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Enyalios!

Enyalios!

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Toxotai

Tutoring 9
Skill 9
Idea 9
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DBx Bases: 56 + 7
15mm Spears: 128
DBA Corps: 1
Saga Points: 7
DBx W/D/L: 1/0/4

I have a lot to say about the 2004 film Alexander – the writing is terrible, the acting is histrionic, the characterisation certainly is not appropriate in places, but I will admit that the battle scenes are, by far, the highlights of the film. The costumes, the number of extras they have, the grand scale of the battle itself – I’ve not seen such a effort of cinematography made since 1970’s Waterloo.

Battle of Gaugamela Part 1
Battle of Gaugamela Part 2

One thing, however, is notable about the Battle of Gaugamela – whilst the Persians had large numbers of archers supporting their troops, the Macedonians have very little. There are a few slingers and peltasts that support the phalanx, but massed bowfire?

Here’s the thing – the bow, whilst a relatively simple weapon, takes a lot of skill and training to use – this is why during the Medieval period the crossbow was more favored by some armies, since troops could be relatively quickly trained in its use. All you needed was a strong arm, and sometimes not even that. And that level of skill is why the English took a generational approach to peasants training on the archery stocks every weekend during the Hundred Years War. And that still applied, in many respects, during the ancient era – the primary missile weapon of the classical age was not the bow, but the sling.

Which makes sense – its cheaper than a bow, training a child how to use a sling is necessary for any aspiring shepherd boy, and small rocks for ammunition were easy to find. Plus, a well placed sling stone could break an arm, a rib cage, or crack a skull. Also, the Greeks saw the bow of more of a hunting weapon, the war weapon of a coward, and one used by barbarians – sure there were archers in their armies, but they didn’t play a massive role like it would in Europe 1500 years later.

That said, there was an exception to this practice – the Athenians. Some of the sources I’ve seen have noted that, during the Peloponesian War, the Athenians had four main corps of their armed forces – the Cavalry, the Navy, the Hoplites, and the Toxotai (the archers). Indications are that the corps was first raised in the 480’s BCE of about 800-1200 citizen soldiers, usually men who were not rich enough to become Hoplites. Mentions are made of them distinguishing themselves during the Battle of Platea in 479 BCE, and it was noted that of the marine force on each Trireme, four of them were archers. That being said, the Toxotai were not well regarded compared to the other branches of the army – the old biases of cowardice and barbarism leaked over.

It makes me wonder if the history surrounding this Corps was the inspiration for the Athenian Marksman side-quest in Assassins Creed: Odyssey (wouldn't know, stopped playing that one after 10 hours).It makes me wonder if the history surrounding this Corps was the inspiration for the Athenian Marksman side-quest in Assassins Creed: Odyssey (wouldn't know, stopped playing that one after 10 hours).

So, some archer support would be needed for my Athenians. And, given the more organised origin of the Athenian Archers, I decided to match the AC:O artwork and give the rank archers all helmets – not good bronze helmets, though, just cheap iron ones, enough to make them look like they had been somewhat equipped out of the State’s purse.

Toxotai

Additionally I also did a few slingers at 28mm as I’ve been wanting to introduce Mortal Gods to some of my local gaming groups – completing the slingers means that I finally have two demo forces which I can use in a 150pt game, or a 300 pt game.

Toxotai

At the 15mm level, most archers for Greeks are Psiloi elements, with the Athenians being the only nation capable of upgrading these to line Bowmen. In reality, I need more archers, but the helmeted heads come from other models, so these eight elements will have to do for now.

Toxotai

I’m getting close to finishing off my initial Athenian Corps…

Next, the horses and the tridents…

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sundancer
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2022-04-26 Your project has been visited by the unofficial Hobby Hangout. Huzza!

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