Carolingian Frankish 639 AD to 888 AD


The Carolingian Franks resulted from a long look at the figures available in the Bring and Buy area of Colours in 2000. Well, my defence is that generally it is very difficult to get to the Bring and Buy area and by the time you have beaten your way through the crowd to see what is on offer, you’ve lost that positive feeling you had that you were going to spend on a few figures to fill out part of your collection. The Bring and Buy at Colours was in a separate area of the show, easy to get to and, unfortunately, not terribly crowded. This resulted in the ability to stand and ponder long over the figures. I claim that my admirable self control was working at the time as I did not pick up the painted Successors that were also there at a good bargain price.

The Carolingians were mostly well painted and there was a lot of them at the very reasonable price of £200. Also, with the figures that were present, I figured that when coupled with the Ostrogoths and Visigoths that I already owned, a lot more morphable armies were possible. I also figured that for the very minor addition of an element of clerics, a Hordes of the Things Army was also possible. Did I need any more justification?

Of course, the wonderful thing about the Hordes of the Things Army for the Carolingians is that it allows them to be used ala Thomas Bulfinch, or the Song of Roland, or any of a number of other tales from the past.

Presented here then are details of the Carolingians. This article is therefore divided into several parts, all concerned with wargaming with the Carolingians under DBM, DBA or HotT. A separate article will be prepared later with some historical and/or mythical information.

Charlemagne
Charelmagne's head - from the Luvre in Paris

If you are interested in further information about the Carolingians, then you can track a lot of information down on the Internet about them. An enquiry in the Argos search engine will reveal a wealth of sites containing information about them. The Argos Search Engine can be used, add “carolingian*” to the search parameter. Alternatively, a search on the most famous of the Carolingians, Charlemagne, is also useful. Use the parameter of “charlemagne*” in this case.

Books about the Carolingians

I am going to add some book links and information here at some time in the near future.

The Carolingians in DBM

A DBM Army List or two will appear here

The Carolingians in DBA

The DBA Rules call for the following army:

  • 1 x 3Kn – the General
  • 5 x 3Kn – the Caballarii
  • 4 x 4Sp – Spearmen
  • 1 x 2Ps – Archers
  • 1 x 2Ps or 2LH or 7Hd – more Archers; or Andalusian or Basque or Gascon Light Horse; or Peasants

Listed as enemies for the Carolingians are:

  • II/73 – Old Saxon 250 – 804 AD, Frisian 250 – 690 AD, Bavarian 250 – 788 AD, Thuringian 250 – 531 AD or Early Anglo-Saxon 428 – 617 AD
  • II/82b – Later Visigothic 622 – 720 AD
  • III/1bc – Early Slav (Bohemians 830 – 1003 AD or Others 476 – 985 AD)
  • III/13a – Avar 553 – 558 AD or 631 – 826 AD
  • III/18 – Breton 580 AD – 1072 AD
  • III/21ab – Italian Lombard 584 AD – 1076 AD
  • III/26b – Early Croatian 627 AD – 1180 AD
  • III/28 – Carolingian Frankish 639 AD – 888 AD
  • III/33 – Early Muslim North Africa and Sicily 696 AD – 1160 AD
  • III/34ab – Andalusian 710 AD – 1172 AD
  • III/35a – Feudal Spanish 718 AD – 950 AD
  • III/40ab – Viking 790 AD – 1280 AD

Following are the armies that are listed as allies to the Carolingians:

  • II/73 – Old Saxon 250 – 804 AD, Frisian 250 – 690 AD, Bavarian 250 – 788 AD, Thuringian 250 – 531 AD or Early Anglo-Saxon 428 – 617 AD
  • III/1c – Early Slav (Others 476 – 985 AD)
  • III/21b – Italian Lombard 775 AD – 1076 AD

Under the DBA rules, the Carolingians are listed as being of Arable Home Territory type with an Agression factor of 3. This means that generally the Carolingians will end up being the attacker (which is not really all that surprising given the number of knights present in the army). As an Arable Army, the Carolingians will need to deploy a Built Up Area when they are the defender. Fortunately, given their agression factor, they are likely to end up as the attacker many more times than defending.

The Epic Carolingian Army under Hordes of the Things

The name Charlemagne evokes an unclear image in the mind of many, other than that of a warrior who fought the darkness and was crowned Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Charlemagne is both real and the subject of a number of myths and legends. The Carolingians generally are known through the Song of Roland and through Mythology. One of the famous recordings of the legend is in Bulfinch’s Mythology. In the words of Thomas Bulfinch

In an age when intellectual darkness enveloped Western Europe, a constellation of brilliant writers arose in Italy. Of these, Pulci (born in 1432), Boiardo (1434), and Ariosto (1474) took for their subjects the romantic fables which had for many ages been transmitted in the lays of bards and the legends of monkish chroniclers. These fables they arranged in order, adorned with the embellishments of fancy, amplified from their own invention, and stamped with immortality. It may safely be asserted that as long as civilization shall endure, these productions will retain their place among the most cherished creations of human genius.

To read Bulfinch, follow the link to the Legends of Charlemagne or Romance of the Middle Ages. Note that this work is still in progress but the first few chapters in particular have extensive cross references as well.

The Song of Roland is also available online (his edition is based on the translation of Charles Scott Moncrief [London, 1919]. This edition is in the Public Domain).

Then there is Orlando Furioso (‘Orlando Enraged’) by Ludovico Ariosto (1474 – 1533). This work is a continuation of the “Orlando Innamorato” of Matteo Maria Boiardo, which was left unfinished upon the author’s death in 1494. It begins more or less at the point where Boiardo left it. The work starts when to the court of King Charlemagne comes Angelica (daughter to the king of Cathay, or India) and her brother Argalia. Angelica is the most beautiful woman any of the Peers have ever seen, and all want her. However, in order to take her as wife they must first defeat Argalia in combat. The two most stricken by her are Orlando and Ranaldo (‘Rinaldo’ in Rose).

When Argalia falls to the heathen knight Ferrau, Angelica flees — with Orlando and Ranaldo in hot pursuit. Along the way, both Angelica and Ranaldo drink magic waters — Angelica is filled with a burning love for Ranaldo, but Ranaldo is now indifferent. Add to this an attack by two heathen Hordes on the domain of Charlemagne and you start to get the picture.

As mentioned, I like to play Hordes of the Things, and the structure of the Carolingian Army I use is:

Carolingian Epic

Number Description Cost Points
2 Paladins (Roland and Oliver paired on same base and Ogier and Carrahue likewise) 4 8
1 Cleric (bishop) 3 3
1 Knight General (Charlemagne) 2 2
5 Knights (including lesser paladins) 2 10
1 Horde (mixed foot) 1 1
Total 24

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