World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0026789627
Reproduction Date:

Title: Paighan  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Military of the Sasanian Empire, Sasanian Empire
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Active 224-644
Allegiance Sassanid Empire
Type Infantry
Engagements Battle of al-Qādisiyyah and other wars

The Paighan also known as Paygan were a militia light infantry unit within the Sassanid army and formed the bulk of its infantry force. The Paighan were sometimes referred to as being used as "meat shields".


The Paighan were a conscription force, recruited from the peasant population of the Sassanian Empire. According to the Chronicon Anonymum, the vast majority (120,000) of Sassanian Emperor Khosrau I Anushirvan's army of 183,000 was made up of Paighan.[1] Despite being referred to as meat shields, the Paighan were frequently used in sieges and served as pages for their Savaran masters. These troops would generally have had the lowest morale of all troops in the Sassanian army and would cluster together for mutual protection. According to Arab historians, during the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah the Persian commander Rostam Farrokhzād refused to provide the Paighan troops with food and water the night before the battle. However, in the Arab camp all soldiers there were being provided with supplies, including the peasants. This may be the reason why many of the Paighan soldiers in the army defected to the Arab side before and after the battle.[2]


The Paighan were lightly armed with short light wood or wickerwork shields, boiled leather cap and short spears. Some of the paighan would have however had to equip themselves with their own weapons. These tended to be agricultural equipment such as pitch forks, daggers, axes and sickles. The Paighan would have lacked decent armor, making them very vulnerable in hand to hand combat.[3] They would have stood little chance against Roman troops. This is the reason why Sassanians developed their own heavy infantry to counter that of Rome's.[4]

Belisarius' remarks on Sassanid troops:

In popular culture

In the strategy game Rome Total War: Barbarian Invasion, the Sassanids have a unit of Paighan in the form of peasants. They are easily defeated in both melee and ranged combat.

See also


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.