Archive for December, 2009

Reading List: Soldiers & Ghosts

Soldiers & Ghosts by J. E. Lendon is a psychological review of why the ancient solder fought and how he approached his fighting.  The book is in two sections:  Ancient Greece and Rome.  While I enjoyed reading both sections, I find the Roman portion a bit more enlightening and well documented.   The coverage of the Greeks reads more like mythology than history.

The soldiers of Greece are described as heavily influenced (almost dominated) by the legacy of the Iliad.  The super competitive warriors of Greek attempt to display their bravery by their commitment to stand their place in the citizen phalanx. By testing their resolve in the ordered warfare of the phalanx battle, each warrior publicly attempts to live up to their mythical ancestors.

The soldiers of Rome are subject to two conflicting requirements:   virtus or martial courage and disciplina or unit discipline.  The Roman soldier was every bit as aggressive and reckless as his Celtic opponent, virtus demanded that each man demonstrate his willingness to fight.  At the same time, army leaders imposed disciplina – the requirement to work as a team.  Often harsh punishments were used to keep the soldiers in their place and working for the benefit of the unit.  Ironically, the same centurions responsible for disciplina are found at the front of the charge expressing their virtus.

Of note for early Republic fans – the Roman section opens with an in depth review of the maniple system and how the Romans came be be ordered in that system.

The Military indebtedness of early Rome to Etruia by E. S. McCartney is a linguistically review early Roman practice dating to 1916.  In summary, the author attributes most things Roman to the Etruscans.  Reading between the lines, Rome appears as an Etruscan city gone rogue rather than an independent Latin state.  I have no idea how valid these ideas are – I would think an additional 100 years of research would produce better results.  At a minimum, the 40 pages of this document do provide a primer of terms and concepts from the early Republic which games should fine useful.

Notes:  document page number

pg 125:  Romans rejected the use of the bow and arrow, however the Etruscans continued in its use for much longer.

pg126:  Romans originally used a square shield.  The dual lobed ancile shield may have been ceremonial only.

pg 129:  Axe – used by Oscans during the Punic wars.  Etruscans used long after sword and spear were common.

pg 139:  Etruscans equipped with Bronze shields and heavy, metal tipped spears.  600 BC

pg 159:  Eagle, Wolf, Minotaur, Boar and Horse standards in use by the Romans before the time of Marius.  With Marius come the primacy of the Eagle.  Etruscans may have introduced the animal standards to the Romans, a figure from 600 BC is shown with a Bull standard.

pg 160:  Cavalry – mounted infantry rather than full fledged horse back fighters.

pg 162:  Chariot – status symbol of the King (600 BC).    Transport to the battle?  Driven during the battle?



Etruscan 2nd Class spearmen

Etruscan spearmen from Gorgon.  The figure line is set for 500 BC, but these figures will be incorporated into my Republic Roman army as Auxiliaries for the Punic wars.

Painting Notes:

Skin tone – tried for dark Mediterranean look using GW Graveyard Earth as the base, then working up with standard  Sand Brown and Ivory (both Vallejo).

Shields – based with Vallejo Cam. Medium Brown, wet blended with GW Kommando Khaki and Ivory.

Armor – GW Shining Gold.  Not the new fangled yellow gold, but the old hex bottle green gold.  Waited 10 years to find a use for this color – finally found what the color belongs on.

Bases – Americana Desert Sand rims.  Sand inked GW Brown, then given a mix of Graveyard Earth and Folk Art English Mustard.

Gorgon Etruscan 2nd class Gorgon Etruscan 2nd Class Gorgon Etruscan 2nd Class

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Warhammer Giant

An old model which finally received its paint job.

Warhammer Giant