Bd. 58, H. 4 (2009), pp. 395-415
Published by: Franz Steiner Verlag
Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25598486
There are serious flaws with his analysis and even more with his presentation. He contacted me early on in his studies, and in the interest of full disclosure I must tell that myself and few others attempted to steer him away from the mistaken path he was on.
I have been largely away from Ancient Greek topics for over a year now due to other demands on my time, but now that I have come back I am finding far too many online discussions where his portrayal of hoplite combat has taken root. I am loathe to enter into what must be a deconstruction of his thesis because he is a dedicated reenactor of ancient hoplites. For years I have been suggesting that he is exactly the type of researcher that those writing histories of Greek combat must heed. Reenactment can be, when done well, experimental archaeology. When it is it must conform to the ethics of a scientific experiment and honestly assess alternate views. In this Mathew's work fails. I assume these are honest mistakes, scientists make them all the time, but the bias he brings to his analysis is all too glaring in his presentation.
When his book came out, the general consensus I received from the many hoplite reenactors I correspond with was that the analysis in Storm of Spears was flawed based on their experience and his notions failed to convince the hoplites at the Marathon gathering. I had hoped that by now members of these other groups would have shot down the mistaken ideas, but I see now that perhaps they do not have the reach to disseminate their ideas as efficiently as Mathew does. I am not sure that I do either, but I will give it a try.
Before I step into the debate, here is an assessment of Mathew's use of percentages of vase depictions as evidence for the exclusive use of an Underhand grip for the hoplite spear. The author is my friend Fred Ray, who has written some really interesting books on hoplite battle. If you are reading this blog, then you should give them a look:
I will note that I have no financial tie to these books, but I did give some advice on certain topics.
Here is Fred's review that her was kind enough to share with us on Hollow Lakedaimon: