The last couple of Top 7 lists have been of cartoon/anime kind, but for this group, I decided to list out the top seven groups of ancient warriors that I love the most (these folks are real, not imaginary). I majored in history and specialized in the ancient cultures of Greece and Rome, so this is going to be a really fun list for me. The first on the list was dramatized in the fun 300 movie, but there is more to the Immortals than just a crazy movie.
#7 Persian Immortal
Say hello to the elite, 10,000 infantry men of the Achamenid Persian Empire. Dating back to roughly 500 BC, the Immortals were the back bone of the Achamenid Empire, its crack troops that could always be called upon in the heat of battle to turn the tide. They were the Imperial Guard and some of the toughest troops the Persians could throw onto the battle field.
The name Immortals actually comes from the Greek writer Herodotus and even into the Sassanian Army when the unit was brought back (called the Zhayedan, but this group was cavalry), but this was never their official name within the Achamenid army (when the Persian empire was battling Greece). Sorry, 300 fans!
The Immortals were armed fairly well with scale armor, wicker shields, short swords, spears, javelins, bows, and other weapons. Again, they were the main infantry force, so they did wear armor and helmets under their robes along with their vast array of weapons they could deploy on the field.
So now we get to take on the 300 movie and its depiction of the Immortals. Now, I must preference that the movie is being told as a story to the other Spartans by Dilios, so it’s suppose to be embellished to make the Immortals and Persians more frightening to rally everyone behind their cause. But showing the Immortals as some kind of ninjas with the face masks, the black suits, the two katana-style swords they dual-wield from their backs was just a bit much. I really doubt Dilios would know about the Asian cultures and weapons, so that was just a little funny. The notes that they shave their teeth into fangs and are some pale-type monsters, was all great story telling. Even the part where they mention the number of 10,000 always remains strong and that if one falls, they are quickly replaced is not noted anymore aside from the Greek stories. I’m sure the infantry would replace soldiers, but I’m fairly sure the 10K number would fluctuate a bit from time to time.
So sorry history buffs and movie fans, the real Immortals were not these ninja-type warriors that attacked in the night. Instead, they were the crack infantry forces of the Persian army that battled around the ancient world and help put together one of the largest early empires in the ancient world.