Full Version: early roman auxiliary archers and cavalry
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hello all, there are some other questions i want to ask. What do you think did the early auxiliary archers, horse or foot, looked like. For example the ones that were with Germanicus in AD16, and, IIRC also some are mentioned in the wars against Tacfarinas. Is there some information what they are, thracians, "syrians", cretans for foot archers? And how were they dressed, for example the syrians perhaps in long trousers and tunics? Was armour an option?
and about the auxiliary cavalry dress at this very early times; could it be that they were dressed with short tunic, bracae and roman armor/weapons, or was the equipment of the alae of this time still more native like the tribes they were recruted from.

You should start by reading some of the standard works on the Roman army - Bishop and Coulston, Goldsworthy and Keppie would be places to start. Check out the thread on essential booklists. Good Luck 'cos in the end you have no choice but to make your own mind up.


what makes you think that i didn´t start reading? :wink: i am not someone who asks questions without trying at first to find the answer myself. I bought Graham Sumners book about Roman Military Dress, additionally i read Holders and Cheesmans books about the auxiliaries plus some pdf files about the auxiliaries i could find on the internet archives. Still waiting, since some weeks, for my local library to get Bishop and Coulston´s book about the euipment and Spauls "cohort2" and "ala2", but it seems they have problems in getting them.
I think you are right in saying that in the end i would have to make my own mind up, but that´s the reason why i start my questions with "what do you think.."
Is there a certain region/type of Auxiliaries you're asking about? (Not that I can really answer, but just to get the topic going)
Travis, thanks.
i could have been more precise, and i have to admitt my english is not the best, so sorry for this.
What i am interested in is information about the very early auxiliary lets say in the times of Augustus and very early Tiberius reign. The regular ones if i may call them like this, not the contingents that the client kings in the east or the Batavians have to provide. What i have read so far makes me think that (very simplified)
-the auxiliary infantry of this time was perhaps organised in cohorts of 500 men, but dress and equipment was still native, means for example a cohort raised from gauls still looked like gauls in dress and equippment and not very romanised.
-the alae were the first to be organised in a roman way in standing units, some books say as early as the civil wars, and that they were used from this early times on outside their country of origin. So i think there was time enough to adopt roman dress and equipment, not at least as a replacement for losses. Additionally because the cavalry was mainly recruted from the wealthier class most would probably have for example a mailcoat anyway. So is it ok to think of the cavalry alae recruted from spanish and gallic people of this early time to look like the cavalry of, say, the flavian time, some 60 to 70 years later, short trousers, calligae, mailcoat, helmet, oval shield?
-and now the special ones. Since my questions at the start of this topic i was able to find out that most probably among the horse archers with germanicus in AD 16 were the ala parthorum, and among the foot archers a cohors Ituareorum. Now i know what the parthian horse archers looked like, but did that change when they became a regular roman ala? Were they for example equipped with a mailcoat and helmet. I don´t think so but it would be nice to hear what the people here think about this, with a far greater knowledge than i have.
And for the Ituareans i only know that they are from today Lebanon. I don´t even know their native dress (tunic only like the jews, or tunic and trousers).
As Theo said, we will probably never know for sure, but i really would like to know what you think about it.