Tuesday 7 January 2020

Thureophoroi - Club Paint Challenge

My local wargame club has a painting challenge. I have set my target at painting two units a month for a new MeG 15mm Hellenistic ancients army.

These are Xyston miniatures from Rochester Models.

I haven't bought a 15 mm army for decades and was stunned by the quality of the current models.

Thureophoroi are a type of infantry that were used across the Hellenistic world. They were named after the oval 'Celtic-style' shield presumably adopted after the Galation intrusion into the Greek world; the Thyreos is the shield.

Thureophoroi or thyreophoroi were a kind of jack-of-all-trades infantry type that could operate in all types of terrain. Apart from the shield, they had only a helmet for protection and were armed with javelins and/or a long single-handed thrusting spear thought to be Thracian in origin. Thureophoroi were used to support light infantry and could operate either in loose or order.

They were commonly used by small city states as cheap paramilitary forces. Many Greek mercenary troops in Macedonian or Hellenistic armies were probably Thureophoroi. They would be used to guard the camp or as flank defence for the heavy infantry. Plutarch reports them as ineffective when used as line-of-battle troops against real heavy infantry such as phalangites.

Any Hellenistic army from Alexander onwards should include Thureophoroi.

Eventually some seem to have been up-armoured with mail shirts to produce Thorakitae that were presumably better drilled for close-order combat. Thorakitae may be the 'ersatz Roman' troops reported in late Hellenistic armies although their equipment is pure Galatian/Thracian