Sunday, 30 January 2011

Plutarch's Wars: Successor Generals

There were a number of interesting characters in the Successor Wars. Some had held high office under Alexander whereas others made a meteoric rise in the confusion of shifting alliances or only attained maturity as the wars raged.

The careers of these men is covered in many places, so I won't go into detail. If you are interested, then reading the appropriate Lives by Plutarch is a good place to start although by his own admission he is interested in the moral aspects rather than straightforward history.

For my Successor armies, I painted a variety of generals. I wanted at least 6 so I can field two armies at once, plus some on foot. With so many theoretical elements, I decided to add a few details to give a bit of differentiation.

 This is one of the foot generals. Figures are by Xyston. For the phalangites shields I made some transfers. The general's aspis was inspired the the decoration in the Tomb of the Erotes

The picture at the beginning of this post shows some of the mounted generals I use. All figures are by Xyston.

The central figure wears a helmet as shown on some depictions of Alexander. He gets used as Alex and as various others of the Successors.

I use this as Eumenes of Kardia. He raised a large number of Kappadokian cavalry and some of these may have formed his personal agema. I have kept them on armoured horses as may have been used by Kappadokians at Gaugamela a decade earlier.
The Xyston Kappadokian figures are a little bigger than their Macedonians which makes Eumenes look quite young!

This rear view is the figure I use for Peukestes. He was an enthusiastic supporter of Alexander's move towards mixing the Persians and Macedonians and is noted for wearing Persian dress. For these figures I used the Xyston xystophoroi figures. These are larger than most others - the cloak and feathers add to this impression. As can be seen, I removed the feathers from all except the general. I also added some sleeves and a collar to turn his cloak into the distinctive Persian coat. This is shown in Achaemenid art, is worn by Easterners in Roman art and continues to show up in the area even today - Hamid Karzai frequently wears a coat in this fashion.

I know a lot of visitors to my blog are interested in the comparison shots. Here are some Xyston cavalry alongside Old Glory 15s Seleucids.

Here are, from left, Black Hat (ex-Gladiator) Kappadokians, Essex Companions and Xyston Companions.

Plutarch's Wars: A Successor Battle

The Wars of Alexander's Successors have interested me for a long time and make for good wargames. A number histories have quite a lot of detail about the battles and the troops who fought them. The various generals have armies which are similar enough for generalship to play an even larger part than normal while each having their own quirks to make them distinctive.
We recently fought a Successor battle with DBMM at our club. The armies were equal points - 500 apiece - one being based on Antigonus One-eyed's forces (Asiatic Early Successor) and the other being Seleucid. It was similar to the clash at Ipsos which resulted in Antigonus's death. It is possible to recreate the coalition force at Ipsos using the Lysimachid list but I was slightly short of some of the necessary troops, especially the eight elephants needed for one side.
I feel Successor battles work best at 500 points (or more) as it gives you enough points to have a sizeable phalanx while still having the troops to fight a good battle on the wings.
Here are a couple of pictures - the club lighting isn't up to much and using the flash didn't improve the pics much :(

Here is the Antigonid phalanx, flanked by a vineyard. The Seleucid elephants are advancing. They should be towerless at this point but I haven't finished the basing of the ones I have - it was a last minute decision to use these armies!

The whole field near the beginning of the game. Seleucids on the right.

The clash of pike. The Seleucid argyraspides initially killed a number of enemies but overall there was enough toing-and froing that the Antigonid's were beginning to threaten the Seleucid flank. Out of shot, the rest of the Seleucid pike were beginning to beat the rest of the Antigonid phalanx.

The situation on the Seleucid left. This was the major clash of cavalry as the right was partially covered by a marsh. The Seleucids moved their right flank general and his agema to this wing. This didn't create a superiority in numbers but did improve the command situation. We had a clash of elephants as well as a swirling cavalry battle. The Seleucids broke the Antigonids but it is unlikely that many of them could have avoided pursuing the enemy from the board.
We called time here. The Seleucids didn't need to inflict many more casualties to break the Antigonid phalanx but their own left was beginning to falter and this could have had a devastating impact on their own phalanx.

Next - some photos of some Successor generals.