Lysimachid Army

    Lysimachid Army - DBA #39
    (320 BC - 281 BC)

    This list begins three years after the death of Alexander and ends with the death of Lysimachos in battle against Seleucus in 281 BC.

    Note: The pictures of figures are thumbnailed links.  Click on them to view notes on the castings, painting and larger photos.

    Lysimachid Army

    Army Composition

    The DBA list allows some anachronistic options against certain opponents, so, for the historically minded, here are the actual dated lists -

    (320 BC-288 BC)  1x3Kn, 1x3Cv, 1x2LH, 4x4Pk, 3x3/4Aux, 1x2Ps, 1x4Sp.
    (288 BC-281 BC)  1x3Kn, 1x3Cv, 1x2LH, 3x4Pk, 3x3/4Aux, 1x2Ps, 1x4Pk or 1xEl, 1x4Sp.  (The official DBA 1.1 listing)

1x 3 Kn
The lance armed Xystophoroi (Companions), historically the General's element.
1 x 3 Cv
Allied or mercenary Greek cavalry.  Lysimachos employed some Thracian noble cavalry as well.
1 x 2 LH
Thracian, Paionian or Greek light horse.  Shieldless and armed with javelins.
(3 or 4) x 4 Pk
The phalanx.  Lysimachos used both Macedonians and Thracians as pikemen.
3 x 3/4 Aux
These elements represent the Thracians recruited by Lysimachos fighting in their native style.  Sadly for miniature painters by this era the Thracians seemed to have stopped wearing their distinctive and colourful cloaks.  The Thracians had begun adopting the larger oval theuros before the Galatian invasion, in addition to the traditional pelte or small circular shield.  For DBA they are based three to a stand.  An option would be to paint up an element of Greek peltasts instead of Thracians; they would be based four to a stand.
1 x 2 Ps
Thracian or mercenary javelinmen, archers or slingers.
1 x El
An elephant.  Lysimachos, being located in faraway Thrace, had no opportunity to obtain elephants until very late in his reign.  He eventually seized a few after defeating Demetrios, or possibly from Cassandros' army a few years later...sources differ slightly. Crew rode directly atop the elephant; towers were not yet in usage.
1 x 4 Sp
Greek Hoplites from Lysimachos' subject Greek cities on the Thracian coast and later from Asia Minor.


Lysimachos spent the most of the years after the death of Alexander busily consolidating his hold on Thrace, fighting both Thracians (DBA #27) and Illyrians (#26).  By roughly 302 BC he felt secure enough to seriously join the other Successors in their struggles over Alexander's empire, attacking Antigonos and Demetrios (both #38a) and Seleucus (#41a).  Pyrrhos (#43) also clashed with Lysimachos over the fate of Macedonia and Thessaly.

Greek Spear  In 313 BC a coalition (instigated by Antigonid diplomacy and probably gold) of Scythians, local Greek cities and Thracians confronted Lysimachos, although he was able to convince the Thracians to leave the coalition and join him.  Although the DBA rules make no mention of it, the Scythians (DBA #25) might well be included as an opponent of Lysimachos, since they fought a pitched battle with Lysimachos at this time.  Later Hoplite Greek (#32) is possibly another foe, but the Greek cities seemed to prefer more passive opposition and seiges, rather than pitched battles.  Still, that would make an interesting double size DBA game - Scythian and Greek allies versus Lysimachos and the Thracians.

Historical Notes

Lysimachos - a Roman copyAt the time of Alexander the Great's death in 323 BC, Lysimachos was the governor of Thrace, a post he managed to retain.  He stayed out of the early Diadochi struggles, being fully occupied in subduing the unruly and barbaric (in Greek eyes) Thracians, and besieging the typically independently minded Greek cities on the coast of Thrace.

By 302 BC, he felt confident enough to intervene in Asia Minor against Antigonos.  Outnumbered by the large Antigonid army, Lysimachos proved his military skill by deftly avoiding battle until 301 BC, when his ally Seleucus was able to join him and crush Antigonos in the crucial battle of Ipsus.  As spoils of war, Lysimachos seized most of Asia Minor from the defunct Antigonid Kingdom.  Demetrios, son of Antigonos, held the Ionian coast for a time, but was eventually forced out by the victorious Lysimachos by 295 BC.

Lysimachos - a Roman copy Demetrios rallied his forces, was proclaimed King of Macedonia after the death of Cassander and had begun a successful invasion of Thrace, but Lysimachos allied with Pyrrhos of Epirus.  Together they defeated Demetrios then conquered and partitioned Macedonia.  A few short years later after the death of Demetrios in 285 BC, Lysimachos turned on Pyrrhos and seized the remainder of Macedonia.  He managed to defeat the redoubtable Pyrrhos by guerilla tactics and diplomacy, inducing Pyrrhos' Macedonian army to desert the "foreign usurper".

Lysimachos was at the height of his power.  He was a competent but very cautious general, never risking an open battle if there were any other options.  However Lysimachos was a ruthless, cruel and paranoid leader.  Early in his reign he tortured a close friend to death for merely playing a jest on Lysimachos' wife.  After the baggage of his mercenaries was plundered by the enemy, Lysimachos promptly ordered the slaughter of all 600 Autariatai soldiers just in case they were thinking of deserting (!).  His eldest son was executed for the mere suspicion of treachery.

By 282 BC most of his Asian possessions had defected to Seleucus and his Black Sea coast Greek cities were in rebellion and unrest due to his heavy taxation and conscription demands.  Lysimachos was forced to risk everything in open battle against Seleucus at Corupedium the following year.  Like Antigonos, he lost and died on the battlefield.

Army Tactics

The Lysimachid army is one of the weaker Successor armies.  The mounted arm is respectable, although heterogenous, which leads inexperienced players to commit the horse piecemeal. Lysimachos The pike phalanx is small, consisting of only four elements.  Choosing the elephant option reduces the numbers to only three pike...a particularly useless number.  Pike should almost always be double ranked; they are vulnerable to foot troops otherwise.  I would suggest avoiding the elephant option.  Elephants are more trouble than they are worth and under the proposed DBA 2.0 amendments, weaker than ever before.

The one spear element can be supported with the Psiloi, or alone can support a flank of the phalanx.  A Lysimachid army does possess three auxilia, which can come in handy in rough going.

A Lysimachid player must use the terrain to his advantage, since his historical opponents will outclass him otherwise.  Antigonos has more pike, Seleucus possesses a formidable mounted force; Lysimachos must hope for bad going to counter both these armies.  The reverse is true for Thracian and Illyrian foes; they have large numbers of auxilia.  Those armies will be swept aside by a pike block in good going.


M. M. Austin, The Hellenistic World, Cambridge University Press.
Richard Billows, Antigonos the One-Eyed, University of California Press.
M. Cary, A History of the Greek World, Methuen & Co.
Diodoros, Books XIX and XX, Harvard University Press.
Duncan Head, Armies of the Macedonian and Punic Wars, Wargames Research Publication Group.
Stuart Tucker, "Successors" in The General, Vol. 32, No. 2.
F. W. Walbank, The Hellenistic World, Harvard University Press.

Visit the DBA Resource Page Bookstore to buy these and other Classical histories.

Links to Related Websites

Alexandrian Macedonian.  The army list from the DBA Resource Page.  Painting information for the Macedonians in Lysimachos' service.
Hellenistic History.  An online synopsis of this period.
Thrace and the Thracians  An absolutely tremendous source for the history of Lysimachos, containing both primary and secondary material.  Also a great site for information on Thrace (surprise!), Scythia and Illyria.  Naturally I found this site after I painted up my Thracians a while back.
Antigonos An internal link to my essay on Antigonos.

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