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Ariovistus, a Suebian War-Leader (1st BCE)

By Gambargin
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Frawjon Ariovistus of Druhtiz Swebisku 

This sketch is an attempt at portraying one of the recorded Germanic warrior in the history, known by his latinized name as Ariovistus by Roman historian. Ariovistus was famed for leading his Suebian and other Germanic warband in assisting the Arverni and Sequani to defeat their rivals the Aedui, after which they settled in large numbers in conquered Gallic territory in the Alsace region. They were defeated, however, in the Battle of Vosges and driven back over the Rhine in 58 BC by Julius Caesar.

The Suebis could be considered as a "supertribes", a confederation of several ancient Germanic tribes that is though to share a common ancestry and language. They were different than the other ancient Germanic tribes (eg Chatti) in a sense that, they were mobile and relies less on agriculture but more on animal herding & husbandy to sustain themselves. They were also famous for being war-like and given that war was plenty due to the mobile nature of their society, the Suebians society were less stratified than their Celtic neighbors. War leaders who were successful gained fame and attracted plenty of wealth and followers, increasing his power within the tribes and thus giving rise to the warrior elites that became highly influential. This inevitably contested the older style of ruler in which a semi-sacred/religious leader was chosen on the basis of his ancestry; As such, this ensured more war bred from conflicts arising due to the power struggles and rivalries between the tribes' war leaders. 

Having said that, war-leader like Ariovistus would have been very common among the Suebians; despite the actual historical account, his portrayal here is speculative and may be anachronistic. Germanic war leaders enjoyed wealth which afforded them body armor, sword, helmet and shield for himself and his bodyguards/companions, all of which, would have been very expensive for the time. Prior to the contact with the Roman world, their equipment would have shown strong Celtic Influence, such as the La Tene sword, Celtic mail shirt as well as the Gallic helmet. Indigenous production of armor and helmet by Germanic smith did exist, such as as the simple round reinforced metal helmet, but were probably rarer than that in the Celtic world. His hexagonal shield is based on contemporary depiction from Roman sources, dating back 1st - 2nd CE....which is rather anachronistic.

Hope you all enjoy this drawing, and as always, feel free to drop any feedback or suggestions :)

Created as part of Gambargin's Monthly Historical Sketch Series that aims to portray various cultures across the globe in the context of history, as a spin-off from the Historically Wrong Sketch Series :) (Smile)

Part 5: Arminius and the Teutoburg Forest (Early 1st AD)

Arminius and the Teutoburg Forest (Early 1st AD) by Gambargin

Part 3: Weapons and Arms of Ancient Germanic Warriors

Weapons and Arms of Ancient Germanic Warriors by Gambargin
Image size
2831x4246px 4.33 MB
Shutter Speed
1/25 second
Focal Length
5 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
Sep 4, 2016, 1:45:20 AM
© 2016 - 2020 Gambargin
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Arminius1871's avatar
Ariovist and Cäsar. When two great men met.
Gambargin's avatar
Both diplomatically and on battle :)
Sebistara's avatar
I have a problem with that.
Whenever I download and activate him, Rome 2 crashes.
Gambargin's avatar
Download Chuck Norris instead, it'll beat all factions in the first turn =P
Sebistara's avatar
Wow, slow down! My dick can only get THAT hard!