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Thread: Germans tribes in III century: how did they look like?

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    Diocle's Avatar Centurio Primus Ordine
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    Default Germans tribes in III century: how did they look like?

    As in the title, how were different from the German tribes of the IV, V or VI centuries?

    Well, about armors and equipment, I know only what we should not find!
    -Franciscas are surely not in use in this time,the earlier finds, in Frankish burials of franciscas trowing axes were found only in V century, and the first description of francisca is that of Sidonius Apollinaris of the late V century.
    -Angones were not in use in this time, the angones appeared only from V to VII centuries as prestige weapons.
    -No lamellar armors for this age and, IMO we should see less armor in the Germanic warbands in the III century.
    We find lamellars armor in the Alamannic context burial at Niederstozingen surely dated 600 AD, and in the Frankish burial at Kerfeld Gellep of the VII century, before, no lamellar armors.
    The magnificent lamellar helmet Niederstozingen also belong to the VII c. context and is of Avar influence.
    The only helmet type I have in mind for this time, is Spangenhelm type, or Roman's types adapted. Am I right?


    About troop types: I think we should have more warband type units, and not any kind of levies, obviously good cavalry but unarmored, and fewer armored heavy units than in the IV or V centuries. So infantry almost exclusively of tribal type. What do you think?

    I do not know if in the III century we can speak of true German Comitatus units like in the IV or V centuries. The large German Comitatus like we can see in the battle of Argentoratae, require great federations, and good and young warriors from various tribes arriving to serve the powerful great warlord/king. I would be really interested to know if in the III century we can observe this situation.

    Last hypotesis taht I can advance: Fewer ethnic distinctions between tribal groups, in the III century the great Germanic tribal groupings were still in a stage of formation. The great federations like Vandals Franks Goths or Alamannic were in part jet outlined but in a more fluid state than in the IV or V centuries.

    About Religio: were they still animists or they had already adopted the shamanic cult of Wotan? So which types of religious buildings we will find in the mod? Tacitus speaking of the German religion in his time, tell us that they worshiped the trees, now in the third century, to centuries after Tacitus they probably had adopted the cult of Wotan. Is this true?

    What do you think guys, how looked like, the Germans, in this age?
    Last edited by Diocle; December 15, 2011 at 02:30 PM.

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    First Citizen Gallienus's Avatar Princeps Posterior
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    Default Re: Germans tribes in III century: how did they look like?

    While I apologize I'm not adding anything to the table yet, I'd like to say this is a fine idea for a topic Diocle. Hopefully we'll get some answers... and pics!!
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    Diocle's Avatar Centurio Primus Ordine
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    Default Re: Germans tribes in III century: how did they look like?

    Yes FCG brother, we are always speaking about Persian and similar, but also on the Danube and Rhine borders, the situation was in development, and was not easy for the Romans!

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    Diocletianus's Avatar Hastatus
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    Default Re: Germans tribes in III century: how did they look like?

    We lack archeological and writting sources for germanics tribes in this period... I'l look for some evidences in Deuxipe and in other historian like Herodian.

    Envers et contre tous...et c'est tant mieux ainsi ! Ze political profile



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    Default Re: Germans tribes in III century: how did they look like?

    This is a great thread and I'm hoping it will be of service to us to determine what the Germans were armed with. I do have the Osprey book "Germanic Warrior 236-568" which does say that the Germannic warrior of the 3rd-4th Century was armed with the Angon backed up by the Francisca, but I don't pretend to be an expert.

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    Default Re: Germans tribes in III century: how did they look like?

    IMHO, in the 3rd century these tribal confederations were not as united as in later centuries, the original sub-tribes were more in the foreground.
    That shall be regarded in the description and desiging of the units.
    For example, for the Franks there should be (at least) a Cheruscii unit.

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    SeniorBatavianHorse's Avatar Tribunus Vacans
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    Default Re: Germans tribes in III century: how did they look like?

    This is an interesting topic and one that is wide-ranging too! Thanks, Diocle, for opening it up.

    I have been reading Peter Heather lately and he makes some interesting observations about the social compositions in this era which lead into the more documented times under Ammianus. The rise of the confederations is a tricky issue due to the lack of historical documents - both Roman and 'Germanic' - but there is some contextual evidence to suggest the following:

    The era of Tacitus and Ptolemy clearly indicates a large swathe of loose tribal groupings all along the Rhine areas and up into Jutland and beyond. Look at any map of this era and you will see dozens of tribes named and re-affirmed by first Tactitus and then Ptolemy. There is evidence of supra-tribal federations but Heather argues these are religous in nature and do not seem to have played a part in any aggressive raiding or defensive actions in the 1st or 2nd century.

    In the 3rd and 4th century however a clear shift has occured away from small tribal groups (ruled in a variety of ways) to larger 'united' groupings now adopting generic names - the Franks or 'bold', the Alemanni or 'all men' and so on. Two changes seem to have occured here - a larger polity and rule within that polity by kings and petty kings. Tacitus I think is pretty clear that the earlier Germanic tribes were rarely ruled by 'kings' and even then their power was precarious and that princeps or optimates normally wielded power.

    This last shift is interesting for it rests on the notion that these larger confederations were created around a power-base which involved charismatic individuals who had yet to establish hereditary lines of succession. Somwhere in the 2nd to 3rd century we see a shift from Tactitus to Ammianus in terms of how the Romans writers understood and described Germanic tribes. It is important also to understand that these confederations I think were not nationalistic leanings towards some pan-Germanic identity but rather responses towards a weakening Roman Empire and the lucrative pickings which lay therein. This was also coupled with an increase in agricultural output which allowed the warrior class to now live off a broader and more wealthy farming level. Warlords and warriors were combining into a powerful vocal minority which was overriding the older more traditional 'village-elder' base.

    In the 3rd century, we see massive incursions of these confederations all along the Roman limes - Franks raid Gaul, Hispania and even Africa in a precursor to the Vandal incursions later, the Alemanni erupt into Noricum and Italy, the Goths raid the Black Sea, Greece and Asia Minor, and so on. These are all long, committed and sustained invasions.

    This is the clear difference between the 3rd century and the later 4th - all these invasions and incursions were established by warrior groupings under charismatic warlords and Ammianus' 'petty kings'. These were not migrating hordes but large and aggressive warbands under these confederations. As such, we would expect to see a sizable contingent of elite comitatus warriors supported by the less-wealthy and well-equipped warriors and then the usual desperate young men eager for plunder and glory - all brought together under a single warlord or king - or a small inner comitatus of petty kings (like the later Crusades). As time wore on and these invasions progessed - the Goths in the Black Sea or the Franks down to Africa, then, as more and more arms and booty was accumulated, the proportion of well-equipped warriors would increase, of course.

    On a personal level, I see Ammianus' description of the assembling Alemanni at Argentoratum as being closer to the 3rd century than I do Tacitus - simply because the confederations existed in the 3rd and were wreaking havoc on a scale which almost ruined the Roman Empire. We no longer hear of any other rule in the Germanic realms in the 3rd century other than kings and petty kings - and the scale and longevity of the incursions speaks to a powerful charismatic warlord rather than the old council-led rule of elders.

    It has been debated that the angon and indeed even the longsword within the Germanic tribes are both actually Roman-derived weapons and that therefore this is precisely the period in which these weapons now emerge as dominate status symbols among the tribal groupings but there is little hard evidence either way here. It is interesting that the more northern tribes - the Saxons for example - retain the small single-edged cutting sword rather than develop the longsword and that might point to the argument of Roman influence being greater on the tribes closer to the Rhine - but again this is flimsy evidence! I will post more as I read more . . .
    Last edited by SeniorBatavianHorse; December 18, 2011 at 04:49 AM.

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    Diocle's Avatar Centurio Primus Ordine
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    Default Re: Germans tribes in III century: how did they look like?

    Quote Originally Posted by julianus heraclius View Post
    This is a great thread and I'm hoping it will be of service to us to determine what the Germans were armed with. I do have the Osprey book "Germanic Warrior 236-568" which does say that the Germannic warrior of the 3rd-4th Century was armed with the Angon backed up by the Francisca, but I don't pretend to be an expert.
    I also have that book, but in other texts I read that the Angones and Franciscas belong to a later period respect to what says Colonell MacDowell.
    I'm an old wargamer and obviously the best review for wargamers is Wargames Illustrated, in which I found the series of articles of Guy Halsall, very,very detailed and serious about the Merovingian Armies from the IV to the VII century, the publication of the articles lasted three years, the author examines the weaponery, armor, armies organization, tactics and campaigns, the quotes from Agathias and Sidonius Apollinaris and other historical fonts, the research about the most important archeology sites and materials are true convincing. The author is in open polemic with colonel MacDawell, who in his opinion uses the archeological evidences out of their correct temporal context.

    I'll quote some of his description about the arms, which could be useful for us, so here prof. Guy Halsall:

    - Angones: 'the most distinctive kind of spear found in Frankish burials is the angon. The design of these is fairly constant; a long iron haft with a small barbed head. It was presumibly mounted on a realtively short wooden shaft. For all that Agatias says this was the traditional Frankish weapon, the actual number of angones disputes this.Across the whole of the so-called frankish areas of northern France and south Germany, which have yelded tens of thousand of furnished male burials, perhaps only a hundred or so angones are known. Those which have been found come, moreover, from particularly lavish burials. They may therefore have formed part of the weaponery of the aristocratic elite of the Frankih forces.
    ......Angones are late fifth to sixth-century in date. They are not found in seventh-century Frankish contexts, which suggests that they had dropped from use by then.'

    - Franciscas: '....Actually the origin of the francisca is obscure (Dahmlos 1977 is the best introduction to the study of the francisca). hatcchets are known from the fourth-century east European 'Gothic' contexts (Heather & Matthews 1991, p.88) but are unlikely to have provided the prototype. Exemples are unknown from the frankish homeland, but that could be because the Franks did not practice furnished burials until after they had settled in the Roman Empire. On the other hand, Ammianus Marcellinus does not describe the Franks as using these axe; the first description of a Frank with an axe comes from the late fifth century with Sidonius Apollinaris' description. This is also the time that the characteristic francisca appears archeologically. Pheraps the francisca was developed while Franks were settling northern Gaul. Axes are known from late Roman weapon burials in the region. Written sources also suggest that the axe (bipennis or securis) was a late Roman weapon. Dahmlos suggests, on the other hand, that it may have developed from a kind of throwing club, of which one exemple is Known from the Frankish homeland. .....The francisca is hardly known at all after 600 AD.'

    I think that unfortuantely we should not use Ango nor Francisca in III c. contexts, but if someone finds some material or written source about these weapon I'll be very happy, the Francisca in particular is the main reason for me to play Franks, I don't know why but I feel very attractive the idea of trowing an axe in the middle of the head of someone!!!

    The post of SBH is very interesting and condivisible, but I want to add only a small observation: Yes in our age, the III century, the confederations were jet present, and the armies of this age probably were more similar to the Alamannic Exercitus which Ammianus describes at Argentoratae than to those of the times of Marcomannic wars, but not for the weapons! The Alamnnic (but also Franks) confederation in the time of Ammianus was established on Roman land from more time, their weapons and equipment in that age probably was more advanced and rich respect to the middle III century. Or not?


    As Gaiten says, also for me the confederations in this age were more fluid than in the IV century.( Exemple: The Franks was group of many tribes like the Chamavi, Bructerii, Tencterii, Chatti, tribes well known by Roman authors jet in the first century, which were perhaps the first nucleus of the federation, and then added themselves Chauci and Frisii from the north and the Cerusci in the south and others.)

    IMO we have three main period:
    - The age from Caesr to Tacitus, with many small sedentary tribes.
    - The Marcomannic wars, which for me are the real turning point, in which the Roman had to face a new situation: no more small tribal forces, but now great armies composed by many tribes and warriors from distant and different regions, this great armies were capable of complex strategies and broke the limes on the Rhine and the danube with a quite coordinate strategy and political/strategic vision, Marcus Aurelius saved in the end the Empire but all the strategic situation was permanently changed.
    The Germans seen the success of the Marcomannic wars transformed the alliances in more strict political entities.
    -The third century: the confederations became more and more political if not ethnic subjects, and for the second half of the century quite similar to the Germanic great nations of the IV cent., as says SBH, it would be very interesting know how this situation influence the military aspects of the problem.


    What I'm trying to say is that, in terms of equipment, probably the mid III c. Germanic worriors appearance was halfway between IV century and high Imperial situation of Marcomannic Wars: So Mainly warbands, fewer armor and weapons similar to that of the II century. It would be interesting understand the role of the Iazyges (it is right?) and Sarmatians, they maight be useful as heavy cavalry!
    Last edited by Diocle; December 17, 2011 at 09:23 PM.

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    SeniorBatavianHorse's Avatar Tribunus Vacans
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    Default Re: Germans tribes in III century: how did they look like?

    I think Diocles is right about the Marcomanni wars as being a turning point in Roman/Germanic warfare. That period saw massive organised German war bands and armies smash through the limes on a scale and consistency rarely encountered before – and speaks to a sea-change in Germanic social relations.

    Note: the following is distilled from Peter Heather’s ‘Empires and Barbarians’ PAN 2009 –

    As far as the social make-up and organisation is concerned, the general consensus is that a shift from extensive to intensive agricultural production allowed a move from single household to multi-household farms which in the 2nd to 3rd century allowed populations and their underlying farming base to leap in size. This allowed a minority warrior class to mushroom in size and material goods so that the older ruling structures were eroded and replaced with a warrior aristocracy. This also allowed a shift away from locally produced weapons and gear to areas which mass-produced equipment on a massive almost factory scale – copying and distributing Roman inspired weapons and armour. Huge surplus in agriculture was converted into material for war and ‘floated’ huge war bands and their warlords.

    The mass dumping of weapons at Ejsbol Mose allowed an excavation on an entire Germanic warband and its weapons circa 300AD – it has been demonstrated that the equipment represented a 200-strong warband which had been defeated and its accoutrements ritually despoiled and thrown into the bog. Of these 200 warriors, 10 or so were mounted optimates or chieftains, the remaining were spearmen who carried one barbed javelin for throwing and one non-barbed spear for thrusting (193 barbed and 187 non-barbed). Of these spearmen, some 60 or so wore elaborate belts with Roman-copy swords and knifes (63 belt buckles, 60 swords and 62 knives were found). Ten bridles and seven sets of spurs were found. This was a defeated warband and seemed composed of 10 or mounted leaders, 180 or so spearmen, 60 of whom were also equipped with high status Roman style swords and daggers. This to me speaks to the make-up of what we would expect to see in a 4th/5th century Germanic warband as described by Ammianus, for example, rather than the earlier period of Tacitus and Ptolemy. It should be noted that no armour or helmets were found and that these items were not ritually destroyed as the weapons were – therefore it is difficult to extrapolate the ratio of armour to spearman/rider. It should also be noted that Ammianus – when describing the surrender of the Alemannic rex Chnodomarius after Argentoratum - similarly describes his retinue or comitatus of about 200 warriors.

    It might be asked if this was the equipment of the losing side then how were the victors equipped?

    The key factor in the above material is of course the barbed javelin heads – angon, bebra, pilum? These spearmen clearly went into battle behind a wave of thrown javelins while retaining a non-barbed spear for thrusting. Another key factor is that the swords are Roman copies and not – as originally thought – Roman originals. Deep in the barbaricum, centres of manufacture existed solely to mass produce Roman copies which were then distributed around the Germanic confederations. This speaks to a clear power base in which local craftsmen had been displaced economically in favour of dedicated centres that operated exclusively in producing mass weapons on an almost industrial scale.

    On another note (away from Heather):

    A study by Heinrich Harke compared 700 5th-7th century Anglo-Saxon and Saxon warrior graves to male and infant burials without weapons. He concluded that Anglo-Saxon weapons burial was most probably symbolic and therefore unrelated to historical warfare or real weapons use. He argued that on the basis of his study about a quarter of all weapon combinations proved incomplete or were not functional. He argued that any conclusions about weapon use among the living based on weapon graves might be misleading.

    While outside the period in question, it does raise the interesting issue of grave goods and their relation to actual battle use as opposed to symbolic use and may therefore allow us to question any conclusions drawn from francisca or angon grave finds.

    I wonder then if – following Diocles here – that the Germanic factions could develop the potential to ‘upgrade’ to throwing axes and angons through this period following the right building developments and settlement captures? That in effect the mod can simulate that transition from the Tacitean (as it were) period into the confederation period which allows the development of Roman-inspired weapons such as the spatha, the angon, and the throwing axe?

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    Diocle's Avatar Centurio Primus Ordine
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    Default Re: Germans tribes in III century: how did they look like?

    wonder then if – following Diocles here – that the Germanic factions could develop the potential to ‘upgrade’ to throwing axes and angons through this period following the right building developments and settlement captures? That in effect the mod can simulate that transition from the Tacitean (as it were) period into the confederation period which allows the development of Roman-inspired weapons such as the spatha, the angon, and the throwing axe?
    Dear SBH this is really a great suggestion!!! It could add an element of interest to the Germanic Campaigns, I frequently found that the not-Romans factions had less strategical complexity respect to the Romans, in this way we could also represent the important aspect of the relative Romanization of the germanic tribes nearer to the Limes, like Franks, and Alamannic tribes, I really don't know if for the Gothic Federation we could apply this system maybe with other features, like some kind of heavy horse or armor?

    I agree with you pratically about everything, and I found all your informations really interesting.

    I have only a small question or observation (I don't know) about the evidences and sources in these Mods:
    From my old university memories, when I attended my historical courses (mainly Architecture, Urban History and Art oriented but also Archeology, good old times!!), our professors told us that we must take into account two main kind of sources, always miantainig a critical approach to them: 1) Written sources, (literary or documentary) and 2) Material sources which could be subdivided in Archaeological sources and Artistical or Figurative sources (Images, frescos, bas-relifs, monuments etc.). Well the situation is more complex but my English, doesn't allow me to be more specific, but you know better than me what I'm speaking about.
    Now about Angones and Franciscas, here, we do not have any of these kinds of evidences: The written sources start to speak only from the V century or later, the archaeological evidences are from the same age, and to my knowledge, we cannot find any figurative, pictorical or sculptural, evidence about these kind of weapons in III cent. contexts, but as you said, we could anyway belive in their existence and use, at least in the end of the last quarter of the III century, because it is quite plausible that in this time, the development of the Germanic Confederations had made them very similar to their IV century versions.
    (Obviously I'm not speaking about SAJ that mod is a true masterpice and must be protected by UNESCO! It is untouchable!!! so God bless every single weapon in SAJ!!)

    Did I understand correctly your thinking? In this case I enthusiastically agree, but it could be quite a dangerous method, if not used with parsimony. I'm thinking to the good guy, who could arrive here and ask: 'well at this point, I want the Cataphract Camels! in every Persian town!' or 'Well why not, all the Roman Cavalry with extra armor for the horse!' or worse and terrifying things.
    What do you think dear SBH?


    (If some good German guy with good historical and good archaeological knowledge about Ancient Germanic archaeology and burials in this age, could help us!!!! I ask only one angon or francisca somewhere on the right or left side of the Rhine, maybe the Agri Decumates, it would be wonderful, in a clear III century context!!
    My archeology knowledge is good about Classical sites in Italy, I followed the escavations in Luni, very interesting Roman site in Liguria, the explorations were directed by one of my professors, we found that the people of the ancient Roman city of Luna had built pile-dwelling in the middle of the Forum, during the the Dark Age!!! the living conditions in Italy during the Gothic Wars were terrible! and I do know the Italian Langobardic finds and burials and archaeological sites, but about German situation I don't know much more than what I can find in archaeological magazines, quite generic books or Internet sites, and it is very little!!the Ancient Germanic archeology is not widely followed in my country, and this is a great mistake IMO, but this is the situation.)



    P.S.: Dear SBH, you offer always great suggestions, very interesting and instructive reading and good links, what more could I ask? Thanks!!!.....+rep
    Last edited by Diocle; December 18, 2011 at 07:30 PM.

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    SeniorBatavianHorse's Avatar Tribunus Vacans
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    Default Re: Germans tribes in III century: how did they look like?

    Diocle, the more I look into the francisca issue the more it becomes problematic, I think.

    A summary of the literary evidence is as follows:

    From Roman provinces to Medieval kingdoms

    By Thomas F. X. Noble



    Sidonius Appolinaris in the 5th century
    Gregory of Tours in the 5th century (with later writers copying and adding to)
    Procopius in the 6th century
    Agathias in the 6th century
    Isidore in the 7th century

    Within that literary corpus, there is confusion about the Frankish throwing axe as being the securis and/or the bipennis - that is, a single-bladed axe or a double-headed axe.

    In terms of the archaeological evidence for the Frankish axe - there are almost a 1,000 examples from grave goods, all from the 5th and 6th centuries. In these contexts. there is the issue of the axes being status symbols (and here Herke's cautious words become pertinent, I think.)

    It seems to be one of those moments which bedevil Late Roman enthusiasts - in that something arises (the use of the throwing axe - either one headed or two-headed as a military weapon symbolising a status and identity) precisely in a period in which we lack good sources! Indeed, there is even the possibility that the francisca is not a national weapon at all but something adopted by the Frankish tribes as they settled on Roman lands west of the Rhine - from the Roman troops already in the area. Indeed, early literary evidence from Gregory seems to argue that it was primarily regarded as a tool and not a status weapon to begin with.

    It is known that Roman troops were using the axe as a side-arm/tool in this period and it would not be surprising if the later francisca evolved from that first!

    In line with Diocle, then, I wonder if this particular weapon becomes an option once the Franks as a faction have first built up a stable large farming culture inline with Heather's 'intensive' agricultural base and then occupied sufficient Roman colonies and infrastructure while also adopting some sort of 'confederation' status in the manner of the Marian reforms? This would then allow them to 'upgrade' to true Frank status and adopt/develop specialised troop types? Alas I know nothing about implementing reforms in RTW mechanics but I wonder if all the Germanic factions might be able to develop along these lines to create special types that were later unique to the 'Goths' with heavy Sarmatian influences for example?

    This would give the player something to aim for and also allow a limited historical path.

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    Diocle's Avatar Centurio Primus Ordine
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    Default Re: Germans tribes in III century: how did they look like?

    I'm in agreement with your proposal to which I give my total and unconditional approval!!!

    In particular I find very interesting the suggestion of giving to all the German emerging federations some form of reform mechanism, as I said this could add more interest to the Germanic Campaigns, maybe the Germanic reforms could be connected with the conquest or possession of some cities or provinces, but I know nothing about the mechanics of reforms.

    Do you find somthing about angones?

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    Default Re: Germans tribes in III century: how did they look like?



    Glossary :
    Ang(a) /Ong(a). - possible Old English term for the Angon.
    Angon - heavy Germanic javelin, typically with armour-piercing bodkin head and barbs.
    Bebra - name given by Vegetius for Barbarian pilum.
    Franca - O.E. word glossed “lance, javelin” - the typically long-necked ‘Frankish’ Angon.
    Gaesum - barb-headed heavy javelin used by Roman Auxiliaries of Celtic origin. Essentially, a barbed pilum.
    Lancea - light dual-purpose spear. Typical weapon of Late Roman Infantry.
    Pïl - O.E. word, glossed “..arrow, dart, javelin.”
    Pilum - Roman heavy javelin, with long iron head.
    Spiculum - heavy (?) javelin used by Late Roman Infantry but with a much shorter head than the earlier pilum.
    Verutum - light javelin used by late Roman Infantry.

    It seems that the javelin has a number of designs and that the angon alone is a variant of the pilum. Agathias gives an excellent description of the angon used by the Franks in the 6th century:

    “The Angons are spears which are neither very short nor very long; they can be used, if necessary, for throwing like a javelin, and also in hand to hand combat. The greater part of the angon is covered with iron and very little wood is exposed. In battle the Frank throws the angon, and if it hits an enemy, the spear is caught in the man and neither the wounded man nor anyone else can draw it out. The barbs hold inside the flesh, causing great pain, and in this way a man whose wound may not be in a vital spot dies. If the angon strikes a shield, it is fixed there, hanging down with the butt on the ground. The angon cannot be pulled out because the barbs have penetrated the shield, nor can it be cut off with a sword because the shaft is covered with iron. When the Frank sees the situation, he quickly puts his foot on the butt of the spear, pulling down, and the man holding it falls leaving his head and chest unprotected. The unprotected warrior is then killed either by a stroke of the axe or a thrust with another spear.”

    I am not sure if the angon as such is that distinctive from the overall class of weapons that we might designate 'heavy javelins': that is, javelins desinged to impede enemy shields/armour through the use of barbed heads and long metal shanks. Certainly these 'heavy javelins' can be seen as far back as the Celtic gaesum. It is said that the weapon heads were technically work-intensive and therefore angon/pilum type weapons in a Germanic context were high-prestige weapons reserved for use against similar high-status warriors who's armour required armour-piercing ranged weapons as a result.

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    Diocle's Avatar Centurio Primus Ordine
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    Default Re: Germans tribes in III century: how did they look like?

    Exhaustive, clear and detailed as always magister SBH!

    “The Angons are spears which are neither very short nor very long; they can be used, if necessary, for throwing like a javelin, and also in hand to hand combat. The greater part of the angon is covered with iron and very little wood is exposed.
    Very interesting thing: Agathias tells us that the ango could be used also in hand to hand fight! Probably because of its long iron spearhead. So really a prestige weapon and quite expansive I suppose.

    I will add a small detail from the Guy Halsall articles which I previously quoted, it could be interesting, I don't know if it could be useful for RO or maybe better for SAJ, but anyway it is a fascinating information:

    ' It is worth pointing out that both francisca and (more commonly) angons can be found in burials alongside the equipment of horsemen (horse-bits, saddle and bridle ornaments etc.). Because of this I see no reason to suppose that either form of 'heavy throwing weapon' was used exclusively by foot soldiers.'

    So also horse weapons? Maybe! But I must say that here the author is probably refering mainly to heavy horse or aristocratic worriors, who dismount to fight, being this a common practice between all Germanic people (Franks, Ostrogoths, Langobards only referring to Procopius).
    In fact, in the end of the series, he suggest to take into account that the aristocratic heavy armored warriors could fight mounted intermingled with infantry, dismounted as first line troops, and as some kind of heavy skirmishers who occasionally could use also the bow as weapon (Franks, Langobards) but here we are going out of our dear III century so I'll stop.

  15. #15
    tomySVK's Avatar Hastatas Posterior
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    Default Re: Germans tribes in III century: how did they look like?

    After small talk with Diocle, I was searching for information about Germans during the Third century AD and for my surprise I found the article in my native language about Quadi. It´s the article about archaeology finds posted in the Slovak history magazine. Maybe it will help a little. Here is the link:
    http://www.historickarevue.com/archiv_2009_01_3.html

  16. #16
    Joar's Avatar - Now You Know -
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    Default Re: Germans tribes in III century: how did they look like?

    A translation would be nice...


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    tomySVK's Avatar Hastatas Posterior
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    Default Re: Germans tribes in III century: how did they look like?

    You can do it by google translator, but if you can´t I will translate it and post it here.

  18. #18
    Diocle's Avatar Centurio Primus Ordine
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    Default Re: Germans tribes in III century: how did they look like?

    THanks tomySVK, any help is precious! I did not find much about Germanic tribes in this age! Before and after good sources, and a lot images, but about the situation in the third century, nothing! Like said SBH and Gaiten the situation probably was a mix between the small, but ferocious, tribes of the times of Caesar and the great organized and powerful Confederations of the IV century. The problem IMO is also distinguish between Franks & Alamans on the Rihine, and the grops on the Danube Limes, and what about the Goths and Vandals in this age? How were they armed and look? Many questions but few answers!
    So again thank you!! But like said Joar...maybe....if you can....a little help with the translation....?
    Anyway I'll try with Google! ..........+rep!

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    Constantius's Avatar Baitai kihei
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    Default Re: Germans tribes in III century: how did they look like?

    Most Germans warriors still went into battle with spear and shield, with the Spatha becoming more common as third century progressed, body armour is uncommon although Roman imports do appear in archaeological finds, for example votive offerings found at Nydam and Illerup in northern Germany, the Roman weapons greatly outnumber the German. Infantry is predominantly mentioned in sources, cavalry is only really mentioned with regard to the Alamanni and the Goths later in the century and usually for the chieftains retinue.
    The Franks, a Roman label- Fraci meaning brave or free was used to identify tribes east of the lower Rhine including Chattuarii and Chamavi and many retained their identity into fourth century.At this point they are less than a confederation- usually operating in numerous groups for the raid into Roman territory and then broke up after they returned, its only much later when a stronger individual could arise and create a larger armed retinue dependent on him that we get mentions of kings in sources.
    ( Todd.M, (2008)'The Germanic Peoples and Germanic Society', in Cambridge History of Ancient World, Vol xiii)

    I perhaps should of read the other posts -was what I wrote was largely said. But it is important to acknowlegde that the rise of this larger groups is a direct response to the presence of the limes. The Romans indirectly created these confederations amongst the tribes by their favouring different tribals leaders, over others as part of their policy to control the Limes
    Last edited by Constantius; January 22, 2012 at 02:55 PM.


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  20. #20
    demagogos nicator's Avatar Princeps Posterior
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    Default Re: Germans tribes in III century: how did they look like?

    Quote Originally Posted by tomySVK View Post
    After small talk with Diocle, I was searching for information about Germans during the Third century AD and for my surprise I found the article in my native language about Quadi. It´s the article about archaeology finds posted in the Slovak history magazine. Maybe it will help a little. Here is the link:
    http://www.historickarevue.com/archiv_2009_01_3.html
    Unbelievable, I am living just few kilometres from there (in Piešťany) and never heard about this foundings.

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