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Thread: Chalkaspidai?

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    AtB n00b Member chairman's Avatar
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    Default Chalkaspidai?

    From what I've read, the 'bronze shields' were mainly an Antigonid institution. So how did Pontus come by this elite regiment? Was it an imitation force, made up of Greeks living in Pontic territory? Or was it formed from refugees of the Roman conquest of Macedon similar to the Seleucid regiment of Chalkaspidai in the Daphne Parade? What are our sources for this unit in Pontic service?

    Thanks in advance for answers.

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  2. #2

    Default Re: Chalkaspidai?

    Huh? Chalkaspidai, you say?
    I surely hope they're not called that in the build... AFAIK I took care of that one, that is: I changed their name into Chalkaspides.
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    Member Member paullus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chalkaspidai?

    I think you had that one fixed, it should be chalkaspides. Interesting question, we find the chalkaspides in literary sources only once we start getting detailed information on the Pontic army, mainly in the first century BC. However, a bronze shield covering from the reign of king Pharnakes (c183-c170 or so) would seem to be a strong indication of the existence of the chalkaspides in Pontos early in the 2nd c. BC, prior to the battle of Pydna and the exodus of a good number of Macedonians into the east. I don't know that there's really any evidence to talk about whether they might have existed or not before the reign of Pharnakes. We do know that Pontos apparently had a relatively impressive army in the 220's, when c.227 the Pontic army of Mithridates II defeated the army of Seleukid royal army, and killed 20,000 soldiers, including the king. Is that proof the chalkaspides existed? Heck no. But its a bit more info for you.
    "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


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    AtB n00b Member chairman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chalkaspidai?

    Thanks Paullus! Yeah, I figured that they would have had a pretty good army for Mithridates to force three whole wars on the Romans. However, was the army mainly in the Successor format of phalanx and cavalry, or did it include more thorakitai and "imitation legionaries" infantry by the time of Mithridates the Great? The history books often mention mention numbers and maybe quality of enemy (of the romans that is) armies, but they don't always give troop type or tactical function.

    @ TA: I have no idea what the name is ingame. I just took it from the EB website (wonderful source btw; love it).

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    Not your friend Member General Appo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chalkaspidai?

    Hmmm... I sure hope the C are historical, they were the number one reason I survived in my Pontos campaign, even more so then the FM´s.
    I just looked on the EB site, and the Chalkaspidai are actually unique to Pontos, which I guess is the reason their English name is Pontic Elite Phalanx.
    The Seleucids have Argyraspides, Silver Shields, while the Chalkaspidai are Bronze Shields. I know qoute the websites description of Chalkaspidai:

    "Chalkaspidai (Pontic Elite Phalanx)
    The Chalkaspidai (Bronze Shields or "brazen shields") are the elite phalangitai of the multicultural Pontic Kingdom, drawn from all quarters of local Hellenic and Hellenistic peoples, generally with varied backgrounds - though their name likens them to the great veteran phalanx of Megas Alexandros himself. Though not the same superb force, they can be a powerful and dangerous weapon in the hands of a competent general, but are less then useless in the hands of a fool. Their service role is best restricted to that of a part-time conscript, serving during the summer campaigns, but released at harvest or famine will follow. Their formation, the phalanx, is the traditional Hellenic infantry formation of a part-time citizen levy, passionately dedicated to their own local civic life. Known to have been used on occassion in ancient Sumeria, it is at its simplest, a compact body of spearmen, formed up in depth to present a hedge of spears to any attacker. The weak point of the phalanx is the flanks and if the enemy is able to engage the flanks then the formation will quickly fall into disorder. The sarissa is a clumsy weapon, not well suited to close quarters combat, but such is not its purpose. It is meant to be an impenetrable wall of pikes, creating a moving fortress from which cavalry can launch strikes, rolling up their enemies wings or exposed center. Vital to the success of the Pontic Chalkaspidai are light hoplites, hypaspistai, or even experience Persian light infantry stationed to guard the vulnerable flanks of the greater phalanx, though a strategic cavalry charge is their best compliment - completing the lethal hammer and anvil maneuver of the old Makedonian army.

    Historically, Makedonian conquests never included Pontos, but their influence in tactics and military practices found a home on the shores of the Pontos Euxine and the phalanx was promptly adopted by Pontic generals and kings. Like the other latter day Hellenic states, Pontos tended to forget the nature and vulnerabilities of many of their phalanx pikemen, abandoning the highly effective cavalry tactics that had been developed to compliment them or relying to heavily on a weaker battle line. When commanders attempted to use them as a purely offensive arm, they failed to achieve anything, though their leader's lack of creativity or intelligence was more to blame then their skill - which was remarkable."
    Last edited by General Appo; 02-25-2008 at 14:18.
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    Member Member Labrat's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Re: Chalkaspidai?

    I assume that the Chalkaspides in the successor armies other than Pontus are represented by the Pezhetairoi. After all, chalkaspis means bronze shield, and guess what the phalangite shield was made of?

    According to Goldsworthy, after being defeated by Sulla Mithridates made a deal with Sulla's political opponents (who were living in exile in Spain) in order to obtain Roman instructors for his army. Although Goldsworthy does not mention how far this instruction went (and it is a typical Roman cliche that their worst enemies had been trained by themselves), it does suggest a greater Roman influence on Pontic armies following the first Romano-Pontic war. It should be noted though that EB's description of the Pontic Thorakitai mentions that this type of troops was already in use in the area before the wars with Rome.

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    Member Member TWFanatic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chalkaspidai?

    Pontus had bronze shield pikemen in vanilla. And there is no reason to doubt vanilla's historical accuracy.
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    Wannabe Member The General's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chalkaspidai?

    Quote Originally Posted by TWFanatic
    Pontus had bronze shield pikemen in vanilla. And there is no reason to doubt vanilla's historical accuracy.
    Any idea when we'll get those elite battlefield ninja-wannabe guys that Romans (or Germanics?) had back? 8)
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    Not your friend Member General Appo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chalkaspidai?

    The Arcani? Last I heard they along with the Berserkers and Head-Hurlers were moving to Themiskyra, apparently they were all marrying the Amazons there. By now those wretched women have probably turned them into responsible fathers and husbands, with no thought of choping the head of whoever offends them. Too bad.
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    Ming the Merciless is my idol Senior Member Watchman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chalkaspidai?

    Quote Originally Posted by Labrat
    After all, chalkaspis means bronze shield, and guess what the phalangite shield was made of?
    Wood with a paper-thin bronze covering, like the bigger aspis ?

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    Member Member Labrat's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Re: Chalkaspidai?

    Quote Originally Posted by Watchman
    Wood with a paper-thin bronze covering, like the bigger aspis ?

    Touche. However, argyraspides' shields weren't entirely silver either, were they?

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    Symbasileus ton Rhomaioktonon Member Maion Maroneios's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chalkaspidai?

    Quote Originally Posted by Labrat
    Touche. However, argyraspides' shields weren't entirely silver either, were they?
    Guess not, you don't think silver would be strong enough to use against strong blows? Apart from that, it would be quite expensive too I guess
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    Ming the Merciless is my idol Senior Member Watchman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chalkaspidai?

    The usual wooden construction faced with the usual paper-thin bronze sheet - just silvered. That's my bet.
    "Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. --- Proof of the existence of the FSM, if needed, can be found in the recent uptick of global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. Apparently His Pastaness is to be worshipped in full pirate regalia. The decline in worldwide pirate population over the past 200 years directly corresponds with the increase in global temperature. Here is a graph to illustrate the point."

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    Bruadair a'Bruaisan Member cmacq's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chalkaspidai?

    Right, a bit more tin.
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  15. #15

    Default Re: Chalkaspidai?

    There is also one theory that suggest that pikemen shields were only made of leather with metal cover. Obviously there is no way to proove neither wooden nor leather theory - both are similarly possible (wooden slightly more, I think)

    BDW one of preserved metal covers was 0.3 mm thick

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  16. #16
    Ming the Merciless is my idol Senior Member Watchman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chalkaspidai?

    Properly treated leather and hide make for right fine shields so nothing wrong with that of course...

    Both those and wood do have the for historians very inconvenient trait of perishing relatively quickly and thoroughly in normal circumstances though. So inconsiderate of them.
    Last edited by Watchman; 02-25-2008 at 23:36.
    "Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. --- Proof of the existence of the FSM, if needed, can be found in the recent uptick of global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. Apparently His Pastaness is to be worshipped in full pirate regalia. The decline in worldwide pirate population over the past 200 years directly corresponds with the increase in global temperature. Here is a graph to illustrate the point."

    -Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

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