Maximinus Thrax – From Common Soldier to Emperor of Rome – Paul N Pearson
published by Pen & Sword
Published: 24th August 2016
Maximinus Thrax, the Thracian, originally named Gaius Julius Verus Maximinus, was born circa 173 CE in Thrace and died in 238 CE, near Aquileia. He was the first soldier to rise through the ranks to become Roman emperor although his reign only lasted 3 years (235–238 CE). He was a Thracian tribesman “of frightening appearance and colossal size”. There were many feats of the strongman told about him and it was these strongman feats that brought him to the attention of emperor Severus. Maximinus was enlisted into the imperial bodyguard where he had a distinguished military career eventually achieving a senior command in the Roman invasion of Persia in 232 CE. Later he became emperor in a military coup. He was eventually ousted in a civil war pushed by the Senate against him.
I have been very much looking forward to my review copy of this arriving which, after a couple of redirects, finally found its way to me in the Philippines. I have been looking forward to this for a couple of reasons. One is that my knowledge of Rome is mostly based in the times of Augustus and earlier and second, I have been reading a fair bit of historical fiction of late set in the period of Rome in the second and third centuries CE. Harry Sidebottom’s series, Throne of the Caesars, is set in the reigns of Alexander Severus and Maximinus Thrax.
Pearson’s work is a narrative history of the life and times of Maximinus Thrax up to and past his assassination. It reads like a thriller, equipped as it is with various accounts of the treachery and assassination that were central to Roman politics.
Pearson covers the subject well, so well and in such an interesting manner that I am now looking for further reading concerning those times. The book itself is a great read and only real world time constraints (my day job) forced me to put it down at night.
My biggest surprise concerning Maximinus is that he has not been the subject of a movie yet.
I can thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who has in interest in these times. I can also thoroughly recommend it to those who you who don’t as I am sure after reading this volume you will be searching for more information about this interesting period.
Last weekend I had the time to indulge myself in my fantasy – the painting queue for 2017. I had originally thought it was not that extensive as I had not purchased all that much in the way of new lead in 2016 and besides, I did not have too much left over for painting from 2014 and 2015.
The painting queue follows in not particular order!
World War II Aerial Combat. The aircraft mix in these packets are from Raiden Miniatures and are in 1/285th scale. They are:
6 x Tupolev SB-3
6 x I-16 ‘Rata’
4 x Fiat G.50
4 x Fokker D.XXI
4 x Brewster Buffalo
The rules are Raiden Miniatures Fast Play Aerial Combat Rules. I have version 1.1.
Any of the World War II aerial combat rules could be used. The beauty with the Winter War is that a mix of aircraft seldom seen on the wargames table is possible with the Finns using equipment from Italy, the Netherlands and the USA, among others.
Raiden also make a US WW2 aircraft carrier flight deck, the USS Enterprise, for flight and combat operations. It is a kit in 51 parts and I am not sure if it is made or not currently. See http://www.raidenminiatures.co.uk/4.html for details.
Starmada vessels from Brigade Models. In this case, the PacFed fleet. I have a PacFed Future War Commander Army tucked away up here and this is the off-planet version of those. The PacFed are loosely based around a “Pacific Federation” and contain a lot of vessels with Australian type names.
As an opponent to the PacFed I looked to ONESS – loosely based around German forces. Somewhere at mum’s I have the ground fleet to complement this. This also is from Brigade Models.
Baccus 6mm figures make up the rest of my Singapore DBA Project. Armies still to be painted are:
II/9a Syracusan in Sicily 410-210BC
II/8 Campanian, Apulian, Lucanian and Bruttian 420-203BC
11/39a Iberian 240-20BC
II/11 Gallic 400-50BC
II/32a Later Carthaginian 275-202BC
Speaking of Brigade Models, I acquired a US Aeronef fleet. This was for part of the Peshawar project but with the purchase of Imperial Skies, the project has expanded somewhat (see below for how much). Of course what is illustrated and discussed here does not mention the British, French and Prussian Aeronefs that are already in the collection.
These then are the US Aeronef fleet. Quite a tidy force. I have been trying to think of an alternative paint scheme other that the Great White Fleet colours of, well, white!
The perfect opponent for the Americans above – the forces of the Rising Sun. Both Fleets (the US and Japanese) are substantial and would be the two most powerful fleets in the collection.
As with the Americans I am trying to think of a colour scheme that is not the Japanese naval vessels at Tsushima!
I wanted a bit of fun so I added a Scandinavian Union fleet. Dumpy vessels certainly but they have a certain attraction as well. These are also from Brigade Models and I am pondering colour schemes for them.
These were never envisaged for the Peshawar Project however they will make a good opponent for the BENELUX forces described below.
For a little South American Aeronef action I picked up some Argentinians. These look sufficiently different to other ‘nefs to keep the interest up.
Rather than a standard grey or Victorian Livery for these I have been toying with the idea of basing a paint scheme around light blue and white – same colour as the shirts of the Pumas. Again, Brigade Models.
And if the Argentinians are light blue and white then the Brazilians should be both hairless and based around green and gold colours. I have an idea for that with an antique style of gold colouring.
An opponent for the Scandinavian Union, and possibly the Italians. The Benelux Aeronef fleet consists of vessels from Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
The above-mentioned Italian Aeronefs.
The last of the Aeronefs in this years paint queue, the Russians. They are also one of the protagonists in the Peshawar campaign. For colours on these I am thinking, maybe, something like Port Arthur 1905.
A couple of years ago I picked up two armies for the Great Pacific War. Here are the Chilean/Peruvian Army and the Bolivian forces. I am planning on using these with the 1859, 1866 or 1870 rules. A project that has been on the back-burner for three years now.
I have had an interest in both the English Civil War and the 30 Years War for many years and picking up Baccus 6mm‘s English Civil War boxed set seemed like a good way of getting into it. The set gives me two armies, a couple of houses, Polemos rules and 60mm bases.
I am planning on using these with the Baroque Rules from Dadi and Piombo as well.
Navwar 1/3000 scale World War I Austrian ships – battleships to destroyers/torpedo boats. I have their main opponent, the Italian fleet, painted and here already. It must be said that during the war, both the Italian Royal Navy and the Austro-Hungarian Navy kept their most modern capital ships inside their bases (Pola and Kotor for the Austrian Fleet, Brindisi and Taranto for the Italian fleet), leaving mostly submarines, destroyers, torpedo boats and scout cruisers to do any fighting.
Heroics and Ros figures have been used for my Cold War Poles – an opponent for my Cold War Danes.
In addition to all that, there are a few other items on the list including:
Anthony’s 20mm World War II British
Finish off the 1/285 scale World War II Japanese
1/285 scale World War II Hungarians
1/300 scale Cold War Commander Danes to be completed
1/1200 scale Coastal Warfare Ships
The 1/3000 scale Jutland Fleets
Houston Ships Italians and Austrians from the Battle of Lissa
Dystopian Wars fleets, and
Peshawar, 2mm ground forces
So – a painting queue that for 2017 should keep me busy well into 2020!
23 April 2017 – Update: Nothing. Nada. Not done a thing! Maybe I need to motivate myself and buy some more figures.
I thought I would write a quick, self-indulgent, “what are the Wargaming plans for 2017” post. I thought a good place to start may be to audit that lead pile here. Crap. It is way bigger than I thought and after three hours checking boxes, identifying the contents and making a note, I have decided that this will become Saturday’s task.
I knew I had some Aeronefs here and some 6mm figures to paint but after failing to quickly identify two 6mm ancient DBA armies (I will need to take them out of the bag and look closely at the figures) as well as only getting through half the unpainted Aeronefs, I threw in the towel for tonight.
Identified so far are 6 Aeronef forces (overachieved), two Starmada fleets, five 6mm DBA armies, 6 land ironclad armies (minus the vehicles), one land ironclads army’s vehicles, a butt-load of 2mm (1/1200) terrain items, 1/3000 scale WW1 ships, 1/1200 Houston ships, 1/1200 coastal vessels, 1/300 BKCII Japanese and Hungarians, two 15mm DBA armies, 1/1200 modern aircraft, 1/285 Winter War air forces and Anthony’s 20mm World War 2 Brits, I am still only about half way through this lead pile. Then there is the lead pile at mother’s!
Oh well, upward and onward, the audit will continue on Saturday and I am sure I will be self indulgent enough to write it all up Saturday night or Sunday! One thing is sure. I will cease buying figures this year until I clear some of the backlog, unless it is to round out collections!
Christmas has gone and so has New Year’s Eve. I avoid making New Year’s Resolutions, partly because reflecting on what you are doing and what you will do is something that should be an ongoing process. Having said that, in nautical terms, i am getting very broad across the beam although I have a good deal of ballast to counter that. It is time to slim up so that is one task on my 2017 and beyond.
Work also will be interesting this year as one contract finishes and I chase another. I will be looking for something to start around July or so.
I did reflect on those things that went well and those that failed in the year just past, however, a product of the odd beer and a relatively quiet New Year’s Eve back in Manila. It is, however, time to think about the plans for the coming year, doubly so as a week has already gone.
Simply … I did next to no wargaming, or painting. I also managed to add another few kilograms overall to my already portly body shape. I kept getting great ideas, especially for wargaming projects, but managed to not spend anytime actually starting any of them. Worst of all, I missed getting back to Oz and visiting mother for about 8 months, which was very frustrating.
There were some high spots however. Settled well into the second year of working in the Philippines and had the project progressing well. I also managed to read a lot, thank goodness for Kindle and a decent smartphone – I get to read almost anywhere.
So, as I had a little spare case this year, I spoiled myself with some Christmas gifts, and they will form the basis of the 2017 wargaming efforts.
First off was the two Warships I had missed from 2014 and 2015. I had not had a chance to purchase these before but they went into my Christmas stocking this year (it was a big stocking). Warship 2014 is the 36th edition and contains a variety of articles including a detailed technical description of the Queen Elizabeth (the UK’s only aircraft carrier – I guess because the French had one); details of Germany’s Braunschweig and Deutschland classes; the Italian aircraft carrier Cavour; IJN armoured cruisers; the escape of the Jean Bart from Saint-Nazaire; the submarine Mariotte; the IJN light carrier Ryûjô; Russia’s turret frigates, the Admiral Lazarev and Admiral Spiridov; and some other articles.
Warship 2015 is the first I have seen available in a Kindle format. It was tempting to acquire the Kindle Version, especially as it was half the price of the printed version, but I just could not give up the feel of the paper versions of this publication yet. This issue contains among other items, the Battleships of the Patrie Class; Postwar Weapons in the Royal Navy; the Tragedy of the Submarine Mariotte; Developments in Modern Carrier Aviation; and an early surface engagement between British and Japanese surface forces in WW2. I am looking forward to finishing Warship 2014 to get into Warship 2015.
Warship 2016 is the first of the recent series to come without a dust jacket (why did they call them dust jackets?). It long the previous 37 editions is a mix of different articles concerning naval matters from various periods of essentially 20th and 21st Century history.
This edition has articles on the Bougainville colonial sloops; an Italian colonial sloop Eritrea; the Japanese Asashio class destroyers; Fugas class minesweepers; divisional tactics at the Battle of Jutland and the conclusion to the Naval War in the Adriatic theater in WWI. There is also a piece on the use of ‘highball” on a ship – from the target ship’s perspective, in this case the French battleship Courbet.
I finally got around to acquiring a copy of De Bellis Antiquitatis, my favourite ancient wargaming rules. Plans for 2017 include not just learning these but getting some games in. I have a number of armies in Manila in 6mm and as the playing area is 2-foot square (60cm x 60cm) I also have the space to game.
This will likely make a nice project for 2017. More on that later in a separate post. I can. however, see my 6mm Numidians and 6mm Romans coming out for some early games and also provide an incentive for me to complete my DBA 6mm terrain pieces.
I had not been part of the kickstarter but these rules look to be a good alternative to Aeronef. I also acquired the dice and turn rulers.
I purchased some opposition for my 1/300th scale modern Danes. These are in the form of some Heroics and Ros 1/300th scale Poles. We will have sometime this year some T-55s out against some Centurions. This will be part of a separate little project, part of which will be to complete the Danes and relocate them from mother’s garage to the Philippines. These will be used with Cold War Commander. I must admit, whilst the GHQ castings are superb detail wise, I still like the Heroics and Ros for wargames figures.
Naturally, having purchased Imperial skies one needed some Aeronefs to go along with the new rules. Brigade Models Christmas discount helped me to acquire Argentinian, Brazilian and BENELUX fleets for this game and for use with Aeronef as well. I also acquired some Italian ‘nefs in the purchase along with some Russians to round out my Peshawar project, if I ever get back to that.
I really am looking forward to getting some paint on these models.
Last of the stocking fillers was the Baccus 6mm English Civil War boxed set. This consists of butt-loads of figures, bases, buildings and Polemos rules. I will admit up front that I purchased these to play with the Impetus Rules however the beauty of the Polemos basing is that I can also use these as based for bopth Polemos and Impetus.
As Christmas Day has just slid past in Oz, at least on the East Coast, I thought I should get my Christmas Greetings out. Today was great, a nice relaxed day, large lunch, afternoon nap and now sitting in the cool of the evening and reflecting on the past year. More on that later.
Today, let me wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a safe, happy New Year. As for me, I promise never again to spend nearly 6 hours with three gay hairdressers for a Christmas Party appearance. I certainly will never bleach my beard again … the smell was overpowering. The sparkling grey hair has turned to Ash Blonde so is due for the chop later this week.
Like all good wargamers I am quickly and easily distracted by new, bright shiny objects. As a result, I have three projects on the go at the moment.
Firstly are the 20mm World War 2 figures being painted up for Anthony. Today was spent wrestling with the Platoon 20 6-pdr anti-tank gun. Working out the way it all goes together with no reference works was a wee challenge. I spend some time with Mr Google looking for pictures of completed guns in particular to work out how the shields go on the front and how the trails attach to the rear. Currently the first wheel has been attached.
Then there are the 3mm Napoleonics. An infantry brigade and a cavalry regiment ready for sand and then painting.
Lastly I started with Coastal Forces, commencing with S-26, S-27, S-28 and S-29, German Schnellboot. The boats where cleaned up, machine guns attached to the rear and then added to bases. Bases have had some sea effects added using Woodland Scenics Flex Paste. Painting these will be covered in a later post.
Yep. Back into the groove – too many projects, not enough time (and damn, I super glued my fingers so have no fingerprints. It will be challenging using the bio-metric door locks at the office tomorrow!)
With those words from the Concierge at the condo, I was handed two cards from the PhilPost Central Makati Post Office telling me there were two parcels there. Now I was expecting a cover for my LG tablet, a couple of books and some wargame figures (English Civil War 6mm to be exact). I wondered which two parcels they would be. I had a meeting in Pasay in the morning then thought I would come back to the Post Office as it would be lunchtime. I prepared to travel back in time to 1954.
I dropped in and handed the cards over with my ID card. In record time the staff returned with two parcels for me – a small envelope and a huge box from Amazon.com. I had one of those moments looking at the box, paid the 224 pesos for the retrieval of the two parcels and returned home for lunch (and to open the parcels of course).
The small envelope certainly contained a cover for my tablet. I then opened the large Amazon box and found 7 books there, 5 more that I had recalled.
At least none of the books were repeats of books I had previously purchased and I recall now that I had purchased a few book as they were all in my sphere of interest.
Next time I think I will leave a note to myself on the fridge with details of each order. Then again, opening the parcel was like Christmas as I had not remembered what I ordered so each book was a pleasant surprise.
The loot is shown below! Oops, I did I order that many? I guess I did.
I sent off to Magister Militum recently for some rare earth magnets. While cruising through the Magister Militum website I browsed across the 1/1200th and 1/1250th scale World War 2 coastal ships and aircraft. I had dabbled a little with 1/600th scale coastal forces before and those models are quite lovely, especially with aerials added. Torpedo boats were large though as were destroyers and some merchantmen. I therefore stopped collecting and working on that project.
So, what does every wargamer need? Yep, one more project. The 1/1200th scale stuff really looked nice. Size was good too and would allow me to play some narrow seas type stuff in the limited space I have in Manila for gaming. Best of all, it is inspiring enough to get me off my rapidly expanding other end and back into painting and modeling.
A few Vosper Power Boats, Fairmile D MGB and MTB, ASW Trawler, M/S Trawler, Sutherland (merchant), Gogovale Steam Merchant, Tramp (Belford), T-22 Class, S-Boat S-18, R-Boat R-41, Bristol Beaufighter MkVI, Lockheed Hudson MkIII as well as some S-Boat and a Torpedo Boat purchased previously for a look and I have another period.
Come Christmas and I will be back home for a while so it will be a good time to pick up my Coastal Forces rules and find what I have available by way of painting references for Coastal Vessels.
If this goes well, then I might look at some Japanese and American forces, or some Italians to pit against the British.
I was surprised, sitting down to my morning coffee and catching up with the overnight emails. Amazon.co.uk has put a smile on my face even larger than the smile the coffee produces. I received this on their email this morning … “As you’ve shown an interest in similar books, you might like to know about these Business, Finance & Law Books titles from our Books Store” and “More in Business, Finance & Law Books.”
Now these are my type of Business, Finance & Law Books books!