Greece, late Archaic Period, ca. 500 BCE. A long bronze spear butt from a spear called a dory (also known as doru), the chief armament of Greek hoplites. It has a socket on one end for connection to the spear and a spike on the other. The socket is banded by decorative rings; the spike is square at its base and tapers to a point in a long, thin pyramid shape. Size: 0.85" W x 14.25" H (2.2 cm x 36.2 cm); height on stand: 14.5"(36.8 cm).
The spear was the main weapon used by warriors in the Iliad, and in the Archaic period, the new close-order infantry formation known as the phalanx carried on the tradition. The hoplite, the individual soldier in a phalanx, carried a large, round, bronze-faced shield known as a hoplon in one hand and, in the other, a eight-foot-long wooden spear with a leaf-shaped iron head and a bronze butt spike. The butt spike was known as a sauroter, a "lizard killer", and, if the spear was broken, could be used as a weapon on the remaining end. It could also be used to stand the spear in soft ground or as a digging tool. Some scholars also believe that they were used to pierce armor.
See an almost identical item at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (38.11.7).
Provenance: Ex-Private Orange County, CA collection
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