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"Tarentines at Heraclea...q" Topic

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Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP16 Dec 2019 11:10 a.m. PST

A quick question about making a historical scenario for Heraclea. Does anyone know if the 5-6000 Tarentines present with Pyrrhus should be fielded as traditional Hoplites or did he have enough time to arm and train them as levy-quality Philangites?

Thanks for any tips. It's the only part of the OOB I'm currently not happy with.

GurKhan16 Dec 2019 12:51 p.m. PST

Nobody knows for certain. Dionysios refers to the Tarantines at Asculum as a "leukaspis phalanx", which may mean that they were armed in the Macedonian style as white-shielded pikemen – but it's not certain that's what he means. (Sekunda in the recent Osprey on Pyrrhus, for instance, thinks that "leukaspides" means they carried white thyreoi.)

_If_ they were eventually re-armed as pikemen, then it had probably happened already before Heraclea, because Plutarch's account of Pyrrhus training up the Tarantine militia comes before the first battle; and he doesn't mention any further reforms between Heraclea and Asculum.

Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP16 Dec 2019 2:39 p.m. PST

Thank you kindly Ghurkhan. That does indeed help.

Who asked this joker18 Dec 2019 12:38 p.m. PST

I'd make them either Hoplites or Thureophoroi. There is no evidence that the Macedonian Phalanx was ever adopted by the armies on the Italian peninsula. Hereclea occurred not long after Pyrhus landed in Italy. So there may not have been time to switch over. Finally, the Macedonian style armies often used mercenaries of either Hoplites or Thureophoroi to guard the flanks of the pike phalanx. There is no reason to think that the Tarantines were not employed in the same fashion.

JJartist18 Dec 2019 3:20 p.m. PST

(Sekunda in the recent Osprey on Pyrrhus, for instance, thinks that "leukaspides" means they carried white thyreoi.)

That's based on Sekunda's theory that all "leukaspides" are thureophoroi or Thracians. Which makes my brain feel lid less.

The Tarentines had a white shield phalanx that used to be a force to be reckoned with, but had been defeated by Rome leading to atrophy of arms. I reckon most people would say these were hoplites at that time. Hard to say how many hoplite class troops were available- obviously not enough since they kept asking Epirote kings to intervene.

I agree that that any retraining of Tarentines would be as pikemen – if the gear was available. But if they are armed with thureos then why would Samnites be needed to fill in the gaps of their "phalanx"?

Pyrrhus had experience with turning recruits into pikemen- just as the Diadochs did in Asia with willing levies. He must have hired the good drill instructors.

King Pyrrhus gave the Macedonian phalanx the first place on the right wing and placed next to it the Italiot mercenaries from Tarentum; 2 then the troops from Ambracia and after them the phalanx of Tarentines equipped with white shields,


By the way- I'd argue that this page is out of date on a lot of this stuff, complain to the page owner he is a lazy good for nothing:


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