Great Moravian, 833-907
Great Moravia was a Slavic state that existed in Central Europe from the 9th century to the early 10th century. Despite the incredibly groovy name, no-one actually is sure where it really was other than that its heartland sat astride the Morava river in present day Slovakia/Czech Republic. Great Moravia was founded when, in 833, MojmÃr I unified two neighbouring states by (guess what?) force - both of them had equally made-up sounding names, the "Principality of Nitra" and the "Principality of Moravia". However these were pretend kingdoms in reality as well as in nomenclature, as they had been de-facto subjects of the Early Medieval German Empire. Under the early rulers Moravia was militarily and economically powerful enough to be treated as an equal to the East Franksh Early Medieval German Realm, and they formed alliances with and against the Early medieval Germans and Magyars, who had started invading only recently.
The empire reached its greatest territorial extent under Svatopluk I (871â€“894), who was later to be canonised as the patron saint of writers of contemporary fantasy fiction, on the basis that his name was real, yet still more silly than anything a modern day writer could possibly come up with. Svatopluck took power in a typical Dark Ages internicine spat, where he first enlisted the help of the early Medieval Germans and then ditched them after he took power, which as usual coincided with a short period of sustained ill health leading to death for several of his brothers. The other important thing to happen to him was that he received a letter from by Pope John VIII, addressed to "King" Svatopluk.
Svatopluk split his empire in two on his death, prompting another round of warfare between his two heirs. It really didn't help matters that the Early medieval Germans were also busy trying to invade all the time, and so when the Magyars came a-knocking (after being bumped out by the Pechenegs) the two sons MojmÃr II and Svatopluk II were in a world of pain. They both probably died in battles with the Magyars between 904 and 907 because they are no longer mentioned in written sources after 906. In three battles (July 4-5 and August 9, 907) near Pressburg, the Magyars routed a number of Early Medieval German Bavarian armies. Historians traditionally put this year as the date of the breakup of the Great Moravian Empire.
Very little is known about the Great Moravian way of warfare. Earlier Thematic Byzantine sources mention the javelin as the favourite weapon of Slavic warriors, and this has been used as the basis to allocate their entire cavalry force with a rather poor weapon in an age when everyone else is tooled up with Bw/SW or Lance/Sword. Great Moravia also must have employed the same pasty-faced spear and axe armed infantry as everyone else, and had a Rus-style royal bodyguard or druzhina. The druzhina was a princely retinue composed of professional warriors, who were responsible for collecting tribute and punishing wrongdoers. Even so, they were no match for the Magyars and their horse archers, even though Svatopluk I apparently had plenty of horses and the Great Moravian heavy cavalry tried manfully to emulate the contemporary Carolingian Frankish and Early Medieval German lancer cavalry. When facing larger and better equipped Early Medieval German armies the Moravians often preferred ambushes, skirmishes and raids to regular battles - sadly not really that much of an option in FoG unless they take an IC to have a punt at getting decent terrain down. An important element of Great Moravian defense was to hide in a castle, but again this isn't really an option - the FoG writers decided that hit-and-run LH tactics were the only form of asymmetrical warfare to be encouraged under the rules. The army was led by the king or, in case of his absence, by a commander-in-chief called voivode
- Hmm - a strike force of protected Lt Sp/Sw cavalry in a Lance/Sw & Bw/Sw period. That's a tough one...
- The 4 Frankish lancers, 4 LH and 16 other cavalry gets you to around 300 points alone.
- Otherwise you are looking at constructing a fairly large pedestrian army capable of taking punishment, and hoping its few cavalry can find an opportunity.
- Maximum spear foot will go a long way towards filling the table but will need MF bowmen for rear support to be safer against shooting and combat CTs
- Really, it looks pretty dull, and not as good as many other similar armies.
User-contributed links about this army:
- A moravian re-enactor site and you thought your hobby was sad eh?
- Moravian timeline as part of a longer history of Slovakia
- put the link text readers will see in here write some more detail about the link here
- Frankish, East - Early Medieval German Any Wolves from the Sea 64 Lots of lancers, up to 2 units of Def Spear and some bowmen
- Magyar Any Wolves from the Sea 47 Bw/Sw cavalry and scads of LH with Bw/Sw too. Quite innovative in this period
- Paint schemes, insignia, shield designs? Put it here.
Pretty much most generic dark ages guys will do, maybe Viking or Rus as well for some of the better armoured ones. But here are the specific Slavs.... You can see some of the figures in the Ancients Photo Gallery also on this site
- Essex Miniatures - sell generic dark ages guys by the bucketload
- Donnington Slav range
- Isarus Slavs range
- Gladiator Miniatures by Fighting 15's (Gladiator Games) generic dark age ranges
- Old Glory Slav range, which appears to have been based on the WRG Armies and enemies books. The archer figures are based on an illustration of a Moravian archer!
- Magister Militum (includes former Chariot ranges) Navigators dark ages ranges
- Minifigs UK Slav range for this era in their dark ages section
- Two Dragons Slavs
- Tin Soldier Slavic range
- Outpost Slavic & Avar range
- Miniature Wars Dark Age Slavs
- QRF Models Feudal Castings & ranges, Vikings, Saxons, Normans
Sample army lists for this army
Great Moravian / 833-906 AD /800AP Wall o' Crap
- CinC - Troop Commander
- 3 x Sub Generals TC
- 8 BGs 8 x HF, protected, average, undrilled, defensive spear
- 4 BGs 6 x LF, unprotected, average, undrilled, bow
- 1 BG 4 x Cav, protected, superior, undrilled, light spear, sword
- 3 BGs 4 x Cav, protected, average, undrilled, light spear, sword
A Wall of crap army. Deploy in single line across table - spear in the center, LF bow on flanks. Cav provides rear support to spear wall.
Great Moravian w/ East Frankish Ally / 833-907 AD
- CinC Field Commander
- 2 x Sub Generals TC
- 4 BGs 8x HF, protected, average, undrilled, defensive spear
- 2 BGs 8 x LF, unprotected, average, undrilled, bow
- 2 BGs 4 x Cav, protected, superior, undrilled, light spear, sword
- 1 BG 4 x LH, unprotected, average, undrilled, bow, -
East Frankish ally
- East Frankish Ally Commander FC (increases chance for successful flank march)
- 2 BGs 6 x Cav, armoured, superior, undrilled, lance, sword
- 1 BG 4 x Cav, protected, superior, undrilled, lance, sword
Remember to leave a line before you copy the above section as a template for your own list