Saturday, April 22, 2017

Comparison of Baccus and Rapier Phalangites part 2

I had previously posted a comparison of Baccus' and Rapier's phalangites at
Since then I have received a package of Baccus's current phalangite.  The following two photos show a full strip of Baccus' phalangites with the cast pike, a strip of Rapier's phalangites (painted), and a pair of modified Baccus' phalangites.  As can be seen the shield on the Baccus' phalangites is the correct size.

Polybius, who lived from about 200 B.C. to the late part of the second century B.C.  was very familiar with the Macedonian phalanx and the Roman Legions of his time and wrote the following description of the Macedonian phalanx:
"Many considerations may easily convince us that, if only the phalanx has its proper formation and strength, nothing can resist it face to face or withstand its charge. For as a man in close order of battle occupies a space of three feet; and as the length of the sarissae is sixteen cubits according to the original design, which has been reduced in practice to fourteen; and as of these fourteen four must be deducted, to allow for the distance between the two hands holding it, and to balance the weight in front; it follows clearly that each hoplite will have ten cubits of his sarissae projecting beyond his body, when he lowers it with both hands, as he advances against the enemy: hence, too, though the men of the second, third, and fourth rank will have their sarissae projecting farther beyond the front rank than the men of the fifth, yet even these last will have two cubits of their sarissae beyond the front rank; if only the phalanx is properly formed and the men close up properly both flank and rear, like the description in Homer1— “"So buckler pressed on buckler; helm on helm;
And man on man: and waving horse-hair plumes
In polished head-piece mingled, as they swayed
In order: in such serried rank they stood."
” And if my description is true and exact, it is clear that in front of each man of the front rank there will be five sarissae projecting to distances varying by a descending scale of two cubits." Polybius, Book 18, chapter 29.

so how do the miniatures compare to Polybius' description?

Both have sarissae that measure 16 cubits (24 feet).  Rapier's sarrisae project out 10 cubits (15 feet) as described by Polybius for the 14 cubit (21 feet) sarissae so there is an excess length behind the left hand.   Baccus' figures are holding the sarissae at the base which does not match Polybius's description of how the sarissae were held.

I decided to see if it was possible to modify Baccus' figures to match Rapier's by trimming 10mm from the front of the sarissae and gluing it behind the right hands of the figures.   The front figure was easy, but the second took extra time to secure the cut off part.  Because Baccus' figures have their hands closer together there is more of the sarissae behind their right hands.  The Baccus' figures can now form the front two ranks of a phalanx with the Rapier figures.

1 comment:

Sun of York said...

The Rapier figures look good.