Hellenistic Warfare > Persian Immortals

Persian Immortals

Alexander the Great - Dove Decoration


The Persian Immortals were an elite military unit within the ancient Achaemenid Persian Empire. The Persian Immortals were a specially selected corps of infantry within the Achaemenid army, renowned for their elite status and formidable combat capabilities. The term "Immortals" derives from the Greek historian Herodotus, who described them as an elite force of 10,000 soldiers. Contrary to Herodotus' account, the Immortals likely did not consist of exactly 10,000 troops at all times but rather maintained their elite status through a system of replacements, ensuring their numbers remained constant.

Role and Function:

The Persian Immortals served as the king's personal bodyguard and elite shock troops, entrusted with protecting the royal personage and maintaining order within the empire. In addition to their role as guardians of the king, the Immortals also played a crucial role in combat, often deployed as a decisive striking force on the battlefield. They were trained in various forms of warfare, including hand-to-hand combat, archery, and spear fighting, making them versatile and adaptable in different combat scenarios.

Equipment and Arms:

The Immortals were typically equipped with light armor, including scale armor or quilted cloth tunics, which provided them with protection without compromising mobility. They wielded a variety of weapons, including short swords, spears, and bows, allowing them to engage enemies at different ranges and in different terrain conditions. The Immortals were known for their distinctive uniform, which included colorful robes and elaborate headdresses, symbolizing their elite status within the Achaemenid army.

Recruitment and Training:

Membership in the Immortals was highly coveted and reserved for individuals of exceptional skill, bravery, and loyalty to the Persian king.Candidates for the Immortals underwent rigorous selection and training, including physical conditioning, weapons proficiency, and tactical maneuvers.The Immortals were drawn from the ranks of the Persian nobility and aristocracy, ensuring that they were well-connected and devoted to the royal cause.

Campaigns and Battles:

The Persian Immortals participated in numerous military campaigns and battles throughout the Achaemenid Empire's history, serving as a key component of the Persian army. They fought in major conflicts such as the Greco-Persian Wars, including battles such as Marathon, Thermopylae, and Plataea, where they clashed with Greek city-states and their allies. Despite their elite status and formidable reputation, the Immortals suffered defeats at the hands of the Greek hoplites and Macedonian phalanxes, highlighting the limitations of their military effectiveness in certain contexts.


The Persian Immortals left a lasting legacy in ancient military history, symbolizing the power and prestige of the Achaemenid Empire.Although they were ultimately defeated by the Greek city-states and their allies, the Immortals' exploits and achievements on the battlefield continue to be studied and celebrated, reflecting their enduring impact on ancient warfare.


Warfare Links

Sabalico Logo
Sabalytics Logo
World Map Logo
rStatistics Logo
Time Zone Logo
Galaxy View Logo
Periodic Table Logo
My Location Logo
Weather Track Logo
Sprite Sheet Logo
Barcode Generator Logo
Test Speed Logo
Website Tools Logo
Image Tools Logo
Color Tools Logo
Text Tools Logo
Finance Tools Logo
File Tools Logo
Data Tools Logo
History of Humanity - History Archive Logo
History of Humanity - History Mysteries Logo
History of Humanity - Ancient Mesopotamia Logo
History of Humanity - Egypt History Logo
History of Humanity - Persian Empire Logo
History of Humanity - Greek History Logo
History of Humanity - Alexander the Great Logo
History of Humanity - Roman History Logo
History of Humanity - Punic Wars Logo
History of Humanity - Golden Age of Piracy Logo
History of Humanity - Revolutionary War Logo