Many thanks, guys! Mamerce is one of my favourites as well, not the least because hoplite shields are a great surface to paint on.
Now that all the different classes from hoplite to skirmisher are present, there's one thing remaining. A good handful of warriors make up a decent raiding party. But in battle they easily are scattered, so 'command & control' is vital. Valesios has chosen young Vestrikius, nephew of Tiferios, to be his second-in-command and to carry the companionship's hallowed standard – some say, for no other reason than being "closely related" to the patron somehow. Roman aristocrats usually ignore such detractors who clearly have no sense for Greek refinement…
Particularly un-Greek seems the use of standards in general. Fighting almost exclusively in close order formations hoplites don't really need visual rallying points. More lightly equipped warriors, though, may disperse and form up again as the situation requires, and thus standards are probably more useful for the kind of flowing combat that prevails in early Italy. In all likelihood Roman formations were never that complex. Warriors come soldiers would rather bunch up in mobs, watching their comrades in front (not unlike a theatre performance) and waiting for their own next turn.
Since the standard constitutes a unit in battle, it may become a symbol of the unit's identity as well. The bull seen here is a rather common symbol, possibly derived from folk etymology which interlinked "Italia" with "bull (calf)" in several languages (e.g. Latin (v)itellus
). Another totemistic item may be the pelt armour traditionally ascribed to Roman standard bearers. Perhaps it was also an appropriately "ancient" looking garment. Or perhaps it was lightweight enough not encumber its wearer in case he had to safe the standard by simply running off. Only to tell the people at home about the great deeds of their fathers, brothers and husbands, of course.
And so this little story comes to an end as well. No promises if and when this will be resumed. Like said, it's been a fun project first and foremost.
At this point, huge thanks to Aventine Miniatures are in order: They kindly agreed to help me out on this with special orders of individually picked models. That's a very rare service these days, and I'm happy to commend them not only for that, but also for all the research that went into this range. Hats off to Keith and Adam!
Finally, thanks to you all for your company and comments this week. If you feel inspired to share your work here on LAF, whatever the format, my mission's accomplished.