Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
hkokko

Military Ranks in Glorantha

Recommended Posts

Looking for a variety of military ranks used in the various armies of Glorantha. I think there must have been variety of different title names possibly corresponding to the normal Sergeant, Master Sergeant, Captain, Major, General or similar. 

Fonritan Armies

Umathelan Armies

Western armies

Sartar army

Lunar army

Esrolian Armies

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think Glorantha is at a stage of military science development where such terminology will be either particularly well-developed, or consistent, even within what passes for the armed forces of the most organised nations.

For example, Sartar doesn't have an army. It has Kings and chieftains who maintain small bodies of 'professional' warriors (they're not soldiers) supplemented by different levels of levy from the general 'warrior-minded' populace. The force fielded is composed of numerous warbands of different sizes. A given warband (if large enough) might have some designated 'sub-leaders', but they'll just be assignments from the war leader: "Snorri, you take the South Hamlet levy and make sure they stay in line".

The forces of the Lunar Empire are so diverse as to almost defy categorisation, even the formations which could be described as being composed of 'soldiers' (rather than warriors). The ranks used by one regiment may well differ radically from those used by the one next to them in the battle line, even if they're similar troop types. Some might maintain a distinction between what we'd consider 'warrant' or 'non-commissioned' ranks, and the (generally drawn from the Nobility/upper classes) ranks we'd term 'commissioned'; others might just have a smooth 'progression'.

In general, though, the smallest subunit of a mass, muscle-powered unit will be much larger than our 'modern' TOs would call for. Troops operate over a much more restricted separation, and larger 'squads' are more resilient to losses than smaller ones. The equivalent of the modern (30-ish troops) 'platoon' would be an 80-man Century from the Romans, with few subofficers between the Centurion and the Legionaries. Tiro, Milites, Optio, Centurion, first spear, [appointed office holders] Just five ranks, really, in a 5000 trooper Legion, below the political appointments.

Cavalry squads are smaller, but so are the units.

But there's a fellow on here, M Helsdon, who's worked up a huge book describing (so far, his non-canonical take on) the militaries of Central Genertela; maybe that book gets published as Canon one day. I'd certainly like to see it. It's mentioned in https://basicroleplaying.org/topic/5540-swords-of-central-genertela/

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, womble said:

I don't think Glorantha is at a stage of military science development where such terminology will be either particularly well-developed, or consistent, even within what passes for the armed forces of the most organised nations.

For example, Sartar doesn't have an army. It has Kings and chieftains who maintain small bodies of 'professional' warriors (they're not soldiers) supplemented by different levels of levy from the general 'warrior-minded' populace. The force fielded is composed of numerous warbands of different sizes. A given warband (if large enough) might have some designated 'sub-leaders', but they'll just be assignments from the war leader: "Snorri, you take the South Hamlet levy and make sure they stay in line".

The forces of the Lunar Empire are so diverse as to almost defy categorisation, even the formations which could be described as being composed of 'soldiers' (rather than warriors). The ranks used by one regiment may well differ radically from those used by the one next to them in the battle line, even if they're similar troop types. Some might maintain a distinction between what we'd consider 'warrant' or 'non-commissioned' ranks, and the (generally drawn from the Nobility/upper classes) ranks we'd term 'commissioned'; others might just have a smooth 'progression'.

In general, though, the smallest subunit of a mass, muscle-powered unit will be much larger than our 'modern' TOs would call for. Troops operate over a much more restricted separation, and larger 'squads' are more resilient to losses than smaller ones. The equivalent of the modern (30-ish troops) 'platoon' would be an 80-man Century from the Romans, with few subofficers between the Centurion and the Legionaries. Tiro, Milites, Optio, Centurion, first spear, [appointed office holders] Just five ranks, really, in a 5000 trooper Legion, below the political appointments.

By no means canonical (but some parts are), here are the lists I've gathered/invented. For the Dara Happans, I've used the canonical use of Greek terminology, and for the Lunar regiments used Greek or Latin (but only Greek is shown below), and for Carmanian, Persian... Other older regiments taken over by the Lunars will be even more varied, and for the Daxdarian, I've used Assyrian for no reason other than it added another dimension.

In Peloria, some regiments predate Time, and where they are hoplite phalanxes, the basic unit (as for many others) will be the file for infantry and the section for cavalry. So a company/century is composed of files, each with a file-leader, and a file-closer.

If my fan book ever sees a wider audience, you'll find organization charts for these, and for the Lunars three or five different regimental structures...

The Sartar Free Army is a force in transition from purely tribal to regimental organization, and the new regiments probably use the same terminology as a Humakti battalion (a very long-lived template for Orlanthi regular armies).

Equivalent Military Ranks

The following table provides the equivalent ranks in a number of Gloranthan military traditions, together with the very approximate terrestrial equivalents.

 

Equivalent Rank

Lunar Regiments

Stonewall

Regiments

Dara Happan Line Regiments

Daxdarian Regiments

Carmanian Regiments

Humakti Regiments

Infantry

Cavalry

Colonel

Chiliarch

Hipparch

Polemarch

Polemarch

Rab Kisir

Hazarapatis

Warleader

Major

Senior Kentarch

Senior Tetrarch

Senior Kentarch

Senior Kentarch

 

 

 

Captain

Kentarch

Tetrarch

Kentarch

Kentarch

 

Satapatis

Hundred-Thane

Lieutenant

Optioon

Ilarch

Pentekontarch

Pentekontarch

Rab Hanse

Pascasatapatis

 

Sergeant

Lochagos

Dekarchos

Lochagos

Lochagos

Rab Eserti

Dathapatis

Ten-Thane

Corporal

Dimoirites

Ouragos

Dimoirites

Dimoirites

 

Pascadathapatis

 

Private

Soldier

Trooper

Hoplite

Hastatii

Sagittarii

Kallabu

Pasat

Asabar

Warrior

                   

 

This is very much a summary table in the Appendices - there's (much) more in the book...

Edited by M Helsdon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you want to play it safe, here are some suggestions:

1. Civic and military titles not differentiated. Example: Chieftain, king, Elder, etc.

2. Generic titles for leadership with no fixed hierarchy and applied ad hoc. Example: Chief, Warleader, etc.

3. In organized militaries: titles after number of men lead. Example: Tenman, Hundredman (RW title that pops up among Greeks, Romans and even in Old Norse), thousand-man, etc. For added flavor: play with the number system (in a base-six system units based on power of six would be applied instead of powers of ten - so "thirtysixman", or "two-hundred-and-sixteen-man".

4. Title based on royal or imperial favor. Example: Constable, Marshal (both derived from the king's stablemaster which merged with a commander of cavalry), Sergeant (literally servant), Cup-bearer, Sandal-bearer, etc. (used as titles of honor in Pharaonic Egypt, and like later Europe, often not applied literally, but implying a close personal confidence from the sovereign, which extends to leading military campaigns).

Not sure how many of these apply in Glorantha.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Sergeant (literally servant),

IIRC, Sergeant comes from french Sergent (same meaning), which was a soldier whose role was to keep the ranks tight. His order was "Serrez les rangs" (tighten the ranks) and his role was of a "Serre gens" (People tightener).

Kloster

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Kloster said:

IIRC, Sergeant comes from french Sergent (same meaning), which was a soldier whose role was to keep the ranks tight. His order was "Serrez les rangs" (tighten the ranks) and his role was of a "Serre gens" (People tightener).

Kloster

Most of the sources I've seen derive it via Old French "Serjeant" to Latin "Servire", ie. servant.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
30 minutes ago, Kloster said:

IIRC, Sergeant comes from french Sergent (same meaning), which was a soldier whose role was to keep the ranks tight. His order was "Serrez les rangs" (tighten the ranks) and his role was of a "Serre gens" (People tightener).

 

22 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Most of the sources I've seen derive it via Old French "Serjeant" to Latin "Servire", ie. servant.

Aye, military ranks had distinctly functional linguistic origins, representing a variety of very particular roles, which we sadly lose a bit of sense of as time progresses and we tend to fall into the 'same thing, albeit with more men' mindset.

It's always been one of my criticisms of popular military history – how it tends to treat command as a structure, rather than as a process. I always like approaches that reflect why and how people did what they did, or try and build up from first principles.

Which is why I'll never give up my Lunar 'legates'. ;)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Quackatoa said:

It's always been one of my criticisms of popular military history – how it tends to treat command as a structure, rather than as a process.

That's a fair criticism of most of modern Western scholarship on social dynamics up until the 70s-80s, or so, from my impressions. A lot has been done since then, but I assume very unevenly in different disciplines, and even less has permeated into popular science/culture.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×