Saturday, 13 February 2016

Chess and Sassanids

The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, the same gentleman who said it was alright to eat your wife if you came over a bit peckish and there was nothing in the pantry, has now informed his followers that Chess is evil and a harbinger of hatred and they should keep away from it, just as well I don't know any chess players.

I have at last started researching the Sassanid army, and it will come as no surprise that it is heavily armoured cavalry backed by horse archers, the real questions come with the infantry. Some Roman generals praised their discipline while others, notably Belisarius, scoffed at them and labeled them mere peasants and farmers, worthless peasants and farmers to boot. Although there is no doubt that the bulk of the Persian infantry lacked staying power and were at a disadvantage in hand to hand combat there were exceptions. The 'Immortals' were a bodyguard unit for the Shah and Daylami mercenaries were highly thought of, both these troop types I suspect were armoured and of a higher morale than the vast bulk of foot. Foot archers as well are mentioned as elite as are tribal slingers and javelin men from the outer reaches and mountains of the Sassanid Empire.

One setback for the Persians was their reliance on their leader maintaining his presence on the battlefield, if he left, was wounded or worse killed, then even if on the brink of victory the army would turn and flee.

So far then my army would look much like most Sassanid armies but I do want to add the choice of armoured infantry, not many, possibly only one unit of Immortals and one of Daylami, or the choice of one or the other. I have two reasons for this, one is that there is evidence for them albeit scarce and the other is that Aventine do armoured figures which are beautiful.

The latest figures for the Aventine range have just been released, just have a look at this general.


  1. Gorgeous figures or what eh? The Sassanids would look splendid on the table mate, but.... I must say that I have some concerns as to the playability of such a cavalry heavy force. Would they become something of a one trick pony? I've not seen any lists for Sassanids though. Just a thought :-)

  2. I share your concerns Matt, which is why I am still dithering despite the research. The normal 6x4 does not suit a cavalry force as they are invariably hemmed in, I am lucky and can set up a 7x5 at home if required. They may not fare well against the Twelfth but they would be in their element against an Aventine Byzantine force.