Sunday 26 February 2023

Campaigns - Augustus to Trajan

Cobbling together the armies of  Nabataea and the Late Judaean marked the first stage of my latest project, The Early Imperial Roman Army of the 1st and 2nd century. Determining which opponents should be collected, I find a timeline of military activity useful. Below is a brief summary of campaigns beginning with the reign of Augustus and ending with the death of Trajan. 

Most of Rome's enemies in the West I already have in the collection, Marcomanni, Chatti, Sarmatians and the Dacian. In the East, Nabataea and the Judaean are done and soon, Emesa and the Commagene will join their number. The Batavian, Pre-Islamic Nomadic Arab and the Jewish Revolt will complete the list of enemies, hopefully before the start of the summer. 

The following list is compiled from Yann La Bohec, The Imperial Roman Army, which I highly recomment. 


29 BC – 19 BC

Together with Agrippa, Hispania is subdued, requiring needing seven legions.

25 BC – 7 BC   

Beyond the Alps, the Salassi are finally subjected after a series of campaigns.

12 BC – 9 BC   

Across the Rhine, Drusus reaches the Elbe River in a series of campaigns. Later, the defeat

inflicted by Arminius calls for a revaluation of Rome’s frontier policy.

15 BC              

Drusus and Tiberius capture Raetia and Vindelicia.

13 BC              

Piso makes an armed incursion into Moesia, ensuring the Elbe could be reached from the 

Danube as well. The extra security in the region ensured the kingdom of Thrace, Crimea and 

the Pontus would become protectorates.

6 AD – 9 AD    

Pannonia and Dalmatia rebel against Rome, Maroboduus seizes the moment to fight Tiberius.

Galatia is reduced in status to a province.

6 AD - 42 AD

Judaea, previously ruled by kings, is divided and governed by prefects. A peaceful period with

Parthia follows allowing ambassadors from the Indian kingdoms to visit Rome.

Arabia was the scene of two major wars during the reign of Augustus

In North Africa, Rome wars against the Nasamones, the Musulamii, and the Gaetuli.



14 AD -17 AD  

Germanicus restores discipline among the legions in Pannonia and Germany and crosses the 

Rhine to consolidate power. Moravia becomes a protectorate as a result. Germanicus is sent 

East; Rome annexes Cappadocia and Armenia becomes a protected kingdom.

34 AD             

Judaea is annexed.

20 AD – 22 AD

Revolts in Illyria and Thrace unsettle the period of expansion. Tacfarinus leads the Musulamii 

to revolt in 17 AD to 24 AD. In 21 AD the Treveri and Aedui revolt in Gaul.



39 AD             

Experiences setbacks against the Chatti. in. In the East, Armenia and Judaea are temporarily

abandoned. Assassination of King Ptolemy of Mauretania in 40 AD may have been an attempt 

to annex the kingdom.



40 AD             

The Maghreb becomes first priority as emperor. Suetonius Paulinus brings order and 

establishes to two new provinces, Caesarean Mauretania and Tingitania Mauretania.

43 AD             

The conquest of Britain became Claudius’ greatest achievement.

44 AD             

Judaea is annexed once more and entrusted to procurators.

45 AD             

Thrace is integrated in the empire in. In Germania, Vespasian is sent to Strasbourg to quell the


48 AD – 49 AD

Corbulo subdues the Chauci and Frisians. 

Near the end of his reign, Vologeses invades Armenia.  



58 AD – 63 AD  

Parthia becomes difficult, Corbulo conquers Armenia and occupies Adiabene.

Boudicca revolts which are supressed by Suetonius Paulinus.

66 AD             

Insurrection in Judaea, Vespasian and Titus are sent, but Nero's death pauses the campaign.


The Crises

68 AD – 69 AD

Following the death of Nero, Galba is the first to have himself acknowledge as emperor. Becoming too authoritative, he was abandoned by the military and replaced by Otho. The legions in Germany support their own candidate, Vitellius and resolve the dispute at the Battle of Bderiacum. Vitellius the victor, was later captured and killed by Vespasian, opening the way to the throne for the latter.

The Batavian revolt and Jewish War will be covered in future articles.



69 AD – 72 AD

Titus subdues the Jews. Cerialis, Frontinus and Agricola win recognition in Britain. The Commagene is annexed to the province of Syria. 



79 AD – 81 AD

His brief reign is devoid of any major military campaigns.



77 AD – 84 AD

Agricola continues campaigning in Britain. Frontinus is recalled to deal with the Chatti in on the upper Rhine. On the Danube, the Quadi and Marcomanni become restive as were the Jazyges and Sarmatians.

85 AD – 88 AD

The Dacians are the greatest trouble. Domitian fails and peace is purchased.



96 AD- 98 AD 

His short reign is devoted to administrative changes than military projects.



101 AD- 105 AD

Subjugation of Dacia required several campaigns; pacification in 107 AD. Troops sent East.

107 AD           

Nabataea is annexed.

113 AD - 115 AD         

Conquering Mesopotamia was a prelude to the major campaign in Parthia, this required ten

legions and auxiliaries between the period of 113 and 114 AD. Trajan did not survive to see the

conquest consolidated. 

Pannonia Superior

This is a preliminary list of Roman units (Bold letters) to be collected in the next few months. From the sources listed below, these units were present in Pannonia Superior prior to Trajan’s campaign in Dacia. Next to each unit are the number of elements to be painted and when complete will total the number needed for two commands. Adding an ally, Rome can take the field in a battle option of DBA3. 

The double strength auxilia or milliarie (M) are represented with two elements. Two such cohors have a mounted detachment (E) of light horse and a replacement for the LH noted on the Early Imperial Roman list of II/56. 



I Ulpia Contariorum M.C.R.           2 x 3Kn

I Hispanorum Aravocorum             1 x Cv

Pannoniorum                                    1 x Cv

I Thracum Victrix C.R.

III Augusta Thracum S.



II Alpinorum E.                                  1 x 4Aux

I Bosperoriana                                    1 x 4Aux

V Lucensium et Callaoecorum E.     1 x 4Aux

I Ulpia Pannoniorum M.E.                2 x 4Aux, 1 x LH

I Aelia Sagittariorum M.E.                2 x 4Bw, 1 x LH

I Thracum C.R.E.                               1 x 4Aux

IV Voluntariorum C.R.

XVIII Voluntariorum C.R.


3,500 Cavalry, 875 mounted infantry, 4,125 infantry


Legions in the province:

I Adiutrix,

X Gemina,                                           4 x 4Bd, 1 x Art, 1 x General (Cv)

XIV Gemina Martia Victrix               4 x 4Bd, 1 x Art., 1 x Sub-general (Cv)


Recommended reading

The Auxilia of the Roman Imperial Army, GL Cheesman - 1915

Legio X Gemina 

Legio XIV Gemina /

Thursday 16 February 2023

The Late Judaean

During the reign of Caesar Augustus, the Late Judaean frequently found themselves at odds with each other and the neighbouring entities such as the Nabataean, the city-state of Emesa. On the death of Herod, the Great in 1 BC, Augustus honoured the division of the kingdom to his surviving sons thereby establishing the ethnarchs of Judea, Samaria and Idumea*.

The result, of the division led to rivalry expanding to armed conflict (Josephus) drawing neighbouring entities into its disputes.

The miniatures

This is the second army created from elements left over from a recent sale. All are Old Glory 15mm miniatures and refurbishing them on their original bases sped up the process. Clothing and shield colours vary as this best reflects a mix of regular, militia and irregular units.

Additional figures are planned to add variation, such as more skirmishers and some rioting mob. The latter will prove useful forming a basis for the Jewish Revolt.

*Idumaea and the Idumeans (Wiki):

Better known by the Greek name Idumaea, Hebron, their chief city, was taken by Judas Maccabeus in 165 B.C. (1 Maccabees 4:29, 61; 5:65). In 126 B.C. the country was subdued by John Hyrcanus, who compelled the people to become Jews and to submit to circumcision. Antipater, governor of Idumaea, was made procurator of Judea, Samaria and Galilee by Julius Caesar. He paved the way to the throne for his son Herod the Great. 

The Nabat├Žan

Focusing on Imperial Rome of the 1st and 2nd century, the Nabataean make an interesting addition to the collection. During the reign of Aretas IV Philopatris and earlier, the Nabataean protected the caravan routes south and east of Judea and as friend of Rome, supported Varus in his campaign against the Jews in 4 BC.

Later, during the reign of Tiberius, Aretas IV campaigned in Judea against Herod Antipas prompting the later to appeal to Rome to intercede. In response, the then governor of Syria, Lucius Vitellius the Elder had planned to attack Aretas (37 AD). The untimely death of Tiberius suspended any further invasion plans.

The miniatures

From the sale of several Roman other armies, a good quantity of elements remained over. Searching the list of Rome's enemies, the Nabataean could be assembled without the purchase of new figures.

All are Old Glory miniatures and were refurbished without removing them from their original bases.  Given a darker shade of their original colour, highlights and details were better seen, such as quivers and shields. A royal banner was added to the general’s element to complete the collection. 

A camel guard will be added at a later date.

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.