Iberian affairs, and something about Lucitanians

Iberian contingent was short of two Caetratii, so I took a bit of time to finish them off. Techically I only needed two for Basic Impetus Iberian army, but but three would enable me to build half sized (half minimums and maximums on the army list) Sertorian Lucitanian army. As daggerandbrush pointed out in previously, I might find Sertorians interesting alternative to pid against Roman might.Sertorian1Sertorian5Interestingly, Sertorius had, besides of local allies, also some Roman legionnaires available. Therefore he is able to field a few legions as FP (M:8, VBU:6, I:2, D:B, VD:3  [pilum]). Incidentally, I had some spare legionaries left and I thought that Iberians could certainly have use for the option. Hence, Sertorian army now has one Legion to function as an anvil.



Quintus Sertorius is interesting Roman general and politician, of who’s life Plutarch goes in some details in volume 8 of his ‘Lives’ (unfortunately I have not come across with that particular volume yet, but have added it to my todo list). In very brief history, he was born at 126BC in Nursia, Sabine territory and spent most famous part of his career fighting for independent Hispania to be formed in Roman model. Sertorious was some degree of oratory talent and he managed to gain a lot of local support and everything looked very good [not sure how much white fawn had to do with it, but it did not help at the end]. Sertorius fought very successful battles against Pompey but war was not going on his way and he was assassinated by Marcus Perpenna Vento in 72BC. Elimination of opposition by assassination was something that Pompey could have adopted from Sulla, albeit that part of history has never really proven so we do not burden him with the expiration of Sertorious. What is certain, Pompey then finished Perpenna and rest of the Iberian job with Metellus. 

Pompey then ventured off to Italy to prove how good he was at making friends and finished off some staggering slaves and claimed to have concluded the slave rebellion led by Spartacus, under the very nose of Grassus. Metellus spent rest of his career opposing Pompey and his associates. Grassus being pissed by Pompey then ventured off to Parthia to have his head served on a plate to Orodes at 53BC. Pompey met his end at pier in Egypt 48BC but before that he did participate quest to put Seluicids out of business.

Unfortunately very little details are saved from the history concerning the armies that Sertorious commanded successfully against Rome, and therefore the army below is just as good guess as any other.

Sertorian3Albeit Iberian natives lack heavy infantry (FP), Sertorians actually have that option. They do rely very much on the cheap but pretty good light cavalry and caetratii (Lucitanians did not use the long shield of Scutarii, but only the small round one, therefore it is somewhat incorrect to have the Scutarii present heavier version of Lucitanians, but it is more distinct in the battlefield). The Legions serving Sertorious would only act as anvil that can take Roman heavy hitters face on. Naturally, like for Iberians, terrain plays a major part, and it is doubtful that Sertorian Lucitanians would win battle in open field.

Sertorian2In any case, my first iteration to build Sertorian army (200pts) looks like following (half minimums, half maximums & half cost for general):

Fair general and Average Command Structure
2x CL, M:12, VBU:3, I:1, D:B, VD:1 [javelin] 
1x FP, M:5, VBU:6, I:2, D:B, VD:1 [pilum] [Expert general] 
3x FL, M:8, VBU:4, I:1, D:B, VD:2 [javelin] 
3x S, M:8, VBU:3, I:1, D:B, VD:1 [javelin]

Sertorian7Above would total in 200 points, a size of Basic Impetus army, but for full rules. According to Sertorian beta list Caetratii are quite bit more expensive, so I could afford 3rd one but not more. In any case, combination looks perhaps somewhat on the weaker side. Will see when testing it out against Romans.

This entry was posted in Impetus, Painting and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Iberian affairs, and something about Lucitanians

  1. Beautiful looking army. The group shot really looks fantastic. The detail you achieve in this scale is really outstanding.

    The whole topic of the armament of these troops is something I looked into in the past as I am also building a Sertorius army for Field of Glory. I share what I came up with, but this is by no means meant as an “arm chair general” critique of your work, but much rather to open up discussion. I hope you or some other readers might have some insights and opinions on the subject, too.

    One of the few descriptions of the armament of Sertorius’ troops we find in Plutarch:

    Plut. Sert 14.1-2

    “In consequence of these successes Sertorius was admired and loved by the Barbarians, and especially because by introducing Roman arms and formations and signals he did away with their frenzied and furious displays of courage, and converted their forces into an army, instead of a huge band of robbers. [2] Still further, he used gold and silver without stint for the decoration of their helmets and the ornamentation of their shields, and by teaching them to wear flowered cloaks and tunics, and furnishing them with the means to do this, and sharing their love of beautiful array, he won the hearts of all.” Translation by. Bernadotte Perrin

    “ἔκ τε δὴ τούτων θαυμαζόμενος ἠγαπᾶτο παρὰ τοῖς βαρβάροις ὁ Σερτώριος, καὶ ὅτι Ῥωμαϊκοῖς ὁπλισμοῖς καὶ τάξεσι καὶ συνθήμασιν ἀφαιρῶν τὸ μανικὸν καὶ θηριῶδες αὑτῶν τῆς ἀλκῆς ἀντὶ λῃστηρίου μεγάλου στρατὸν ἐποιεῖτο τὴν δύναμιν, [2] ἔτι δ᾽ ἀργύρῳ χρώμενος ἀφειδῶς καὶ χρυσῷ κράνη τε κατεκόσμει καὶ θυρεοὺς αὑτῶν διεποίκιλλε, καὶ χλαμύσιν ἀνθιναῖς καὶ χιτῶσι χρῆσθαι διδάσκων καὶ χορηγῶν εἰς ταῦτα καὶ συμφιλοκαλῶν ἐδημαγώγει.”

    The important part here is Ῥωμαϊκοῖς ὁπλισμοῖς, that is roman armaments. So one could assume that chain mail and a roman style shield were used by the so called Heavy Caetrati after Sertorius did reform his army. The greek also mentions θυρεοὺς (thureoi) that could be the typical long shield of the Scutarii or even a roman style scutum. They could also be shields in the celtic fashion. However, there is no mention of caetra.

    Given that Sertorius did face Roman legionaries in more or less pitched battles and successfully so, it would be reasonable that a long shield works better in such a situation. However, I could see that caetra were used for smaller engagements where rough terrain gave a distinct advantage and quick movements were essential.

    Based on these considerations one could depict his troops using Caetrati and Scutarii with a mix of roman, spanish and celtic long shields. Shields and helmets could be adorned with silver and gold and some of the cloaks could feature a floral pattern.

  2. Tichy says:

    Thanks for your comment. Indeed, your insight is most useful. Unfortunately I had no access to Plutarch when building the army (which was more of spur of the moment, once I realized that I had some units that could be used for the purpose), albeit I have firm intention to sometime in future. While Plutarch is known to take at times some artistic liberties in his works, but nevertheless, he is probably the best source.

    Points you highlight are quite enlightening, especially since I was wondering about the mismatch of the heavies in either side (save legions, Impetus beta list only gives Light Foot (FL) for native contingent). With the information that I managed to collect from various places concerning Lucitanians gave impression of army that would have been pretty good in situation like Germanic tribe ambush in Teutoburg Forest, but would not be able to stand pitched battle – which they successfully did several times.

    What comes to the actual painting patterns, yes, I agree. To build proper Sertorian unit would probably need to be following in terms of figures:
    a) formed in ranks to represent Heavy Foot (FP) (since we can relatively safely expect them to have formed and fought in Roman way)
    b) constitute mix of Roman, Iberian and Gallic troopers (it is quite hard to modify 6mm Iberians to be something they aren’t 😀 ).

    It would probably be safe to say that Sertorian Lucitanians did use something akin to caetratii, wether it be any form of skirmish, such as slingers, caetratii or other javelin armed light troops. It is, however unlikely that low class skirmishers were much of interest for historians.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s