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Historical Overview Section

Persian Mithradates Ktistes whilst in the service of Antigonus (one of Alexander's successors) cleverly managed in 302 BC to create the Kingdom of Pontus, which he and his descendants then ruled.

The kingdom reached its zenith under Mithridates VI the Great who fought the Mid Republican Romans. Mithradates is remembered as one of Rome's most formidable and successful enemies who fought three of the most prominent generals of the late Roman Republic: Sulla, Lucullus, and Pompey the Great.

When Mithradates came to power his plan was to make his state the dominant power in the Black Sea and Anatolia. This brought him into conflict with the Skythian or Saka king Palacus, who was depredating the Caucasuses. The Crimea, Tauric Chersonesus and the Bosporan Kingdom gave up their independence to Mithardates in return for promises to protect them against the Scythians, their ancient enemies. After several abortive attempts to invade the Crimea, the Scythians and the allied Rhoxolanoi Early Sarmatians suffered heavy losses at the hands of the Pontic general Diophantus and accepted, albeit at the point of the sword, Mithradates as their overlord.

The young king then turned his attention to Anatolia, where Roman power was on the rise. He contrived to partition Paphlagonia and the Galatian region with Nicomedes III of Bithynia, but Nicomedes manoeuvred himself into an anti-Pontic alliance with the Mid Republican Roman Republic. When Mithradates fell out with Nicomedes over control of Cappadocia and defeated him in a series of battles, the latter was constrained to openly enlist the assistance of Rome. The Romans twice interfered into the conflict on behalf of Nicomedes (92 and 95 BC), making the Roman-Pontic war inevitable. The next ruler of Bithynia, Nicomedes IV, was a figurehead manipulated by the Romans and unwisely declared war on Pontus at their request, even though the Romans were involved in civil war with their Italian allies and only had legions in Macedonia. Mithradates invaded Bithynia and promptly overran the country, leading his troops all the way to the Propontis.

Tigranes II, of the neighboring Early Armenians thought this was really neat, and established an alliance with Mithradates and married the Pontic leader's favorite daughter, Cleopatra. After conquering western Anatolia in 88 BC, Mithradates VI reportedly ordered the killing of all Romans living there. The massacre of allegedly 80,000 Roman men, women and children in an incident known as the Asiatic Vespers brought matters to a head and initiated the First Mithridatic War fought between 88 BC and 84 BC. In the war Roman General Lucius Cornelius Sulla forced Mithradates VI out of Greece proper and left Lucius Licinius Murena in charge of Roman forces in Anatolia as Sulla himself returned to Italy to answer the threat posed by Gaius Marius; subsequently, Mithradates VI was defeated but not beaten. A peace was made between Rome and Pontus, but this proved to be only temporary, as Murena attacked Mithradates in 83, provoking the Second Mithridatic War from 83 BC to 81 BC. Another peace was concluded after Murena suffered several defeats. Mithradates recouped his forces, and when Rome attempted to annex Bithynia, Mithradates VI attacked with an even larger army, leading to the Third Mithridatic War from 73 BC to 63 BC. First Lucullus and then Pompey the Great were sent against Mithradates VI, who surged back to retake his kingdom of Pontus, but was at last defeated by Pompey.

After his defeat by Pompey in 65 BC, Mithradates VI fled with a small army over the Caucausus to the Crimea and attempted to raise yet another army to take on the Romans but failed to do so. In 63, he withdrew to the citadel in Panticapaeum. His eldest son, Machares, the king of Cimmerian Bosporans, whose kingdom had been reorganized by the Romans, was unwilling to aid his father. Mithradates had Machares killed, and Mithradates took the throne of the Bosporan Kingdom. Mithridates then ordered the conscription of many Scythians in order to regain his kingdom. Pharnaces II, his younger son, led a rebellion against his father, joined by Roman exiles in the core of Mithradates' Pontic army. Mithradates eventually committed suicide and was buried in Sinope, the capital of Pontus.

Despite annexation by Rome, the Pontic state retained an independent football association until 1975 when the last Pontic League champions "Sporting Mithradates" were knocked out in the EUEFA Cup first qualifying Round by Swedish team Helsingborgs on away goals.

Using the Army in FoG

  • V2.0 Change 3. Imitation legionaries in Pontic and Galatian (but not Numidian) armies gain the option to be Armoured.
  • If using Thureophoroi and Legionaries as protected, take them in 8s for resistance to shooting.
  • The scythed chariots are a "gimmick", rarely effective.
  • The pike armed strike force is generally better than the legionary one.
  • In period consider taking Pike in 10's. Against Romans you are going to lose bases and if you have no "spares" the Legionaries will slaughter the phalanx once they have taken a couple of bases off. This does then limit you to 2x10 though.
  • The Thracians (or Bastarnae) and Theurophoroi can dominate a piece of terrain where necessary. Don't split them to dominate 2 pieces.
  • in general though, steer clear of average protected imitation legionaries. They will get nailed by real legionaires, pike or any armoured or superior opponents. There aren't many good targets for them.

Allied Contingents

  • Armenian, Early : Date restrictions None Book: Rise of Rome Page: 53 - 6 cataphracts and 12 Lh is a good addition, but not cheap

User-contributed links about this army:

Tournament Results for this army

  • 10 / 16 Pontic Godendag 2008 Doubles (RoR)
  • 25 / 41 Pontic BHGS Challenge 2008 (open)
  • 32 / 41 Pontic BHGS Challenge 2008 (open)

Painting and collecting the army

  • Mithridates (and indeed all of the Pontic kings) had a seemingly inexhaustible supply of wealth, and so the army was probably extremely well equipped by the standards of the day. There are even anecdotes regarding Mithridates ordering his men to "tone down" the gaudiness of some of their equipment when operating, for example, in Greece, in order not to seem too ostentatious. As such, it would probably be ok to go for brightly colored tunics, shiny armor, etc.
  • Mithridates was a huge admirer of Alexander (and a claimed descendent/possible reincarnation) so red would not have been uncommon, particularly in the dress of the phalangites/pezhetaroi.
  • The symbol of Mithridates family was a star superimposed over a crescent moon resting on its back and facing upward. The theme is constantly repeated through coinage, monuments, etc. It would not be unreasonable to use this as a shield device. But then again, your guess is as good as any other. Just something I've seen used recently, and it seems like a valid idea.

15mm Manufacturers supplying figures for this army

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

Army Lists

Sample army lists for this army
1000 AP list

  • 4 Generals
  • 6 Light Infantry JLS, Average Unprotected Generic Light Infantry
  • 6 Light Infantry JLS, Average Unprotected Generic Light Infantry
  • 6 Light Infantry JLS, Average Unprotected Generic Light Infantry
  • 8 Light Infantry Bw, Average Unprotected Generic Light Infantry
  • 8 Hi Pk, Average, Protected, Drilled Pikemen
  • 8 Hi Pk, Average, Protected, Drilled Pikemen
  • 8 Hi Pk, Average, Protected, Drilled Pikemen
  • 6 Li, Sling, Average Unprotected Undrilled Generic Light Infantry
  • 8 Medium Foot, Average Heavy Weapon Protected Thracians
  • 8 Medium Foot, Average Offensive Spear Protected Illyrians
  • 4 Cavalry Armoured Superior JLS, Swordsman Gauls ?
  • 4 Cavalry Armoured Superior JLS, Swordsman Gauls ?
  • 8 Heavy Infantry Average, Protected, Swordsmen Drilled Impact Foot Imitation Legions
  • 4 LH, Undrilled Average Bowmen Unprotected Skythians
  • 6 Cataphracts, Lance, Sworseman, Undrilled Heavy Armour Cataphracts
  • 6 Cavalry Lance, Armoured, Undrilled, Superior, Sworsdsmen Sarmatians

Match report of how this army was used at Usk 2008

800 AP List

  • 3 x Pontic TC
  • 2 x 4 Pontic Heavy Cavalry
  • 1 x 4 Pontic Light Cavalry
  • 1 x 4 Skythian Cavalry - Cv not LH
  • 1 x 6 Sarmatian Cavalry
  • 1 x 6 LF Javelinmen
  • 1 x 6 LF Archers
  • 1 x 6 LF Slingers
  • 1 x 8 Thyreophoroi
  • 1 x 8 Fake Legionarii
  • 1 x Armanian TC
  • 1 x 6 Armenian Catafracts
  • 2 x 4 Armenian Horse Archers

800 AP army

  • C-in-C (Field Commander) x 1 @ 50 points
  • Sub-Commander x 2 @ 35 points each
  • 2 x 4 Pontic Heavy Cavalry (Armored Superior Undrilled, Light Spear, Swordsmen) @ 64 points each
  • 1 x 4 Pontic Light Horse (Unprotected Average Undrilled, Javelins, Light Spear) @ 28 points
  • 1 x 6 Javelinmen (Unprotected Average Undrilled Light Infantry, Javelins, Light Spear) @ 24 points
  • 1 x 6 Archers (Unprotected Average Undrilled Light Foot, Bow) @ 30 points
  • 1 x 6 Thureophoroi (Protected Average Drilled Medium Foot, Offensive Spearmen) @ 48 points
  • 2 x 12 Phalangites (Protected Average Drilled Heavy Foot, Pikemen) @ 72 points each
  • 1 x 6 Thracians (Protected Average Undrilled Medium Foot, Heavy Weapons) @ 42 points
  • Armenian Ally General (Troop Commander) x 1 @ 35 points
  • 1 x 4 Armenian Cataphracts (Heavily Armored Superior Undrilled Lancers, Swordsmen) @ 72 points
  • 2 x 4 Armenian Light Horse (Unprotected Average Undrilled, Bow) @ 32 points
  • 2 x 2 Scythed Chariots @ 30 points each

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

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