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How to Draw Greek Hoplites

Updated April 17, 2017

Hoplites in ancient Greece were called the infantrymen of the city-states' armies. The Greek word hoplite (οπλιτης) literally means "bearing arms." You need to draw a soldier with his full battle gear on, consisting of his shield, helmet, body armour, greaves and spear or sword. You can find images of hoplites on various history web sites and a number of blockbuster movies, including "Troy" and "300." But the most accurate depictions are those on ancient Greek pottery, and those images are available online.

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  1. Design the torso of the hoplite, starting from the body armour. Draw two wide straps over the shoulders to hold the armour. Give the soldier short cloth sleeves.

  2. Draw the helmet, leaving a Y-like space in front for the eyes and the mouth. The helmet covers the nose. Add the iconic quarter-circle arc that stands on top of the helmet like a Mohawk, starting from the forehead and reaching the back of the head. Ensure the hoplite is not looking toward you, so that the arc is easily distinguishable.

  3. Design the hoplite's arms coming out of the short sleeves. In on hand, add either a short, straight sword with simplistic hilt, or a long wooden spear with an pointed iron end. In the other hand, draw a circular shield and add patterns such as the Greek word "Λ" or animals, such as owls, bulls, or scorpions.

  4. Design a short skirt coming out of the body armour. Essentially, it is the same piece of cloth with the sleeves, and reaches the knees of the soldier. Draw greaves, or leg armour, covering the lower leg and add sandals, which are soles tied on feet with strings.

  5. Use the same colour when painting the skirt and sleeves and choose gold or silver for the helmet, the body armour and the greaves. When colouring the weapons, use silver for the sword's blade and the spear's iron end and brown for the grip. Use red for the helmet's arc and brown or gold as the base colour of the shield.

  6. Tip

    Use a pencil when designing the hoplite, so that you can correct mistakes or hide parts covered by the shield with an eraser.


    Details of the uniform and equipment of ancient Greek city-state's armies varied and this article contains instructions only for the most vital parts of the hoplite's image.

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Things You'll Need

  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Eraser

About the Author

Tasos Vossos has been a professional journalist since 2008. He has previously worked as a staff writer for "Eleftheros Tipos," a leading newspaper of Greece, and is currently a London-based sports reporter for Perform Sports Media in the United Kingdom. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication and media from the University of Athens.

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