Friday 10 February 2023

Arminius and Maroboduus 17AD

The Marcomanni had experienced in 10BC utter defeat by Rome and seizing on the opportunity, Maroboduus deposed its former king and began making plans to move the tribe to an area known as Bohemia. Velleius Paterculus in his The Roman History, describes this period when Maroboduus waged war on neighbouring tribes eventually forming a confederation north of the Danube. This did not go unnoticed by Rome.

Arminius attempted to have Maroboduus to join the war on Rome, with the Marcomanni crossing the Danube and the tribes led by Arminius to cross the Rhine. Maroboduus rebuffed the offer and remained neutral despite an overwhelming victory at Teutoburg in 9AD by Arminius. The rivalry that developed escalated with the Cherusci finally attacking the Marcomanni; the result of which was an indecisive battle, forcing the Marcomanni to withdraw further into Bohemia.

Velleius Paterculus: The Roman History, Book II, Chap. 119


Cherusci 1 x Arminius (Cv), 2 x cavalry (Cv), 8 x warriors (4Wb), 1 x skirmisher (Ps).

Marcomanni 1 x Maroboduus (Cv), 1 x cavalry (Cv), 2 x warriors drilled (4Bd), 6 x warriors (4Wb), 2 x skirmishers (Ps).

Terrain pieces; three wood and a river.


The confrontation.

Placing faith upon the better drilled warriors (4Bd), Maroboduus extended his battle line to overlap the Cherusci. Not to be intimidated, Arminius formed his warriors in deep columns and struck the Marcomanni right wing. Cherusci cavalry would support the main assault.

In centre, inspired by the presence of their king, the Marcomanni cut through a column of Cherusci, sending a nervous Arminius to recoil back. The supporting Cherusci cavalry were neutralised by quick thinking skirmishers, but on the right, the situation became desperate for the Marcomanni.

Here, two columns of Cherusci breached the line destroying their opposition. The mayhem continued disintegrating Marcomanni resistance. Heavy casualties fell on both sides (5-4), but Arminius held the field.

Exchanging deployment area, both sides formed battle lines of equal length with the Cherusci forming fewer deep columns.

It did not take long before lines buckled to open opportunities. Quick to seize the advantage, the Cherusci squeezed a second victory with a similar result.

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