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Roxolani and Iaziges
#1
Hi, first time reply. My name is Mick and although not a reenactor I find your site a great source for people like myself who have an interest in the steppe horse cultures. I can't recall the source but I read that a lot of the Iazyges that were sent to Britain were already prisoners of war so they would have lost their horses and weapons when captured so maybe they were kitted out in Roman gear when sent. Can't remember the source but I will try to find it.
Michael Kerr
"You can conquer an empire from the back of a horse but you can't rule it from one"
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#2
Hello, Mick

Iazyges that went into Britain were not "prisoners of war." They were simply defeated and became feoderaiti. Perhps too much emphesis has been placed on the cultural importance of the Iazyges. They were not Sarmtians, but rather Sauromatae (related to Scythians). They used short swords and had no cataphacts. More important were the 4 or 5 units of equites that went into Britain at the end of the 4th century with Taifali, Alans (Sarmatians), and Goths, in their ranks. Well anyway, welcome to RAT! Smile
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
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#3
Quote:Iazyges that went into Britain were not "prisoners of war." They were simply defeated and became feoderati.
That's true of course but it was not as simple as that. One of the demands that went with such a defeat was that the defeated group had to provide troops that would fight in the Roman army. If you could manage to become a federate this was a good deal, because most federates could decide their own fate and 'only' had to provide manpower. But in the case of the Iazyges the troops provided were more than that, they were a heavy burden on the manpower of tribe (of course that was the intention) and could seriously weaken the defensive capability of those remaining at home.

But what Mike is saying that they were not moved to britain with their own gear, but rather they were kitted out by the Romans, which is also what I think happened.
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#4
Hello, Robert & Mike,

You are correct in that they were not feoderatii. :oops: However, when we look at the stone of the Iazyage draconarius now at Chester, we see an early spangenhelm and an akinakes carried in the steppe manner. It they had been completely kitted out in the Roman manner, I doubt that stone would have depicted what it did. Smile

I'm not trying to be argumentative, but I think certain aspects of their steppe culture made it into Britain. There is also a ring-pommeled Iazage sword in the British Museum, found with coins of Commodus. It has, surprisingly, a round chape... a Roman army style that isn't supposed to show up until the 3rd century.

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Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
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#5
Hi Alan,
Quote:You are correct in that they were not feoderatii. :oops: However, when we look at the stone of the Iazyage draconarius now at Chester, we see an early spangenhelm and an akinakes carried in the steppe manner. It they had been completely kitted out in the Roman manner, I doubt that stone would have depicted what it did. Smile
I'm not trying to be argumentative, but I think certain aspects of their steppe culture made it into Britain. There is also a ring-pommeled Iazage sword in the British Museum, found with coins of Commodus. It has, surprisingly, a round chape... a Roman army style that isn't supposed to show up until the 3rd century.
I won't say that NO steppe culture made it into the Roman army, which after all was keen to accept any influence it could use. take that draco for instance. Wink
However, the rest is debatable.
The 'Iazyge' draconarius? Do we really know what sort of person is depicted here? He could be anything (although I usually support a 'sarmatian' origin regarding the proximity of the Chester fort).
An 'early spangenhelm'? I could not make that out from the lacking details, especially because the artist (as usual) chose to highlight the face and therefore diminish the helmet. If you look at the Lepontius helmet (http://www.flickr.com/photos/thearmatura...otostream/), this shows similar details, and that one is usually regarded as a Late Roman ridge helmet. I see some 'brows' on this one that could make it into a ridge helmet as well, but the dating of this stone (is there even a secure one?) usually goes for an earlier type.
'Akinakes worn in the steppe manner'- now that I don't see, could you point out what you mean?
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Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR: Forum rules
FECTIO Late Roman Society
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
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#6
Robert,

I think I used the dating from Southard's book, The Roman Cavalry.

On the stone, we see a strap wrapping around the rider's right leg, almost at the bottom of what appears to a very short sword. That's exactly how I wear my akinakes-- strapped to my right thigh.

The helmet is up for grabs as to what it actually is. I'll agree on that one. Smile But we don't see a lot of Roman cavalrymen wearing an akinakes. Not lately, anyway. ;-)
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
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#7
Quote:On the stone, we see a strap wrapping around the rider's right leg, almost at the bottom of what appears to a very short sword. That's exactly how I wear my akinakes-- strapped to my right thigh.
I'm not saying you're wrong, but I don't see that strap.. Can't this be the hem of the trousers?
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Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR: Forum rules
FECTIO Late Roman Society
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
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#8
Robert wrote:
Quote:That's true of course but it was not as simple as that. One of the demands that went with such a defeat was that the defeated group had to provide troops that would fight in the Roman army. If you could manage to become a federate this was a good deal, because most federates could decide their own fate and 'only' had to provide manpower. But in the case of the Iazyges the troops provided were more than that, they were a heavy burden on the manpower of tribe (of course that was the intention) and could seriously weaken the defensive capability of those remaining at home.

In regards to their status in the Roman army I have four questions:
1. Would they have been able to have their own leaders?
2. How long would they have had to serve in the Roman army?
3. Besides Ribchester where did they serve in Britain? I heard Wales (Cambria). Alistair Moffatt in his book Arthur And the Lost Kingdoms alluded to the fact that they may have served at Newstead as he gave quite a bit of coverage about the 5500 Iazyges sent to Britain.
4. I always wondered with the Roxolani and Iazyges did they carry their Kontus' with them all the time or only when they charged at an enemy. If they had to soften up an enemy with arrows first what did they do with the kontus. Maybe stored them in one of their wagons until they were engaged in a battle. Maybe like mounted infantry in Sinai campaign in WW1 where every 5th trooper looked after horses while others dismounted to fire at enemy.
I know this is off topic so I apologize in advance but I don't know if this subject has been covered by a previous thread.
Michael Kerr
"You can conquer an empire from the back of a horse but you can't rule it from one"
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#9
Quote:In regards to their status in the Roman army I have four questions:
1. Would they have been able to have their own leaders?
2. How long would they have had to serve in the Roman army?
3. Besides Ribchester where did they serve in Britain? I heard Wales (Cambria). Alistair Moffatt in his book Arthur And the Lost Kingdoms alluded to the fact that they may have served at Newstead as he gave quite a bit of coverage about the 5500 Iazyges sent to Britain.
4. I always wondered with the Roxolani and Iazyges did they carry their Kontus' with them all the time or only when they charged at an enemy. If they had to soften up an enemy with arrows first what did they do with the kontus. Maybe stored them in one of their wagons until they were engaged in a battle. Maybe like mounted infantry in Sinai campaign in WW1 where every 5th trooper looked after horses while others dismounted to fire at enemy.
I know this is off topic so I apologize in advance but I don't know if this subject has been covered by a previous thread.
1. Not at that time, no. There would be Romans in command.
2. Death or a new treaty.
3. We only know of Ribchester, the rest is pure conjecture. Moffat can't 'cover' the iazyges in Britain because we have no information about what happened to them. Malcor (& Littleton) also tried that, claiming even that the records about the Sarmatians were kept from the 'army records' LOL. It's possible they all stayed in Britain, it's possible they went to the continent within a few years. We don't know.
4. Your guess is as good as mine. I think they kept it with them - what use would it be to soften up an enemy and then spend some time going 'back to get your lance'? The moment of vulnerability could well be lost, or worse: the enemy could see what you planned. I think the light cavalry (horse arches) did the softening up, making room for the 'heavies' when the time was there. We see this with later Byzantine cavalry, the 'lighties' do the attacking and then retreat behind the 'heavies when threathened. The 'heavies' then charge.
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Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR: Forum rules
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THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
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#10
Quote:4. Your guess is as good as mine. I think they kept it with them - what use would it be to soften up an enemy and then spend some time going 'back to get your lance'? The moment of vulnerability could well be lost, or worse: the enemy could see what you planned. I think the light cavalry (horse arches) did the softening up, making room for the 'heavies' when the time was there. We see this with later Byzantine cavalry, the 'lighties' do the attacking and then retreat behind the 'heavies when threathened. The 'heavies' then charge.

Ha, everyday I learn a new tactic on here. I never thought to pair cataphracts with Horse-Archers.
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#11
Quote:Ha, everyday I learn a new tactic on here. I never thought to pair cataphracts with Horse-Archers.
Why on earth not? It's essentially similar to slingers and javelinmen paired with heavy infantry, only with higher tactical speed. :wink:
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Robert Vermaat
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FECTIO Late Roman Society
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
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#12
Normally I put my horse-archers in an ambush position, so when the enemy infantry engage my heavy infantry my horse archers can fire at them from behind.
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#13
Michael, Robert, and everyone

Any book dealing with Iazyges in Britain has to be speculative... really speculative. And from those I have read, perhaps the worst was Littleton & Malcor's. If there was any "Sarmatian" influence on the Arthurian legend, it may have come-- speculatively-- from the Alans, who were Sarmatian.

The Iaz were NOT Sarmatians. And they did NOT have cataphracts, and therefore did not use a contus. This "legend" has filtered though so many quasi-historical books that it has somehow been accepted as fact. For good info on who the Iaz were, read Janos Harmatta's book on the Sarmatians and their language. The Roxolani WERE Sarmatians, being the lead group of Alanic society that followed the Iaz into Pannonia. But to playact with "Iazages," either in Britain or on gameboards, is not following history nor the culture of a group that were related to Scythians, not to Sarmatians. :dizzy:
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
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#14
Hello, Robert

Quote:I'm not saying you're wrong, but I don't see that strap.. Can't this be the hem of the trousers?

Well, to tell the truth, that strap could be the hem of an upper garment. A little high for trousers. But, it is a very small "gladius," if it was a gladius... and so my Sarmatian mind wants it to be an akinakes. :wink:
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
Reply
#15
Alanus wrote:
Quote:The Iaz were NOT Sarmatians. And they did NOT have cataphracts, and therefore did not use a contus. This "legend" has filtered though so many quasi-historical books that it has somehow been accepted as fact. For good info on who the Iaz were, read Janos Harmatta's book on the Sarmatians and their language. The Roxolani WERE Sarmatians, being the lead group of Alanic society that followed the Iaz into Pannonia. But to playact with "Iazages," either in Britain or on gameboards, is not following history nor the culture of a group that were related to Scythians, not to Sarmatians.

Sorry Alanus, I got carried away with the use of the kontus. I was curious about the 5500 Iazyges sent to Britain and I put in the query about the use of the kontus as an extra question hoping someone would know a bit more than myself. I read a piece by a certain S.M. Perevalov called "The Sarmatian Lance and The Sarmatian Horse-Riding Posture" and he tickled my interest in the use of the Kontus. My main interest is the Roxolani who must have been fearsome to fight against.Below is a couple of paragraphs from his article.

Quote:To define our research, it is necessary to explore which Sarmatians first used
the new type of cavalry, with the lance as their main weapon, and when they did
so. Since our knowledge derives from Greek and Roman writers, we should specify
that we focus on when this new invention became known in the classical world.
The radical change in Sarmatian military techniques is best seen among the
Roksolans. Two sources—Strabon and Tacitus—with a difference of 100 years,
left notable evidence about this tribe’s armor and tactics.1 Strabon (VII.3.17,
p. 306), writing about the war between the Roksolans and Diophantus, Mithridates
Eupator’s military leader around 110 B.C.E., describes them as lightly armed forces,
apparently cavalry, because he is talking about nomads. Their defensive armament
consisted of raw leather coats of mail and wicker shields, offensive armament—
short lance, bow, and sword. They were tactically as weak as “any barbarian tribe”
and were utterly defeated by the Greek phalange, which was much smaller (6,000
against 50,000). Strabon does not find anything distinctive in the Roksolans’ armament
compared to the Scythians and other barbarians: “the majority of other
barbarians are armed in a similar way.”
Tacitus (Hist. I. 79) presents a strikingly different view in his account about the
foray of the Roksolan army of 9,000 into the Roman Mesia in 69 C.E. We see a real
revolution in armament, methods of protecting the body, and tactics. The long
lance and heavy long sword (gladius) have become the Roksolans’ main weapon;
bows are no longer mentioned. They are shielded by solid coats of mail with metal
or tanned leather scales, impenetrable to arrows; replacing shields. Finally, they
utilize the effective tactics of frontal attack: “when they attack in squadrons (turmas),
it is unlikely that any array [acies] would sustain their attack.” The failure in the
battle with the Romans of 69 was caused by the snow turning to slush, which
prevented the Sarmatians from using their terrible weapons during the battle order.
These very Sarmatians had wiped out two Roman cohorts in the previous winter.
Therefore, the revolution in the Sarmatians’ military techniques should be placed
in the period between Strabon’s “Geography” (the first quarter of the first century)
and Tacitus’s “History” (the first decade of the second century). R. Syme has tried
to specify the date. Basing his speculations on the first mentions of a distinctive
Sarmatian weapon, the lance (sarmaticus contus), by Roman poets of the end of
Flavius’s period—Stacius (Achill. II. 132–33, Silius (Pun. XV. 684), and, most
importantly, Valerius Flaccus (Argon. VI. 162; pp. 231–38)—he dated the Romans’
first precise mention of special Sarmatian tactics to the period of Domitianus’s
wars on the Danube (89–92 C.E.).
. I was just wondering was it contact with the Romans that brought about this change in tactics or possibly pressure from the Alans. Just an extra question. What is the title of Janos Harmatta's book as I will try to find it.

Below is the link to access this article if you haven't already got it.

http://archive.org/details/TheSarmatianL...ingPosture

Regards
Michael Kerr
Michael Kerr
"You can conquer an empire from the back of a horse but you can't rule it from one"
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