Shield Bearers

Recruitment Cost 1,160
Upkeep Cost 200
Melee Attack 41
Weapon Damage 29
Bonus vs. Large 20
Charge Bonus 28
Melee Defence 57
Armour 115
Health 65
Base Morale 70
Strengths & Weaknesses
  • Very good defensive unit
  • Low damage but average armour penetration
  • Average attack
  • Good morale

Meaning shield bearer or shield carrier, the Macedonian hypaspist developed out of the foot squires of the Companion cavalry. Rising to prominence under Alexander the Great, these chosen foot soldiers were equipped more like their hoplite predecessors than the new sarissa-armed phalangite infantry of the Macedonian phalanx. Armoured in linothorax, a cuirass of linen reinforced with metal, and a helmet, greaves and the apsis shield, they were more heavily equipped than their phalangite counterparts. Even with the increased weight, the shield bearer’s armament of spears and short kopis swords made them more flexible in battle than the less manoeuvrable phalangite. Because of this they usually guarded the vulnerable flank of such sarissa-armed phalanxes and, as an elite body, held the place of honour on the army’s right flank between the phalangites and the Companion cavalry. Alexander’s hypaspists influenced the adoption of such units by many of his Successors, and their use continued within the Macedonian army for quite some time. Eventually the shield bearer role developed into a rank of lower staff officers spread throughout the army, reporting directly to the king.

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