Author Topic: Chalons or Catalaunian Fields 452 AD  (Read 30871 times)

Duncan Head

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Re: Chalons or Catalaunian Fields 452 AD
« Reply #75 on: July 03, 2012, 03:42:47 PM »
Bernard Bachrach wrote an article, "Who were the Ripariolibriones?".  It's in his Armies and Politics in the Early Medieval West collection, but I haven't been able to find so far where it was originally published. It sounds as if it might be useful if anyone can get their hands on it.

As for the Breones, you're not alone, Roy:  none other than Gibbon (http://tinyurl.com/86bh2hy)  makes the same suggestion, as more recently does Barnish at http://tinyurl.com/br5b6nb.

Cassiodorus, Variae I.11 (from Project Gutenberg):

11. King Theodoric to Servatus, Duke of the Raetias.
It is your duty to repress all violence and injustice in the Provinces over which you preside. Maniarius complains that his slaves (mancipia) have been without any cause taken away from him by the Breones
[a Raetian tribe dwelling near the pass of the Brenner], who are continuing in peace the habits and maxims of war.

If this proves to be a true complaint, see that justice is done, and speedily.


cheers,
Duncan
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aligern

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Re: Chalons or Catalaunian Fields 452 AD
« Reply #76 on: July 03, 2012, 04:54:20 PM »
Wonderful Duncan, I was able to find it on the shelves,. I knew I had read something about them years ago and couldn't put my finger on  where.
Bachrach's conclusions are that:
 Franks = Franks
Burgunfians = Burgundians from Savoy
Saxons= Roman  military colonists (federates) from around Bayeux
Sarmatians gentiles settled in military colonies around Gaul in the IVth century as we said
Litacani are Laeti as said and both they and the Sarmatians appear in the Notitia which Bachrach dates to 408

Ripari have been taken as Ripuarian Franks, but this is a designation from the VIIIth century.
Olibriones should be Roman soldiers , but they are not mentioned in the Notitia.
Bachrach suggests that Riparii are  Riparienses . Riparii is a term that is used to designate Egyptian poilice officers so they could be Roman soldiers whose role has declined to paramilitaries.

B thinks that there may be a confusion within the text and that Olibriones should really be read as (O) a redundant O, (liberi) meaning free men and (ones) which is there to mirror Burgundiones and Saxones  as Jordanes mirrors Armoricani with Litacani, the Liti or Laeti.


Thus there are no Olibriones, they are conjured from an adjective that describes Riparienses, Roman soldiers who now look like Llaeti, but are free and thus legally distinguished from them.
Roy
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Duncan Head

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Re: Chalons or Catalaunian Fields 452 AD
« Reply #77 on: July 04, 2012, 01:31:39 PM »
So whether they're Rhaetian Breones militia, or Riparii Liberiones freemen frontier-troops, we're looking at some sort of "Roman" provincial, semi-barbarised, part-time militia? Interesting.

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Duncan
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aligern

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Re: Chalons or Catalaunian Fields 452 AD
« Reply #78 on: July 04, 2012, 01:38:15 PM »
And not mounted :-))
Roy
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Jim Webster

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Re: Chalons or Catalaunian Fields 452 AD
« Reply #79 on: July 04, 2012, 02:02:39 PM »
So whether they're Rhaetian Breones militia, or Riparii Liberiones freemen frontier-troops, we're looking at some sort of "Roman" provincial, semi-barbarised, part-time militia? Interesting.

cheers,
Duncan

I must admit I've often wondered what happened to the sundry Diogmitai, Stationarii, Dekanoi which sort of lurk at the edge of the picture.
Whilst a lot would just fade away, much like regular Roman units, it has struck me that some might have been more 'resiliant' than regular units, being paid/supported/reliant on their local area. I wonder if some of these could have hung on to become the semi-barbarised, part-time militia?

Jim
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aligern

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Re: Chalons or Catalaunian Fields 452 AD
« Reply #80 on: July 05, 2012, 09:43:45 AM »
What happens to all those Roman soldiers as the West goes down is interesting. That Procopius remarks on Roman soldiers in Gaul who still carry the same standards and wear the same footwear is often cited.  There are several references to Romans in 'barbarian' successor kingdom armies and Procopius famously cites  men who continue on a Roman tradition with the same standards and kit into the VIth century.  Also in that era the Dux Rhaetiae is continuing on with responsibility to Theoderic, but commanding limitanei. They could be newly settled barbarians and Casiodurus using an antiquarian term but I doubt it. When Justinian retakes Africa he passes a law that refers to limitanei who might have remained in place throughout funded by the Vandal govt., not however as part of a field army. Many towns will have already been supporting their garrisons as the Empire faded and could continue doing so albeit to a lesser extent as economic dislocation reduced revenues and political collapse the ability to enforce taxation.. (though there is an argument that revenues could increase as the central govt lost the ability to tax.)
The oft cited  case of St Severinus argues that when the pay stops coming the soldiers leave. However, that is in a frontier province with barbarians raiding up to the walls of Patavium regularly.
Of course many of these ,Roman, soldiers  are barbarian immigrants anyway so they do not have far to go to convert their officer into a warlord . This is I think, Liebschutz's theory and as part of a range of scenarios in which local landlords and their forces take over and the Roman garrison disperses and others  in which the town  garrison marches off with a pretender, never comes back and the town relies upon a militia to defend the walls I would find it plausible.
 Of course we are faced with th question of the fate of the field armies. What happens to them?  They are  at a longer distance up the supply train from troops in town billets. The evidence of Sidonius  and Jordanes suggests that they are largely replaced with hired barbarians, though it may be that these folk are just more interesting and colourful to mention than regular units.

Roy

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Jim Webster

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Re: Chalons or Catalaunian Fields 452 AD
« Reply #81 on: July 05, 2012, 10:04:32 AM »
Unless you have a regular system of recruiting and bringing units up to strength, field armies will fade away on their own as men get to the end of their service and go. I was quite taken by the picture painted in 'The Last Legionary' http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Last-Legionary-Roman-Soldier/dp/1862273634

Jim
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aligern

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Re: Chalons or Catalaunian Fields 452 AD
« Reply #82 on: July 05, 2012, 04:00:27 PM »
Reference the Litacani.  I wonder if these are troops garrisoned on the Saxon shore the Litus Sxonicus. I think they might keep their regular status longer than  some others because the forts are sufficiently remote to have their own local supply organised.

Roy
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Duncan Head

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Re: Chalons or Catalaunian Fields 452 AD
« Reply #83 on: October 31, 2012, 10:29:55 PM »
I've attached a translation of a 19th-century French paper on the location of the Catalaunian Fields/Campus Mauriacus battle, which I had translated for the amusement of the group preparing for the DBMM game at the 2013 Battleday. The French text can be found online at http://www.mediterranee-antique.info/Auteurs/Fichiers/GHI/Girard_MA/Camp_Attila/Camp_Attila.htm (among other places).

If anyone has access to a university or similar library that might have an original copy of Revue Historique for 1885, I'd be interested to know if there were any maps attached to the original - though there don't seem to be references to any in the text, so perhaps not.

Apart from general interest in the location of the battle, the main battlefield-level point is probably Girard's interpretation of Jordanes' description of the crucial hill.
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aligern

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Re: Chalons or Catalaunian Fields 452 AD
« Reply #84 on: October 31, 2012, 11:34:12 PM »
Excellent stuff Duncan and really useful. A Map would indeed help, especially if it gave any indication of army frontage. The author has an interesting twist on ancient numbers. He claims that Ancient armies could cram into very small spaces, but does not follow the logical conclusion that the armies were much smaller than the sources claimed.
Roy
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Duncan Head

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Re: Chalons or Catalaunian Fields 452 AD
« Reply #85 on: December 11, 2012, 04:28:24 PM »
Have a look at the army that Majorian takes to Spain, it is in Sidonius. That is a string of barbarian names, again that would reinforce your suggestion as regards Aetius.
I note that Bachrach (http://tinyurl.com/b2b5yt2 p.25) suggests that the Alites in Majorian's army are the Equites Mauri Alites of the Notitiia. I'm not completely convinced that we have one Roman unit mentioned in the middle of a list of barbarian ethnic names, but if he's correct, that's one identifiable Roman unit that survives until a few years after the Catalaunian Fields, so may very likely have  been in Aetius' army at that battle.
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