Military miniatures, ancient history, Macedonians and Successors, Alexander the Great battles campaigns scenarios for Warhammer Ancient Battles

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updated 09/21/2020

Ancient Miniatures and Historical Gaming

Agrianian peltasts-
Alexander's elite killer commandos

Aornus (326 BC), by Giuseppe Rava

"After [Alexander] had taken a number of other cities by storm and had slaughtered their defenders, he came to the "rock" called Aornus.
Here the surviving natives had taken refuge because of its great strength. It is said that Heracles of old thought to
lay siege to this "rock" but refrained because of the occurrence of certain sharp earthquake shocks and other divine signs, and this made Alexander
even more eager to capture the stronghold when he heard it, and so to rival the god's reputation."

Diodorus Siculus 17.85

"But when those who had been posted upon the mountain did not descend, a charge was made by a few of the Agrianians and archers at Alexander's order,
by which they were easily put to the rout from the foot of the mountain."  - Arrian

"The Agrianians were commanded by a Macedonian, Attalus. They were perhaps the most hard-worked corps in the whole army,
winning no fewer than twenty-seven separate mentions by name in Arrian's narrative."  - Griffith

         Agrianians scale the Sogdian Rock

Miłek Jakubiec - ArtStation

Agrianians- nothing gets in their way!

The Agrianian  tribesmen were related to the  Paeonians who had a close allied relationship with Macedonia. The Paeonians are noted for their hard hitting light cavalry. Their neighbors the Agrianians were foot skirmishers  and mountain men, noted for their ferocity in hand to hand combat, as well as their javelin throwing. In Alexander's campaigns they were able to tackle any terrain obstacle in their way.

1000 picked Agrianians were attached to the hypaspists and they were the elite light infantry in Alexander's army. They were the first foreign contingent to be incorporated into, and accepted by the army. Although known for their javelin skills, some were armed with slings.  The slingers and javelin men seemed to operate together at a number of actions, most notably at the battle of Issus where a detachment of Agrianes with some cavalry squadrons in support drove back thousands of Persian threatening Alexander' right flank at the start of the action.

Agrianians were constantly in action, involved in every skirmish, commando raids, and battle in Alexander's long campaigns.
One of their most famous actions was the scaling by night of the Sogdian Rock. Three hundred volunteers raced up the cliffs to appear the enemy defenses the next morning.

After the Indian campaign they seem to gone home, but Successor armies continued to hire them as mercenaries, and many settled in the conquered lands.

The style of dress of these fellows is difficult to pin down. Duncan Head in AMPW describes them as wearing Paeonian tunics that are depicted as quilted on a surviving coin. The Sekunda Osprey Alexander books have a painting of an Agrianian but that depiction is rather odd as it shows neither javelins, nor any Thracian or Paeonian gear at all, and a purple tunic.

The Agrianians  were sandwiched in between Thracians, Illyrians, Triballians, Macedonians, Getae, and Celts, their dress could be a conglomeration of these people's styles. Is this illustration they are wearing trousers and half trousers to help withstand the mountain cold of the Hindu Kush.


"At Gaugamela it fell to their lot to face the charge of the scythed chariots and prevent their interfering
with the Companion cavalry's entry into battle, a task they performed faithfully and well."  - Griffith


"The Agrianians and archers together went through some very hard fighting, the latter having no fewer than four commanders killed over them." -  Griffith

Agrianians/Illyrians) in 28mm by Relic Miniatures, and Wargames Foundry officer on the right.

Agrianian Commandos attack:

"At the approach of night, leading with him the shield-bearing guards, the Agrianians, the archers, and the brigades of Perdiccas and Coenus,
after having given orders for the rest of the army to follow. As soon as he saw a favorable opportunity for the attack, without waiting for all to be present,
he dispatched the archers and Agrianians against the foe.
These, being arranged in phalanx, fell unawares with the most furious charge upon their flank, where they were likely to come into conflict
with their weakest point, and slew some of them still in their beds, others being easily caught in their flight. Accordingly, many were there captured and killed,
as were many also in the disorderly and panic-stricken retreat which ensued. Not a few, moreover, were taken prisoners.
Alexander kept up the pursuit as far as the Taulantian mountains; and as many of them as escaped, preserved their lives by
throwing away their arms. Cleitus first fled for refuge into the city, which, however, he set on fire,
and withdrew to Glaucias, in the land of the Taulantians." - Arrian

This group is odd because the chunkiest figure is the Old Glory trumpeter. These show how using
many different kits and ranges allows maximum variations. Here the one with their tunics pulled down
look nifty next to the others.


Lately there are many more illustrations dealing with Agrianians and their
neighboring Paeonians, than previously available.


"They were favorite troops of Alexander himself, who occasionally singled them out for special favor along with the
Hypaspistae and the so-called "Royal squadron" of the Companion cavalry." -  Griffith


Some close ups. I just guessed with the Ram symbol because I saw a Paeonian regional coin with that symbol on it. These are showing
helmet variations. A Macedonian style (left), and Illyrian styles (middle, right).

This view is nice scale line up of these miniatures. Foundry are the most chunky styled of these, with some having very bulbous heads.
The Wargames Factory is an old plastic figure (Numidian) with a head swap. The plastic Victrix figures are from their un-armored hoplite and peltast sets.

The back view as they move up into contact. This reveals my experiments with the striping and colors.

Home made shield transfers:

Theses new shields have home made designs based on the Ancient Warfare article above, and other regional designs.

Shield references:



Older models in my 25-28mm collection:

Essex 25mm 1990's figures with Old Glory mixed in.

I gave them "elite" purple shields

Old Agrianians upgraded with newer faux embossed painted shields:

More to come... watch this space. Thanks to Marcia for the very fine photos.

Miniatures on this page:

Relic Miniatures     Wargames Foundry

Old Glory

Newline Designs

1st Corps Miniatures

Essex Miniatures

Other Agrianian miniatures, A&A:


Xyston 15mm:

Old Agrianians page with low res photos:

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