Persian Empire History Facts for Kids

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Persian Empire Weapons used in Wars

These were some of the common weapons used in ancient Persian empire.

The Persians had a cosmic warrior kingdom spread towards the east. The Persians fought with Greeks on several occasions. The Greeks and the Persians were profound enemies. While the armies of Persia were immense, a Spartan, according to legend, was worth five Persians in their own right. During the 5th century BC a famous war occurred between the Persians and the Greeks, the Greeko Persian wars.

The Safavid dynasty in Persia (modern Iran) & Azerbaijan was founded by Shah Ismail (1502-24). The Ottomans kept the neighboring Safavids at bay through most of the 16th century, but then Shah Abbas I the Great (1587-1629) imported guns from Europe to make the Persian empire formidable. His successors, however, were less able, & Safavid rule broke up by the end of the 17th century.

As with most armies in the ancient world, the Persian troops fielded shields, but unlike other soldiers Persian troops were far more reliant on their shields for protection than others. Since armor and helmets were fairly rare, shields were usually the only piece of defensive equipment that a Persian soldier would possess.

Persian Empire Weapons: Bow

The bow was the core weapon of the Persian army, most of the infantry being armed with a powerful recurved bow similar to the similar Scythian weapon. Recurved bows gained their power by bending the bow opposite to the natural curve of the weapon, creating added tension and force. In battle the large numbers of Persian archers would fire in massive barrages, sending sheets of arrows down on their opponents.

Cavalry and missile troops made up the bulk of the Persian army, many of these troops being equipped with the light javelins (palta). They were roughly 4 feet long, with throwing straps to increase the range and power of the weapon when the iron spearhead struck an enemy.

Persian Empire Weapon: Spara

Spara were large rectangular shields made of reed or whicker, covered with leather and were often elaborately painted. In battle a row of infantry known as sparabara would advance in front of missile troops such as javelin throwers or archers.

Akinakes were originally developed by the Scythians, the early Achaemenid Persians adopted the akinakes as their main sword in combat. The iron blade could be used for either cutting or stabbing, being double edged. Elite troops such as the famous Persian Immortals, or Amrtaka, were the main users of the akinakes, common soldiers being too poor afford swords.

Linothorax, the Greek armor made a great impression upon the Persians, since the vast difference in protection between the opposing armies during the Persian Wars had been in part a reason for the Achaemenid defeat on a tactical level.

Helmets were rare in the Persian army, although later Achaemenid cavalry were well protected by bronze helmets. Instead of helmets most soldiers wore a cloth headgear known as a tiara, which featured a scarf that could be pulled over the face.

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