Full Version: What Roman military hero do you admire most?
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I haven't sculpted a Roman military hero yet. I have sculpted Leonidas and Alexander twice each.

I need some inspiration. I am thinking that Scipio Africanus would be interesting, but I would love your opinions. Who do you think would make a good subject and why?

Maybe you could suggest a particular event to put the work in context: maybe Julius Caesar and Vercinggetorix?

I could also use feedback as it progresses. Many of you have vast amounts of historical knowledge stashed away. I'd appreciate help with the weaponry and armor. It could be a fun exercise. :-D

Thanks! DiAnne

This is a Roman helmet I created a few years ago....only Roman work I've done. It is a wearable art piece, so it is not historically accurate. My inspiration was Roman occupied Egypt.
Impressive helmet!

Germanicus might be interesting. There is a feeling of sadness and unrealised expectations about him that might come across well in a piece of art. I think he is a very fascinating character.

Of course, any of the big names could be good, like Scipio, Caesar or Trajan.
A few spring to mind.

- M. Valerius Maximus Corvus (ca. 371-271 B.C.). I like the story where, as a military tribune, he fought a giant Gaul and won because the latter got harassed by a raven ("corvus") during the duel. He later defeated the Volscii, Samnites, and the town of Cales, was four times consul and once dictator, but for me, the corvid assistance is the main point of interest. Not sure about the equipment of a 4th century warrior, however.

- Q. Sertorius, the last Marian, with his white hind, which he kept as a maskot and a communication channel to the goddess Diana, during his rebellion in Spain; The addition of this sacred hind could make for an interesting sculpture.

- T. Pullo and L. Vorenus - but not as represented in the movie series Rome. In Caesar, BG 5.44, both were centurions who had a competition going for the first rank, and it's that story that makes them fascinating. They end up saving each others' lives in the same battle, as both behave quite recklessly.

- Quintus Fabius Maximus Cunctator, the dictator who fought Hannibal using guerilla tactics, rather than open field battles. "One man saved our state by hesitating", as Ennius has it. The context could be the defending of the Apennine passes?

- The unnamed Aquilifer of the Tenth Legion, who, at the start of the invasion of Britain, jumped into the sea and raced to the shore to get the reluctant soldiers to follow him, if they were not to suffer the disgrace of losing their Eagle. (De Bello Gallico 4.25).

- Scipio (soon to be Africanus) at the meeting with Hannibal before Zama could be another possibility;

- Octavian during Forum Gallorum, although he himself was not a big warrior;

- Suetonius Paullinus during Wattling Street;

- Varus at Teutoburg, although he comes across as less than a hero there;

More could be mentioned, but I'll stop here for now.
Call me unimaginative but I still like Caesar. He seems to have had talent for everything: strategist, logistician, politician, adminstrator. Except perhaps commerce. Ceasar treated money as a tool to achieve his other goals rather than the goal itself.

I have a soft spot for Tiberius too. By the time he became emperor he didn't want it any more. He would have been a good emperor if Augustus died earlier.
As a kid I remember reading about Horatius and his two colleagues defending the city of Rome on the bridge. That was an inspiring image that stuck in my mind for a long time - three brave soldiers against the hordes. I'm more of a Hellenophile myself, and find most famous Romans to be scheming, self-interested machiavellian types - but I'm sure some of them must have been decent, honourable citizens - and perhaps Horatius and chums were of that category.
What about Drusus?
The dashing, reckless but charismatic Quintus Petilius Cerealis.
Caesar for one.

And yes, Scipio Africanus, and the opposites, Marius and Sulla.

Antony and several of Caesars Staff in the Gaullic War.
Avete omnes,
interesting topic! :-) I also add my oppinion.... I like following Roman military heroes:
Dictator Camillus, dictator and general Fabius Maximus, Scipio Africanus, G. Marius and L. Cornelius Sulla, G. Julius CAesar and his officers, no name Aqulifer of the X legion (he jumped in to the sea during the invasion in to the Britain), Germanicus, Tiberius, Vespasianus and his son Titus, good emperor Traianus, Hadrianus, A. Pius, Marcus Aurelius, Septimius Severus and his son Caracalla, Julianus the Apostate etc... Rome had lots of great generals, soldiers, centurions, tribunes.... I can not remember all of them :-( So these are my favorites :-)

best regards from Prague :-)
Hello ALL!!

I am impressed! THANK YOU! I have my research work cut out for me! I really appreciate all of the wonderful suggestions.

Epictetus-Thank you for the kind comment on the helmet! I too, like the idea of Germanicus. It would be a poignant sculpture. Would you add Caligula as a child? Would it include a reference to the alleged murder - poison perhaps?

M. Caecilius-WOW, I am very impressed. Thanks! You have given me quite a few ideas.
Q. Sertorius – The hind element would be very cool!
I love the T. Pullo and L. Vorenus. I didn’t know that they were historical figures.
The Aquilifer is a great idea, too. A water element, if done well, is always interesting in 3d.

Dan Howard- Caesar is a favorite of mine, too. He is getting a lot of votes. Not sure about Emperor Tiberius (throwing Children off cliffs – not good for sales). Or is there another?

Ghostmojo-I like the idea of an architectural bridge element adding context. Do you know their ranks? I could do some research. Scheming Romans? NO!! Smile

Medusa-Are you suggesting the Drusus in the time of Marius? I like him. A very sad story. He was a reformer that was assassinated. Or are you suggesting Nero Drusus?

Vindex- Quintus Petilius Cerealis- I can only find a wiki reference with very little bio. Can you suggest something for me to read?

Gaius Julius Caesar- Geeez, I could have guessed your first choice Smile Marius and Sulla would be fun: a brutish older man and younger arrogant peacock. Nice!

Tita Iuventia Martia-You have some great suggestions. Some are mentioned above, other I will need to research. THANKS!

With so many suggestions, it's hard to narrow it down. I might do a series of Generals/Commanders. Then a series of: An officer, a Centurion, an aquilifer, and a legionnaire. Perhaps even a cavalry piece.

Thanks! - D.
Many excellent suggestions here, and a seemingly impossible task selecting from among this "galaxy of stars."

However ...

Your first choice remains, to my mind, the best: Scipio Africanus.

He was by far the noblest of Romans from a family full of noble Romans. His father and uncle were generals of note during the Punic Wars and his daughter, Cornelia, the very model of the Roman Matron, to say nothing of his courageous grandsons, Gaius & Tiberius Gracchus.

But of all of them, Scipio was the best. He turly believed in the old Roman concept of "res publica" and he lived it -- on and off the battlefield, in peace and in war, in his private life and his public service.

There are many fine Romans worthy of your artistic efforts, and indeed, there are many as good as Scipio, but none better.


Thank you for reminding me of those facts. I really like Scipio as well. Cornelia would make a great subject for a sculpture in a series of statesmen and noble Romans. I could then include Drusus the reformer, the brothers Gaius and Tiberius Gracchus and Cicero. I love reading about all of them.
That would be years of work, but I would really enjoy it.

There was in Caesar's army, a volunteer named Crastinus, who the year before had been first centurion of the tenth legion, a man of pre-eminent bravery. When the signal was given, he said, "Follow me, my old comrades, and display such exertions on behalf of your general as you have determined to do. This is our last battle, and when it shall be won, he will recover his dignity, and we our liberty."

At the same time he looked back to Caesar, and said, "General, I will act in such a manner today that you will feel grateful to me, living or dead."

After uttering these words he charged on the right wing, and about 120 chosen volunteers of the same century followed.

He almost broke through the enemy line before being killed by an enemy legionary thrusting a gladius in his mouth. Appianus reports that after the battle Caesar himself said to be in Crastinus' debt, tributed him heroic rites and erecting an altar.
How about later heroes?
I've always been fascinated and liked the 3rd century guys that saved the empire
- Claudius II
- Aurelian
- Diocletian
Pontius Pilate? :grin:

Kidding...Julian maybe? Quite a dramatic life. My hero since I read Vidal's novel as an adolescent.

(my son is telling me off for not nominating him! Big Grin )

I love your helmet, by the way.
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