Greek Soldiers On Campagin

The stathmos or halting place needed to be accessible, level, healthy, with water, fuel and fodder nearby. Mounted scouts or pickets, prophulakes, had to be stationed to warm of the approach of an enemy. Persian troops may have entrenched and palisaded their camp, but the Greeks generally did not. The Spartans preferred a circular encampment, as the Persians may have. But generally camps were an irregular shape to take account of any defensible terrain. Each lochos would be given part of the perimeter to defend. Arms would be stacked for ready access around the perimeter of each lochos. Xenophon describes walking beyond the stalked arms but inside the line of pickets. Shields could be rested on their stands, and spears bound together. The general's tent and his animals would be in the centre of the camp so all could locate it. An open space would be left around it for animals to graze and for drilling. The cavalry would occupy this space with contingents of light troops. With varying sizes of tent and the use of quickly constructed hovels Greek armies may have taken up twice the area used by Roman armies of a similar size. Routes would have being left open between units, and areas left open for grazing, latrines and rubbish dumps.

Clothing would have been washed in watercourses using soapwort, wood ash or urine as a detergent. Shaving and the cutting hair all must have been organised informally within the mess group, probably done by a talented amateur or former professional.

He would need to use the win blades of iron or bronze like chop sticks in one hand, and could even set up an informal shop based around a few seats where people could meet and talk. Those who imitated the Spartans may have preferred long hair, but others may have shaved their hair "down to the lice" as Euboulus wrote. Shaving was a trial lasting around 45 minutes with blades, hot water and towels. On campaign beards were an easy option. The idea of hand washing and purifying before meals was well established, and informal small scale food preparation would have helped resist mass contamination from centralised food stocks. Lice would have become common on campaign, but at least oils helped make the body smell better and could act as insulation. Tough meat, stone ground cereals and the use of teeth for biting or gripping objects would result in tooth abrasion. Somewhere in camp a talented individual with forceps could set up to pull teeth, relatively unskilled work.

Ten men could set up a cosy camp around a fire, with cook pot, slave and donkey, in a 10 meter by 10 meter area. The animal could be teethed or hobbled, tents erected or beds set out. Reed sleeping mats, plaited stibades, were also useful for sitting down and for dining. The soldiers could sleep wrapped in their heavy Thracian cloak, a zeira, but a chlamys was more common. The fire acted as the hearth of home and the smoke would deter insects. It gave heat, light and a focus to proceedings. Each group would want to mark its territory perhaps by throwing rubbish outwards in to a sort of buffer zone between the campfires. Soldiers too lazy to walk far at night would urinate between the suskenia. Each soldier produced roughly 0.6-1.1 litres of urine daily. Around 0.2 kg of solid waste could be produced, and soldiers would simple defecate beyond the line of sentries. In a few days the area would be contaminated, flies would appear and the stench would grow. Officers would want units to camp close together in high density well ordered encampments, but soldiers would have liked to spread out and have little in the way of camp discipline. The more time on campaign the more professional the army would become and discipline would be tighter in the face of the enemy.

Troops may have shared war dances and songs and have taken time to exercise. Spartans exercised in the morning and evening. Drinking and gambling may have been easier pursuits. Cavalry would have duties even when the army was encamped. They could be used as scouts, messengers, escorts and guards. They would need to guard the foragers and the escort food gathering patrols. Xenophon noted how outposts could be used to ambush and trap the enemy. The cavalry would also have to limit the enemy's access to water and forage in a constant little war of outposts.