Help support TMP

"First Century Judean Zealots? " Topic

22 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 post offers to buy and sell on the main forum.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the Horror Message Board

Back to the Fantasy Discussion Message Board

Back to the Ancients Discussion Message Board

Areas of Interest

Science Fiction

Featured Hobby News Article

Featured Link

Featured Ruleset

Featured Profile Article

The Magravite in the Age of Madness

Planning an army for Warfare in the Age of Madness, using some of the Colony-15 figures.

Featured Book Review

2,081 hits since 24 Jul 2017
©1994-2023 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Mutant Q24 Jul 2017 9:45 p.m. PST

With the new force lists for Broken Legions in the August issue of Wargames Illustrated, I was thinking of putting together a Herodian warband. What figure lines would be appropriate for first century Judean revolutionaries, zealots, etc?

Dark Fable24 Jul 2017 10:23 p.m. PST

That's a rare one and not well covered and/or documented. RAFM produced a number of Jewish/Maccabean sets based on the images in Duncan Heads Macedonian and Punic Wars book. But those figures are quite small 25mm and are multi-part. I think Essex might have produced some Maccabean/Hasmonean in 28mm. You could even put together your own force with several plastic sets of Hellenistic thureophoroi or thorakites infantry mixed up with some Numidians and/or Spartacus revolting slaves. Any regular or elite forces would probably be indistinguishable from late Ptolemaic and Seleucid troops. Judeans were also able to field significant numbers of slingers

Personal logo Bashytubits Supporting Member of TMP24 Jul 2017 10:51 p.m. PST

Rafm is your best bet. I actually played with the idea of building a Maccabean force once upon a time.

Prince Rupert of the Rhine24 Jul 2017 11:41 p.m. PST

A lot of Herod's army seem to have been mercenaries and foreigners ( Thracians, Celts, Greeks) and a lot of his Jewish soldiers looked similar to late republican Romans. Kit bashing the various plastic Greek and Roman sets might be the way to go.

cloudcaptain25 Jul 2017 3:53 a.m. PST

Just make sure to have a dagger-armed suicide squad.

nnascati Supporting Member of TMP25 Jul 2017 7:08 a.m. PST

You can make them pretty easily, combine Wargames Factory/Warlord Ancient Light Infantry (Numdians) with the same brand Ancient Germans.

Mutant Q25 Jul 2017 7:13 a.m. PST

I should note that these Herodians are not exactly the historical sect of Hellenized Jews. In Broken Legions they are Jewish revolutionaries led by Simon of Gitta (aka Simon Magus) who oppose Roman rule through assassination and Lovecraftian sorcery.


"That will show them."

Personal logo Mserafin Supporting Member of TMP25 Jul 2017 12:51 p.m. PST

No blackmail!!!

Personal logo BigRedBat Sponsoring Member of TMP25 Jul 2017 2:02 p.m. PST

I had several discussions with the late and much lamented Allen Curtis, formerly of this parish, regarding modelling the Jewish revolt. The revolting Jews had a rather distinctive look which is hard to capture with existing miniatures; the tunic being longer than Greek tunics and fringed or with tzitzit tassels. Likewise cloaks would have fringes and "key" patterns at the corners. He reckoned beards for rural sorts with city dwellers being more kempt or clean-shaven. Alas I don't think there's anything out there yet (at least not in bigger 28mm)- one would want rabbis and trumpeters, too, to model a full army.

By coincidence I wrote an army list for the Jewish revolt for "To the Strongest" earlier this week, you can find it here:- link I'm currently looking at the Maccabees.

goragrad25 Jul 2017 3:42 p.m. PST

Here is the article on the Maccabeans from the old Fanaticus site -


It notes that Donnington, Essex, and Old Glory carry specific Maccabean 15mm lines. I have some from Xyston as well. In 25s it lists New Line Designs.

Here are the painting instructions -

Irv Horowitz: Start with a deep near-eastern suntan, black hair and full beards for all. The basic man's garment was a tunic made from two rectangular sheets of cloth joined along one narrow edge with an opening left for the wearer's head. Each sheet had two dark stripes woven into it. The stripes ran the length of each sheet and were matched where the sheets joined at the shoulders. The sides of the tunic were not sewn; the garment was held closed with a leather or rope belt. The cloth could be dyed various bright colors, but most Maccabee rebels were poor farm boys, so their tunics would mostly be off-white/greyish unbleached wool with black stripes. Brown, blue or purple stripes were also possible.

Over his tunic a man might wear a mantle, a large rectangular sheet of cloth, wrapped around him or draped over his shoulders. Mantles had dark bands with notched edges woven into them, parallel to and not far from the narrow edges of the sheet. Again, unbleached wool would be the most common fabric for mantles, though they could be dyed in different colors, and black the most common color for the notched bands.

Leather sandals.

If you're working in 25mm or larger and you like super-detail, you may want to represent your Maccabees as wearing "tefilin" (small leather boxes of ritual significance) bound to their left arms and foreheads. Ancient "tefilin" were smaller than modern types, so just paint the leather straps.

The Firebird book "Judas Maccabeus" by Mark Healy includes many drawings of these costumes, if you can find a copy. You may want to track down a copy of Yigael Yadin's "Bar-Kokhba" (probably available at your public library). This book includes photos and drawings of original 1st century AD garments recovered from caves near the Dead Sea.

Don't forget to paint a fanatic glint in your Maccabees' eyes, fleas and flecks of foam in their beards. Mi Komochah Ba'alim Yah!

From that article there is also a link to Paul Hannah's Maccabean Army -


JJartist25 Jul 2017 3:52 p.m. PST

If the scale is 28mm you will have a challenge.
15's have more choices.

The Newline Designs range is ok, but rather boring.
The Herodian armies Osprey has some variations.

Simon relates the info from my mentor Allen Curtis on the subject, which simply reveals the lack of real solid sources and miniatures we have.

We (the late Allen and I) often commented on how the lists for such armies are not tournament winners, so they are niche armies. Plus the fact that the locals often fought for local empires, but wore their kit, makes identity even harder.

Supply and demand has not been kind to the Hasmoneans or the Maccabeans.

However, on a happy note.. I did see an article recently that was promoting the idea that the polished bronze thureos was not a fantasy. The Maccabees do look better with some polished bronze shields with embossed designs.

Go with lilies, not stars of David…


JJartist25 Jul 2017 4:00 p.m. PST

Maccabees ambush Seleucids
David Hollifield collection

His WAB army gallanty play tested the Successor lists… the Maccabees were a lot of fun.. this must be why they were smitten and struck down :)

You can see exactly the combinations that Samnite mentions above.

Yes.. the banner made them immune to psychology… but your knew that :)





Gennorm26 Jul 2017 9:26 a.m. PST

Judean Zealots or Zealots of Judea?

JJartist26 Jul 2017 9:56 a.m. PST

This issue of Ancient Warfare is helpful too..


JC Lira27 Jul 2017 7:34 a.m. PST

Zealots of Judea are a bunch of bloody splitters!

PotbellyMinis09 Nov 2022 10:22 a.m. PST

Morning all,well, a fair while after first reading this thread we have something for you! It's a kickstarter to offer you 28mm Judean mininatures

Feel free to come on over and check the page out! No obligation to buy, but if you do you'll get figures at 80% of retail cost.

Mayponce09 Nov 2022 1:18 p.m. PST

Those are some great scuplts!

Nice to see some 28mm miniatures that actually have realistic proportions--most look like dwarves, unfortunately.

PotbellyMinis09 Nov 2022 7:46 p.m. PST

Thanks Mayponce!

How do we get word out to some of the people on this thread?

Legend of Doom20 Nov 2022 1:30 p.m. PST

I should note that these Herodians are not exactly the historical sect of Hellenized Jews. In Broken Legions they are Jewish revolutionaries led by Simon of Gitta (aka Simon Magus) who oppose Roman rule through assassination and Lovecraftian sorcery.


Interesting, iy sounds like someone has read the Scroll of Thoth by Richard L Tinernay which re invents Simon Magus ( who lost a magical dual in the Acts of the Apostles) as a gladiator out for revenge. The book blends a lot of the Cthulu Mythos and there are characters who turn up who are not strictly human, plus strands of gnosticism ( Simon encounters planetary Archons) and some hellenised Cabala . Plus it has an interesting take on what happend to the lost army of Cambysses. Well worth a read if you can track it down and lot more fun that AW

Zephyr120 Nov 2022 3:27 p.m. PST

"RAFM / those figures are quite small 25mm " vs. current "heroic scale"

To mix eras: "Davids" vs "Goliaths" ? ;-)

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP30 Nov 2022 1:26 p.m. PST

@Oldentired, You need to become an advertiser on TMP, so you need to get hold of Bill. He typically deletes kickstarters when he sees them unless they are from a paid advertiser.

PotbellyMinis10 Jan 2023 3:04 p.m. PST

@79thPA, thanks man, will look into it.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.