Macedonian and Successor Painting Guide

This covers Macedonians, Seleucids, Ptolomaics etc. The core of my army is Later Seleucid and the photos reflect this. All figures painted by Ian Galley unless otherwise noted.

Macedonian Pike Phalanx

The core of any Macedonian army were the phalangites in the pike hhalanx. Most Macedonian shields were covered in bronze but elite troops often had silver shields. White shields also appeared. According to Head (1982):

  • Argyraspides = Silver shields
  • Chalkaspides = Bronze shields
  • Leukaspides = White shields

Ian has the helmets either silver or bronze. However I believe that historically Macedonian helmets were painted bright colours.

We know of a few shield designs from the Macedonian Wars. Some styles may have been favoured by certain kingdoms or, more likely, with our limited evidence we know that some kingdoms used them but that doesn’t rule out the possibility that others did as well. I believe you can pick what you want. Historically the shields of the phalangites were unpainted with the pattern embossed, but that is tricky so mine have shield transfers.

Silver Shields (Argyraspides)

Ian gave all his pikemen a “Seleucid” style pattern from VVV. He gave all the silver shields a red pattern.

Seleucid-193 Phalangites - Silver shields (Argyraspides)
Seleucid-193 Phalangites – Silver shields (Argyraspides)

Bronze Shields (Chalkaspides)

Ian gave the bronze shields the same “Seleucid” shield pattern from VVV but in this case Ian varied the colours.

Seleucid-194 Phalangites - Bronze shields (Chalkaspides)
Seleucid-194 Phalangites – Bronze shields (Chalkaspides)

White Shields (Leukaspides)

I followed Ian’s lead with my white shields (Leukaspides): shield pattern from VVV (Antigonid Shield Design) and various colours as they are not an elite unit. Some of my white shields have trousers indicating the men had an eastern origin, making them “Of all sorts” (Pantodapoi). That is just an accident of my purchasing history and shouldn’t be taken as indicating historical precedent. I got them from ebay so the painter is unknown. I repainted the shields and pikes, then applied the shield decals.

Seleucid-195 Phalangites - White shields (Leukaspides) - Of all sorts (Pantodapoi)
Seleucid-195 Phalangites – White shields (Leukaspides) – Of all sorts (Pantodapoi)

Other heavy infantry


The thurophoroi were mercenaries. There is a good case the white shields (Leukaspides) were actually the thurophoroi and similar. So I repainted the shields white.

Seleucid-111 Thurophoroi - White shields (Leukaspides)
Seleucid-111 Thurophoroi – White shields (Leukaspides)

Argyraspides in Roman style

After a couple of wallopings by the Romans the Seleucids rearmed half their silver shields in the Roman style. Ian has interpreted this as meaning they adopted Roman colours. So both the silver shield and purple tunic have turned red. I am unconvinced about this. Pilum and long shield, sure, that is being Roman armed but I see no reason why they would have abandoned their tradition colour schemes.

Seleucid-197 Argyraspides in Roman style
Seleucid-197 Argyraspides in Roman style

Macedonian Cavalry


The Seleucid Agema were equipped like the earlier Companions and Xystophoroi but had a partially armoured horse.

Seleucid-104 Agema cavalry
Seleucid-104 Agema cavalry
Seleucid-105 Agema cavalry - back
Seleucid-105 Agema cavalry – back


After fighting the Parthians in the east the Seleucids adopted heavy armour for most of their cavalry. Bronze scale for the man and iron mail for the horse.

Seleucid-106 Cataphracts
Seleucid-106 Cataphracts
Seleucid-107 Cataphracts - back
Seleucid-107 Cataphracts – back

Asian Troops

Just like the earlier Persian empire, the eastern successor states used Asian troops, particularly for the lights.

Seleucid-100 Asian light horse with javelin and shield
Seleucid-100 Asian light horse with javelin and shield
Seleucid-102 Asian horse archers
Seleucid-102 Asian horse archers
Seleucid-198 Asian slingers
Seleucid-198 Asian slingers
Seleucid-199 Asian archers
Seleucid-199 Asian archers

Other Troops

Scythed Chariots

Seleucid-108 Scythed chariots
Seleucid-108 Scythed chariots


Seleucid-101 Arab camelry
Seleucid-101 Arab camelry


Head, D. (1982). Armies of the Macedonian and Punic wars 359 BC to 146 BC. Wargames Research Group.

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