This essay takes the Iron Age boat-find at Hjortspring, near the present border between Denmark and Germany, as its starting point. The archaeological interpretation draws on parallels from all over Europe, including the classical world, for a re-examination of established ideas about the military organization of Iron Age society in Northern Europe and their implications not only for tactics and weaponry, but for social structure and religious practice. Against the prevailing tendency to emphasize the difference between Mediterranean and Northern cultures, the author argues that Northern barbarians had a military organization similar to the Hoplite phalanx of Classical Greece: elite warriors fighting in close formation. Klaus Randsborg is the author of "The First Millennium AD in Europe and the Mediterranean" and "Archaeology and the Man-made Material Reality".
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