I have not been completely away from hoplites. I am featured on a YouTube channel:
The online phitidion
The hoplites in the front stemmed their left shoulder against their shield and thrust it against the shields and bodies of the enemy with all their might; and the ranks behind them in turn stemmed their shields against the backs and right side of the man in front in a ¾ stance, as it were.
In this way, a tremendous pressure could be generated and conveyed through the entire phalanx from the rearmost rank, its force increasing on the way.
The mass pressure was not achieved by the weight of the warriors, but by their muscles…the mass of the hoplites played a relatively minor role. It came into play chiefly when brief, thrusting impulses were transmitted from one warrior to another.
When people behind sense that the pushing does not bring about any immediate advantage, they stop pushing. The result is a kind of reverse thrust.This statement shows a fundamental difference in a “crowd” of pedestrians and a “crowd” of hoplites in othismos. The hoplites want to generate lethal levels of forces, while crowds do so only accidentally. If we start from the definition of othismos presented at the beginning of this post, then the goal of opposing ranks is to produce the maximum pushing force that they can. What he describes is true for pedestrian crowds, and this behavior is also why we don’t see othismos in every other battle-line in history. Once the front of the file gets squeezed to their limit, they push back on their own men, causing the file to open. In hoplites this did not happen until the pressure became enormous because of their ability to withstand being squeezed without suffocating.