The Battle of
Evros (483 BC)

Thracians vs. Early Achaemenid Persians

By Stefanos Skarmintzos

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Herodotus has written that Mardonius was sent by Xerxes to subjugate the Thracians or otherwise create allies or vassals for the Great King in order to repare the way for the Persian invasion of Greece. Many Thracian tribes cowered but others like the Vrigoi fought as guerrillas. One night the Vrigoi surprised the Persians on their camp and inflicted heavy losses. Mardonius had to spend next year in a hard campaign to pacify the area for the Great King.

The Forces

Early Achaemenid Persians (I/60a). No Scythed chariot for the Persians. Persian Cavalry begin disployed as Bow in front of their camp (see Special Rule below), but not in a group formation.

Thracians (I/48): Spear option not allowed.

Game Map (ASCII)


     ============Thracian Baseline====================
     # # # . . . . . . . . . . . . f s . . . . . . r .
     # # f . . . . . . . . . . . . f s f f f . . . r .
     # # f f h . . . . . . . . . . . f f s f f . . # r
     . . f h h h . . . . h h # # f . . . s f . . # r .
     . . h f h h . . . h h h h f f f . . . s . . # r .
     f f f h . # # . . . h h h f f f . h h . s . . r .
     . f f f . . # h . . . . . . f . f h h . . s . r .
     . . . f . . h h . . . . . . . . f f f f . . s r .
     . . . . . h h h . . . . . . . . . f f f . . . . r
     . . . . . . h . . . . . . . . . . f . f . . . . r
     . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . s . . . . . . r
     o . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . s . . . . # r
     o . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . o o o s s s . # r
     o o o . . . . . . . . . . . . . o o o . . . s # r
     o o . . . . h h . . . . . . . . . . . . . . s s r
     . . . . . h h h h . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . r
     . . . . . h h h . . . . . . . . . . f . . . M M r
     o o o . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . f . M M M r
     o o o . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . f f M M M r
     . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . f f f f M r
     . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . f # # f M r
     . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . M M M r
     . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . M M r M
     . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . M M r r
     ============Persian Baseline=====================

     SCALE: The space between each dot/letter is one inch.

     TERRAIN KEY:

     .=Good Going (Good Going)
     #=Rough/Broken Ground (Bad Going)
     h=Gentle Hill (Good Going)
     f=Light Wood (Bad Going)
     s=Stream
     r=River (waterway)
     M=Marsh/Bog (Bad Going)
     o=Orchard (Bad Going)

Terrain Notes: The orchards are the fields of the subjugated Thracians. The Persian baseline is the coastline of the Northern Aegean. The river Evros was much more forested at the time.

Special Rules

Xenophon has stated the reasons why Persian Cavalry was slow to prepare for battle. To simulate that and the effect of the ambush; on first round Persian horsemen need an additional PIP point to mount and move. The Persian may opt to fight dismounted to avoid the penalty. It was possible that the surprise was such they did not have time to prepare their mounts.

Victory Conditions

Normal DBA.

Background Resources

See the accounts of Herodotus and Xenophon.


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Last Update:  26 April 2005

Thanks to SS for contributing this scenario. Thracian image featuring Newline Design 28mm Thracian.
Comments and feedback welcome and can be sent to Chris Brantley.