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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 ?
They also mention that the internal system of the phalange party, which was founded in 1936 by Pierre Gemayel after a visit he made to Nazi Germany, allows the leader of the group to manage it with an iron fist.
Phalange members claim they already have "activists" in the SNP.
In a letter to the constituent, Scottish Phalange lay out their manifesto of hate.
Chacune des membres de cette phalange est payee 200 dollars par jour par Daesh.
The two met at the Phalange Party headquarters in Saifi, Beirut.
Some Lebanese pro-government groups, including the Phalange and LF, consider Hizbullah's weapons to be illegal since they are not under the control of the Lebanese government.
Four days later, Bashir Gemayel, the head of the Christian Phalange Militia, who, under Israeli sponsorhip, was about to be installed as the new president of Lebanon, was blown up by a bomb at his headquarters.
La phalange terroriste a egalement menace d'ouvrir le feu sur les gens a la Palace de la Kassabah.
NNA - The Phalange Party held on Monday its weekly meeting headed by MP Sami Gemayel and issued a statement lauding the arrest of Ahmad al Assir, noting that said arrest confirms the ability of the security forces to protect and preserve security "when they choose to.
A group of people supporting the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) led by Christian leader Michel Aoun, attacked over the weekend Phalange MP Samer Saadeh in Faraya, Mount Lebanon, due to a disagreement over the placement of an electricity pole on land owned by Saadeh, according to the Beirut daily AN NAHAR on Sunday and Monday.
The oldest surviving parties are the LCP, the NSSP and the Phalange Party, which were founded in 1924, 1932 and 1936" respectively, while Lebanon was under French mandate.
Dans une declaration, ce mercredi 2 decembre 2015, a Africanmanager, l'expert en affaires tuniso-libyennes, Mustapha Abdelkebir a affirme que la phalange terroriste Daech a occupe depuis deux mois la ville de Syrte en Libye, soit a 600 km des frontieres tuniso-libyennes.