Full Version: Info about Pharnaces\' army in the battle of Zela, 47BC
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I'm searching for info about the type of troops used by Pharnaces in the battle against Caesar in summer 47 BC. I know that scythed chariots were used, and Mithridates, his father, used Scythians, Sarmatians and other nationalities in his host. I have texts on the Scythians, Sarmatians and Nick Sekunda's book on the Ptolemaic army.
Are there any other decent textbooks out there about these soldiers?
Many thanks in advance.

P.S. I am including a thank you to all members in the acknowledgements of my second novel, The Silver Eagle, which I've just finished.
I don't think very much is known about it; not even how the majority troop types were armed. My guess is that they would have been either Imitation legionaries by then, or Thureophoroi (unarmoured, oval spined shield). There might well have been local troops equipped as peltasts or archers.

Although his dad might have fielded Scythians and Sarmatians, I would imagine that his own cavalry would come from nearer to home- Pontic heavy cavalry or possibly successor greek style heavy cavalry.

I'd be interested in others views on this army.

Many thanks for that. Anyone else got any information/theories?

Best wishes
Calling all RAT members! More than 90 views and only one helpful comment....
Yours in hope...
Re my earlier post, Pharnaces was trying to regain Pontus from the base of his Bosphoran kingdom when defeated by Caesar. This has made me think that Sarmatian/Scythian cavalry are more likely than I had considered when I made my last post, although I don't believe that cavalry are mentioned at all in the decisive battle (possibly because of the steep and difficult terrain over which it was fought).
I've just read a biography of Caesar (Goldsworthy, Caesar, the Life of a Colossus) and I've seen that it was just a really quick "show". I don't know much about the Battle of Zela, but it was possible that Pharnaces' troops included roman mercenaries. Pontus was already a roman province - however not totally pacified - and it was probable that there were some legions there who still had a pact of loyalty and obedience to the already dead Pompey Magnus. When Pharnaces revolted, many of those romans in the province would see him as a "liberator" from Caesar's tiranny and probably even the successor of their beloved Pompey.
Just a probability.
That seems plausible; there were Roman deserters (supporters of Marius IIRC) in his father's army.
Great, thanks. Funnily enough, I've just finished Goldsworthy's excellent book on Caesar too. There's no direct mention of legions fighting for him in the accounts that I've seen, but it certainly sounds plausible. That's the great thing about being a writer - I can use detail which might be correct!
Thanks again.
If it were me, I'd not give them legions per se, but would feel comfortable with them having some "cohorts" of locals, equipped as Romans and led by Roman exiles, alongside other cohorts of mercenaries or local troops recruited from the Greek towns of Pontus and Bosphorus equipped in Greek style as thureophoroi. Then add a nice mix of exotics like the Scythians, and perhaps some archers and hillmen from Kappadocia.... an extremely cosmopolitan army!

Good luck with the book.
Indeed. Stragglers who had escaped from the carnage of Pharsalus...
Thanks for the good wishes!