Sunday, January 31, 2021

DBA Special: Book 1, list 58 - Meroitic Kushite 592BC to 350AD

DBA I 58 Meroitic Kushite
I planned this army some time back.  I was inspired by the note by Herodotus that the African  Aethiopian warriors painted half their bodies vermillion, half white.  Now, most commentators place these Aethiopians in Sudan, in what we might otherwise term the Kingdom of Kush.  Maybe.

This army is generally seen as a sub-Egyptian styled army (and indeed, the rock sketches of the king/general on an elephant show him with a pharaoh's crowns) but I wanted to follow Herodotus and show a more tribal force.  Perhaps these are non-Egyptising rebels, then?  Likewise, I have dated the army to 500 (so, more or less, the Persian period).

The trigger for getting on with it was spotting the tribal head I have used in the camp vignette whilst browsing the Acheson Creations website (whilst looking for something else in one of their sale windows).  I immediately got this entirely fictional image in my head, more H Rider Haggard, I suppose, which just seemd right for the then dormant 'Tribal Kushite' project ... so I hope you like it.

(DBA Meroitic 'tribal' Kushites)
The spearmen are mostly the Feudal Castings figures now sold by QRF/Freikorp, otherwise it's a mix of Essex and Chariot with the odd Falcon and Peter Pig figure thrown in.

The general rides a repurposed toy elephant that came in a Christmas cracker.  It's what I had.  It's a bit small, but I think they would have been.

The general could also be an archer - but if you are going to do this army, I think it has to be the elephant general.   That, and the fact that you don't get the general's plus in shooting (which would make him a very vulnerable element if you went that route*.
(Meroitic Kushite:15mm figures by Essex and Chariot)

(DBA Book I/list 58 Meroitic Kushite: tribal infantry by Feudal Castings/QRF et al)
These simple figures are somehow very appealing.  They are a mix of spears and various bladed weapons, but I chose to use a variety of them for the spearmen, and to use 'sub-Egyptian' style infantry (Chariot, Essex and Falcon) for the tribal axemen and swordsmen ... again, this was pretty much and intinct + aesthetics decision (going with what seems to work!).


(Meroitic Kushite infantry: various)
The Camp 

As already admitted, more H. Rider Haggard/Darkest Africa than culturally Meroitic .. a train of porters brings in supplies.  The line of march takes them past a tribal rock image, guarded by warriors.  As usual, there is a detachable Camp Follower.

(Tribal Kushite DBA camp element)
(Kushite camp: details)
For these bases, I tried to go for a deeper, less bleached African soil, more Sudanese than Saharan.

Maybe it works.

This army can fight Egyptians, Persians, Nobades, Axumites etc. (so fits well with my collection)

*he should at least get it when shot at - but, given Bw aren't supertroops, I'd just let the generals have their plusses in all combats.  Keep it simple.


John said...

Hi Phil,
You wrote: :This army can fight Egyptians, Persians, Nobades, Axumites etc. (so fits well with my collection):

I don't know what armies are listed for DBA but they had run ins with the Ptolemaic Egyptians as well - at one point they backed a rebellion led by priests in the south.

They also fought the Romans in the 20s BC. The Romans reported it as a victory over a 'poorly mustered" rabble but the Kushites got everything they wanted from the peace negotiations, including not having to pay tribute, so methinks they may have done a bit better than the Romans were prepared to admit.

The DBMM lists give Saitic Egyptian, Early Achaemenid Persian, Ptolemaic Egyptian, Nobade, Blemmye or Beja, Early Imperial Roman, Abyssinian and Horn of Africa, Middle Imperial Roman.

The elephant really fits in better with the later period but I doubt anyone will argue. It's all a bit unclear. The modern African forest elephant, which was about the same size as the extinct North African elephant was quite small. Bulls were 2.4-3m at the shoulder, so in 15mm, about 2.4-3cm (so an inch to an inch and a quarter). In the photo it looks taller at the shoulder than the soldiers beside it so I think it looks OK.

They're on my list for DBMM in 15mm; I have a mountain of lead - Old Glory Colonial Sudanese spearmen and swordsmen, Biblical Libyans and Kushite Egyptians, and Numidians and Classical Indians for the cavalry. I'm making the elephants myself because I haven't been able to find an African elephant I can be sure is correct.

I've got a small Meroitic pyramid as my camp :-)


SoA Shows North said...

Thanks, John ...

Good to have your thoughts.

Regards the 'enemies', yes, DBA V3 has a comprehensive list - the reference in the piece is to other armies I have got that it matches up with (I don't have Ptolemaic, so didn't mention it ... I am just finishing Saitic Egyptian, and when the pictures go up, a link will tag back to the Kushites, showing how the collection knits together) ..

Great stuff on the elephants.