Hippika gymnasia was a Roman sport competition for the formation of a riders, which consisted of a simulated fight of two groups of soldiers, playing the roles of Greeks and Amazons, who fought with javelins with a wooden arrowhead.
The competition was also a form of training for the maneuverability of the units. The term itself is in Greek and literally means “cavalary exercises”. Exercises took place in the parish square, located outside the camp. During the simulated fight, maneuvers, use of javelins and spears were trained. Both the riders and their mounts were heavily armored.
Soldiers had specially decorated helmets with masks that depicted characters from mythology. Hippika gymnasia were intended to both maintain the efficiency of combat driving, build morale like and psychologically influence the conquered regions and their inhabitants. In order to play the battle scene of the Greeks with Amazons, special helmets with masks were created that showed male and female faces.
Armia rzymska od święta, czyli ceremoniał wojskowy [w:] Mówią Wieki nr 8/2010 (607), wyd. Bellona SA, Warszawa, 2010
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