Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Early Franks in Late Roman Gaul

Guy Halsall's Barbarian Migrations (mentioned in the last post) also suggests a very interesting theory on the earliest Frankish kingdom in late/post-imperial Gaul (modern France) that made a big difference in the way I perceived the period and its armies. Essentially, the idea is that the first Frankish kingdom was not formed by invading barbarians (you've all seen the big arrows crossing maps of the Roman Empire in history books), but by the last Roman armies already in Gaul when imperial authority collapsed in the last half of the 5th Century. The admittedly confusing accounts of the Roman and Frankish commanders operating in the Loire region - and apparently competing with each other over control of the same army (or armies) -  in the 460s could very well serve as evidence of an Roman army transitioning into a Frankish kingdom.

On the game table this already makes me think that the fur-vested Franks and other outright barbarian types might be more of a minority in a 5th Century Frankish Kingdom army. I would think it would still look more like a Roman army, or at least have some Roman equipment. As for how an Early Franks army should play, that's probably a topic for another post sometime.

Update (February 23)
Andy Hawes, one of my favorite (and award-winning) miniature painters, did a great job with a late 5th Century Romano-Gallic army, which he posted to his blog here.

No comments:

Post a Comment