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By: Professor A. Sh. Shahbâzi





Source materials for a study of Pre-Islamic Iranian military concerns fall into four categories: textual evidence; archaeological finds of actual specimens of martial equipments; documentary representations (on monuments and objects of art); and philological deductions for organizational matters. The availability and value of these categories vary according to different periods. For the Avestan age no documentary depiction is at hand; the literary sources for the Achaemenid and Parthian epochs are mainly non-Iranian; and for the Sasanian time philological indications are even less significant. Therefore, in the study of these periods an ordered presentation is not easy, as each must be treated according to the evidence of the sources. Furthermore, the scope of the present article does not permit discussing several areas linked to Iranian history, namely the military concerns of the earliest Aryan settlements on the Iranian plateau, the Iranians of the steppes, the Macedonians of Iran, the Kushans, and of the Iranian kingdoms of Asia Minor in the post-Achaemenid age. Only the formative, early first millennium BCE and the successive imperial epochs ending with the Arab invasion in the middle of the seventh century CE will be considered with regard to the formation, organization, equipments, tactics, and strategy of their respective armies.


  1. The Avestan period

  2. The fast half of the first millennium BCE

  3. The Achaemenid ARMY

  4. The Parthian ARMY

  5. The Sasanian ARMY

  6. [ NOTES ]





Source/Extracted From: Encyclopaedia Iranica


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