Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Galatian mercenaries

   These are the Galatian mercenaries for my Hellenic armies. I've made them using Warlord Games' Celtic Warrior (which I got from the Conquest of Gaul starter set). I converted a few of those by giving them the hoplite helmets from Classical Greek Hoplites set (Warlord/Immortal Miniatures) to set them apart from the European Celts.

   I decided to use only bare-chested models for this because that is the way they were represented in Ancient Warfare Magazine as well as in Nick Sekunda's book on Ptolemaic army. The shield design also comes from those. I suspect such uniform design was a later development which would make it suitable for representing them from around 250/200BC. On the other hand my helmet swaps are 50/100 years older/earlier but I decided not to worry about that too much- I just wanted to give them a bit of Hellenic flavor. I could not be bothered to do all of their trousers in the criss-cross fashion so a lot of them received 'Asterix and Obelix' pants, not sure how(if at all) historically accurate those are either. 

    I tried to make each figure unique so no two are identical. I've done this by either using different poses, shield variation, facial hair colours, trousers or helmet paint job. Check all 9 of them below (in the front rank):

 The guy on the right is holding his scabbard as well as his shield.

 This guy was bending down in previous photo so here is a pic which shows his face.

   I was relieved to find that they actually rank up very well. I remember people complaining that their dynamic poses meant putting them in ranks is difficult but I found it pretty easy. You can see the evidence below:

Historical background

   After Alexander the Great's death his generals (known as Diadochi) fought for control over his domain. After long and bloody struggle only two major names still stood- the Seleucus and Ptolemy I. Ptolemy would go on to die peacefully but he chose his second son to succeed him so that his eldest son- Ptolemy Keraunos (thunderbolt) decided to seek his fortunes elsewhere. He joined Seleucus who after series of conflicts came out on top of the Diadochi wars after he killed Lysimachus(in control of the Thrace region) only to be assassinated by Ptolemy Keraunos afterwards. 

  Although thanks to this Ptolemy Keraunos gained the Macedonian throne his timing could not have been any worse. With the collapse of Thracian kingdom Lysimachus helped build the flood gates have opened for Celtic migration South. Those Celts attacked and pillaged Thrace, Macedon and Greece- killing and(!) beheading Ptolemy Keraunos in the process (279BC).
   The Celts were known as great warriors and due to great numbers they were widely and cheaply available fighting troops (fact exploited by Pyrrhus of Epirus when he returned from his Italian expedition to tackle Macedon). The Gauls were finally defeated two years later in 277 by Antigonus II Gonatas (grandson of Diadochi general Antigonus 'One-eyed').

   Afterwards they migrated to Anatolia in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) and became known as Galatians. Although over the years they became more 'civilized' and less war-like those among them who chose the mercenary life have retained their superior traits and were highly valued, mostly used by Ptolemaic and Seleucid kingdoms.

  Below are some of the pictures I have found of Galatians and blue cloaks with white shields with blue stripes is a recurring theme:

 Galatian mercenary in Egypt.
 Galatians in Ptolemaic parade.
 Galatians in battle (on the right).
 Galatian mercenary on the right.
Galatian mercenary in blue cloak.
 Late Galatian mercenary (around 150 BC).


  1. Excellent Galatians! There are some nice illustrations of Galatians in the new Le Soldat Lagide book(French language).

  2. Very nice - they look appropriately wild. I've always fancied putting together a load of these, so thanks for posting.

  3. Fantastic looking figures! Love the faces, looking fierce!

  4. Thanks guys! @Cyrus if I have any money left after this year's Salute then I will probably buy it, apparently it has over 30 colour plates yet it is the size of a standard Osprey title!