Maccabean Jewish 163 BC - 135 BC

Warm. Ag. 1. Rv, H(S), H(G), O, V, RGo, Rd, BUA.
Nominal list scale: 1 element equals 256 men (normal scale).

C-in-C - as rule soldiers - Reg Kn (F) @ 31 AP, Reg Sp (O) @ 25 AP or Reg Bd (I) @ 25 AP 1
Sub-general - as above 0-1
Sub-general guarded by Levites - Reg Sp (O) @ 25 AP or Reg Bd (I) @ 25 AP 0-1
Mobile towers - Reg WWg (S) @ 14 AP 0-2
Replace siege towers with artillery - upto 1/2 stonethrowers as Reg Art (S) @ 10 AP,
rest boltshooters as (O) @ 8 AP

Camp defences - TF @ 1 AP 0-24
Regular skirmishers - upto 1/2 archers, rest slingers - Reg Ps (O) @ 2 AP 6-10
Regular javelinmen - all Reg Ps (S) @ 3 AP or all Reg Ax (O) @ 4 AP 10-16
Rule infantry - Reg Bd (I) @ 5 AP or Reg Sp (O) @ 5 AP 6-10
Rule cavalry - Reg Kn (F) @ 11 AP 1-2
Light horse - up to 1/2 Reg LH (O) @ 5 AP, rest Reg LH (F) @ 4 AP 4-6
Mounted irregulars - Irr LH (O) @ 5 AP 0*-2
Irregular foot: 16*-80
Archers and/or slingers - Irr Ps (O) @ 2 AP 1/6 - 1/3
Skirmishing javelinmen - Irr Ps (I) @ 1 AP, or if shielded, Irr Ps (S) @ 3 AP 1/6 - 1/2
Other irregulars with spears or javelins - Irr Ax (I) @ 2 AP or Irr Ax (O) @ 3 AP 1/3 - 2/3

This list covers the Maccabean army from presumed reforms after 164 BC during the Seleucid revolt until the death of Simon Maccabeus. Phalanxes are mentioned in some sources, but these are unlikely to have been comprised of Hellenistic-style pikemen. Instead the regular troops are taken from the description of an idealised army's organisation and equipment as detailed in the Dead Sea Scrolls 1QM and 4QM. Three kinds of infantry attack in turn, firstly slingers, then javelinmen and finally close-combat troops equipped with an oval shield, sword and 10' spear to finish of the demoralised foe. Josephus describes shields in a Jewish army from around the end of this period as being bronze-faced thureoi, and it is likely that the shields of these close-combat troops were of this kind. Two sorts of cavalry are described: the older men being armoured and carrying a shield and 12' lance; the younger men having bow and/or javelins. Orders are delivered by innumerable trumpets; banners with pious quotations also figure prominently. Minima marked * only apply if any troops so marked are used. Unless otherwise stated, allied contingents drawn from this list may include irregulars.


Most of the reasoning behind this army list can mostly be found in an article I have written about the Maccabean army as seen through the Dead Sea Scrolls.

List dates: I have chosen the death of Simon as the cut off date for this list, since armies under John Hyrcanus seem to have included a greater number of regular troops as well as being larger overall - Judaea reached the height of its power during the last decades of the 2nd century BC. Armies from before the supposed reforms are probably too small to be adequately represented by a DBM-sized force.

List scale: the list scale gives an absolute army minimum of 147 AP and a maximum of 534 AP, and represents an army (not including siege weapons or baggage) of just over 7000 trained troops - a single division - plus up to three times that number of irregulars.

Generals: the C-in-C is the 'prince of the congregation' rather than the priests who are so emphasised in the scroll (of course high priest and C-in-C were often one and the same man). As the army's cavalry is divided into two wings a mounted sub-general is allowed; the infantry appears to be mostly commanded by the priests and the Levites in the centre rear hence the option for a second sub-general. The equipment of their Levites guards is not described but can be assumed to be similar to that of the Rule infantry.

Camp defences: Gamers may be interested to know that the toilets were to be positioned 1000 yards away lest unsightly nakedness be seen from the camp!

Regular troops: I prefer the Ps (S) interpretation for the javelinmen given their ability to fall back after engaging the enemy; however under the current rules Ax are also said to 'be able to skirmish' (despite there being no obvious game mechanism to allow them to do so); as their secondary armament - shields, swords etc. is not discussed, there is the possibility they had some utility in hand-to-hand combat and so classification as Ax (O) remains a possibility. Given their 2nd line position behind the slingers, I assume they were shielded and so be classified as Ps (S) rather than Ps (I). The rule infantry are all armed with sword and at least half with spear - the exact ratio (or emphasis on weapons) I have left undecided. It should be noted that contrary to the notes in the WRG army lists, no javelins are carried. The light horse are graded as (O) if javelinmen, as (F) if archers - even if armed with javelins as well, since there is no evidence that they were especially keen on hand-to-hand combat which is a requirement for being graded (S). Contrary to the DBM army list notes, the position of the heavy cavalry is not stated.

This page last modified 25 April, 2002

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