(230-651 AD)

DBA Variant Army Lists
By Doug Melville

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My research into the Sasanian Persians suggested that significant changes should be made to the Sasanian (Sassanid) DBA II/69 list.  My revised versions are based more on the later Arabic, Armenian and Middle Persian texts rather than  relying entirely on Romano-Byzantine sources, which (understandably) tend to focus on Roman successes rather than their many defeats by the Sasanians.

II/69a 230AD - 349AD (The Rise)
1x4Kn General, 3x4Kn, 1xEl or 1x3Cv, 2x2LH, 2x2LH or 3Cv, 1x2LH or 1x2Ps or 1x3Ax, 2x2LH or 2x3Bw or 2x7Hd

II/69b 350AD - 576AD (The Apogee)
1x4Kn General, 3x4Kn, 1xEl or 1x3Cv, 2x3Cv, 1x2LH, 1x2LH or 1x2Ps, 1x2LH or 1x3Ax, 2x2LH or 2x3Bw or 2x7Hd

II/69c 577AD - 651AD (The Fall)
1x4Kn or 3Cv General, 2x4Kn, 1xEl or 1x3Cv, 3x3Cv, 1x2Ps, 2x3Ax or 1x4Ax + 1x3Ax, or 1x3Ax + 1x3Bd, 2x3Bw or 2x7Hd

I don't think that the above lists are overpowered, and in fact are very similar (for example) to the Central Asian City states lists etc. I haven't included any gimmicks such as dismounting, or verypowerful troops such as Kn/Bd combos, or excessive numbers of elephants/artillery etc. In fact, in DBA terms they really haven't changed hugely, except to reflect the evidence suggesting:

  1. That the levy (Hd) was brought along only on isolated instances to provide labour for siege-works;
  2. The Parthian LH evolved into the heavier cavalry retainers accompanying the noble cavalry;
  3. The Guard Diliamites (Daylami) could be classified as either (in DBM/MM terms) as Regular Auxilia or Fast Blade;
  4. That the heavily armoured charging cavalry attested in the earlier period survived to the end of the dynasty;
  5. All mounted expeditions were not uncommon, especially in the East vs Hepthalites etc, and in the South and West vs Ghassanids; and
  6. There is evidence of massed (ie Non-Psiloi) infantry archers.

Of course the key difference in DBM/MM terms is that they should be graded as 'Regular' but that's irrelevant to DBA.

For a full discussion of the evidence, check the Sassanid Persian proposal at Tabulae Nova Exercituum.

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Thanks to Doug Melville for offering this variant.
Feedback welcome to Chris Brantley at

Last Updated: 18 August 2015