Persian Immortals


Persian Immortals

The Achaemenid Persian Immortals, also known as the Persian Immortals or The Immortals were an elite force of Persian soldiers who performed the dual roles of both Imperial Guard and standing army during the Greco-Persian Wars. Herodotus describes the Immortals as being heavy infantry led by Hydarnes that were kept constantly at a strength of exactly 10,000 men — every killed, seriously wounded or sick member was immediately replaced with a new one, maintaining the cohesion of the unit. The regiment accepted only Median, Elamite or Persian applicants.

Terminology

The term Immortals comes from Herodotus who called them either the "Ten Thousand" or "Αθάνατοι" (lit. "immortals").

Herodotus' source may have confused the name Anūšiya ("companions") with Anauša ("Immortals"). Alexander the Great's historians mention a Persian unit similar to Herodotus' Immortals that they called 'Apple Bearers'. [http://www.livius.org/ia-in/immortals/immortals.html 'Immortals'] by Jona Lendering. Livius: Articles on ancient History. Retrieved 24 March.]

The Immortals in history

The Immortals played an important role in Cyrus the Great's conquest of the Neo-Babylonian Empire in 547 BC, Cambyses' campaign against Egypt in 525 BC and Darius' invasion of India and Scythia in 520 BC and 513 BC. Immortals participated in the Battle of Marathon 490 BC and the Battle of Thermopylae 480 BC [ [http://www.livius.org/a/battlefields/thermopylae/thermopylae.html Thermopylae (480 BCE)] by Jona Lendering. Copyright 2005. Latest revision: 11 March 2007. Retrieved 24 March 2007.] and were in the Persian occupation troops in Greece in 479 BC under Mardonius.

uccessors

The title of "Immortals" was first revived under the Sassanids. The most famous of the Savaran units were the "Zhayedan" (Immortals) and numbered 10,000 men, like the Achaemenid predecessors, with the difference that they were cavalry. Their task was mainly to secure any breakthroughs and to enter battles at crucial stages.

The title of "Immortals" was again revived under the Byzantine Empire, under the Emperor Michael VII (1071–1081). His general Nikephoros reorganised the central field army ("Tagmata") of the Eastern Empire following the disastrous defeat of Manzikert by the Turks in 1071. The remnants of the provincial troops of the Eastern Themes (military provinces) were brought together in a new Imperial Guard regiment named after the Persian Immortals and reportedly also numbering about 10,000 men. These were however cavalry, like the remainder of the Byzantine field army.

Many centuries later during the Napoleonic Wars/Wars of the Coalitions, French soldiers referred to Napoleon's Imperial Guard as "the Immortals." [Georges Blond, "La Grande Armée", trans. Marshall May (New York: Arms and Armor, 1997), 48, 103, 470]

The modern Iranian Army under the last Shah included an all volunteer Javedan Guard, also known as the "Immortals" after the ancient Persian royal guard. The "Immortals" were based in the Lavizan Barracks in Tehran. By 1978 this elite force comprised a brigade of 4,000–5,000 men, including a battalion of Chieftain tanks. Following the overthrow of the Imperial regime in 1979 the "Immortals" were disbanded.

The Immortals in popular culture

*Frank Miller's comic book "300", turned into a motion picture in 2007, presents a heavily fictionalized version of the Immortals at the Battle of Thermopylae. The Immortals depicted in the comic book wear all black clothing with stylized silver Japanese Kabuki masks and silver shields, wielding a pair of scimitars. The 1962 film "The 300 Spartans" includes similar depictions, although far less fanciful.

*The "Drenai" series, written by David Gemmell, features a military unit named the Immortals. Similar to the Persian Immortals, its number is maintained at a constant 10,000 soldiers.
*In his novel "Executive Orders", Tom Clancy uses the name for the army of the United Islamic Republic (made up of Iran and Iraq)

References

* "The Last Stand of the 300." "History Channel". HIST.

External links

* [http://monolith.dnsalias.org/~marsares/warfare/army/p_immort.html The Persian Immortals]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Immortals (Byzantine) — The Immortals (Greek: Ἀθάνατοι, Athanatoi ) were one of the elite tagmata military units of the Byzantine Empire, first raised during the latter part of the 10th century. The term comes from the a ( anti ) + thanatoi mortals from θάνατος Thanatos …   Wikipedia

  • Persian people — Persians redirects here. For the Athenian tragedy, see The Persians. Persian identity, at least in terms of language, is traced to the ancient persian people, or Indo European Aryans who arrived in parts of Greater Iran circa 2000 1500 BCE.… …   Wikipedia

  • IMMORTALS —    a regiment of 10,000 foot soldiers who formed the bodyguard of the ancient Persian kings; the name given to the 40 members of the French Academy …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • The Immortals — could refer to:*The Immortals (band), a Belgian band *Persian Immortals, an elite military unit of ancient Persia * The Immortals (novel), a 1996 novel by Tracy and Laura Hickman * The Immortals Series , by Tamora Pierce * The Immortals , a 1995… …   Wikipedia

  • Ten Thousand Immortals — ▪ Persian history  in Persian history, core troops in the Achaemenian army, so named because their number of 10,000 was immediately reestablished after every loss. Under the direct leadership of the hazarapat, or commander in chief, the Immortals …   Universalium

  • First Persian invasion of Greece — Part of the Greco Persian Wars …   Wikipedia

  • List of Persia-related topics — Persian culture and history= * Persian architecture * Persian art * Persian Bayán * Persian calendar * Persian Canadians * Persian carpet * Persian Christians * Persian column * Persian Corridor * Persian cuisine * Persian dance * Persian deities …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Gaugamela — Infobox Military Conflict caption= The charge of the Persian scythed chariots at the Battle of Gaugamela by Andre Castaigne (1898 1899) conflict=Battle of Gaugamela partof=the Wars of Alexander the Great date=October 1, 331 BC place=Probably Tel… …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Thermopylae — Infobox Military Conflict conflict=Battle of Thermopylae partof=the Greco Persian Wars caption=The site of the battle today. date=August 480 BC cite journal|title=Herodotus and the Dating of the Battle of Thermopylae|journal=The Classical… …   Wikipedia

  • Military history of Iran — With thousands of years of recorded history, and due to an unchanging geographic (and subsequently geopolitical) condition, Iran (previously known as Persia in the West until 1935) has had a long, varied, and checkered military culture and… …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.