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"Pontic Army of 87 BC" Topic

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Pages: 1 2 

Leadjunky07 Oct 2005 1:06 p.m. PST

What figures would best represent this army? Macedonian, Eastern Successor, Sellucid, Persian, Carthage-ish or would it best be a mix of troop tryes?
I was considering a mix of Macedonian and Early Sellucid for the slave phalanx units with a few Carthage Citizen infantry mixed in for good measure, Tarentian light horse, Skythian or Parthian horse archers, Persian scythed chariots, Alexandrian peltasts and I am not sure about other skirmishers and the heavier horse. Any suggestions?

TERMINATOR07 Oct 2005 1:18 p.m. PST

Just about any Successor / Macedonian troops would fit.
Seleucid Phalangites with trousers would be a good fit.
Pontic Heavy Cavalry could be done using later Macedonian Heavy Cavalry with trousers. They had a wide assortment of troop types.

TERMINATOR07 Oct 2005 1:22 p.m. PST

The trousers would be a conversion, or just a couple of layers of paint to do.

aecurtis Fezian07 Oct 2005 1:34 p.m. PST

Naismith do a 25mm Pontic-specific phalangite. It's quite characterful, but I wouldn't vouch for its accuracy.

In either 15mm or 25-28mm, I would probably go for "Eastern", trousered phalangites. I'd base the heavy horse on a combination of later Persian and armoured Kappadokian troopers.

I'm not sure how Carthaginians would fit in?


aecurtis Fezian07 Oct 2005 1:42 p.m. PST

SameMax may have some thoughts; he's another of the half-crazed, masochistic lot who actually build a Pontic army…


Cheriton07 Oct 2005 3:26 p.m. PST

"he's another of the half-crazed, masochistic lot who actually build a Pontic army…"

Actually, I was attracted to Mith's folks because I can morph, then morph again, and when all else fails… morph!

elsyrsyn07 Oct 2005 3:55 p.m. PST

"Actually, I was attracted to Mith's folks because I can morph, then morph again, and when all else fails… morph!"

That's the beautiful thing about the majority of the (non-Roman) armies from that era. You can build one basic army, then add bits here and there to make most of the rest.


Swampster08 Oct 2005 1:28 a.m. PST

In 15mm, I am planning on using the Xyston unarmoured phalangites for the slave phalanx. Even though many of the slaves were probably of Black Sea origin where trousers were preferred, I'm not sure that a priority would have been for them to obtain trousers after being freed to become part of the phalanx. I use trousered phalangites for the Brazn shields, though they may possibly have been raised form Seleucid colonists who woul have been trouserless. I like th figures though! Kappadokians should suit for the majority of the Pontic foot – the Ax probably with thureos. Paphlagonians should fit too.
I haven't found a Rhoxolano Sarmatian that I'm happy with. The ones from OG15s have the round shield shown in AMPW, but I think a rectangular or crescent shield would be better. I shall probably use OG for the other Sarmatians. My Donnington ones are a bit long in the tooth.
I think the noble cavalry should probably be trousered, long sleeved, linen cuirass, shield (probably) and wearing a low Thracian helmet (I think that is the right name). These seem to be common(ish) finds in the Black Sea region covered by the Pontic Kingdom.


Sane Max08 Oct 2005 8:46 a.m. PST

Half Crazed? I will remember you said that Allen.

OK, well as other have said the joy of the period is its morphability. The pictorial evidence is non-existent, though that Sullan victory monument found in Greece recently seems to show what looks like a standard Successor Thureophoroi.

The pike seem to have been mercenaries, so standard seleucid trousered pike are good. The sources describe the army as particularly richly equipped, though this reads to me to imply maybe loaded down with booty..

Imitation Legionaries; for this the world is your lobster. I used Navigator Carthaginians, who are wearing Linen Cuirass, tunic, and wearing a Punic version of the Phrygian helm, which is close enough IMHO, and equipped them with clipped oval shields and Scuta (Because I want to, Becasue I want to, as Rose Tyler would say).

For the various merc Barbarians it gets harder. No one makes an Iberi for example, so I have used generic Levy eastern Barbarians and equipped them with simple celtic and wicker shields. I also use Cappadocians with their odd hats. Pontus WAS really called Northern Cappadocia. For this reason my light javelin / medium cavalry are also Cappadocians.

Light Scythian cavlry are played by… Scythians, and I bought some rather nice Scythian / Sarmatian nobles with cased bows and spears to play the heavy mob. I mix them in units depending on how I feel. The Sarmatians are from Old Glory.

For archers i used pretty generic eastern types. The Armenian archers and cavalry are specifically referred to, and there are plenty of manufacturers that make them, ditto Thureophoroi.

The real issue I have is the Heavy Pontic Noble Cavalry. Were they Persans with Hellenic shading, Greeks with Persian attitudes, or some Cappadocian speciality? I bit the bullet and went with very Persian looking types. I decided to follow the way I was educated, and go for Eupator as an all-out Persian Monarch, who just happened to speak Greek. Looking at the figures I bought I regret this, but there you go.

My main source of figures was Navigator. I also regret this, as they DO NOT morph well with my existing Macedonian army, being much slighter figures. Also, while their 'Imitation Legionaries' are a dream come true, i think their Pikemen are disappointingly static, when compared to my Foundry Pike. Its quite a patchy range, some are lovely, some only very ordinary. The figures from their Parthian and Persian range are all lovely, my only real issue is with their Pikemen, who LOOK like toy soldiers to me.

Scythed Chariots – everyone seems to make these. I hate mine personally, since I am sick of spending 150 points that could have gone on archers for a troop type that is only for comic effect. This is historical accuracy taken to its ultimate conclusion.

I guess the point is no-one knows, and if you were to design a Pontic army of your own there is not much anyone could argue with. Think later rather than earlier – it was the last army to fight in the Hellenistic way that the west fought against. So Thureos rather than Pelta, Seleucid helmets and armour rather than Greek or Alexandrian.

Pat the Fully Crazed

Sane Max08 Oct 2005 8:53 a.m. PST

Oh, and I REALLY wanted to put my Pike in chainmail, as the picture in Connolly looks great. But, as everyone points out, the picture was originally labelled 'Carthaginian Pikeman' and he changed it after everyone went 'BLAHHHHHH'.

Nonetheless i still cannot think of a good reason why there would not be Pike in Chainmail, so if anyone knows a very good figure that is suitable, let me know.


James Manto08 Oct 2005 9:29 a.m. PST

Take a Carthaginian spearmanin chainmail and give him a longer pike?

Sane Max08 Oct 2005 9:53 a.m. PST

Yerrr, but I want someone thats really going for it, rather than a forest of verticals…… Not seen anything that will look right.


John the OFM09 Oct 2005 5:18 p.m. PST

Max, try a Eureka 100 Club request. One person's requitements is halfway or more to the magic number. Make sure you call them "Pontic Pikemen in Chainmail NOT CARTHAGINIAN", so Allen and Phil Barker won't chide you.

Foundry has re-re-re-re-released their Punic range. That horrible schismatic heterodox Carthaginian in chainmail may be among them.

Judas Iscariot12 Oct 2005 6:26 a.m. PST

I think that a mix of the Xyston 15mm Unarmored and eastern/pantodapoi would work well for a Pontic Phalanx…

As to the guys in chainmail??? I would guess that you could convert some of the Corvus Belli Carthaginian Veteran Spearmen….

Sane Max12 Oct 2005 2:28 p.m. PST

I have plenty of 15mm chainmailed Pike Thanks, its the big guys I want – i have the army in both scales, and am painting a Warmaster one as well. I also support Newcastle United, and always bet on the skinny looking guy with the wonky leg in Boxing matches 8^)


JJartist30 Oct 2005 10:22 p.m. PST

Actually the ex-slave phalanx in Greece was not of Bosphoran origins, and would be made up of troops from the former Bithynian army, and other Asian states, as well as Greeks. The seclusion of the ex-slave phalanx from the brazen shields in sources causes some confusion, but they both seem to be phalanxes, and rather heavily armored.
Mithridates' Pontic kingdom was a fusion of Greek and Persian influnces so a Pontic army would have plenty of fusion there as well. Does this mean a Pontic phalanx must be shown wearing trousers? I doubt that.
Sekunda's work on the Seleucid army depicts phalangites wearing Greek style kit, with no depiction of 'pantodapoi' or levies in trousers.
The later Bosphoran army of Mithridates' last attempt to attack Rome was organized in cohorts and included his veterans, levied Bosphorans, and Roman expatriots. No phalanxes are mentioned at this time as it seems that Mithridates had decided their time had come and gone.
As for using the Foundry 'Carthaginian' pikemen as Pontics, that would make little sense since when Mithridates began emulating the legion and its equipment, his troops seem to have dropped the gem encrusted and bejewelled kit of the phalanx basd army. I would suspect that expensive mail armors woudl go to the elite troops forming the new mock legions, before these would be doled out to the phalanx.
Of course Connelly's big switch, to call his nice illustration a "Hellenistic phalangite" is somewhat amusing when he does not identify at all which army such a trooper would appear in.
Nonetheless I wouldn't snicker at a Pontic phalanx made up of those Foundry figures, as they would look different.

The War Event31 Oct 2005 8:22 a.m. PST


Your 'anti-Pontic' view just slays me!

The army has a great aesthetic value on any game board!


- Greg

Swampster06 Nov 2005 2:33 a.m. PST

"Actually the ex-slave phalanx was not of Bosphoran origins, and would be made up of troops from the former Bithynian army and other Asiatic states…"

If this were the case then why are they called ex-slaves rather than ex-Bithynian or whatever troops. The descriptions in Plutarch etc. make it clear that they were recently freed slaves. They probably were freed from places like Bithynia but being slaves at least some would have come from elesewhere.
One of the main sources of slaves was the Caucasus region and nearby. IIRC, this was also a major source for later societies such as the Arabs. However, I do agree that the phalanx wouldn't necessarily be wearing trousers – in fact I think it ratehr unlikely as I said above.
Nick Sekunda's Seleucid book has a good range of photos of original sources, but doesn't use the figures that Duncan Head uses as his model for the pantodapoi. Apparently the date of these is uncertain and IIRC they were actually found in Italy, so may represent troops the Romans met or an artists expectations of what the enemy wore – 'these chaps were from the east therefore they wore trousers' kind of attitude.
I agree that the Bronze shields are rather problematic. They are sent to seize a rather rocky hill at Chaironeia. I'm not sure that there is anything which suggests the phalanx (ex-slave or otherwise)is any more armoured than earlier phalangites. At Chaironeia it takes missile fire at the rear of the phalanx to break it, but at Magnesia the phalanx is broken by the efect of missile fire (particlarly on the elephants mixed inbetween the subunits).
The bejewelled appearance could apply to the phalanx but could refer just to part of the army such as the cavalry.


Judas Iscariot06 Nov 2005 4:20 p.m. PST

I hate reading threads like this…I have this HUGE box of Xyston Phalangites of various types that I REALLY want to get started on, but they are so far down my list of things to get done that I fear it may be a few years before I get to them. Especially if I start school next year…

A Pontic army is among those that I want as an opponent for one of my many Roman armies under construction. Maybe I should give the Romans a rest for a while and do more of their opponents?

As someone else pointed out, too. Sarmatians are among the figures that I do not have satisfactory sources for. I am hoping that by the time I finish the Xyston Camillan Romans that Xyston (or someone that makes a significantly similar quality miniature) will bring some out…

Rudysnelson06 Nov 2005 5:42 p.m. PST

I agree with Allen about the 'eastern' trouser look. In 15mm, I like to use Selucid Pikes. The cavalry can be either Successors with shiled or Sarmatian Rhox Heavy Cav with the shorter spear.

For both the Auxillary and Imitation Legion, I prefer the Sarmatian Greek Colonist. They have the large oval shield, trousers and the eastern style helm and armor. I use different poses for the different types.

Rudysnelson06 Nov 2005 5:44 p.m. PST

Sorry the 15mm in the Old Glory range. The Pontics are very good in 'same period'DBA and DBM tournaments. I consider them very flexible.

Sane Max07 Nov 2005 2:07 a.m. PST

The slaves that made up the 'Ex Slave' element of the army would not have been typical slaves – they were the slaves belonging to the Italian and Roman Merchants massacred by Mithridates in Asia Province. They would probably not have been hairy-assed Grain slaves or Latifundia workers, but household slaves, porters and the ilk – more likely to have been of Hellenistic origin.

Just an extrapolation and a theory, but IMHO all the same.


Swampster07 Nov 2005 1:21 p.m. PST

Not really much reason that your average household slave in Asia couldn't be from the Caucasus, let alone the grooms, mule drivers etc etc that the merchants and tax farmers also could have had. Many of their 'domestics' (including freedmen and slaves) were of Italian birth and these were included in the massacres. Plus I expect some of the Romans would have settled and run farms with local slaves (though this is just supposition). Also, many freed slaves had not belonged to Romans but were from the Greek cities, particularly those who stood against him. Part of the treaty with Sulla was that all freed slaves should return to their former owners – not much point if the owners had been massacred (they coud obviously go to their heirs though!) How many of these slaves would have been in the army is obviously a different matter.
However, contradicting myself (again!) a lot of them seem to have been debtors, probably those who hadn't paid the tax to the publicani. These could be Greeks or Hellenised Asiatics. I think that a law ahd recently been passed to say that subjects of allied kings (Bithynians being particularly mentioned) could not be enslaved for their debts, but how much this applied to those who were Roman subjects I don't know off hand – very little I imagine!

That Mith. didn't just use the slaves of Romans is shown by the raising of his final army which included freedmen and slaves. How these were levied is another matter.


Sane Max07 Nov 2005 5:10 p.m. PST

Ah now, the slaves and freedmen he raised in the Cimmerian Bosphorus would have been Bosphoran – but they wouldnt have been Phalanx, so the trousered Phalanx becomes irrelevant.

Lots of them in the jungle.


Swampster08 Nov 2005 12:55 a.m. PST

Agreed (though probably not from the Cimmerian Bosphorus itself – more likely either the Caucasus or what is now the Ukraine 'mainland'.
But that doesn't mean that the other slaves _weren't_ at last partly from the Black Sea area.
And if you look back at what I said at first, I thought that _despite_ their Black Sea origin I reckoned trousers would have been unlikely for the ex-slave phalanx. They wouldn't have worn them in servitude and I don't suppose Mith carried wagons full of trousers just in case 8-)


Sane Max08 Nov 2005 2:49 a.m. PST

"and I don't suppose Mith carried wagons full of trousers just in case 8-)"

Now that I WILL argue with – I have a Mithridatic army, and I can assure you that a wagonload of Trousers is a useful adjunct. They soil them with depressing regularity.


Rudysnelson08 Nov 2005 6:52 a.m. PST

Considering cultural hetitage, I would advocate trousers. Whether you go with the Persian, Selucid influence of Eastern Asia Minor or the Skythian influence of that area, trousers are used in both cultures.

JJartist08 Nov 2005 10:08 a.m. PST

My comment was not that trousers were not worn, but actually was may not be as common as wargamers would like to make them, in both the Seleucid and Pontic army.
My guess is that the Brazen shields might be more likely to wear trousers than the other phalanxes because they would probably wear what the cavalry wore, a fusion of Hellenistic and Persian garb.
As for the ex-slave phalanx, the sources are clear, (as Trev convinced me), that there was no "ex-slave phalanx" per se. The sources clearly state that ex-slaves at Chaeronea were infused into the ranks of the phalanx. This phalanx could only have been raised from Bithynian volunteers,or Asian troops, and local Greeks, as they are separate from the Brazen shields.
How these ex-slaves were dressed and equipped, or even their general origin is anybody's guess, but I would nod toward Pat's arguement that they were the freed slaves of Asia and the Aegean, and not a majority of Cimmerians from the Bosphorus. However, I would certainly not rule out that some of them were from there.
A very mixed look would be in order IMO.

Swampster08 Nov 2005 1:01 p.m. PST

Yes, the sources do say that the ex-slaves were enrolled in the phalanx although with 15000 of them according to Plutarch this is likely to have been a pretty big portion of the phalanx. Plutarch is probably exaggerating the numbers, but he is probably exaggerating the whole Pontic army so the proportions may be about right.

The point I am trying to make about the slaves is that many of them would have _originally_ been from the Caucasus (not the Cimmerian Bosphorus). This was a major source of slaves for the Greeks and neighbours. These slaves would have been sold into slavery (possibly by their own families) and then sold at one of the great slave markets in the Aegean area. They would then have been freed from Asia and the Aegean. I do not think that at this stae of the wars Mithridates was raising troops from the slaves actually in the Caucasus.
I have my doubts that there would have been many Bithynian volunteers in the phalanx. Mithridates already had a phalanx (and we do not know that this was only the Brazen Shields – or even included the Brazen Shields! – the Seleucid Silver Shields were no longer all phalangites after all!) before he attacked Bithynia, so the ex-slaves could have been added to this. Bithynians joined Mith since he gained kudos by releasing prisoners after the invasion. However, these could have simply fought in their usual style, which probably wasn't as a pike phalanx. Chris Webber's suggestion that the quote from Appian suggests the presence of a Bithynian phalanx isn't too convincing – after all 50000 Bithynians were defeated by 10000 Pontics plus chariots. There were plenty of other places in the region which had Hellenistic influence and didn't start using a phalanx – Thrace being the most appropriate example.


JJartist08 Nov 2005 9:35 p.m. PST

Chris Webber's suggestion that the quote from Appian suggests the presence of a Bithynian phalanx isn't too convincing after all 50000 Bithynians were defeated by 10000 Pontics plus chariots.

———> The suggestion is the Bithynian army was mostly mercenaries. The phalanx was surrounded and destroyed by cavalry and scythed chariots, the rest of the army then fled. The survivors were freed by Mithridates, and it is logical to assume that they signed up with him and became the nucleus of these other phalanxes that ended up in Greece. Phalanx in source is a common term for battleline so sometimes this can be a misleading term, especially if it is not followed with "armed in the fashion of the Macedonians" which almost always means a pike unit.
The numbers in the sources are ridiculous, so one can assume that 15,000 slaves is an overstatement, as is the size of the whole army.

JJartist08 Nov 2005 9:36 p.m. PST

How do you paint your Pontic's soiled trousers? :)

Swampster09 Nov 2005 1:17 a.m. PST

Chris Webber is postulating the presence of a pike armed phalanx for the Bithynians. However, there is no specific mention of a phalanx in the Bithyniana army, whether as pike or simply the solid line troops. The way that Appain uses phalanx in the lead up to Amnias does suggest your use – Dorylaus commands the 'phalanx' which is everything that isn't a chariot or cavalryman if read literally. At the battle itself, Neoptolemus and Archelaus have light infantry (euzonoi). The Bithynians may well have had some mercenaries, but I don't see this as being 'mostly' mercenary.
(Oops – better get to work – I'll continue later!)


Sane Max09 Nov 2005 2:02 a.m. PST

before Priming I carefully pare away the trouser on the figure, then build them back up using miliput. Before completing the seat of the pants and groin I insert a small fleck of hamster food painted brown, and then drybrush the groin a damp gloss yellow.

Sadly not so – I have no need, the units are self-soiling.


Swampster09 Nov 2005 11:28 a.m. PST

This sounds like you have been putting _far_ too much thought into how to portray soiling!!

Anyway, since the unfortunate business of actually working is over, where was I…

The description of the phalanx including the ex-slaves certainly sounds like a pike phalanx. I'd like to look at the greek words used by Plutarch which are translated as 'pike' though. Frontinus does specifically describe the first line at one of the battles (which may be Orchomenus) as armed in the Macedonian fashion. Whether he is to be trusted with the whole description of the battle lines is another matter – he also mentions the presence of a Roman style trained line which is possible but pretty unlikely I think at this stage. Dio mentions how Mith trained his troops in the Roman style (though it is in one of the lost chapters 8-( ) We know about it because he mentions it himself later. However, I guess this rearming would be more likely following the arrival of Sertorius' chaps.


aecurtis Fezian13 Nov 2005 9:03 p.m. PST

Good lord, I missed all the additions to this thread!

(Which is not all a bad thing…)

OK, so: maybe pants, no pants, household servants with curling irons and horticultural implements. "Diverse" appearance I can live with.

I don't think anyone is likely to get too dogmatic about the appearance of any troops in Asia Minor in the c.1st BCE. Or at least ought not to.

Let's get down and dirty on the Maccabeans, where everything is cut and dried. evil grin


Sane Max14 Nov 2005 5:42 a.m. PST

Cut and Dried? You mean they DRIED them? I knew about the cutting, but thats too much for me. There is no way I am converting these guys now.

What did they do, save them up for famines?


Swampster14 Nov 2005 12:30 p.m. PST

Well, I suppose there is a fine line between dogmatism and striving for accuracy. Generally, I try to go with what feels right 8-)
Maccabeans – easy. Use the same source which can be used for all of the Near East c.200BC to 200 AD.
The Life of Brian.
Particularly the 'Blessed are the Cheesemongers' bit.
BTW, they were cut and dried to last for the sabbatical year.


Sane Max14 Nov 2005 3:19 p.m. PST

I will never look at Jerky the same way.


AlanYork09 May 2006 3:40 p.m. PST

I read somewhere, in either Plutarch or Appian that Mithridates freed the slaves who fought in his phalanx. The army was reformed to replace the phalanx with imitation legionaries at the end of the First Mithridatic War in 84BC. One assumes he thought pikemen were outdated. Would these "imitation legions" consist of the same Freed Slaves that were formerly pikemen?

Appian goes on to say that he raised another army of 36,000 freedmen and slaves in around 66BC. However that must be a completely different army to the one that fought in the Second Mithridatic War (83 to 82BC)and most of the Third Mithridatic War (75 to 65BC). By the time he had raised his 36,000 the Wars were as good as over.

So, for the purposes of morale, is it fair to assume that the heavy infantry part of the army for the First, Second and most of the Third Wars consisted of many Freed Slaves? They were perhaps not particularly well trained but would at least have something to fight for, having no future if Rome won, other than a return to slavery.

What do you think? Have I made any false assumptions here or misread the sources? I want to classify them for Piquet you see.

Sane Max10 May 2006 1:16 a.m. PST

There was a fierce argument (well as fierce as you can get between three people by email) on this Topic on the group play-testing the WAB successors army list.

The freed slaves from the massacre of the Italians were described as being mixed into the phalanx. These guys were whipped at Chaeronea and Orchomenos, the remainder crucified after the war in Greece ended.

The usual rule in most systems is that the 1st Mithridatic wars army were all pike, from then all all imitation legionaries. I have insufficient faith in the logistic and organisational skill of Late Successor kingdoms to believe that, and would expect it to have been more gradual than that. Significantly at Zela there were still pike in the army.

The 36,000 freedmen and slaves Mithridates raised while skulking in Southern Russia will have been a completely different bunch of lads. By then Mith had lost his original army half a dozen times over. Anyhow, they never got to fight.Eupators plan to march to italy via the danube valley and then lead his army across the alps was, understandably, received by his subjects with a great cry of 'Next King Please'

The argument we had was this. How were the freed slaves from the Italian Massacres incorporated? were they 'salted' into the existing phalanx? Were they formed into units of their own? Would there have been any differentiation in the phalanx?


Sane Max10 May 2006 3:21 a.m. PST

Sorry, was rudely interrupted by work there.. sigh…


The Slave Phalanx in the first war are described standing far better than expected, fighting stubbornly. This has led to suggestions they should be classed as 'stubborn' or subject to 'Hatred' in WAB, which makes them stand regardless for a little longer. In both cases I think this makes them too good, and I suspect their performance was similar to that described for Green, well trained but inexperienced regiments in enlightenment-era warfare, who often stood fire far better than 'experienced' regiments because they didn't know there was a point at which nobody would think ill of them for being driven back. Or perhaps they were just having a good day.

The next question is 'did the slaves support their liberator?' These were described at the slaves of the Italian and Latin Merchants in the areas under Mithridates' control. Brutalised Latifundia slaves I can imagine making a good, hate-filled phalanx. But Household staff? I wonder how many of them were eager to fight their former masters?

Its all quite speculative isn't it? I would say you should allow an option for slave-phalanx, and for slave-imitation legionaries. I would class them as worse than regular phalanx or imitation legionaries. Don't get me started on how the Imitation Legionaries were equipped, trained, drilled etc etc….

Not much help am I? Sorry…


Swampster10 May 2006 11:01 a.m. PST

For the later armies, the freed slaves were often freed from servitude under Pontic etc. masters rather than liberated from the Romans. Mith was trying to maximise his manpower and was annoying the free population with shis consciption methods.
As for the freed slaves in 86, the text just says the phalanx included freed slaves.

I don't have too much trouble with the army quickly shifting to 'imitation' legionaries. Mith had to rebuild his army from a pretty low level so he could rearm them as he chose. Whether they had the full legionary kit is another matter of course.
Jst a pain that the description of how and when this happened is lost (Dio I think). Just have to hope there is mummy case from Oxyrhynchus made of the missing bits waiting to be read!

vercengetorix10 May 2006 4:52 p.m. PST

How interesting a debate. I knew nothing about Mithradates until I read Duggan in my teens. Duggan's own backgound was interesting rich Argentinean Irish adopted via his mother's marriage into the English aristocracy at a time of dominion. I think this shows in the book. In his early stages as a protagonist Mith' was an aristocratic radical democrat and I suspect many of the slave phalangites may have been newly servile as a result of the impact of Roman 'capitalism'. I think that means trousers (Asiatic or Galatian) could be possible. Interestingly Mith's relations with the trouser wearing Galatians were poor but his body guard were Celts. We dont know enough. I wish we did for Mith' was an able politician and a fine strategist.

Swampster11 May 2006 12:07 a.m. PST

There is quite a debate about the trousers hgher up the thread.
I think the most likely scenario is that when the slaves were freed they would likly have reclothed themselves from their ex-owners clothes! I doubt that the Romans would have let their slaves wear native clothing i.e. trousers.

Incidentally, all the stuff in Duggan about Mith going around wearing full Persian gear is based on poor evidence. He is following Reinach, and Reinach assumes trousers from the incident when Mith hid a knife on his person. The original source does not mention trousers at all.
The only full body statue which is probably Mith shows him wearing standard Greek style general's armour.


Sane Max11 May 2006 12:59 a.m. PST

Is the famous Lion-skin bust representing him as Heracles? Or is it in relation to some sort of Persian cultural trait? I have always wondered, as it would cast more light on how Hellenistic he was. All his coin portraits are Hellenistic as well.

Personally I would like him to turn out more Persian.. Hellenistic monarchs there are a hatful of. Perso-Hellenistic is far more interesting.


brevior est vita11 May 2006 5:00 a.m. PST


The portrait head of Mithridates in the Louvre (

) follows in a long tradition of Hellenistic rulers whose imagres emulated Alexander and his association with Herakles.


Scott K.

brevior est vita11 May 2006 5:01 a.m. PST

Here's that link again:


vercengetorix11 May 2006 4:09 p.m. PST

Well that looks very Hellenistic to me, and interesting too. One of the great things about TMP is what you learn. The point about what Masters allowed slaves to wear seems valid as well, but when your newly free how do you choose to express that in what you wear?

Swampster13 May 2006 1:32 a.m. PST

I should imagine that slaves from trouser wearing areas may have wanted to go back to wearing trousers, but where would they get them from in a hurry. Perhaps they did have someone run them up a few thousand pairs, but I doubt it would have been a priority. Ditto for the Celtic and Germanic slaves in the various slave revolts.
However, using figures wearing trousers could be a useful shorthand for showing which ones are ex-slave.

vercengetorix24 May 2006 3:52 p.m. PST

Swampster I think your probaby right about this. Donnigton did some Servile War Gauls and Germans in tunics and bare legs they might do nicely. A nagging thought is the proximity of trouser wearing Galatians. How did they re equip? Any how it occurs to me that the penal legionairies in Frie Korps (now LKM) with tunics but plain Gallic helmets,Thureos style shields and long gallic swords could do as imitation legions. They are empty handed so could be given pila or javelins. I dont know if this would pass muster as a reconstruction but it would make them distinct from their Roman opponents and the sort of visual reference you suggest.

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