Thursday, March 26, 2009

Naked is sooooo last year Hermann!

The changing fashions of Ancient warfare.

I couldn't help myself this week as Foundry produced a crazy deal on their 'collection' ranges. Going there to look at successors, I was side tracked into buying some Ancient Germans. I have always loved their Ancient German cavalry but could never go the distance on their new wacko prices.
I have amassed a giant German army from Black Tree Design but always promised myself some Foundry Cavalry when the time was right. Well, with this deal bringing their crazy prices down to what they were about three years ago...the time was right. Thanks for the tip off Big Red Bat.
However, attached to one of these collections was a group of naked savages. Now to appease my friend on the war games table, I may have to cover these sky clad warriors with a little 'green stuff'. As the period we are playing (early Imperial), warriors had become a little more modest with their equipment. Hermann, didn't get the memo about the new dress code.


Secundus said...

WARNING, this picture can be offensive if clicked have been warned.

Secundus said...

OK you can all relax now, I have pixelated the picture. So please feel free to click away...

Sire Godefroy said...

Nice cartoon - really made me laugh! :D

Admittedly, not the most reliable of all sources, but late 1st century Tacitus mentions some warrior cults which members fought (half-)naked. (Namely the Chatti, ancestors of the Hessians and so mine too, I fear.) It's a way to show special prowess, 'in vogue' up to the Middle Ages. Therefore, you could happily use these warriors as they are.

But if your mates really feel offended... ^^


BigRedBat said...

Perhaps you could paint small pixels onto the minis? ;-)

I have a load of the nekkid Germans, I may use them for early fanatics, sometime.

Was nice meeting up at Salute today!

Secundus said...

Personally I don't mind them as they are quicker to paint. They are also great for bulking out numbers on big bases, I hide them in the middle so they don't get noticed.

Big Red Bat It was good to see you aswell, we have a lot in common. It's always good to put a face to a name.
You'll have to think of a name you what for the Campaign when It starts again.

Scutatus said...

BigRedBat, aka Grand Rufus Fustio? ;)

And yeah, sorry guys, but the whole fighting naked thing was Sooo 1st century BC. Mostly. And when one looks closely, it appears that what little did go on occured only in localised areas (such as southern Gaul) amongst only a select few of the most stupidest... um, I mean toughest warriors. Proportionally very few in number actually fought utterly nude, even in the trend's peak. By Imperial Roman times it had largely fallen out of favour, even where it had been practiced.

On top of that, it is worth remembering that much of the alleged naked thing is based on Roman sources - be it in writing, tombs and monuments or artwork - but many of these Roman sources are far from reliable. For centuries Roman works were taken as gospel, but as we discover more and more for ourselves, we have come to realise that trusting the Romans word immplicitly is a big mistake.

Romans loved to put down the enemy and boost the image of the Roman. They portrayed the enemy as dumb barbaric savages (albeit sometimes brave and noble) and Romans as civilized supermen bringing civilization to the world. By this means they justified their wars of aggression. And how more barbaric could you get than a people who still fought naked? No matter that they no longer did any such thing. It was the perfect vehicle for demonstrating the need to save the poor barbarians from themselves. The Celts have equal rights for women? By the Gods, the poor fools, clearly Rome must save them from these errors injudgement! Invade, Invade!

The Romans never let the truth get in the way of "the message". There was an incredible amount of artistic licence and rewriting to suit whatever agenda the writer was trying to push. Hollywood, for all of its fabrications, has nothing on the Romans, I can tell you. Embelishment and outright fiction was common place - even normal - even in their more accurate "histories".

Most of the alleged "fighting naked" thing that we get from Roman sources actuually cannot be trusted by itself, whether it is honestly mistaken, exagerated, fabricated or even simply mis-translated by later interpreters (Fighting naked could just as easily be read HALF naked, ie, topless, but not literally naked). The Romans often used words interchangeably and employed the same description to mean several things. In other words, what with propoganda, artistic licence and the Roman habit for embelishment, sometimes Latin should not be taken completely literally - not used as a reliable authority in it's own right.

Basically, I don't beleive that there were many truly nude warriors in the first place. And next to none by Imperial Roman times.

Ah, what's the use? :D

Secundus said...

Thankyou Scutatus.

Next week, the Greeks, were they really all gay?

A Celt said...

Dear Sir,

As a Celt myself, I would like to set the record straight, once and of all, about this whole going-into-battle-naked thing. I regularly go into battles sans clothing. Initially the other chaps were a tad uncomfortable with the idea, but they've since grown used to it.

In fact, I try to do most things naked, and find it generally makes an activity infinitely more enjoyable. As I sit here in my round house, typing away, I am in fact in the buff, and all the better for it.

As for the validity of ancient Latin texts, surely ones ability to read and translate them correctly is what lies behind their validity. I personally don't understand a word of Latin, it's all Greek to me!

Yours, in his birthday suit,

A Celt

Centurion Malius said...

All the Celts I have faught have been Naked, infact I have never seen a Celt in clothes!
They live of corn and milk and dye their hair with blue mud. They are tall in stature but lack any real strength when it comes to manual labour. They also have no stomach when It comes to fighting and their weapons are no more than fire hardened staves, quite useless against our armour. If they as a race, are going to continue to survive in this harsh changing world, we will need to help them. Even if at first they are blind to the benifits, they will soon come around to our way of thinking and forever thank us for saving them. Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.

Centuturion Malius, 3rd Cohort,II Augusta.

Secundus said...

My friend Kircaticus always fights in the buff!