Ancient special forces: Varygs, Spartans, Persian “immortal” and others

Special forces it was far away from the 20th century … So, what elite squads existed in antiquity?

Hippie, Sparta

Actually, the famous 300 Spartans are hippies, elite squad Spartan army. The Spartan army is not among the rest of the Hellenic armies. Hippies were elite elites. Although it was a foot detachment, it was not a good idea. It was not necessary to see them.


Hippies are primarily known for their feat. Thermopylae. It was not like that. He didn’t take care of his personal guard. When it came to the Greek army, it was not clear that it was a warrior, but it wasn’t any rule. The last Leonid with the hippei heroically and committed.

Sacred Squad, Thebes

Three hundred selected fighters were not only in Sparta, but also in Thebes, another ancient Greek polis. Manning this elite squad was peculiar: it consisted of 150 homosexual couples. It was thought that it made it possible, it was invincible, it was a dear friend.

Sacred squadSacred squad

The sacred squad successfully resisted even the Spartans of the Tsar Leonid. Mistonian king Philip, her father and his father, he was completely killed. The Macedonians won the battle. But Philip is highly appreciated when he was in the place of the Macedonian spears, chest.

Immortals, Persia

It couldn’t be the first class squad not in 300 people, but in 10 thousand – that was how many soldiers guard shahinshah, called “immortal”. The number of detachment remained the same.

The immortalsThe immortals

This elite squad Persian warriors could not even dream. For example, the “immortal” was accompanied by a caravan with women and servants. In addition, the soldiers were on the battlefield in expensive clothes.

However, even this best in the Persian army squad did not exceed the spartan warrior. Even the Athenian hoplites defeated the “immortals” in battles – for example, in the famous battle of Marathon. After the Greco-Persian Wars, the corps of the immortals was disbanded.

Praetorians, the Roman Empire

In the Roman Republic, the commander and his headquarters (praetories) guarded selective squad warriors. The protection of the emperors were created. Pretty soon, the Praetorians, realizing their strength, began to shift and appoint emperors. At some point, the brave guardsmen put up the imperial throne up for auction. However, they didn’t keep the praetorians for a long time.


Paradoxically, the Roman Empire didn’t need a good service to the Roman Empire, because they were often killed. But strong and popular emperors enjoyed the support guard, Supported any dissatisfaction of the Roman crowd and senate. Thus, the praetorian guard for a long time. Finally, it was the freemen of the praetorian who had been the priestor of the Roman Empire and the emperors had been destroyed. guard, and the Praetorian camp was destroyed as a “permanent nest of insurrection and debauchery.”

Varangi, Byzantium

The elite units of the Byzantine army, Life guard The emperors, they were not the Byzantines themselves, but foreigners from the western empire. They were known under the common name “Varangas” (Varangians) and consisted mainly of Scandinavians and Slavs. But when the Normans, led by William the Conqueror, conquered England, he became dominant.


The Byzantine emperors themselves, comparing the Byzantine soldiers and warang, while the latter are like “metal pots”. Byzantine historian exclaimed from the warriors and the warriors of the fortress wall. As contemporaries, it is noted that, in the case of a non-permanent Byzantines, it was hereditary duty, therefore, they remain loyal to the emperor and will not even hear about betrayal. “

It is not surprising that it’s not worth it. To a great extent, thanks to the Warangas, the empirers couldn’t have been able to resist external threats.

Varang also distinguished strict discipline. One varang tried to rape with his own sword. Upon learning of this, it’s not.

After the crusaders captured by Constantinople in 1204, the news of the Warangas in Byzantium disappeared.

Janissaries, Ottoman Empire

These warriors were not just personal guard Sultan – they were officially seen his slaves. The Janissaries lived in the monasteries, barracks, until the XVI century they were forbidden. In general, they resembled the knights of the European spiritual orders (the Templars, the Hospitallers). It’s not even going to put out fires.


He added that he was not a member of the Islamic Republic. The Christian population of the Ottoman Empire. But it was possible to avoid “shaving” in the janissaries. Obviously, therefore, they were among the Christians of Turkey. However, they often gave their children voluntarily, because they were able to achieve their high position in society.

Overthrowed by the Roman praetorians, elite troops. Threat to the sultans than the enemies.

In 1826, finally decayed guard It was abolished by its cruel suppressions.

Varyags, Spartans, Persian “immortal” and other special forces of antiquity

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