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The Basques

Leader: Basileus

Capital: Flaviobriga

The Basques are one of the two tribes featured in Rise of the Foederati's free-to-play demo. It compromises the tribe that never went into complete assimilation by the Romans, with their capital set in Flaviobriga (modern city of Castro Urdiales). In Roman terms, a Bagauda is a group of rebels, usually farmers or contrarians to Roman rule. While most of the Basques' Bagaudae were formed to fight Roman rule in their territory, the Suebi and Visigoth Foederati now are the main target of the most recent uprisings. Leading the most professional and largest Bagauda of all is former Roman general Basileus, a Basque of Roman descent.
His military and diplomatic genius managed to not only bring successful concepts from both Foederati and Roman warfare in traditional guerrilla Basque warriors, but also brought unusual diplomacy, by Basque standards, like the temporary alliance with Suebi king, Rechiar, made true by a mutual non-agression pact to raid across Hispania less than a year after a raiding spree made by the same Suebi warbands across Basque borders. Because of the creeping influence of the Visigoths in Hispania, the Basques are forced to deal with this enemy, again defending their territory, with a very unstable, dangerous ally.

History

Historians believe the Basque identity exists in Europe for more than 7.000 years. The name "Basque" comes from the latin "Vascones", and evolved later on to today's "Basques". Romans knew of the existance of the Basques since the 1st century BC, being one of the largest tribes inhabiting the region of modern Spain and Portugal, together with other tribes like the Cantabrians and the Asturians. The Cantabrian Wars, however, decimated all indo-iberian tribes; with the exception of the Basques; most of the survivors of such tribes were assimilated by them later on. Romans never fully managed to control their territories. Whenever wars were waged against them, the Basques retreated to the Pyrenées region and successfully defended their more inhospitable places. This led to the creation of many cities which were Roman only in paper; the Basques retained control whenever official command was attempted. The situation was increasingly worsened with the fall of the Empire, starting during the 2nd century AD. The migrations of tribes in the 4th century brought more problems to the Basques than the Romans themselves, however; roaming raiding tribes constantly threatened their territories, but they too were not successful in settling in the regions in their control. Knowing that their survival would have to go hand-to-hand with guerrilla tactics, the Basques used a very successful military tactic; calling the Bagaudae.
A Bagauda was the Latin term for a brigand, an umbrella term for any military force more organized than bandits, but less organized than an army. The Basques employed their Bagaudae as their main military force, mostly composed of freemen with some military experience and the clan warriors with most prestige as leaders. The Romans usually attempted to dissuade local population with propaganda, calling them nothing but rebel peasants. Though most Romans would think that, the core of the movements was funded and idealized by the Basque tribal leaders. They would enforce Basque dominion in the cities near their territories, blackmailing Roman politicians and officers. Any attempt to subvert them was swiftly responded with raids in villas, cities or even assassination. The Basques never needed to claim their territory as their own; they only needed cities that would serve as their bases of operation while the Romans were not looking their way. Through this method, the Basques archieved relative stability when compared to other roaming tribes, and even adopted several Roman military tactics in bigger battles. The Romans who lived in Basque-controlled territory would even use this system to their advantage; during the years of Rise of the Foederati, one of the most successful Bagaudae leaders was a Basco-Roman general named Basilius. His military and political prowess was deemed primordial for the survival of the tribe during the 5th century, making alliances with the Suebi to consolidate their presence in parts of the Hispania province not conquered by the Visigoths nor Romans.

Warfare

Basques have a focus on light infantry and light cavalry specifically on flexible melee/ranged alternatives. They resemble Celtic cultures in that their "guerrilla" tactics are proeminent, but assimilated Roman warfare to a degree that gives them some efficiency in heavier infantry, something not seen in pure/mixed Celtic cultures. Their organization is also slightly more cohesive; leaders are expected to battle together with other warriors, but are also adept in commanding from behind the front lines. Finally, their mastery on elevation and rough terrain warfare (hills/mountains) gives them an edge on high/low ground situations.
The trade-off are their discontinuation of druidic rites/support units; Basques are just as resourceful in the wild as any other tribe in the Hispania province; enough that battling in rough conditions won't affect them as much, but still makes marching in difficult terrain troubling. This restricts their playstyle to a full heads-on combat tactic, mixturing hit-and-run with heads-on melee clashes. Given that their flexibility is short-lasting, they must take full advantage of softening enemy ranks with their medium-range attacks (javelins/darts) before fully engaging.

Gudu Buruzagi

Field Leader

Basques

Main Weapon: Long Blade

Secondary Weapon: Javelins/Darts

Offhand: Medium Shield

Head Armor: None

Body Armor: Medium

Unit Class: Medium Infantry

Unit Type: Authority

Chosen amongst the more influential, skilled and younger soldiers, the Field Leaders were often of some warrior lineage in Basque clans. Though most Field Leaders had no nobility claims nor full warfare experience, their combination of bravado and skill with both blade and javelins proved useful whenever the Basques needed to protect their homeland.

Arkutasa

Levy Archer

Basques

Main Weapon: Short Bow

Secondary Weapon: Short Blade

Head Armor: None

Body Armor: None

Unit Class: Ranged Infantry

Unit Type: Ordinary

The Bow Levies, or Arkutasak, were men levied from tribes to act as archers for Basque warbands. Though their skill with a bow was limited, even when compared to Germanic bowmen, their knowledge and mastery of rough terrain was exceptional, making them very resourceful outside of for ranged support.

Gestikapoinann

Spearman

Basques

Main Weapon: Spear

Offhand: Medium Shield

Head Armor: Medium

Body Armor: Medium

Unit Class: Medium Infantry

Unit Type: Ordinary

The main line of defense for nearly every Basque tribal warband, the Gestikapoinannei, or spearmen, equipped themselves with spear, shield and medium armor. Their main function in both armies and warbands were to hold the enemy with rows of spears and shields, much like how Germanic warriors did. Taken strategies from the Romans and using rows of such men to preven passage in narrow ways, even with their inferior training they became a large threat in the Pyrenées or any urban combat scenario where holding a line can mean victory or defeat.

Jinete

Basques

Main Weapon: Javelins/Darts

Secondary Weapon: Light Spear

Offhand: Light Shield

Head Armor: Light

Body Armor: Light

Unit Class: Skirmish Cavalry

Unit Type: Ordinary

Not to be confused with the troops trained by the Spanish during the Reconquista, the Basque Jinettei pre-dated the less ancient, more professional troops. Specialists in flanking attacks, be it with their javelins, pelting enemies before engaging with their spear after they are wounded, or charging straight at undefended flanks, they are skilled horsemen able to explore every possibility in an engagement before commiting into an attack. Though very flexible in their roles, Jinettes were less warriors than riders, meaning their skill in horseback was often supplemented by their fighting abilities, instead of the other way around with more professional, well-trained troops.