How Big Were Armies in Ancient Times?

Have you ever wondered how large ancient armies were? The size of armies throughout history has always been a topic of great interest.

From the armies of Alexander the Great to the Roman legions, ancient armies have been known to be vast and powerful. Let’s take a closer look at how big these armies really were.

Ancient Egyptian Armies

The Ancient Egyptians were known for their military strength and prowess. During the Old Kingdom period (2686-2181 BC), Egypt’s army was composed of conscripts, volunteers, and mercenaries. The size of the army varied depending on the pharaoh’s needs, but it is estimated that during this period, it could range from 20,000 to 25,000 soldiers.

The Persian Empire

The Persian Empire was one of the largest empires in history. Their army was composed of various ethnic groups and was known for its diversity. During the reign of Darius I (550-486 BC), it is estimated that the Persian army numbered around 100,000 soldiers.

The Greek Armies

The Greek city-states were known for their powerful armies. During the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC), Athens had an army that ranged from 30,000 to 40,000 soldiers while Sparta had an army that ranged from 8,000 to 10,000 soldiers.

Roman Legions

The Roman legions were one of the most formidable fighting forces in history. At its peak during the reign of Emperor Trajan (98-117 AD), it is estimated that the Roman army numbered around 400,000 soldiers.

The Mongol Empire

The Mongol Empire was one of history’s largest empires. Its army was composed mainly of cavalry and archers who were highly skilled in mounted warfare. During the reign of Genghis Khan (1162-1227 AD), the Mongol army numbered around 100,000 soldiers.

The Ottoman Empire

The Ottoman Empire was one of the most powerful empires in history. Its army was composed of soldiers from various ethnic groups and was known for its formidable Janissary corps. During the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent (1520-1566 AD), the Ottoman army numbered around 200,000 soldiers.


In conclusion, ancient armies varied greatly in size depending on the region and time period. From the Ancient Egyptians to the Ottoman Empire, armies have always been an important part of history and have played a crucial role in shaping our world today.