The Persian Immortals formed the elite core of the Persian army in times of war and the royal guard in times of peace in Achaemenid Persia. The Immortals always numbered 10,000 men and where called the Immortalsbecause when one was wounded, killed, or sick another man with the same training would take the downed or sick man’s place.
The Immortals where trained form childhood how to handle their weapons, how to march, how to dress, and more. The training was very rigorous and hard, not everyone could become one of the 10,000. The requirements to become a Immortal where: you must be of Persian bloodlines, you must be a good shot with a bow, you must ride well. Later in time, a strict adherence to the religion of the prophet Zarathustra and his teachings or truth as the Persians called it was a requirement.
The weapons of the Persian Immortals changed over time and varied with rank. Early on the Persian Immortalscarried a short cavalry lance, composite (also called short) bow, belt scimitar, and dagger. Later on the belt scimitar and short lance was replaced with a pike and long sword. The shield also changed over time. Early on the shield was oval-shaped, and made from a thin layer of leather, bronze, and wicket (wicket is dried grass that has been woven). Later on the shield was sort of crescent-shaped, the materials that the shield was made from did not change however. Officers in the ranks did not carry different weapons then the common solider, but they did carry more ornate ones. The officers’ lance and later pike had a golden counterbalance on it, while the file and rank solider had a silver one. Officers’ swords and shields often had intricate designs on them.
The dress of the Persian Immortals changed over time as well and varied with rank. Early on the PersianImmortals wore a long colorful white robe with iron and gold scales sewn on, baggy trousers, and bright purple and violet head-cloth that covered their head and neck. Later on the clothes really didn’t change from one type to another but changed colors. The robe became bright yellow with a purple collar and long purple line running down the front of the robe and purple running all the way around the end of the robe. The headgear became bright yellow, and the trousers became purple, a long and big purple cape was also part of the dress. For officers not much was different it was, however more ornate. The early robe was, for officers completely covered with iron and gold scales and there was a high golden tiara perched on top of their head. Later on only the tiara distinguished the officers from the common solider.
The Persian Immortals where involved many of Achaemenid Persia’s wars and battles. The most famous of all were the Greco-Persian wars and the battles that took place in that war, such as Marathon, Thermopylae, andPlataea. The battle of Marathon was a pivotal one because if the Greek army were defeated the road the Athenswould be wide open, amazing the Greeks won the battle without the help of Sparta, which was celebrating a festival. The battle of Thermopyle was hollow victory for Persia, seven hundred Spartan warriors sacrificed themselves so that the rest of the Greek army could assemble itself. Thermopyle was the most famous battle that the Persian Immortals were in. The main reason for their success at Thermopyle was because a Greek traitor led them around the back of the Spartan force. The battle of Plataea was a battle of revenge for Sparta, a way of avenging the deaths of the seven hundred killed at Thermopyle, the Spartan commander personally killed Hydarnes, the commander of the Persian Immortals at Thermopyle.