De Bellis Multitudinis

De Bellis Multitudinis (DBM) is a set of wargames rules. It is a set of wargame rules written by the Wargames Research Group in England. They function by abstracting the tactics of individual soldiers (or small tactical groups) into a larger series of events. The basic unit of manoeuvre is the element and a number of elements forms a group. There is no real reference to cohorts, regiments and such. Elements fight each other and combat outcomes are against the element.

There is a good introduction to DBM on Richard Bodley Scott’s Wargames Page. He is one of the authors of DBM, Hordes of the Things (HotT) and De Bellis Antiquitatis (DBA). His website has some introductory tactics plus essays on a couple of armies he finds particularly appealing. It is also the home of any official amendments to the rules. These tend to occur a little too frequently but, to be fair, they are not a product of the rules as such but more a result of the rules being used for the major number of ancients tournaments worldwide (and therefore receiving more visible play than most other rule sets) coupled with an extremely active and vocal Internet News Group. Follow the link below to subscribe to this list but please note that there is an awful lot of traffic generated off this site. There can be upwards of 200 messages a day received from this group. DBM List.

Within this website (Thomo’s Holes) are details of my wargaming with DBM. There are details of the various armies I have, lists of them, painting details for them and the odd photo of them. At the same time I have included some reference notes and other information about future armies and such.

Completed Armies

And now, brief details of the specific armies mentioned. If you are curious about an army, note that there will be an article about them at some time on the site.

Army Book/List Description
Early Sumerian

3000 BC – 2334 BC and circa 2250 BC

I/1 This is the DBM Army I painted whilst in Norway. The link here links to the army details with reference back to the different rulesets I can use this army under.
Later Visigoths

419 AD – 720 AD

II/82 The start of a collection of armies that permit the morphing of a number of different forces from around the time of the fall of Rome to the time of the early Byzantine Empire. Due to a slight windfall of funds in England whilst I was working in Norway, I commissioned the painting of a Later Visigothic Army. The painting for this has now been completed. The figures were painted by Tony Barr (and I guess his daughter). Standard of painting was good. Tony also is manufacturing Grumpy Miniatures along with some other items. I can recommend Tony’s services.
Early Ostrogothic, Herul, Sciri or Taifali

200 AD – 493 AD

II/67 The third of my armies, painted by those that painted the Visigoths and together with the Visigoths allow for a lot of morphing possibilities. This was originally constructed as an Ostrogothic Army but can provide some of the variations mentioned in the list. Unfortunately, these were not funded out of a windfall.This army has some natural or rather historical opponents from the armies listed in the morphable armies below: See in particular:

  • Bosporan II/25
  • Siracae, Iazyges, Later Rhoxolani Sarmatians II/26
  • Gepid II/71
  • Early Lombard III/2
Carolingian Frankish

639 AD – 888 AD

III/28 This was an army I saw at the Bring and Buy at Colours in 2000. The price was good, the paint job good and I figured there was about 400AP in the box. As it turned out there was considerably more. Figures from here also allow for a lot of morphing with the Goths mentioned above.There is a natural opponent to this army in the morphable armies below. The Carolingians fought the Italian Lombard Kingdoms (III/2). There are enough Gothic Figures to produce a full sized Lombard Army as opposition.
Late Imperial Roman

307 AD – 425 AD

II/78 To round out the collection of armies from the end of the Classical Period, start of the Dark Ages, I have a Late Imperial Roman Army under construction. Details of it will be posted when it is complete.
Early Byzantine

493 AD – 578 AD

III/4 Also from around the same time (OK, a little later than the Romans) is an Early Byzantine Army. Once this is finished, my next armies will be early Classical Period or Biblical again (unless I see something really nice at one of the Bring and Buy stalls).

Morphable Armies

Of course, with the mix of armies above, especially the two Gothic ones, it is possible to morph several armies to provide even more fun on the table. So, the following armies can be morphed from the figures above:

Army Book/List Description
Akkadian 2334 BC – 2193 BC

and Third Dynasty of Ur 2112 BC – 2004 BC

Early Ostrogothic

200 AD – 493 AD

Siracae, Iazyges, Later Rhoxolani Sarmatians

310 BC – 375 AD


310 BC – 107 BC and 46 BC – 375 AD

Early Rhoxolani Sarmatians

310 BC – 100 AD

II/24 This is about the oldest force I can morph from the Goths. Partly this is due to the fact that moving backwards into the Classical Period, we have more people shaving and therefore less Hairy Barbarians. More to the point, though, there appears to be much less in the way of massed Cavalry or Knight type armies. The figures may not look exactly like a Sarmatian as described in the reference works, but hey, they sure are a lot of fun to play with.
African Vandals

442 AD – 535 AD


250 AD – 566 AD

Early Visigothic

200 AD – 419 AD

II/65 Morphed using the Later Visigoths and the Carolingian Franks
Early Vandal

200 AD – 442 AD

Middle Frankish

496 AD – 639 AD

Early Lombard

489AD – 584 AD

Italian Ostrogothic

493 AD – 561 AD


580 AD – 1072 AD

III/18 Morphed using Goths and Franks
Italian Lombard

584 AD – 1076 AD

West Frankish or Norman

888 AD – 1072 AD

III/51 Whilst not looking like the classic Normans we are used to seeing from places such as the Bayeux Tapestry, the elements needed to construct this army are present and arguably an early version of this force may have looked like the figures used.
East Frankish

888 AD – 1106 AD

III/52 Again, the comments applied to the West Frankish list above applies to the East Franks as well. Still, it allows for some interesting historical opponents.

1008 AD – 1089 AD

III/70 Assuming that the option to use Cumans is not taken, then we can manage to put together a Georgian Army.
Early Russian

1054 AD – 1246 AD</SMALL>

III/78 And this really stretches it forward but as the Russians appeared to be fairly hairy, it fits. This morph requires figures from the Gothic forces as well as the Franks.

Project and Future Armies Notes

Here I am including details and notes about the projects (armies) I am working on or that I have in stock at the moment. As I get around to completing them, they will be moved to the top of this document. I must plead guilty to using the website as a means of keeping track of everything, hence the Planned Items.

Army Book/List Description
Minoan and Mycenaean

1600 BC – 1250 BC

I/18 Notes about the army I was hoping to be currently working on. I had hoped to have it completed before the Millenium Dome, however, it is likely that the Millenium Dome will be destroyed before these guys are complete. Such is life. In any case the notes are still valid and form a useful resource for anyone contemplating this army.
Early Libyan

3000 BC – 70 AD

I/7 So there I was, walking around Campaign at Milton Keynes this year (1999) and I stopped to look at the Lancashire Games Trade Stand. Saw a packet of 100 Early Libyans for £10.50. Well, they offered a discount if I bought 4 bags of figures so three bags of Early Libyans and one bag of Sea Peoples later, I was walking around to the Gladiator Games stand to pick up some extra Libyans for the new army. You really have to hate shows. Follow the link above and it will take you to the bit about the Early Libyans.

320 BC – 83 BC


320 BC – 30 BC

Hittite Empire

1380 BC – 1180 BC


1166 BC – 600 BC

Later Carthaginian

275 BC – 146 BC

Polybian Roman

275 BC – 105 BC


250 BC – 130 BC

and Graeco-Indian

180 BC – 55 BC


Note: Since originally writing this, I have started adding figures to the stock collection to allow the making of an Axumite force. I have decided to add another couple of armies to the list so that I can have a wide selection of differing tactical troop types, for example, a warband army, a Light Horse Army, a Knight Heavy army and so on.

Further Note: Since first writing this list, the authors of DBM have gone their separate ways. Richard Bodley Scott has worked on a committee with Sliterine Software to write a set of Ancient Wargaming Rules called Art of War (well, called that now … that may change depending on patents and copyrights of names). Phil Barker, the other author, is working in a set of rules called De Bellis Magistrorum Militum (DBMM). Both sets seem like they will be published this year (2007).

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