Ioudaioi Taxeis (Jewish Spearmen)

These Ioudaioi Taxeis have been recruited in the army for the purpose of providing reliable garrison troops, useful for policing borders and keeping the general population in line. They have been given somewhat outdated equipment consisting of a Phrygian helmet, a solid spear, javelins and a round shield. Though generally unimpressive, many of the soldiers supplement this equipment with armor purchased or manufactured on their own. This added body armor, combined with a good track record of loyalty and valor, make them a tough and reliable medium infantry force, capable of taking on much heavier opponents. This makes them excellent troops to fight off the occasional raids from desert peoples or hold off a more serious invasion until more professional reinforcements have arrived.

The Ptolemaioi, who after the battle of Gaza gained a firm hold on Ioudaia, lacked the Hellenic manpower to firmly garrison all of Koile Syria as well as their possessions in Egypt and Hellas. To supplement their Hellenic forces, they began recruiting heavily from a few local, warlike populations. In Koile Syria, these were the Ioudaioi and Samareitai, many of whom fought in the small field armies used by the Ptolemaioi to police the borders against Arab raids or Seleukid invasions. Armed as medium infantry, they could expect a shield, helmet, and spear from their employers, and many added light armor of their own, manufactured by their families. They proved more valuable soldiers than the Ptolemaioi had expected, well able to defeat many comparable opponents in either skirmishes or close quarters battle, and many eventually received a full-size kleros in Aigyptos. With the advent of Seleukid rule in Ioudaia, after the battle of Panion, the Ioudaioi contingents did not fall out of favor. In fact, the Seleukid monarchs had been levying outlying Ioudaian populations to serve in garrison duty all over their empire, from Lydia to India, and they only increased their use of Ioudaioi after seizing the province from the Ptolemaioi. This policy helped the Seleukids slow the deterioration of their farther territories, but also led to more disastrous consequences--a more able enemy--when the Ioudaioi eventually revolted from Seleukid rule. Even after Epiphanes' wars against them, and the atrocities committed on both sides, the Ioudaioi remained common contingents in late Seleukid armies.

Toxotai Syriakoi (Syrian Archers)

Toxotai Syriakoi are armed with composite bows, which make them a class above most archers. They have long ranged bows and carry a good amount of arrows, and know how to use these bows through centuries of tradition in their homelands and a constant need to supplement their poor diets with meat. They are good soldiers, but suffer from a morale problem since they are a subjugated people. They can be expected to use their arrows to devastating effect, but when engaged in melee, they will be cut down in droves.

Historically, Syria has been famous for its archers for thousands of years. These men took part in almost every major Near Eastern war since the early Assyrian kingdom used them as auxiliary troops. They have been a decisive arm on the battlefield time and time again, so long as they are supported by good infantry. A sensible commander will take their strengths and weaknesses into account before using them.

Shipri Tukul (Babylonian Heavy Spearmen)

These heavy infantrymen use the old pointed Assyrian helmet and have iron scale corselets. Their weapons are the sword and spear. Their defence is the old fashioned Aspis shield faced with bronze. Their role on the battlefield is that of well drilled loose order infantry organized along the lines of Hellenistic Thureophoroi.

Historically, the Hellenistic monarchies established after Alexander the Great’s conquest used the military settlement system widely, probably taking it over from the Persians. Native heavy infantry such as this was not well regarded by the Hellenic conquerors of Asian territories nor particularly trusted. Necessity, however, required troops to govern the kingdom and these troops were readily available and these considerations applied as well to the Parthian that would supplant the Seleucid Empire as masters of the lands where these heavy infantrymen were recruited. They came from the Aramean population of Babylonia, Syria and the Jews of Mesopotamia. While not playing the same significant role that Jews played in the Ptolemaic military system these men were present in significant numbers.

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