For expeditions of magnitude this armament was considered insufficient, and a general levy from all the provinces of the empire took place. The mass of these various contingents formed a truly oriental army, composed of the most heterogeneous parts, varying among themselves in armament and mode of lighting, and accompanied by immense trains of baggage and innumerable camp followers. It is to the presence of these latter that we must ascribe the enormous numbers of the Persian armies as estimated by the Greeks. The soldiers, according to their respective nationality, were armed with bows, javelins, spears, swords, clubs, daggers, slings, etc. The contingent of every province had its separate commander; they appear from Herodotus to have been divided by tens, hundreds, thousands, etc, with officers to command each decimal subdivision. The command of large corps or of the wings of the army was generally given to members of the royal family. Among the infantry the Persian and the other Aryan nations (Medes and Bactrians) formed the elite. They were armed with bows, spears of moderate size, and a short sword; the head was protected by a sort of turban, the body by a coat covered with iron scales; the shield was mostly of wickerwork.
Yet this elite, as well as the rest of the Persian infantry, was generally beaten whenever it was opposed to even small bodies of Greeks, and its unwieldy and disorderly crowds appear quite incapable of any but passive resistance against the incipient phalanx of Sparta and Athens; witness Marathon, Thermopylae, Plataea, and Mycale. The war chariots, which in the Persian army appear for the last time in history, might be useful on level ground against such a motley crowd as the Persian infantry themselves were; but against a solid mass of pike-men, such as the Greeks formed, or against light troops taking advantage of inequalities of ground, they were worse than useless. The least obstacle stopped them. In battle the horses got frightened, and, no longer under command, ran down their own infantry. As to the cavalry, the earlier periods of the empire give us little proof of its excellence. There were 10,000 horse on the plain of Marathon - a good cavalry country - yet they could not break the Athenian ranks. In later times it distinguished itself at the Granicus, where, formed in one line, it fell on the heads of the Macedonian columns as they emerged from the fords of the river, and broke them before they could deploy.
It thus successfully opposed Alexander's advanced guard, under Ptolemy, for a long while, until the main body arrived and the light troops manoeuvred on its Hanks, when, having no second line or reserve, it had to retire. But at this period the Persian army had been strengthened by the infusion of a Greek element, imparted by the Greek mercenaries, who, soon after Xerxes, were taken into pay by the king; and the cavalry tactics displayed by Memnon on the Granicus are so thoroughly un-Asiatic that we may, in the absence of positive information, at once ascribe them to Greek influence. - The armies of Greece are the first of the detailed organization of which we have ample and certain information. With them the history of tactics, especially infantry tactics, may be said to begin. In Athens every free-born man was liable to military service. The holders of certain public offices alone, and in the earlier times the fourth or poorest class of freemen, were exempt. Every youth on attaining his 18th year was obliged to do duty for two years, especially in watching the frontiers. During this time his military education was completed; afterward he remained liable to service up to his 60th year.
In case of war the assembled citizens fixed the number of men to be called out; in extreme cases only were the levees en masse (panstratia) resorted to. The strategic ten of whom were annually elected by the people, had to levy these troops and to organize them, so that the men of each tribe, or phyle, formed a body under a separate phy-larch. These officers, as well as the taxiarchs, or captains of companies, were equally elected by the people. The whole of this levy formed the heavy infantry (hoplitœ) destined for the phalanx or deep line formation of spearmen, which originally formed the whole of the armed force, and subsequently, after the addition of light troops and cavalry, remained its mainstay - the corps which decided the battle. The phalanx was commanded by a general with the title of strategus, and was formed in various depths; we find phalanxes 8, 12, and 25 men deep, mentioned in Grecian history. The armament of the hoplitae consisted of a breastplate or corslet, helmet, oval target, spear, and short sword. The forte of the Athenian phalanx was attack; its charge was renowned for its furious impetus, especially after Mil-tiades at Marathon had introduced the quickening of the pace during the charge, so that they came down on the enemy with a run.
On the defensive, the more solid and closer phalanx of Sparta was its superior. While at Marathon the whole force of the Athenians consisted of a heavy-armed phalanx of 10,000 hoplitae, at Plataea they had, besides 8,000 hop-lit.'e, an equal number of light infantry. The tremendous pressure of the Persian invasions necessitated an extension of the liability to service; the poorest class, that of the thetes, was enrolled. They were formed into light troops (gymnetœ, psili); they had no defensive armor, or a target only, and were supplied with a spear and javelins. With the extension of the Athenian power, their light troops were re-enforced by the contingents of their allies, and even by mercenary troops. Acarnanians, Aeto-lians, and Cretans, celebrated as archers and slingers, were added. A class of troops intermediate between them and the hoplitae was formed, the peltastœ, armed like the light infantry, but capable of maintaining a position. They were of little importance until after the Peloponnesian war, when Iphicrates reorganized them. The light troops of the Athenians enjoyed a high reputation for intelligence and quickness both in resolution and in execution. On several occasions, probably in difficult ground, they even successfully opposed the Spartan phalanx.