Author Topic: Near East Armies 1st 2nd Century AD  (Read 247 times)

dwkay57

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Near East Armies 1st 2nd Century AD
« on: October 14, 2020, 09:09:05 AM »
Can anyone recommend the next stage reading, beyond the DBM Army Lists (Vol 2 Nos 22 & 23) for some of the smaller states in the Near East at the time of the Early Imperial Romans?
I have some odd figures left in my dwindling 6mm unpainted pile and thought this might be a suitable use for them but apart from some odd pictures of Hatrans in the Osprey book on Herod's army I've not seen much detail.

I know Osprey publish Rome's Enemies (5): The Desert Frontier (or something similar) but am a bit dubious on investing in that given its cover.

Thanks for any guidance or photos of existing armies.
  • David Kay
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Tim

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Re: Near East Armies 1st 2nd Century AD
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2020, 07:52:17 PM »
I can recommend the recent Osprey Roman Heavy Cavalry for a number of reasons, not just for the Hatrans...
  • Timothy Myall

dwkay57

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Re: Near East Armies 1st 2nd Century AD
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2020, 08:10:25 PM »
Is this the RHC(1) Cataphractarii and Clibanarii and you are referring to the drawings on page 11? And does this suggest that the Hatrenes might have had some really heavy cavalry?

There is a drawing in the Osprey Army of Herod the Great book (plate D) which shows some Hatrenes but I'm not too convinced by them.

The wikipedia entry for Hatra does show some photographs of "military men" and rulers who appear to be wearing knee length tunics and trousers but potentially not armour, although this could be court dress.
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Duncan Head

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Re: Near East Armies 1st 2nd Century AD
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2020, 09:30:11 PM »
I posted a reply earlier today referring among other things to the Roman Cavalry book, and it's disappeared. Weird. I think sometimes it happens when replies cross too close together, so I may have posted at the exact same time as Tim?

Anyway, it is the Cataphracts book we were both talking about. There are three sketches described as "from Dura and Hatra"; the central one is definitely from Hatra, Nigel Tallis published a photo of the original in the groups.io dbmmlist a while back. (The other two I am not sure which site they are from.)

There are loads of Hatrene statues showing men with swords, and some holding standards, but not with armour or other weapons, and there seems to be little more in the way of military art except for some Parthian-looking horse-archers in hunting scenes.

Have a look at:

https://www.academia.edu/4434812/Winkelmann_2013_The_weapons_of_Hatra_as_reflection_of_interregional_contacts
https://archive.org/details/PictorialGraffitiInTheCityOfHatra

For standards:
https://www.ancient.eu/image/10853/temple-ritual-scene-from-hatra/
https://mythology.stackexchange.com/questions/5898/who-is-the-female-figure-in-the-nirgul-tablet
  • Duncan Head

dwkay57

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Re: Near East Armies 1st 2nd Century AD
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2020, 01:38:46 PM »
Yes I saw your first post Duncan as you recommended the Fergus Millar book and I pondering whether the £20 for that is a better investment than £12 for the Osprey book. Hopefully, the approaching sound of jingle bells might enable both to come down the chimney. Ho ho ho

https://www.deviantart.com/foojer/art/Mesopotamian-Warriors-10th-c-BC-to-16th-c-AD-807586954
Whilst searching around I did come up with the above (it is also available as a cartoon). The narrative in the cartoon describes the Hatran as a mix of Selucid / Persian influences which I suppose has some plausibility.

What I'm trying to get really is a more detailed feel for the different troop types (e.g. old WRG classifications) and whether they were still in the kilt / tunic / cloak type outfits as shown in some of the WRG A&E series or were moving towards Persian or later Arabian attire. It would also be good to have some sort of idea of the individual peculiarities of each state (e.g. how did Hatra differ from Edessa) in terms of army size and composition.
  • David Kay
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Duncan Head

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Re: Near East Armies 1st 2nd Century AD
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2020, 03:50:16 PM »
Yes I saw your first post Duncan as you recommended the Fergus Millar book

And yet the post is not there now. How very odd.

Quote
What I'm trying to get really is a more detailed feel for the different troop types (e.g. old WRG classifications) and whether they were still in the kilt / tunic / cloak type outfits as shown in some of the WRG A&E series or were moving towards Persian or later Arabian attire. It would also be good to have some sort of idea of the individual peculiarities of each state (e.g. how did Hatra differ from Edessa) in terms of army size and composition.

Most of the art from Hatra and Edessa/Osrhoene shows Parthian-style costume by the 1st century BC or so, though it is hard to say how far down the social scale that fashion extended. I suspect that is true of all the "Arab-Aramean" states except for the Nabataeans, who seem to have been closer to their Arab roots and of course were less under Parthian influence. There is an article, though. that suggests that at Palmyra there were multiple distinct styles of dress: one the "Parthian" trousers/tunic/over-leggings/sleeved cloak that we associate with Palmyran soldiers, an "indigenous" style with "Arabian" waistcloth, and Hellenistic styles (found it: Susan Downey, "Arms and Armour as social coding in Palmyra, the Palmyrene, and Dura-Europos", in Mode (ed.) Arms and Armour as indicators of cultural transfer).

But you will probably have to put most of this information together yourself; I don't think there is much in the way of handy comparison sources. You could start with what Josephus says about the various alied contingents in the Roman army during the Jewish war, and the Roman accounts of Trajan's and Severus' sieges of Hatra.

Which reminds me, Commagene. See http://tabulaenovaeexercituum.pbworks.com/w/page/14246663/Commagene for Jim Webster on the Commagene army list, plus he had an earlier Slingshot article, and there are pictures of the Commagenan royal statuary all over the web.
  • Duncan Head

Duncan Head

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Re: Near East Armies 1st 2nd Century AD
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2020, 04:11:31 PM »
And of course the chap we discussed at http://soa.org.uk/sm/index.php?topic=3732 might be relevant to one or more of the armies you are looking at.
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Jim Webster

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Re: Near East Armies 1st 2nd Century AD
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2020, 05:51:01 PM »
Also you might want to think about Charcene. I've dug around a bit for that and there's a slingshot article with the editor :-)
I'm not suggesting major revisions to army lists, but there are interesting tweaks  ;)
  • Jim Webster

dwkay57

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Re: Near East Armies 1st 2nd Century AD
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2020, 08:59:41 AM »
Thanks. It looks like my Hatrenes will be tunic and trousers but my Nabataeans will stick to the kilt and cloak style, and if I do "Edessa" they'll probably be tunics and bare legs (to match the Herodian Jews to their south and my early Commagenes to their north). I'll investigate the opportunity for acquiring the Millar and probably the Osprey book too, but hold off putting paint to figures in the short term (possibly).
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stevenneate

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Re: Near East Armies 1st 2nd Century AD
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2020, 06:19:39 AM »
Reading Josephus is a must.
Fergus Millar's "The Roman Near East 31BC-AD337" is a bargain for the pocket money price of £20.

A few others sitting on my bookshelf that sheds light on Rome's Eastern chums:
Benjamin Isaac - "The Limits of Empire: The Roman Army in the East"
Warwick Bell - "Rome in the East: The Transformation of an Empire'
G.W. Bowersock - Roman Arabia
Martin Goodman - The Ruling Class of Judaea (after reading Josephus I had to read this, the backstabbing, the um... backstabbing and the err... backstabbing.  You just couldn't make this stuff up!)
  • Steven Neate

dwkay57

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Re: Near East Armies 1st 2nd Century AD
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2020, 08:39:21 AM »
Thanks Steve. The Millar book is on my list for Santa and I might investigate some of the others.

Tend to agree that life in Judea beat anything current soap operas or politics has to offer in terms of intrigue and plotting.
  • David Kay
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