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DBA 2.0 Army Essays

Commagene (163-17 AD & 38-72 AD)
DBA II/44

By Paul Hannah

The Commagene army list (II/44) caught my eye recently. This is one of the new armies added to DBA 2.0. As a fancier of Hellenistic armies, I pondered what figures would be appropriate this army, comprised as it is with the intriguing mix of Knights, Light Horse, Pikes and Bows and Auxilia.

Finding nil in the usual WRG reference books, I perused a variety of websites that touched on the history, art and even coins of this First Century kingdom in what is now the Kurdish region of SE Turkey. One site of interest shows the ruins of several colossal statues that Antiochos I built of Greek and Persian gods. Naturally, he included himself in that pantheon! Typical of late Hellenistic art, the sculptures are quite overdone, but impressive nonetheless, and, of course, that's just what Mr. Antiochos intended.

From the scant info available, probably the best clue as to the army's make-up comes from the origins of the Commagene (pronounced "kommjn", per one source I saw) kingdom. As a breakaway state during in the waning of the Seleucid dynasty, I would be inclined to model it on the late Seleucid fashion.

4Kn (Gen option) Cataphracts would probably fully armored. The General's stand should be made to look terribly pompous, to match Antiochos' ego.
2LH The DBM list suggests that the two LH units are Tarantine mercenaries and irregular horse archers, so that's easy: A unit of shielded, javelin-armed regulars and a stand of Parthian horse archers.
4Pk (Gen option) The two (or four) stands of pikes seem self-explanatory, other than they should probably have very long pikes, as was typical in the late-Hellenistic era.
4Aux or 3Bw or 2Ps (optional) The option for a stand of 4Aux looks to be the ever-present unit of mercenary peltasts. I am guessing that the units of Bows and Psiloi would look like a levy of non-descript archers, akin to Parthian, Armenian or Sassanid foot. Give them a dusty, haggard look, as these are probably the same poor sods whose day-jobs are spent dragging all those stones up Mt. Nemrud to make those monstrous statues!

How the appearance of the army might have changed during its First Century AD revival, I can only guess. Perhaps the stand of 4Ax would look more like a unit of Roman auxilia?

Camps and BUAs

A camp for this army might feature a stone quarry or a stone-cutters' workshop, with blocks of limestone lying about.

Other Resources

If readers have additional insights into the army of this obscure kingdom, I would be eager to hear from you. I concede I have not done exhaustive research on this topic; my Latin just isn't what it used to be. Contact Paul A. Hannah at PAHannah@aol.com.

Fanaticus Feedback

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My thanks to Paul Hannah for this essay. Comments, questions or suggested additions to this page can be sent to Chris Brantley, IamFanaticus@gmail.com.

Last Updated: Oct. 15, 2001