Military Review

Army of Ancient Rome in illustrations

No wonder it is said - it is better to see once than hear ten. That is why today in historical In museums in the West, more and more often, a replica made by a modern master is exhibited next to the artifact itself. The fact is that it is difficult for a non-specialist to imagine the real appearance of, say, an ancient rusty sword or a whole vase from broken shards. In one museum, his employees once showed me a Sarmatian sword and said: “See, what a thick blade he has - 2 cm! How much did he weigh ?! " I had to explain to them that the thickness of the blade was hardly more than 5-8 mm at the handle, and towards the point it decreased even more, and it became "thick" due to corrosion and loosening of the surface layer, which ... mineralized over time! One can imagine the fables that they told tourists about the heavy 12-kilogram swords! And if there was a replica made by a professional next to it, 80% of the questions would disappear by themselves!

But such replicas are very expensive. But the drawings made by a professional artist are often not just informative, they also create a certain impression and allow you to remember what you need for a long time, if not forever (especially if you saw them in childhood!). Although, of course, drawing a picture is different and the artist is an artist too. For example, I once needed an artist to illustrate another book. I went to my Penza artists to ask for a person and ... I was given a person. A woman, a member of the Union of Artists and all that ... The fact that a woman didn’t matter to me: Krista Hook, for example, also draws warriors and draws them as well as her father. Gave her a sample to draw a "picture" with a knight. To change a pose, SAVING ALL DETAILS! It would seem that something easier if you know how to draw? But no, in the drawing that was issued to me, the belt buckle was already the belt itself, and there were many such blunders! But next to her on the table was her handbag with almost the same buckle! So it’s not enough to be a “member”, you also need to be able to draw a “bunk” and be able to imagine the “little things” of that time, which is not easy at all.

That is why artists who paint warriors of the past can literally be counted on the fingers of the West, and even their works differ in their quality and knowledge of the subject. For example, such an English artist, known for his works, as Angus MacBride. About how his work appeared for the publishing house "Osprey", fit to tell separately. He lived not far from Cape Town, where he had a studio, a stable and a paddock for horses. Naturally, students from college also helped him. He put them on in a sports leotard, put them in poses, put them on horses, after which he photographed and painted with photos, and after that he “dressed” what he needed. Hence the quality of the actual figures. Whereas even in the illustrations of the “Ospreevskiy” publications of some other artists with proportions of figures, all is not well.

Army of Ancient Rome in illustrations

Battle of Alesia A. McBride

But there are spots on the Sun. Here is his painting “The Battle of Alesia”. This is when the Gauls from both sides tried to break through the fortifications of Caesar, who besieged this city. It seems to be all credible. But ... why did the legionary in the center raise his hand with the sword up? "Do not chop!" Stabbing! ”- that was the main commandment of the Roman legionnaire in a sword fight, especially if he was in the ranks. That is, here you see either an unlearned legionnaire or ... Angus in a fit of feelings just forgot about it!

Legionnaires. Figure J. Rava.

But Giuseppe Rava, an Italian artist and miniaturist, inspired by the works of the same Angus MacBride. The author of an amazing amount of work, draws on the company "Italeri", "Andrea Miniatures", "Emhar" and many others. Here is his work: "The Roman legion in attack" and it has everything: the rank and file, and the standard-bearer, and the centurion with a stick, and the commander. And everything seems to be correct, but ... a legionnaire close to us, who pulled his hand back to throw his dart ... He has a red tunic on it! And he should have known that there was a lengthy controversy in the English historical journals on this issue, the purpose of which was to find out what color the tunics were at the legionnaires. And they found out - white, the color of unbleached linen! And only with centurions and Praetorians - red, but with the ship's command ("marines") - blue. Moreover, those and others painted the juice of the purphenic shell, but in different concentrations. Similarly, they painted the shields, the outer surface of which was often just covered with linen, because of which it was ... the same color as the tunics! And in confirmation of the illustration of Angus MacBride - "The Romans land in Britain." Legionnaire in a white tunic, centurion - in red!

The Romans land in Britain. Painting by A. McBride.

Pay spy. A high-ranking Roman officer, dressed to attract no attention, in a simple tunic with a soldier's belt, gives the “30 pieces of silver” to local Judas. North England, I century AD Painting by A. McBride

Roman auxiliaries in the forest during the Second Dacian War 105 AD Painting by A. McBride.

And here is another very illustrative work of Angus McBride, showing how carefully he worked with sources. On it are Roman auxiliaries - horsemen from the cavalry of the Celts cut Marcomans-Germans, I - II centuries. AD The fact is that during the campaign in Dacia, the legionnaires were forbidden to “hunt for their heads”. But ... on the column of Traian there are several images of warriors of auxiliary units with severed heads, which they hold not only in their hands, but even in their teeth! And ... show their trophies to Traian. And judging by the fact that this scene hit the column, there was nothing in this “such”. Like, what will you take from these savages allies! And notice - on one chain mail with a notched hem, on the other a scaly shell. Typical equipment equestrian auxiliaries from the column of Trajan.

Roman Celts, auxiliaries, kill Germanic Marcomans. A. McBride

But J. Rava, apparently, did not look at the bas-reliefs from the column of Trajan, although they were near him - in Rome, in the “square Coliseum”. Why did he “with his legionaries” put an iron “pipe” of plates on his right hand? None of the Roman warrior figures from Trajan’s column has such a detail!

The Romans fight the Dacians. Painting Lj. Rav.

Works by Peter Connolly are considered classics, because he not only painted, but also wrote. Here, for example, his legionary I in. BC. with an oval shield skutum and a helmet kulus in the helmet, as well as in a chain mail with shoulder pads. This drawing became, one might say, a textbook image, although, in my opinion, the shield along the edge looks too thin.

Legionnaire I in. BC. P. Connolly.

Another legionary of the same time in the Montefortin's helmet. Here again Peter Connolly drew a red tunic and a shield, but this drawing appeared before the question was closed.

It should be noted that even before these artists the British had very good “draftsmen of the Romans”, for example, such an artist as Ronald Embleton, even though he drew them all in red tunics and even pants! Although this paint was very expensive and for all the Roman army, especially for pants, it simply would not be enough for everyone!

Meeting Ambassadors. R.Embleton.

Roman officers of the 1st c. AD R.Embleton

But this reconstruction of the Roman clibanarium Ronald Embleton made on a find in Dura-Europos, where it was discovered just such horse armor. Well, he did not invent all the other details of the armor either. They are in museums. Here is just a shield ... He is very big. Another British historian and designer Mike Simkins depicted his exactly the same warrior with a hexagonal shield, but who is right and who is “more to the right”, to say exactly, alas, it is impossible.

Klibanariy. R.Embleton

The rotates of the Romans were also mercenaries. They themselves such a thing as throwing stones is not difficult. But to shoot from a scorpion, onager or ballista - why not. In this they did not see anything shameful for themselves!

Scorpio and slingers. R.Embleton.

So, many people are trying to draw Roman warriors in the West, both in Italy and in England, as well as in other countries. But as always, "the devil is hiding in the details." For example, the image of a Roman legionary in the form of a “Marian Mule” by Christos Gianopolus from Greece. It seems that everything is fine, but it is clearly visible that his shield is too wide. He was so great and hard, and so Christos must have something very heavy!

Bas-relief from the column of Trajan.
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  1. inkass_98
    inkass_98 11 February 2016 07: 46
    Reconstruction is a rather complicated thing, without a qualified restoration anywhere. And the drawings and reliefs of those times are not always reliable at 100%, all the same nuances will be present. With metal, during this time, a lot of what happens in the earth, not to mention organics like wood and leather. Would the armor be ceramic laughing , then yes, dig your health, nothing is done to it in the earth and water.
    And again, about the artists-reenactors: well, he "sees it this way", but he doesn't care about the comfort of wearing and the weight of the same shield, and he likes the color of the equipment "like this" more.
    1. kalibr
      11 February 2016 07: 57
      With color, it's easier if it's bronze or copper. Iron, too, was cleaned to shine (then historians wrote about shining armor!), But the fabric, yes. Because, as a rule, there are no traces left. Although, for example, it is very easy to establish traces of such paint as cinnabar - it is mercury and sulfur! The paint is made from black tannins. In Lithuania, in the swamps they found shields and also finds of the famous Gokstad ship. And so - yes, you are right. M.V. Gerilik once made a Sarmatian sword on the model found during excavations. The difference between found and done is very large. It was very difficult ... to calculate the thickness. How much rust per year, how liming occurs ... But from the swamps in Nidam the swords got almost like new!
      1. Voice of the Mind
        Voice of the Mind 11 February 2016 12: 57
        “Do not chop! Stab! ” - that was the main commandment of the Roman legionary in a sword fight, especially if he was in the ranks

        The fact of the matter is that in the ranks and precisely so as not to violate the ranks. But sooner or later, the system falls into dozens of small fights. And it would be foolish to limit the fencing of the Romans to only stabbing
        Why did he put an iron “pipe” of plates on his right hand “to his legionnaires”?

        Manica arm and shoulder protection, often used by legionnaires.
        He is wearing a red tunic! And he should have known ... from the legionnaires .. white, the color of unbleached canvas! And only among the centurions and praetorians - red

        Do not confuse red with purple. The purple color in Rome is a symbol of power.
    2. abrakadabre
      abrakadabre 11 February 2016 11: 04
      And again, about the artists-reenactors: well, here he "sees"
      In the case of illustrations for scientific articles, the personal vision of the artist is not interesting to anyone and is directly suppressed. The tone in this case is set by science.
  2. Loreal
    Loreal 11 February 2016 07: 58
    Was that all painted then?
  3. parusnik
    parusnik 11 February 2016 08: 10
    Thank you Vyacheslav, the reconstruction drawings are wonderful .. It’s hard work to reconstruct what sometimes is almost gone ..
  4. Free wind
    Free wind 11 February 2016 08: 42
    But in the first picture it seems that there is a coordinated work of two legionnaires against the Gaul. The one that crouched already began to strike the gall in the barrel, but the gall had already begun its strike, the legionnaire in the background parries this blow and will help his friend defeat. Gladiuses with their own balancing are certainly more pricking weapons, cutting them hard, you beat your hands off strongly, but it is possible.
  5. Free wind
    Free wind 11 February 2016 08: 45
    It’s a pity, of course, that in those days the military commissars worked very badly, well, they’ll take a couple of interviews, write down the course of the battle and the outcome of the battle in a notebook, but for some reason they didn’t take photos? It's a shame you understand laughing
  6. abrakadabre
    abrakadabre 11 February 2016 09: 25
    It should be noted that even before these artists the British had very good “draftsmen of the Romans”, for example, such an artist as Ronald Embleton, even though he drew them all in red tunics and even pants! Although this paint was very expensive and for all the Roman army, especially for pants, it simply would not be enough for everyone!
    In this picture, the artist mortally insulted all the Romans depicted - they are all without a belt, which was not only a utilitarian thing. but also an indicator of the status of the Roman military. Depriving a belt is almost analogous to a public fracture of a sword over the head of nobles of modern times.

    The same flaw in the two pictures:
    Roman Celts of the Auxiliaries kill German Marcomanians. A.MacBride. - Both warriors in the foreground are not belted.
    Roman auxiliaries in the forest during the Second Dacian War 105 AD Painting by A. MacBride. “The archer is also not belted.”

    Even considering that these are Waxilarii, which may not be ethnic Romans, this could not be. For all nations, the belt is a symbol of a free man, unlike a slave, a prisoner or a criminal. In addition, wearing long chain mail or a scaly shell without a belt is not only inconvenient, but also very tiring.

    But as always, "the devil is hiding in the little things." For example, the image of the Roman legionnaire in the form of the "Marian mule" Christos Gianopolus from Greece. Everything seems to be fine, but you can clearly see that his shield is too wide. He was already so great and heavy, and Christos should have something absolutely impossible!
    In addition, the legionnaire depicted is too straight for the weight that is behind him. Given that the full calculation of the legionnaire sometimes reached 40 kg (well, let it be 30 kg minus the shield), it is elegant to stand as if nothing could come out physically behind your back.
    1. The comment was deleted.
    2. kalibr
      11 February 2016 12: 15
      Apparently, he was guided by the famous column at the same time ... When you prepare sketches for Osprey, you give either a photo or a graphic sketch for each figure. And on it with arrows - from where what is taken (statue, bas-relief, museum, monograph - page) then you indicate the material from which it is made. That is, for them, something simply invented by either the author or the artist is unthinkable. And this is only the first part of the work! Then the author receives copies of the artist’s sketches and the arrows on them are his questions: drawing on the fabric and its texture, from which the ends of the bow, in a word a bunch of little things. It’s easier sometimes to write than to find where it came from and what kind of material. You can’t find ... the picture changes so as to avoid any accusations of incompetence. This is very hard work!
  7. kagorta
    kagorta 11 February 2016 11: 05
    Thank you, I now know the author of the picture I wanted to find.
  8. The comment was deleted.
  9. Jääkorppi
    Jääkorppi 11 February 2016 12: 20
    Thank! Unfortunately, if the history of republican Rome and the early Empire was sanctified quite well, then the period from the 2nd to the 5th centuries AD is not very good. Also interesting are the wars of Byzantium in the west, the campaigns of Belisarius and so on.
  10. Serg1977
    Serg1977 11 February 2016 12: 36
    Here is another very interesting article. good
  11. unknown
    unknown 11 February 2016 14: 15
    Kalyuzhny, Zhabinsky "Another history of wars".
    No mythical Rome, Ancient Greece.
    The real power of the Ancient world and the early Middle Ages is Romea (Byzantium).
  12. Nikolaevich I
    Nikolaevich I 11 February 2016 14: 15
    Have you heard this: do not shoot the pianist - he plays as he can! Duc, ... and the artist draws as "he can"! But, all the same ... babble! (how the pictures look!)
  13. Voice of the Mind
    Voice of the Mind 11 February 2016 14: 58
    the best book on this subject Kevin Kylie "Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Warriors of the Roman World, VIII century BC - 1453"
    If anyone has an electronic link please. I am happy to download
    1. crumb
      crumb 11 February 2016 20: 08
      ov / -there in pdf format
      1. Voice of the Mind
        Voice of the Mind 11 February 2016 22: 34
        Quote: croche
        there in pdf format

        Alas, there are only 30 pages, a trial fragment
  14. voyaka uh
    voyaka uh 11 February 2016 17: 41
    So that no one would envy the Roman legionnaires, I’ll add
    that battles and campaigns were a holiday and a rest for them.
    Peaceful breaks were hell. At this time, so that "the guys do not relax"
    and dreamed of battles, they were made to pave the famous Roman stone
    the roads. Preserved in many places of the former Roman Empire so far -
    unprecedented and unattainable quality!
    Not slaves - I repeat - built these roads, but free legionnaires!
    But even the end of the week among the expensive-styling they were made notable: baths, women, wine ...
    Remnants of the Roman country clubs are also scattered throughout Europe and the Middle East.

    In Israel, in the pose last year, the camp of the Famous Legion was excavated:
    Sixth Iron Roman Legion (Legio VI Ferrata). It was located
    at a strategic point - near the ancient fortress of Meggido (hence Armageddon), where
    The road from Egypt to Syria, all the armies of antiquity and tens of battles were in full swing.

    The camp has existed for over 300 years. Two dozen generations of legionnaires have changed ...
    1. KakoVedi
      KakoVedi 11 February 2016 19: 13
      So sort of sorted the material associated with the one who paved the road. I remember it was suggested that the legionnaires acted as foremen ... And they are slaves in Africa - slaves!
  15. KakoVedi
    KakoVedi 11 February 2016 19: 10
    Giuseppe painted in a "red" tunic not only a legionnaire throwing a spear, but one following him. Maybe he wanted to highlight the right flank ?!
  16. engineer
    engineer 11 February 2016 19: 18
    Yes. you will not envy Roman legionnaires. after the march, it is necessary to equip the camp. and this is a moat: a trench with a parapet and a stockade. and then the guards and distant patrols. and the arrangement of the camp itself: tents. the kitchen. toilets, etc. there is no time for rest and sleep. and so day after day. in the modern army it is only in exercises. and even then not always. and yet people did it all.
    1. abrakadabre
      abrakadabre 11 February 2016 20: 57
      But, as a result, you will not envy the opponents of such legions.
      What has been proven by the Romans many dozens of times. The power is huge in such a prof.
  17. cth; fyn
    cth; fyn 11 February 2016 19: 52
    The author of this picture painted armor from nature, unfortunately I do not remember his name.
    In general, it’s a complete disaster for the artists, look for the draftsman’s engineer better, they are even accustomed to accuracy, and many draw very well.
  18. Alf
    Alf 11 February 2016 21: 42
    The series "Rome".
    1. kalibr
      12 February 2016 22: 08
      On the rider, the armor of Michael Potrais is a master from the USA. As for the rest ... not bad, but ... why the pilums have square shafts and the tips themselves are also square. It was not and could not be. And attaching the tip to the pole is completely different ...
      1. Alf
        Alf 13 February 2016 19: 02
        Quote: kalibr
        It was not and could not be.

        Why not? Just out of interest. What evidence is there?
  19. Cap.Morgan
    Cap.Morgan 11 February 2016 22: 42
    Cool theme. Thank.
  20. Fidel
    Fidel 11 February 2016 22: 44
    Oh, these tales, oh, these storytellers ....))
  21. Pitot
    Pitot 12 February 2016 02: 52
    That's for sure - storytellers dreamers ......
  22. Svetoch
    Svetoch 6 January 2017 16: 57
    Pretty interesting. You can still have this kind of material and more. I love reliable illustrations or not reliable but with detailed comments on what is wrong.
  23. mvbmvbmvb
    mvbmvbmvb 22 March 2018 18: 23
    Pictures they are pictures, especially artists working for commerce. For brilliance, beautifulness, you can draw legionnaires in the same red form with a solid iron!
  24. Seal
    Seal April 28 2018 13: 21
    And he should have known that there was a lengthy polemic in English historical magazines about this, the purpose of which was to find out what color the tunics were from the legionnaires. And found out

    Ofiiigetti !!! Found out by method ..... polemics laughing
    That is deal to consider that tunics were of such and such color.
    However, everything else that is “clarified” in history was found out in this way.
  25. Seal
    Seal April 28 2018 13: 23
    Quote: JääKorppi
    Unfortunately, if the history of republican Rome and the early Empire is sanctified well enough,

    Exactly what is sanctified. It is consecrated by authoritative historians who have agreed among themselves.
  26. Seal
    Seal April 28 2018 13: 55
    A "emperor Hadrian" in the second century BC. e. disarmed the Roman army, replacing the carapace and helmet of Roman soldiers with a cossack and hat hi
  27. Wened
    Wened 6 May 2019 14: 20
    Who cares, you can google the magazine "New Soldier", each issue is devoted to a separate topic.
    № 1 "Roman infantry during the decline of the empire".
    I downloaded from here: