Gorgon Miniatures released their new line of Etruscan figures. I was lucky enough to pick up a few blisters this weekend & plan to work various figures into my Carthaginian and Roman armies. But what about playing the Etruscans on their own – who are the Etruscans and how do the figures translate to a WAB army?
The Etruscans were a group of city states in northwestern Italy who existed as an independent culture from 900 BC through 100 BC. They are most famous for being the original rulers of Rome. The final king was over thrown in 509BC, leading to the legendary attack on Rome by Lars Porsena. Little is known about the military structure of the Etruscans other than that they were strongly influenced by the Greeks and, in turn, influenced the Romans.
Weaponry: Swords were rare. Spear and axe (used as both a battle axe and for throwing) were the most common weapon. Archery was practiced & bows are commonly found in Etruscan tombs.
Armor: Bronze cuirasses of Greek influence. Shields commonly round, but rectangular also used.
Organization: The main body of the army was arranged as Hoplites in the phalanx formation. Light infantry, unarmored and armed with spears, attack from a distance & attempt to provoke the enemy. Cavalry were used for skirmishing and to peruse routing infantry. Chariots have been found in Etruscan tombs, but it is not known if these were used as transports or fighting platforms.
Army List: The Ancient Greek list from the WAB 1.5 rule book can be used to create an Etruscan army list. By selectively choosing units, a conservative representation of the Etruscan army may be fielded and stay “tournament legal”.
- Etruscan Hoplite played as Hoplite Phalanx
- Etruscan light infantry played as Peltast with javelin & shield.
- Archers played as upgraded skirmishers.
- Skirmishing Etruscan cavalry played as Light Greek Cavalry with upgrade to Thessaly/Thrace cavalry available.
What about the “fun stuff”?
- The Etruscan Chariot was used more for racing than for fighting. While it’s most likely that the racing chariot descended from a military weapon, it is unlikely that the Etruscans continued its military application in the time period of the heavily armored hoplite. Citizens able to afford a chariot would instead be in the phalanx.
- The Etruscan Axe was largely a ceremonial weapon by the time of the phalanx (Connolly). In addition, neither a battle axe nor a throwing axe is compatible with the hoplite fighting style. If the axe must be included, Thracian Peltast rules can be used with halberds standing in for the battle axe, and skirmishers can have the standard javelin play as the throwing axe.
Rome and her Enemies, a complication of Osprey titles.
Greece and Rome at War by Peter Connolly
A discussion on building an Etruscan list for Field of Glory.
Catalog of the Etruscan Gallery by Jean MacIntosh Turfa. Notes: See page 29, Chariot racing.