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Greek and Persian Forces
Greek Infantry
Greek infantry was usually comprised of heavily armored infantrymen known as hoplites and lightly armored troops known as peltastai.

Greek hoplites were the main fighting force of the Greek army. They entered battle well protected with expensive heavy armor. For this reason hoplites were usually drawn from the wealthier aspects of Greek society. The totality of a hoplites armor was known as a panoply. This consisted of four main components: shield, helmet, greaves, and a cuirass. The typical hoplite shield, or hoplon as the Greeks called it, was about 3' in diameter. It was constructed of wood and reinforced with bronze. The inner concave held two brackets. The first was used to slip the forearm through and the second was used as a grip. The outer concave usually bore some sort of symbol. The typical hoplon weighed about 18 lbs. The helmets were made of bronze. The most common type of helmet was the Corinthian helmet, which could be pulled forward to offer a vizor over the face. Other types of helmets were also in use and some included adjustable cheekpieces and visors. Helmets were frequently adorned with crescent horsehair plumes. Bronze greaves were used to protect the legs and were fitted over the shins. The body was sometimes protected with a cuirass. The most common type of cuirass was known as a linothorax. It was constructed from several layers of cloth or linen glued together and usually reinforced with metal plates. The most expensive type of cuirass was muscled and made of bronze. A leather apron sometimes hung from the shield to better protect the legs from missile fire.

Hoplites relied on two offensive weapons: a lance and a sword. The typical hoplite lance was a thrusting spear about 8' long tipped with iron. They also carried a short sword used for cutting and thrusting. The sword was utilized when the spear broke.

In contrast to the heavily armored hoplite, a peltastai was lightly armored. They employed a light shield known as a pelte. Peltastai were used for hit-and-run tactics, such as scouting and raids. They often carried missile weapons, such as a bundle of javelins, slings, and bows.

Greek Fleet
Greek Tactics
Greek Cavalry
The Greeks employed very little cavalry at the time of the Persian Wars. The main reason behind this was that only the wealthy could afford horses. The mountainous terrain of Greece also made cavalry impractical. Cavalry wore no armor and carried no shields. Occasionally a heavily armored soldier would ride into battle and dismount to fight. The only semblance to a saddle utilized by the Greeks was perhaps a cloth. Additionally they did not have stirrups or horseshoes.
Persian Infantry
The Persian army was a very assorted affair. The Persians demanded troops from all of their conquered lands. The army was comprised of Persians, Indians, Elamites, Medes, Bactrians, Egyptians, Ethiopians, Scythians, Arabians, and Phrygians. The core of the army was made up of Persians and Medes, but the vast majority of the army were light skirmishers from central Asia and the eastern Mediterranean.

The typical Persian infantryman was not as well equipped as his hoplite opponent. The head was usually protected only with a cloth hat and a soft cloth that could be worn over the face to guard against dust. Armor to protect the torso was composed of iron scales and was worn under a brightly decorated tunic. Shields were made of wicker with the occasional hide covering. Shields were typically stuck into the ground to afford protection while the soldier fired his bow. The Persians were afforded no leg protection.

The Persian soldier carried a variety of weaponry. Composite bows fired bronze tipped reed arrows, but these proved largely ineffective against the heavily armored hoplite. In contrast to the Greek archer, the Persians always carried their quivers slung on their hip to allow a more rapid rate of fire. In hand combat spears with iron tips and silver counterweights were employed. The typical Persian spear was much shorter than the Greek spear, allowing the hoplites a longer reach. A dagger was always carried on the right side.

Persian Cavalry
Cavalry were utilized much more by the Persians. They were drawn from the Persian aristocracy and from allies who typically fought from horseback. The typical horseman utilized armor and weapons similar to infantry, but often were afforded better head protection.
Persian Fleet
Persian Tactics

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