Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Plutarch's Wars: Thracians and Mercenary Peltasts

A quick post with some of my troops which can be used with Greek and Persian armies of the early to mid 4th century BC.

These are Xyston 15mm Thracians. I think they are possibly Xyston's best with a great deal of variety - you need to go to the website to see just what a large mix is available.
They wear the traditional dress with foxskin cap - some also wear a patterned claok. This fashion seems to have gone out of style in at least part of Thracian society going by the tombs of the late 4th century. For all sorts of links and discussion about Thrace, see the Thracians Yahoo group.
The shields are handpainted but you can buy transfers for the Xyston Thracians from LBMS.

These are my attempt at Iphikratean peltasts. They are used in the Thracian, Later Hoplite Greek and Later Achaemenid Persian DBMM lists and count as fast pike.
Iphikrates was an Athenian who served as general for his own polis as serving a variety of other employers including Pharnabazus and Seuthes and, later, hisThracian father-in-law. His career is covered by Diodorus Siculus (see p.34 especially) and in less detail by Cornelius Nepos.
He is credited with introducing a form of boot which became named after him (quite appropriate as Plutarch says he was thought to be a shoemaker's son). He is also said to have reformed the arms of his men, converting hoplites into a lighter form of troop, though presumably some time after using more conventional peltasts to defeat the Spartans. There is a theory that this may have been connected with shipbourne service. The spear and sword were lengthened and the shield reduced in size. The Loeb translation renders the shape of the shield as being oval though I have seen discussion that it may be round - this being in contrast to the traditional crescent shaped pelta. Nepos also says that they received linen armour rather than metal, though he may be mistaken.
I went with a simple star symbol for the shields as this is shown in a number of places including Persian contexts. The figures are a mixture of various 15mm Xyston Greek peltasts. Many have had arms bent to a better pose for holding the long spears.