Work in Progress

Belisarius

Posted by Chariobaude on 13 Mar 2021, 19:14

Hey guys, i want to share with you a project i just started : creating the army of Belisarius.

Why ? At least four reasons !
First, the future releases of Linear A (Justinian, his bodyguards, his infantry the mob of the nika revolt and "east ennemies") should be awsome, just seing the last ones.
Second, i love dark ages, late antiquity and their very diverse armies, with so many different troops, ethnicities....
Third, i finally chose the rule i'll try : l'Art de la Guerre (merci @PhilC !), wich seems to be absolutely appropriate for this kind of army. I never played with my minis, and strangely now i really want to try (well, i guess i'll have to wait the end of an epidemy....) ! @PhilC is building two armies (Late romans and Sassanids, almost perfect ennemies), who knows, maybe one day we will publishour fights !
Last; i've some units from my late roman project which I am not completely satisfied with i can reuse, like this one https://comitatusgaulois.wordpress.com/2016/11/08/cohors-primae-batavorum-premiere-cohorte-batave/, my huns https://comitatusgaulois.wordpress.com/2018/06/23/federes-huns-foederati-hunni/ or my bucellarii https://comitatusgaulois.wordpress.com/2016/10/19/bucellarii-bucellaires/

Starting a new projetc is for me like opening a new window on a new world. Minis are for me the excuse to learn, to dig deep in a Timeframe.
So first step, books !
Giorgio Ravegnani first, off course, his books are true gems, this one is almost perfect : https://www.amazon.it/Soldati-guerre-Bisanzio-secolo-Giustiniano/dp/8815130446. But you can find some good ressources online too, like this one from him : https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/141655031.pdf, wich give names, operationnal specialities and location of every unit of this time we know.
With the well known Luke's website http://lukeuedasarson.com/NotitiaPatterns.html, recording all the shield pattern of the late roman army, we can already choose some units to do.
some examples :
Primi Theodosiani Image
Felices Theodosiani Image

I just received Ian Hugues's Belisarius (https://www.amazon.com/Belisarius-Roman-General-Ian-Hughes/dp/1473822971), author of a monography of Stilicho who wasn't bad at all.

Then the classic Ospreys, and tons of graphic material the net is offering.
And I finally find a rulebook of l'Art de la guerre, wich is permanently out of stock for the printed version.

let's start !
Image
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Chariobaude  France
 
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Posted by PhilC on 14 Mar 2021, 08:04

[quote="Chariobaude"
And I finally find a rulebook of l'Art de la guerre, wich is permanently out of stock for the printed version.
[/quote]
Did you receive your book ? I hope you won't be disappointed, but I don't think so :-)

By the way, did you ever go to Ravenna in Italy ? The Byzantine mosaics there are a delight to see.
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PhilC  Europe

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Posted by MABO on 14 Mar 2021, 09:10

This is going to be another great project from you, I will follow for sure. Two years ago I visited Rome with a friend and we learned a lot about the late antiquity. This was the reason why I was thinking about my old HäT sets of the later Roman armies and also about your former project, which impressed me a lot. But first there are a lot of other figs on my table and a Prussian Corps to be build.

Keep up the good work!
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MABO  Europe
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Posted by Chariobaude on 14 Mar 2021, 10:19

PhilC wrote:[quote="Chariobaude"
And I finally find a rulebook of l'Art de la guerre, wich is permanently out of stock for the printed version.

Did you receive your book ? I hope you won't be disappointed, but I don't think so :-)

By the way, did you ever go to Ravenna in Italy ? The Byzantine mosaics there are a delight to see.[/quote]

The book you saw on Le bon coin is on his way ! :yeah:
Ravenna is on my list of next travel, when i will be possible again... the city, its history, its way of life... so many reasons to visit it !
The mosaics of SAn Vitale are a great inspiration, i hope Linear saw it too :-D
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Chariobaude  France
 
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Posted by Chariobaude on 14 Mar 2021, 10:26

MABO wrote:This is going to be another great project from you, I will follow for sure. Two years ago I visited Rome with a friend and we learned a lot about the late antiquity. This was the reason why I was thinking about my old HäT sets of the later Roman armies and also about your former project, which impressed me a lot. But first there are a lot of other figs on my table and a Prussian Corps to be build.

Keep up the good work!


Thank you for your kind words MABO !
This is the problem with our hobby : too many possibilities, and so little time !
I've two others projects : one is almost finished, the Desaix division (from the Bonaparte's army in Egypt), and the second, the catepanate of Italy against the Normen is stucked.
But Belisarius is a smaller one, i can achieve in this year i think, if Linear release its sets during the summer....
PS : i've lived in Rome a year, i can't describe how rich is this city in History. In one year i think i saw maybe 2% of its potential !
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Chariobaude  France
 
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Posted by MABO on 14 Mar 2021, 12:07

Chariobaude wrote:PS : i've lived in Rome a year, i can't describe how rich is this city in History. In one year i think i saw maybe 2% of its potential !


I completely agree!
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Posted by Chariobaude on 30 Mar 2021, 20:09

As I expected, the diversity of the Byzantine army is as extraordinary as the offer from the manufacturers is poor!

the bulk of the troops will be represented by heavy cavallry, armed with lance and bow.
Heavy legionaries still exist, called skutatoi (poor Greek translation from Latin scutati, the bearers of shields). They no longer have the agility of their predecessors, and fight in the old "hoplitic" mode: a big, very dense line!
the interest also lies in the allies to be represented: huns, gepids, goths, slavs, moors ... many types of warriors!
on the other hand, for those who like uniforms like me, it will be a much more mismatched army ...

I will have the opportunity to come back in more detail on the types of units that will make up my army. But to start, let's accumulate plastic !! :-)
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as I said previously, there are not (yet !!! Linear we expect you! :-)) sets depicting the wars of Justinian. So I took a bit of everything: late Romans from Hät, Italeri or MiniArt, huns from Lucky Toys, Goths Hät and Italeri, cataphracts from Zvezda, Gepids and Heruls from Hät "El cid light cav", a few various Sassanids, and Byzantines and Slavs of the Orion brand. They are undoubtedly 50 years later, but with a few modifications they will be very good.
before all the necessary conversions (there will be work on some!), start making the bases of the units ... to try to see clearly :-)
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Last edited by Peter on 31 Mar 2021, 09:54, edited 1 time in total.
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Chariobaude  France
 
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Posted by dykio on 30 Mar 2021, 20:18

this looks like a big project and i will be following it with lots of interseest. so go go go :yeah: :yeah: :yeah:
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dykio  Netherlands
 
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Posted by Chariobaude on 30 Mar 2021, 22:34

Thank you dikyo !

it's gonna be a loooong project...

in my various readings, I was able to recover the names of many Roman units used in the wars of Belisarius ... Some have existed for centuries (and some will exist for another 300-400 years !!!), and we are sometimes well documented, especially for the design on their shield, their nature or their operational specialty such as their garrison location.

Here for instance the shield pattern of the felices Theodosiani (a unit employed during the reconquest of Italy, and assigned in particular to the garrison of Rome)
the pattern recorded on a medieval manuscript :
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and some shields :

Image

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i guess i will at least have 20-25 units... Let's have fun !
Last edited by Peter on 31 Mar 2021, 09:58, edited 1 time in total.
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Chariobaude  France
 
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Posted by Bluefalchion on 31 Mar 2021, 04:10

This is a perfect project for you to display your considerable and wide-ranging skills.
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Bluefalchion  United States of America
 
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Posted by MABO on 31 Mar 2021, 08:19

Thanks for the update. I am waiting for some first plastic surgery.
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Posted by Chariobaude on 31 Mar 2021, 16:44

MABO wrote:Thanks for the update. I am waiting for some first plastic surgery.


first attempt : making skutatoi right : removing late helmet (more suitable for a couple of centuries later), round shield (not used in first line), and obviously adding a spear.
I'm not very good in changing position of figs, but after multiple baths in hot water, finally the defensive posture looks like more realistic than before.
You actually look a the previous fig on the right..
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Image
Last edited by Peter on 31 Mar 2021, 20:13, edited 1 time in total.
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Chariobaude  France
 
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Posted by Bluefalchion on 31 Mar 2021, 17:16

It is a bit tough to see the head in your picture. Is he still looking down at the ground to his right, for no discernable reason?
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Bluefalchion  United States of America
 
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Posted by Peter on 31 Mar 2021, 20:17

@Chariobaude can you please use "adress of picture" and the IMG-button for posting pictures. Thumbnails are so small and for the bigger pictures you have to go another site. Thank you! ;-)

And this is a very promesing project! :thumbup:
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Peter  Belgium

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Posted by Chariobaude on 03 Apr 2021, 15:25

thank you guys for your encouragement!

indeed my phtos are atrocious, I admit that I was lazy to write articles on my site as on my previous project, and my use of dedicated applications are at least very poor...
I will try to do better with the next ones!

here are my first attempts at kavallarioi and buccelarii ... heavy cavallry (armed with lance, sword and bow) regular ... hard to know how heavily protected they were at the time, the authors and historians are not all agree between them ... Due to lack of alternative and by taste, I decided to make them rather heavy!
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PS : @bluefalchion : he looks straight behind his shield, but with my horrible photos and that almost transparent plastic ....
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Chariobaude  France
 
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Posted by Bluefalchion on 03 Apr 2021, 16:52

Chariobaude wrote:PS : @bluefalchion : he looks straight behind his shield, but with my horrible photos and that almost transparent plastic ....


Well that is a better story. Once he is painted up, we will see the details with even more success.
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Posted by Chariobaude on 03 Apr 2021, 23:47

Frankensteining...

Converting is pretty fun, but it takes patience and a... NKAFAM (No Kids Around For a Moment :xd: !).
Unfortunately, the size difference between manufacturer is sometimes impossible to deal with...
So my regular cavalry, mainly from Hät sets, will be tinier than the boukellarioi, created from italeri, MiniArt, Orion and zvezda (mainly).

second attemp (boukellarioi, with a Belisarius pretty upset!), still WIP, searching the right poses....
Image
Image
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Chariobaude  France
 
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Posted by MABO on 04 Apr 2021, 07:00

After admiring your conversions, I have read a little bit about the army of the late Roman empire. A really complicated, but - of course - interesting topic. One question: Is there a special army of Belisarius you would like to create? He fought a lot of battles in different parts of the empire, so I was wondering, if he maybe had each time a different combination of troops and units assembled as an army.

I also returned to your webside. Même si je connais un peu le français, ce n'est pas suffisant pour lire et comprendre tous les textes. (But even though I know a little French, it is not enough to read and understand all the texts.)

Maybe you find the time to give some hints on your army and the time, if there is a special one. But it might also possible that I overestimated the differences in the armies Belisarius led.

In any case: What an interesting project!
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MABO  Europe
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Posted by Chariobaude on 04 Apr 2021, 20:30

MABO wrote:One question: Is there a special army of Belisarius you would like to create? He fought a lot of battles in different parts of the empire, so I was wondering, if he maybe had each time a different combination of troops and units assembled as an army.

I also returned to your webside. Même si je connais un peu le français, ce n'est pas suffisant pour lire et comprendre tous les textes. (But even though I know a little French, it is not enough to read and understand all the texts.)

Maybe you find the time to give some hints on your army and the time, if there is a special one. But it might also possible that I overestimated the differences in the armies Belisarius led.

In any case: What an interesting project!

that's an interesting question!
There are several ways to answer it. Historically, Belisarius' army is not that different from that of the late Roman Empire.
it inherited it in the structure, organization and chain of command.
On the other hand, the army of Belisarius is very changed on two:
1. unlike all the Roman armies that preceded it, it actually only relies on a core of elite troops, like the barbarian armies. Interestingly, all battles are now resolved by knocking out the enemy's best units, including Roman ones. The homogeneous Roman army, which made it almost invisible (or not far!) No longer exists. It is interesting to note the number of defeats suffered by the armies of Belisarius, especially at the start of his career against the Sassanids. There was certainly the great victory of Dara, but also 4 terrible defeats, including at least two under his command, and two others where he participated. But each time the best Roman troops were not annihilated, so the empire did not lose its ability to face its opponent.
the consequence is a two-speed, composed army, with a command that takes it into account, and a more "volatile" army, regularly subjected to mutinies and dislocation. More than once during his campaign in Africa, Bélisaire confronts the vandals, with his Huns ... behind his back, who do not take part in the battle! The huns preferred to wait to see who would emerge victorious from the battle before joining her !!
it would obviously never have happened in a Roman army of previous eras. At worst, like Aetius against Attila in the battle of Campus Mauriacum, the elements considered unreliable (there the Alans) were put in the front line and "framed" by the Roman elements ....

2. the place of the cavalry: it is now fundamental. The buccellarii, the elite of the army of Belisarius, are heavy horsemen who wield the bow to perfection, and who devastate the barbarian ranks who do not master this weapon, or very little. infantry, now serves only as a foothold on the battlefield, and especially as a garrison.
to finish answering your question, the army has always remained the same, with one difference: it has been enriched with the campaigns of new contingents. Either taken from the borders to support the war effort (Perso-Armenians, Isaurians, Slavs ...), or from prisoners taken previously (Persians, Vandals, Goths ...).
In addition, the imperial power made a big effort of local recruitment on all the reoccupied territories, by raising "numerus" which traditionally bear the name of the city in which they were recruited and which they keep:
Mediolanenses, attested at the end of VIth century in Ravenna, created in Milan after the Gothic War.
Veronenses, attested at the end of VIth century in Ravenna, created in Verona after the Gothic War.
Tarvisiani, a cavalry regiment attested in Grado in year 579.
Ravennates in Ravenna
Argentes, stationed in Argenta's castrum (Ferrara), built at the beginning of the VIIth century.
Ariminenses, attested in Rimini in the VIIIth century but probably created at a earlier date (maybe 590).
Numerus Centumcellensis, attested in Civitavecchia only in the VIIIth century but maybe created at a earlier date.

In a next answer, i'll tell you what will be my option in building my arly ! :yeah:

PS : i know i should translate my website, it's just... too much work! :mrgreen:
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Chariobaude  France
 
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Posted by ToneTW on 04 Apr 2021, 22:37

Amazing conversions I'm fascinated by this era but know very little about it. I took to a few documentaries on youtube "kings and generals" on Belisarius' campaigns and some other late Rome campaigns. Also a chapter on Late empire battles in a Cambridge history of ancient warfare but that's as deep as I have gone.

I look forward to your progress!
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