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Thread: Greek javelin units

  1. #1
    Member Member geala's Avatar
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    Default Greek javelin units

    I read that you don't intend to make Greek reforms. The Macedonians have a little one, the Seleucids receive Cataphracts, all fine. I'm thinking more of some important common units.

    What I do not understand from the beginning (it is certainly discussed elsewhere by others) are the relations between the units Akontistai, Peltastai, Thureophoroi and Thorakitai. Akontistai are the old fashioned low grade peltasts of the century before. Many but not all peltasts adopted the thureos in the 3rd c. BC. Some soldiers with the thureos are depicted without, some with javelins together with spears. The Thorakitai are simply the soldiers with the thureos who have added a thorax.

    My problem is that a great part of the soldiers with the thureos are depicted without body armour in the sources. Is it not too much favor to the Greek factions that Peltastai and Thureophoroi in EB all have body armour, the latter even greaves? Could there not be first unarmoured helmless peltasts with a pelte who later developed into unarmoured simple-helmeted peltasts with a small thureos, unarmoured Thureophoroi with elaborated Macedonian helmets and with 2 or 3 missiles and a spear and third the armoured Thorakitai, both with bigger thureoi?

    I think the adoption of the thureos was more common after 250 BC, perhaps a small reform could be made then? Or is it to complicated?
    The queen commands and we'll obey
    Over the Hills and far away.
    (perhaps from an English Traditional, about 1700 AD)

    Drum, Kinder, seid lustig und allesamt bereit:
    Auf, Ansbach-Dragoner! Auf, Ansbach-Bayreuth!
    (later chorus -containing a wrong regimental name for the Bayreuth-Dragoner (DR Nr. 5) - of the "Hohenfriedberger Marsch", reminiscense of a battle in 1745 AD, to the music perhaps of an earlier cuirassier march)

  2. #2
    Member Member paullus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Greek javelin units

    Argh, I just deleted my whole response, so this one will probably be rather short. First, I feel like we've had this discussion several times before. Maybe it was slightly different, or on a different forum.

    Second, the akontistai v peltastai. In the early 4th c, you are right, our akontistai would have been called peltastai. By the late 4th c and onward, peltastai have become far less common, apparently because their role has changed. This change was likely brought about following either the Iphikratid reform or the advent of the Makedonian phalanx. Either way, some soldiers trained as phalangitai or light hoplitai needed to have the ability to take on a lighter role as well, engaging in skirmishing type actions. Thus we depict them as being similarly armored to the parallel troops they would represent--basic phalangites or iphikratid hoplites--and carrying the small oval pelte which came out of Thrace and into Hellas in the late 4th c. So, to sum up my answer to your request, the "small thureos" IS the oval pelte, and they won't lose their helmet since they would have had access to one when operating in the phalanx instead of in a skirmishing role.

    On the thureophoroi, its true that they shouldn't really be appearing in 272. But they should begin appearing within 15-25 years, in most places, and even faster in some others--that relatively small gap makes a reform less likely, though its possible, depending on the mechanics, that we'll institute something like that in EB2. However, we will not be tying thorakitai to some later reform--connecting them to a higher MIC should be sufficient, and the time disparity between thureophoroi and thorakitai was likely rather minimal.

    Now, as for armor depiction. "The great number of thureophoroi are depicted without armor in the sources." Let's be specific here--I can think of several sources which depict thureos-bearing soldiers in leather, chain, and iron cuirasses. There is no written source describing the equipment of a thureophoros, aside from noting their shield. Few of our unarmored pictures depict Hellenic thureophoroi who also lack armor--the steles from Sidon are Lykian or Pisidian troops, so I'm not sure on the quality of the comparison there. Perhaps Urnamma will make it on here to discuss weapon-penetration and economics, but a linothorax was not an expensive item, nor particularly heavy or confining, so it seems unlikely to us that a thureophoros, having the option to purchase a linothorax relatively easily, would not do so.

    That said, we're already looking into unit options for EB2, and unarmored thureophoroi with a little more skirmishing firepower are an option. This could also be an area where upgrades could be used, though we haven't decided on implementing upgrades or not.
    "The mere statement of fact, though it may excite our interest, is of no benefit to us, but when the knowledge of the cause is added, then the study of history becomes fruitful." -Polybios


  3. #3
    Member Member geala's Avatar
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    Default Re: Greek javelin units

    Thank you for your answer which is not at all too short.

    I think the term peltast for a javelinman with the thureos is correct, I have just problems with the body armour. Same for the thureophoros. The thureophoroi with body armour in the pictures, are they not simply thorakitai? Ok, no need to debate it further, I understand your view.

    I concur now with your argument that a reform is too much and the need for another MIC is enough, just as it is now.

    I have given my thureophoroi less armour, more javelins and deleted the "use before charge" function. It will be nice when in EB2 you create the "skirmisher thureophoros" without greaves (and perhaps body armour), as you said.
    The queen commands and we'll obey
    Over the Hills and far away.
    (perhaps from an English Traditional, about 1700 AD)

    Drum, Kinder, seid lustig und allesamt bereit:
    Auf, Ansbach-Dragoner! Auf, Ansbach-Bayreuth!
    (later chorus -containing a wrong regimental name for the Bayreuth-Dragoner (DR Nr. 5) - of the "Hohenfriedberger Marsch", reminiscense of a battle in 1745 AD, to the music perhaps of an earlier cuirassier march)

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