Wednesday 20 December 2023

ProjectSeleukid - agema, camelry and the end of year round-up

My final unit/s of 2023 for Project Seleukid are four companies of Arab camelry. These are Perry Mahdist camel riders with a couple of head-swaps and added bow-cases. They are lovely sculpts, but I do worry about how delicate some of the ankles are on those camels.

Antiochos fielded an undisclosed number of Arabs fighting from camel-back at the battle of Magnesia. Both Appian and Livy give limited details about these forces; they were specified as archers who also carried a long sword for melee. Their position in the battle, screening the left wing suggests that they served as mounted skirmishers and that the sword was intended as a worst-case-scenario tool rather than part of their principal kit.
Neither Livy nor Appian mention whether the camelry also wore armour. According to Herodotus, the Arabian camelry who fought during the Greco-Persian wars were armoured (and possibly armed) in the same manner as their infantry archers; this means that they wore a long, thick robe with a girdle. However, the Roman period sculptural representations from Dura-Europos show a Palmyrene camelryman wearing a cuirass, trousers, and either a knee-length boot or an ankle boot and greaves. The Dura rider carries a small round shield and a quiver.

The Perry camelry carry spears, long swords and round, camel-hide shields but shouldn't be too far off the mark. The gorytos bow cases are spares from the Victrix Persian infantry kit and are (hopefully) not unreasonable.

The last of Andrew's heavy cavalry for our Magnesia line-up are the Agema. They were one of two elite Seleukid cavalry units, each 1,000 strong, who appear to have served alternatively or together as the king's bodyguard. The agema were initially drawn from the best Iranian horsemen in the kingdom and were thus composed at Magnesia. However, after the loss of Media in the 140s BC, the Agema seem to have been recruited from the city of Larissa in Syria, a colony settled by Thessalians a century and a half before. The other unit, whom I will be building next year, were the Royal Companion cavalry, drawn from the best horsemen of Greco-Macedonian descent in the kingdom.
He has also completed another two bases of eastern archers, bringing his total to four companies.

Andrew's tally for the project so far, 118 infantry, 41 cavalry and 2 elephants. He has gone above and beyond the requirements for the Magnesia order of battle, but still needs three units of skirmishers (or 18 more foot), and two units of light horse (8 mounted).

Meanwhile, I am up to 68 infantry and 8 camelry, with 57 infantry, 28 cavalry, an elephant and two scythed chariots to go. Not such a strong showing, but then Andrew is just showing off... :)


  1. Coming along splendidly.
    Alan Tradgardland

  2. Excellent project. Nice figures

  3. Fantastic units here...and first class camels!