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What is the meaning of Phalanx? Concept and Definition of Phalanx


Definition of Falange

Falange: Definición, Concepto, Significado, Qué es Falange

1. Concept of phalanx

The phalanges of the hand (Phalanges digitorum manus) are long bones - because predominates the length on the thickness and the width-three for each finger (except the thumb which has two), referred to as, beginning from the metacarpal or metatarsal: 1st, 2nd and 3rd or proximal, middle and distal (in the old nomenklatura phalanx, falangina and falangeta). Each consists of two faces: anterior and posterior; and two ends: proximal and distal (top and bottom), joint both the 1st and 2nd, and only the upper 3rd.
Proximal phalanges articulate with the respective metacarpal bones (in the case of the hand) in its proximal epiphysis, while in its distal epiphysis they articulate with the Middle phalanges, except in thumb where there is this last bone. The distal phalanges, only articulated in its proximal epiphysis with the respective Middle phalanx or the respective proximal phalanx, in the case of the thumb.

2. Meaning of phalanx

The Phalanx was a tactical Organization for war created in the ancient Greece and then imitated by various Mediterranean civilizations. By extension, antique authors tend to call any army fighting phalanx forming a single row of fighters very close together, in the style of the classic phalanx, forming as well with a depth of between 8 and 16 warriors. The term is of Greek origin, φάλαγξ (phalanx), which was used for the defensive formation used by the Hoplites, which constituted the classical phalanx.

The term phalanx in the archaic period

The term phalanx is old in the literature of the ancient Greece. Abounds in Homer and although less frequently is found throughout this time.
It seems that the term comes from the Indo-European root * bhel, meaning "swell, grow, with a nasal suffix - ng. In the tradition etymological old referred mostly to a segment or elongated and solid fragment of any material, sometimes in a cylindrical shape. In the military sphere is related to its rectangular shape, to refer to "segments" of the army. However, not be concluded from the uses of the term and its very existence in archaic literature that the Homeric and archaic phalanges were elongated «segment». In the Iliad is the term phalanx 34 times and all but one, in the plural.
Other literary sources, in the span of two centuries the term only appears on four occasions: in Hesiod in Theogony 676 and 935; in Tyrtaeus fr.12.21, and Mimnermus 14.3. In these mentions the term is plural and «does not refer to a concrete unit, with a number of effective or specific tactical training, but is a broadly appoints troops».
In the epic and lyric phalanges are units that are evolving quickly and initiative around the battlefield, facing the unit cohesion, in closed formation and in rows, of the classical era.

The term phalanx in classical times

Any quotation from the fifth century there a. C to that term, nor in the singular or in the plural as military training. Only the name once in its etymological sense, and the other authors do not collect Herodotus in its military sense.
The first refers to the phalanx, up to 60 times, as heavy infantry formation is Xenophon, and makes it singular. In general, the Athenian writer referred to as phalanx to the body of Greek heavy infantry soldiers formed into lines, which normally occupies the center of the field of battle and the most representative role in combat.

3. What is phalanx

Greek origins of the word phalanx. It comes from the "phalangos", designating the logs or elongated pieces of other materials, making them roll, served to push things on the ground, or to throw away the ships. Later, always in the direction of segments, appointed the Macedonian army at full displacement, formed by Hoplites, heavy infantry, which formed in line, integrating a kind of human wall.
The structure of the Greek phalanx, was devised by the Macedonian Kings, Archelaus and Filipo II. They were grouped into sixteen ranks Lancers. These rows were reduced by half in times of Alexander the great, to give them more lightness. The Roman legions proved their vulnerability by defeating the Greeks in Pidnia in the year 168 BC.
From the Greek, the term passed into latin as "phalangis", also using the Romans, technique training in phalanges, in his fights, until to extend his dominions beyond the plain lands of the straight, they should implement another system that would allow them to fight in mountainous areas, something that is impossible with the Phalanx system.
They also receive the name of phalanges, cutting authoritarian political systems. The Spanish falange was a political party at the time of the second Republic Spanish, contrary to capitalism and communism, and fascist ideas.
In biology, "phalanx" is used to name, as already the Greek philosopher Aristotle in the 4th century before Christ, the long bones of the hands and feet. The fingers have three phalanges (first, second and third) less the thumb, which has two.


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