Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Assyrian Reliefs at the British Museum Part One

Glazed terracotta tile of an Assyrian King and attendants
875-850 BC North-West Palace, Nimrud, Iraq 

Protective spirits - an Ugallu and probably the House God
645-640 BC North Palace, Nineveh, Iraq

Protective spirit an Ugallu

In the mail this week I received I am Ashurbanipal, king of the world, king of Assyria edited by Gareth Brereton, a great book of the exhibition currently on at the British Museum from 8 November 2018 until 24 February 2019. This has inspired me to dig out and post photos from our 2011 visit there. Identifying individual reliefs is a bit tricky and time consuming, seven years after the event, so I have only captioned those I'm fairly certain about! I highly recommend the book, if you are at all interested in Assyria, published by Thames & Hudson, the paperback version is 348 pages, lavishly illustrated with colour photos and maps and it has interesting text. I also would recommend the book of the 2017 exhibition, Scythians warriors of ancient Siberia, edited by St John Simpson and Svetlana Pankova, both books are really fascinating.

Human-headed winged bull and attendant genie
 (alad-lammu or lammasu) c.710 BC Khorsabad, Iraq 

Human-headed winged bull and attendant genie
 (alad-lammu or lammasu) c.710 BC Khorsabad, Iraq 

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Battle of Kernstown 1862 - Black Powder American Civil War Game

Initial deployment

Union brigades of Brodhead, Sullivan and Kimball

Side view of the table

Confederate forces arrive on the table and the cavalry charge

Confederate left flank

Union cavalry over run Confederate artillery

Union cavalry retreat

Confederate left flank advances

Last Sunday down at the Vikings Club, Craig, Gary and I played an American Civil War, Black Powder game, the Battle of Kernstown 1862. This scenario was straight out of the second edition Black Powder rules (pp.170-175 ). Gary was the Confederate commander, Stonewall Jackson, while Craig commanded the Union brigades under Kimball and Tyler and I commanded those under Sullivan and Brodhead. This turned out to be a decisive victory for the Confederates and the Union brigades of Brodhead, Sullivan and Kinball were all broken in turn.

Confederate right flank reforms

Confederate left flank closes in on Pritchard's Hill

Fire fight on Confederate right flank 

Tyler's brigade arrives on the Union right flank

Confederates close on Pritchard's Hill and Sullivan's brigade retreats broken

Kimball's brigade on Pritchard's Hill is broken

Confederate left flank holds on

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Neo-Assyrian Cavalry and Arab Camel Riders

Here are some Eureka Miniatures, Neo-Assyrian guard cavalry that I've just finished painting. The Arab Camel riders I painted quite a while ago and the Foundry Chaldean slingers I added a couple of bases to bring them up to strength for a twelve figure unit. I have one four horse chariot to finish then I should be able to play a Chariots Rampant game with my Neo-Assyrians.

There is an interesting summary of the evolution of Neo-Assyrian cavalry in the Chariot Wars WAB supplement by Nigel Stillman (p.57):

The cavalry arm of the Assyrian army evolved rapidly during the Assyrian Empire. As the empire expanded, the horse breeding regions of Anatolia, Iran and Urartu (Armenia) came under Assyrian control, providing the army not only with better mounts but expert riders as well. The Assyrians fought the Cimmerians and Scythians and recruited many of them into the regular standing army and the royal guard. Wearing Assyrian uniforms, they became indistinguishable in the sculpted scenes, but written records give the names and origins of many soldiers, showing that cavalry was recruited from all the regions renowned for horsemanship. Initially Assyrian cavalry consisted of mixed units of unarmoured mounted archers and shield bearers, and the later held the reins for the archer while he took aim. By the time of Tiglath-Pileser III (745-727 BC), riders discarded their shield and consisted of mixed units of armoured archers and spearmen... By the time of Ashurbanipal (668-627 BC), the royal guard cavalry were equipped with spears and bows, wore armour and rode mounts protected by felt bards like those worn by the chariot horses.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Walking Hadrian's Wall

First view of the Wall

Black Carts Turret (29a)

Limestone Corner

Carrawburgh Mithraeum (Brocolita)

Altars of the Mithraeum

Approaching Houstead's Fort

I'm currently reading Adrian Goldsworthy's excellent new book, Hadrian's Wall: Rome and the Limits of Empire. This book, which is beautifully illustrated, brought back memories of August 2011 when we visited Hadrian’s Wall and associated sites and museums. We stayed at a nice B&B just outside of Haltwhistle which was a very convenient base with a car. For guides we had Guy de la Bédoyère’s Hadrian's Wall: History and Guide and for track notes, the not entirely reliable, Lonely Planet’s Walking in Britain.

As we had only limited time we opted for a day walk along one of the more interesting central sections of the wall which turned out to be from Cholleford to Caw Gap, a distance of about 22km. We didn’t have a very detailed map when we did the walk, but subsequently bought the Harvey’s National Trail Hadrian’s Wall Path map, which I highly recommend. We left our car at Chollerford near Chesters and just made the last bus heading back there from Once Brewed. These photos are from our walk and fortunately the weather was really nice on the day.

We also spent a few days looking at a number of sites including: Tullie House Museum's Roman Frontier Gallery, Carlisle Castle, Chesters Fort and Museum, Housteads, Vindolanda, Roman Army Museum, Birdoswald and Lanercost Priory. Visiting Hadrian’s Wall and the fantastic forts and museums there was definitely a highlight of our trip and something I’d recommend to anyone visiting the area.

Northern Gateway of Milecastle 37

Climber belaying on Sewingshields Crags

Sycamore Gap

Milecastle 39 (Castle Nick)

Caw Gap

Assyrian Reliefs at the British Museum Part One

Glazed terracotta tile of an Assyrian King and attendants 875-850 BC North-West Palace, Nimrud, Iraq  Protective spirits -...