Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Picture inspiration: Peltast

What's a peltast, you ask?
This is a peltast. They were light infantry used in Ancient Greece and if this picture is even partially accurate to their appearance, looked cool. As you can see, they were armed with javelins and were obviously not meant to go toe-to-toe with the more heavily armored hoplites that the city-states employed in their war making. Instead, they took position at the flanks of their army and chucked their javelins at the opposing forces. When those aforementioned forces came at them, they promptly ran like a bat out of hell until they were safe. One advantage peltasts possessed over hoplites is that they could run faster and over rougher terrain than their armored foes. They weren't cowards, however, as they could be used against other light infantry.

I like this picture and the peltasts themselves. They lacked armor, but were important enough to be used in the hundreds. I could see a story where the main character is a peltast on a campaign and has to survive hoplites, cavalry, other light infantry, even Persians. I also believe that the time period is another untapped vein for fantasy fiction, much like the early modern and modern periods. I know David Gemmell did a trilogy (well, more like 1/3 of one) before he died about the Trojan War, and Ben Bova wrote a novel about a Hittite warrior. There's probably some more that I'm unaware of, but much like Jello, there's always room for more!

Picture via Wikipedia.

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