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"Visigoths and Ostragoths in 451" Topic

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Martyn K21 Nov 2021 10:07 a.m. PST

I am planning on purchasing some 28mm Visigoths and Ostragoths for 451AD.

What would be the difference in appearance between Visigoths and Ostragoths, or would they be similar?

I am thinking about things such as helmet design or even shield patterns. Anything that would make them look different on the table.

rustymusket Supporting Member of TMP21 Nov 2021 11:25 a.m. PST

They are both of Germanic decent. According to Simon Elliott in "Romans At War", Ostrogoths had a higher proportion of cavalry and often wore armour and helmet with foot troops being mostly bowmen. This he attributes to proximity to Sarmatians and Turkic steppe tribes. Visigoths were mostly foot troops still fighting in the manner of the early Germanics. However the francisca and angon were used by certain of the Visigoths.

sidley21 Nov 2021 12:42 p.m. PST

They would be similar, but the Francisca was characteristic of the Franks. They could easily morph into most Germanic armies of the period with the possible exception of the Vandals who had the stripy tunics.

GurKhan21 Nov 2021 12:55 p.m. PST

The Goths settled in Gaul who were on the Roman side in 451 who were probably not yet called Visigoths had mostly been living in the Roman Empire since their Tervingi and Greuthungi ancestors crossed the Danube in the 370s. Given the repeated defections of slaves and other poor Romans since the 370s, a lot of them would have had Roman ancestors. They were probably pretty much indistinguishable from Romans in appearance, except perhaps less uniform.

You could conceivably look for inspiration at the shield-patterns of the Tervingi and Visi auxiliaries of the Roman army ( as these are names related to the "Visigoths", but whether the symbolism is Gothic or Roman is less than clear.

The Goths from north of the Danube who were on the Hun side in 451 who may or may not have yet been called Ostrogoths would have been subject to far less Roman influence. They may already have favoured the wide-legged trousers shown on the Throne of Maximian (picture ) and other art from 6th-century Ostrogothic Italy, and may even have already favoured the moustache (

The arguments about greater or lesser cavalry proportions and numbers of archers are a bit speculative and mostly based on interpretations of 6th-century evidence, as far as I can see.

Legionarius21 Nov 2021 5:59 p.m. PST

Both were hairy barbarians with pointy sticks, lots of captured Roman equipment , and a bad attitude.

HMS Exeter21 Nov 2021 6:26 p.m. PST

My problem is with the Demigoths. They dress all in black, but listen to Taylor Swift.

Personal logo oldbob Supporting Member of TMP21 Nov 2021 8:52 p.m. PST

Yes hairy guys with pointy sticks, and spangenhelms. Get some Goth shield transfer from "LBMS". I use Footsore and Wargames foundry figures. Simon MacDowall's book The Goths is a very good primary source, the Bat pointed this one out to me. Love me them hairy dudes.

Martyn K22 Nov 2021 7:09 a.m. PST

Some interesting comments. The Romanisation of the "Visigoths' is certainly interesting. If I go for the 28mm Footsore range for the Visigoths, I could use a mixture of their Goth range and Roman range to represent them. Perhaps with the round shield rather than the large Roman oval shield (or a mixture?). On the two Roman shield designs, one looks very similar to the Roman Leones Iuniores, which is already a unit in my Roman army, so I probably won't be using that. However, the white Visi shield design looks interesting – I might mix some designs based on that one into the units.
This would then allow me to stay with the basic goth range for the goths on the Hun side.
I also have ordered the book by Simon McDowall as recommended. It will be interesting to see what he has to say.
I am painting Romans at the moment, so I have a bit more time to decide what to do before I purchase the Goth figures.

GurKhan22 Nov 2021 8:01 a.m. PST

"Both were hairy barbarians…"

They wore their hair fairly long, but were mostly clean-shaven except for some moustaches in contrast to the bearded Romans of the period. They certainly weren't the shaggy savages of stereotype.

Have a look at link and link for some more hints.

GurKhan22 Nov 2021 8:08 a.m. PST

"Perhaps with the round shield rather than the large Roman oval shield (or a mixture?)."

Alternatively, Roman oval shields for the pro-Roman Goths of Gaul (or a mix, as you say) and traditional round shields for Attila's Danubian Goths might work.

Personal logo oldbob Supporting Member of TMP22 Nov 2021 8:24 a.m. PST

I forgot to mention Gripping Beast, they also have some Goths both metal and plastic.

Atheling24 Nov 2021 1:47 a.m. PST

images Footsore Goths here:

For a closer look at the Footsore mini's Goths there a re close ups of all the bases on my Blog here:

More useful for Adrianople as they would certainly have become more Romanised as time went on.

My Just Add Water Painting and Wargaming Blog:

Personal logo oldbob Supporting Member of TMP24 Nov 2021 4:30 p.m. PST

Oh yes,those are really great looking.

Atheling25 Nov 2021 3:01 a.m. PST

Thanks Oldbob.

I do know that there were plans afoot for more Romanised Ostrogoths from a certain miniature company but that is all I can really say without breaking confidence.

My Just Add Water Painting and Wargaming Blog:

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