"Kyros's Kingship in itself bears witness that it was the most noble and greatest of those in Asia"
- Xenophon (Kyropaideia VIII, 8, 1
Rise of Persia has come a long way since its humble begginings, through at least four seperate incarnations we are proud to bring you the definitive reconstruction of the army of Kuruš the Great (Cyrus in English, Kyros in Greek).
The Kingdom of Persia
The Persian people enter the historical stage under the kingship of Tšišpiš (Teispes), he ruled the sun smitten plains and lofty mountains of Anshan. The neighbouring Elamites influenced the persians through dress and art but other than this intermingling the two kingdoms lived in apparent peace. The Persians practiced agriculture and urbanised living having given up their nomadic roots to settle down in Parsa. However little is known about the reigns of the three kings preceding Kuruš II. One thing we do know is that the Persians had been subjugated by the mighty Median empire during this period. Kuruš II takes the throne of a battered and grim province with little prestige or might.
The Persians have no allies on the world stage as they are simply not important enough to warrant interest from the grand ancient empires. Their only link to the turbulent world of international affairs is the tribute they pay to the Median King Aši-Dahšk (Astyages). This being said they are lucky enough not to have incurred the wrath of the aforementioned powers. Whilst under the hegemony of the median realm all animosity is directed against their overlords rather than the insignificant Persians.
But this is not enough for the proud Kuruš and his ferocious people yearning for freedom. Kuruš will have to revolt from the immense power of the Medes and carve his way onto the world stage through the tens of thousands of Median troops. This first monumental task will befall the Persian player as you struggle to establish yourself and fight a war with a foe far greater in strength than the Persians could hope for.
The Persian economy is small and underdeveloped, yet it is stable enough to allow a crafty build up of military and social advancements. The real Persian strength is in her people. Kuruš is in command of a fully proffesional standing army, well trained and well equipped this strike force is the lynchpin of any Persian battle force. As Professionals they will campaign over all seasons and will be very quick to muster and deploy. The Persian nobility show incredible valour on the battlefield and will be Kuruš's chief striking arm in a tough spot. Their bravery is taken to such extremes that they disdain helmets in battle as cowardly devices for those to afraid to fight like a man!
Well supported with both infantry and some of the greatest archers in the world, the persian battle line is incredibly versatile and ready to deploy in any warzone, at any time.
The armies of Kuruš the great are there for you to command, first secure your foothold in Iran and then on to the heavily armoured Babylonians and the horse-master Lydians. Take your armies to the shores of hellas and further!
Units: section one - Conscripts
The Persians recruited a particularly ferocious Iranian tribe known to them as the Takabara for a strong offensive front, or many times used as garrison forces. They were called Takabara because of the arms which they carried, The 'Taka' is the crescent moon shaped shield which eventually many Persian units would adopt because of the better manoeuvrability afforded by its shape. The Takabara were also armed with axes capable of cleaving through bronze in the hands of the vicious Takabara tribes.
As they do not wear much armour other than thick linen clothes they are vulnerable to missile attacks and their short ranged weapons mean that Phalanxes and Cavalry can make short work of them. However, when used to counter attack pinned down troops or other light infantry the Takabara's axe charge is a fearsome sight.
The Takabara were known for their ferocity in battle and as such their charge is particularly effective, on top of this the Takabara will not flee from a straight engagement as soon as the levies from foreign armies would flee back to their farms.
The Sparabara were taken from the full members of Persian society, they were trained from childhood to be soldiers and when not called out to fight on campaigns in distant lands they practice hunting on the vast plains of Persia. However, when all is quiet and the "Pax Persica" holds true, the Sparabara return to normal life farming the land and grazing the herds. Because of this they lack true professional quality on the field, yet they are well trained and courageous to the point of holding the line in most situations long enough for a counter attack.
They are armored with quilted linen corslets and large wicker shields as a form of light manoeuvrable defence, this leaves them at a severe disadvantage to heavily armed opponents such as the hoplite, and his six foot spear will not give him ample range to plausibly engage a trained phalanx. However, against opponents in the east, the Sparabara can deal with any conscript unit and most trained units will be hard pressed to break the line of brave men who have been reported to fight to the death for their King on many occasions.
These were the Persian archers of the Kings army. Taken from the normal ranks of Society in the same way as the Sparabara, they were also trained from childhood, but because of promise in archery directed to work in cohesion with the Sparabara as the lethal rain of arrows behind a protected wall of spears and shields. Armoured with a linen corslet and using the powerful recurved bow these archers are not to be trifled with.
They are armed with the powerful double curved bows which in the hands of the trained Persian can achieve deadly range and accuracy. Other than the bow they only carry a knife, in this way the Thanvabara should be kept out of close combat at all costs. Even thought there are noted examples of Persians without ammunition drawing their knives and charging the enemy lines, this is only a brave gesture and not a tactic to be employed by any wise commander.
Drawn from the wealthier of the Persian landholders who can afford to maintain horses, the Asabari form the bulk of the Persian cavalry arm. They are armed with Javelins to soften the enemy up before charging in with axes. They are not suited to the later heavy cavalry role of charging down the enemy head on but are more than a match for light infantry and most cavalry units. They are armoured with a quilted linen cuirass and helmet, but their main weapon is speed and manouverability - being able to lure out slower units before peppering them with missiles and finally finishing them off. However they are not profesional soldiers and their many years of training go only so far to compensate for a lack of armour. Hence the Asabari should avoid being trapped and bogged down in combat.
Units: Section 2 - the profesionals
The Anusiya, roughly translating as 'companions' or 'comrades', were the Professional standing army of the Persian people, numbering always at ten thousand they were stationed in the homeland ready to be dispatched to any engagement necessary. The vast amount of experience that the Anusiya have collected on the field during the masses of engagements they have fought and won makes them a deadly foe on the field. They were recruited from the normal ranks of the Persian society, but this particular battalion was created from the most promising of the citizens. In this way only the bravest and most skilled soldiers in Persia were fighting in the Persian standing army.
They were equipped in a far greater manner than the Sparabara, with the addition of a powerful composite bow, a corslet of heavy iron scales and a solid wooden shield. These soldiers can hold their own against most heavy infantry and will make short work of anything less than quality soldiers. Their bow was extremely powerful and in the hands of the Persians made even more lethal. The Persians practiced archery as one of the greatest staples of warfare; hence their archers were some of the best in the world. Their spears are still 6 feet long; however they are distinguished by the silver pomegranates used for counterweights on the butts of the spear.
They were the Elite response unit sent to deal with any situation and the most flexible unit on the field in almost any battle. The Anusiya were true Professional soldiers capable of engaging almost any type of warriors the enemy can produce. Furthermore their bravery holds as a true example of loyalty and in some cases they will fight until all is lost.
The Anusiya also had a corresponding regiment in the Persian cavalry. Their superior thorough bred and expensive horses of the Persians were trusted only to professional soldiers, but the result of combining well trained horses and men is devastating. This unit, always of ten thousand men, served as the complimenting support half of the normal Persian standing army of Anusiya.
The cavalry of the Persians is descended from a long tradition of steppe horsemanship in the Iranian tribes and is thus especially powerful on the field. Armed with heavy cornel wood javelins called "palta" and the six foot spear of the Proffessional Persian design these soldiers can work effectively in the melee and as skirmishers. They are armoured with bronze helmets and corslets of iron scales which protect the rider very well from enemy attacks. The Persian tradition of horsemanship was further developed on the hunt and in many campaigns, with the opportunity to learn from the Scythians and their constant raids on Persia.
Units: section 3 - The Nobles
The Arštibara were the elite of both the Persian Army and the Persian society, drawn from the aristocracy this unit was supremely loyal to the Achaemenids and the ideal of Persian supremacy. Numbering always at 2000 men this unit was usually positioned around the commanding officer of the Persians on the field. They are armed in a far more handsome manner than their lower classed brethren, with expensive robes and jewellery the Arštibara are a gleaming example of imperial might. But the image of the decadent aristocrat is shattered when the Arštibara are seen in battle at the forefront of the chaos and fighting like lions until victory. In the case of the death of their commander the Arštibara are noted to fight to the death in brave defiance of the enemy.
They wear scale armour underneath their robes and they do not carry shields or helmets to encourage their comrades with contempt for the enemy's attacks. Their lack of shield also gives them the greatest manoeuvrability to fire their bows, practiced on the hunt and in many wars, with some of the deadliest accuracy in the world. Their spears are distinguished by the golden apples used as counter weights on the butts of their spears. In this way they got the nickname 'Armtaka' meaning apple bearers. These men are often used as officers in the lower echelons of the Persian army's battalions, and in this way they also get command experience.
Whilst protecting the King this unit shows unswerving skill and courage, they must not be thrown away in risky operations. The survival of this unit involves, to an extent, the protection of the Achaimenid dynasty, and it is a most shameful deed for a commander to lose this prized unit.
This unit comprises of some of the greatest warriors in the ancient world. Utterly devoted to the pursuit of manly excellence these nobles vie with each other for the most glorious deeds of valour. Having practiced the art of war for the greatest part of their existence these warriors are eager to do battle with any foe and show their might.
The squadron shows the ultimate in loyalty to the King, being made up of many of his relatives and the rest being his noble's. Darayawuš the Great (Dareios) served as an Arštibara Asabari before his ascension to the Persian throne.
Armed with cornel wood palta and the characteristic golden weighted spear these soldiers can fight from a distance or up close and personal. They wear brilliant corslets of heavy scales to protect against the fiercest attacks, as such they can hold their own in even a protracted melee. Their great pride and honour prevent them from wearing any head protection however as that would be considered a cowardly and shameful act.
Riding at the head of the army in sheer brilliance these soldiers are the pride of Persia.
Units: Section 4 - Officers
Skins/Models - Goscinio, supported by Caius Brittanicus/Beee!/Dark Fenrir
Historical Research - Rez/FliegerAD
Texts - Rez