Late Achaemenid Persian

Late Achaemenid Persian

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Historical Overview Section

The Achaemenid Empire was the largest and most powerful empire the world had yet seen. In the Late Achemenid Period Darius III was the last king of the Achaemenid Empire of Persia from 336 BC to 330 BC. He was dealt a pretty poor hand by life, being deposed during Alexander the Great's Alexandrian Macedonian conquest. In the spring of 334 BC Alexander invaded Asia Minor at the head of a combined Macedonian army and almost immediately faced and defeated a Persian force at the Battle of Granicus. Darius never showed up for the battle, probably because there was no reason for him to suppose that Alexander intended to conquer the whole of Asia, and Darius may well have supposed that the satraps of the ‘lower’ satrapies could deal with the crisis, so he instead decided to remain at home in Persepolis and let his satraps handle it. Darius did not actually take the field against Alexander’s army until a year and a half after Granicus, at the Battle of Issus in 333 BC. His forces outnumbered Alexander's soldiers by at least a 2 to 1 ratio, but Darius was still outflanked, defeated, and forced to flee. It is told by Arrian that at the Battle of Issus the moment the Persian left went to pieces under Alexander’s attack and Darius, in his war-chariot, saw that it was cut off, he incontinently fled – indeed, he led the race for safety. On the way, he left behind his chariot, his bow, and his royal mantle, all of which were later picked up by Alexander.

Greek sources such as Siculus' Library of History and Justini's Epitoma Historiarum Philippicarum recount that Darius fled out of fear at the Battle of Issus and again two years later at the Battle of Gaugamela despite commanding a larger force in a defensive position each time. At the Battle of Issus, Darius fled so far so fast, that Alexander was able to capture Darius’s headquarters, and take Darius’s family as prisoners in the process. Darius petitioned to Alexander through letters several times to get his family back, but Alexander refused to do so unless Darius would acknowledge him as the new emperor of Persia.

Circumstances were more in Darius’s favor at the Battle of Gaugamela in 331 BC. He had a good number of troops who had been organized on the battlefield properly, he had the support of the armies of several of his satraps, and the ground on the battlefield was almost perfectly even, so as not to impede movement. Despite all these beneficial factors, he still fled the battle before any victor had been decided and deserted his experienced commanders as well as one of the largest armies ever assembled.

Darius then fled to begin raising another army, while Alexander marched on Susa and Persepolis which surrendered in early 330 BCE. From Persepolis, Alexander headed north to Pasargadae where he treated the tomb of Cyrus II with respect. From there he headed to Ecbatana, where Darius III had sought refuge. Darius III had been taken prisoner by Bessus, his Bactrian satrap and kinsman. As Alexander approached, Bessus had his men murder Darius and then declared himself Darius' successor, as Artaxerxes V, before retreating into Central Asia leaving Darius' body in the road to delay Alexander, who brought it to Persepolis for an honorable funeral. Darius' defeat by Alexander is mentioned in the song Alexander the Great by heavy metal band Iron Maiden.

The Achaemenid Empire was succeeded by the Early Successor Seleucid Empire, ruled by the generals of Alexander and their descendants. They in turn would be succeeded by the Parthian Empire. Istakhr, one of the vassal kingdoms of the Parthian Empire, would be overthrown by Papak, a priest of the temple there. Papak's son, Ardašir I, who named himself in remembrance of Artaxerxes II, revolted against the Parthians, defeated them and established the Sassanid Persian Empire.

Using the Army in FoG

  • Forget about winning the game in your center. You don´t have quality troops to do that. Use some drilled hoplites to be able to re-deploy them if needed, or drilled takabara in order to turn around and run before enemy troops reach them. Try to use only two units to do this. They may be easy points for your enemy.
  • Work hard on your flanks, trying to envelope your opponent. Elite Guard Cav can fight almost everything, leading the main strike force. Escort them with some Jav/LS light horse in order to push away enemy shooty LH.
  • You can field enough shooty LH and cavalry to skirmish an enemy flank for a whole game, while attacking in the other.
  • Scythed chariots, well, speculative players may not use them, but, how can exist a LAP army without them? Put them in 4s in order to maximize the effect of a general within during their impact phase. Place them in front of your main cavalry force. If the chariots die before killing an enemy BG, they may have been soften enough for your cavalry to finish the job. IF/Sw and LS/Sw infantry types are their favourite target. Enemy armoured cavalry, cats and knights may suffer also some cuts from the scythes. Pray to Ahura Mazda to do so, because they are the toughtest toy you have!


  • Check errata file. There is a likyan ally, with some interesting LS/Sw MF, but with a minimum LS MF that stinks.

15mm Manufacturers supplying figures for this army

You can see some of the figures in the Ancients Photo Gallery also on this site

User-contributed links about this army:

UK Tourney Performance

14 / 22 Later Archaemenid Persian Oxford Doubles 2008 (IF)
21 / 27 Later Archaemenid Persian Britcon 2007 15mm (open)

Army Lists

Sample army lists for this army

  • 1 Skirmishing light horse 6 Unprotected Average Javelin Light Horse
  • 2 Horse Archers 6 Unprotected Average bow Light Horse
  • 3 Line cavalry 4 Armoured Average Light Spear Swordsman cavalry
  • 4 Line cavalry 4 Armoured Average Light Spear Swordsman cavalry
  • 5 Noble cavalry 6 Superior Armoured Cavalry with Bow and Sword
  • 6 Noble cavalry 6 Superior Armoured Cavalry with Bow and Sword
  • 7 Subject Tribesmen 6 Unprotected medium foot with light spear
  • 8 Horse Archers 4 Unprotected light horse with bow and sword
  • 9 Subject Tribesmen 6 Unprotected medium foot with light spear
  • 10 Supported Spearmen 4 Heavy Foot Protected Superior Offensive spears backed up with Superior Protected Bowmen
  • 11 Scythed Chariotry 4 Scythed Chariots
  • 12 Royal Guard Cavalry 4 Armoured Elite Lance & Sword armed cavalry
  • 13 Elephants 2 Elephants

See this army in use at Britcon 2007

800 point Army using the Bessus campaign option using Scythian/Saka alllies:

  • 1 Slingers LF Unprotected Average Undrilled Sling - - 6 4 24
  • 2 Slingers LF Unprotected Average Undrilled Sling - - 6 4 24
  • 3 Arachosian LH LH Unprotected Average Undrilled Javelins Light Spear - 6 7 42
  • 4 Parthayans LH Unprotected Average Undrilled Bow - - 4 8 32
  • 5 Bactrian LH LH Unprotected Average Undrilled Bow Light Spear - 4 9 36
  • 6 Saka LH LH Unprotected Average Drilled Bow Swordsmen - 4 10 40
  • 7 Skythian Allied LH LH Unprotected Average Drilled Bow Swordsmen - 4 10 40
  • 8 Skythian Allied LH LH Unprotected Average Drilled Bow Swordsmen - 4 10 40
  • 9 Skythian Nobles CV Armoured Superior Undrilled Bow Swordsmen - 4 18 72
  • 10 Saka Cavalry CV Armoured Superior Undrilled Bow Swordsmen - 4 18 72
  • 11 Bactrian Cavalry CV Armoured Superior Undrilled Bow Swordsmen - 4 18 72
  • 12 Persian Cavalry CV Armoured Superior Undrilled - Light spear Swordsmen - 4 16 64
  • 13 Persian Cavalry CV Armoured Superior Undrilled - Light spear Swordsmen - 4 16 64
  • 14 Median Cavalry CV Protected Superior Undrilled - Light spear Swordsmen - 4 12 48
  • CinC TC - - - - - - CinC 1
  • Sub 1 TC - - - - - - - 1
  • Sub 2 TC - - - - - - - 1
  • Sub 3 TC - - - - - - Saka/Skythian Ally general

800 pts army

  • 4 TC
  • 2x4 Superior Armoured undrilled LS/Sw cavalry
  • 1x4 Elite Armoured drilled LS/Sw cavalry
  • 2 x4 average undrilled JLS LH (paphlagonian)
  • 1x4 Sch
  • 1x4 Saka LH (Bw/Sw)
  • 1x4 Bactrian LH (Bw/LS)
  • 1x4 parthian LH (Bw)
  • 1x 4 Average protected Bw/Sw cavalry
  • 2x 6 Slingers (ave/undr/sling)
  • 2x8 drilled hoplites (kardakes and hoplites).

Name of Army / Date

  • Using asterisks inthe edit mode creates a bulleted list in the actual site
  • This is a lot easier to do than easier than setting up tables
  • For FoG I suggest listing your army in order or march
  • with troop desctiptions on each line, for example
  • 4 HF Armoured Average Drilled Impact Foot Swordsmen
  • 8 LG Undrilled Unarmoured Poor Bowen
  • Dont forget to include your Generals !!!

Include any notes you want here

Remember to leave a line before you copy the above section as a template for your own list

Books on the Late Achaemenid Persians

Created by admin. Last Modification: Tuesday 12 of November, 2019 19:00:13 GMT by admin. (Version 29)
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