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Gymnētae

γυμνῆται). A name for the different sorts of sharp-shooters employed in the Greek armies since the Persian Wars, in place of the light-armed slaves. It was only after the expedition of the Ten Thousand that they came to form an essential part of a Greek army. They were generally recruited from the barbarous nations who were specially distinguished in the use of particular missiles. The archers (τοξόται), for instance, were generally Cretans, the slingers (σφενδονῆται) Rhodians and Thessalians, while the javelin men (ἀκοντισταί) were taken from the semiHellenic populations in the west of Greece, notably the Aetolians and Acarnanians. The common characteristic of all these troops was the absence of all defensive weapons. It was among the Lacedaemonians that they were introduced latest. Alexander the Great had a corps of 2000 of them, with which he opened his campaign against the Persians. Half of these were spearmen and the other half archers. See Exercitus.

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