Kushan or Indo-Skythian

Kushan or Indo-Skythian

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Historical Overview Section

The Kushan Empire (c. 1st–3rd centuries) originally formed in Bactria on either side of the middle course of the Oxus River or Syr Darya in what is now northern Afghanistan, Pakistan, southern Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. At its zenith (c. 105–250 AD) it extended from what is now Afghanistan to Pakistan and down into the Ganges river valley in northern India. The empire was created by the Kushan branch of the Yuezhi confederation, an Indo-European people from the eastern Tarim Basin, China, possibly related to the Tocharians. They had diplomatic contacts with Rome, Persia and China, and for several centuries were at the center of exchange between the East and the West. Several Roman sources describe the visit of ambassadors from the Kings of Bactria and India during the 2nd century, probably referring to the Kushans and excavations at the summer capital of the Kushan in Begram have yielded a considerable amount of goods imported from the Roman Empire.

The origins of the dynasty lie in the Yuezhi, a nomadic people who reached the Hellenic Graeco-Bactrian Kingdom around 135 BCE, displacing the Greek dynasties to the southeast in areas of the Hindu Kush and the Indus basin to form the Indo-Greek Kingdom. As the new rulers sradually wrested control of the area from other Scythian tribes, the Kushans expanded south into the region traditionally known as Gandhara and established twin capitals near present-day Kabul and Peshawar then known as Kapisa and Pushklavati respectively. The Kushan writing system used the Greek alphabet, with the addition of the letter Sho.The Kushans adopted elements of the Hellenistic culture of Bactria. They adapted the Greek alphabet (often corrupted) to suit their own language (with the additional development of the letter Þ "sh", as in "Kushan") and soon began minting coinage on the Greek model. The Kushan Empire came into conflict with the Parthian's, taking territory from them and establishing a peaceful trading environment from Rome to China. The Kushans also enjoyed extensive diplomatic, trading and cultural ties with China, which occasionally spilled over into territorial warfare.

After the death of a prominent ruler in 225, the Kushan empire split into western and eastern halves. The Western Kushans (in Afghanistan) were soon subjugated by the Sassanid Persian Empire and lost Bactria and other territories. In 248 they were defeated again by the Persians, who deposed the Western dynasty and replaced them with Persian vassals known as the Kushanshas (or Indo-Sassanids). The Eastern Kushan kingdom was based in the Punjab. Around 270 their territories on the Gangetic plain became independent under local dynasties such as the Yaudheyas. Then in the mid 4th century they were subjugated by the Gupta Empire under Samudragupta.

In 360 a Kushan vassal named Kidara overthrew the old Kushan dynasty and established the Kidarite Kingdom. The Kushan style of Kidarite coins indicates they considered themselves as Kushans. The Kidarite seem to have been rather prosperous, although on a smaller scale than their Kushan predecessors. These remnants of the Kushan empire were ultimately wiped out in the 5th century by the invasions of the White Huns, and later the expansion of Islam.

Using the army in FoG

  • Quite a tasty mix in this army, with an unusual combination of Cataphracts and Elephants to give punch.
  • The number of Cataphracts alone isn't quite enough to make a one-dimensional plan work however, and will need to be supported by something else - luckily the Elephants are on hand to help out.
  • Designing the army therefore becomes a process of adding up the cost of all the available cataphracts and elephants, 4 generals, and then making the rest up with Light Horse. Unprotected shooty cavalry are not that appealling.
  • The remnant Greeks are too few in number to make a difference other than as padding for the army, and likewise the Indians.

UK Tournament Results with this army

User-contributed links about this army:


  • Indo-Skythian - Kushan or Indo-Skythian : Date restrictions None Book: Legions Triumphant Page: 23 - It’s a way to squeeze more cataphracts or elehants in the army I suppose
  • Huns - Chionite Hunnic : Date restrictions From 300 Book: Legions Triumphant Page: 75 - the 6 lancer Cv make this more than the usual Bw/Sw Cv & LH outfit - a nice change of pace
  • Parthian Rebels - Parthian : Date restrictions Before 228 Book: Rise of Rome Page: 56 - Up to 8 cataphracts and 24 LH is a good addition

15mm Manufacturers supplying figures for this army

You can see some of the figures in the Ancients Photo Gallery also on this site

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Indian Figures

Cataphract and Horse-Archer Figures
Most people carry some Scythian horse archers and some cataphracts.

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You can see some of the figures in the Ancients Photo Gallery also on this site

Scythian Types

Core Troops

Which troops are absolutely needed for this army, and what are your thoughts on how to organise, paint and buy them.

Army Lists

Sample army lists for this army

900 AP army used at Usk 2010

  • 6 LMI, Bw
  • 4 LH, Bw/Sw
  • 4 LH, Bw/Sw
  • 4 LH, Bw/Sw
  • 4 LH, Bw/Sw
  • 4 LH, Bw/Sw
  • 4 LH, Bw/Sw
  • 4 Unprotected Bw/Sw cavalry
  • 4 Cataphracts
  • 4 Cataphracts
  • 4 Cataphracts
  • 4 Cataphracts
  • 2 Elephants
  • 2 Elephants
  • 2 Elephants
  • IC, TC, TC

Using asterisks inthe edit mode creates a bulleted list in the actual site

  • This is a lot easier to do than easier than setting up tables
  • For FoG I suggest listing your army in order or march
  • with troop desctiptions on each line, for example
  • 4 HF Armoured Average Drilled Impact Foot Swordsmen
  • 8 LG Undrilled Unarmoured Poor Bowen
  • Dont forget to include your Generals !!!

Include any notes you want here, including comments on how to use - or play against - the army.

Remember to leave a line before you copy the above section as a template for your own list

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Created by admin. Last Modification: Tuesday 12 of November, 2019 19:00:13 GMT by admin. (Version 12)
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