The Successors of Alexander the Great

The successors of Alexander the Great are numerous and their armies have a large variety of troops in them, from Samnites in the west to Indians in the very east, Elephants to camels, Africans to Thracians. But there are also lots of similarities. Pike phalanx was usually the core for these armies. The use of thureophoroi common. Shock cavalry and naturally Cretan archers. Always Cretan archers. These characteristic features make these armies an interesting lot for wargamers. With a small number of core troops very remarkable armies can be created by adding the right territorial troops.


   The Successor Phalanx

The Successor Phalanx of the Macedonians  is described as heaving embossed coloured shields. There were units with Bronze shields and white shields (Argyraspides).


Macedonian Phalanx (Foundry models)

Macedonian recruits (Foundry models)


Some believe that the back ranks of the Phalanx were made of less armoured soldiers and recruits. The Pontic army even incorporated ex-slaves into it's army.

  The Imitation Legions
When Roman started spreading its claws towards the middle eastern countries, the leaders soon got to know what the "invincible armies from Rome" were really capable of. It did not take long for armies like the Pontics, Seleucids and Ptolemaics to train their own kind of legion.

There are not much  imitation legions available in metal. Navigator got one model , and Amazon one model. But I wanted to make a whole unit and like it when the models are not all the same pose. One can use Late republican Romans for this purpose, but the helmets are not very "eastern". Original phalanx units do not have chain mail, which is the normal outfit for the imitation legion. Swapping heads seemed too expensive. I came across a unit of Carthaginian veterans from Gripping Beast. They still have the Hellenistic type of helmet, but with the added chain mail. They are supported to be Carthaginians that nicked Roman gear during the long war in Italy. There my imitation legions were! With a little Milliput I also added a plume or crest on the helmets, inspired by Osprey's picture of a Seleucid imitation legionnaire. I painted the tunics in a very colourful way, to represent the oriental feeling of these soldiers and set them apart from the real Romans. Add a command group with a little Hellenistic feel to it and the unit is ready.


Gripping Beast Carthaginian veteran
on which I added a plume/crest with Milliput.

The final result of the Imitation Legionaries
(Gripping Beast Carthaginian Veterans and command group from Navigator and Foundry)


   The Late Thracians

Macedonia kept using Thracians troops in their army. Thracian soldiers often used the dreaded Rhomphaia; a sharp, slightly curved, blade on a stick (about the same length as the blade).

Earlier Thracian warriors wore light clothing with colourful designs. Latter Thracian warriors are depicted as using near black cloths.

Navigator A&A Thracians


  The Anatolians
Armies like the Seleucids and Pontics were hiring or forcing lots of different troops from nowadays turkey into their armies. Bithynia, Galatia, Kappadokia, Cilicia, Pisidia, Lydia, all states that added to the war effects of their bigger neighbours. 

A detachment of Anatolian warriors raid a Roman enclave
(Amazon Miniatures with the exception of the model left and the standard bearer from Navigator).


  The Galatians
Not long after the death of Alexander the Great, Celtic tribes invaded Greece from the North. These barbarians called themselves Galatians. They were finally subdued by the Greeks, but one group settled permanently in the early around nowadays Ankara. They were hired into the various armies in the east as fierce mercenaries.

Celtic fanatics from various manufacturers.


  The Thureophoroi and Thorakites

As the Greek hoplite was beaten by the superior Macedonian pike phalanx, and the Galatians invaded the Greek territories, the Hoplite was gradually changed into a more lightly armed form of warrior. The new shields were of obvious Celtic influence.

Navigator Thureophoroi

Every change in armour or weapons has its reaction. Some thureophoroi became heavier armoured. These types of troops wore chain mail and are called Thorakites.

Thorakites (converted Newline Carthaginian models.
These are perfect as Thorakites, but they needed the sleeves of the shirts cut.)

Later the Greeks realised that they needed a heavier kind of infantry to match the Macedonian phalanx and they copied the pike phalanx.


  The Missile Troops

Rhodian slingers and Cretan archers were popular in every army!

Old Glory conversion.
(I used models with long sleeves, and trimmed these into short sleeve shirts.)



Illyria was one of the first places that the Macedonians and Romans clashed. The Illyrians were a wild people pirating the surrounding seas.

Not much is known of their clothing, but older artwork depicture soldiers in sleeveless short shirts without wearing belts. They wore their swords on a baldric. The shields varied from celtic/thureophoroi oval shields to round hoplite-like shields and even square types were used. I heavily converted some models from Old Glory Italian Wars series to come to this result.

Old Glory conversion.
(The pectorale (breast armor), belts and sleeves were taken off.)

Amazon Miniatures & RAFM Illyrian infantry

Amazon Miniatures & RAFM Illyrian light Cavalry


  Anti-Elephant weapons

The successor armies made extensive use of elephants in their armies. Pyrrhus' elephants bewildered the Romans in the early 3rd century BC. The Romans came up with anti-elephant wagons.

The wagons are hand made from scratch.

Other armies made use of pigs that were sent towards the elephants after they were put on fire!

Foundry pigs.

  Scythed Chariots

The Seleucids and Pontic army kept using chariots, an old custom in the east. But not as missile platforms. No these chariots were designed to smash into the enemy lines. For that reason they had scythes attached to the chariot.

Old Glory scythed chariot


The tendency to better armour the cavalry ended in the ancient version of the tank: the Cataphracts. From half-barding up to full barded horses and men in full armor, they make an excellent display in the later successor armies.

Old Glory (late) Cataphracts

(late) Cataphracts running over a Roman unit (Gripping Beast)


The Ptolemaic and Seleucid armies sometimes made use of Arab nomads. Most catching of them are the camel cavalry. They wielded a very long swords (6 cubits).

Magister Militum & Gripping Beast Camels


The Persians and the successors depended a lot on the troops from Kappadokia.

Wargames Foundry Thracian & Persian cavalry


The famous 'Parthian shot' came from the Parthian cavalrymen that were able to shoot while retreating.

Magister Militum Parthian cavalry

See also the Epirotes (Pyrrhus' Army) for more Successor thingies

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