Hellenistic Greek 275BC-146BC (II/31cde)

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Army Consist

Element Description of Troops
1x4Pk (Gen) The Strategos (General)
5x4Pk Spartiates in Bronze and Linen Cuirass
1x3Cv Spartan Cavalry
1x2LH Thessalian Mercenaries
2x4Ax Helots
2x2Ps Javelin Psiloi
Camp Followers Spartan Youth Around Campsite

The Hellenistic Greek list is very late in history compared to most other Greek Hoplite armies. Much later than the Phillipan conquest, yet prior to the Romanization of Greek Armies the troop options show the transition from spears to much longer pikes. Though the summary represents the most common variant I use (list e, from 222-149BC) the stands shown here can easily accomidate the c or d variants to cover the entire range of the Spartan armies in the list.

Much like the Spear/Pike from my Italian Condotta, the Spartiates are equipped with weapons longer than spears, but shorter than normal pike. Since this is a transitional period, it seemed apropos for the army and allows any of the Spartan lists to be covered.

Spears, Pikes, and Javelins (for the light troops and the cavalry) are all mandatory replacements. Xyston figures do not come with spears provided (either molded on the miniature or separate in the blister packs. The spears here are various lengths of sewing pins with the heads cut off. Piano wire also works as an excellent spear replacement, but has the disadvantage of not easily coming to a point. With some careful painting, the pin-points can make remarkably convincing spearheads.

The entire army consists of Xyston miniatures, whose extensive line of Greek miniatures are unparalleled among ancients. If they have a flaw, other than not providing spears for their figures, it is that they tend to run larger than most other 15mm manufacturers, but this added size affords a tremendous amount of raised detail and makes painting the figures amazingly easy.

The Strategos (General) [1x4Pk (Gen)]

The General and his officers are sold in two separate Xyston packs (one for Generals and one for Officers). Rather than distribute the officer figs throughout the army, I opted to pool them here, since few of the Officers were armed with pike and I wanted the bulk of the army to have a contiguous line of weapons for aesthetic purposes.

Spartiates in Bronze and Linen Cuirass [5x4Pk]

The mainstay of the Spartan army changed little during this period with the exception of the lenghtening of their spears. Two of the stands are equipped with bronze armor while four others wear linen. (This allows for differentiation between Spears and Pikes when using list d.)

The distinctive hoplite shields of the army carry the characteristic Lacedemonian "L", though by this time its adoption as an army device had largely been abandoned.

Spartan Cavalry [1x3Cv]

Though not known for the size or expertise of their cavalry, the Spartans did field mounted troops in sufficient numbers to support their troops.

They are outfitted, in Spartan tradition, with cloaks of crimson red. Though Greece in the age post-Alexander had a trend toward clean-shaven faces, the Spartans generally preferred full beards.

Thessalian Mercenaries [1x2LH]

Though Aitolian or Thracian mercenary cavalry might have been more appropriate for the time and for Sparta, the Thessalians were known throughout Greece for the quality of their cavalry.

Plus, I have to admit, those floppy hats are just too cool.

Helots [2x4Ax]

At this point in Sparta's history, the decline of citizens eligible for the regular army had forced the state to adopt more radical tactics. The conquered Helots began to be offered citizenship and freedom in exchange for their service in battle. Though less heavily armed and armored, their numbers steadily began to increase prior to the expansion of Rome.

Javelin Psiloi [2x2Ps]

Greek light troops armed in this fashion are the origin of the descriptive term "Psiloi." Here armed with short javelins and wearing about as much as one would expect of Grecian youths, their support of the spear troops and hold over bad going can mean the difference between winning the field and being driven from it.

Spartan Youth Around Campsite [Camp Followers]

The Spartan camp was inspired by stories of the Spartan youth, who from the age of 8 to 14 were allowed nothing to wear save a single crimson cloak. No clothing or shoes, through both winter and summer. They were fed sparingly and encouraged to steal and compete for food among themselves, and were harshly beaten when caught. This created one of the toughest societies of warriors in history.

The sleeping figures are casualty figures from Battle Honors and the Rank and File medieval line. They had their details snipped off, and filed, then werecovered in blankets of 2-part green putty. The elder Spartans are from the Xyston General's pack. The large bronze figure was a prize from a tournament at Origins, and made a nice landmark for the campsite.

Please send any comments/criticisms/corrections to webmeisterzeke@att.net

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This page was last updated on February 5th, 2008 at 03:07 PM