Iphicrates' Reforms

  By Sam Edwards, 14 September 2007; Revised
Contents »
General Context and Introduction

"What I admire in the conduct of Iphicrates is this: when he had to arrive quickly in an area where he expected to engage the enemy, he found a way by which his men would be none the worse trained tactically because of having to make the voyage, and the voyage would be none the slower because of the training given to the men "
-- Xenophon, A history of my times, book 6.2.32

Hoplites depicted on an Attic vase dated to 510-500 BC
Hoplites depicted on an Attic vase dated to 510-500 BC
For millennia throughout the ancient world, the commonly accepted action of the man was to fight and farm. These two actions occurred at precise times throughout the year, and, for many, they were a fact of their harsh lives. With the development of the first proper standing armies under the Akkadian empire and the first Dynasties of unified Egypt, the soldier took on a more defined role. He began to be equipped with uniform equipment rather than having to buy his own (although this was still to be the custom for most of the armed forces of the ancient world). However, there was still one provision to all ancient armed forces which limited the duration of their campaigns, their supplies and their overall military strategy - agriculture. Naturally, the majority of ancient societies had an agrarian based, simple economy. This was the major restriction for prolonged military campaign – farming. For although the soldier in many cases had now achieved some level of speciality in his field, he was still fundamentally a soldier first and farmer second. All ancient empires had to finish their campaigns before the time of their harvest so that the men could go back and farm their fields. Population in these early states was not enough to allow for a constantly standing army of any considerable nature along with a large amount of farmers – dual roles were often practiced. Also, agrarian techniques which rendered the land more fertile and techniques for farming more efficiently had not yet been invented so roughly, one man could farm only as much food as he and perhaps a few others could eat (of course, this is determined by the crop in general, but for much of early history, this generalisation is adequate). For a prolonged military campaign to be carried out with maximum potential, exploring all of the tactical options and sometimes having to wait for the ideal moment of action, a new army was needed – an army which could be sustained throughout the whole year and could exist in the field indefinitely without running the risk of ruining the economy of their state. Needless to say, in the early ancient world, the bureaucracy to organise the large-scale farming that it would take to sustain such an army and organise the logistics for it had not been invented fully yet, for many reasons – society was not specialised enough, writing had not been perfected and numbers and mathematical systems which were needed for the task were virtually non-existent. These reasons all mentioned mean that, basically, an early military campaign had to be conducted as quickly as possible, battles being fought in open land and sieges (alongside many other tactical advantageous movements) being almost fully avoided. For the finer context in which this question is going be answered, we must move forward around 1700 years from the early dynastic Egyptians and Akkadians and move to Greece in the classical period. In Greece, the systems which I have mentioned for military organisation had been created, and with a rising imperialism in the area, a surplus of raw goods meant that the creation of a standing, specialised army was finally viable. When regarding this imperialism in Classical Greece, there is one place where the seeds of this were ripe – Athens before and during the Peloponnesian war.

The Athenian Surplus

The Delian League was a military alliance created probably around 480 BC with the intent to repulse the Archenemid Persian attacks from Asia Minor and the Aegean. It was headed by the Archon (chief magistrate) of Athens and his various assemblies (such as the Areopagus, citizen’s assembly and Prytany) and demanded and annual tribute from all member states proportional with their size and wealth. This tribute would be used for the upkeep of a large Athenian army and navy which was intended to be used in the eventuality of a renewed Persian campaign. This league, however, was quickly abused by the powers of Athens, and its funds were used to adorn Athens with buildings such as the Parthenon in the age of Pericles. It was in this period that Athens became blatantly imperialistic and Greece was peppered with cities that, although legitimate members of the league, had been occupied by Athenian troops for the obvious attractions for imperialists. Many of the expeditions conducted by this league did not do much to militarily advance the situation for the Greeks in general, but Athenian political influence and economic advancement. The Spartans and the Corinthians, possibly the only realistic competitors to Athenian hegemony, subsequently founded the Peloponnesian league as a rival to the imperialistic “league” of Athens.  Needless to say, during this period, Athens had huge amounts of disposable income and although the construction of religious buildings to the animistic societies of the ancient world were not counted as “disposable” income (rather, necessity), the Parthenon was certainly an exception, and it certainly wasn’t regarded by other Greek states as being a religious necessity.


Artist's impression of a hoplite
Artist's impression of a hoplite
When these events culminated in the breakout of the Peloponnesian war between the two leagues in 404 BC, Athens was certainly in a far better situation and could afford to specialise its troops as it had the logistics and materials to do so. Throughout most of Greek history, Greek citizen-hoplites had marched quickly to flat ground, fought a battle and returned to their cities for the harvest. Greek soil was actually quite poor, and as a land, Greece was certainly not overflowing with the gifts of nature. This need of flat land may seem strange because of the nature of Greece as a fundamentally mountainous country. The reasons for this are that firstly, the phalanx (the general system of fighting at the time) could only function on flat ground and secondly, rough ground would have meant a longer march and longer to wait until farming could begin again back in the home city. These reasons are similar to those mentioned in their previous section, but there is one exception in Ancient Greece – the development of intellectualism, logic, mathematics and common sense, coupled with Athenian Imperialist surplus, meant that Greece was in a better position to develop the first “special forces”. Doubtless, other imperialist nations such as Persia and Assyria all had their elite regiments (the Apple-bearers or Immortals, and Assyrian palace Guard) but because these nations did not have the same intellectual developments as Greece, their organisational ability to make these units act independently from the main force was limited. These nations, unlike Greece, had a natural wealth that enriched their military potential to a far greater level than Greece. Also, these two nations that I have used as an example were simply so huge that a military campaign had to be back in time for the harvest in even quicker time without exception - even the elite troops. It was also because of this “surplus” that we see the first long-lasting sieges take place in the Peloponnesian war. The evidence that the newfound ability of the Greeks to besiege was based on newly acquired wealth is shown in the fact that only the larger, imperialist cities could afford to endorse such ventures. This surplus basically benefited almost every area of military development – naval and land. The navy, in particular, had begun to make massive strides because of Athens newfound imperialistic treasury, bursting at the sides. Athenian ships were now faster, more agile and better manned than their lumbering predecessors of the Persian wars. Naturally, this specialisation for troops meant that, in many ways, these progresses pushed the desire for imperialism more and more – the city-state could no longer be self-sufficient and use multiple roles when specialist attributes in military (and other areas) were developing. It was this technological and political development that ultimately destroyed the Greek concept of city state (otherwise known as “the polis”) – the ultimate experiment of political science where government was completely comprehensible to its citizens. As Dr. H.D.F Kitto said – “Progress killed the Polis”.


Naturally, the close relationship between agriculture and war also created a close relationship between the seasons of war, as in every age. But with each technological development throughout history, the situation of war being completely bound to weather has become less and less, and there is no better way that this can be illustrated in this context than by a primary source. This reliance of the wavering agriculture of Greece and the demands of it on the citizen-soldier of the polis can be illustrated in two short, but informative, ending quotes:

"So the winter ended and so ended the ninth year of this war recorded by Thucydides  "
-- Thucydides, history of the Peloponnesian war, book 4.135


"So ended this winter and so ended the third year of this war recorded by Thucydides "
-- Thucydides, history of the Peloponnesian war, book 2.103


As the reader will see, the year of military action ends at the time of winter ending. This is applicable to all periods and all styles of warfare, it might be said. That is true, but only in the later context. Napoleon Bonaparte, for example, in his 1807 campaign against the Tsar Alexander and his general Khurkov, conducted it in the height of the Russian winter and was indeed beaten by it. But this is not the point – he also conducted many of his campaigns in summer as well. This shows how military development moved away from the beck and call of agriculture to such an extent that it could function without it. Even in the middle ages, crop rotation in fields had ensured a greater surplus yield and thus, potentially more activity from the troops of a nation. These quotes illustrate exactly, with great simplicity, the relationship between those two all-important factors: weather and warfare.


The Greek citizen had to serve his polis when called upon and was expected to purchase his own armour and fight with his own weapons. Only Sparta alone had a standing citizen army, kept alive by “Helots” – foreign slaves. This is an exception, however, as Sparta had unusually good land for a Greek city-state. But despite this, no state, not even Sparta, ever changed their adopted tactics. Greek tactics by the 5th century BC were to hold the enemy in place with a Phalanx and some skirmishers, whilst the cavalry wheeled around the flank and dealt the killing blow from behind. It was the machinations of a light infantry citizen-commander from Athens called Iphicrates, mentioned briefly in Thucydides, that were to change the whole nature of warfare.

The transition from  traditional tactics


The tactical advantages of mountains (for reasons which have been mentioned) were largely ignored by a passing Greek army – they wanted to get to the potential battlefield as soon as possible, win, and return home – warfare was not the professional activity which it was soon going to be. The Greek soldier did simply not have the time necessary to devote to the methods of mountain warfare (or, for that matter, any other kind of specialised warfare). In any case, the first indications that a tactical revolution was occurring was in the methods of an unknown Greek commander in probably what was Phocis or Locris – two semi-barbaric areas in North-Western Greece. The commander in this instance learnt that by using the mountains to launch attacks with light, fast moving infantry and missile troops, heavily armoured, marching hoplites in a phalanx formation were at a severe disadvantage. The cumbersome phalanx could simply not wheel around quick enough or its constituent hoplites react fast enough to protect themselves from the blows of the swift mountaineers.


Iphicrates (415-353 BC) utilised these tactics brilliantly, and with them, decimated an entire Spartan column in the year 390 BC in the Peloponnesian war. Thucydides, the main and best source for the actions of Iphicrates, mentions this incident offhandedly and vaguely. For all of Thucydides’ brilliant historical skills, this isn’t surprising if we consider the sheer amount of material he had to deal with. He was probably assassinated at some time around 401 BC, and if so, would not have seen the impact that Iphicrates’s small encounter was to have upon Greek military development as a whole. If he had, we can only assume that he would have described it as brilliantly as he does in many other aspects in his “history of the Peloponnesian wars”. Even after the Peloponnesian wars were long finished, we don’t see any kind of major development from Iphicrates’ principles until the period of the tyrants and Philip II. Analysis of sources from Thucydides shows that warfare after the Peloponnesian wars shows a quite different army in the time of the tyrants (second source) from the time of the Peloponnesian wars (first source):


"The two armies were now united, and at dawn they took up position at the place called Metropolis and camped there. Soon afterwards the Athenians in the twenty ships, who were coming to the relief of Argos sailed into the Ambracian Gulf. With them was Demosthenes with 200 Messenian hoplites and sixty Athenian archers. The fleet lay off shore opposite the hill at Olpae. Meanwhile the Acrananians and those few of the Amphilochians who had not been forcibly kept back by the Ambraciots had already entered Argos and were preparing to give battle to the enemy. They chose Demosthenes as commander-in-chief of the whole allied army, to act in cooperation with their own generals, and Demosthenes led them out and encamped near Olpae in a place where a huge ravine separated the two armies. For five days neither side made a move, but on the sixth day they both drew up in order of battle. The Peloponnesian army was the larger of the two and it outflanked the army of Demosthenes, who, fearing encirclement placed about 400 hoplites and light troops in an ambush in a hidden pathway that was overgrown with bushes. These troops were to come up from the ambush at the moment that battle was joined and to take the enemy’s projecting wing from the rear When the preparations on both sides were completed, they moved forward to battle. Demosthenes, with the Messenians and a few Athenians, was on the right, and the centre and left were made up of the various divisions of the Acrananians and the Amphilochian javelin-throwers who were present. On the other side the line was formed of mixed detachments of Peloponnesians and Ambraciots, except in the case of the Mantineans, who were all together on the left, though not on the extreme left wing, which was held by Eurylochus and his own troops facing Demosthenes and the Messenians "
-- Thucydides, history of the Peloponnesian war, book 3.107

The source above is the deployment of troops in a battle in north Greece near a city-state called Metropolis. There are several pieces of evidence in this source alone that show traditional methods being used. Firstly, the fact that the battle is being fought around a city in the first place indicates that the lie of the land is flat (farmland, obviously being around an ancient city), secondly, the usage of the word “hoplite” indicates that these troops were used and if they were going to be used effectively, they would be in the Phalanx formation, which was unstable on mountainous ground. Although javelin-throwers and light troops are mentioned, they are not in the unique, independent context that we would imagine when regarding Iphicrates’ “special forces”. Generally, the layout of this battle places them as subsidiary units to the main Phalanx. The numbers of hoplites to archers and other such troops is much larger numerically in this source and also, the hill in the singular is mentioned in connection with Olpae. This would indicate that there was only one “hill” (notice not mountain and the translation by Rex Warner would have this word to convey the same meaning in Ancient Greek – small mountain) there. The significance of this lies in the proximity of these Athenian reinforcements from Argos to the battle – let us say that these troops need to march a few days to join Demosthenes’ army. Metropolis is not near the sea, so this is reasonable. According to this source, Demosthenes didn’t move his troops to battle until around five days (probably because of preparations for the battle and organisation). If these new reinforcements were indeed “reformed” Greek troops, they would not have rejoined Demosthenes’ army at all, and instead would have made use of the nearest mountain or hill range to launch a surprise hit-and-run attack. Considering that these two armies are lined up against each other in the traditional Greek fashion, and that there is only one “hill” in the immediate vicinity (this we can assume because it must take less than five days for the reinforcements to march from Olpae, as shown by the source), we can safely assume that these tactics are not those of a “new model” Greek army, and that in this case, Iphicrates’ reforms were not yet implemented. The only reference to anything like an Iphicratic raid is the concealment of around 400 Hoplites in bushes behind the enemy – this theory is discounted, however, when we consider that these troops were using bushes to hide and were being used primarily as a distraction, and Iphicratic raids were used for anything but a distraction – they were a primary assault. This next source, from Xenphon, concerns a Greek army of much renown some years later and shows a quite different army with quite a different preference towards fighting:

"On receiving this information Xenophon advanced to the ravine and ordered the hoplites to halt there. He himself with the captains crossed over and examined the position to see whether it would be better to withdraw the troops who had crossed already, or, on the assumption that the place could be taken, to bring the hoplites along too. It seemed that it would be impossible to withdraw without considerable loss of life: the captains were of the opinion that they could take the place; and Xenophon agreed with them, relying also on the results of the sacrifices, for the soothsayers had indicated that there would be a battle, but the final result of the expedition would be successful. He therefore sent the captains back to bring the hoplites across, and stayed where he was himself. He brought all the Peltasts back from the ditch and forbade them to engage in any long-range fighting. When the hoplites arrived, he ordered each captain to form up his company in the way which he thought his men would fight best; for the captains who were continually competing to each other in doing brave deeds, were now next to each other. They did as they were told, and Xenophon then ordered all the Peltasts to advance with their javelins at the ready, and the archers to have their arrows fitted to the string, as they would both have to discharge their weapons as soon as he gave the signal. He told the light troops to have their wallets stuffed full of stones, and sent reliable people to see that these orders were obeyed” "
-- Xenophon, the Persian expedition, book 5.2.3

We can see in this source that Hoplites play a much smaller part – Xenophon is only willing to bring them to the valley (which a traditionally-minded Greek commander would not have entered into in the first place) very cautiously, but is perfectly willing to send the peltasts and light troops forward without a moment’s hesitation. The fact that he does not mention any hesitation in sending the peltasts forward in such a situation could possibly show that it was accepted military practice and he didn’t feel the need to justify it. Sending Hoplites into a mountainous area, however, was an action on his part that required his justification to the reader in his “Persian expedition”, and this is a possible explanation to why he mentions he cautiousness with the hoplites much more carefully in this excerpt. The simple fact that Xenophon had sent his men to this ravine in the first place, or even considered it, means that he was confident that he could defend himself. Xenophon was no timid soldier and would not have made many mistakes of this kind if he could have helped it. His advance above the ravine must have been accompanied by some confidence on his part that he could have defended himself adequately, as his hoplites in this situation would not have been very effective, so this process of elimination thus leads to the conclusion that it must have been the peltasts that he was confident about (not cavalry, as this isn’t mentioned in the relevant sources for this incident). This is a pure indication that Iphicrates’ reforms must have finally taken hold in the tactics of the general of the late classical or early Hellenistic period. One important consideration to consider about Iphicrates’ reforms is their content – they were a very loose collection of tactics that did not have any real doctrine or practice. For this reason, the one isolated military action which started the “reforms” created many multiple troop types in the ancient world, some of which had absolutely no relation to the light infantry of Iphicrates. The final, and it would seem indisputable, piece of evidence to the changing face of warfare is this extract from Xenophon’s “a history of my times”:


"But as soon as the men in the city saw that their enemies were marching towards the plain, the cavalry and the crack troops came out against them, and fought them in battle and prevented them from reaching the plane at all. Most of the day there was spent in long-range fighting with the troops of Europhon pressing their attacks only up the point where the ground became suitable for cavalry…” "
-- Xenophon, A history of my times, book 7.2.12

It is fairly obvious in this source that these tactics are not those of a traditional classical Greek army. The attacks are being pressed upon high, rocky ground (it is not suitable for cavalry, so it must be of that kind). Also, the mention of “crack” troop, or the very acknowledgement of that word (even the equivalent is in the original Greek source) indicates that the troops employed here are not ordinary citizen-soldiers. It also mentions “the plain”. An early Greek historian when writing about a battle would not even bother to mention the lie of the land, for he would assume that conflict on a plain is the only way of fighting a battle. We can see clearly from this source – the transformation is complete. Warfare had now almost fully changed from the traditional norm.


It would appear that it was the Macedonians, slowly rising to prominence through the internal chaos in Greece, took advantage of these tactics and added them to their already brilliant army. Philip II’s Macedonian army swept away all in its path and conquered Greece relatively quickly. Incidentally, Philip II’s hoplites had indeed been trained in mountain fighting, and used it to its maximum potential. These children of the reforms that conquered most of the known world under Alexander was numerous but all ultimately came from the same surplus of imperialism that Athens had created by it’s abuse of it’s position as head of the Delian league. These units, such as the Phalangites, Hypaspists (components of the Macedonian phalanx), heavy peltasts (the direct product of Iphicrates’ reforms) and specialist warships were all spawned from the same principle of military specialization.

The composition of the new armies

In practically all of the new reformed troops that emerged in the Greek world at the beginning of the Hellenistic period, there was a considerable amount of training to use different kinds of terrain apart from flat ground. Although, for example, the Macedonian phalanx was still a phalanx first and foremost, the “phalangites” who comprised it were drilled and trained to such a huge extent that they could move as a whole unit in half the time as their Greek counterparts. Macedonian tactics also used light troops in a more primary role (presumably after their value had been seen in the Peloponnesian war) to guard the flanks of the Phalanx. These “Hypaspists” were basically light hoplites, but their tactical behaviour was that of peltasts or archers. This Macedonian revolution in military ingenuity was firstly started by around 358 BC by the rise of Philip II of Macedon and later, in his conquest of Greece, and was perfected by his son Alexander the great. The army that Alexander marched to India and back with was anything but a standard Greek army. His tactics were based on the original Greek system of “hold and attack” with the Phalanx and cavalry. Naturally, this tactic required light troops to defend the sides of the phalanx and watch for enemy movement. The huge, cumbersome Macedonian phalanx formations that were to serve as the anvil to the cavalry’s hammer, for all their training, could not have reacted quick enough to avoid some considerable enemy change in tactics without prior warning. So Alexander must have logically placed importance of light troops for these formations. For example, the deployment of Alexander’s troops at the battle of the Hydaspes in Western India places the skirmishers to the exposed flank of Alexander’s phalanx, which was moving right to hit the Indian commander Porus’s left flank. The skirmishers filled in the gap that the Phalangites of the Macedonian phalanxes had created and ensured that there would be no instant counter-attack by Porus’s men. It is also worth noting that in the increasing use of Elephants by the enemies of Greece (and by the Diodachi centuries later) meant that javelin-throwers and light troops would have been endorsed more as they were the best opponents for repulsing an attack by these beasts.


A list of the basic kinds of reformed troops can be found bellow:


The backbones of the Macedonian army, these heavy hoplites were trained to all co-operate as one fluid body. They were also trained, if necessary, the march over mountainous terrain. This was a necessity for such troops in Macedon, because, being a naturally mountainous country, the ordinary phalanx would have been useless. These troops were also some of the first in the ancient world to be drilled in the modern sense of the word, and are regarded as full “troops”, not just citizen-soldiers. Their arms were probably supplied by the state rather than by themselves, for the length and duration of Macedon’s campaigns must have meant that these men could not viably have also been farmers. This means that, like the Spartans, the Macedonians must have had a larger amount of farmers working at home than there were soldiers abroad and like the Athenians, have had a considerable surplus of disposable income from imperialistic ventures to create these reforms.

Early Phalangite
Early Phalangite

"For the Macedonian Phalanx is like some single powerful animal, irresistible so long as it is embodied into one, and keeps its order, shield touching shield, all as in a piece; but if it be once broken, not only is the joint-force lost, but the individual soldiers who composed it; lose each one of their single strength "
-- Plutarch, life of Titus Quinctius Flamininus

The Phalangite was usually protected by a layer of leather armour with smaller plates of bronze armour above. Sometimes he wore a “thorax” or protective corset, which included all of these defensive elements. Unlike the citizen-hoplite of classical Greece, the Hellenistic Phalangites donned the Thracian or Chalcidian helmet rather than the traditional Corinthian pattern. This helmet had an open facial area, rather than the Corinthian pattern, which was usually extensively decorated and had small eye and mount slits. This uniformity of Macedonian army indicates that it was probably supplied by the state rather than purchased by the soldier in question. In any case, the huge Macedonian phalanx cannot have been filled with the wealthy of Macedon like the smaller Phalanx of a Greek city-state would have been. He was armed with the “Sarissa” or 15ft pike and “kopis” or slashing sword (which appears to have become particularly popular amongst military forces in Alexander’s time). For protection, he would have used the “Argive” pattern large shield to protect himself in battle. These larger shields were used by Phalangites rather than smaller ones because in Alexander’s campaigns, where this kind of troop was used, missile threats were one of the main dangers of battle - the Persians and others like them excelled in missile troops, and even heavy infantry in Persia and other eastern nations often had a small bow as a secondary weapon. As we can see, this again in a development in military tactics in response to an outside stimulus – another indication of finally, military change in response to external conditions changing.


To the sides of the Phalangites, usually accompanied by a selection of light infantry, would be the Hypaspists. The name roughly translates from the Greek as “shield-bearer”, which was applied in an honourable sense to the soldier. Hypaspists often worked in conjunction with the Phalanx, clearing the way for it, defending its flanks and watching its rear. These men were almost always deployed in wing positions and were guarded by non-Greek mercenary cavalry in many situations. The Hypaspist was armed in much the same fashion as the Phalangite, with the exception of lighter armour and a thrusting spear (which would probably be around 6ft long). Naturally, due to the nature of these troops, lighter armour and light weapons were a must. It is unlikely that they wore metal plate armour, Corinthian or Thracian helmets for precisely this reason. Sources indicate that they were often deployed around supporting missile troops. If this is true, it would mean that they would have to don similar armour to those troop types in order to co-operate fully on the battlefield as one unit. Possibly for this type, a small shield and leather armour (or possibly a thorax) would have sufficed. Many illustrations of these troops show their short spears have thongs of leather attached. This could perhaps indicate some kind of javelin was used by these troops, but since they were mixed with skirmishers of all types, it is hard to say where Hypaspists in illustrations would end and skirmishers begin. The beginnings of the Hypaspist can be found in Iphicrates’ mountaineers, who used light skirmishing Hoplites of this type to conduct their raids.


Agrianian Peltast armed with three javelins
Agrianian Peltast armed with three javelins
The heavy Peltast was directly introduced into Athens by Iphicrates himself. Although there had been troops of this type before (mostly from Thrace and areas around Greece rather than Greece proper), it was his ingenuity that turned them into a completely self-dependent troop type. He issued his corps of “Peltastae” with a longer sword and spear, and replaced their chainmail corset with one of linen. The name “Peltastae” originates from the Greek name for their rounded shield.  It is difficult to generalise with the basic troops of this type, as they were employed in literally every situation and most theatres of Greek warfare. These troops, however, throughout many situations had to be supported by heavy infantry and could usually be annihilated by a cavalry charge. Unlike most other Greek units, however, they were the only that were able to use mountainous terrain to its full potential and change their tactics to situations quickly and accordingly. Peltasts for this reason were the most viable candidate for Iphicrates’ reforms. Ironically, these troops were the simplest equipment wise, out of all the “reformed” troops in the ancient world. Usually, missile troops were not used to great effect in traditional Greek warfare- Hoplites and cavalry would have won the quickest, but not necessarily the most useful, victory.


Warfare was changing at such a rate that the outdated and small Greek city state could not keep up with it. This period in Greek history is important to all areas of history as it shows us the first ever example that we have of “special forces”, moreover, the first drilled forces in the world. It was only until domestic matters became self-sufficient without the need for vast amounts of manpower that military development could be taken seriously and real strides made. These troops were not merely “soldiers for the summer” – soldiering was their career. For the first time, the soldier did not wield the plough as well as the sword. These reforms would culminate in perhaps the most famous troop’s type in the ancient world. This was the troop type that, at its height, incorporated them all and could adapt to any situation – the legionary.

Bibliography and References

H.D.F Kitto – The Greeks
Plutarch life of Titus Quinctius Flaminius, the John Dryden Translation
Sir William Smith, E.H. Blankley and J Warrington- Everyman’s smaller classical dictionary
Thucydides – history of the Peloponnesian war, books 2-4, the Rex Warner translation
Xenophon – A history of my times, books 6 & 7, the Rex Warner translation
Xenophon – The Persian expedition, book 5, the Rex Warner translation
John Warry – Osprey’s conquest of the Persian Empire