During the period covered by this list (668 to 394 BCE), Sparta was the greatest military power among the Greek city states. Spartan society was organised to maximise the military potential of the state.
Heavy losses in the Peloponnesian War (431 to 404 BCE), combined with various social factors, led to a fall in the number of Spartan citizens. Spartan armies therefore came to rely more on periokoi, allies and mercenaries. This coincided with a relative decline in the reputation and performance of the Spartan army.
Using Spartans in MEG
This is a very powerful infantry force. Get it into frontal combat and there is little that can stand against it. The challenge lies in protecting one’s flanks long enough to get the hoplites into combat. Push hard with a front line of hoplites. Retain the cavalry and a unit of hoplites to cover the flanks. Some loose formation infantry can help with holding up the flanks if there is rough terrain. Do not underestimate the ability of even the helots to slow enemy in rough going – they are very cheap and quantity has a quality all its own. But do not get carried away with spending points on things other than the hoplites – they will win the game.
Spartans as allies
Troops and suitable miniatures
Hippeis were bodyguards to the Spartan kings and, despite their name meaning “horsemen”, they served as hoplites. Contemporary sources do not record a strong resemblance to Gerard Butler. Spartiates were citizens of Sparta, who fought as hoplites. Periokoi were hoplites supplied by towns in Messene and Laconia that were ruled from Sparta.
The core of the army were the hoplites - infantry armed with a thrusting spear between 2.5m and 4.5m long. They wore a tunic and often wore cloaks. Both the tunic and cloak were crimson for the units classified as Hippeis, Spartiates and Spartan hoplites. Hoplites carried a round shield, which could have a variety of designs. Spartan shields often bore a capital lambda, Λ (for Lacedaemon – the original name of the state in which Sparta stood), and this became standard towards the end of the period. Most Spartan wargames armies use this convention.
Some hoplites wore bronze corselets and greaves. This would be more common among wealthier hoplites and so one could reasonably give units of hippeis and spartiates a higher proportion of men wearing such armour. Early in the period, the armour often flared towards the hip – a so-called bell corselet. Later bronze armour did not have this feature. Other hoplites would wear linen corselets or even no armour. Later in the period, say from the late 5th century onwards, armour became lighter, with a higher proportion of men wearing linen corselets or no armour.
The archetypical hoplite helmet in the early part of this period would be the Corinthian with a nasal and cheek pieces. Later in the period, helmets became simpler. Again it is reasonable to include some figures with no helmets at any period. Spartan hoplites were sometimes depicted with transverse horsehair crests.
Cavalry carried a shorter spear than the hoplites but were otherwise similarly equipped.
Peltasts and skiritai are light infantry. You may find suitable figures described as psiloi by manufacturers.
You will find Thracians, Cretans and slingers described as such by manufacturers. In this period, do not select Thracians figures with rhomphaia or falx (weapons with curved blades).
I don’t know of any reason to represent Mysian skirmishers differently to any other javelin-armed skirmishers.
The following manufacturers have suitable 15mm ranges (others may be available):
Museum They include a “300” range but I am not encouraging you to go there…
Xyston– for most of the army
Here's a photo of some very old Spartan figures:
I have no shame and so:
Example Army Lists