It will not be out of place to set forth what I have learned
about the remarkable character of Iphicrates. For he is reported to have possessed shrewdness
in command and to have enjoyed an exceptional natural genius for every kind of useful
invention. Hence we are told, after he had acquired his long experience of military operations
in the Persian War, he devised many improvements in the tools of war, devoting himself
especially to the matter of arms.
For instance, the Greeks
were using shields which were large and consequently difficult to handle; these he discarded
and made small oval ones of moderate size, thus successfully achieving both objects, to furnish
the body with adequate cover and to enable the user of the small shield, on account of its
lightness, to be completely free in his movements.
trial of the new shield its easy manipulation secured its adoption, and the infantry who had
formerly been called "hoplites" because of their heavy shield, then had their name changed to
"peltasts" from the light pelta
As regards spear and sword, he made changes in the contrary direction: namely, he increased the
length of the spears by half, and made the swords almost twice as long. The actual use of these
arms confirmed the initial test and from the success of the experiment won great fame for the
inventive genius of the general.
He made soldiers' boots that
were easy to untie and light and they continue to this day to be called "iphicratids" after
him. He also introduced many other useful improvements into warfare, but it would be tedious to
write about them. So the Persian expedition against Egypt, for all its huge preparations,
disappointed expectations and proved a failure in the end.