Thursday 4 June 2015

On the periphery – the Caucasian kingdoms

My primary goal in collecting these kingdoms was to expand scenario options outside the standard Rome vs Parthia, or later Sassan themes.

During the 2nd and 3rd centuries, the major powers were busy securing one of the most important barriers keeping the nomadic hordes at bay, the Caucasus. Both Rome, Armenia and later Sassan would in turn would set their preferred ruler on the throne of the kingdoms and send military assistance to keep that barrier secured.

Creating an army list
We know Iberian and Albanian troops serving Armenia are listed (DBM) as javelin armed auxiliaries or bow armed fighting in open order (Ps) with smaller numbers fighting in loose order (Bw).

Like their predecessors that remained in the mountainous region (Scythian) we can add a mounted force to our list. The nomadic armies are substantially small numbers of armoured nobles with the majority being bow or javelin armed.

There are Iberian archaeological finds depicting hunting scenes of javelin and bow armed figures killing deer and wild boar. Riders are bare-headed and wear typical Persian style of clothing; loose trousers and hip length shirt or coat.

Iberian and Albanian lists might follow an Armenian one, however reviewing related lists (Scythian to Georgian) I would incline to downgrade cataphracts to cavalry and have total number mounted vary from 1/3 to 1/2 of the army.

A speculative list for our game purposes might look like this:

Iberia and Albania
1 x 3Cv or 3Kn General and bodyguard {1}
1 x 3Cv or 3Kn {1}
2 x 2LH
4 x 3Ax javelin armed tribesmen
2 x 2Ps or 3Bw
1 x 3Ax or 2LH
1 x 2Ps or 2LH

{1} The selection of Cv or Kn class would reflect which major power is extending influence in the kingdom at the time; Rome and Armenia (Cv) or Persia (Kn). Although Parthia and Sassan placed members of the royal family on the throne, Sassan would offer greater military support. Nonetheless, more research is need in this area.

On the subject of economics, one of the useful references listed by H. Sidebottom in the Warrior of Rome, The Caspian Gates is "Georgia in Antiquity: A History of Colchis and Transcaucasian Iberia, 550 BC-AD 562” by D. Braund. At a list price of £116.00, this is a serious investment. I will see what can be sourced first around the net before taking the plunge.

Next, the individual kingdoms.

1 comment:

  1. See if you can get the book on ILL through your local library.