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Updated: June 13, 2004

T BATTLES arriors have become infamous and immortal as a result of the great victories they achieved; their bravery, perseverance, determination, cunning, tactics, sacrifices and fortitude have written the stories of their battles and their names on the sand and winds of time. History is kind and forgiving to the victor, but forgetful and blind to those defeated, for it is the victor who is seen as right and just and who will write history to suit their own cause. They have used the power of force of their armies to invade, conquer and control; to eliminate, destroy enemies or force their will upon them, be they individuals or nations; to protect their countries against agressors; and to change the course of history by bestowing power of control upon others or eliminating those that don't agree with them.

The Ancient Britons fought in typical barbarian fashion, relying mainly on their foot warriors to overwelm the enemy and carry the day. However, probably due to the reletive isolation of the British Isles, the Ancient Britons carried on using chariots far longer than any other Barbarian nation apart from the Irish (who were even more isoloated and out of the way!). In addition the British seemed to have had little use for the bow, greatly prefering the sling which was used in large numbers, especially by the tribes occupying the western part of the island.


The Franks were one of the most succesful of the numerous German tribes that fought against the latter Roman empire, eventually overruning Gaul and creating an empire that was to evolve over the coming centuries into modern day France. In the period covered by this army list, however, the Franks were still a primitive German tribe. The vast majority of their warriors fought on foot, only a few Nobles fighting as cavalry.

Frankish warriors were armed with a variety of heavy throwing weapons which they hurled as they charged into combat, in much the same way that the Roman Legionary used his pilum. The most famous of theses weapons was the francisca, a heavy throwing axe which was so closely identified with the Franks that it gave them their name. In addition to the francisca the Franks used heavy throwing spears closely modeled on the pilum which were called angons.

Of all of the barbarian tribes that fought against Rome the Gauls are probably the most famous, mainly thanks to the commentaries written by Julius Caeser describing how he conquored them, and the Asterix comic books written some considerable time latter! The Gauls were one of the classic 'barbarian armies' and most of the notes and comments in the army list above apply to them. They occupied the territory that is now modern day France, but this does not mean that they should be thought of as a single nation. Rather they were a loose confederation of tribes that were as likely to fight against each other as anybody else. Indeed, Caser's often employed Gallic cavalry who were quite happy to fight against Gauls from another tribe as part of Caeser's army!


The Germans
Along with the Gauls, the early Germanic tribes provide us with the classic image of the barbarian warrior. If anything the Germans were even more ferocious than their Gallic neighbours, and it is certainly the case that the Romans were never able to subjugate the German s in the same way that they conquored the Gauls. German infantry was considered to be especially stubborn and tenacious, and while German cavalry was not as well equipped as Gallic cavalry, they seem to have established an important psychological edge over the Gauls as they usually come out on top in any cavalry battles the two tribes had. This may at least partially be explained by the German habit of mixing lightly armed infantry in with their cavalry formations.

Goths & Vandels


What the ancient Picts were armed with and how they fought is open to much conjecture, as there is very little literary or physical evidence left to go on. However, it does seem quite likely that the Pict infantry were armed with long thrusting spears and fought in a close formation that resembeled a primitive sort of phalanx. In addition a number of sources depict Pict light infantry armed with a weapon that sembles a crossbow.

The Byzantine Empire was based at Constantinople (now Istanbul) and was created following hte break-up of the Roman Empire in 395 AD. It survived the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD and survived for almost another 1,000 years, although it was greatly weakened following its disatrous defeat at the hands of the Saljuq Turks in 1071. This army list is based on the Byzantine army in its heyday from the 7th to 11th centuries AD, when it was arguably the best trained and best equipped military force in the world. During this period the heavy cavalry provided the most potent strike force in the army, but this elite arm was supported by dependable infantry spearmen (called Scutatos) and archers. Byzantine armies during this period were usually very well led, and many of their victories were as much a result of the Byzantine’s infamous battlefield cunning and guile as it was the ability of the troops in the army.

The Saxons & Vikings




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