lunedì 24 marzo 2014

Late Imperial Roman Army 15 mm

I started to paint miniatures around twenty years ago.  I'm keen of roman history and so my choose was a logical consequence. In that period I was a student  and, to save money, I bought a box of 15mm Essex roman army. Acting on impulse I painted them without a real study of the uniforms, weapons, shields and so on.

Last December I took again my old miniatures and I decided to re-painted them ... the situation could be substantially reported in these photos

On the left site the new version ... generally I prefer the 28mm. The detail level of 15mm is not hight as I would ... I did my best

Today the situation it is a bit changed ... 

The army composition is based on Dbmm book 3: 20 psiloi, 11 light cavalries, 17 blades, 18 auxiliaries, 12 warbands, 2 artilleries, 5 command groups and 11 regular cavalries ... around 290 miniatures.

This time I prepared the army better. I don't want to write a book on late roman army but I think that it is necessary a brief introduction. 

First of all a detail: late roman army is the Roman Empire force from Costantine's reform (around 4th century) till the fall of its western part. In that period the high command was divided between emperor, magister peditum, equitum, dux and the term "legion" was only a memory. The army included many units that maintained names and titles more for  tradition than for a real specialization. 
The army was, to be brief, divided between palatini/comitatenses/scholae (the field army) and limitanei/pseudocomitateneses (the border force).

The cavalry

The first line is composed by cataphractariiTheir equipment shows Sarmatian influences with armoured horses, the long lance called contus and the scale armours (lorica squamata). The Notitia Dignitum reported that only a unit of these cavalrymen remained in the west during the 5th century. Effectively the Cataphracatarii were more frequent in the east. 

Light cavalry was the core of the mounted reserve of the 3rd-4th century. The three units on the left are equites sagittarii the other are equites illyricani. The sagittarii were created probably in the east to help Roman army against Persian and Hunnic troops. On contrary Illyricani were recruited from the frontier of the Balkans.

The infantry

In the foreground of the second photo the bulk of the roman army: some comitatenses units. From left to right: the britones seniores, the lanciarii iuniores, the prima flavia gemina tracia and the armigeri defensores seniores. All 17 blades of my army are a unit described in the Notitia dignitatum and all shields are handmade.

Another photo with some details of a command group back 

Limitanei and pseudolimitanei

Limitanei were the "border army" and they are  wrongly considered a militia of local farmers. They fought incessantly the barbarian raids and it is therefore likely that their combat readiness and experience were higher.
As for my comitatenses forces all auxiliaries were specific Notitia units. In the foregorund from left to right: the fortenses, a unit of auxilia palatina, the cornuti seniores, the batavi, the iovii iuniores gallicani
Shields of the second lines are based on the Italian villa armerina mosaics.

And to complete a group of Goths warbands

Goths were a Germanic tribes that played an important role in the fall of Roman Empire but for centuries they served as auxiliaries in Roman army.

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