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Paskal Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2017 9:10 a.m. PST

Presentation

The sparabara belong to the army of the Persian Empire at its zenith, that which followed Cyrus II the Great, Cambyses, Darius I and Xerxes I in their conquests, the one that then resisted The Western Front to the League of Delos.


Because from -450, the nature of the army changes profoundly, with the appearance of archers with shield-shaped crescent, then the kardakes.

Even if sparabara are mentioned in Cunaxa (-401), it is not certain that it is really the traditional infantry (but which then?) And its disappearance of the art towards -450 suggests that " It was replaced by the new infantry, at least in the western regions.

Historical

The two palaces of Darius I, at Persepolis and Susa, abound with more than a thousand representations of infantry, but no cavalier.

If we do not neglect the role of the mounted troops, it does not strike me as exaggerated to say that the infantry are the heart of the Persian Army of high epoch.

The fighter mode of the bulk of the Persian infantry has shed much ink.

Indeed, it is difficult to reconcile the four different sources, namely Greek authors (especially Herodotus), Greek art (especially representations on vases), Perseus Persian art and Susa (which particularly represents the Palatine Guard ) And other Persian representations, especially on cylinder seals.

If the best-known guards at Persepolis have no shields, or a shield in the form of eight, other representations clearly show them with a large square shield, which corresponds to the gerrha (wicker shield) of Herodotus and Of the "walls of shields" which he evokes at Platée (IX 61) and at Mycale (IX 102).

We know that the Persian word for this kind of shield was spara, hence sparabara, "bearers of spara".

The difficulty is that Herodotus gives Persian soldiers shield, lance and bow; Now, the soldiers of Persepolis never have the three together.

What is more, Greek art most often shows an archer without a shield, who fights in hand to hand with a sword or an ax.

It is not a mere artistic convention, for the shields in crescent archers later are amply illustrated.

From these findings came the idea – alas, far from being universally accepted, for there is no artistic or literary representation – that the first line of the Persian infantry was equipped with a spara and a While the next ranks were archers.

It is also evident from the art that the spara could stand upright by a hold, which would eventually have liberated the hands of the spear to use his bow according to the tactical situation.

What Herodotus mentions.

The rationing tablets of Persepolis mention a "leader of a row of ten", which gives the probable depth of the formation.

Herodotus also indicates that once their wall of shields destroyed by the hoplites, the Persians went out to fight "in groups of ten, sometimes more, sometimes less", which is concordant without being conclusive.

As for Xenophon, he mentions a "chief of five" but for a much later period (around -400).

Even if it is not the only explanation possible, it seems reasonable.

However, I will make one additional observation.

Given the recruitment of part of the Persian Army (see below), and the fact that each soldier clearly brought his own equipment, it seems unlikely that one in ten soldiers should bring equipment different from the others , Which requires a complex organization.

So there are two solutions:

- all the soldiers of a unit brought the same equipment, that is to say, bow, lance and spara.

The archers of the rear ranks picked up their spears in hand-to-hand combat.

In disavowal of this idea, the Greek vases never show an archer with a spear.

In his favor, the spear is not shown even when the spara is present; And two Persian seals-cylinders that show an unshielded archer attacking a hoplite with a spear.

- either the first soldier in each row is a trained warrior, provided by the hatru recruitment system or its equivalent (see later).

He must therefore bring a spear, shield and probably a bow, and he learns to use them together with his comrades at the annual gatherings which are amply reported.

The tenth soldier in each line, who is probably his non-commissioned officer, might as well come from the hatru.

As for the others (80% of the unit) they come from wider levies.

They bring the bow of which, according to several Greek authors, each Persian knew how to use, and a sword or an ax that they use at best.

In favor of this interpretation is Greek art, and the reputation of the Persians in an author like Herodotus, who indicates their bravery but their lack of training.

The lancers who served as bodyguards to certain prominent persons (for example, the royal prince mentioned in Mycale, Herodotus IX 107) would be the same who fought in the front row.

In view of all this, it transpires that the spara was made from a thickness of leather, in which was inserted willow branches to form a characteristic pattern, perhaps painted as if to distinguish the units.

Evidently the spears of the sparabara were shorter than those of the Greeks.

The soldiers could wear the "Mede" coat, and it is probable that the infantry was composed not only of Persians, but also of Medes and perhaps other Iranians, such as Bactrians.

Some were unarmed, others could wear a padded linen armor, a Greek-style linothorax, and sometimes an armor of bronze scales, which Herodotus mentions.

Some archers show a characteristic sword, the kopis, and a very particular ax and very popular in Greek art, the sagaris.

The absence of other units of infantry can surprise: the army of Xerxes gathered more than 50 national contingents in the famous description of Herodotus that you will find on this forum …

However, the parade he describes is more of an imperial logic – the defile before the monarch of the subjected nations – than of a military logic.

The Greek authors are clear, especially the Iranian troops – Persians, Medes, Bactrians, Scythians – who actually fight.

Thus, after the defeat of Salamis and the departure of Xerxes, it was exactly these four contingents that Mardonius chose for his army.

He added only the most formidable foreign troops – the Indians and sailors of the Egyptian fleet – but among the 47 other contingents only "the most valiant men" (Herodotus VIII 113).

Habit "Mede" and coat "Perse"


The wearing of a tunic and trousers is common to all Iranian peoples, and it is clear that the so-called "Mede" coat was also that of the Persians also, originally.

Although it is, in my opinion, risky to reject the testimony of Persian art, Greek art in any case suggests that it was this "Mede" coat that was privileged in combat for its practical qualities.

The pants were decorated with patterns in geometric rows.

One or two tunics were worn, one shorter than the other and generally of different colors, with or without patterns. One or the other could be sleeveless.

Over his tunics, the warriors sometimes wore a thick long-sleeved jacket, the kandys.

In warmer weather, the kandys served as a cape, the sleeves then running along the back.

The nobles wore a purple-colored kandy, to which the Great King added a white band.

The famous headgear of the "Mede" costume, which Herodotus calls the tiara, is a soft cap whose crown falls forward or to the side.

Only the Great King is entitled to wear the "right tiara" (which is seen on the head of Darius III on the famous mosaic where he confronts Alexander).

This headgear has three tabs, one of which falls on the neck and the other two on the cheeks. The wearer can also tie them behind the head, under the chin, or even to cover the mouth. Above the king and the nobles could wear a circle of precious metal.

The so-called "Perse", which is abundantly represented in Persepolis and is well known by the so-called "Immortal" reliefs, was probably borrowed from the Elamites, who exerted considerable influence on the young Iranian kingdom.

Undoubtedly a court dress before all, it is nonetheless sometimes worn in combat, especially by the king but not exclusively.

The recruitment of the Achaemenid army

The subject of their recruitment is interesting to measure the quality of the Achaemenid troops.

When the Persians conquered Babylonia, they implanted a new system – even though it had precedents in the area – called hatru.

This system probably existed in Persia itself, and it is not improbable that it was exported to other parts of the Empire, as evidenced by practices in Egyptian Achaemenid.

Hatru is a community that receives a territory that it cultivates in the form of family lots, which are inalienable but can be given as an inheritance.

In return for this royal gift, the operator owes a set of obligations that are collectively known as ilku.

Ilku includes taxes, chores and, often but not systematically, a military obligation.

In the latter case, the lot is known as the "arc domain" (bit qašti), "horse domain" (bit sisi) or "charging domain" (bit narkatbi), depending on its importance.

Such hatru must provide, for each lot concerned, the sab Šarri, that is to say, "the soldier of the king", equipped like archer on foot or as a rider according to the obligations which weigh to him.

The discussion is very technical, but as I understand it, one soldier is in charge of each lot, and these lots are held by several people in division or joint ownership.

Thus one reads contracts between two holders of a lot, where one volunteers to be sab šarri if the other undertakes to equip it.

Because the sab Šarri are provided with their equipment and with the sum of money necessary to reach the place of mobilization.

Obligations sometimes weigh heavily; In an example reported in a Babylonian shelf, the sab Šarri, here a rider, must take with him 12 infantrymen lightly equipped.

I do not know what equipment the narkabti bit matches; This is certainly not to be related to the late floats because the texts are much earlier.

The texts mention hatru farmers who are indebted to equip the saršarri by the mortgage of future harvests.

As Xenophon points out, the sab Šarri were subjected to an annual review, for which they gathered at a specific place.

Undoubtedly several thousand were gathered, for large military exercises.

I ventured to suggest that these sab Šarri formed the first and last rank of the sparabara to the territorial component of the Persian army.

This system is to be related to another practice of the Persians, inherited from the Mesopotamian empires, that of deporting conquered peoples; The most famous example is the deportation of the Jews to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar.

These deportations are far from those practiced in modern times.

If one of the objectives is of course to break the solidarities of the places of revolt, the other is to put into production other regions of the Empire.

Herodotus states that the population of Miletus, Deported to Sogdiana, suffered no other evil.

Because the deportees receive hatru, who are therefore of strong ethnic composition.

Thus, in Babylon of the time of Darius I, there is a hatru of the Saces, a hatru of the Elamites, and so on.

Euboeans from Greece are settled in Elam, from the Egyptians to Nippur. At Elephantine in Egpyte there is a Jewish community of several thousand souls, with a system similar to the hatru.

I do not know if these hatru there provided sab šarri and if they were integrated in composite units, but this seems unlikely.

Probably they provided the "most valiant men" of the contingents whose existence has already been noted.

Another phenomenon of the Persian Empire is the dôrea (Greek word, the Persian equivalent is unknown).

The Great King gives land to his favorites, or to princes or princesses of the Achaemenid lineage, or even to sanctuaries.

They are not "estates" because the land concerned is generally fragmented, thus depriving the beneficiaries of territorial bases too large.

Moreover, they remain "lands of the king", which can theoretically take them back at any time.

However, their cumulative surface area may be very large.

The holders of dôrea are liable for the obligations of the hatru which they group together.

Thus a noble Persian by the name of Spithridates furnishes at his own expense a troop of no less than 200 cavalry to the satrapal army.

We can easily imagine that such a troop possesses a cohesion and an unusual combat quality.

The dôrea can also be held by strangers, the most famous example being Themistocles.

Exiled from Athens, he found favor with the Great King, who gave him the income of several towns in the region of Magnesia.

The theory is that the quality of sab Šarri has declined gradually, because with time and economic play, the hatru were no longer in the hands of people wishing to participate actively in the war.

Some liquidated their obligations in money, which allowed the satraps and the Great King to hire mercenaries, certainly professional but little attached to the Empire.

It is this process that explains the disintegration of Darius III.

Briant's research shows, on the other hand, that the hatru was still alive, at least until the middle of the 4th century, and that the obligation of sab Šarri continued to weigh heavily on the colonies.


The mercenaries

To supplement their forces, or to respond to a specific crisis, especially at the level of a satrapy, the Persians gladly appealed to the mercenarism of the most warlike peoples of their Empire or beyond.

The mercenary is distinguished from the colonist by enlisting of his own free will, according to the choices of the moment and not according to the obligations arising from past choices.

The Persians had garrisons at the strategic points of the Empire, and it would appear that many of them were mercenaries.

The most sought after were the Chalybes of Armenia, the Khaldi of the former Urartu, the Mardes, the Arabs and of course the Greeks.

The thesis of a military decline of Persia is that the colonists who paid their military obligations by a discharge of money led the Persians to resort more and more often to the mercenaries.

Greek historiography, at the same time, advances the thesis that the Persians were lost without their valiant Hellenic mercenaries and without the Greek strategists who advised the Persian satraps sprawled in their luxury.

On the one hand, the Persians have always employed mercenaries; on the other hand, the Greeks were not the only ones, and their role was often secondary.

On the other hand, it is evident that the Greeks employed in large numbers by Darius III did not allow him to defeat Alexander.

Under these conditions, the military value of the Persians and their traditional Iranian allies deserves to be re-examined.

My single question is, in 25/30 mm which are the best figurines to represent the Sparabara?

Later

Breton

JJartist10 Jun 2017 1:55 p.m. PST

My single question is, in 25/30 mm which are the best figurines to represent the Sparabara?

I like these:
link

I like these but they are a bit bigger and solid:
link

1st Corps shields are the best, their figures are nice closer to 25mm:
link

The old Foundry are cool, closer in size to 1st Corps:
link

evilgong10 Jun 2017 5:49 p.m. PST

Thanks for posting your ideas.

I think the Achaemenid Persians have suffered inaccuracy fostered by wargaming myth, built on the ideas of the earliest army lists, that seems hard to shake.

The idea they were a multicultural rabble of slaves and unwilling conscripts lives on – yes such troops were a part of their force but nothing like the full and detailed story.

By way of an example of how old ideas hang about, Duncan H and I had to do a determined double-team on Phil Barker for him to accept evidence for the 'Babylonian'-style chariots into army lists.

I'd caution about reading too much into art. We need to remember it's not photojournalism – but what else beyond scattered written sources do we have?

All my Persians are 15mm, I can't give advice on larger.

Regards

David F Brown.

goragrad10 Jun 2017 8:52 p.m. PST

Interesting post.

My older figures are Minifigs, so not really up on the latest research.

As with evilgong, my current Persians are 15mm so can't really advise.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2017 11:58 p.m. PST

JJartist

Casting Room (PER026) have neither spara nor lances …

Those of Sgt Major Miniatures – Bloody Day 28mm Ancients-1st Corps- and Wargames foundry seem perfect … (I'm talking about equipments and outfits.

Thanks for posting your ideas.

Mr. David F Brown,thank you for your compliment, my sources are Herodotus (Greek: όρόδοτος / Hęródotos (-480 to Halicarnassus in Caria – 425 BC to Thourioi) is a Greek historian and geographer, He was nicknamed the "Father of History" by Cicero, as the author of a great historical work, the Histories – also called the Investigations – centered around the Medic wars, Herodotus explains the causes of the war and makes numerous digressions, called logoi, on the history, customs and countries of the belligerents and dozens of other peoples all around the Mediterranean, He was one of the precursors of universal history, and his travels included him among the first geographers and his exposition of the Dialogue between Otanes, Megabyse and Darius constitutes one of the first authentic documents in which di Stating and comparing the various types of government (democracy, oligarchy, monarchy).

Goragrad thank you for your compliment, but unfortunately, Herodotus is like you, it does not indicate either, what figures of 25/30 mm use … LOL!

Personal logo BigRedBat Sponsoring Member of TMP11 Jun 2017 10:45 a.m. PST

The Miniature Company has a new range in larger 28mm:-

link

Ivan DBA11 Jun 2017 5:42 p.m. PST

Next time you should state what your question or topic is at the outset. I gather you are asking something about how sparabara were armed or dressed, or perhaps arguing a particular interpretation. But without a proper introduction it's not clear what you are posting about … and most folks can't be bothered to read such a lengthy post to find out.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP11 Jun 2017 11:36 p.m. PST

Thank you BigRedBat because indeed the 28mm Achaemenid Persian Archers and Spara Bearers of The Miniature Company also look very good …

Ivan DBA writes:

Next time you should state what your question or topic is at the outset.

Breton:

No otherwise people do not have the pleasure to read the topic …

Ivan DBA writes:

I gather you are asking something about how sparabara were armed or dressed, or perhaps arguing a particular interpretation. But without a proper introduction it's not clear what you are posting about …

Breton:

No I say how I think they were and I ask which are the best figurines to represent them according to the opinion of each one. What are yours in your opinion, if you have one?

Ivan DBA writes:

and most folks can not be bothered to read such a lengthy post to find out.

Breton:

Those who are not able to read a simple article like this or who catch a bad headache when reading it, must not read much and often or that the sparabara do not interest them …

Ivan DBA13 Jun 2017 6:29 a.m. PST

You would have gotten more responses if you have said, either in the title, or in the first sentence, "Best Sparabara figures?" or "Most accurate sparabara figures?"

But by all means, if you enjoy posting walls of text that no one reads, and getting minimal answers, knock yourself out. Hope you don't have to do any writing for your dayjob.

Marcus Brutus13 Jun 2017 11:07 a.m. PST

I agree with Ivan. A title and a brief introduction would have helped keep my interest in reading your entry. Also, the way your material was organized made it difficult to read. Paragraphs are important. I gave up fairly early on.

Elenderil15 Jun 2017 5:55 a.m. PST

I was always taught to write in the format:

Tell them what your going to tell them (introduction)
Tell them (Main text in detail)
Tell them what you told them (conclusion and summary)

Not that I ever manage anything other than a rambling stream of conciousness most of the time.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP16 Jun 2017 9:36 a.m. PST

But me it's different,I have always been taught not to criticize those who do not write in their mother tongue.

The figurines proposed JJartist a little higher on this topic are very good to represent sparabara, but they are big figurines except possibly those of 1st Corps …

But for pure 25 mm, there are what at the moment and where ?

1/ In sparabara figures with 'spara' rectangular bulwarks + spears + bows…

2/ In sparabara figures with only bows?

In fact now I want figures representing what is described below but now in pure 25 mm and with this type of old figurines it seems that it is the 'spara' rectangular bulwarks that is going to be the problem …:


Presentation

The sparabara belong to the army of the Persian Empire at its zenith, that which followed Cyrus II the Great, Cambyses, Darius I and Xerxes I in their conquests, the one that then resisted The Western Front to the League of Delos.


Because from -450, the nature of the army changes profoundly, with the appearance of archers with shield-shaped crescent, then the kardakes.

Even if sparabara are mentioned in Cunaxa (-401), it is not certain that it is really the traditional infantry (but which then?) And its disappearance of the art towards -450 suggests that " It was replaced by the new infantry, at least in the western regions.

Historical

The two palaces of Darius I, at Persepolis and Susa, abound with more than a thousand representations of infantry, but no cavalier.

If we do not neglect the role of the mounted troops, it does not strike me as exaggerated to say that the infantry are the heart of the Persian Army of high epoch.

The fighter mode of the bulk of the Persian infantry has shed much ink.

Indeed, it is difficult to reconcile the four different sources, namely Greek authors (especially Herodotus), Greek art (especially representations on vases), Perseus Persian art and Susa (which particularly represents the Palatine Guard ) And other Persian representations, especially on cylinder seals.

If the best-known guards at Persepolis have no shields, or a shield in the form of eight, other representations clearly show them with a large square shield, which corresponds to the gerrha (wicker shield) of Herodotus and Of the "walls of shields" which he evokes at Platée (IX 61) and at Mycale (IX 102).

We know that the Persian word for this kind of shield was spara, hence sparabara, "bearers of spara".

The difficulty is that Herodotus gives Persian soldiers shield, lance and bow; Now, the soldiers of Persepolis never have the three together.

What is more, Greek art most often shows an archer without a shield, who fights in hand to hand with a sword or an ax.

It is not a mere artistic convention, for the shields in crescent archers later are amply illustrated.

From these findings came the idea – alas, far from being universally accepted, for there is no artistic or literary representation – that the first line of the Persian infantry was equipped with a spara and a While the next ranks were archers.

It is also evident from the art that the spara could stand upright by a hold, which would eventually have liberated the hands of the spear to use his bow according to the tactical situation.

What Herodotus mentions.

The rationing tablets of Persepolis mention a "leader of a row of ten", which gives the probable depth of the formation.

Herodotus also indicates that once their wall of shields destroyed by the hoplites, the Persians went out to fight "in groups of ten, sometimes more, sometimes less", which is concordant without being conclusive.

As for Xenophon, he mentions a "chief of five" but for a much later period (around -400).

Even if it is not the only explanation possible, it seems reasonable.

However, I will make one additional observation.

Given the recruitment of part of the Persian Army (see below), and the fact that each soldier clearly brought his own equipment, it seems unlikely that one in ten soldiers should bring equipment different from the others , Which requires a complex organization.

So there are two solutions:

- all the soldiers of a unit brought the same equipment, that is to say, bow, lance and spara.

The archers of the rear ranks picked up their spears in hand-to-hand combat.

In disavowal of this idea, the Greek vases never show an archer with a spear.

In his favor, the spear is not shown even when the spara is present; And two Persian seals-cylinders that show an unshielded archer attacking a hoplite with a spear.

- either the first soldier in each row is a trained warrior, provided by the hatru recruitment system or its equivalent (see later).

He must therefore bring a spear, shield and probably a bow, and he learns to use them together with his comrades at the annual gatherings which are amply reported.

The tenth soldier in each line, who is probably his non-commissioned officer, might as well come from the hatru.

As for the others (80% of the unit) they come from wider levies.

They bring the bow of which, according to several Greek authors, each Persian knew how to use, and a sword or an ax that they use at best.

In favor of this interpretation is Greek art, and the reputation of the Persians in an author like Herodotus, who indicates their bravery but their lack of training.

The lancers who served as bodyguards to certain prominent persons (for example, the royal prince mentioned in Mycale, Herodotus IX 107) would be the same who fought in the front row.

In view of all this, it transpires that the spara was made from a thickness of leather, in which was inserted willow branches to form a characteristic pattern, perhaps painted as if to distinguish the units.

Evidently the spears of the sparabara were shorter than those of the Greeks.

The soldiers could wear the "Mede" coat, and it is probable that the infantry was composed not only of Persians, but also of Medes and perhaps other Iranians, such as Bactrians.

Some were unarmed, others could wear a padded linen armor, a Greek-style linothorax, and sometimes an armor of bronze scales, which Herodotus mentions.

Some archers show a characteristic sword, the kopis, and a very particular ax and very popular in Greek art, the sagaris.

The absence of other units of infantry can surprise: the army of Xerxes gathered more than 50 national contingents in the famous description of Herodotus that you will find on this forum …

However, the parade he describes is more of an imperial logic – the defile before the monarch of the subjected nations – than of a military logic.

The Greek authors are clear, especially the Iranian troops – Persians, Medes, Bactrians, Scythians – who actually fight.

Thus, after the defeat of Salamis and the departure of Xerxes, it was exactly these four contingents that Mardonius chose for his army.

He added only the most formidable foreign troops – the Indians and sailors of the Egyptian fleet – but among the 47 other contingents only "the most valiant men" (Herodotus VIII 113).

Habit "Mede" and coat "Perse"


The wearing of a tunic and trousers is common to all Iranian peoples, and it is clear that the so-called "Mede" coat was also that of the Persians also, originally.

Although it is, in my opinion, risky to reject the testimony of Persian art, Greek art in any case suggests that it was this "Mede" coat that was privileged in combat for its practical qualities.

The pants were decorated with patterns in geometric rows.

One or two tunics were worn, one shorter than the other and generally of different colors, with or without patterns. One or the other could be sleeveless.

Over his tunics, the warriors sometimes wore a thick long-sleeved jacket, the kandys.

In warmer weather, the kandys served as a cape, the sleeves then running along the back.

The nobles wore a purple-colored kandy, to which the Great King added a white band.

The famous headgear of the "Mede" costume, which Herodotus calls the tiara, is a soft cap whose crown falls forward or to the side.

Only the Great King is entitled to wear the "right tiara" (which is seen on the head of Darius III on the famous mosaic where he confronts Alexander).

This headgear has three tabs, one of which falls on the neck and the other two on the cheeks. The wearer can also tie them behind the head, under the chin, or even to cover the mouth. Above the king and the nobles could wear a circle of precious metal.

The so-called "Perse", which is abundantly represented in Persepolis and is well known by the so-called "Immortal" reliefs, was probably borrowed from the Elamites, who exerted considerable influence on the young Iranian kingdom.

Undoubtedly a court dress before all, it is nonetheless sometimes worn in combat, especially by the king but not exclusively.

The recruitment of the Achaemenid army

The subject of their recruitment is interesting to measure the quality of the Achaemenid troops.

When the Persians conquered Babylonia, they implanted a new system – even though it had precedents in the area – called hatru.

This system probably existed in Persia itself, and it is not improbable that it was exported to other parts of the Empire, as evidenced by practices in Egyptian Achaemenid.

Hatru is a community that receives a territory that it cultivates in the form of family lots, which are inalienable but can be given as an inheritance.

In return for this royal gift, the operator owes a set of obligations that are collectively known as ilku.

Ilku includes taxes, chores and, often but not systematically, a military obligation.

In the latter case, the lot is known as the "arc domain" (bit qašti), "horse domain" (bit sisi) or "charging domain" (bit narkatbi), depending on its importance.

Such hatru must provide, for each lot concerned, the sab Šarri, that is to say, "the soldier of the king", equipped like archer on foot or as a rider according to the obligations which weigh to him.

The discussion is very technical, but as I understand it, one soldier is in charge of each lot, and these lots are held by several people in division or joint ownership.

Thus one reads contracts between two holders of a lot, where one volunteers to be sab šarri if the other undertakes to equip it.

Because the sab Šarri are provided with their equipment and with the sum of money necessary to reach the place of mobilization.

Obligations sometimes weigh heavily; In an example reported in a Babylonian shelf, the sab Šarri, here a rider, must take with him 12 infantrymen lightly equipped.

I do not know what equipment the narkabti bit matches; This is certainly not to be related to the late floats because the texts are much earlier.

The texts mention hatru farmers who are indebted to equip the saršarri by the mortgage of future harvests.

As Xenophon points out, the sab Šarri were subjected to an annual review, for which they gathered at a specific place.

Undoubtedly several thousand were gathered, for large military exercises.

I ventured to suggest that these sab Šarri formed the first and last rank of the sparabara to the territorial component of the Persian army.

This system is to be related to another practice of the Persians, inherited from the Mesopotamian empires, that of deporting conquered peoples; The most famous example is the deportation of the Jews to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar.

These deportations are far from those practiced in modern times.

If one of the objectives is of course to break the solidarities of the places of revolt, the other is to put into production other regions of the Empire.

Herodotus states that the population of Miletus, Deported to Sogdiana, suffered no other evil.

Because the deportees receive hatru, who are therefore of strong ethnic composition.

Thus, in Babylon of the time of Darius I, there is a hatru of the Saces, a hatru of the Elamites, and so on.

Euboeans from Greece are settled in Elam, from the Egyptians to Nippur. At Elephantine in Egpyte there is a Jewish community of several thousand souls, with a system similar to the hatru.

I do not know if these hatru there provided sab šarri and if they were integrated in composite units, but this seems unlikely.

Probably they provided the "most valiant men" of the contingents whose existence has already been noted.

Another phenomenon of the Persian Empire is the dôrea (Greek word, the Persian equivalent is unknown).

The Great King gives land to his favorites, or to princes or princesses of the Achaemenid lineage, or even to sanctuaries.

They are not "estates" because the land concerned is generally fragmented, thus depriving the beneficiaries of territorial bases too large.

Moreover, they remain "lands of the king", which can theoretically take them back at any time.

However, their cumulative surface area may be very large.

The holders of dôrea are liable for the obligations of the hatru which they group together.

Thus a noble Persian by the name of Spithridates furnishes at his own expense a troop of no less than 200 cavalry to the satrapal army.

We can easily imagine that such a troop possesses a cohesion and an unusual combat quality.

The dôrea can also be held by strangers, the most famous example being Themistocles.

Exiled from Athens, he found favor with the Great King, who gave him the income of several towns in the region of Magnesia.

The theory is that the quality of sab Šarri has declined gradually, because with time and economic play, the hatru were no longer in the hands of people wishing to participate actively in the war.

Some liquidated their obligations in money, which allowed the satraps and the Great King to hire mercenaries, certainly professional but little attached to the Empire.

It is this process that explains the disintegration of Darius III.

Briant's research shows, on the other hand, that the hatru was still alive, at least until the middle of the 4th century, and that the obligation of sab Šarri continued to weigh heavily on the colonies.


The mercenaries

To supplement their forces, or to respond to a specific crisis, especially at the level of a satrapy, the Persians gladly appealed to the mercenarism of the most warlike peoples of their Empire or beyond.

The mercenary is distinguished from the colonist by enlisting of his own free will, according to the choices of the moment and not according to the obligations arising from past choices.

The Persians had garrisons at the strategic points of the Empire, and it would appear that many of them were mercenaries.

The most sought after were the Chalybes of Armenia, the Khaldi of the former Urartu, the Mardes, the Arabs and of course the Greeks.

The thesis of a military decline of Persia is that the colonists who paid their military obligations by a discharge of money led the Persians to resort more and more often to the mercenaries.

Greek historiography, at the same time, advances the thesis that the Persians were lost without their valiant Hellenic mercenaries and without the Greek strategists who advised the Persian satraps sprawled in their luxury.

On the one hand, the Persians have always employed mercenaries; on the other hand, the Greeks were not the only ones, and their role was often secondary.

On the other hand, it is evident that the Greeks employed in large numbers by Darius III did not allow him to defeat Alexander.

Under these conditions, the military value of the Persians and their traditional Iranian allies deserves to be re-examined.

Later

Breton

Mithridates Inactive Member16 Jun 2017 6:42 p.m. PST

Breton

Thanks for the information, always good to read some background detail (but maybe not twice!).

For smaller figures (25/27mm) you could also try:

Essex – both sparabara & archers, Immortals with spear/bow.
Warlord – both sparabara & archers
Old Glory – not sure

Mithridates

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP16 Jun 2017 11:35 p.m. PST

Thanks Mithridates for this info at least with you we are in full topic …

I have to find absolutely 25 mm small figurines – size minifigs -

JJartist23 Jun 2017 9:47 a.m. PST

As stated,

1st Corps are the smallest of more recent 25mm figures and are closer to Minifigs 25s.

Older Foundry sets are very close to 25mm as well. I use my old Minifigs Garrisons and Hinchcliffes as levies… they have no problem with the slightly larger 1st Corps or Old Foundry. Newer jumbo 28's do stick out, like the giant BattleStandard officer next to the Minifigs in the photo below.. but the smaller figures size is also visually mitigated by thicker movement trays.

1st Corps and Foundry archers mixed together:
link

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP23 Jun 2017 10:33 p.m. PST

Very beautiful illustration of the subject … In fact the hardest is to find the figures of the first rank of this type of units with the famous 'Spara' …
First row: 'Spara' + lance + bow
9 other rows: Bow

Diocletian28424 Jun 2017 4:21 a.m. PST

I am working on a 28mm Early Achaemendid Persian army right now. I agree the 1st Corps are smaller size, but are beautiful figures.

I personally prefer a larger size in the 28mm range. For the Sparabara I am using the 28mm Crusader Persian spearmen and archers.

My reference is Duncan Head's work, "The Achaemendid Persian Army." For coloring I am using various color plates I have seen in Osprey books and on-line plates I have found. I am going with the conjecture that a sparabara unit has the first rank of spear with spara and the following 9 ranks of archers.

since I want to use them for multiple Ancient rules sets, I place each figure on a 20mm square with a magnet on the bottom. I place on metal movement trays of different sizes depending on game. For the various games I plan as follows:

Hail Caesar and Impetus: 120mm x 80mm wide base. First rank spear and spara, second through fourth rank, armed with a bow.

ADLG and DBA: 60mm x 40mm wide base. First rank spear and spara, second rank bow.

In general in the various rules sets, the sparabara come out as primary bow unit with an improved melee capability over a pure bow unit, but less melee capability than a full spear and shield armed unit. A hybrid. It looks like in some of the games systems, it can be an effective unit. Not an instant pushover against their usual hoplite foes.

JJartist24 Jun 2017 10:24 a.m. PST

I do not have my early Achaemenids photos posted. I simply use my 1st Corps pavise/spara bearers with the archers in back ranks. That is the joy and convenience of single basing.

As I said, 1st Corps has great spara shields they look great and they can be ordered separate.

link

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP24 Jun 2017 11:28 p.m. PST

It's good to know, thank you.

Bandolier25 Jun 2017 10:03 p.m. PST

A nice post. An area of interest for me.
I went with a set up similar to JJ. The main thing I wanted was flexibility as well as making them look good.

I found using a mix of makers gave good results. As each maker offers a slightly different take on the SparaBara.
Foundry, 1st Corps and Newline (now SHQ) make up the bulk as they are a great match for size.

picture

picture

Main army here.
TMP link
link
Mick

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP29 Jun 2017 10:30 p.m. PST

Yes, but only those who like this period, love this subject.

Bravo for your post, you have all understood and thank you because I had not thought of Newline, good idea !

I'll go see this !

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP02 Aug 2017 12:05 a.m. PST

What were the troops who used the formation of the "sparabara", only the immortals, the Persians and the Medes line infantry?

HANS GRUBER02 Aug 2017 5:36 a.m. PST

Iranian, Babylonian, Assyrian, and Scythian foot could use the formation of spara and bow. These likely made up the bulk of the Persian foot before 450BC.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP04 Aug 2017 11:09 p.m. PST

Yes I saw this

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2017 3:23 a.m. PST

This training really was not meant for the melee!

They should have thought about that before attacking Europe …

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP04 Jul 2018 11:15 p.m. PST

To return to the Achaemenid Persian army in general,she is built on the model of that of the predecessor empires, especially Assyria, but also incorporating Egyptian or Elamite elements.

It is also very marked by aspects properly conducted or Persian.

Like the imperial administration, it is in the hands of the king, the royal family, and the Perso-Median aristocracy, whose education is largely determined by preparation for warlike activities.

At the time of Cyrus I, all Persian men had to fight for the king.

In addition to its military strategic importance, the imperial army also plays an important political role, ensuring the maintenance of the political union of all the territories united under the leadership of the Achaemenids.

Its elite is constituted by the body of the 10 000 Immortals, from which come the guards of the royal palaces.

The leader of this unit (called hazāparati), as "second of the king", also commanded the entire imperial army.

In time of war, this professional army was supplanted by troops of conscripts raised among the different peoples of the empire.

This army was then divided into national units and equipped according to their national customs.

According to the writings of Herodotus describing the journals of his army led by Xerxes I in Thrace or near the Hellespont, the imperial army is indeed very heterogeneous and variegated.

They are grouped in units of 10, 100, 1,000 and sometimes even 10,000 men, following a principle taken from the Mesopotamian kingdoms.

The Persian and Median troops, which form the heart of the army, are distinguished by provincial troops reinforcing them.

The outfits and equipment of the latter described by Herodotus are extremely heterogeneous, depending on the people concerned.

They reflect an important diversity.

Mercenaries could be recruited.

These contingents commanded by Persians of high lineage are divided into three categories: infantry, cavalry, and navy.

Infantry and cavalry each have contingents of archers.

These are essential units in the Persian device.

Among the infantrymen are also shield carriers armed with spears.

Horsemen, who occupy a place of choice, seem to borrow a large part of their offensive and defensive equipment to the traditions of the peoples of Central Asia like the Sakas.

They are also armed with javelins.

The war chariots, including the "scythe chariot" described by Diodorus, are still used although their place seems secondary.

Naval troops consist of crews recruited from the Phoenicians and Ionians.

The most used boat is the trireme, a fast three-row rowing boat that was invented by the Sidonians or Corinthians.

The army possessed permanent garrisons throughout the empire, commanded by Persian officers.

The garrisons were placed at strategic points: the forts on the main roads of the empire, at the borders or even in military colonies (as Elephantine on the Egyptian-Nubian border).

These garrisons were composed of Persian elements, Medes, Greeks, Chorasmians, and more particularly of Jews.

The satraps are responsible for the supply, maintenance and financing of these armed forces stationed on their administrative domain, they are not, however, not responsible for their military command.

This is in fact assured by a distinct hierarchy and submitted to the royal authority.

According to Nippur (and also Elephantine) sources, the troops are serviced by farmland services that provide equipment to equip them.

The size of these areas is a function of the unit to be maintained: the "archers' lands" are the smallest, then there are "horse lands" and "chariot lands".

The heterogeneity of the troops, their armaments and equipment, and their combat techniques naturally raises the question of the effectiveness of command and the difficulty of coordinating maneuvers in combat.

Some even point out that diversity is such that the king did not know all the peoples of his army, and that the people did not know who their allies were.

While this diversity may have been put forward in the first place to explain the Persian defeats against the Greeks and Macedonians, it does not take into account the fact that the contingents described by Herodotus have never actually participated in the fighting, which involved mainly troops elites mainly from the Iranian plateau.

The combatants engaged in Thermopylae were thus Persian, Kissian, and immortal guards; those engaged at Plateas were Persian, Medes, Bactrians, Indians, Saces, and Mycales.

It is also observed that the reviews of armies by Xerxes were rather part of a ceremonial framework: the king taking note of his power through the presentation of his army.

The objective was not to count the available military forces, but for the king to become acquainted with the diversity of his empire and to stimulate the morale of his troops.

Based on certain interpretations, a distinction is drawn between these parades staged in order to represent the imperial space even in its most marginal peoples, and the mostly Iranian and selected fighting troops.

At the end of the Achaemenid era, the Persian soldiers were more and more happily replaced by Greek mercenaries.

Maxshadow04 Aug 2018 5:09 p.m. PST

Paskal. Very interesting read thanks

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