In Ancient and Middle Aged European Armies, what decided whether a soldier was at the front lines or just in the normal center-back? Was it a status symbol or honor to be in the front lines?
Please specify the country and age that this was in your answer. Anywhere where there were large scale battles.
I'm surprised about the little of information I can find on the subject and I'm quite curious what were the factors if there were any.
In essence I'm trying to figure out when you look at any kind of infantry regiment charging into battle who and what determined who was at the front of the lines.