Saturday, January 19, 2013


The leadership team of the cavalry detached to the 2nd Cohort is leading the charge into the mass of the Celtic enemy.  The Tribune has his Spatha (cavalry sword) raised with the bearer of the 8th Legion vexillum standard and a Decurion holding the unit's Signum standard following right behind.  They are based on a Litko rectangle 40mmx60mm base.  Two additional horseman are behind (one still needs to be matte varnished as the base flock and grass was just applied).  These are based individually on Litko 40mmx30mm rectangle bases (3mm micro-plywood).

Of Note: Cavalry in the early Roman Republic remained the preserve of the wealthy land class known as the Equites—men who could afford the expense of maintaining a horse in addition to arms and armor heavier than those of the common legions.  As the class grew to be more of a social elite instead of a functional property-based military grouping, the Romans began to recruit foreign auxiliary cavalry from among Gauls, Iberians and Numidians.  Julius Caesar himself was known for his admiration of his escort of Germanic mixed cavalry, giving rise to the Cohortae Equitates.  Early emperors often maintained a unit of Batavian German cavalry as their bodyguards.

For the most part, Roman cavalry during the Republic functioned as an adjunct to the Legionary infantry and formed only one-fifth of the force.  This does not mean that its utility could be underestimated, though, as its strategic role in scouting, skirmishing, courier, and outpost duties was crucial to the Romans' capability to conduct operations over long distances in hostile or unfamiliar territory.  In some occasions it also proved its ability to strike a decisive tactical blow against a weakened or unprepared enemy, such as the final charge at the Battle of Aquilonia.

After defeats such as the Battle of Carrhae, the Romans learned the importance of large cavalry formations from the Parthians.  They would begin to substantially increase both the numbers and the training standards of the cavalry in their employ, just as nearly a thousand years earlier the first Iranians to reach the Iranian Plateau forced the Assyrians to a similar reform.  Nonetheless, they would continue to rely mainly on their heavy infantry supported by auxiliary cavalry..

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