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Thracian

Historical Overview Section

The Thracians first appeared about 1500-1200 BC and fought as allies of the Trojans in the Trojan war. Divided into separate tribes, they did not manage to form a lasting political organization until the Odrysian state was founded in the 5th century BC. The Odrysian kings were the only ones to unite (nearly) all the tribes and overran Macedonia in 429 BC with a supposedly 150,000 strong army. According to the ancient sources, which are limited, the mountainous regions were home to various warlike and ferocious tribes, while the plains peoples were apparently more peaceable, owing to contacts and influences from the Greeks. Throughout the 6th century BC, Thracian infantry was heavily recruited by Greek states and large deposits of gold and silver were mined. Thrace south of the Danube (except for the land of the Bessi) was ruled for nearly half a century by the Late Achaemenid Persians under Darius the Great, who conducted an expedition into the region from 513 BC to 512 BC. Before the expansion of the kingdom of Macedon, Thrace was divided into three camps (East, Central, and West) after the withdrawal of the Persians. A notable ruler of the East Thracians was the overking Cersobleptes, who attempted to expand his power over many of the Thracian tribes.

The region was conquered by the Alexandrian Macedonian army of Philip II of Macedon in the 4th century BC and was ruled by the kingdom of Macedon for a century and a half. During the Macedonian Wars, conflict between the Late Republican Roman Empire and Thrace was inevitable. The destruction of the ruling parties in Macedonia destabilized their authority over Thrace, and its tribal authorities began to act once more on their own accord. After the battle of Pydna in 168 BC, Roman authority over Macedonia seemed inevitable, and the governing of Thracia passed to Rome. Neither the Thracians nor the Macedonians had yet resolved themselves to Roman dominion, and several revolts took place during this period of transition. The revolt of Andriscus in 149 BC, as an example, drew the bulk of its support from Thracia. Several incursions by local tribes into Macedonia continued for many years, though there were tribes who willingly allied themselves to Rome, such as the Deneletae and the Bessi.

The next century and a half saw the slow development of Thracia into a permanent Roman client state. The Sapaei tribe came to the forefront initially under the rule of Rhascuporis. He was known to have granted assistance to both Pompey and Caesar, and later supported the Republican armies against Antonius and Octavian in the final days of the Republic. The familiar heirs of Rhascuporis were then as deeply tied into political scandal and murder as were their Roman masters. A series of royal assassinations altered the ruling landscape for several years in the early Roman imperial period. Various factions took control, with the support of the Roman Emperor. The turmoil would eventually stop with one final assassination.

In 279 BC, the Gallic Celtic Gauls advanced into Macedonia, Southern Greece and Thrace. They were soon forced out of Macedonia and Southern Greece, but they remained in Thrace until the end of the century. From Thrace, three Celtic tribes advanced into Anatolia and huddled closer together to form a new kingdom of the Galatians. The Thracians also formed the ancestors of the Dacian or Carpi tribes of modern day Romania, where body odor issues in the warn summer Transylvanian evenings ensured that they kept to looser formations.

In book 7 of his Histories, Herodotus describes the equipment of the Thracians fighting under the Persians: "The Thracians went to the war wearing the skins of foxes upon their heads, and about their bodies tunics, over which was thrown a long cloak of many colours. Their legs and feet were clad in buskins made from the skins of fawns; and they had for arms javelins, with light targes, and short dirks. This people, after crossing into Asia, took the name of Bithynians; before, they had been called Strymonians, while they dwelt upon the Strymon; whence, according to their own account, they had been driven out by the Mysians and Teucrians. The commander of these Asiatic Thracians was Bassaces the son of Artabanus."

Owing to their martial reputation, the Thracian tribesmen were much used as mercenaries by the Greek kings of Syria, Pergamum, Bithynia, and other regions. Thracian mercenaries were always in demand, as they were fierce fighters, especially in rocky or hilly regions similar to their homeland. They were however considered a bit expensive at times, and liable to switch sides. The principal Thracian weapons in the fifth and fourth centuries were the spear and the knife. Much earlier Thracian infantry had been armed with axes, while their leaders rode chariots. Thracian light infantry could be armed with javelins, slings, or bows, with javelins predominating. Thracian warriors, particularly the hillmen, were especially famous for an unusual weapon which combined elements of sword, sickle and polearm, which was called the Rhomphaia, and was carried increasingly by Thracian infantry in the centuries following Alexander the Great's death until it became a trademark of the mercenary Thracian peltast. Even the Romans dreaded this fearsome weapon.

Cavalry armament for all Thracians except the Getae consisted of 2 cornel wood javelins that could be thrust with or thrown. They also carried the typical Kopis. The Getae often used bows instead of javelins, and the akinakes instead of the kopis. Thracian tribes also used more exotic weapons such as spiked axles, or carts rolled down steep hills, but these interesting options are not allowed in the rather stiff-necked ruleset which is FoG. Thracians were known for their hit and run tactics consisting of random melee attacks followed by quick retreats. The backbone of the Thracian military were the Thracian Peltast, a type of light infantry that was equally at home fighting hand-to-hand and at a distance (throwing javelins). Peltasts were unarmored except for their curved shields. They carried some form of short sword or melee weapon and an assortment of javelins. The wealthy nobility wore helmets with pointed tops in order to accommodate their top-knot hairstyles.

Using the army in ADLG

  • 2HCW is one of the best bang-for-buck weapons in the game. Given that, its hard to see why you'd go for a pre-250BC army without them
  • Elite javelin armes LI will boss the early part of the game

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Army Lists

Sample army lists for this army

200 Points

  • 3 of these
  • 4 of these
  • etc
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