The lecturer stands at the front of the room, stroking his curly, gray beard with one hand and leaning on a cane of knotted wood with the other. “Today’s topic of discussion,” he begins in his deep and imposing, though perhaps slightly nasal voice, “What infantry formation is best able to receive a direct charge of heavy cavalry?”
I ponder this for a moment, keeping quiet even as others give their ideas.
“A whole lot of soldiers, all standing in those . . . Lines? You know?”
“No.” He paces back and forth across the front of the room.
“Horsemen to charge back at them?”
“A . . . Triangle?”
He does not even bother to respond to that one.
“A phalanx of spearmen,” I answer.
“No – wait a moment. What was your solution again?” He pauses in his steps to stare at me.
“A phalanx of spearmen. The horde of charging enemies would be greatly thinned by the spears impaling them.”
He continues to glare, then lifts his cane into the air and points it at me. “Correct.”