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Bosporan Kingdom

Historical Overview Section

The Bosporan kingdom or the Kingdom of the Cimmerian Bosporus was an ancient state, located in eastern Crimea and the Taman Peninsula on the shores of the Cimmerian Bosporus (see Strait of Kerch). It is arguably the first truly 'Hellenistic' state in which a mixed population adopted the Greek language and civilization. The storyline of the motion picture Cross of Iron revolves around conflicts that arise within the leadership of a Wehrmacht regiment during the German retreat from the Taman Peninsula.

The kingdom was founded and governed from 480 to 438 BC by the Archaeanactidae ruling family, who gave place to a Thracian tyrant Spartocus (438–431 BC). He founded a dynasty which endured until c. 110 BC in which his successors were either called Spartocus or Paerisades, making it difficult for historians to assign them any certain order, but proving a boon to wargamers who can name their generals with a high degree of certainty. The last King of the dynasty Paerisades V in 108 BC called in the help of Diophantus, a general of the Pontic king Mithridates the Great, promising to hand over his kingdom to that prince if he could help against rebels, shortly before he was slain by a Skythian or Saka named Saumacus who led a rebellion against him.

With his general in sort of control, Mithridates entered the picture and entrusted the Bosporus Cimmerius to his son Machares, who, however, deserted to the Late Republican Romans. But even when driven out of his own kingdom by Late Republican Roman General Pompey, Mithridates was strong enough to regain the Cimmerian Bosporus and Machares slew himself. Subsequently the Bosporans again rose in revolt under Pharnaces, another of the old king's sons. After the death of Mithridates (63 BC) Pharnaces tried to regain his dominion during the Late Republican Roman civil war, but was defeated by Caesar at Zela and later killed by a former governor of his. A pretender, Asander ruled as archon, and later as king, until 17 BC. Successive succession disputes were rarely free of pernicious Roman influence until Tiberius Julius Aspurgus (8 BC - 38) founded a line of kings which endured until 341, all under close Roman patronage.

The Bosporans carried on a perpetual war with the native tribes supported by their Roman suzerains, who even lent the assistance of garrison and fleet (the latter is not represented in FoG, but would have been in DBM). In 255 Goths (possibly Early Ostrogothic and Herul tribes) raided the shores of Anatolia. With the coins of the last King Tiberius Julius Rhescuporis VI, in 341, materials for a connected history of the Bosporus Cimmerius come to an end. The kingdom probably succumbed to the Western Hunnic army who had defeated the nearby Early Alans in 375/376 and moved rapidly westwards bringing destruction in their wake.

Using the army in ADLG

  • With only a commmand of +2, it may be tricky to use this as much other than a charging Impetuous Heavy Cavalry army
  • With 4 Thracians, plenty of rough terrain options and some decent slugging it out heavy foot it does have some attractions if the mounted are kept to one command

User-contributed links about this army. Add links in this format:

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15mm Manufacturers supplying figures for this army

As a hellenized / Roman client army, there are a wide range of suitable figures for Bosporans. You can see some of the figures in the Ancients Photo Gallery also on this site

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Army Lists

Sample army lists for this army

200 Points

  • 3 of these
  • 4 of these
  • etc
  • etc


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