Pages

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Cretan Archers & Balearic Slingers

Cretan Archers:  Cretan archers were held in high esteem in the ancient world as mercenaries and many Cretans made a good living by serving away from home.  Alexander the Great employed Cretan archers on account of their excellence with the bow.  Cretans carried a distinctive small bronze pelte or shield.  Purportedly, Cretans boys began training with the bow at seven although they wouldn't have the upper body strength to draw a composite bow at that age!    


These units will pull double duty in my Impetus armies.  The Pontic list does not include Cretan archers. In that army, the figures will represent ordinary archers who happen to have found and armed themselves with  small bronze shields.  The Middle Republican Roman list and many other armies of the period allow Cretan Archers so they'll appear as intended when I field those armies.  

Balearic Slingers:  These mercenaries from the Balearic Island were expert slingers.  They employed slings of three different lengths, depending on the range needed. Purportedly, they trained from infancy in order to earn their livelihood as mercenary slingers.  The Greek geographer Strabo wrote "And their training in the use of slings used to be such, from childhood up, that they would not so much as give bread to their children unless they first hit it with the sling."  While the story is likely fiction, the idea that Balearic parents pushed their sons to train so that they might earn a living abroad is probably factual.   Lack of resources and lack of opportunities at home likely motivated the men of Rhodes, Crete, Balearic  islands to train in the art of war and serve abroad.  


These Xyston figures will pull double duty as the Pontic list doesn't have Balearic Slingers but does call for slingers.  Also, these are my first troops to be based in verticle.  Up, up and away!