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Principate Roman

Principate Roman

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Historical Overview Section

The Principate is the first period of the Roman Empire, extending from the beginning of the reign of Caesar Augustus to the Crisis of the Third Century, after which it was replaced with the Dominate. The Principate was characterized by a concerted effort on the part of the Emperors to preserve the illusion of the formal continuance of the Roman Republic, establishing the political stability desperately needed after the exhausting civil wars by a de facto dictatorial regime within the constitutional framework of the Roman Republic as an alternative to the hated early Roman Kingdom.

This era saw imperial legions being recruited solely on a voluntary basis and from a much wider base of manpower. Likewise, whereas Republican legions had been recruited almost exclusively in Italy, early Imperial legions drew most of their recruits from Roman colonies in the provinces from 68 AD onwards. One estimate places the proportion of Italian troops at 65% under Augustus in c. 1 AD, falling to around 49% by the end of Nero's reign. At the same time as the legions underwent these transformations, the auxilia were reorganised and a number of allied troops were formalised into standing units similar to legions. Rather than being raised re-actively when required, the process of raising auxiliary troops was carried out in advance of conflicts according to annual targets. Whereas the internal organisation of the auxilia had previously been left up to their commanders, in the early empire they were organised into standardised units known as turmae (for cavalry alae) and centuriae (for infantry cohortes).

Although never becoming as standardised in their equipment as the legions, and often retaining some national flavour, the size of the units at least was standardised to some degree. Cavalry were formed into either an ala quingenaria of 512 horsemen, or an ala millaria of 1,000 horsemen. Likewise, infantry auxilia could be formed into a cohors quingenaria of 500 men or a cohors millaria of 1,000 men. Mixed cavalry/infantry auxiliaries were typically formed with a larger proportion of foot than horse troops: the cohors equitata quingenaria consisted of 380 foot and 120 horsemen, and the cohors equitata millaria consisted of 760 foot and 240 horsemen. The vitality of the empire at this point was such that the use of native auxilia in the Roman army did not apparently barbarise the military as some scholars claim was to happen in the late empire. On the contrary, those serving in the auxilia during this period frequently strove to Romanise themselves. They were granted Roman citizenship on retirement, granting them several social advantages, and their sons became eligible for service in the legions.

By the final years of the first century AD, the legions remained the backbone of the Roman army, although the auxilia in fact outnumbered them by up to half as much again. Early in the 2nd Century AD Hardian instigated a system of fixed border defences (Latin: limes) around the Empire's periphery, consolidating Trajan's earlier territorial gains, and leading to troops being stationed permanently in the provinces. As a result of more localized recruitment greater numbers of barbarous and semi-barbarous peoples were gradually admitted to the army. 235 AD the Emperor himself, the figurehead of the entire military, was a man born outside of Italy to non-Italian parents.

From the third century onwards, both Germanic tribes and Sassanid Persian armies pierced the frontiers of the Roman Empire, triggering a series of changes in the Roman army which were more organic and evolutionary than the deliberate military reforms of the Republic and early Empire. Roman forces also gradually became more mobile, with one cavalryman for every three infantryman, compared to one in forty in the early Empire. Additionally, the Emperor Gallienus took the revolutionary step of forming dedicated cavalry regiments, separating them from the mixed cavalry and infantry regiments of the past. A diverse range of cavalry regiments existed, including catafractarii or clibanarii, scutarii, and legionary cavalry.

Larger groups of barbari began to settle in Rome's territories also around this time, and the troops they were contracted to provide to the Roman army were no longer organised as Roman units operating in local style, but rather were the forerunners of the later rented native armies known as federated troops (Latin: foederati) which make up the Foederate Roman list. Though they served under Roman officers, the troops of these units were still barbarised.

THis list becomes the Dominate Roman list when Emperor Constantine instituted a series of strategic reserve armies which supplemented the forces developed and operating on the edge of the empire in this list.

Tournament Results with this Army

  • 25 / 27 Principate Roman Britcon 2007 15mm (open)
  • 40 / 62 Principate Roman Britcon 2008 15mm (open)
  • 57 / 62 Principate Roman Britcon 2008 15mm (open)

Using the army in FoG

Tactical Tips

  • V2.0 change The minimum size of battle groups including auxiliary foot with Light Spear capability in Dominate and Foederate Roman lists is increased to 6. Makes the Swarm harder to do, as does the other change of Break point of army cannot exceed the total points value of the army divided by 50, rounded up. (e.g. 16 in the case of an 800 point army).
  • In many ways a variation on the Dominate Roman but with more compulsory cavalry and some different minima and maxima for legions and auxilia.
  • Taking the legions in 4's gives a lot of tactical flexibility, but you need to be using them in multi-packs to gain some degree of protection form the odd bad death roll if using them as average.
  • Cavalry are a bit of a liability - consider taking them as rear support for the legions perhaps.
  • In open events they struggle, but if they play within their own theatre they do very well.
  • They work fine in 25mm on a 6x4 table (and presumably in 15mm on a table relatively that size)
  • The big problem in open tournaments mounted lancers will be able to pick the weak spot in the army,
  • Making some of the Legions elite will worry a few people, and allows you not to worry so much about having a small army as what you have is very very hard and if someone wants to win they'll have to fight some legions.

Allied Contingents

  • Batavian - Early German : Date restrictions 16 Book: Legions Triumphant Page: 26 - No point at all - your auxiia are better than these Germans in every way
  • Emesan : Date restrictions Before 73 Book: Legions Triumphant Page: 38 - Some LH and LF arent that interesting, but 4 more cataphracts might be an interesting way to thicken your auxilia against mounted opponents
  • Sarmatian, Later : Date restrictions None Book: Legions Triumphant Page: 38 - Lots of charging Superior Lancers (and a 16 point LF unit to add another cheap unit) gives this army another dimension
  • Armenian, Early : Date restrictions None Book: Rise of Rome Page: 53 - 6 cataphracts and 12 Lh is a good addition, but not cheap
  • Commagene : Date restrictions Before 72 Book: Rise of Rome Page: 59 -
  • Edessan - Adiabene, Edessan or Hatran : Date restrictions Before 244 Book: Rise of Rome Page: 59 - 4 Cataphracts and 8 LH is nice
  • Arab, Early : Date restrictions None Book: Rise of Rome Page: 60 - Well, it has no minima, so you can choose between uninspiring LH and Cv, Poor Bw armed camelry, and some very average Lt Sp/Sw MF. Hoorah!
  • Judaean - Later Jewish : Date restrictions Before 6 Book: Rise of Rome Page: 61 - Mf Offensive spearmen are the only mandatory troops, and they are pretty useful. Some clever LH, and the option to make the MF into Pikes or crap legionaries is also quite cute
  • Nabataean : Date restrictions Before 106 Book: Rise of Rome Page: 64 - 4 Drilled armoured Superior lancers is unusual, with LH & LF to help out.

15mm Manufacturers supplying figures for this army

These are the textbook Romans with square shields. You can see some of the figures in the Ancients Photo Gallery also on this site

Image Image Image Image Image Image

User-contributed links about this army:

Army Lists

Sample army lists for this army
800 AP used at Faenza 2010

  • 1 Slingers LF Unprotected Poor Drilled Sling - - 4
  • 2 Equites sagittarii LH Unprotected Superior Drilled Bow - - 4
  • 3 Auxiliary foot MF Armoured Average Drilled - Light spear Swordsmen - 4
  • 4 Auxiliary foot MF Armoured Average Drilled - Light spear Swordsmen - 4
  • 5 Auxiliary cavalry LH Unprotected Average Drilled Javelins Light Spear - 4
  • 6 Auxiliary foot MF Armoured Average Drilled - Light spear Swordsmen - 4
  • 7 Auxiliary foot MF Armoured Average Drilled - Light spear Swordsmen - 4
  • 8 Legionaries HF Armoured Superior Drilled - Impact Foot Skilled Swordsmen - 4
  • 8 Attached archers LF Unprotected Superior Drilled Bow - - 2
  • 9 Legionaries HF Armoured Superior Drilled - Impact Foot Skilled Swordsmen - 4
  • 9 Attached archers LF Unprotected Superior Drilled Bow - - 2
  • 10 Legionaries HF Armoured Superior Drilled - Impact Foot Skilled Swordsmen - 4
  • 10 Attached archers LF Unprotected Superior Drilled Bow - - 2
  • 11 Auxiliary foot MF Armoured Average Drilled - Light spear Swordsmen - 4
  • 12 Legionaries HF Armoured Superior Drilled - Impact Foot Skilled Swordsmen - 4
  • 13 Legionary lanciarii MF Armoured Superior Drilled - Light Spear Skilled Swordsmen - 4
  • 14 Auxiliary cavalry CV Armoured Superior Drilled - Light spear Swordsmen - 4



800 AP list used at Britcon 2009

  • 4 Poor Sling LF
  • 4 Average Javelin LF
  • 4 LH, Average, Bow
  • 4 LH, Average, Bow
  • 4 LH, Average, Javelins
  • 4 Cv, Armoured, Average
  • 4 Cv, Armoured, Average
  • 4 Bw, Unprotected, Average
  • 4 Auxilia, Armoured, Average
  • 4 Bw, Unprotected, Average
  • 4 Auxilia, Armoured, Average
  • 4 Legions, Superior, Drilled, Impact Foot Skilled Sword, Armoured
  • 4 Legions Average Drilled, Impact Foot Swordsmen
  • 4 Legions Average Drilled, Impact Foot Swordsmen
  • 4 Legions Average Drilled, Impact Foot Swordsmen
  • 4 Legions Average Drilled, Impact Foot Swordsmen
  • 4 Legions Average Drilled, Impact Foot Swordsmen
  • 4 x TCs


Principate Roman 800 AP

  • 4 LH, Bw, Average, Drilled
  • 6 LF, Bw
  • 4 LH, Bw, Average, Drilled
  • 8 MF Armoured Average Drilled JLS Swordsmen
  • 4 MF Armoured Average Drilled JLS Swordsmen
  • 9 - 6 HF Armoured Average Impact Foot Swordsmen Leginonaries+ 3 Bow LF
  • 6 - 4 Superior Armoured Skilled Swordsmen Legionaries + 2 Archers
  • 12 - 8 + 4 Average Legionaries
  • 9 - 6 HF Armoured Superior Impact Foot Skilled Swordsmen Leginonaries+ 3 Bow LF
  • 4 Cv, Armoured, Average, JLS Swordsmen
  • 4 LF, Javelins, poor
  • 4 LF, Sling, Poor
  • IC, TC, TC

As used at Britcon 2008 - report of the game (vs Cv/Lance army)

800 AP list with Armenians

  • Legionaries HF Average Drilled Armoured - Impact foot Skilled Swordsmen 6
  • Legionaries HF Average Drilled Armoured - Impact foot Skilled Swordsmen 6
  • Legionaries HF Average Drilled Armoured - Impact foot Skilled Swordsmen 6
  • Auxiliary foot MF Average Drilled Protected - Light spear Swordsmen 6
  • Auxiliary foot HF Average Drilled Armoured - Light spear Swordsmen 6
  • Cataractarii Ct Superior Drilled Heavily armoured - Lancers Swordsmen 4
  • Auxiliary cavalry Cv Average Drilled Armoured - Light spear Swordsmen 6
  • Auxiliary cavalry LH Average Drilled Unprotected Javelins Light spear 6
  • Equities sagittarii LH Average Drilled Unprotected Bow 6
  • Commander in Chief FC
  • Sub-General
  • Fortified Camp
  • Ally-General TC
  • Armenian Cataphacts Ct Average Undrilled Heavily armoured Lancers Swordmen 4
  • Armenian horse archers LH Average Drilled Unprotected Bow 6
  • Armenian archers MF Average Undrilled Unprotected 8


Name of Army / Date

  • Using asterisks inthe edit mode creates a bulleted list in the actual site
  • This is a lot easier to do than easier than setting up tables
  • For FoG I suggest listing your army in order or march
  • with troop desctiptions on each line, for example
  • 4 HF Armoured Average Drilled Impact Foot Swordsmen
  • 8 LG Undrilled Unarmoured Poor Bowen
  • Dont forget to include your Generals !!!

Include any notes you want here

Remember to leave a line before you copy the above section as a template for your own list

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Created by peter. Last Modification: Wednesday 06 of March, 2013 23:06:22 GMT by admin. (Version 41)
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