Spear, Dory

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Athenian hoplite holding aspis, corinthian helmet and xyphos. Exhibition "Democracy and the Battle pof Marathon" 23 Oct. 2010 - 1 Nov. 2010, Zappeio, Athens, Greece. Athenian hoplite holding aspis, corinthian helmet and xyphos. Exhibition "Democracy and the Battle pof Marathon" 23 Oct. 2010 - 1 Nov. 2010, Zappeio, Athens, Greece.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The dory is a type of spear that was the chief armament of hoplites (heavy infantry) in Ancient Greece. The size of the dory was about two to three meters in length. or six to nine feet, and had a handle with a diameter of two inches made of wood, either Cornel or Ash and weighed 2 to 4 pounds (1-2 kg). The spearhead was made of iron and was flat and leaf shaped. The spear head’s substantial weight was counterbalanced by a Bronze butt-spike.

Butt-spike

There is a lot of speculation as to the purpose of the dory's butt-spike. In addition to providing stability, the butt-spike could serve as a secondary weapon. If the shaft of the dory was broken or if the iron point was lost, the remaining portion could still function as a spear. Though the range of the spear would be reduced by a break, the dory's length would have prevented it from being rendered ineffective. If the shaft sustained a break in which a large portion of the shaft was lost, the weapon would be lighter making the hoplite using it more agile and allowing him to thrust and parry more dexterously.

In combat, not all of the enemy fatalities would be immediate. The butt-spike could have been useful in finishing wounded enemies as the formation advanced over them. Another use of the feature might have been that by lodging the butt-spike into the ground a hoplite may have been able to stand the Dory upright when he was not holding it.

Usage in the phalanx

The spear was the most ubiquitous armament of the ancient world. It was versatile and did not require the metallurgical expertise, or the extent of resources needed in sword construction. The spear’s advantage was that it enabled a soldier to keep an enemy at a distance while actively fighting. The sword by contrast, especially in the case of hoplites, was a short-range weapon and often an auxiliary armament.

In the Spartan phalanx, the dory was indispensable. Like the xiphos, it was a single-handed weapon, held in the right hand leaving the left free to support the phalangite's shield.

The spear used by the Persian army under Darius I and Xerxes in their respective campaigns during the Greco-Persian Wars was shorter than that of their Greek adversaries. This made the dory, among spears of the ancient world, unique in that the weapon's length enabled multiple ranks of a formation to engage simultaneously during combat.

The first rank of the phalanx, which would bear the brunt of an enemy assault and absorb the momentum of an enemy charge, held the dory with an underhanded grip. This secure hold prevented the first rank from losing control of their weapons, and limited the extent they were jarred by collisions with the enemy line. The first rank's thrusts were directed forward and were the most powerful of the phalanx. The underhanded grip would have given the first rank more control over their weapons and allowed them to place their grip nearer to the butt-spike, thereby maximizing the range of their thrusts. This grip also would have helped keep the butt-spikes of the first rank forward, keeping the second rank immediately behind them from being injured by them as the phalanx was compressed while pushing against its enemy.

The second rank held the dory with an overhanded grip and thrust downward in a stabbing motion. When held at the height necessary to reach over the first rank, the control would have been more precarious and the grip would have been more in the weapon's center. The hoplite would rely on the spearhead and counterbalance to stabilize the weapon. Because of this hold, the range, power, accuracy, and effectiveness of the second rank would have been less than the first.

The dory was not a javelin. Despite its aerodynamic shape, its weight and length would have made it cumbersome and impractical to throw. Because it was used most often in combat between Greek phalanxes (i.e. the Peloponnesian War), it was constructed such that it would be adequate against the defenses of Greek infantry, which incorporated bronze in hoplon and helmet construction, and which were generally more heavily armored than infantry of their non-Greek contemporaries, the Persians Medes.

Roleplaying

Doru (DnD Equipment)
From D&D Wiki
Created By Pirate-Sorcerer (talk)
Date Created: 8/06/2007

A doru is a heavy spear that is usually between 8 and 10 feet long, often favored by hoplites. A doru has reach. You can strike opponents 10 feet away with it, and you can use the butt-spike against an adjacent foe. You may wield a doru one-handed. If you use a ready action to set a doru against a charge, you deal double damage on a successful hit against a charging character.

One-Handed Melee Weapons (Martial)
Martial Weapons Cost Dmg (S) Dmg (M) Critical Range Increment Weight Type Special
Spear, Dory 10 gp 1d6 1d8 ×3 20 ft. 10 lbs Piercing brace

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