At age 18, Athenians reported for military service. For two years a young man would be a military cadet learning the life of a soldier before returning home. Until sixty years of age, Athenian males were subject to recall into military service.
Wearing a crested helmet, the Athenian hoplite wielded a 5-to-8-foot spear and a double-edged sword. The hoplite shield was round and occasionally a woolen cloth was attached to the shield to ward off arrows to the legs. For several centuries these hoplites were the premier army of the Ancient World.