The Kardakâ represents a late Achaemenid attempt of introducing the Persian hoplite. While not historically successful, they are nonetheless a reliable, versatile, decently armed and armoured infantry that can form the infantry core of Eastern armies.
The Kardaka are armed with the Iranian longsword, and a long thrusting spear. These guards also carried the large hoplon-shaped shield known as the Aspis. The armour to protect the torso was usually composed of iron scales and was worn over a brightly decorated tunic hanging down to just above the knees, however this was far from uniform so any rudimentary armour, including bronze scales, linen and even quilted cloth could suffice depending on individual wealth or the available equipment of the local armouries. As the Kardakâ, originally a late Achaemenid imitation of a hoplite, grew to become gradually more Hellenized, in particular during Seleucid times where the linen corselet also known as the linothorax became more popular. Their grey iron helm would have a slightly oval thimble shape though here it is shown as an Eastern version of a modular Attic helmet, with protection for the neck, particularly popular around Lycia and Cilicia. They would have loose trousers and short light brown leather boots. They would also have a thick linen cloak of dark blue or deep red. Well drilled, close order infantry these men form the core of most eastern armies. They were however relegated to garrison duty in Parthian service. They are capable and disciplined troops.
Historically, these troops were a late imperial Persian attempt to make a native Hoplite like infantry. These men come from the old Persian core Satraps of Persis and Media, willing to serve the Seleucids as easily as the encroaching Parthians. They are versatile in the sense of providing a reliable platform, fending off cavalry and faring decently in close combat, without being restricted by the inflexible Macedonian phalanx, making them some of the finest infantry to the disposal of the Pahlavân. Still it must be remembered that while they can give a good account of themselves as heavy infantry, they will likely turn out to be inferior to comparable Hellenic infantry, and should therefore be used a little bit differently by Eastern armies who rely more on cavalry; The Kardakâ may rather be used as an auxiliary rather than as the backbone of an Eastern army. The Kardakâ or Cardaces/Kardakes as they were called by Greek sources were subject to a wide range of different accounts regarding their combat performance, between being mediocre to full-fledged elites and equally their equipment, in particular their shields ranged from the hoplon to the more traditional wicker shields. Though it can be argued that the Kardakâ must have retained some uniformity during Achaemenid times, with the royal treasuries withdrawn and being deployed by Eastern nations who have rather turned their eyes towards cavalry, they do also inevitably represent a continuously declining unit type.