: any of the digital bones of the hand or foot distal to the metacarpus or metatarsus of a vertebrate that in humans are three to each finger and toe with the exception of the thumb and big toe which have only two each
Illustration of PHALANX
Tactical formation consisting of a block of heavily armed infantry standing shoulder to shoulder in files several ranks deep. First used by the Sumerians and fully developed by the ancient Greeks, it is viewed today as the beginning of European military development. The Greek city-states adopted a phalanx eight men deep during the 7th century BC. The spectacle of Greek hoplites marching forward in solid ranks was frightening to the enemy, but the phalanx was difficult to maneuver and easily thrown into confusion if its ranks were broken.