Polybian Roman

A place to talk about MESHWESH army lists
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David Kuijt
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Re: Polybian Roman

Postby David Kuijt » Thu Feb 02, 2017 2:51 pm

Thanks, Andreas. The Caesar usage is an exact match for the original Punic Wars reference, too. Dammit. That means it probably should get represented as a battle card.

The best representation proposed so far would seem to be your earlier suggestion, that pairs of one Javelin Cavalry and one Light Foot (or in some cases Rabble) be replaced with two [somethings]. Perhaps with a limit of how many such pair substitution. And the mixed units should be based up as something like two mounted figs and two foot figs on the same (mounted-depth) base.

The fact that the troops would have to train together (as described for Caesar) would mean that the swap would have to occur at army build phase, basically -- if you're fighting with that army in a tournament or campaign, you have to retain that swap through the whole thing, rather than choosing how to deploy in any battle.

If we have the [somethings] that result from the mixture be Bad Horse, that would actually work pretty well with the other (earlier) suppositions that such substitutions did not seem to be adopted in the world where Knights and Cataphracts became dominant. Bad Horse fighting relatively even against Javelin Cavalry (slightly disadvantaged by being slower and not able to disengage), but at a significant disadvantage against Knights or Cataphracts.

[EDIT] Actually, that sounds like an army list change, with the "description" of the Bad Horse in question including that "such troops were a mixture of foot and mounted, and should be represented <blah blah blah>" or similar. The only problem is that is a set-up for the parenthetical army list form I particularly detested of old, where it said something like (1x Javelin Cavalry and 1x Light Foot) or (2x Bad Horse "Hamippoi"). And that sort of complex expression with parens adds a whole buttload of complexity to the internal representation of Meshwesh.
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Re: Polybian Roman

Postby MarkusB » Thu Feb 02, 2017 3:46 pm

David Kuijt wrote: Actually, that sounds like an army list change, with the "description" of the Bad Horse in question including that "such troops were a mixture of foot and mounted, and should be represented <blah blah blah>" or similar. The only problem is that is a set-up for the parenthetical army list form I particularly detested of old, where it said something like (1x Javelin Cavalry and 1x Light Foot) or (2x Bad Horse "Hamippoi"). And that sort of complex expression with parens adds a whole buttload of complexity to the internal representation of Meshwesh.


I agree. But if that's the case, then the simplest thing to do is to add a note somewhere (troop description? army blurb? 0pts "fluff-only" battle card?), saying that a specified number of your bad horse or JavCav stands can be modeled with mixed infantry/cavalry figures as you suggest, with no special rule involved at all. Swapping stands X and Y to get twice Z, if done at the stage of army list selection, doesn't look that different from just choosing Z in first place...

[Edited to add: I don't think it would be necessary to revise min-max allowed stands, either- after all, we only have examples of velites/hamippoi being used to reduce an handicap, not to gain an advantage. Perhaps good ol' Julius only had sufficient equites to field one stand of JavCav, but he mixed them with light troops so that he fielded two. Poor Pompey fielded something like 4 Bad Horse stands with no velites interspersed. Simple as that.]

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Re: Polybian Roman

Postby David Kuijt » Thu Feb 02, 2017 4:58 pm

MarkusB wrote:I agree. But if that's the case, then the simplest thing to do is to add a note somewhere (troop description? army blurb? 0pts "fluff-only" battle card?), saying that a specified number of your bad horse or JavCav stands can be modeled with mixed infantry/cavalry figures as you suggest, with no special rule involved at all. Swapping stands X and Y to get twice Z, if done at the stage of army list selection, doesn't look that different from just choosing Z in first place...

[Edited to add: I don't think it would be necessary to revise min-max allowed stands, either- after all, we only have examples of velites/hamippoi being used to reduce an handicap, not to gain an advantage. Perhaps good ol' Julius only had sufficient equites to field one stand of JavCav, but he mixed them with light troops so that he fielded two. Poor Pompey fielded something like 4 Bad Horse stands with no velites interspersed. Simple as that.]


That's a good point, so long as the concept isn't allowed as a last-minute choice like dismounting. In other words, if we suppose that significant training is involved (you can't just throw them together in the field and expect it to work) tied to the additional supposition that troops trained that way would be fielded that way (rather than gaining some optional ability to deploy either way). That's fine for the Pharsalus and the siege of Capua/Punic Wars occasions, where the first is specified and the second supposition is quite reasonable (because Caesar and the anti-Capuan Romans were both trying to increase their cavalry component to match enemy superiority). It is a bit less clear for the Kallinikos occasion 171 BC Andreas cited. The Cretans are likely mercenaries and so would likely be able to fight in their original (non-combined) format as well as the hamippoi format, for example.

Andreas, the only Cretan mercenaries I'm familiar with in the Greek Classical and Hellenistic period are their famous skirmishing bowmen -- does your Kallinikos source say anything about the equipment of these Cretans?
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Re: Polybian Roman

Postby Andreas Johansson » Fri Feb 03, 2017 9:35 am

David Kuijt wrote:Andreas, the only Cretan mercenaries I'm familiar with in the Greek Classical and Hellenistic period are their famous skirmishing bowmen -- does your Kallinikos source say anything about the equipment of these Cretans?

Livy mentions the infantry of both side using swords to chop off cavalry lances - but he surely didn't mean to imply they were armed only with swords. I'd assume these Cretans were archers on the grounds that anything else would have been likely to be remarked on.

In fact, the 19C philologist Weissenborn concluded from the way that "Cretans" is used parallel to "cavalry" that it here doesn't mean "men from Crete" but simply "archers". I seem to recall having read elsewhere of "Cretans" being used in this way, and in any case using a gentilic for a troop type wouldn't be unprecedented, cf "tarentine".

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Re: Polybian Roman

Postby Andreas Johansson » Fri Feb 03, 2017 9:47 am

Re training, the Constitution of the Athenians has hamippos as a position you get paid for (and can be dismissed from if the Boulê doesn't think you're fit for service). Clearly this would be unnecessary if just any light infantry could be usefully employed as hamippoi when the occasion called for it - specialists were evidently needed.

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Re: Polybian Roman

Postby David Kuijt » Fri Feb 03, 2017 2:23 pm

Are any commentators aware of any historical example where Bad Horse wouldn't be an appropriate rating for a cavalry unit with intermixed hamippoi?

Rating hamippoi-mixed cavalry as Bad Horse would mean:
  • They fight Javelin Cavalry approximately equal (both +2 factor v. mounted)
  • Their movement is close to that of Light Foot (LtFt: 5mu; Bad Horse: 6mu; Javelin Cavalry: 8mu). This slower movement than Javelin Cavalry would mean they can't disengage from JCav and can disengage from LtFt.
  • They would be significantly worse than Javelin Cavalry against Cataphracts and Knights (no Shatter results)

All of the above seems reasonable according to the material discussed so far. I had been concerned that Andreas' 171BC Kallinikos (Macedonian cavalry and Cretans/archers intermixed) was an exception as Macedonian cavalry are rated as Knights in their earlier period, but by the Hellenistic period the Mac Cav are Javelin Cavalry, so that's not a problem.
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Re: Polybian Roman

Postby Andreas Johansson » Fri Feb 03, 2017 3:23 pm

David Kuijt wrote:I had been concerned that Andreas' 171BC Kallinikos (Macedonian cavalry and Cretans/archers intermixed) was an exception as Macedonian cavalry are rated as Knights in their earlier period, but by the Hellenistic period the Mac Cav are Javelin Cavalry, so that's not a problem.

What's troubling on the Macedonian front is the example from the Anabasis Alexandrou I quoted in the last post on the 2nd page of this thread* - Alexander's bodyguards and companions are normally Knights.

Unfortunately, the unsporting enemy withdrew so we don't learn how well the mixed formation would have fought. Presumably they couldn't charge in their usual manner with half of them on foot; then again, since the objective was a mountain ridge, perhaps doing so would have been impractical anyway. Possibly dismiss the whole thing as covered by how Knights fight in difficult terrain already?

* It would be helpful if posts were numbered within threads.

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Re: Polybian Roman

Postby David Kuijt » Fri Feb 03, 2017 4:17 pm

Andreas Johansson wrote:What's troubling on the Macedonian front is the example from the Anabasis Alexandrou I quoted in the last post on the 2nd page of this thread* - Alexander's bodyguards and companions are normally Knights.

Unfortunately, the unsporting enemy withdrew so we don't learn how well the mixed formation would have fought. Presumably they couldn't charge in their usual manner with half of them on foot; then again, since the objective was a mountain ridge, perhaps doing so would have been impractical anyway. Possibly dismiss the whole thing as covered by how Knights fight in difficult terrain already?


Yes, I think the best approach there is to look away and pretend nothing was seen, like a prudish grandmother at a nudist colony.

Andreas Johansson wrote:* It would be helpful if posts were numbered within threads.


There are enough hamippoi responses now that we should probably reorg them all into their own thread, too.
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Re: Polybian Roman

Postby Juanbususto » Fri Nov 03, 2017 8:42 am

Sorry if I missed something, but If I understood it right, the "Elite foot - legionaries" are the triarii. I'm happy with the classification as Elite Foot, but are the quantities right as well? Why are there so few Hastati and Princeps "Heavy foot" available? Thanks! :)


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