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What an interesting reply! I do appreciate the privilege of listening to you & other knowledgeable chaps such as Flambeau & Ironsides.
I think you're completely right about standardised units in any pre-industrial army.
The problem is, as wargamers, we need our units wrapped in neat little boxes in terms of weaponry, equipment & tactics and even numbers. To allow the probable anarchy that existed is impossible to game above skirmish level.
It's not in me to be snarky about Fantasy gaming, but if it was I'd be a complete hypocrite because "historical" gaming has overlaps with this other genre.
I will also confess to not seeing much difference between peltasts, thureophori, Ipicratic infantry etc. Does the shape of a shield change battlefield roles very much at all? There may well be different tactical parameters for all these medium infantry-types but the sources usually don't make that clear. General infantry may well just be general infantry. For example, I know it's exceptional but hoplites in Xenophon's Ten Thousand don't always act like heavy infantry but take on roles seemingly reserved for their lighter brethren.
BTW one day I want to hear your views on Bronze Age chariot tactics.
Oh sure, and I don't want to give the impression about being toooo crazy with the mixing and matching. Differences did (usually) exist between ranged and melee cav, phalangites and peltasts, etc. But the differences between one handed weapon infantry such as a pure peltast, hoplite, spearman, swordsmen, axemen, etc. were likely rather slim and often non-existent in many forces. Weapons from the greater spear family tended to predominate as primary weapons among most non-Roman ancient forces (and even the latter were very pilum based) for a number of reasons.
You are completely correct about hoplites; they changed character drastically several times during their history and seem to have covered a wider amount of roles as time went along. The experiences of the 10,000 are a perfect example of this; I doubt that was the only time hoplites were pressed into slinger or another service as a tactical expedient. In the end ancient commanders were just like modern ones in the sense that they would likely use whatever forces they had on hand, even if they were not 100% ideal to solve the desired situation.
P.S.- I am working on some projects at the moment and will hopefully be able to announce a small one here soon. But when it comes to chariots the sources of Mary Littauer and Joost Crouwel dominate... for now.
Three fairly contemporary painted images from Funerary stele maybe you already know them, dating is 300-50bc:
I would suggest later 3rd century:
Dioscurides standard bearer thureophoroi?
Helmet might suggest 2nd century, looks hes wearing mail or scale?:
Small round shield maybe the earliest in date,perhaps a Phalangite?:
And an intersting fresco from a recent Macedonian find dated late 4th century 325-300bc, the tomb contained an iron "Linothorax" much like Philips example, interesting in that it shows a range of troop types and colours:
A Nice video on the Tomb to maybe create some inspiration, don't forget the subs button....
Sadly I can no longer get the imbed code to work but clink the link above for the utube vid....