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Georgia was historically much fought over between the Persians and the Roman/Byzantine empire, and it was not until the end of the 10th century when the first Georgian kingdom was formed. The key date was when Bagrat III inherited the Abkhazian throne, after which he swiftly annexed the fragmented kingdoms of Georgia and chucked out the Arabs, becoming the first king of a united Georgia in both the east and west - admittedly with the acknowledgement of their powerful Byzantine neighbours. The next great event for Georgia came in 11th century when the Seljuk Turks invaded, and when in 1071, the Seljuk army destroyed the united Byzantine-Armenian and Georgian forces in the Battle of Manzikert, things again looked bleak. By 1081, the whole region had been conquered and devastated by the Seljuks, leaving only the mountainous areas of Abkhazia, Svanetia, Racha, and Khevi-Khevsureti as Georgian havens.
King David IV inherited the throne in 1089 at the age of 16, and took the battle back to the Seljuks. Soon after coming to power he created a regular army and peasant militia, and when the First Crusade (1096-1099) and the Early Crusadersâ€™ offensive against the Seljuk Turks in Anatolia and Syria gave him the opportunity, David campaigned in Georgia against the Seljuks, and by the end of 1099 he no longer had to pay tribute. By 1118 David recaptured almost all the country, leaving only Tbilisi as an isolated Seljuk enclave. In 1118-1119 David invited some 40,000 Kipchak warriors from North Caucasus to settle in Georgia to boost the productivity of the depopulated countryside and strengthen his army. In 1110 Alania became Davidâ€™s vassal and thousands of Alans also settled in Georgia. The army also welcomed mercenaries from Germany, Italy, and Scandinavia (all those westerners were defined in Georgia as â€œthe Franksâ€) as well as from Kievan Rus, although obviously not in such great numbers to feature in the army list. This newly enlarged army was able to deal with a Seljuk Jihad and defeated the invaders at the Battle of Didgori. When in 1122 they took over Tbilisi Georgia was back in one piece again thanks to David "The Builder" (good job he wasn't called King Bob eh?).
The next great figure was Queen Tamar, who from 1194-1204 crushed new Turkish invasions from the south-east and south and launched several successful campaigns into Turkish-controlled Southern Armenia. The temporary fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1204 to the Crusaders left Georgia as the strongest Christian state in the whole East Mediterranean, a situation which Tamar exploited by sending troops to take over many former Post Latin Conquest Byzantine cities. In 1205, the occupied territory was transformed into the Empire of Trebizond, which was in reality a dependency of Georgia, led by one of Tamar's relatives, Alexios Komnenos. In 1210 Georgian armies invaded northern Persia. Tamar ended up taking the rather less amusing epithet "The Great".
In the 1220 however, a chill wind of invasion stalked the land, as the Ilkhanid Mongols pitched up on Georgias doorstep, and barged their way in. Soon the whole area including most of Georgia, all Armenian lands and Central Anatolia eventually fell to the Mongols, and in 1243, Queen Rusudan of Georgia signed a peace treaty with the Mongols, giving up all of her client-states, and much territory, as well as paying tribute. As if this wasn;t bad enough, even the part of the kingdom that remained free of the Mongols started disintegrating as the warlords of Samtskhe (southern Georgia) started throwing their weight around. But the Georgians couldn't be kept down for long, and the first anti-Mongol uprising started in 1259 under the leadership of another David, this time King David Narin, and then also Kings Demeter II (1270 - 1289) and David VIII (1293 - 1311). Finally, it was King George the Brilliant (1314 - 1346) who managed to play on the decline of the Ilkhanate, stopped paying tribute to the Mongols, restored the pre-1220 state borders of Georgia, and returned the Empire of Trebizond into Georgiaâ€™s sphere of influence, all to the great relief of the people who had given him his epithet and who stood to look rather foolish if he had messed up.
But you can't keep a good Mongol down, and between 1386-1403 Georgia faced eight Turco-Mongolic invasions under the leadership of Tamerlane. These invasions devastated Georgia's economy, population, and urban centers, weakening the state to such an extent that by the 15th cand 16th centuries the Kingdom of Georgia was in decline, unable to resiste the growing regional powers of the Later Ottoman Turkishs and the Safavid Persians. For the next few centuries, Georgia would become little more than a battleground between these two great rival powers.
The early period sees this army as a Lancer cavalry force, with a range of tempting support troops. The lancers are Armoured Superior, which is good but remember that they are also expensive, and when it comes to lancers, quantity has a quality all of itâ€™s own. To use armoured superior lancers to best effect requires a fairly simple plan and a fast attack, but be aware than a drilled enemy will look to exploit your flanks and position themselves for flank intercept charges using the â€œmove full speed then turn 90 degreesâ€ with columns of drilled lancers or other cavalry.
The big challenge is protecting the flanks of your line of charging lancers. A decent option is to simply do this with yet more lancers, accepting attrition along the way â€“ and this should not be discounted even though other support troops are available. The many LH - or any non-shock battle troops - can also do this, with the Cuman Cv being able to keep pace. The Foot Archers as MF with Bw will be OK against enemy mounted, and so can protect one flank (where you expect to face LH) in big blocks of 8. Even the HF spearmen may delay someone long enough to let the Lancers get into combat and start causing havoc. Also Units of 8 LF can form a good screen in front of lancers to protect them from shooting.
The ideal combination is a mix of 4â€™s and 6â€™s, using the 6â€™s as the sledgehammer to take casualties and not suffer the -1 for losing 25%, and also to last longer before autobreaking. Lancer Cavalry also ideally need generals to help them in combat, and so having a many TC's so you can commit them to combat as part of a BG of 6 is good value.
The nemesis of lancers are Knights â€“ remember that â€œproperâ€ Knights are more expensive, and should win the most of times in a frontal contact against your armoured cavalry. Cavalry is faster and manoeuvrable, and can help your LH to hunt enemy LH, with combined Lancer/LH charges that enemy LH have to flee from, and where your own LH may be able to catch the flee-erâ€™s.
Post 1118 the army becomes a more pedestrian Shooty Cavalry Army, with the Cuman LH Bw/Sw needed in greater numbers to co-ordinate with the shooty cavalry.
User-contributed links about this army:
- Pictures of Georgians in the Jruchis Four Gospels, 12th century or mirror
- A 12th Century Georgian Fresco in Vardzia Monastery or mirror
- Register and you can put you own link in here and then write some brief detail about the link here
- Turk, Seljuk : Dates: 1124 to 1243 Swords and Scimitars page 18 : Adds up to 8 quality Shooty Cavalry, and a lot of Bw/Sw LH, both of which exist in the main list in sufficient quantities already
The Georgians are a difficult one, with Eastern European influences, plus a "crusader" thing going on as well, plus loads of mercenaries. I would suggest using many Eastern European types, but also mixing in units of Norman/Frankish/Byzantine types for this army You can see some of the figures in the Ancients Photo Gallery also on this site
- Essex Miniatures large Eastern Feudal line
- Donnington Russian/Slav ranges, as well as East Europeans
- Gladiator Miniatures by Fighting 15's (Gladiator Games) Have extensive East European ranges
- Old Glory Slavs, Russians, Normans & Crusaders
- Magister Militum (includes former Chariot ranges) Armenian Range
- Museum Have Cilician Armenians as well as Frankish Knights and fairly generic Byzantines who will work well.
- Minifigs UK Russians, Khazars, Franks
- Irregular Minis Khazars, Pechenegs, early Russians & Frankish types
- Vexilia UK (Mirliton & Venexia ranges) Very nice east European Feudals, some shared with Black Hat
- Alan Touller Some of their Byzantine ranges may work here too.
- Tin Soldier Normans, Byzantines and others
- 2 Dragons Vikings & Rus, Slavs, Carolingians & Normans
- Fighting 15â€™s Maybe consider some of the Oddmial Oddzy Lithuianians at a pinch?
- Isarus (more former TTG figures) Normans & Byzantines
- Outpost Franks, Avars, Slavs, Crusaders, Byzantines
- Khurasan Avars & Byzantines
- Viking Forge Byzantines & Feudals
- Battle Line (NZ) former TTG Ranges - see above
- 50 Paces Byzantines & Slavs
- Camelot Games Vikings & Rus, Crusader Knights
- Legio heroica Crusades ranges, includes Armenian Cavalry
Which troops are absolutely needed for this army, and what are your thoughts on how to organise, paint and buy them.
Sample army lists for this army
Name of Army / Date
- Using asterisks inthe edit mode creates a bulleted list in the actual site
- This is a lot easier to do than easier than setting up tables
- For FoG I suggest listing your army in order or march
- with troop desctiptions on each line, for example
- 4 HF Armoured Average Drilled Impact Foot Swordsmen
- 8 LG Undrilled Unarmoured Poor Bowen
- Dont forget to include your Generals !!!
Include any notes you want here, including comments on how to use - or play against - the army.
Remember to leave a line before you copy the above section as a template for your own list