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Legio Asinus I Socii Extraordinarii of SPQR

By Gambargin
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A concept drawing of an Early Roman/Roman Allies (Samnites) Women Warrior for the Historically Wrong Sketch Series - Project Antiquity which aims to portray Women Warriors of various cultures in a fictitious anachronistic historical settings based on the Classical Antiquity Era of Warfare. This drawing represents the early Roman Republic Era with heavy focus on the Samnites in the 4th - 3rd Century BCE.

Hopefully with this latest drawing, my drawing routine is back up an running!

"Hellatorius Victorialis"

Inspired by the Music: De Bello Civili Romanum


Anyone who reads the title and has a minimal understanding of Latin can easily identify that the title translates as "Donkey's Legion I" and perhaps, wondering why I choose that name. Technically speaking, the HWS series deals with portrayal of Women Warriors in historically inspired armors, as such, depicting ancient Roman Women Warriors is not only historically inaccurate, but also quite challenging. The name Donkey Legion was born from the association of Donkey as domestic animals, which is different to Horse, a symbol of masculinity and war. Roman Women had limited rights and were forbidden in participating war. as such, even if combat demands their participation, it was extremely limited. The Donkey Legion is a mock up name which gives a justification of a "female roman legion", who was initially raised from the Roman Allies and branded with the Donkey name to emphasize that while women warrior in Roman society were extraordinary, they would still be associated with their domestic role. Nevertheless, just like how Marius infantry were branded as Marius Mules after his military reform, which would later transform Roman Army into professional fighting force, so too will the reputation of Donkey Legion change from being a mockery to an impressive fighting force within the context of HWS Ancient Series.


When it comes to the portrayal of Roman Women Warrior, the artistic world is populated with creative imaginery, many of which, looks pretty extraordinary. While it would be an injustice to simply generalize the equipment of Roman Army throughout it's different era, portraying it's variety can also proves to be very challenging. Hence, in order to go with the Historically Wrong Sketch tradition, I wanted to dedicate 5 drawings which depicts Roman Women Army with its historically inspired attired from the time of the Early Roman Republic to the Height of the Roman Empire. This first drawing is dedicated to the 1st Donkey Legion of the Socii Extraordinarii.

The equipments of Itallic Army from the 8th century till the 3rd century are somewhat less studied that those of the imperial era in later centuries. Indeed, by this time, Rome was still just a backwater province surrounded by rival Itallic tribes and it's role in the ancient world was highly insignificant in comparison to, say, the Greeks, the Egyptians or the Eastern Civilizations (Mesopotamia, Persia). But nevertheless, this era proves a rather dynamic image of roman military as it rose, fought and subjugate its neighboring italic tribes to form the Republic that would later became one of the contender of Mediterranean Power.

In this drawing, the women warrior were depicted in typical but heavily stylized Samnites equipments. The lady in the front, is depicted with equipments from the legio linteata, which comes with decorated Bardo Cuirass, a decorated helmet as decribed by Livy, as well as the decorated feathers. The Spear would have been common among the Samnites, but the Shield is a rather elongated version that matches more with Roman Scutum, than say, the shorter version as depicted with the warrior on the right. As for the short sword 'Cuma' hung on her right waist, this is purely a stylization from my end, though the short sword itself was based on the findings from Ancient Esquiline Tomb (site 94). Lastly, her dress is way longer than what the Samnites would have worn (above knee, enough to cover genitals); this is to give a much more feminine image as well as to hide my lack of anatomical skills in depicting bare thighs =P.

The equipment on the other two warrior are more or less similar, though the one on the left is depicted with a much simpler cuirass, while the one on the right is depicted with a simpler square metal cuirass. I'm not quite sure what Samnites signifier would look like, nor do I know what the standard was, so I just stylized it with a simpler standard and a donkey head on the top end, signifying that these women is part of the Donkey's Legion. The Building on the background is based on the early roman/etruscan architecture.


Developed based on the concept sketch of Roman Women Warrior:

HWS: Antiquity - Roman Women Warriors Concept by Gambargin

Credit goes to Pelycosaur24 :iconpelycosaur24: who has greatly contributed her advise and suggestions in the series.
Image size
2820x4291px 1.8 MB
Shutter Speed
1/14 second
Focal Length
5 mm
© 2015 - 2021 Gambargin
anonymous's avatar
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DeutscheWeltKrieg's avatar

Its so refreshing to see a swastika used in a historical context!! Its the most ancient symbol of the European and we shouldn't be afraid to use or show it just because some bad apples did

Bokrai's avatar
卐 its a persian Symbols thats called : Gardooneh mehr
Burksaurus's avatar
This is really amazing
OberstJurten's avatar
introvertedchaos's avatar
Yeah, I'd agree that her armor looks more Samnite than Roman. Stellar attention to detail and aesthetics, all around.
Hells33k3r's avatar

Socii, name given to the italian peoples allies and subjects to Rome, offered their best warriors as soldiers for the Republic as part of the élite corps known as Extraordinarii.

In one consular army of two légions, the Socii infantry was equal in number with the roman maniples and their cavalry three Times more numerous. 1/5 of the Socii infantry and 1/3 of their cavalry was selected amongst the best to serve directly under the Consul's command as Extraordinarii. They served as personal guards to his tent in camps.

In the battle they were established on the flanks, their infantry divided in two units. And during mouvement of the army, the Extraordinarii formes the vanguard and/or rearguard.

The most known members of the Extraordinarii were the Samnites heavy infantrymen, often serving as Pedites Extraordinarii. Their efficient fighting style was very similar to that of the Roman and served as model for them, before and after the Marianic Reform of the I century BC which saw the Extraordinarii's disappearance.

Now you know why she wears Samnite equipment.

Glaciliina's avatar
I really love these Drawings! 

This inspiries me to create my Female Protagonist ^^
Marcator's avatar
Nice job! I have an idea for you : what about a female streltsy?
lavenderl's avatar
Great job!  She looks very strong!  The history is very interesting.  I always learn so much from your descriptions. ^^
Shinzhon's avatar
Something just wole up in me....... That need to get a SPQR tatoo. Shit, how can I resist !? HOW ? 

The building of the drawing is great, and the details on the armor *-* majestic
Yukow's avatar
I love that armors *A*
SgtSareth's avatar
I'm enjoying your reasoning behind the "Donkey Legion".
raspberryvixen's avatar
Amazing detail.  This is fabulous!!  =)
aristi1982's avatar
Awesome Gin!!! Your excellence continues!!
Zombixxx's avatar
Really cool work ;)
Lemniskate's avatar
The term for a mocking name reclaimed by the mocked is "reappropriation" (in German: "Geusenwort" [from Dutch "geuzennaam" ], which I find much cooler). Reappropriation is indeed an important tool of the oppressed.
jeandulin's avatar
Awesome!! Ancient Badassery!!!
CyrusEarlgrey's avatar
Glorious, absolutely glorious! 
anonymous's avatar
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