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Gepid, Herul and Taifali

Historical Overview Section

The Gepids are first mentioned around 260 AD, when they participated with the Goths in an invasion in Dacia. Their first named king Fastida enlarged Gepid territories greatly when he overwhelmed the Burgundians, almost annihilating them in the 4th century, then fruitlessly demanded of the Goths a portion of their territory, a demand which the Goths successfully repulsed in battle. Like the Goths, the Gepids were converted to Arian Christianity. In 375 they had to submit to the Huns along with their Ostrogoth overlords, becoming the favored Western Hunnic vassals. Under their king, Ardaric, Gepid warriors joined Attila the Hun's forces in the Battle of Chalons (the "Catalaunian fields") in Gaul (451). On the eve of the main encounter between allied hordes, the Gepids and Franks met each other, the latter fighting for the Romans and the former for the Huns, and seem to have fought one another to a standstill, with 15,000 dead reported by Jordanes, the main source for the events.

Such loyalties were personal bonds among kings, and after Attila's death of a drunken nosebleed (oops!) in 453, the Gepids and other people allied to defeat Attila's horde of would-be successors when led by Ardaric, they broke the Hunnic power in the Battle at the River Nedao in 454:

"...a most remarkable spectacle, where one might see the Goths fighting with pikes, the Gepidae raging with the sword, the Rugii breaking off the spears in their own wounds, the Suevi fighting on foot, the Huns with bows, the Alani drawing up a battle-line of heavy-armed and the Heruli of light-armed warriors. (Jordanes, l.259)"

After the victory they finally won a place to settle in the Carpathian Mountains. Not long after the battle at the Nedao the old rivalry between the Gepids and the Ostrogoths spurred up again and they were driven out of their homeland in 504 by Theodoric the Great. They reached the zenith of their power after 537, settling in the rich area around Belgrade. For a short time, the city of Sirmium was the center of the Gepid State and the king Cunimund minted golden coins in it. In 546 the Byzantine Empire allied themselves with the Lombards to expel the Gepids from this region. In 552 the Gepids suffered a disastrous defeat from Alboin in the Battle of Asfeld and were finally conquered by the Lombards in 567. Many Gepids followed Alboin to Italy but many remained. In 630, Theophylact Simocatta reported that the Byzantine Army entered the territory of the Avars and attacked a Gepid feast, capturing 30,000 Gepids (they met no Avars).

Recent excavation by the Tisza River at Szolnok brought up a Gepid nobleman from an Avar period grave who was also wearing Turkic-Avar pieces next to the traditional Germanic clothes in which he was buried. So you can use those Turk figures for sure!

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Army Lists

Sample army lists for this army

400AP 6-command Ostrogoth & Gepid combined army

  • 4 LH
  • 4 HCv Impact
  • 4 LH Bow

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  • 3 Elite HC
  • 1 Ordinary HC
  • 4 javelin LH
  • 1 LI Javelin

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  • 6 Cv (3 Elite, 3 Ordinary)

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  • 6 Cv (3 Elite, 3 Ordinary)

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  • 6 Cv (3 Elite, 3 Ordinary)

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  • 6 Cv (3 Elite, 3 Ordinary)

15mm Manufacturers supplying figures for this army

You can see some of the figures in the Ancients Photo Gallery also on this site

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