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!