Units of History - The 10,000 Immortals DOCUMENTARY

Units of History - The 10,000 Immortals DOCUMENTARY

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In this Units of History episode we turn to the Achaemenid Persian Empire and their 10,000 Immortals who famously fought against the Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae.

The documentary begins by looking at the origins of the unit. This involves a discussion of their first appearance in the history books by Herodotus who describes them in his account of the Greco Persian war and the invasion of Xerxes. Outside of this however, the historical record is quite limited. We therefore have to speculate on how this elite unit came about. One theory we present is the idea that the Persian Immortals were initially a bodyguard units at the immediate disposal of the Kings of Persia around which armies could be formed. Over time their prestige, size, and organization increased as the Achaemenid Empire expanded. Again due to a lack of records, we only speak briefly on their training.

Next we take a look at the weapons and armour of the Persian Immortals. This includes things like scaled armour, tall shields, a bow, axe, spear, and sword. This is to be contrasted with their fantastical depiction in the movie 300 where they fight against the equally mythologized spartan army.

We then cover the battle tactics of the Immortals and their service history. This involves extensive fighting against other eastern forces, steppe nomads, indians, egyptians, and of course greeks. Specifically we discuss their involvement in the battle of thermopylae, the battle of Plataea, the battle of Cunaxa, and the battle of Gaugamela. Stay tuned for more persian army documentary videos and coverage of other famous units of history!

Bibliography and Suggested Reading:
The Persian Army 560–330 BC by Nicholas Sekunda
The Achaemenid Persian Army Paperback by Duncan Head
Armies of Ancient Persia by Marek Adam Wozniak
Cyrus The Great Paperback by Stephen Dando-Collins