The island of Krete is renown for it's archers. These men hire themselves out as mercenaries for almost any Mediterranean power who can afford them. Apart from their bow, they also have short swords and they wear hardened linen armor and carry a small shield. Not only are the Kretes good archers, but they can fare well in melee against similarily equipped opponents.
The island of Krete is famous for its archers, and the Kretes themselves for their reputation as liars and brigands. These men hire themselves out as mercenaries for almost any Mediterranean power who can afford them, as their skills are often unmatched by other archers. Apart from their bow, they also have short swords and they wear hardened linen armor and carry a small shield. Not only are the Kretes good archers, but they can also fare well in melee against similarily equipped opponents.
Historically, Toxotai Kretikoi served in most Hellenic armies and other Mediterranean armies from early history, from Carthage in the west to the Seleukids in the east. One of their most famous exploits was in Xenophon's "Ten Thousand", where they gave a good account of themselves against the Persians. Krete during this time was rife with civil wars, and it was often those Kretes on the losing side, or who got fed up with the unstable situation, who migrated overseas and hired themselves out as mercenary bowmen. The Diadochoi tried to gain control of the island, but were unsuccessful. The constant civil wars attracted outlaws and other unwantables to Krete, and during the Hellenistic period bad behaviour was called "Kretan Way". During the 1st century BC, the Cilician pirates established themselves on Krete and many Kretes joined them in piracy, which drew the ire of Rome. The first Roman expedition in 74 BC was soundly defeated, but the second expedition in 68 BC managed to subjugate the island with great brutality. It was afterwards made into a military colony, which for centuries to come supplied the Roman army with auxiliary archers, and their renown continued well into the Middle Ages. There is even distinct mention of Kretan archers defending Constantinople in 1453 AD!