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Herodotus, Body Armour and Achaemenid Infantry

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Herodotus' assertion in Book 9 of his Histories that Persian infantry were unarmoured at the battle of Plataea (479 B.C.) should not be interpreted as meaning that Achaemenid infantry were never equipped with defensive armour. In fact, a close inspection of the Histories, together with other sources, and Xenophon and Strabo in particular, shows that some Achaemenid infantry did indeed wear body armour. Herodotus' statements in Book 9 therefore emerge as either broad generalizations, or else present a reflection of the equipment worn by an ill-supplied Persian infantry force fighting far from home towards the end of a long campaign.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-07-01

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  • Historia, first published in 1952 by Karl Friedrich Stroheker and Gerold Walser is an international, peer-reviewed journal on Greek and Roman antiquity. Articles are in English, German, French and Italian. It features original articles on Greek history, the Roman Republic and Empire as well as late antiquity. It covers all aspects of political, economic, religious and social life and deals with legal, archaeological, numismatic and epigraphical questions.
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