Full Version: Mark Anthony - Heron standard?
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Let me first introduce myself. I recently joined because I want to learn more about Roman military history, both from a general interest point of view as well as to support a hobby of mine, miniature wargaming. I'm currently building a Late Republican army for use with the Warhammer Ancient Battles rule-set.
Now my question: I was watching series 2 of Rome (HBO). At some point just before the battle of Philippi, there is reference to the fact that the army of Mark Anthony uses a Heron as an army standard. I would be interested to know if there are any historical sources for that. And if so, do we also know what the standards of Octavius, Caesar, Pompey and others? I thought legions had an army standard with an eagle and specific insignia related to legions, rather than to commanders. Any comments would be most helpful. This kind of info is sometimes quite hard to find, unless someone points you in the right direction.

Welcome to RAT, Geert. I can't answer your question specifically, but there were differences in the way legions were ordered and structured during the Republic and the Empire. The HBO Rome series bridges that change in time, from the era when a person could "own" a legion and outfit them how he saw fit, to the time when all the armies were under the command of the Emperor.

There are several people on this forum, however, who can probably give you a very direct, correct answer.
Dont have an answer for you on the authenticity of the Heron Standard, however if you watch the Episode in Season 2 when Antony arrives in Egypt when he is marching in you see a signifier holding a standard with the Heron mounted on top, so you can see their physical take on it.
Rome HBO isn't a very good source for study Roman army...
Hi Mateo,
Sure, I understand that the primary purpose of the series is to entertain, and that a lot of the imagery may or may not be conjecture, artistic licence, or complete bs. Is it then your opinion that this "heron standard" example is bogus?
The question I'm asking is, are there any reliable sources that deal with the subject? If so, I'd be interested to hear about them.

Thanks for the responses so far. David, I think the point you raise is an interesting one - the development that during the late republic legions were being raised by individual commanders and therefore may have used imagery that may have been associated with them individually. My research up to this point has mainly concerned the "imperial" era, after the Augustan reforms, so I'm less familiar with the earlier appearance of the roman army, hence my question.
What I know in regards to the use of standards is represented by - for example- the content on this page:
So, I'm aware of "animal imagery" for units, but less so their association with commanders. Up to this point I didn't think it existed, and that carrying a "personal banner" into battle was a post-roman development.

I'm interested to hear about coin evidence, or any acheological evidence that points to the "inspiration" of the heron standard. But this to me is just an example of the question as a whole. Too specific? Then I would welcome suggestions for books that deal with the appearance of the republican army.

I look forward to more comments.

I have found that III Italica Concors used Stork (is the same that Heron?)as standard, but this legion was established under princeps Marcus Aurelius times, too later...