A  MASSIVE  BATTLE  TAKES  PLACE.  THE DACIANS  WEAR  BLUE  CLOAKS  AND  HAVE  RED  HAIR.

SPOT  THE  ROMAN  LEGIONARIES  WITH  THEIR  OBLONG  SHIELDS  AND  BANDED  PLATE  ARMOUR  (LORICA  SEGMENTATA).

THE  ROMANS  ARE  WINNING.  THERE  ARE  BODIES  OF  DACIANS  BENEATH  THEIR  FEET.

 

 

 

Now the armies come into direct conflict. Its impossible to say which battle this represents. We know that several pitched battles were fought in this war, but only one is tied down to a specific location – the battle of Tarpei, a decisive contest fought prior to the capture and destruction of the Dacian capital, Sarmizagethusa.

In this encounter we see Roman legionaries fighting alongside the auxiliaries and the bare-chested Germans. It has to be remembered that each figure represents a whole contingent of men. So we are looking at a major dust-up here. Although lightly armoured the Dacians do not look like an ill-ordered rabble. They are formed in organised lines, one of many techniques they learned from the Romans. The Dacian infantry was indeed formidable, mainly due to the devastating weapon they wielded in battle – the Falx.

The Falx was a long-handled “sword” with a vicious hook-shaped blade. The two-handed version could split shields and lop off limbs with ease. The weapon was so fearsome that it forced the Romans to improve their helmets (with extra iron straps) and adopt the flexible metal “manica” (previously a piece of arm protection used only by gladiators).

Yet the strange thing is this – it hardly appears on Trajan’s Column. Perhaps the Dacians here are holding Falxes, but like all the other bronze weaponry on the Column, they were stripped and robbed long ago. Yet even so, there is only tiny reference to this famous weapon in the stonework  itself. Is this another example of sheer ignorance by the artists, who were working on second-hand information? There are certainly many examples of artistic license on the Column – the size of shields being perhaps the most noticeable example. They are all too small. We know the approximate dimensions of a legionary scutum from archaeological evidence. So the Column can never be absolutely trusted in matters of detail. 

Advertisements