Saturday, August 24, 2013

Maps of Rome, Carthage and the Punic Wars

I have a great love for maps and so over the past year I have enjoyed gathering and saving various maps related to my current Punic Wars project. Some of these maps give a fantastic overview of the region at the time, some show the expanse and retreat of the Roman and Carthaginian empires, while others map the specific troop movements and battles of the wars. These maps will be extremely useful for planning and playing a campaign with my Roman and Carthaginian armies once they are completed.

I thought I would gather these maps all up into one post for others who may be interested in these as a resource.

General Maps of the Region at the Time of the Punic Wars

Map of the Mediterranean from the Punic Wars to Mithridates

Map of North Africa in Ancient Times

Map of Italy

Roman Expansion from 264 to 180 BC

Maps of the Hannibal's Invasion

Hannibals' March with Battle Locations

Hannibal's Invasion Route

Josheph Minard's Classic Graphic of Hannibal's Invasion

Battle Maps of the Punic Wars

Battle of Cannae Initial Phase
Battle of Cannae Middle Phases

Battle of Cannae Final Phase

Battle of Trasimene

Battle of Trebia

Battle of Zama

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Principes Preparation

Next up for the Republican Roman army is two small units of principes. Like the other figures in this army, these are all by Aventine Miniatures. I decided to represent the entire unit wielding their gladii rather than having any pila in the mix. Aventine provides all of these figures with the sword arm detached, which allows for a wide range of attack poses which is a very nice touch.

Prepping models isn't one of my favorite aspects of the hobby, and so I choose to do it it small bunches -- usually just enough to complete a single full unit. This is very likely a much slower process in the long run than preparing a full eighty figures at once, but it breaks up the un-fun into manageable chunks.

The Aventine figures are great when it comes to getting them ready for priming and painting. There are very few seams or cast lines - and those that do exist are very faint, easy to remove and are never on the face or other vital pieces. Most of the work seems to be getting their bases flat and even.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Command: A Roman Tribune Directs the Primus Pilus

The first command stand for my Republican Roman is complete. Seen here is one of the legion's military tribunes directing the primus pilus. Six tribunes command the legion, each taking turns for two months at a time to be in the overall command. The tribunes received their orders directly from the consuls. The primus pilus, or senior centurion, was the very first of the legion's thirty elected centurions. With them is a signifer carrying a standard with an image of a laurel wreath. Affixed atop the standard is the a scene containing the Capitoline Wolf and Romulus and Remus.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wenceslaus Hollar: Etches of Roman Soldiers

While doing some research, I came across these amazing etches of Roman soldiers by Wenceslaus Hollar. Hollar was a bohemian artist that was born in Prague in 1607 and died in London in 1677. I found these to be quite remarkable and thought I would share.

Roman Soldiers

Seven Roman Standards

A Testudo

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Second Unit of Hastati

This second unit of Roman hastati has joined the Legion today, ready to march out against the Carthaginians or other enemies of the Republic.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Small Teaching Game of Hail Caesar

Last night I had my brother over to introduce him to the world of historical wargaming and the Hail Caesar rules with the secret agenda of getting him hooked and thereby gaining a new playing partner. I am happy to report that it was a smashing success! My brother and I have enjoyed gaming together all of our lives and so it wasn't too difficult to lure him to my house with the promise of war elephants.

To make things simple we divided my Carthaginian army in half, with me getting one extra unit of Libyan heavy infantry and my brother receiving both units of Ligurian slingers as well as the Numidian cavalry. The scenery on the table was simple with several trees and ancient buildings on the edges to add depth to the game while leaving the center open for easy maneuvering of the forces while he leaned the rules.

I deployed my forces with the heavy infantry at the center and the Spanish Scutarii supporting them to their immediate right. My left flank was occupied by my lone elephant while the right flank was secured by my Carthaginian cavalry. Seeing my deployment, my brother took the field in a similar manner with his slingers screening his infantry. After some maneuvering and some feints through the middle with the cavalry, a few units were lost on cavalry charges or through skirmishing. Chris was able, in some bold moves to quickly regroup his army into a formed line with his elephant anchoring the center while his Numidian light horse quickly abandoned the left for run to the hold his right flank. My veterans had been so heavily damaged by the times the lines clashed that they were forced to retire behind the Libyans and offer only support to their comrades, which eroded my advantage of being able to bring additional frontage to the conflict.

The heavy clash of lines was immense. There was some giving and some taking, but my loyal infantry had been weakened through a very effective use of his slingers to soften them prior to the lines meetings. Curses and prayers were said, shields were bashed and in the end my army fell in a very close fight.

My brother enjoyed the evening immensely. He loved the game mechanics, the models, and our imaginative travel back through time. He left my house with a smile on his face, my copy of the Hail Caesar rule book tucked under his arm and a resolve to research an army that could oppose the Republican Romans that I am building. I have given him a few ideas, but does anybody have some suggestions for him?

Order of battle and some photographs from the game:

The deployment and ending positions of our armies. I was on the left.

My battle line awaits the enemy and offers a prayer to Tanit.

Libyan infantry falls behind the veterans, exposing their flank.

Enemy cavalry presses the advantage.

The veterans manage to run off the enemy horse but with a heavy toll.

My brother is able to reform his line, centered  by his elephant.

Badly wounded, the veterans are resigned to being a support unit.

My cavalry tried a bold move to break through but were repelled.

After much skirmishing, the battle lines finally converge.

The elephant successfully supports allies on either side.

The chaos of the battle.

The end is nearing.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Ancient History Well Kept

I love beautiful, well-designed and well-informed magazines, especially those that I can keep as reference material in a collection near my desk. One of my favorite magazines currently is Ancient History (and Medieval History) published by Karwansaray Publishing. My collection of these magazines has been growing and so I recently purchased a pair of their beautiful magazine binders to store my issues. Each binder has an absolutely fantastic cover illustration and are very high quality. Issues are stored within the binders using a simple system of metal rods that allows for the reading of the magazines while still inside the binder or, if preferred, issues can be removed from the binder very easily. This was a great purchase and if you read and collect these magazines then I highly recommend these binders.

The cover illustrations are amazing.

It is easy to reference articles while still in the binder.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

A Roman Centurion

This is the completed centurion for my second unit of Roman hastati. Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus, writing in the 5th century, makes this comment about about centurions in his military tratise De Re Militari:
The centurion in the infantry is chosen for his size, strength and dexterity in throwing his missile weapons and for his skill in the use of his sword and shield; in short for his expertness in all the exercises. He is to be vigilant, temperate, active and readier to execute the orders he receives than to talk; Strict in exercising and keeping up proper discipline among his soldiers, in obliging them to appear clean and well-dressed and to have their arms constantly rubbed and bright.
One interesting point about the centurions that I did not know prior to some research: the different color and patterns of the plumes worn on the helmets of the centurions were an important identifier and rallying point for soldiers of that unit.

This figure is by Aventine Miniatures.

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Society of Ancients & Slingshot

I had been vaguely aware of the Society of Ancients for some time, having stopped by their website a time or two but leaving without really getting too interested and quite unsure of what they did or how that would apply to me. I have however joined recently after speaking with several fellow wargamers and bloggers - many of whom write articles for the society's magazine.

The Society offers discounts at several popular miniature manufacturers, operates a very active members-only forum that I was very impressed with and publishes the bi-monthly magazine Slingshot.

I received my first issue of Slingshot earlier this week and I was blown away by the quality of the publication, the historical-analysis and the sheer enjoyment I got out of reading the articles and columns. The magazine (and the Society as a whole I think) does a fantastic job of walking that delicate line between existing as a purely a historical intellectual exercise and being all-about wargaming. It does both, from what I can tell so far, very well.

If you are interested in ancient history, if you currently play ancient wargames, or if you have dreams and plans of painting an ancient army then I highly recommend you discover the Society of Ancients.