Page:Frederic Shoberl - Persia.djvu/74

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59
PERSIA.

their merits and the estimation in which they are held, and each class inhabits separate streets.

Kinnier is of opinion that the revenue arising from land and merchandise does not exceed three millions sterling.




CHAPTER VI.

OF THE MILITARY FORCE.


SECTION I.

GENERAL OBSERVATIONS

The Persian army is divided into the king’s troops and those of the state: the former are regulars; the latter might not inaptly be termed milita.

The king’s guards, those of the princes, and the garrisons of the towns, compose the regular troops, to whom we apply this term because they are under a particular discipline, and are permanently employed. Having treated in another place of the guards of the king and princes, we shall confine the following observations to the militia.

The warlike tribes spread over the country, form its real military force: it is these that furnish the militia. When the king is going to war, he intimates his intention to their different chiefs, who are obliged to repair with their contingents to the royal camp: the number of these contingents is governed by the population of the tribe. Each town and village has to furnish its quota. In this manner, Feth Ali Shah might raise probably from 150,000 to 200,000 men, in case of emergency.

By way of pay, each officer and soldier receives a grant of land; but when they take the field, they have pay, and a suroosat, or allowance of barley and straw for their horses, and wheat, rice, and butter, for themselves. They receive also something under the head of inams or presents. They must find their own arms, horses, and clothing, and are supplied with nothing but ammunition.

The Persian armies are composed of infantry and cavalry. The infantry are generally employed at sieges; but as their services are seldom required, they are for that reason very indifferent soldiers. They are employed to discharge a piece of cannon perhaps once in an hour; and as long as they hit the wall, they are considered to be well qualified for effecting a breach. If there are infantry and guns, a body of bildars, or pioneers, accompany the army.