Amorite Nomads

(2700 BC onwards)

This list covers the nomadic tribes known as the Martu (westerners) by the Sumerians (Amurru by the Akkadians), and includes the Yahmadu, Tidnum (Didnum), Yahmutum, Hana and Benu-yamin tribes. They are most commonly known now by their biblical title of ‘Amorite’. These nomads of the Syrian Desert presented a constant threat to the settled peoples of the Near East, particularly in the later stages of the third millennium. Toward the end of our era the constant encroachment by the Amorite tribes consumed the Mesopotamian landscape, ending the Third Dynasty of Ur, bringing Sumerian hegemony to a close.

The Amorites are commonly thought to be a disparate people when Mesopotamian civilisation was developing to a high level. It is also generally agreed that the Akkadians were the first Semitic peoples that descended upon the Sumerian lands. In fact the Amorite people long before Sargon’s time were culturally unified Semitic Bedouins. They lived in western Syria, bordering the Euphrates towards Kish and even as far east as the Diyala river region of the Tigris. As such the Amorites played an important part in the early developments in the Near East and were known for many centuries before their time to rule finally came.

The earliest cuneiform tablet reference we have of the Amorites is around 2550 BC, but there are early references ascribed to the king of Uruk (before the time of Gilgamesh) building walls to protect his people from the Martu. These Amorites were known to the Sumerians as, "people who know not grain and do not live in houses".

Third Millennium Amorite peoples were fundamentally nomadic clans ruled by fierce tribal chiefs, known as the abum or 'father', who forced themselves into the surrounding fertile lands where they needed to graze their herds. They would pasture their flocks of sheep and goats to graze on the stubble and be watered from the river and irrigation canals. For this privilege, they would have to pay a tax in wool, meat, milk, and cheese to the temples, who would distribute these products to the bureaucracy and priesthood. In good years, all would go well, but in bad years, wild winter pastures would be in short supply, nomads would seek to pasture their flocks in the grain fields, and conflicts with farmers would result. 

For the Akkadian kings Martu was one of the "Four Quarters" surrounding Akkad, along with Subartu, Sumer, and Elam. The Amorites were described as fierce warriors, ‘‘as powerful as the southern wind'', who frequently created fear among the Sumerians. The Akkadian king Naram-Sin recorded successful campaigns against the Amorites in northern Syria c. 2240 BC. His successor Sharkilasharri (2218-2193) continued with his own campaigns, mentioning a battle with the ‘Martu’ whom he defeated at Bashar, a low mountain range lying to the west of the Euphrates. Gudea of Lagash (2123) also ‘sort stone’ from this region to build temples and from this time the term Amorite seems more commonly used. Whilst there were periods of time when the Sumerians and Akkadians fought the Amorites they also employed the war tribesmen as mercenaries as well, such were the shifting allegiances with localised tribal chiefs and the military demands of the day.

By the time of the last days of the Neo-Sumerian Ur III empire, migrating Amorites had become such a force that the Ur III king Shu-Sin was obliged to construct a 170 miles (270 km) long wall from the Tigris to the Euphrates to hold them off – a Sumerian “Hadrian’s Wall” of sorts.

The coming of the Amorites was resisted fiercely by the Neo-Sumerians. The kings of Ur III new full well the threat they faced and undertook expeditions and forged alliances to counter the growing power of the Amorite tribes. This Amorite ‘invasion’ however was not like that of the Guti of previous times, but rather an encroachment into Mesopotamia in an inexorable ‘march by settlement’ isolating the domination of the Ur III dynastic cities, each one eventually breaking away as the inability of the Ur III kings to protect them became more apparent. This eventually strangled the power base of the ruling Neo-Sumerians, being replaced by Amorite leaders taking positions of power in these cities, until finally the Elamites sacked Ur in 2004 BC and subsequently the Amorites six years later took control for themselves. This ultimately led to the rise of the great Amorite Hammurabi in the Second Millennium.

After having taken control the Amorites adopted many Sumerian cultural ways just as the Akkadians had done before them, and were assimilated into the existing culture rather than replacing that which had been so firmly entrenched for a thousand years or more.




Troop Type
Number
Q
P
CV
Range
Pts
General (mounted or on foot)
1
-
*
5
n/a
50
Sub General (mounted or on foot)
0-1
-
*
5
n/a
50
Ally General (mounted or on foot)
0-2
-
*
5
n/a
25
Captain
1 per unit
R
*
5
n/a
20
                - change to veteran
any
V
*
5
n/a
25
Henkhu Bodyguard Tribesmen
1-2
V
P
special
2/4
9
Desert Warrior  Wild Tribesmen
4-10
R
U
special
2/4
6
                - equip with shields
0-half/all
R
P
special
2/4
7
Nomadic Archer Skirmishers or
0-2
R
U
n/a
4
4
                - change all to Massed Archers
any
R
U
2
4/8
6
Archer, Slinger  or Javelinmen Skirmishers
0-2
R
U
n/a
4
4
Javelin Skirmishers
2-4
L
U
n/a
4
2
Archer Skirmishers
2-4
R
U
n/a
4
4
Slinger Skirmishers
0-2
R
U
n/a
4
4
Youth Skirmishers
0-1
L
U
n/a
4
2



Amorite Nomads Allies and Enemies
 
Dynastic Sumerian
Akkadian
Early Eblan
Old Elam
Zagros Mountain
Hattian Kingdoms
Neo -Sumerian
Amorite Nomads
Magan
Harrapan
2700 BC
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2600 BC
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2500 BC
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2400 BC
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2300 BC
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2200 BC
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2100 BC
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2000 BC
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 








Special Rules & Notes
  • During Terrain Setup, if a Amorite Nomad force is Defending then the die roll to move terrain is 5,6 for Left, Centre and Right sections of the table (this increases the likely hood that rough terrain will be centrally placed on the battlefield).
  • Desert Warrior Wild Tribesmen may all be armed with shields after 2100 BC, only half before that date.

 

2 comments:

  1. Great stuff, I've really enjoyed reading all these posts and have a Hammurabic Amorite/Babylonian army to paint....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Cyrus,

      I'm looking forward to seeing your Hammurabic Amorites. What figures are they? There's quite a degree of cross over of the Amorites into the third millennium Neo-Sumerian conflicts.

      Thanks for your support.

      Cheers

      Happy W

      Delete