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Full Version: Spartacus\'s gladiators against legionaires
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Anonymous

Hello,<br>
<br>
I am currently in the research phase of a modelling project - I would like to make a vignette (2-3 figures), depicting a combat between Spartacus's rebels and Roman legionaries - it could be one of each side, or two from a side and one from the other; composition is not entirely decided yet.<br>
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I am reasonably well armed with references for the legionaries; I have the rellevant Ospreys and Connolly's works, among other books. Besides that, although I know it may be off topic, I would like to discuss the rebels' appearance.<br>
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So, I would like the rebel to be easily identified as a gladiator, so he has to carry some gladiator armour and/or weapons. Yes, I know this is probably some artistic licence, and that in reality little gladiatorial equipment would be in evidence, but I think it is a fair use of artistic licence.<br>
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What kind of equipment or weapons would be more likely? What pieces would be more practical, or at least feasible, for war (as opposed to arena combat)? Maybe these could be combined with captured military items? What types of gladiator helmets, etc, would be available at the time of the rebellion? I would not like to throw in some chronologically misplaced elements.<br>
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Please relate the info to web material, either here or in other sites; or to the books I have, the Osprey title on Gladiators (yes, I know it is full or mistakes), and the Junkelmann book (which unfortunately I can not read).<br>
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Thanks,<br>
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Daniel<br>
<p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=http://p200.ezboard.com/bromanarmytalk.showUserPublicProfile?gid=danialfonsea>Dani Alfonsea</A> at: 11/10/04 10:07 pm<br></i>

John Maddox Roberts

Dani:<br>
You might want to address this to the Roman Combat Sports Forum. There is a link at the top of the home page here. Do keep in mind that we know little about the appearance of gladiators in the Republican era. They seem to have used military equipment, though some of this would have been of Hellenistic rather than strictly Roman design. The nets and tridents are out. There is no evidence for retiarii prior to the reign of Augustus. Helmets still had cheek plates, not visors. Manicae covered only the forearm. From the very few depictions we have from the era, gladiators looked rather like spottily-armored soldiers. <p></p><i></i>
Hi Dani,<br>
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welcome to R.A.T., nice to have another modeller / diorama builder on the forum!<br>
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About the rebels' dress, I would give them a semi-civilian appearence combined with booty-equipment, as they had some victorious meetings with the legions before the final battle.<br>
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Greets Uwe <p></p><i></i>
History tells us that Spartacus initially started his revolt with kitchen implements, which were immediately thrown aside when the gladiators got ahold of military weapons.<br>
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Another thing to consider is that only a tiny fraction of Spartacus' army was made up of gladiators. The bulk was made up of the most dangerous type of slave in the Roman Republic: Herdsmen. Herdsmen were numerous, strong and healthy, lived outdoors and of necessity were familiar with and allowed to carry weapons. They were also allowed a great deal of self sufficiency and autonomy. Of the three major slave rebellions, all three were primarily caused by herdsmen. Rome took great pains to see that no more of these rebellions occurred and manuals were written about how to treat and handle herdsmen slaves. <p></p><i></i>
Dani<br>
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Just in case you don't get to see RCS that often and to reitterate what John has said above:<br>
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Quote:</em></strong><hr>Hi there,<br>
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To add to what John has said on the Roman Army Talk forum I would suggest as well that the rural slaves of the time would have been armed with short swords and probably some form of missile (arrows, slings etc ..) to defend flocks or land.<br>
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This was a constant problem that the Romans faced, they needed the hardiest slaves to be out in the country but had to arm these same people to defend their masters land and animals. Consequently the big three slave revolts headed straight for the country and grabbed the desenfranchised rural slaves as they were tough and generally armed.<br>
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I suspect that few gladiatorial pieces would have been present, at least in ratio to the men involved by the revolts height. However, as you have said artistic liecense doesn't hurt.<br>
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All the best <hr> <p>Graham Ashford<br>
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</p><i></i>
Yes, I have thought that the herdsman slave of this era would have been not unlike American cowboys of the 19th century. Used to living on the range in abomnible conditions, poor, yet absolutely deadly with a six gun (a spear or sling in the case of these ancient slaves) they were an especially tough lot. Some manuals called for them to be provided with female slave companions, to live with them on the range and ensure propigation of new slaves. The tough family unit created was one that impressed even the Romans. <p></p><i></i>