The Battle of
Hieria (Thasos)
(685 BC)

Geometric Greeks vs. Thracians

By Stefanos Skarmintzos

> Battles > DBA Resources > Fanaticus

The details of these events are sketchy. What we gather from the authors who lived several centuries later is not very clear. What we know is that the Parians under the command of Telesikles, father of the famous Lyric poet Archilochos tried to establish a colony on the rich island of Thasos in response to a Delphic oracle.  The Saians, the local Thracic population, resisted the Parians ferociously. The colonists came under great peril until they established their colony.

Archilochos wrote a poem about a shield that he abandoned while running for his life. From this we conclude that the early engagements were not favorable to the colonists. Finally they managed to drive off the Saians and prosper until Histieos of Miletos with the aid of the Persians conquered the island. After the Peloponessian war the colonists found again their independence.

The Forces

Parians (Geometric Greek, DBA I/30) vs. Saians (Thacians, DBA I/48), as modified by the special rules below.

Game Map (ASCII)

     ===============Saian Baseline====================
     f f # . . . . . . . . . . . . f s . . . . . . r f
     # # f . . . . . . . . . . . . f s f f f . . . r f
     # # 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 . . . M r
     . . . . . . h . . . . . . . . . . f . f . . . . r
     . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . s . . . . . . r
     f . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . s . . . . # r
     f . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . f f s s s . # r
     f # # . . . . . . . . . . . . . . f f . . . s # r
     f # . . . . h h . . . . . . . . . . . . . . s s r
     F . . . . h h h h . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . r
     f . . . . h h h . . . . . . . . . . . . . . f f r
     f f f . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . f f f r
     f f f . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . f f f f M r
     # . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . f f f f M r
     # . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . f # # f M r
     . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . # M r
     . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . r M
     . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . r r
     =============Parian 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:  Thasos of the time was a wooded ragged island.  The Parians came with ships from the Cyclades to make a colony.  Their baseline is assumed to be the sea coast.

Special Rules

Though hoplite tactics had already appeared at the time, the islanders had not yet developed them, hence they are represented as Geometric Greeks. But being islanders, no chariots or cavalry are allowed. The Saians being also islanders have no cavalry and spears. If we choose to believe Diodorus about their ferociousness, then two war band elements can be an option.

Victory Conditions

Normal DBA.

Background Resources

Pausanias, Diodorus Siculus, the poetry of Archilochos.

Some Saian mountaineer
Struts today with my shield.

I threw it down by a bush and ran
When the fighting got hot.
Life seemed somehow more precious.
It was a beautiful shield.
I know where I can buy another
Exactly like it, just as round.
-- Archilochos


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Last Update:  30 June 2006

Thanks to SS for contributing this scenario.
Comments and feedback welcome and can be sent to Chris Brantley.