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Thread: The Late Roman Army for IBFD (Manual by Pompeius Magnus)

  1. #1

    Default The Late Roman Army for IBFD (Manual by Pompeius Magnus)

    The most important source we have today is the Notitia Dignitatum. The problem is that only copies from the medieval exists. But I collected all my study sources to explain what the roman army was in the 4th and 5th century.
    I will give examples and sources (books and antique authors). Some books are in fact part of the univercity of Frankfurt/Main when you study old history. Some other sources are mine at home.

    Were stationed at rivers (named ripenses at early times) or as regular garissons in cities or at limes borders. Also these limes troops were legions! some of these Limitanei were regular imperial legions before.
    But decreased in status and equipment after the military reforms.

    In the game IBFD one of these garrisons armies should have 2-4 Limitanei (or militia) units. Also 1-2 mounted (cavalry) units (locals or foederati).
    Also it is helpful (and historical) to have some minor foederati infantry units like Bowmen (germans or fleet sailors).

    Field armies:
    The strength of a roman legion in the time frame of Constantius and/or Aetius was 1000-1200 men. According the ancient writer Renatus. that is a fact!
    The field armies were divided into 2 parts.
    1) the regional field army (comitatenses)
    based and stationed at central locations like Gaul, Illyricum, Thrace, Syria, Aegypt. Garrisoned in cities of course.

    2) central field army (classed as Palatinii)
    later all units (comitatenses and palatinae) became mixted and were put together. But the Palatinii had always a higher status.
    But at the beginning you should have only Palatinae units in this central field army. Included regular Palatinae and Auxiliar Palatinae and Scholae cavalry (of course, if you want some sagitarii).
    And you should have only 1 central field army!

    The majority of the armies foot soldiers were auxilia (strength 500 men). The status of these auxilia forces were (acc. Notitia Dign. and Renatus) Palatinae.
    This is a very important information.
    So, the Auxilia Palatinae fought most times in the first line of battle (Maybe as shield wall? I thing so).
    In this case it is for me absolutely legal to include 2 units of them (better 3!!) into the regional field armies.
    Behind the Auxilia Palatinae you can place the regular Comitatenses (4 each, +/- 1 unit).
    1-2 sagitarii,
    1-2 Exculatores,
    if needed put foederatii (like Goths or others) on the flanks.

    The Palatinae of the central field army and the Comitatenses of the regional field armies should seperated at the beginning of the game. But later it is absolutely legal to mix them with other units. In the time frame of 410 (like our beloved mod of Ramon) the units were partly mixed. Partly! Not all of them. That's what Renatus said.

    The free slots of your army should filled with the most important: the cavalry!
    In earlier times (time of Theodosius) the majority of the mounted troops was garrisoned seperatly. Base Camps were in norther Italy, Greece and the balcans. Smaller detechements were always marching with the legions (like equites auxilia and other minors).

    The basic were the equites Promotii (you can use 1-2 units). These mounted troops were supported by equites dalamti or equites mauri or equites scutarii. More and more important was the cavalry equipt with bows like equites sagitarii or huns or sarmatians (you can use 2 units mounted bow men).
    The cavalry reserve at the time frame of our mod can attack the enemy alone as fast-mobile-task-force. If the time is too short you can atack without any infantry support.
    By the way, the super heavy cavalry (like Clibinarii) had the HQ near Milano/Mediolanum. So try to found a garrison there.

    The Notitia Dignitatum (and I have a coloured copy at home) teach us that 2/3 (two third) of the army in the east and west were frontier troops. The mounted archers were included to both, field armies and frontier garrisons. The sagitarii infantry archers were (acc. Simon McDowalls book) outnumbered (means less than mounted archers).
    The Lanciarii in the time frame of the emperor Constantine III. (the time frame of our mod IBFD) exist only in the eastern part except a single unit stationed with Illyrian Units at the river rhine.

    The cavalry in the eastern part of the empire was little different: the fighting elite were the hippo-toxotaii attached to the legions. Supported by light foederatii and sometimes with heavy cataphractii.

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  2. #2

    Default Re: The Late Roman Army for IBFD (Manual by Pompeius Magnus)

    Now some practical examples:

    Aetius against Bonifatius
    He had 30.000 men. 4000 were mounted. He took nearly all Comitatenses units from gaul. Except 2 legions, because they refused to go to civil war.
    In this case we can see that the regional field armies exist. He took thousands of soldiers of the regular regional field army.

    But some years later when Aetius had to defend europe against the huns the situation was totally another.

    The basic sources are:
    Timo Stickler; Aetius
    Scharf, Ripenses und Olibriones?
    J.H.W.G., Liebeschuetz

    Liebschuetz wrote:
    regulars ceased to be the decisive element in field armies. The men who increasingly came to decide battles were barbarians foederatii (ebd, 267,32; gallic campaign)

    Other sources are:
    Bury, Late roman empire, 291
    Seek, Untergang
    Homeyer, Attila, 140
    Demougeot, Attila et les gauls, 231
    (I know all these books, so we are not talking about fantasy stories)

    The troop listing of Aetius (written down by the ancient author Jordanes):
    Hi enim adfuerunt auxiliares: Franci, Sarmatae, Armoricani, Liticani, Burgundiones, Saxones, Ripari, Olibriones, guandam milites romani.
    tunc vero iam in numero auxiliarium exquisiti, aliaque uonnulli celticae vel germanie nationes.

    (I thing a translation is not necessary)

    But the list is not complete. In the book of Timo Stickler I found following:
    The alans are missing. The alans were settled by Aetius some years ago in Gaul to patrol the country as a kind of police force. (funny, barbarians were checking romans. but it is true, they did.)

    Missing, too: the core of the roman "exercitus" and the Goths of Theoderic. Exercitus in this case means: some professional units (but it is absolutely not known which units!) If somebody heard anything about legion names: Forgett it, it is absolutely unknow. Known is only that he took some auxilia legions (these names are known!). Small detechments of 600-1000 men legions. And known is also that he went to war with Milites Romanii (but the strength is also NOT known).

    So, Romans were also part of the big battle of Campus Mauriacum. But these troops were the minority.

    This gives me a very good example how to create my roman legions in the later game of the mod IBFD. Everybody can use these facts as an example.

    Now a last example, but a totally different time:
    our well known main source is from the author Prokopius.
    book example:
    Robert von Ranke Graves: Belisar, der ruhmreiche Feldherr von Byzanz
    english title: Count Belisarius

    He went to war to re-conquer north africa with in total +/- 15000 soldiers.
    5000 mounted troops cavalry: 600 massagetic huns, 400 herulianic huns
    1500 Bucellarii (David Nicolle wrote that Belisar had units of militia comitatenses and local limitanei. But he don't wrote his sources were this information is coming from. I have the tales from Prokopius and he doesn't wrote anything about comitatenses. That's strange for me).
    But known is that most troops were Thracian infantry- and cavalry men.

    So that's all for the moment. The next days I try to find some examples about the civil war against the usuper Constantin.

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  3. #3

    Default Re: The Late Roman Army for IBFD (Manual by Pompeius Magnus)

    The Bucelarii:
    We can write 100 pages of this issue, but in fact we don't know a lot of these units.
    The problem is that these units varies from time to time and it isn't always very clear where these men came from.

    Back in history (before our mod IBFD): well known is that Crassus, the collegue of Gaius Caesar, had one of the first Bucelarii units.
    These men were garrisoned arround rome and they protected the house and the villas of Crassus. Crassus had a lot of lands and he ned protection. 2500 men total.

    To the futute (time at the end of our mod IBFD, and later!):
    In the middle and at the end of the 5th century the units of Limitanei and Comitatenses were put together. Also the Comitatenses were reduced to static garrisions.
    The future was in the hands of the Bucelarii. The Bucelarii were now the mobile field army. The members of this kind of bucelarii were Isaurians, Thraces, Goths.
    The shock cavalry was provided by foederati (german lancers).
    The original roman mounted troops (east empire) were the equites sagitarii (regulars like hippo-toxotaii or sagitarii graves).

    But what means that for our mod starting in 410?
    When a person established a bucelarii army it is well known acc. our sources today that these men were used for a lot of jobs. Conscription (right writing in english??), tax collection, secure the magnates house and fields. These men had swords and sometimes the crossbow.
    So you can hire such a unit (hire mercenaries equipt with crossbow) for every important person of the empire like the generals or governours.
    So far, so good...

    But what about the pedites bucelarii in the game of IBFD?
    This is a very difficult question. Aetius for example helped (when he was young) the usuper Ioannes. He had the order to went to the huns and recruit a lot of mounted troops. Well, he did.
    After that he came back to italy with thousands of these huns. Also this huns were bucelarii!!

    So, if a person tried (a general for example) to found a new bucelarii legion he hired veterans. Perhaps the pedites bucelarii of the mod? I don't know because no book I have can give me an exactly answer.
    That means I am not very happy with the solution that the name is "pedites bucelarii" (in our mod). Maybe a better name would be "roman veterans". Pedites Bucelarii means: Bucelarii (bread-eater) soldiers.

    The bucelarii of Belisarius for example were Thraces and Goths and huns. In earlier times (but still late antique) I am sure that some generals hired roman veterans. But later they used bad equipt roman milites (like Aetius). These units were fast deployed on the battle field.
    A simple example: I establish (like Aetius) a bucelarii army.
    I use Goths, Alans, soldiers of some german tribes, huns and veterans.
    But all of these soldiers are pedites bucelarii. And that´s what I mean.

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  4. #4

    Default Re: The Late Roman Army for IBFD (Manual by Pompeius Magnus)

    Acc. Gibbon, Edward: The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire
    Stickler, Timo : Aetius
    McDowall : Late Roman Infantryman/cavalryman

    regional field armies. At least 1 in every Diocese: Galliae, Africa, Italia, Hispania, Illyricum.

    One regional field army may have more than one legion!
    The legions are garrisoned in cities. A mobile regional field army is alway a combination of many legions. But due to money problems you don't have the possibility to include lots of legions, and I think this is also more or less historical.
    As I explained before (with hist. sources): the basic was the Auxilia Palatinae

    An example for any province: (and please: THIS is only an example for a regional field army in the diocese X!!)

    Legio XY
    1 General
    2 Auxilia Palatinae (or 0 or 3) or Pseudo Comitatenses
    1 Auxilia Illyriana (0 or 2)
    4 Comitatenses (or 3)
    2 Exculatores (or 1)
    1 Sagitarii (or 2)
    1 Equites Auxilia or 1 Equites Illyria or both
    if needed 1 Equites Stablesiani or Equites Scutarii as additionel guard of the general
    it is absolutely Ok if you use also 1 unit of Equites Promoti

    Legio Auxilia Palatinae
    1 General
    4 Auxilia Palatinae
    +different kinds of Foederatii
    +Illyrians Soldiers
    +if needed Sagitarii
    +if needed 1-2 local cavalry

    mounted vexilationes
    mobile task force
    can used for fighting with the legion or can (if time is too short) fight alone.
    The mounted legion should garrisoned seperatly of course at a central place of the Diocese.

    1 General
    2 Equites Promotii
    2 Equites Sagitarii (or 2 units of mounted huns, or Sarmatians. Units can be mixed of course)
    1 roman Equites Armaturae
    1-2 shock cavalry: can be Foederati Unit or a roman unit like Cataphratii or Clibinarii
    + if needed some minor mounted troops like Equites Auxilia or Equites Dalmatae
    + 1 unit of Equites stablesiani or scutarii as additional guard for the general

    If you play a long time,due to long wars and due to the money problem you will face the same problems as Aetius. The troops will be smaller and smaller.
    So you will automaticly use more and more foederati. That's natures law.

    This example was an example for a regional field army.

    But the romans had also a central field army:
    The Palatinae:

    So if possible form 2 Palatinae legions:

    Legio Ioviani
    1 General (Emperor/Mag. Officiorum)
    1-3 Auxilia Palatinae
    2-4 Comitatenses Palatinae
    +if needed Archers
    +so much as you want (2-4) Scholae Cavalry
    +good foederati units for the flanks

    Legio Herculiani
    see: Legio Ioviani

    Normally at the beginning of the game you don't have enough money to make or create such a central field army. But try to transfer at the beginning so much units you can to the central field army. But these units should be the best ones.

    Later in the game (430-440 or later) you can mix these units with the normal comitatenses units of the regular regional field armies.

    In one of my sources I can read that these units of the Legio Palatinae were only used in case of emergency. In another source I can read that this central field army were the fire-workers and also partially used as fireworkers.
    The Auxilia Palatinae had also to do sometimes special jobs in the enemies land, or to sabotage. So, I think it is absolutely OK to use these legions as you want. Feel free!
    Historically: In the later periods more and more "barbarians" were transfered to the central field army. And lots of mounted Foederati troops. Odovacer, for example, was an officer (a barbarian one) in such a mobile central field army. And in this army there were nearly only germans.

    Normally the regional field army stays always in the given Diocese. And the central field army (the 2 legions) is the army which is walking arround.

    But in the dark age.... what is normal???
    So feel free to do what you want: You are the Augustus.

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