Friday, 7 December 2012
Here are a few photos of some Spartan cavalry units for my Spartan army of the Peloponnesian War and later. The figures are all Foundry. One unit is armoured and the other unarmoured, both are small units in Hail Caesar game terms, with the armoured deemed medium cavalry while the unarmoured are obviously light cavalry.
Thucydides in his description (5.67) of the Spartan forces at the Battle of Mantinea in 418 BC mentions 'their cavalry being posted on the two wings'. A few years ago we actually refought this battle playing WAB and it resulted in an unlikely Argive, Athenian and allies victory! Apart from scouting and skirmishing, guarding the wings or protecting the flanks seems to have been the usual role for the cavalry in the Spartan army.
Xenophon (Hellenika 6.4.10-11) in his description of the Battle of Leuctra in 371 BC is particularly scathing of the Spartan cavalry:
...the Spartan cavalry at that time was in the very worst shape. This was because at Sparta only the wealthiest men raised horses, and when troops were called up, each man who was selected by his officers to serve in the cavalry would come to obtain his horse and whatever arms were given to him, and immediately go to the field. Most important of all was the fact that the men riding the horses were in terrible physical shape and utterly uninterested in wining glory.