Friday, March 17, 2023

First Battle of Mantinea ADLG Game


Argives & allies deployed with Spartans &
allies in front of Pelagos wood

View from the Athenian, Argive & Mantinean side

Armies advance

Skiritai & Brasidas’ Veteran Spartan hoplites

Aegis' Spartan hoplites and allied
Arcadian hoplites in the centre

Spartan & Athenian cavalry fight
on the Spartan right flank

Armies close

Last Thursday afternoon Craig, Garry and Rick came over and we played an ADLG game of the First Battle of Mantinea which was fought in 418 BC. Craig and Garry commanded the Argive, Athenian and Mantinean allies and Rick and I commanded the Spartan, Arcadian and Tegean allies. 

Thucydides has a nice description of the armies advancing to battle:

'...the Argives and allies advancing with haste and fury, the Spartans slowly and to the music of many flute players - a standing institution in their army, that has nothing to do with religion but is meant to make them advance evenly, stepping in time, without breaking their order, as large armies are apt to do in the moment of engaging.'

Thucydides, 5.70 Landmark Thucydides, p.343. translated by Richard Crawley, edited by Robert B. Strassler, Free Press, New York, 1996.

In our game, the Spartan and allies were a bit more ragged than that in their advance, but before long most of the left, centre and right flanks of both armies was engaged in combat. The Spartan cavalry broke on the Spartan right flank and the Athenians were able to roll up the flank of the Tegean hoplites. On the Spartan left flank and centre it was hard fought for many turns with the Mantineans and Argives. A few successful rally orders prolonged the combat but in the end the Spartans and allies were demoralised first and broke.

Spartan centre

Spartan right flank

Tegeans charge the Athenians,
Spartan cavalry is about to break

Left, centre and right flanks engaged

Argive hoplites in the centre slog it out
with Spartans & Arcadians

Side view with gaps appearing

Spartan cavalry blocked by skirmishers
and Mantinean hoplites


  1. Looks good. Did you see that SOA’s 2023 Battle Day is Second Mantinea?

    1. Thanks Jonathan, yes I’d like to refight that but need a lot more painted Theban hoplites. I’ll read the Slingshot article on it in the meantime.

  2. You can't beat a hopolite battle,lovely stuff!
    Best Iain

    1. Thanks Iain, it was fun to get the hoplites out.

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks Ray, yet another defeat for the Spartans.

  4. I love your figures - beautifully painted.

    1. Thanks Justin, it’s good to get them on the table.

  5. Great looking game of such an historical battle, Mike!

    1. Thanks Dean, it was fun, we all enjoyed it.


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