Scalae Veteres

1 year 1 month ago - 1 year 3 weeks ago #86 by Mark McG
Scalae Veteres was created by Mark McG
Battle of Scalae Veteres 537 AD

War Council

Rebel Army (Use Tan blocks
• Leader: Stotzas
• 4 Command Cards
• 2 Inspired Action tokens
• Move First

Byzantine Army (Use Purple blocks
• Leader: Germanus
• 5 Command Cards
• 3 Inspired Action tokens


7 Banners

Special Rules
• The Rebel camp hexes are worth 1 Victory Banner to the Byzantines whilst a Byzantine unit occupies the camp. This banner is lost the instant the unit leaves or is eliminated.
• The Baggage Train wall is impassable
• Both sides use Byzantine Inspire Actions
• The Rebel Medium and Heavy Cavalry units are not armed with bows.
• The Byzantine Medium and Heavy Cavalry units are armed with bows.

In 536 a large-scale mutiny broke out in the Roman army that had recaptured North Africa and Carthage. Belisarius himself had to come from Sicily and save Carthage. But at that point two thirds of the Roman army had joined the rebels.
Belisarius had to go back to Italy to fight the Ostrogoths, so Justinian appointed his own cousin Germanus as magister militum of the newly founded African province (praefectura praetorio Africae) to deal with the crisis.
Germanus acted very carefully. He was very cautious because he knew that the remaining loyal soldiers of the one third of the army were kinsmen or tent-mates of the rebels and had the same ideas with the rebels. Germanus managed to win over many of the rebels to his side by appearing conciliatory and paying their arrears.
Stotzas realizing that the cause of the rebellion was fading and his army would be reduced, he took the initiative and moved against Carthage hoping that the troops in the city would join him at the end.

The two armies met in the spring of 537 at a seaside place called Scalas Veteres, 35 stades (6km) south of Carthage. Several of the men in Stotzas army fled when they realized that the imperial troops remained loyal and would not join the rebellion. Stotzas had also with him a force of Moors. This force -supposedly an ally of Stotzas- was in secret negotiations with Germanus. In fact they were just waiting to see how the battle was going in order to appear on the side of the winner. Both armies distrusted them anyway and they did not play a major role in the battle.
The two armies had the same training, the same uniforms and the same type of weapons. So in the heat of the battle it was difficult to say who was with whom. The soldiers of Germanus had a password to recognize their own. It was a battle of great confusion. Finally the better disciplined and better prepared force of Germanus prevailed. The battle ended with the looting of the camp of the rebels who for a while seized the opportunity and tried to regroup and counterattack while their opponents were busy plundering but Germanus reacted decisively bringing his men back to battle positions .
Stotzas fled with some Vandals and withdrew eventually to Mauritania and after marrying the daughter of one of the rulers remained there and later became a king.

File Attachment:

File Name: ScalaeVete...7AD.vsav
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Last edit: 1 year 3 weeks ago by Mark McG.
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1 year 1 month ago #87 by mk20336
Replied by mk20336 on topic Scalae Veteres
Can't see the image.

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1 year 1 month ago - 1 year 3 weeks ago #88 by Mark McG
Replied by Mark McG on topic Scalae Veteres
Image and VSAV file added
Last edit: 1 year 3 weeks ago by Mark McG.
The following user(s) said Thank You: marcR

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1 month 6 days ago #387 by pallasarmata
Replied by pallasarmata on topic Scalae Veteres
This reconstruction differs greatly from that of Roy Boss in Justinian's Wars p 8. He lists Germanus' forces as 500 bucellarii on the left wing. The center of 2000 Roman infantry (1000 spear, 1000 light with bow)On the right John is listed as having 400 Foederati with armor and spear, 400 horse bow under Theodorus, and an additional 100 bucellarii with extra armor , lance, bow and shield, 800 Roman horse bow, and 300 foederati with armor and spear, 4500 men.

The Rebels on the left had 400 Heruls listed as medium armor and spear ( I suggest these should be bow and spear) , 800 foederati armor/ spear, and 400 Roman horse bow; the center outnumbers the Roman loyalists with 2400 regular infantry-1200 each bow and spear/armor/shield. Facing Germans are 400 horse bow and 800 Vandal armor/spear. This is a total of 5200 men. A large swarm of Moors was located on the far rebel right.

The Loyalists were outnumbered in infantry and approximately equal in cavalry. It is difficult to understand how the rebels failed. Strangely, the rebel cavalry on the left; outnumbered by the Loyalist cavalry under John, defeated John's command and put it to flight. Germans was able to defeat the rebel right wing (800 vandals and 400 roman horse bow) despite being outnumbered 2:1. Boss' text suggests that the Rebels wasted some of their cavalry by using it to attack the Loyalist infantry protected by wagons rather than concentrating exclusively on Germanus' mounted troops.

I would consider reworking our scenario a bit based on this reconstruction.

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1 month 5 days ago #388 by Mark McG
Replied by Mark McG on topic Scalae Veteres
translation of Procopius

if the scenario plays out as below, I am satisfied. Hard to know how to handle some of the treachery and confusion, but the Moors at least are relatively easy in that they did nothing and simply don't count.
Where Roy Boss get's his troop counts from is a matter of interest, since Procopius doesn't mention them.


Now for some time the two armies remained in position opposite each other. But when the mutineers saw that nothing of what Stotzas had foretold was coming to pass, they began to be afraid as having been unexpectedly cheated of their hope, and they broke their ranks and withdrew, and marched off to Numidia, where were their women and the money from their booty. And Germanus too came there with the whole army not long afterwards, having made all preparations in the best way possible and also bringing along many wagons for the army. And overtaking his opponents in a place which the Romans call Scalae Veteres, he made his preparations for battle in the following manner. Placing the wagons in line facing the front, he arrayed all the infantry along them under the leadership of Domnicus, so that by reason of having their rear in security they might fight with the greater courage. And the best of the horsemen and those who had come with him from Byzantium he himself had on the left of the infantry, while all the others he placed on the right wing, not marshalled in one body but in three divisions. And Ildiger led one of them, Theodoras the Cappadocian another, while the remaining one, which was larger, was commanded by John, the brother of Pappus, with three others. Thus did the Romans array themselves.

And the mutineers took their stand opposite them, not in order, however, but scattered, more in the manner of barbarians. And at no great distance many thousands of Moors followed them, who were commanded by a number of leaders, and especially by Iaudas and Ortaïas. But not all of them, as it happened, were faithful to Stotzas and his men, for many had sent previously to Germanus and agreed that, when they came into the fight, they would array themselves with the emperor's army against the enemy. However, Germanus could not trust them altogether, for the Moorish nation is by nature faithless to all men. It was for this reason also that they did not array themselves with the mutineers, but remained behind, waiting for what would come to pass, in order that with those who should be victorious they might join in the pursuit of the vanquished. Such was the purpose, then, of the Moors, in following behind and not mingling with the mutineers.

And when Stotzas came close to the enemy and saw the standard of Germanus, he exhorted his men and began to charge against him. But the mutinous Eruli who were arrayed about him did not follow and even tried with all their might to prevent him, saying that they did not know the character of the forces of Germanus, but that they did know that those arrayed on the enemy's right would by no means withstand them. If, therefore, they should advance against these, they would not only give way themselves and turn to flight, but would also, in all probability, throw the rest of the Roman army into confusion; but if they should attack Germanus and be driven back and put to rout, their whole cause would be ruined on the spot. And Stotzas was persuaded by these words, and permitted the others to fight with the men of Germanus, while he himself with the best men went against John and those arrayed with him. And they failed to withstand the attack and hastened to flee in complete disorder. And the mutineers took all their standards immediately, and pursued them as they fled at top speed, while some too charged upon the infantry, who had already begun to abandon their ranks. But at this juncture Germanus himself, drawing his sword and urging the whole of that part of the army to do the same, with great difficulty routed the mutineers opposed to him and advanced on the run against Stotzas. And then, since he was joined in this effort by the men of Ildiger and Theodorus, the two armies mingled with each other in such a way that, while the mutineers were pursuing some of their enemy, they were being overtaken and killed by others. And as the confusion became greater and greater, the troops of Germanus, who were in the rear, pressed on still more, and the mutineers, falling into great fear, thought no longer of resistance. But neither side could be distinguished either by their own comrades or by their opponents. For all used one language and the same equipment of arms, and they differed neither in figure nor in dress nor in any other thing whatever. For this reason the soldiers of the emperor by the advice of Germanus, whenever they captured anyone, asked who he was; and then, if he said that he was a soldier of Germanus, they bade him give the watchword of Germanus, and if he was not at all able to give this, they killed him instantly. In this struggle one of the enemy got by unnoticed and killed the horse of Germanus, and Germanus himself fell to the ground and came into danger, and would have been lost had not his guards quickly saved him by forming an enclosure around him and mounting him on another horse.

As for Stotzas, he succeeded in this tumult in escaping with a few men. But Germanus, urging on his men, went straight for the enemy's camp. There he was encountered by those of the mutineers who had been stationed to guard the stockade. A stubborn fight took place around its entrance, and the mutineers came within a little of forcing back their opponents, but Germanus sent some of his followers and bade them make trial of the camp at another point. These men, since no one was defending the camp at this place, got inside the stockade with little trouble. And the mutineers, upon seeing them, rushed off in flight, and Germanus with all the rest of the army dashed into the enemy's camp. There the soldiers, finding it easy to plunder the goods of the camp, neither took any account of the enemy nor paid any further heed to the exhortations of their general, since booty was at hand. For this reason Germanus, fearing lest the enemy should get together and come upon them, himself with some few men took his stand at the entrance of the stockade, uttering many laments and urging his unheeding men to return to good order. And many of the Moors, when the rout had taken place in this way, were now pursuing the mutineers, and, arraying themselves with the emperor's troops, were plundering the camp of the vanquished. But Stotzas, at first having confidence in the Moorish army, rode to them in order to renew the battle. But perceiving what was being done, he fled with a hundred men, and succeeded with difficulty in making his escape. And once more many gathered about him and attempted to engage with the enemy, but being repulsed no less decisively than before, if not even more so, they all came over to Germanus. And Stotzas alone with some few Vandals withdrew to Mauretania, and taking to wife the daughter of one of the rulers, remained there. And this was the conclusion of that mutiny.

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