Monnaie romaine
Strasbourg, Argentoratum, camp romain
 The battle

Battle of Argentoratum (357 AD)

By Chris Jones

In 357 AD, a large army of 35,000 Germanic tribesmen crossed the Rhine under the command of their King Chnodomar. The Emperor Julian the Apostate marched to intercept them with an army of 13,000, comprised of 4,500 legionnaries, 5,500 auxilliaries, 600 heavy Clibanarii cavalry with both man and horse armoured, and other troops.

Julian advanced his forces for some 21 miles on a hot August morning before crossing a hill to find the Germans arrayed before him. He quickly advanced with a line of Auxiliaries backed by his legions forming the left wing and centre. His right wing was formed of the heavy cavalry backed up by Auxillaries (Batavii and Regii). Skirmishers were deployed to cover his right flank, and Light Horse covered his left.

The Germans were formed in a line with some troops hidden in a large wood on their right flank. The German noble cavalry were dismounted either because they felt they had no chance against the Roman heavy cavalry or to bolster the morale of the infantry.

As the Roman battlelines advanced, the Roman left wing halted before the woods and began to skirmish, fearing a trap. Seeing the Romans did not intend to advance any further, the Germans in the wood broke cover in a rush but were easily driven back. This was followed by a general advance by the German line.

The Roman left wing held but on the right the Roman cavalry fell back in disorder when the Roman Clibannarii commander was killed. The supporting Batavii and Regii Auxillaries now countercharged the Germans, driving them back. A final charge by German nobles broke through the Roman centre but was halted and eventually recoiled by the Primani Legion. The Romans now advanced, driving back the Germans who broke and ran, suffering severe losses in the pursuit, including many tribesmen who drown in the Rhine. King Chnodomar was captured. Over 6000 Germans were killed for the loss of 250 Romans.

Simulating Argentoratum in DBA

Order of Battle

Late Roman -- 1x Kn, 2x Cv, 1x Lh, 4x Bd, 3x Ax, 1x Ps

German (Early Alamannic) -- 1x Bd, 9x Wb, 2x Ps


The battlefield is open except for a large hill centered on the Roman baseline (which the Romans have just crossed over) and a large wood in the German half of the board located on the Roman left flank.


Normal DBA, except the Germans may place troops in ambush in the wood.

Special Rules


Victory conditions

Normal DBA.

Last Update: June 12, 2000

My thanks to Chris Jones for this scenario. Comments, questions, and suggestions are welcome. Send them to Chris Brantley at