The Hemithorakitai Peltophoroi are the peltastai of the early Hellenistic Age.
The Hemithorakitai Peltophoroi are the peltastai of the early Hellenistic Age. They wear only a partial panoply, thus the name hemithorakitai, and carry throwing spears along with their melee weapons, making them a versatile infantry force. Their helmets, peltai shields, and occasional body armor afford them some level of protection without so encumbering them as to erase their advantages over heavier infantry, or to completely inhibit them from running down skirmishers. These semi-heavy infantry filled an important set of roles in the first generations of Hellenistic warfare, before they were replaced by thureos-equipped soldiers.
The rise of the mercenary, the peltast, and finally the Makedonian phalanx exerted considerable pressures on the Hellenic way of war. The changing face of war during the competition for hegemonia helped carve out a permanent place for peltastai, mobile infantry equipped mainly for skirmishing, yet competent in melee. The role and panoply of peltasts evolved over time, from Thracian-influenced skirmishers to Iphikrates' mobile line infantry to the multi-role infantry of the Thessalian League and Sacred Wars. The precise roles of Hellenic mercenary or allied infantry in Alexandros' army is unclear, but what is fairly clear is that an evolved version of the peltast continued to play a significant role in the first century of the Hellenistic era. During the third century it became common to refer to these troops by two new names, although "peltastai" continued in use on occasion. An Athenian inscription related to the war against the Galatai refers to hemithorakitai, half-armored men, among the contingents that fought the Latter-day Titans, and the 262 BC defense treaty between the Akarnanians and Aetolians lists hemithorakitai as a contingent receiving superior pay to light troops and inferior pay to hoplitai. While the evidence is scant, both mentions likely refer to troops otherwise recognizable as peltasts. The other popular term, deployed across much of the Greek world, was peltophoroi, very similar to peltasts, as a way to refer to infantry who carried peltai and could fill multiple roles, either in close order with pikes as a phalanx or in looser order as a multi-role infantry. In Boiotia, the peltophoroi filled the gap between light troops and hoplitai just as the hemithorakitai did in Akarnania and Aetolia. This late form of the classical peltast passed away as the classes of thureophoroi troops became more and more popular.
The Peltophoroi are excellent medium infantry capable of many tasks. They are light enough to chase enemy skirmishers while at the same time they can hurl javelins from afar and weaken approaching infantry much like a skirmisher. Yet they are strong enough to battle medium infantry, can stand against even the heaviest cavalry in melee combat and can even hold the line if ordered.
Still, they are utterly helpless against missile attacks and they should not be used against heavier infantry.
They are initially available at the start of the game, overtime they will be replaced by the Thureophoroi (Hellenic Spearmen) as part of the Hellenic Reforms.