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ancient Greek formation of infantry. The soldiers were arrayed in rows (8 or 16), with arms at the ready, making a solid block that could sweep bristling through the more dispersed ranks of the enemy. Originally employed by the Spartans, it was developed by Epaminondas of Thebes (d. 362 B.C.). Use of the phalanx reached its apex when Philip II and Alexander the Great used the great Macedonian phalanx (16 deep and armed with the sarissa, a spear c.13 ft/4 m long) to conquer all Greece and the Middle East. Later, the Macedonian phalanx deteriorated and had few Macedonians in it; it was defeated in several battles with the Romans who conquered (168 B.C.) the Macedonians at Pydna. Thereafter the phalanx was obsolete. Because it lacked tactical flexilibity, the phalanx was a better defensive than offensive formation.



in anatomy, one of the small tubular bones of the fingers and toes in vertebrates. The structure of the digits in an animal is closely related to the animal’s way of life.

A convenient way of expressing the number of phalanges in the digits is provided by what is called the phalangeal formula, which gives the number of phalanges in each digit, beginning with the first. For the tailed amphibians and for the ancient terrestrial vertebrates known as the Stegocephalia, the number of phalanges in the first through fourth digits of the forelimbs is expressed by the formula; for the forelimbs of most tailless amphibians, the formula is The hind limbs of the Stegocephalia and tailless amphibians are characterized by the formula, and the hind limbs of the tailed amphibians by the formula 2(1).

Reptiles have a greater number of phalanges, ordinarily, in both the anterior and posterior extremities; among turtles the number may drop to 1 or 2 per digit. The extinct ichthyosaurs had as many as several dozen phalanges; this hyperphalangia increased the flexibility of the extremity that had been transformed into a fin. In birds the forelimb was transformed into a wing and retained only three digits—the second through fourth. The third digit has two or three phalanges; the second and fourth usually have one rudimentary phalanx each.

Among mammals five digits are most frequently found on both anterior and posterior extremities, and the phalangeal formula is The flippers of aquatic mammals (Cetacea) exhibit hyperphalangia. Among flying mammals (Chiroptera) the second through fifth digits are elongated and webbed for flying. The phalanges of the digits of climbing mammals are broadened and are convex on the back side of the extremity and concave on the palm side.

In man each finger and toe, except the thumb and big toe, consists of three phalanges: the proximal, middle, and terminal, or ungual. The thumb and big toe have two phalanges. The proximal phalanges are connected with the heads of the metacarpal bones (in the hand) and the metatarsal bones (in the foot) by means of ball-and-socket joints. The phalanges are connected to each other by hinge joints, which allow the digits to bend and unbend.




a close line formation of the Greek infantry (hoplites) in battle. A phalanx was deployed along the front in eight to 16 ranks, sometimes as many as 25. When a rank comprised 1,000 men, the phalanx could extend for 500 m. It was used as early as the Trojan War but assumed its final form in the sixth century B.C. The formation was refined by Philip II of Mace-don, who added peltasts (seePELTASTS) and cavalry. The large Macedonian phalanx contained 16,384 hoplites, 8,192 peltasts, and 4,096 cavalry.

The main subdivisions of the phalanx were the lochus, consisting of one rank of 16 hoplites, the syntagma, comprising 16 lochi, and the small phalanx, comprising 16 syntagmas. A given maneuver could be executed using combinations of the various subdivisions. The battle formation could also assume various forms, including a square, an echelon unit, or pincers. The phalanx was best suited to frontal attack by hoplites armed with the sarissa, a long pike. The tactical phalanx operated as a single unit and struck with considerable force in a frontal assault. It was relatively immobile, however, and in motion its ranks quickly became disorganized. The formation was used in ancient Rome until the introduction of the maniple in the late fourth century B.C., as well as in later Rome in wars against the barbarians.


One of the bones of the fingers or toes.


1. (in Fourierism) a group of approximately 1800 persons forming a commune in which all property is collectively owned
2. Anatomy any of the bones of the fingers or toes
3. Botany
a. a bundle of stamens, joined together by their stalks (filaments)
b. a form of vegetative spread in which the advance is on a broad front, as in the common reed.
References in periodicals archive ?
The typical insertion of this muscle is on the plantar surface of the proximal phalanx of digit II and flexes the entire digit at its articulation (George and Berger 1966, Raikow 1985).
extensor brevis digiti IV acts more as an adductor than as an extensor by inserting on the medial surface of the proximal phalanx.
This tissue sleeve is preserved and reattached to the radial aspect of the retained proximal phalanx.
For partial duplications, the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) along with the insertion of the abductor digiti minimi (ADM) should be elevated off the base of the proximal phalanx of the rudimentary digit and reattached to remaining digit.
5) A Stener lesion is an adductor aponeurosis interpositioned between the distally avulsed ulnar collateral ligament and the ligament's insertion into the base of the proximal phalanx of the thumb.
Opposing surfaces of the metacarpal and proximal phalanx are covered with articular cartilage, with the joint itself situated within a cavity containing synovial fluid.
The proper collateral ligament extends from a point slightly dorsal to the mid-axis of the metacarpal head to the palmar aspect of the proximal phalanx (Fig.
I elected to trim the double proximal phalanx of the index finger and to totally remove the extremely disturbed skeleton of the long finger.
The abductor (AbH) and adductor (AdH) hallucis tendons are located plantar medial and plantar lateral, respectively; they insert into base of the proximal phalanx and the sesamoids.
The HV angle is the intersection of the longitudinal axes of the proximal phalanx and the first MT.
This transfer presupposes that a small stub of the metacarpal base is present, onto which the base of the proximal phalanx can be fixed.
When passing graft around the proximal phalanx, the graft is placed deep to the extensor tendon, and when passing graft at the middle phalanx, it is passed superficial to the extensor tendon.

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