Monday, May 14, 2012

Uh oh, Galatians calling!

The Galatians were a Celtic people who settled south of the Pontic kingdom on an upland plateau.  They forced their way into the region, fighting a series of campaigns against the armies of the local states who all stubbornly refused to be driven from their lands. As a result, the Galatians were forced to settle on a poor stretch of land where none of their neighbors considered it worthwhile to force them off.  The difficulty of their situation meant the Galatians were eager to work as mercenaries.  Philip Mastyszak's "Mithridates the Great" describes the Galatians as follows:

 "A special class of mercenaries were the Galatians. Thanks to their warrior culture, they were usually happy to fight against anyone and between themselves when no one else was available. The wealth of Pontus meant that the Galatians could combine business with pleasure and large numbers of them were usually available to fight under the Mithridatic standard. Though skilled metalworkers, all but tribal leaders generally fought naked. The Gauls made excellent shock troops, and it took experienced opponents to stand firm against a headlong charge by hundreds of large sword wielding warriors who wore nothing but spiky lime hairstyles and ferocious expressions. The bad news was that the Galatians had only a rudimentary grasp of military discipline and tended to regard setbacks as an invitation to go home."

The other bad news is I didn't find this nugget regarding the Galatians fighting naked until I'd already bought and painted this crew from Xyston. Don't cry for me, historical purists, as I have a batch of naked Gauls on the painting table to address my error!

I enjoyed painting these figures well enough that I put in an order with Brookhurst for 150 more Xyston Gallic figures.  Roman versus Gaul is a great matchup in Impetus so I'll be replacing the Gallic army I sold with an Impetus based army.

For our final Galatian tidbit, The Dying Gaul is an ancient Roman copy of a lost Hellenistic sculpture originally commissioned by Attalus I of Pergamon to celebrate his victory over the Galatians in Anatolia. Poor lad!


  1. Looking good, Monty. I wouldn't worry too much about the naked thing. I seem to recall reading the galatians were inveterate looters. By the time they "settled", half their gear was probably hellenic.

  2. Realy good looking !!!

    Best regards Michael

  3. These warriors had obviously dressed for dinner after which they would no doubt discard their clothing and charge some Romans!

    They look great!

  4. Thanks guys!

    One day, I'll post on the "evolution" of battledress over time and the opportunities AND challenges it provides an ancients gamer. For example, the Galatians once fought nude. As Fire points out, they likely kitted themselves in the gear of their enemies. During the Third Mithridatic War, they served the Romans against Mithridates and eventually became Legio XXII under Caesar.
    Buck naked<------------------>Roman Legion. That's a wide range of options for painting Galatians!

  5. Great job, Monty. Unfortunatley, almost all my celts are clothed

    Knocking out an army of naked Galatians would be a joy -- talk about speed painting! Oh well, perhaps I'll look at what Old Glory offer in their line of Celts.

  6. Hey Brent!

    Yes, the naked Gauls painted up very quickly. That lets you put the bulk of your time into shields. I'm looking forward to seeing your 28mm Gallic army in 2012! And getting another game of Impetus in!