modern day “Hoplite” in many different directions… but they all yet still have one thing in common… The Warrior/Warfighter Mentality. It seems instead then, that the mere fact that one maintains personal “arms” for the sake of eventual conflict, perhaps, is not the best definition – as “arms” can come in many forms, and so can conflict – but instead, what’s more defining as a character trait to the Hoplite is the mental frame of mind. After all, being prepared for anything, adapt and overcome, win against all odds, rise to and above the occasion, lead from the front… These are all a part of the warrior/warfighter mentality… and regardless of the arena, the hoplite “prepares” for it because of this frame of mind.

    Would anyone else care to improve upon these thoughts?
    Anyone else have a different idea?
    Agree? Disagree?