Sunday 21 October 2018

10mm Early Macedonian Hippeis

This week I pushed some 10mm 'Greeks' for my Men of Bronze project up the painting queue (I do hope it's a good game!). The first unit to be painted are the Macedonian heavy cavalry - you can call them hippeis (knights) or hetairoi (companions), take your pick. The miniatures are Magister Militum Thracian light cavalry with green stuff petasoi (as mentioned here).

Thucydides makes a point of saying the Macedonian noble cavalry of the 5th century (429 BC specifically) were about the only capable fighting force in the country - the infantry being unable to stand up to either Greek hoplites of Thracian peltasts. 

"The Macedonians never even thought of meeting him with infantry; but the Thracian host was, as opportunity offered, attacked by handfuls of their horse, which had been reinforced from their allies in the interior. Armed with cuirasses, and excellent horsemen, wherever these charged they overthrew all before them, but ran considerable risk in entangling themselves in the masses of the enemy, and so finally desisted from these efforts, deciding that they were not strong enough to venture against numbers so superior."
Thucydides 2.100.5

My early Macedonian hippeis were loosely based on the obverse types of the coinage of Alexander I Philhellene (c.498-454 BC), Perdikkas II (c.454-413 BC) and Archelaos (c.413-399 BC) which show a heroically nude rider wearing a chlamys (traveling cloak), petasos (sun hat) and carrying one or two long spears. 

The Magister Militum Thracians have long sleeved chitons which is plausible for Macedonians. Certainly the late 4th century Alexander Sarcophagus from Sidon shows Macedonians with long sleeves, as does the much later Alexander Mosaic from Pompeii.

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