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(in Greek, peltastai), a type of infantry in ancient Greece.
The peltasts appeared during the Peloponnesian War in the second half of the fifth century B.C. They were armed with a sword, javelins, a coat of mail of coarse cloth, and a light leather shield called a pelta. In the early fourth century B.C. the Athenian strategos Iphicrates introduced longer swords and long spears for the peltasts, which enabled them to fight against hoplites. Combining the characteristics of heavy and light infantry, the peltasts fought in extended order in coordination with hoplites. Their actions were effective against the relatively immobile phalanxes of heavy infantry.