Syrakosioi Hoplitai fought in a less dense formation than normal for Hoplitai, but with longer spears, which they wielded with underhand thrusts.
These men hail from one of the greatest poleis built by Hellenes, that of Syrakousai. The Syrakosioi Hoplitai are equipped with Italo-Attic helmets, lamellate cuirasses, armoured pteryges, aspis shield and greaves, while they carry a longer spear than most hoplitai use and a short sword for close melee. Centuries of warfare against armies different from that found in Hellas proper have changed the Syrakosioi Hoplitai's equipment and tactics somewhat compared to their ‘mainland cousins’. They are still meant to pin enemy troops down for others to hack to pieces, but unlike other Hellenic spearmen they can fare relatively well in close melee, using their shortswords to stab quicky beneath their aspis shields.
Historically, Syrakousai was among the greatest cities in the Hellenic world and who had for centuries waged wars against many enemies, mainly Carthage. Syrakousai had arguably the greatest army numerically among the Hellenic city-states and its Hoplitai formed the nucleus. The Syrakosioi Hoplitai were armed and fought as regular Hoplitai, although they adjusted themselves to the more free flowing and more organized forms of western infantry warfare (as in west of Greece). While in Greece proper it was largely hoplite against hoplite or against poor non-Hellenic infantry (the Thracians being the notable exception), in the western Mediterranean Syrakousai had to face Carthaginians in the west and Ligurian, Bruttian and Lucanian pirates and mercenaries from the north and also Illyrians, Gauls and other peoples who raided Sicily fairly regularly when they had a chance, which mostly meant whenever Syrakousai and Carthage were at war.
Syrakosioi Hoplitai fought in a less dense formation than normal for Hoplitai, but with longer spears, which they wielded with underhand thrusts. This meant that they could pin down enemy infantry with a sort of “hedgehog shieldwall” for the heavy Epilektoi soldiers to break through the middle, and cavalry to hit the flanks. In addition they also dropped the xiphos sword in favour of a shortsword made for stabbing, which they used to stab beneath their aspis shields, a technique Syrakousai adopted alongside the hoplitai of Taras and Kroton. These changes were made to more effectively counter their enemies who were more adept at close combat melee than the soldiers fielded in Greece.