How are you choosing your Forces?

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Captain Reid
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Re: How are you choosing your Forces?

Post by Captain Reid »

Yes. Certainly Arrian's Order of Battle Against the Alans makes a thing of missile weapons generally and bows feature in that. t also makes sense in that foot archers generally are able to discourage opposing horse archers fairly effectively and horses of all sorts don't like pointy missiles . . .

Trajan seems to have recruited auxiliary archers for the Dacian campaigns, although it seems likely that either mercenary or allied contingents would have been present in Asia Minor anyway. There was a cohort of Cretans and also a cohort of Roman citizen archers raised in Italy (who were stationed in Asian Minor, if I recall correctly), as well as a few other 'western' archer units. in which case it'd appear that the Romans didn't entirely subscribe to the 'easterners are better archers' perspective - though it's fair to say that Syria did produce a fair number of the auxiliary archers.

Of course the list is just where the unit was stationed. We know legions sent vexillations to provinces other than where they were stationed, and it's quite possible that auxiliary cohorts did likewise.
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Waterhorse
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Re: How are you choosing your Forces?

Post by Waterhorse »

Sounds reasonable to me. If I was up to my neck in Horse Archers, I'd quite like someone on my side to be shooting back!

And a Cohort of Cretans! Was that for old times sake? 😄

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Captain Reid
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Re: How are you choosing your Forces?

Post by Captain Reid »

Trajan may have widened recruiting to include places like Crete and the Balearics (as well as the wilder parts of North Africa) for his Dacian Wars - certainly we see unarmoured Numidian cavalry on Trajan's column, though it's possible that was a stylistic choice. Or that recruiting may have just been going on anyway but men joining other auxiliary cohorts. Or he may have deliberately decided to recruit 'Numidians' (including various tribes under that umbrella) and Balearic slingers on a 'campaign' basis rather than formally raise auxiliary units he might not want to keep after Dacia was done (clearly he did recruit formal auxilia cohorts too, that became part of the standing army - it's just we've fair evidence for him recruiting more widely than that).
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DougM
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Re: How are you choosing your Forces?

Post by DougM »

There's been a fair bit of debate about auxiliaries and status, so whether you have a formal embodiment of non citizens into essentially a Roman unit, who serve long term, versus a group of specialised 'auxiliaries' who aren't part of the formal establishment and tend to be per campaign. As always with these things, it's a case of 'we can't be definitive, and it might have been both, depending on where and when and who the Emperor/General was'.
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Captain Reid
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Re: How are you choosing your Forces?

Post by Captain Reid »

Status becomes even more intriguing when we consider the C.R. auxilia, especially the 'volunteers'. While C.R. can denote a unit whose members were all granted citizenship for some act of good service, the latter are definitely citizens who seem to have preferred service in the (foot) auxilia - at a lower rate of pay - to that in the legions. Which raises lots of very interesting questions.
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