Pages

Friday, November 2, 2012

Sertorius and his Spanish Legion

The story of Quintus Sertorius is a fascinating one. His first military service was under Quintus Caepio at the disastrous Battle of Arausio.  There, the Teutones and Cimbri destroyed 2 Roman armies, inflicting losses that exceeded Cannae. Sertorius was wounded in many places during the battle and still managed to swim across the Rhone to save his life.

He learned the art of war serving Gaius Marius as a Tribune.  Plutarch reports that Sertorius disguised himself in Celtic dress to spy on the Teutones and Cimbri. Subsequently, he fought at the Battle of Aquae Sextiae where Marius' destroyed the Teutones.

Sertorius was in charge of recruiting and training legions for Marius during the Social Wars and that was the start of his downfall.  Once Sulla forced Marius into exile, Sertorius ended up on the proscription list. Sertorius fled to Hispania where Roman refugees and deserters would later join him in exile. The Lusitanians hired him to fight the Romans and he cobbled together and trained an army that kept Rome at bay during the 8 year Sertorian War.  He was more than a match for Pompey, defeating his combined armies more than once. 

After inflicting terrible casualties on the Romans, Sertorius made a fateful gamble to win control of Hispania once and for all. He attacked the fortified camp of Metellus and Pompey and was thrown back with terrible losses. This was a defeat from which he would not recover. Metellus offered 100 talents and 20,000 acres of land to any Roman who killed Sertorius.  A Roman in Sertorius’ camp named Peperna led a conspiracy which culminated with the plotters falling upon their leader with daggers and swords during a banquet. Thus ended the life of one of the great men of Rome.  

For a full read at your leisure, I'd recommend:  The Sertorian War.  
For Sertorius' legion, I chose a combo of white and tan for the tunics. I'm guessing that as their equipment wore out, his men improvised or picked up gear from the Romans in the field.  All Xyston figures.  



The Sertorius Lusitanians list in Field of Glory allows you to take 8 bases of legionaries, which represents the Legionaries who served under him. You can also take your Lusitanian medium foot as drilled, which comes straight from Plutarch:


"He was also highly honored for his introducing discipline and good order amongst them, for he altered their furious savage manner of fighting, and brought them to make use of the Roman armor, taught them to keep their ranks, and observe signals and watchwards; and out of a confused number of thieves and robbers he constituted a regular, well-disciplined army. He bestowed silver and gold upon them liberally to gild and adorn their helmets, he had their shields worked with various figures and designs, he brought them into the mode of wearing flowered and embroidered cloaks and coats, and by supplying money for these purposes, and joining with them in all improvements, he won the hearts of all.  Nor were the Spaniards alone ambitious to serve him, but the Roman soldiers, also, that came out of Italy, were impatient to be under his command.... "

24 comments:

  1. Very nice work and I really like those shields!

    Christopher

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Chris! With Xyston, I sometimes think you can stop at the shield. Of course, that's not quite true because you can see their backsides!

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. I hear you. I had the same thought with Sertorius that I had when I was finished reading about Mithridates. Each of these fellows stood up to Rome longer than they had a right to. And yet, each was a dead man in doing so. Sertorius could have fought the Romans for 16 years and they would have come back for more in years 17, 18 and 19. Can't kill him in battle? How about assassination? Whatever it took, that was the Roman way.

      Delete
  3. I love them!

    FMB, surely Romans killing Romans is a good thing? ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Rosbif! One day, the Spanish ulcer the Romans suffered becomes a Spanish ulcer for Napoleon.

      It's not so easy to link ancients to Napoleonics, but I try. :-)

      Delete
  4. Interesting character, hope he serves you well on the tabletop!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Max! Agreed. I wish there was more to read than the classics on him.

      Spoiler alert...I got these boys on the tabletop and lets just say I'm very happy. I'll get an AAR up for it shortly. New. Favorite. Army!

      Delete
  5. Beautiful unit Monty and history lesson.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I'm surprised someone hasn't tried to write a script or publish a book recently about Sertorius. I ran out of time to talk about it here but he also was a pirate for a time!

      Delete
  6. That's a beautiful looking unit and some great info as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Ray.

      As quick aside, my kids give me grief about my blogging pic. Yours always makes me laugh...in a good way, mind you!

      Delete
  7. Very nice paint job and a good story to, what more to ask for, THANKS !

    Best regards Michael

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Dal! It was sad to read that Swedish hero Tord Karlsson met an end similar to Sertorius, killed not in battle but by plot.

      Delete
  8. Once again a great work Monty! Minis and story, all is very nice...
    Best,
    Phil.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Great looking unit, Monty. Impressive research combined with the work. Best, Dean

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Dean. This is a period I've been belatedly mining for 2012 and it is fascinating! I ran out of space to mention that Sertorius and Mithridates (from my Pontic project) signed a treaty, since each was being hunted to extinction by Rome. And Sertorius sent a Roman general under his command to help Mithridates out. All of these dots to connect!

      Delete
  10. cracking work, now I know what I will do with my rebasing of my republicans.....add a few units of Spanish types....

    cheers
    Matt

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good call but I'll warn you...painting up scutarii for my Later Carthaginian army got me thinking about doing a spanish army. In for a penny, in for a pound! :-)

      Delete
  11. Love the army in general and your in particular. I have to make my own list a reality which I have been promising for some time (even have all the bases ready, just no figures). Great paint scheme cannot wait to see it in action!!

    All the best
    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  12. Lee! Thank you for your kind words. I've got just a little bit of work to do to get my Sertorius AAR up. Stay tuned!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Superb Monty. Very dangerous little army. Legionaries give it some back bone while still having all the flex of a typical Iberian force....nasty nasty combination. Does FoG let you have Celtiberians as well ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! The difference between Iberian, Celtiberian and Lusitanian is mostly up to you the painter in FoG. ;-)

      All are treated as Impact Foot, where they get a bonus at impact. The Iberians and Lusitanian are medium foot whereas the Celtiberians can be taken as Heavy foot. The big changeup is Sertorius' Lusitanians allows you to take your Medium foot as drilled. That is huge in this game, as I'll eventually show!

      Delete