Imperial Macedonian 329 BC - 321 AD

Dry. Ag 4. WW, Rv, H(S), H(G), O, E, RGo, Rd, BUA.
Nominal list scale: 1 element equals 500 men (twice normal scale)

C-in-C - Reg Kn (F) @ 31
Companions - Reg Kn (F) @ 11 AP
Hippakontistai, etc - Irr LH (O) @ 5 AP
Hippotoxotai - Irr LH (F) @ 4 AP
Agrianian and other javelinmen - Reg Ps (S) @ 3 AP
Archers and slingers - Reg Ps (O) @ 2 AP
Bolt-shooters - Reg Art (O) @ 8 AP
Stone-throwers - Reg Art (S) @10 AP
Siege-towers - Reg WWg (S) @14 AP
Greek mercenary foot - up to 1/3 Reg Sp (O) @ 5 AP, rest Reg Sp (I) @ 4 AP or Reg Ax (O) @ 4 AP
Thracian and other Balkan foot - Irr Ax (O) @ 3 AP or Irr Ax (S) @ 4 AP
Camp defences - TF @ 1 AP

Only before 328 BC:
Replace Companions with Macedonian Prodromoi - Reg LH (O) @ 5 AP

Only before 324 BC:
Sub-general - Reg Kn (F) @ 11 AP or as Asthetairoi, Reg Pk (O) @ 24 AP
Mercenary heavy horse - all Reg Cv (O) @ 8 AP or all Reg Kn (I) @ 10 AP
Hypaspists - Reg Pk (S) @ 5 AP
Pezetairoi and Asthetairoi - Reg Pk (O) @ 4 AP

Only from 328 BC to 325 BC:
Bactrians - all Irr LH (S) or all Irr Cv (O) @ 7 AP

Only in 326 BC or 325 BC:
Elephants - Irr El (O) @ 16 AP
Indian cavalry - Irr Cv (I) @ 5 AP
Triaconters - Irr Bts (O) @ 2 AP [Hypaspists]
River boats - Irr Bts (I) @ 1 AP [Ps]
Kerkouroi - Irr Shp (I) @ 2 AP [Bg, Art]
Horse transports - Irr Shp (I) @ 2 AP [C-in-C]
Indian allies: List Classical Indian (Bk 2)

Only after 325 BC:
Sub-general - Reg Kn (F) @ 11 AP
Elephants - Irr El (O) @ 16 AP
Extra Companions - Reg Kn (F) @ 11 AP
Replace Agrianians with Persian archers and slingers - Irr Ps (O) @ 2
Macedonian Argyraspids - Reg Pk (S) @ 5
Other Macedonian veterans - Reg Pk (O) @ 5
Persian Epigoni - up to 1/6 Reg Pk (O) @ 4 AP, rest Reg Pk (I) @ 3 AP
Regrade Persian Pk (O) as apple-bearers - Reg Sp (O) @ 5 AP
Regrade Persian Pk (O) as guard archers - Reg Bw (O) @ 5 AP
Replace apple-bearers and guard archers with mixed formation guards - Reg Bw, half (X) @ 7 AP, half (O) @ 3 AP, on double-element bases. Each double element base replaces 2 elements of apple-bearers and/or guard archers.
Galleys - Reg Gal, up to 1/3 (S) @ 4 AP, rest (O) @ 3 AP [any Reg foot]
Triaconters - Irr Bts (O) @ 2 AP [any Reg foot]
River boats - Irr Bts (I) @ 1 AP [Ps]
Persian archers and slingers - Irr Ps (O) @ 2

Only in 323 BC:
Integrate Persian Ps (O) and Macedonian Pk (O) into a mixed phalanx - Reg Bw, half (X) @ 7 AP, half (O) @ 3 AP on double-element bases. Each double element base replaces 1 element of Pk and 3 elements of Ps.

Only if invading through steep hills, the enemy has PF, or a naval landing party:
Re-arm Hypaspists or Argyraspids as Reg Ax (S) @ 5 AP All/0
Re-arm Pk (O) either as all Reg Ax (O) @ 24 AP if a general, @ 4 AP otherwise Any

This list covers Alexander the Great's field army from the after its reorganisation at the start of the Skythian expedition until its partial dismemberment following the death of the regent Perdikkas while invading Ptolemaic Egypt. The Prodromoi were not initially reorganised, but soon appear to have been drafted into the Companions. Mercenary heavy cavalry can include Thessalians and Thracians. Most of the Hypaspists and many of the other phalangites were sent west in 324 BC, and were replaced by Persian equivalents. At his death, Alexander was experimenting with a mixed phalanx with 4 ranks of Macedonians with pikes, and 12 ranks of Persians with bows or javelins, but this formation was not used by his Successors. Minima for naval elements apply only if any naval elements are used. Indian allies may not be used with any naval elements, and they need not include any Hd. Minima marked * are reduced by 8 if only one sub-general is used. Unless Art (S) deployed behind PF, each element of Art (S) or WWg (S) is replaced by two elements of Irr Hd (O) pioneers and labourers if the enemy has no PF; they may not be used if the minima marked * have been reduced.


List dates: The current official lists starts with the Indian expedition which is strange, since the army was reorganised prior to the Skythian expedition, a reorganisation that saw the Thessalians disbanded, the Companions reinforced with non-Macedonian recruits, and new Macedonian foot regiments raised. The list date is altered as well. Currently all the Successors except Antipater use this list until 320 BC, despite it being even vaguely accurate only for the royal army under Perdikkas. Ptolemy's army didn't look very similar to Perdikkas', let alone Eumenes', Pithon's or Seleucus'.

Terrain: As the army's base is Babylon, I have omitted Wd and V, neither being notable features of the area, and included E, since the area was bisected by numerous irrigated fields.

List scale: Using a scale of 1:500 gives armies that are slighty larger than normal, but is a much better compromise than 1:1024 which would go too far in the other direction. To fight battles at true scale, all list minima and maxima must therefore be doubled. The official list's scale seems to vary depending on the troop type - mounted are over-represented.

Generals: The army was now divided generally divided into three, rather than the two halves as previously, Parmenio having been executed. Krateros accompanied the dismissed troops west in 324 BC, and thereafter senior generals were mounted Companions.

Companions: The Companions were expanded at the start of this period with non-Macedonian draftees, and in 324 BC a new Companion unit was formed that was mostly (but not entirely, contrary to the official list) of (probabaly) Persians. However, as reportedly many of the older Macedonian were sent home at this time, this might not have increased their total numbers.

Mercenary heavy cavalry: Strangely absent from the present list, despite the very large numbers recorded arriving as reinforcements, I grade them (O) if cavalry rather than (I) as previously since they had apparently been reorganised, and could include Thessalians, Thracians and the like. The seem to have disappeared as front-line troops during the Indian expedition, being mentioned very infrequently (though our souces are very scanty about these later campaigns), some possibly being enrolled into the Companions, but most seem to have been left behind as garrisons, particularly in Bactria.

Hippotoxotai: These were already 1000 strong in 329 BC (Curtius, 5.4.14).

Hypaspists: These were now 3000, or in India, 4000 strong, and it seems some younger ones remained after 3000 were sent home westwards in 324 BC - presumably the Macedonian guards depicted along with the Persian guards on Alexander's funeral vehicle, in which case they would probably be 1000 strong. At times Alexander took half his hypaspists on side expeditions, and since they were organised in units of 1000, a total of 3000 is not as easy to explain as a total of 4000.

Phalangites: Some were called Asthetairoi, some Pezetairoi - the distinction is debated. They were probably at least 14000 strong at the start of the period, organised in battalions of 2000 men, and quite possibly 16000 strong. The number in the official list is far too few - it is possible to field an army with as many Companions as line phalangites! However, Krateros was frequently left bringing up the rearguard with a good proportion of the less mobile troops, hence the reduced minima if he is not present.

Agrianians and archers: The official list strangely reverses the proportions of these troops. 3000 archers are recorded by Curtius as early as 329 BC (5.3.3) when he records only 1000 Agrianians at the same time (5.3.6), although this may not have been the entire complement. However, Arrian 6.87 records Agrianians, archers and other taxeis of psiloi, some at least of which were Thracian (Curtius, 8.14.24), while slingers are also mentioned (8.12.2). They may have been Rhodians from amongst the Greek mercenaries, but may equally have been Macedonians - many Macedonian sling bullets have been found at Olynthos, which Philip beseiged quite early on in his career before he could have hired large numbers of Greek mercenaries.

Seige equipment: Curtius mentions catapults (8.2.22) and moveable seige towers (eg. 8.10.32) contrary to the notes in the current list about Alexander only using fixed towers, and mobile towers were certainly used soon after Alexander's death.

Greek mercenaries: Although Alexander employed huge numbers, most went into garrisons and other non-front-line duties. Even so, the official list allows far too few - we hear of 10000 being settled in just one place (Bactria); Alexander always had some on hand so that his Macedonians would be free to perform battle duties. I have allowed some to be graded as hoplites - note the employment of the Achaians in the front line at Gaugamela unlike the others for instance. While earlier 4th century peltasts behave like Ps (S), Alexander never used his Greek mercenaries in this capacity, instead relying on Balkan troops. They are accordingly graded as Sp (I) - Iphikratean-style 'peltasts' but there is an option to convert them to Ax (O) as Euzonoi (although Alexander tended to use his Macedonians for such tasks, as covered by the Macedonian Expeditionary list), or for those that disagree with my interpretation of the Iphikratean reforms.

Thracian and Illyrian, etc. mercenaries: much less is heard of these troops than previously, and so are not compulsory. However, many thousands were certainly employed, with reinforcements arriving all the time - we are just not always informed where. Asiatic troops, such as the 2600 Lydian infantry recorded by Curtius (6.6.35) might possibly substitute instead for the Ax (O).

Camp defences: do not seem to have been universal but were sometimes employed, especially if a pitched battle was to be expected. Given palsidaed camps being recorded in treeless areas, it seems palisade stacks may hve been acrried on the march, as by the Romans.

Elephants: Not used before the Indian campaign; Alexander was much taken with them and had 200 by the time he sailed down the Indus. Perdikkas used them in his Egyptian campaign. Curtius has Alexander say in a set speech in India that he doesn't use them in war since they are so unreliable, but they are clearly used in the later squabble between the cavalry and infantry when he died, and his funeral car depicted them at the head of his army, with Indian drivers, and Macedonians astride their backs. See here for a long discussion.

Indian naval vessels: The large numbers reflect the fact that when they were used, a substantial proportion of the army was embarked. Why the official list demands they be manned by 'peltasts' is a mystery, as they quite specifically carried the archers, Agrianians, and Hypaspists, plus Alexander's agema and some of the baggage. Arrian reports that according to Ptolemy, 80 Triaconters were used, plus 2000 other (mostly small) vessels. Very few Triemiolae were used, and so are omitted. I have not allowed other naval vessels before the Indian expedition since Alexander only used them only once before, to cross the Jaxartes on rafts, when the entire army was so provided; this is an amphibious landing in DBM terms, and so is not covered.

Indian allies: These represent not only the army of Poros with his 5000 Indians, including elephants, but also that of Taxiles and others, also 5000 strong, present at the battle of Hydaspes. As they departed before the army set sail down the Indus, they may not be used with naval elements; they also left before Alexander's elephant corps was complete, so may only be with a proportion of the list's allowed elephant numbers. Since these forces were select groups rather than their leaders' entire levies, they need not include any Hd dregs. Smaller numbers of cavalry-only forces were sometimes supplied by Indian leaders, these are represented by cavalry in the main list, the largest such force being 2500 strong (Curtius, 9.7.14).

Epigoni: 30000 'Persian' pikemen ('the Descendents' or 'the Successors', they were reportedly all of the same age group; Curtius, 8.5.1, says they came not just from Persia, but from all the provinces) are reported to have completed their training when Alexander returned from India; most of these seem to have ended up in the various bodies of Pantodapoi used by his Successors. I grade them as (I) as initially recently recruited; as Pantodapoi they would have gained in experience, but as foreigners were looked down upon by the majority of the Macedonians which can hardly have led to good morale. Some however are described as an Agema, plus there were Argyraspids and Hypaspists, so I have left the option to upgrade these. Persian guards depicted as traditional spearmen (melophoroi, or apple-bearers) were carved on Alexander's funeral vehicle, and are described elsewhere as wearing purple and yellow.

Mixed phalanx: I have allowed for a fair flexibility in scale with this; since here two elements are supposedly representing 16 ranks rather than the normal 8 (in terms of capablities this is not too much of a problem here, given that not all the missile men were archers). At the absolute minimum there were to have been 20000 men in this phalanx, and likely more (reportedly the Persians comprising it numbered 20000). However, when Alexander died, the formation was not yet completed, and was never used afer his death. At 20000 men, it would normally require 40 elements at 1:512 scale, but if each double element represents 16 ranks, it requires just 20. I have omitted the mention of 1 rank of pikemen and one or archers per double-base since it looks so much better with 1 of pikemen, 1 of javelinmen and one of archers for 3 ranks on a single double-base. Despite the official list's comments, there is no evidence whatsoever the Persians were later rearmed as pikemen - there were indeed already 30000 Persians trained as pikemen.

Babylonian naval vessels: The naval vessels available reflect those reported being used upon Alexander's return to Babylon, which were 12 trieres (2 of which Seleucus used later against Eumenes), 5 larger galleys, various triaconters and lots of punts. Hexeres and the like would only be available to Perdikkas as a Successor in the Meditearranean, and in any case were according to Diodoros never built, with Perdikkas convincing the assembly to veto their construction (though Diodoros does report Phoenician-built hexeres later in his narrative).

Veterans: I have graded these as (O) in keeping with lowering the Epigoni to (I). The Macedonian Argyraspids were clearly something special; allowing all Macedonians veterans to be rated (S) means that are just 'run-of-the-mill'. In any case, the longest-serving of the veterans were sent home in 324 BC so those left behind were not the most experienced men. Perdikkas' veterans certainly didn't seem to have had any ascendency over Ptolemy's troops.

Persians archers and slingers: Peukestas had 20000 of these in 317 BC, and since he provided the 20000 Persian missile troops for the mixed phalanx they are undoubtably one and the same. See the Eumenid list for the grading of these as Ps, and not Bw despite their vast numbers.

Melophoroi and archer guards: Persian guard spearmen and archers were used, and it is possible that these were used in a mixed formation as in the earlier Achaemenid empire, like the old Immortals, hence the provision for Bw (X). The archers at least seem to have been divided into 3 companies (Polyainos gives three differing uniform colours).

This page last modified 20 June 2004

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