Help support TMP

"Osprey Macedonian Armies after Alexander, 323-168 BC" Topic

37 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

Please do not use bad language on the forums.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the Ancients Media Message Board

Back to the Ancients Discussion Message Board

Areas of Interest


Featured Hobby News Article

Featured Link

Top-Rated Ruleset


Rating: gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star 

Featured Showcase Article

Gladiators & Centaurs

Blue Table Painting paints some of the latest releases from Bronze Age Miniatures.

Featured Workbench Article

6,757 hits since 25 Mar 2012
©1994-2022 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Ivan DBA25 Mar 2012 4:18 p.m. PST

A long-overdue addition. I'm sorry to see that Sekunda is writing it though, I wasn't impressed with his other stuff.

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP25 Mar 2012 5:48 p.m. PST

Second that.

JJartist25 Mar 2012 8:37 p.m. PST

This should be interesting.

Keraunos25 Mar 2012 11:30 p.m. PST

makes a change from fighting over the illustrations, I suppose…

Ivan DBA26 Mar 2012 4:22 a.m. PST

Basically, he has a tendency to make huge intuitive leaps from tiny and isolated bits of evidence. And then writes as if his wild guesses are well established facts. For example, his position the that the Ptolemaic army had entirely abandoned the pike in favor of thereuophoroi at a relatively early date. And his interpretations of the Alexander Sarcophagus: he starts speculating different figures on it are from different units based on tiny differences in their equipment, without acknowledging the fact that we just have no idea to what degree they had uniforms at all, let alone unit-specific ones.

MWCentre26 Mar 2012 7:46 a.m. PST

It will have to be a very big book to cover that period of time!

Keraunos26 Mar 2012 7:52 a.m. PST

so you didn't like his (non osprey) later romanised ptolemeic and seleucid books.

any others, or just those two (quite old) books which are colouring your view?

Ivan DBA26 Mar 2012 7:55 p.m. PST

Just those two, and his osprey on Alexander's army. Why? Has he done others since that are better?

I'm not trying to be hostile, I'll probably pick this one up if the illustrations are good.

Keraunos26 Mar 2012 11:37 p.m. PST

his early roman armies and republican roman army
ancient persia
Ancient greek warriors

all good titles, IMHO.

(BTW, recenty digitised ptolemeic papyrus apear to show reference to thorakatai, whcih is quite interesting in this context)

JJartist27 Mar 2012 8:39 a.m. PST

Sekunda's theories are interesting, at least he presents sources and includes the reference art for his theories. One can agree or disagree with conclusions, but often his works advance the envelope of study.
I reckon he will include some of the work he has done for Epirote guards and the Macedonian guards at Pydna in other publications. There is source proof that uniformity existed in Hellenistic and Persian armies.
The common issue with his Successor set is that people don't seem to get that he is simply arguing for an earlier adoption of Romanized gear, than before…. it's just historical hair splitting as the adoption of Roman gear and practice is not disputed.

GurKhan28 Mar 2012 8:43 a.m. PST

I'll always buy Sekunda's books, even if I end up disagreeing with them in places (on things like uniformity). He usually turns up new evidence or considers it from a new angle and his analyses are always interesting. I've pre-ordered this one already.

The Young Guard28 Mar 2012 9:40 a.m. PST

I'm confused.

Is this book only covering the armies of Macedonia or is it looking at the other main successor states as well??

If so……a men at arms, though better than nothing….isn't going to be enough!

JJartist28 Mar 2012 11:23 a.m. PST

It seems from the rather clear title that it will cover Macedonian armies, for which there is quite a bit of scattered materials and information and artwork- enough to fill a book. I hope it will be a good one. I expect that Osprey will fill in with Ptolemaic and Seleucid books and that they will cover the periods after Alexander as well.. unlike the Montverts which focus on the period mostly after the Roman conquest.

The Young Guard28 Mar 2012 1:34 p.m. PST

JJartist, whilst I would have initially has shared your opinion on the 'rather clear title' it was the last paragraph from Gattamalata that threw me!

"Drawing upon a wide array of archaeological and written sources and written by a noted authority on the Hellenistic period, this survey of the organisation, battle history and appearance of the armies of Alexander's successors is lavishly illustrated with specially commissioned full-colour artwork. It is an essential resource for all those interested in the development of warfare in the Eastern Mediterranean and Near East in the turbulent centuries following the death of Alexander."

As you said old son, I bloody hope Osprey have separated each successors with their own books!

Marcus Maximus31 Mar 2012 10:00 a.m. PST

I have many of Sekunda's works including his published "Hellenistic Infantry Reform in 160's BC" and I find his work fascinating and IMHO his observations are sometimes different, but thought provoking. He does not do anything different from the likes of D.Head, Stillman, Hanson, Waldemar, Ranitzsch, Karunanithy spring to mind, what he does do is be brave in his thesis on a topic. And, we wargames need to thank him for his huge input into our "sphere of relevance". Without his input our wargaming world would be a poorer place. (and if you disagree with me just see how many people now have their Thureophoroi painted as the troops in his Montvert (including me!)). I do not find him telling me this and that, what I do find is that he supports his statements with evidence and he always lets you draw your own conclusions.

Thank you Osprey for what should be another gap filled in a wargaming era lacking with some solid literature, but please a separate book on each succesor army….

wargame insomniac28 Apr 2012 3:21 p.m. PST

When is it released? Can't see a date on Amazon.

JJartist25 Nov 2012 9:45 p.m. PST

Arrived last week, and I finally got to read it. I'd say it is a good companion to Sekunda's Ptolemaic and Seleucid Montverts. The subject has been due a look for some time.

The book focuses on Macedonian Successors-- which means Macedonia itself- so he stays locked in. This is good because it would be impossible to cover the armies of the Successors in total, or even the splinter armies such as Epirus. The author focuses on our known sources for Macedonian garb and gear. In that he does a good job. The presentation is clear and the positions given some source coverage.

There is Sekundas belief that the peltast guards of the Antigonids were unarmored. The evidence is scanty, and he presents it here, albeit there is more meat in his earlier Military Illustrated article where he first makes the claim, than here.

The book will raise some gamer eyebrows as some of the hard and fast conclusions of the WRG sect come under fire here. There are quite a few claims that directly contradict many conclusions of Duncan Head's AMPW, the bible for wargamers on the subject. Some will cause heads to explode, others just show how close AMPW is, and how well it has held up for thirty years. The good news is that Sekunda uses less of his sources to demonstrate uniforms… except in the case of source stated uniforms.

But this will cause all sorts of delightful rancor… I can remember when I showed up with my Scruby 20mm phalangites in blue helmets, in 1974-- people laughed at me when I told the the helmets werer blue on the Alexander Sarcophagus- I had gone to UCLA and found a book that had color photos.. I reckon those laughers head's exploded later in life..

Just off the top of my head, her's a number of Sekunda's stated facts, that will or will not be debated at great length.

One: Shoes and boots are only worn by cavalry, except infantry in the winter. I'm not so sure about the blanket statement there.

Two: The Leukaspides are gone--- no white shield phalanx, just troops carrying white shields, not phalangites.. heads will explode!

Three: Peltastoi carry dinky shields.

Four: it's the not the shield size , it's the handgrip, so any large shield can be carried with a pike… neck straps are manufactured?? (sounds of heads exploding)

Five: Cavalry carry xyston and shield.. sploosh head sploosh!!

Six: Pilos helmet with cheek pieces more common that thought as phalangite gear. Phalangites in front ranks only ones armored.

Seven: Xyston is not of a determined length (which I agree with, but he shoes them being darn long).

Eight: Scale armor.

Nine: Ash wood for pikes- Cornell too short.

Ten: I guess the most controversial thing to me is that he identifies Lyson and Kallilkles as infantry and cavalry officers, I think it's fair to say that is possible- but it seems a stretch to determine it.

The best part of the book is the artwork by Peter Dennis who has done a fine job of turning frescoes and coins and stelae into clear illustrations…. not much for action, but clear definitions for gamers to consult, and each illustration is clearly based on an ancient source, so it is not bogus… some will argue the neverending argument that Sekunda likes violet purple over magenta purple and Murex dyes are more magenta, but that does not hurt the presentation at all.

This is a great picture book that has some ideas that will rock the miniature gaming community's standards of what make a Macedonian look Macedonian… so it's a good acquisition for those interested in the period, and a good pair up with the Osprey on the Thracians.

So enjoy having your heads explode..sploosh!! No leukaspides?? Sploosh!!!

Have fun.

Keraunos26 Nov 2012 7:58 a.m. PST

good review JJ, well done.

ether drake26 Nov 2012 10:09 a.m. PST

Thankss for the review. I'm also a little leery on Sekunda after his Spartan book – the whole no moustache thing when the book featured sculptures with moustaches – but it's still worth considering his views.

Btw, on a related note, Osprey's latest Spartan warrior may also produce some head explosions with its defence of Spartan moustaches and the claim (somewhat poorly substantiated) that there were NO aspis blazons (i.e. not even a lambda) by the late Peloponnesian War period.

Personal logo BigRedBat Sponsoring Member of TMP26 Nov 2012 12:52 p.m. PST

I also received this a coupel of days back, and have briefly skimmed it. Although no expert, I also found myself scratching my head over the clear identification of Lyson and Kallilkles as infantry and cavalry officers. Although possible, it didn't feel proven to me. Also was surprised to see Phillip V with a xyston.

I'm now going back to read the other points that JJ has spotted…

It is a nice little book, with great illustrations, and a little head exploding probably won't be fatal! ;-)

Cheers, Simon

The Young Guard26 Nov 2012 3:10 p.m. PST

Cool I clearly need this book.

Let's hope the other successor armies get covered soonish!!!

Head exploding is good for you, it clears out the cobwebs from those all to stagnant opinions….

Things change over time particularly as more sources are uncovered. Besides how can we be certain on the appearance of soldiers of 2000 years ago when we struggle with those of 200 to 300 years ago.!

Personal logo oldbob Supporting Member of TMP26 Nov 2012 3:43 p.m. PST

DasUberSoldat262; very good point!

JJartist26 Nov 2012 3:50 p.m. PST

Well the idea of the leukaspides being something other than a pike phalanx throws a large monkey wrench into the current standard description of Pydna and Sellasia. If the White shields are not a phalanx, then deployment opposite Roman legions makes their deployments much more tenuous. For example if one legion plus allies faced "Thracians", as Sekunda's new interpretation states, then there must have been at least 8,000 Thracians, or the numbers are seriously skewed (and it's harder to pack in Thracians as deep as a phalanx). At Sellasia if the white shields are Thracians and Thureophoroi, then assaulting then Spartan position seems extremely futile, and the description of the "peltast" phalanx passing through them makes almost more sense, if the light armored white shields were sacrificial lambs…

So that's the single biggest discussion point created by this book….IMHO.

Craig R Davey26 Nov 2012 3:59 p.m. PST

Sounds like I need to read the book and not just look at the pictures!


LEGION 195027 Nov 2012 7:53 a.m. PST

I can not wait to get mine!!!!!!! Cheers Mike Adams

The Young Guard27 Nov 2012 1:27 p.m. PST

I will be getting mine this weekend, Waterstones depending.

Could it be the Leukaspides were armed as Imitation legions?

I've not read the book I must add

JJartist27 Nov 2012 4:42 p.m. PST

"Could it be the Leukaspides were armed as Imitation legions?"

Not likely the Antigonids did not last long enough to try that. Of course we have little information how Andriscus wiped out the first Roman army sent against him :)


Aristonicus28 Nov 2012 11:11 p.m. PST

If the Leukaspides weren't 'armed in the Macedonian style' then this statement from Plutarch doesn't make sense:

Plutarch, Life of Cleomenes 23. 1.

"After Antigonus had taken Tegea by siege, and had surprised Orchomenus and Mantineia, Cleomenes, now reduced to the narrow confines of Laconia, set free those of the Helots who could pay down five Attic minas (thereby raising a sum of five hundred talents), armed two thousand of them in Macedonian fashion as an offset to the White Shields of Antigonus, and planned an undertaking which was great and entirely unexpected."

Personal logo BigRedBat Sponsoring Member of TMP29 Nov 2012 3:01 a.m. PST

That's a good spot, Aristonicus! Looks fairly conclusive to me.

I wonder how the helots would have appeared? Perhaps white shields, and felt or bronze pilos? Would be a fun unit to model.


CooperSteveOnTheLaptop29 Nov 2012 11:30 a.m. PST


JJartist29 Nov 2012 12:04 p.m. PST

Plutarch, Life of Cleomenes 23. 1.

Correct!!! I did not say I agreed with Sekunda's premise… but it certainly causes much fodder for discussion aka head explosions. The whole Sellasia battle plan involves two divisions of phalanx, or three including the peltasts in reserve. So it's clear that the bronze shields are on the right, and the white shields are on the left, and the white shields are defeated by the Spartan wing and their retrofitted pike phalanx. So it is entirely unclear how Sekunda can dismiss this entirely, but OTOH one cannot expect him to explain all this in an Osprey format… but it is a rather large rock to drop in the soup!!

And yes the Spartan phalanx is an interesting "what if unit" , by that I mean .. what if we had any idea what they would look like :)

My total guess is that they would be like normal Spartans with a lot of pilos helmets, some armored and some unarmored. Just add pikes and smaller shields and shield straps (if you don't believe Sekunda's dismissal of that item. The Victrix Spartan plastics would be good, amny of them mixed with their mercenary pack would make an awseome late Spartan phalanx useable for Cleomene's and later on the Spartan phalanxes that fought the Achaean League.

Personal logo BigRedBat Sponsoring Member of TMP29 Nov 2012 12:48 p.m. PST

JJ I agree, a Sparrtan phalanx would be a lot of fun! Some of the Foundry Macedonians have felt or metal pilos, and would fit in nicely. A great project, if a little specialised…

Cheers, Simon

John the Selucid29 Nov 2012 1:08 p.m. PST

Hm- well I could live with macedonian cavalry being armed with xyston and shield if that becomes the accepted norm (not sure I believe it though, unless xyston could be much shorter than generally accepted), but just hope this idea doesn't spread to other successor armies. Only a few years back (well maybe 5 or so) that I gave up on idea of Selucid companions with spear and shield on armoured horses! the men have since been given unarmoured horses and joined the macedonian army and the horses are waiting for me to get round to painting some Arminian riders!
Historians seem to keep coming up with new ideas faster than I can paint.

JJartist29 Nov 2012 4:32 p.m. PST

"Historians seem to keep coming up with new ideas faster than I can paint.

There is a coin that shows a cavalryman with spear and shield in the book, not just javelins or short spears… the xyston is not a slam dunk at 12 feet long, so I am in accord with some of this… since the xyston is more like a lance-- the type that Napoleonic cavalry or Bengal lancers carried… a lot lighter and flimsier than a kontos. So the issue mainly is with heft and weight, if a xyston can be wielded in one hand easily-- as is described in sources then I reckon it can be used with a shield. The main reason that xystophoroi are not shown with shields in most of our surviving sources, is that they are too early to have partaken in the general craze of adopting shields for cavalry that started after 300 BC or so.

Marcus Maximus04 Mar 2013 2:01 p.m. PST

Noticed some points raised about this latest Osprey will have to get it and see what the fuss is about. But a point to remember is this: The issue on clarity(?!) full description has been raised by Nicholas Sekunda himself – that there is not enough space allowed in an Osprey to do full justice to some the statements / arguments made. Hence why he brought out Hellenistic Infantry Reform in 160's BC AFTER the Montverts. In fact I'm sure in one of my Ospreys the text stops half way through a statement.

Also, I'm sure as more research is done more will be unearthed and along with more chnages to our current thoughts and ideas. Like I said I need to get this and have a good read through it, to make any judgements.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.