Bâb Ilû

The Rise of Persia Modification is in ongoing development and now, the team is proud to present the world's first reconstruction of the Babylonian army ever.

Geographical Situation

A view on ancient Babylon today via Satellite:
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Historical Situation

63 years ago, Nabû Apal Uşur has destroyed the empire of the ruthless, murderous and merciless Assyrians. Once their army has been scattered and their might broken, the time-honored city of Babylon has risen to power again. The Name of Babylon is older than any language we know. It is "Babilum" (or similar). In this word, the later Akkadian speaking people recognized their words Bâb Ilû, which means something like Gate of the Gods. Hence the Greeks obviously heard something like Babylon.

Nabû Kudurri Uşur reclaimed the old realm, that belonged to Babylon. But his utterly justified claims were not accepted everywhere. While the Medes finally realized a peaceful co-existence with the Great Kings was the best way to strengthen both empires, others had been obstinate. So they had to be conquered with raw force and the most vicious of them taken as slaves and deported from their home to Babylon. But sowing the great clemency that characterizes the new Babylonian Kings, even the Judah King was released from captivity and given an honored position.
Egypt's attacks had to be fenced off, but again the Kings remained successful, the empire expanding into Arabia and Kilikia. Babylon's future seemed safe.

Everything has changed. The King Nabû Nā'id was old, very old. Curiously he decided to live in the desert some years ago. Since then, nobody has heard anything from him. His son Bel Šar Ra Uşur rules more or less, but he is not given enough power, he would need.

A Persian Usurpator, called Kuruš has overthrown the Median overlords and prepared to march against Sardeis. The conquest of Lydia by Kuruš could change the balance of power severely, Babylon would be encircled by enemies completely.
And the King is still in the desert! An determined offensive could break the Persian power until they grow to strong. But since the King is absent, fellow Babylonians can only hope, King Kroisos and his undefeated army can hold their own against the Persian onslaught.

But if this usurpator succeeds and turns against Babylon he will not only face the city's famed walls, Babylon's army is also ready. It is in most aspects the heir of the Assyrian military concerning equipment and doctrine.
Like most eastern armies, the levies form up slingers and archers paired with wicker shield bearers. These may lack experience, spirit and equipment, but they can do their job showering the enemy with their missile volleys.
The highly advanced military organization of the Assyrians had not only developed sophisticated battle field communication with standards but also corps of professional troops, which Babylon employed too. Very heavily armed spearmen are more than a match for any close combat troops, sword armed archers are both competent in close combat and able to devastate the enemy with their arrows. The heavy cavalry is a direct successor of Assyrian cavalry, armed with bow and a short spear for self defense.
Although old-fashioned, the honorable chariots are still a very important and dangerous element of Babylonian warfare, especially in the Mesopotamian plains.

This army has no notable weakness in the field. Heavy spearmen, swordsmen, excellent archers and very good cavalry. Yet the specialist field of the Babylonian army is siege warfare. They had learned from the very best and had defeated them, improving the techniques and taking it to a higher level. The cream of the siege engineers are the 'storm troopers' who's task is to clear the way on the walls for the following infantry.

Strategically, the Babylonian army often needed some time to muster their forces ? time, in which a determined foe can force their way into the heart of the Babylonian realm?

Units, part 1: the Levies

Nāš Kabābĭ ("Slingers")

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These soldiers form the Babylonian slinger Corps; distinguished by their speed and light apparel these soldiers make excellent skirmishers due to their abundant ammunition supply. Wearing no armour or helmet they can dash about the field and avoid having to deal with the slower, heavier melee troops. They are by no means stalwart warriors and their lack of any real close combat experience or weaponry puts them at a severe disadvantage if they get pinned down. However used effectively they can decimate enemy formations with their missiles and keep up an effective barrage for longer than their archer counterparts.

Nāš Sūb Qasti ("Archers")

The Youth of the Babylonian military take up the traditional near Eastern practice of Archery. With a fine tradition of archery in the Babylonian Civilisation these archers can benefit from centuries of wisdom and the practice of many years on the hunt. Having no protection these archers are vulnerable in combat and their lack of experience on the field leaves them prone to panic in the face of a professional army. Regardless their fine archery skills can cause devastation to an enemy army and their swift manoeuvrability should keep them out of danger.

Nāš Tukši ("Shield Bearers")

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The Nāš Tukši form the fresh recruits into the Babylonian Spearmen corps. They are issued with a 6-foot spear with a tall tower shield made of wicker work. This tower shield serves well to protect them against enemy missile fire. The main job of the Nā? Tuk?i is to protect the Babylonian Archer corps. This pairing of missile and melee fighters being very common in the east has allowed the Babylonians much experience in coordinating the two troop types. They wear linen corslets but whilst afforded good protection by their shields the Nā? Tuk?i are not first rate spearmen and should not be entrusted with important assaults on enemy heavy infantry. They also carry clubs as a back up weapon. They can hold the line in battle but are unlikely to decisively defeat the enemy by them selves.

Pēthallu ("Horsemen")

The youth of the Aristocracy would learn how to fight like men in the Cavalry Corps. Sent to battle with a bow and a short spear these soldiers are not meant to engage the enemy in close combat as a primary function. Their lack of armour other than a helmet leaves them vulnerable to missiles and the spears of the enemy. However their horse archery skills make an excellent addition to the Babylonian army, able to lure out impetuous enemy squads and rain lethal volleys upon hapless infantry. They can also be used to engage enemy cavalry forces head on, but this should not be applied to charging infantry as their lack of armour and shields leaves them very weak against a grounded opponent.

Units, part 2: the Royals


Nāš Namsarĭ ("Swordsmen")

The more promising of the Nāš Sūb Qasti were rewarded with long scale mail cuirass and the distinctive Babylonian longsword. With their bronze helmets and heavier armour these archers can hold their own in combat against other medium class infantry. On top of this their experience in the field means they are far more skilled archers than their Nā? Sūb Qasti counterparts. They have seen the horrors of war before and not so shocked by it as other conscripts can be, hence their combat endurance and moral is considerably higher than fresh the recruits.

Nāš Asamarĭ ("Spearmen")

The Nāš Asamarĭ are the heavy infantry of the Babylonian army. They are armed with the same spear as their youthful Nāš Tukši counterparts but their shield is instead of wood rather than wicker. This first distinction allows them to engage in prolonged combat with other spearmen and force a victory. Their secondary protection in battle is a long scale mail cuirass reaching to the tights. With the added protection of this armour plus their tower shield it takes a good battering to force these soldiers back. They carry a sword as a back up weapon and are able to hold the lines effectively for long periods of time under pressure. These more experienced troops can be depended on in a tough spot to hold fast much longer than would be excpected of the Nāš Tukši.

Ša Pēthallĭ ("Royal Horsemen")

The Ša Pēthallĭ are the richer older Aristocrats who can afford good Armour and are experienced enough on the field to engage in the Melee more frequently. With a scale mail cuirass to protect them these cavaliers can be a very effective anti - cavalry force. But again their lack of shields means attacks on suspecting infantry formations are not advisable. They also carry bows to engage the enemy from a distance and with this extra dimension to their skills their combat effectiveness soars in comparison to regular cavalry. With more experience in the field these men do not take so quickly to panic and flight but hold the line and fight to protect their honour and their country.

Qurbute ("Chariots")

The old system of Near eastern Chariot warfare comprised of light armed Chariots used as a highly mobile weapons platform for archers. The Babylonians still use the old chariots in battle to harass the enemy and disrupt their formations. The mobility and speed of the chariots was their main defensive tactic, but the lack of armour on the riders and horses leaves them open to missile attacks. If they are unfortunate enough to be caught in close combat they will not last long unless closely supported by friendly troops. The Babylonian chariot tradition is rich and decorated with experience and valour, they are masters of this art and used effectively they can cause heavy casualties to the enemy whilst sustaining none to themselves.

Ša Qurbute ("Royal Chariots")

With the development of anti chariot tactics involving concentrated missile fire, the obvious development for near eastern Chariots was the addition of heavier armour. The horses are protected with barding and the riders are now under heavy scale mail cuirasses. The Addition of this armoured element means these chariots can sustain an enemy barrage and if they are caught in close combat they should be able to hold long enough to escape the trap and flee to safety. Their armour does not take on offensive capabilities such as spikes but the addition of larger wheels and a sturdier carriage means these chariots are far more stable and safe in the field.

Kiškuttŭ ("Sappers")

The Kiškuttŭ were elite siege warfare experts. Covered in heavy scale armour and a sturdy iron helmet, these "Sappers" were ordered to charge the enemy battlements, pull down their defences and engage them on the walls and in the streets. As the first into the breach these men were picked for their bravery and skill. Carrying a broad axe they are fearsome to behold and even more inspiring to witness charging out of the siege towers and trampling the enemy. However they were not used in pitched battles due to the unique nature of their work. These troops are the elite of the Babylonian infantry and should not be thrown away lightly by indifferent commanders.

Units, part 3: the Officers

Rab Mē ("Captain")

Rab Kisrikisier ("Colonel" = Lesser General)

And last but not least:

The King of Babylon, modelled after Nabû Nā'id (= General)

A possible batteline

Sometimes, even Babylonian professional troops have some spare time...


Models/Skins: Goscinio
Research: FliegerAD
Texts: Rez/FliegerAD
Thanks: hellas1 for his Bible knowledge and of course all fans of RoP!


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