Home Forums Ancients Phalangites with Pelta

This topic contains 6 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by A Lot of Gaul A Lot of Gaul 1 week, 2 days ago.

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  • #119735
    Sane Max
    Sane Max
    Participant

    When I were a lad… it was not unusual to see Phalanxes of Hellenistic Pike using Pelte (peltes? I don’t do Greek).

    Where did this come from? Is it because the Antigonids had a unit of Pike called Peltasts? I am only wondering, as I found a big bag of unpainted pikemen and I have lost/misplaced their original shields but i do have a large number of spare peltes…. peltoi….

    I was only momentarily tempted – I really probably won’t do it… but it made me wonder why it was a thing once upon a time.

    pat

     

     

    #119740
    willb
    willb
    Participant

    Pelta is the term for a small light shield and is a circular in shape.  Peltasts can carry different shields.   The crescent shape used by Thracians and early Greek peltasts, the large oval thureos used by later peltasts and the circular ones about two feet in diameter which were used by psiloi, Iphicratean peltasts and later phalangites.

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 5 days ago by willb willb.
    #119742
    Sane Max
    Sane Max
    Participant

    Ok, to clarify, I meant the crescent shape as used by early Peltasts.

    #119817

    Pelte is a Greek word that means “Pelt” as in the hide of an animal.  A Pelte, I presume, is any hide covered shield.  Most phalangites used round pelte.  The Antigonid pike you mention are probably modeled after the Hypaspists of Alexander’s army which could fight as a phalanx with a long pike or as light infantry (peltasts) in various roles.

    John

    "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

    --Abraham Lincoln

    #119819
    A Lot of Gaul
    A Lot of Gaul
    Participant

    I can’t think of any historically attested examples of pike-armed phalangites carrying crescent-shaped shields. Perhaps someone mistakenly thought that the Antigonid “peltasts” carried them, or that they were borne by the spear-wielding “peltasts” of Iphicrates, widely thought to be the inspiration for the Macedonian phalanx of Philip II.

    "Experience is the teacher of all things."
    ~ Gaius Julius Caesar

    #119843

    OB
    Participant

    I remember seeing them too.

    I think it was just the usual wargame figures design confusion.  Something like this:

    Phalangites carried a pelta

    The pelta I’ve seen are crescent shaped

    Therefore phalangites carried a crescent shaped pelta

    That’s how I’ll make them

    Stuff like that used to happen a lot and sometimes produced very striking figures.  I used to have serried ranks of Garrison Phrygian Hoplites with double headed axes.  Strictly speaking they didn’t have shields so were not hoplites. Loved them but I cannot think they were based on real troops.

    OB
    http://withob.blogspot.co.uk/

    #120006
    A Lot of Gaul
    A Lot of Gaul
    Participant

    I think that OB nailed it!

    "Experience is the teacher of all things."
    ~ Gaius Julius Caesar

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