Friday 5 June 2015

On the periphery – the Caucasian kingdoms (Colchis)

The kingdom of Colchis was to a certain degree a Roman province. However, the “Roman-loving Iberians”, enjoyed Roman protection throughout the 2nd century while remaining semi-independent.

Both Parthia and Rome had a mutual goal of maintaining a barrier against the nomadic tribes north of the Caucasus Mountains and during the 2nd and 3rd century at times helped one another toward that goal.

This changed when the Sassanid came to power.

As the armies for the three Kingdoms have similar composition it was rather fun to devise a theme that would make each distinct from the other. During the period of interest, Colchis was administered as a Roman province with forts in the Roman style found along the coast and the interior. Whether these were garrisoned by Roman auxilia or local militia I am still researching this. I do know of Roman garrisons during the Later Imperial period.

In either case, I decided to give these a slightly Roman influence in clothing colour, so I selected a style similar to Roman Auxilia.

This command have an infantry core of either militia spear or auxilia augmented with hill tribesmen as mercenaries (Ax) or skirmishers (Ps). The mounted are evenly divided between cavalry (Cv/Kn) and light horse.

In some respects, the composition of the command is not unlike the Bosporan army of the same era.

1 x Cv/Kn general
1 x Cv/Kn
4 x LH
4 x 4Sp or 4Ax
2 x 2Ps.

Not shown are additional figures to add mercenary hill tribes (3Ax) and more skirmishers (Ps).

All figures are Essex which make converting or changing positions easy. In this case, spears and shields were clipped free so they could be re-positioned. The spear militia have a lively look about them.

These will have a uniform appearance and I may add the “pill-box” cap later to give them a western look.

While cleaning and re-positioning the arms and shields, I thought these would make great African troops; all have cloaks and a javelin in addition to a spear. Technically, these should have an oval shield for the 3rd century, but this is a minor quibble considering the price I paid for them. 


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