An extract from The Armies and Enemies of Imperial Rome
by Phil Barker & Ian Heath


This is a Black Sea Sarmatian, or more probably, one of their subjects. He carries shield and javelins, but could equally have bow and quiver instead. The most likely secondary weapon is a short sword. The majority would probably wear solid colours, probably not so bright as their masters, or Thracian stripes and checks, but some might have the white tunics with coloured edging of Greek colonists.

Arrian's Order of Battle Against the Alans implies that some of the former Greek colonies may have had a disciplined militia of mailed infantry armed with long thrusting spears. These are most unlikely to have maintained the traditional hoplite equipment, so I suggest that they might have the helmet and standard of 90, the shield and short sword of 91, the mail coat of 89 or possibly a shortened waist length version, a 12 feet long spear grasped in one hand, and standard Sarmatian shirt, trousers and boots.

Trans-Danubian Sarmatians could levy infantry from the villages that supplied their corn. These would be much like 91, but with natural undyed wool providing the main clothing colours, and any dyes that were used being dull vegetable colours like russets, dark greens, greys and ochres. Archers would predominate. There are also references to infantry armed with two-handed axes. These were most likely peasants with felling axes, but it is not inconceivable that some may have had helmets like 90, and a lesser number quilted armour or even leather armour like 88b.
[Based on a Bosporan painted tomb]

Next: 96, 97, 98, 99 & 100. PICTISH INFANTRY in Armies and Enemies of Ancient Rome by Phil Barker and Ian Heath

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