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"Role of Antesignani in Caesar's Era?" Topic

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Comments or corrections?

Asteroid X05 May 2018 8:36 a.m. PST

Like the title asks, what was the role of the antesignani in the later Republic?

From what I have read, ante means before and signani refers to the standard so they fought "before ( in front of ) the standard" – so a role like the velites.

They were part of Marius' reforms.

They are referred to as "elite legionary light infantry".

According to Eadie ( PDF link ) , Caesar "introduced mixed units of equites and antesignani ( lite infantrymen ) , which were employed against Pompeius' cavalry".

Yet, I had not heard of them before reading of them this morning.

Could they be based upon the German example of foot running alongside the horsemen?

Eadie continues with, "As the Romans expanded into Gaul and Germany and encountered resistance from barbarian bowmen and cavalry, however, military requirements changed.
The initial Roman response ( creation of the antesignani ) was conditioned by their legionary experience."

This clearly indicates they are not just employing foreigners to fight in this capacity, but they are employing legionaries to fight in this capacity.

MajorB05 May 2018 10:50 a.m. PST

My education is sadly lacking when it comes to the later Republic. I've never heard of them before.

Mr Steve05 May 2018 12:53 p.m. PST

This subject was recently covered in Ancient Warfare magazine Vol XI issue 4 pages 15-17

lloydthegamer05 May 2018 1:09 p.m. PST

I feel like I'm fairly well read in ancient history and this is the first I've heard of them.

Bashytubits05 May 2018 3:41 p.m. PST

Here is an article that might help. This is the ancient warfare article mentioned above.

evilgong05 May 2018 3:55 p.m. PST

Wasn't there a long discussion about these chaps either on the TNP yahoo group or the SOA page?


Asteroid X05 May 2018 4:01 p.m. PST

Thank you, Mr. Steve, for the reference and thank you, Bashytubits, for the link!

That is an interesting article! It does not clarify things, but yet, it does, by giving us the information that we know and letting us know we still have a LOT to learn!

It fuels the imagination, that is for sure!

nnascati Supporting Member of TMP05 May 2018 5:30 p.m. PST

Just goes to show, we will never really know everything about ancient warfare.

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