Armies – Peasant

Just found something this morning worthy of passing along.  This goes directly to the accuracy of the story narrative about the two armies.  To wit, neither of them – yet – are standing professional armies.  But they’re only missing by a decade or so.  Asherbanipal is about to create the first one in Assyria right after Ahab’s death, but it won’t have happened while your action is taking place.  Meaning that these armies are both composed mainly of peasants who must till their ground and set their seeds before they can march off to battle.  It’s the same limitation for both kingdoms.  Which means the fall campaigning probably took place late October, early November and the spring campaign can’t start much before the end of May and can only last about 2 months in both cycles.

It also means that, except for Ahab’s and BH’s personal retinue and body guards, there are no professional fighters in either army. IOW, these guys are more like warlords than emperors.  I THINK, but am not sure, that this also implies that the size of the garrisons in places like Megiddo must be rather smaller.  More in the hundreds than the thousands.  But still a paid force doing all the things we’ve already discussed.  Just fewer of them than I thought.  And that probably also means that Kings notwithstanding, the size of the actual armies facing off would have been in the low thousands rather than the six digits.

How all this plays into the way they fight is probably malleable.  Are the Israelites perhaps more disciplined b/c they have been in more fights than the Damascenes?  Don’t know.  Writer’s call.  But I’m guessing the composition of both armies and will to fight would have included such factors.

Steve Abbott

And we’re amazingly close to the transition with Ahab.  It’s really only another couple of decades when Assyria decides to go all in on this conquest business.  So it’s plausible that they’ve all already begun tinkering with stuff like increasing the size of their paid troops.  We know that regardless of the actual number of chariots Ahab brought to the fight at Qarqar it was significant by the standards of the time.  So he’s already begun thinking outside the box about what a kingdom of his size has to do to stay viable.  And apparently he’s found a way to support the considerable cost that would entail.  I hope you’ll give him credit for that in your plot.

Steve Abbott

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