Overview: In ancient geography, Colchis or Kolchis (Georgian: კოლხეთი Kolkheti; Laz: Kolxa; Greek — Κολχίς, kŏl´kĬs) was an ancient Georgian kingdom and region in the Caucasus, which played an important role in the ethnic and cultural formation of the Georgian nation The Kingdom of Colchis as an early Georgian state contributed significantly in development of the medieval Georgian statehood after its unification with eastern Georgian Kingdom of Iberia-Kartli.
Now mostly the western part of Georgia, it was in Greek mythology the home of Aeëtes and Medea and the destination of the Argonauts, as well as being the possible homeland of the Amazons. The ancient area is represented roughly by the present day Georgian provinces of Mingrelia, Imereti, Guria, Ajaria, Svaneti, Racha, Abkhazia and the modern Turkey’s Rize Province and parts of Trabzon and Artvin provinces. One of the most important elements in the modern Georgian nation, the Colchians were probably established in the Caucasus by the Middle Bronze Age.
The Kingdom of Colchis, which existed from the sixth to the first centuries B.C.E., is believed to be the first Georgian state.
A proto-Georgian tribal union that emerged at the eastern Black Sea coast by the end of the 13th century BC later on transformed itself into the Kingdom of Colchis. According to most classic authors, Colchis was the country bounded on the southwest by Pontus, on the west by the Pontus Euxinus as far as the river Corax (probably the present day Bzybi River, Abkhazia, Georgia), on the north by the chain of the Greater Caucasus, which lay between it and Asiatic Sarmatia, on the east by Iberia and Montes Moschici (now the Lesser Caucasus), and on the south by Armenia. There is some little difference in authors as to the extent of the country westward: thus Strabo makes Colchis begin at Trapezus (Trebizond), while Ptolemy, on the other hand, extended Pontus to the river Phasis. Pityus was the last town to the north in Colchis.
The area was home to the well-developed bronze culture known as the Colchian culture, related to the neighbouring Koban culture, that emerged towards the Middle Bronze Age. In at least some parts of Colchis the process of urbanization seems to have been well advanced by the end of the second millennium BC, centuries before Greek settlement. Their Late Bronze Age (15th to 8th Century BC) saw the development of an expertise in the smelting and casting of metals that began long before this skill was mastered in Europe. Sophisticated farming implements were made and fertile, well-watered lowlands blessed with a mild climate promoted the growth of progressive agricultural techniques.
Colchis was inhabited by a number of related, but still pretty different tribes whose settlements lay chiefly along the shore of the Black Sea. The chief of those were the Machelones, Heniochi, Zydretae, Lazi, Tibareni, Mossynoeci, Macrones, Moschi, Marres, Apsilae (probably modern-day Abkhaz-speakers), Abasci (possibly modern-day Abaza), Sanigae, Coraxi, Coli, Melanchlaeni, Geloni and Soani (Suani). These tribes differed so completely in language and appearance from the surrounding nations that the ancients originated various theories to account for the phenomenon. Herodotus, who states that they, with the Egyptians and the Ethiopians, were the first to practice circumcision, believed them to have sprung from the relics of the army of Pharaoh Sesostris III (1878-1841 BC), and thus regarded them as Egyptians. Apollonius Rhodius states that the Egyptians of Colchis preserved as heirlooms a number of wooden tablets showing seas and highways with considerable accuracy. Though this theory was not generally adopted by the ancients, it has been defended – but not with complete success, by some modern writers. There seems to have been a Negroid component (which predates the Arab slave trade) along the Black Sea region, whose origins could very well be traced to an Ancient Extra-African expedition, although this cannot be verified by archaeological evidence.
Modern theories suggest that the main Colchian tribes are direct ancestors of the Laz-Mingrelians, and played a significant role in ethnogenesis of the Georgian and Abkhazian peoples.
In the 13th century BC, the Kingdom of Colchis was formed as a result of the increasing consolidation of the tribes inhabiting the region. This power celebrated in Greek mythology as the destination of the Argonauts, the home of Medea and the special domain of sorcery, was known to Urartians as Qulha (aka Kolkha, or Kilkhi). Being in permanent wars with the neighbouring nations, the Colchians managed to absorb part of Diaokhi in the 750s BC, but lost several provinces (including the “royal city” of Ildemusa) to the Sarduris II of Urartu following the wars of 750-748 and 744-742 BC. Overrun by the Cimmerians and Scythians in the 730s-720s BC, the kingdom disintegrated and came under the Achaemenid Persian Empire towards the mid-6th century BC. The tribes living in the southern Colchis (Tibareni, Mossynoeci, Macrones, Moschi, and Marres) were incorporated in the 19th Satrapy of the Persia, while the northern tribes submitted “voluntarily” and had to send to the Persian court 100 girls and 100 boys in every 5 years. The influence exerted on Colchis by the vast Achaemenid Empire with its thriving commerce and wide economic and commercial ties with other regions accelerated the socio-economic development of the Colchian land. Subsequently the Colchis people appear to have overthrown the Persian Authority, and to have formed an independent state.
The advanced economy and favorable geographic and natural conditions of the area attracted the Milesian Greeks who colonized the Colchian coast establishing here their trading posts at Phasis, Gyenos, and Dioscurias in the 6th-5th centuries BC. It was considered "the farthest voyage" according to an ancient Greek proverbial expression, the easternmost location in that society's known world, where the sun rose. It was situated just outside the lands conquered by Alexander the Great. Phasis and Dioscurias were the splendid Greek cities dominated by the mercantile oligarchies, sometimes being troubled by the Colchians from hinterland before seemingly assimilating totally. After the fall of the Persian Empire, significant part of Colchis locally known as Egrisi was annexed to the recently created Kingdom of Iberia (Kartli) in ca. 302 BC. However, soon Colchis seceded and broke up into several small princedoms ruled by sceptuchi. They retained a degree of independence until conquered (circa 101 BC) by Mithradates VI of Pontus.
Mithradates VI quelled an uprising in the region in 83 BC and gave Colchis to his son Mithradates Chrestus, who was soon executed being suspected in having plotted against his father. During the Third Mithridatic War, Mithridates VI made another his son Machares king of Colchis, who held his power but for a short period. On the defeat of Mithradates in 65 BC, Colchis was occupied by Pompey, who captured one of the local chiefs (sceptuchus) Olthaces, and installed Aristarchus as a dynast (65-47 BC).
On the fall of Pompey, Pharnaces II, son of Mithridates, took advantage of Julius Caesar being occupied in Egypt, and reduced Colchis, Armenia, and some part of Cappadocia, defeating Domitius Calvinus, whom Caesar subsequently sent against him. His triumph was, however, short-lived. Under Polemon I, the son and successor of Pharnaces II, Colchis was part of the Pontus and the Bosporan Kingdom. After the death of Polemon (after 2 BC), his second wife Pythodoris retained possession of Colchis as well as of Pontus itself, though the kingdom of Bosporus was wrested from her power. Her son and successor Polemon II was induced by Emperor Nero to abdicate the throne, and both Pontus and Colchis were incorporated into the Province of Galatia and later into Cappadocia.
Despite the fact that all major fortresses along the seacoast were occupied by the Romans, their rule was pretty loose. In 69, the people of Pontus and Colchis under Anicetus staged a major uprising against the Romans which ended unsuccessfully. The lowlands and coastal area were frequently raided by the fierce mountainous tribes with the Soanes and Heniochi being the most powerful of them. Paying a nominal homage to Rome, they created their own kingdoms and enjoyed significant independence.
Christianity began to spread in the early 1st century. Traditional accounts relate the event with St. Andrew, St. Simon the Canaanite, and St. Matata. However, the Hellenistic, local pagan and Mithraic religious beliefs would be widespread until the 4th century. By the 130s, the kingdoms of Machelons, Heniochi, Lazica, Apsilia, Abasgia, and Sanigia had occupied the district form south to north. Goths, dwelling in the Crimea and looking for their new homes, raided Colchis in 253, but they were repulsed with the help of the Roman garrison of Pityus. By the 3rd-4th centuries, most of the local kingdoms and principalities had been subjugated by the Lazic kings, and thereafter the country was generally referred to as Lazica (Egrisi).
This faction overhaul will be released with 1.2
Units This faction overhaul adds 9 new units to Colchis. Here are some pictures of the new units:
Spoiler Alert, click show to read:
(Colchian Levy Spearmen) Armed with a rectangular wicker shield, a spear, and knives or axes, these levies wear a tunic, often brightly coloured, but have no armour at all, even a linen cap. These are poor commoners, thrown to the battle with little training, though they will follow simple orders. They are not intended to make complicated tactical moves, but only offer a large-scale spear "buffer."
(Colchian Hoplites) These spearmen fight as a battle-line unit, using the phalanx formation. Their clothes are those of the Persian kardaka, and their greek-style linen armour is reinforced with bronze scales. They also bear a short sword and a 75cm to 1-meter wide aspis shield, made with wood and reinforced with bronze. They also wear a crested Urartian cone helmet. In battle, they usually stay with the king.
(Colchian Foot Guards) These men are the elite, drawn from the best of those willing to serve in the prestigious royal guard. The short-sleeved iron scale corselet worn by these men provides a high degree of protection. They use a large old-fashioned, circular silver shield with an iron rim, similar to the Greek Aspis shield. Exceptionally well-drilled and trained, these men have the discipline and organisation to do whatever their lord might ask of them, and they are full of courage, unwilling to turn their back on the enemy.
Spoiler Alert, click show to read:
(Colchian Hunters) Drawn from the peasant classes of all societies, these archers are those people who survive using their hunting skills. Learning to use a bow well is something that takes a lifetime of constant practice, and putting food on the table provides good practice.
(Colchian Skirmishers) These local Caucasian javelineers are raised from remote villages, and fight with light equipment of their own. They are better for guerrilla warfare, but they can still perform frontal skirmishing in any pitched battle.
(Colchian Slingers) These men are slingers from the Caucasus mountains, accustomed to firing various bullets (natural or specially shaped, even lead ones) at great distance. Their skills are impressive and as warriors, they are equipped and trained slightly better than average tribal archers or slingers, and capable of close fighting as well.
(Svan Warriors) Certainly amongst the best archers in the region, these troops can stand their ground fiercely, with powerful long-range composite bows and a quiver of specially-shaped arrows. They are also highly skilled in close combat with their spears.
Spoiler Alert, click show to read:
(Colchian Medium Cavalry) These soldiers are armed with javelins and a deadly Tabar axe for the clash of battle. While unable to stand up to a charge of Parthian cataphracts or shatter a Seleucid phalanx, they can hold their own against medium and light cavalry, or break lighter infantry.
(Colchian Bodyguard Cavalry) This general has a bodyguard of loyal and heavily armoured cavalrymen to accompany him onto the field. Armed with lances, these men are superb shock cavalry, able to deliver a devastating and almost unstoppable charge; they are also equipped with swords so that they can fight effectively in continued hand-to-hand combat.
Those bodyguard cavalry look mean! I assume they're gonna be something like a melee/shock cav hybrid? I think those half-cataphracts + shields just look incredible. The strong spear archers are great too, I love that DeI has is about to have that sort of unit basically on every border of the horse nomads, which just seems so appropriate. FINALLY, factions starting near HAs all have tools to fight them!
This is an update that really excites me - Colchis was the runt of DEI in terms of their roster, but these look like some really nice units! Along with the AOR from that region, I imagine that you could field some decent hybrid armies if you can survive the first 20 or so turns!
I'm excited about this faction because it has such an interesting position. So many possibilities of "goals" like controlling the eastern trade routes (I'm looking at you, Media Atropokatane! spellcheck :p ), invading Asia Minor or being a strong border state against the horse loving barbarians
Can't wait of making use of those medium Tabar weilding cav, they look very good and I get the feeling they are deadly with that axe