Foederate Roman

Foederate Roman

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Historical Overview Section

The Western Roman Empire's last gasp began when the Early Visigothic and Early Vandal Visigoths revolted around 395 AD, and then in 405 AD, the Early Ostrogothic and Herul Ostrogoths invaded Italy itself, but were defeated. Under their leader Alaric they returned again in 410 and managed to sack Rome, leaving it a capital-less state with few true "Romans" in positions of power or authority. The Roman Empire of the "Foederate" list is one which had little in common with the earlier Empire.

The remainder of Rome's territory was defended for several decades following 410 largely by the leading General of this era Flavius Aëtius, who managed to play off each of Rome's barbarian invaders against one another. In 436 he led a Western Hunnic army against the Visigoths at the Battle of Arles, and again in 436 at the Battle of Narbonne. In 451 he led a combined army, including his former enemy the Visigoths, against the Huns at the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains. Despite being the only clear champion of the Empire at this point Aëtius was slain by the Emperor Valentinian III's own hand, leading Sidonius Apollinaris to observe, "I am ignorant, sir, of your motives or provocations; I only know that you have acted like a man who has cut off his right hand with his left".

Carthage, the second largest city in the empire, was lost along with much of North Africa in 439 to the Vandals and the fate of Rome seemed sealed. By 476, what remained of the Empire was completely in the hands of federated Germanic troops and when they revolted under Odoacer and deposed Emperor Romulus Augustus there was nobody to stop them. Odoacer happened to hold the part of the Empire around Italy and Rome but other parts of the Empire were ruled by Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Franks, Alans and others. The Empire in the West had fallen and its remnant in Italy was no longer Roman in its political nature. The Eastern Empire and the Goths continued to fight over Rome and the surrounding area for many years, though by this point Rome's importance was negligible.

In 395, the Western Roman Empire was operating several regional field armies in Italy, Illyricum, Gallia, Britannia and Africa, and about twelve border armies. By about 430, two more field armies were established in Hispania and Tingitania but the Romans had lost control of Britannia and the actual strengths of each army had declined signifcantly. As Roman troops were spread increasingly thin over its long border, the Empire's territory continued to dwindle in size. Barbarian war bands increasingly began to penetrate the Empire's vulnerable borders, both as settlers and invaders. In 451, the Romans defeated Attila the Hun, but only with assistance from a confederation of foederatii troops, which included Visigoths and Alans. By the 5th century, a significant portion of Western Rome's main military strength lay in rented Barbarian mercenaries known as foederati. In 476 these troops finally unseated the last emperor of the Western Roman Empire - see the Italian Ostrogothic page for more details.

User-contributed links about this army:

15mm Manufacturers supplying figures for this army

You can see some of the figures in the Ancients Photo Gallery also on this site. Dont forget Early Byzantines, and of course all the Gothic cavalry and foot as well

Tactical Tips

  • The army is one which by dint of its low minima can be fielded in a great number of permutations - especially "all mounted" or "foot-heavy". The Foederate foot are an initially tempting looking option, but in-period they may find their slow pace and vulnerable protected status makes then a target for faster moving mounted troops capable of chewing them up, or likewise for armoured Skilled Swordsmen legionaries from earlier Roman lists in Legions Triumphant.
  • The important "all mounted" option is the ability to regrade some of the relatively poor equites as armoured superior shooty cavalry after 450AD. This takes out some of the poorer quality troops from the maximum allowed cavalry and lets you replace them with state of the art mounted types.
  • The Foederate protected cavalry are also good value against Cataphracts and other heavily armoured types (even Knights out of period) as superior is pretty good, but being protected is no worse than being armoured against heavily armoured troops - as long as they stick together near a general they should be able to survive shooting enough to get into combat and start mixing it with the enemy. They also do not count for the mandatory poor/average mix of troops in the army - another good reason to spend your Foederate points on (superior) cavalry rather than (average) foot.


Allies are generally useful in this army to circumvent the restrictions on numbers of non-poor troops allowed.

  • Burgundian/Frankish - frankly pointless. Why take your foederate foot in an allied command? Their general will need to fight - with large average units which will take large numbers of hits - so he may die... leaving his allied contingent high and dry.
  • Arabs. Neither here nor there really.
  • Ostrogoths or Heruls - more protected superior lancers is good, but up to 4 units of 4-strong cheap LF with Bw is better, a good cheap way to boost army size.
  • Visigothic, Later : Date restrictions None Book: Decline and Fall Page: 13 - 4 Compulsary L/S Cavalry and a couple of big blocks of foot. Impact before 622, Supported Def Spear afterwards. 2 More units of Charging Cavalry - Yes Please! Lots more Foederate Foot - No Thank You!
  • Alan, Early : Date restrictions None Book: Legions Triumphant Page: 41 - Lots of charging Superior Lancers (and plenty of LH bw/Sw to help them) gives this army another dimension
  • Ostrogothic - Early Ostrogothic, Herul, Sciri or Taifali : Date restrictions None Book: Legions Triumphant Page: 64 - Up to 18 lancer cavalry - and good quality - gives a lot more mountd clout, but more than 2-3 units is hard for a single general to control
  • Huns - Western Hunnic : Date restrictions None Book: Legions Triumphant Page: 69 - Lots of Bw/Sw cavalry and Lh in various permutations is always an interesting addition which is always good with an allied commander as he should be able to get away with commanding them but without fighting
  • Armorican : Date restrictions None Book: Legions Triumphant Page: 76 - Its like your own army, but a bit more rubbish. Unless you want 4 Alan lancers, one to avoid.

UK Tourney Results

1 / 81 Foederate Roman Roll Call 2008 15mm (LT)
4 / 18 Foederate Roman Roll Call 2008 15mm (LT)
9 / 18 Foederate Roman Roll Call 2008 15mm (LT)
10 / 18 Foederate Roman Roll Call 2008 15mm (LT)
16 / 20 Foederate Roman Warfare 2008 15mm (RoR, IF, LT)

Army Lists

Sample army lists for this army
Lance Flints list from Britcon 2009

  • 4 LF, Poor, JLS
  • 4 Auxilia, Protected Average
  • 4 Auxilia, Protected Average
  • 4 Cavalry, Protected, Superior Lt Sp Sword
  • 4 Cavalry, Protected, Superior Lt Sp Sword
  • 4 Poor Bw, Unprotected
  • 4 Auxilia, Protected Superior
  • 4 Auxilia, Protected Average
  • 4 Auxilia, Protected Average
  • 4 Auxilia, Protected Average
  • 4 Auxilia, Protected Superior
  • 4 Superior Unprotected Allied Bw Sword Cavalry
  • 4 Superior Unprotected Allied Bw Sword Cavalry
  • 4 Cataphracts Superior
  • 4 LH, JLS, Average
  • 4 LH, Bw, Average
  • 4 Cv, Armoured, Bw/Sword Drilled
  • 3 x TC
  • 1 x TC Ally Hunnic

As used by me at Roll Call 2008 (listed in order of march - number of bases at the end of each line)

  • 1 Slingers Lf Unprotected Poor Drilled Sling - - - 4
  • 2 Equites Sagitarii Lh Unprotected Poor Drilled Bow - - - 4
  • 3 Equites Illyricani Lh Unprotected Average Drilled javelins Light spear - - 4
  • 4 Auxilia MF Protected Poor Drilled - Light spear Swordmen - 4 + Integrated LF Bow 2
  • 5 Re-Equipped Equites Cv Armoured Superior Drilled Bow - Swordmen - 4
  • 6 Re-Equipped Equites Cv Armoured Superior Drilled Bow - Swordmen - 4
  • 7 Equites Alani Cv Armoured Average Drilled - Lancers Swordmen - 4
  • 8 Foederate Cavalry Cv Protected Superior Undrilled - Lancers Swordmen - 4
  • 9 Foederate Cavalry Cv Protected Superior Undrilled - Lancers Swordmen - 4
  • 10 Huns Cv Protected Average Undrilled Bow - Swordmen - 4
  • 11 Alans - Allied Alans Cv Armoured Superior Undrilled - Lancers Swordmen - 4
  • 12 Alans - Allied Alans Cv Armoured Superior Undrilled - Lancers Swordmen - 4
  • 13 horse archers - Allied Alans Lh Unprotected Average Undrilled Bow - Swordmen - 6
  • . CinC IC - - - - - - CinC 1
  • . TC TC - - - - - - - 2
  • ally general TC - - - - - - Ally general 1
  • . Field fortifications - - - - - - - Fortification 2

The army was intended to be able to charge down Sassanids and other "multi-unit" roman armies relying on swarms of auxilia, but it came up against 4 Cataphract armies where it struggled to catch the LH and was forced to take on huge numbers of cataphracts (76 over 4 games!!) againsts which it was forced to rely on flank attacks - which proved too hard to engineer consistently and quickly enough

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, including comments on how to use - or play against - the army.

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

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Created by admin. Last Modification: Tuesday 12 of November, 2019 19:00:13 GMT by admin. (Version 27)
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