Full Version: Peltast....only the poor?
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I'm just curious.... were there any peltast from the upper parts of society who could have volunteered for that service or were younger "boys" (like 16-19 years old) from richer families who did not inherit their fathers armor yet? Or were all males of the upper social classes hoplites?

Thraceans rich and poor fought like peltasts.
According to Pausanias and Thukidides most Locrians, Epirotes and Phoceans fought in skirmishing order (aka EMACHONTO PELTASTIKOS).
In Greece moountain areas had a light infantry tradition dating from the Mycenean times. Home names the areas that produced splendit light troops. You see Greek military histrory is not only Athens and Sparta!
Also most foreign scholars date the peltasts from Ificrates but they ommit the fact that Macedonian phalanx shield (smaller than hoplon) was called pelti!

Troops drilled to maneuver in close order and in tight ranks can be produced in 20 to 45 days maximum (Hard fact learned from personal experience!)
The phalanx became popular because because of its brutal simplicity.
But Greece is full of bad going tarrain and you nedd tohave light troops to fight in these places. Ihave serious doubts that Athenian marines (epivate-usually armed as hoplites) in Milos could have formed phalnx on this ragged island.

Light infantry tactics -use of the tarrain-skirmishing-negotiating rough tarrain- have to be taught more extensively. So either you learned them from childhood as in Thrace and central Greece or you had to invest time and money to train.

As for only younger age fit for light infantry duty-I am 40 years old and I just returned from a retraining spell from my recon unit and I saw may 20 year olds dropping down more easily than us old buggers!!!

For the effectivenes of light troops see my post on "Light infantry troops in V c. BCE" topic. More insight on light infantry tactics follow my posts on "Inaros rebellion".
Wow, Thanks for the awesome reply! So it is possible to still do pelta yet be from the upper eschelon of society. I'll take a look at those other threads again. I remember reading them, but it was awhile back.