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Variant Armies

Spartacan Revolt- DBA 59a

By Doug Kendrick

I saw that you were looking for an army list for the Spartacan revolt. Well, considering that I just bought "Spartacus" on DVD and watched it this afternoon, I decided to take up the challenge. I also recently purchased the book "Warfare In The Classical World" by John Warry and used it for a little flavor background. Here's what I came up with.

The "Hollywood" Variant

My first attempt was just from a gut feeling (after watching the movie) about what this army should look like, and I figured it out as:

3x 4Bd Ex-Gladiators in captured Roman equipment
4x 3Wb Gauls, Germans and ex-Gladiators
4x 3Aux Misc. freed slaves & other irregulars
1x 3Cav Misc. horsemen

The DBM Variant

I then took a look in my DBM Army book 2 and found that there was indeed an army list for the Spartacan revolt--#45 Sicilian and Italian Slave Revolts, 135BC - 71BC. According to DBA 1.1, you can use these lists to develop DBA armies as long as you represent all required troop types and you balance the army according to the maximums in the lists.

By adding up the discrete troop types, and taking the option of mounting the general and sub-general as Cv, the troop types in number of stands (and the overall percentage of the army) are:

Aux: 96 (49%) *These represent the Hordes troop type in DBM
Ps: 24 (12%)
Bd: 64 (33%)
Wb: 8 (4%)
Cav: 4 (2%)
Total: 196 stands

These figures then boiled down to a DBA army list comprised of:

6x 3Aux Ex-slaves
1x 2Ps Shepherds and Herdsmen
4x 4Bd Ex-gladiators and ex-slaves using captured Roman equipment
1x 3Wb or 3 Cav Gauls & Germans warband or Misc. Horsemen

The Kendrick Variant

I think that these two lists give you the opportunity to play the "Historical" (i.e. Phil Barker) version or the "Hollywood" version at your own choice. I sort of think that a "proper" gamer's-type list might look something more like this:

59a. SPARTACAN REVOLT, 71BC (E=59 Marian Roman)

4x 3Aux Ex-slaves
1x 2Ps Shepherds and Herdsmen
4x 4Bd Ex-gladiators and ex-slaves using captured Roman equipment
1x 3Wb or 3Cav Gauls & Germans or Misc. Horsemen
1x 3Wb or 3Aux
1x 3Aux or 2Ps

This would allow for a little more variety and add the opportunity to choose another Warband (so they could be used in deep formation if desired).

Of course, all of this was made up in my head and on paper and I haven't played with this list. I'd be interested in trying them out and/or hearing if you have, and if you were successful or not. Enjoy!

Doug Kendrick
Woodland Hills, California, USA

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Last Updated: June 5, 1998