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Neglected Roman History Discussion

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sedamoun View Drop Down
Baron
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  Quote sedamoun Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Neglected Roman History Discussion
    Posted: 02-Dec-2005 at 08:34

How about the eutruscan Kings of Rome:

Cool article about their Traditions and heritage...

http://www.forumromanum.org/history/morey04.html

 

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Alkiviades View Drop Down
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  Quote Alkiviades Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Dec-2005 at 09:00

What would be more interesting for me, is to move away for a while from all the gloss and glamour of the great leaders, the major wars, the scandals and all that jazz, and focus a bit on lesser aspects - ie. the mere Roman plebe. Or even the mere senator

Or, if you still can't get away from the blood and battling, the mere soldier. The Legionaires are getting all the coverage, but there are others who have done much in small numbers inside the Roman army.

Cretan Archers fighting for Rome

Archers have been appearing in Cretan art from the Early Bronze Age.chemas-microsoft-comfficeffice" />>>

After the end of the Geometric Era when the Doreans firmly established themselves on the island, the Cretan armies were unique in the fact that archers found themselves in the battle line rather than just giving support as psiloi. They first made themselves a name as mercenaries in the Greek and Hellenistic Armies.>>

 >>

By that time the Romans had encountered them in the service of the Syracousans and the Carthagenians. They realised their value and start hiring them themselves. Perhaps the first recruits might have been prisoners of war from the oposing armies that were thought too valuable to be wasted as slave manual labourers.>>

They are mentioned in the story of the Grachus Brothers. It seems that being full time soldiers were more readily available than the citizen legionaries. Being also foreigners were more likely to support their paymasters rather than the plebians. >>

In their native Crete though constant civil wars have wrecked the land and have made it a refuge for many outlaws in the Mediteranean, including Cilician pirates. It was so notorius that at the time bad behaviour was termed Cretan Way. Romans started facing these archers as crews of the Cilician pirate ships. Polybios wrote that under the pretext of fighting piracy the Romans found a good excuse to invade the island. After Metellus subjugated the ferocious Cretan guerillas with unparalel savagery the Romans reorganized the island as military colony under a prefect and a caestor and continued to recruit archers for their armies as before.>>

Ancient writers talk about the red tunics of the Cretans. Usually this was the mark of elite troops and supports the idea that they fought in the line, because red is hardly a color that ambushing skirmisers would favor. Another characteristic was their headband that still survives in the cretan national dress.>>

They used small buckler or target shields. Initialy they must have been wickermade, reinforced with leather but later it is possible that bronse facings were used. It is also more possible that they carried them suspended from their shoulder with bauldrics rather that burdening their arms while using the bows. Shield device was the AIGAGROS (chamois) or the swastic-like labyrinth of Knossos.>>

There is evidence that they started carrying the linothorax and helmets at the late classical period. This might have been their armor in the initial periord of their service in the Roman Army but the longer they stay in servoce the more Roman their gear would become.>>

They also carried short swords and daggers-sometimes even javelins and they were not unwilling to fight psiloi or peltasts quite aggresively.>>

Composite bows are mentioned in Homer and by the Hellenistic period Skythian type bows would be available. Excavations in Crete have unearthed triangular heavy arrow heads capable of devastating wounds. The bow woulbe carried in the gorytos bow case when not in use.>>

At the time of Julius Ceasar they most probably wore montefortino type helmets and bronze plaques protecting the chest like the earlier roman principes. The ones attached to the elite 10th legion might even have chain mail. A red roman tunic and braca, along with calligae would supplement their equipment. Service in cold northern frontier would have made them to adopt animal furs and other barbaric clothing items.>>

In the late roman period Cretans are not mentioned and perhaps they were not distinguished from other auxilia missile troops. But they are listed fighting valiantly among the defenders of Constantinople in 1453-perhaps a fitting end for this tough troopers.

taken from Roman Armies ( http://www.romanarmy.com/cms/encyclopedia/a-c/cretan-archers .html)

 

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arsenka View Drop Down
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  Quote arsenka Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Dec-2005 at 13:14

Alkiviades wrote:

What would be more interesting for me, is to move away for a while from all the gloss and glamour of the great leaders, the major wars, the scandals and all that jazz, and focus a bit on lesser aspects - ie. the mere Roman plebe. Or even the mere senator

I could advice you "The culture of the roman plebs" by Nicholas Horsfall. It's rather interesting.

arsenka
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