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"Alexander's Silver Shields" Topic

11 Posts

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Action Log

08 Dec 2008 10:55 a.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Changed title from "Alexanders Silver Shields" to "Alexander's Silver Shields"

1,128 hits since 8 Dec 2008
©1994-2016 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Steelback Inactive Member08 Dec 2008 8:37 a.m. PST

Hi guys
I am building a Successor army, and am wondering if anybody
out there can tell me what happened to the Silver Shields,I
have read somewhere that they followed one of his generals
after his death,but I do not know which..and is it true that
most of these veterans were over sixty,or is that another
ancient myth………much appreciated..


Nik Gaukroger08 Dec 2008 8:40 a.m. PST

Eumenes (of Kardia) is the chap you are looking for – try seaching for him and argyraspides and you should find something useful.

louboy06 Inactive Member08 Dec 2008 8:52 a.m. PST

If you read Plutarchs Sertorius-Eumenes that will explain all.

TERMINATOR Inactive Member08 Dec 2008 9:15 a.m. PST

They were indeed that old at the end of the career.
The Argyraspides or Silvershields followed Eumenes who was the most loyal of the Royalist faction in wars following the death of Alexander the Great. At the Battle of Gabiene (316 BCE) the Argyraspides betrayed Eumenes to Antigonus when he captured their baggage train. Antigonus never trusted them, so he had them posted to Arachosia where they could cause little mischief.
The Seleucids had a corps 10,000 strong who used the same title. They were the standing part of the Seleucid foot, versus the main Phalanx who campaigned on a more seasonal basis. The Seleucids were the only one of the Successors states who had a unit so named. They ended up holding the eastern part of Alexander's Empire. Maybe they ended up with the last of the Argyraspides and their Standards, etcetera. This may have given them rights to the name, so to speak.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP08 Dec 2008 10:19 a.m. PST

Mary Renault has a marvelous description of them in "Funeral Games", the last in her "Alexander" trilogy.
She calls them "terrible old men". Perhaps Prachett's Silver Horde are based on them? grin

Natholeon08 Dec 2008 6:17 p.m. PST

Further to the posting to Arachosia, it is my understanding that they were split into penny packets and assigned difficult missions, in the hope that they wouldn't come back. At the very least they wouldn't all be together as a potential threat.

JJartist08 Dec 2008 9:16 p.m. PST

The argyraspides were Alexander's old guard by the time he ruled at Babylon. After Alexander's death they served under Perdikkas, and were in Egypt when Ptolemy defeated him. Perdikkas was assasinated by his officers and the unit was involved in the negotiations at Triparadisus.

Later they were part of Eumenes army against Antigonos Monopthamus. The drawn battle of Gabiene shifted in Antgionos' favor when the Silver shields gave up their officers and Eumenes in return for their baggage. They were then disbanded by Antigonos.

All these events are described in much greater detail by Arrian and Plutarch.

Arrian Events after Alexander


Plutarch Eumenes



Steelback Inactive Member09 Dec 2008 1:02 p.m. PST

Thanks guys…………..

xenophon Supporting Member of TMP09 Feb 2012 8:31 a.m. PST

How have others depicted the "infamous" silver shields? Did you paint silver shields with patterns on them or some other variation?

Stuart at Great Escape Games Sponsoring Member of TMP09 Feb 2012 9:04 a.m. PST

‘For indeed [the Argyraspides] were the oldest of Philip's and Alexander's soldiers, tried men, that had long made war their exercise, that had never been beaten or foiled; most of them seventy, none less than sixty years old. And so when they charged Antigonus's men, they cried out, "You fight against your fathers you rascals," and furiously falling on, routed the whole phalanx at once, nobody being able to stand them, and the greatest part dying by their hands.'

Plutarch on the Battle of Gabiene (316 BCE)

Doubtless there is artistic licence utilised here…

DeanMoto Inactive Member12 Feb 2012 3:03 p.m. PST

I found most intriguing the passage that on Antigonus' orders they were sent in two's and three's on dangerous missions – with the intent of their eventual demise. This after they'd been sent out Bactria way after their treason against Eumenes. What wonderful exploits some of them must've managed – possibly the precursors to "The Man Who Would Be King."

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