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Roman drums

Mmhh, we must be talking about different Romes here. I'm talking about Rome, Italy, fomerly known as the center of the ancient world.

Also, please find some pictures of Roman drums here:

'From 226 to 222 BC Rome battled against Gauls. The Second Punic war erupts. Carthage is invaded from Spain, and Hannibal came over the Alps with his elephants. Most of his army died on the way over the Alps. His elephants became a disadvantage, as Roman legion would use drums and trumpet to scare the elephants in turning and trampling their own people.'

Conte's Romans have kettle drums, which I find kind of cool. Imagine a Legion of Strelets Romans lead into battle by some tough looking drummers, cornifers and signifers, with Caesar himself in command. Then try again to say that Romans didn't know how to use drums.

Re: Roman drums

Nice sources. Now you should actually read the texts and have a look at the kind of drums that were used and, especially, by whom and on which occasions they were used. The Romans used tambourines, but neither snare nor kettle drums and, definitely, drums, including the tambourine, were NOT used by the military. If Hannibal's elephants were actually scared by "drums" on one occasion, this does not mean that those drums were regular military instruments and, most probably, would have been tambourines, anyway. There is evidence for the tambourine as the only sort of drum that the Romans ever used and, definitely, it was not an official, tactical military instrument.

ok, no kettle drums, but...

It's probably true that drums were not an official tactical musical instruments, but I'm 100% convinced that Roman soldiers would have taken drums into war, just like they probably entertained themselves with dices, flutes, wine and women. The occasional drum was almost certainly used to give the beat in training and combat.

My reasoning:
1. Romans were very smart people who made good use of all resources available to them at the time.

2. Just because we don't have pictures of it doesn't mean it didn't happen.

A lot of the pictures that we have left about Roman life are from Pompeii and Herculaneum - depicting civilians using drums. Imagine we unearthed some Roman military barracks in Herculaneum. You might find pictures of Roman soldiers using drums.

3. Roman soldiers using kettle drums is certainly a myth, but it would still be cool to have them. You could have figures with pegholes and alternate arms with either a tuba or drums. It's like having Vikings with horns, having a King Arthur set, Robin Hood, Tarzan...and there is a military drummer in the Roman sailors set :-)

Since Strelets figures are not only very beautiful, but usually also 100% historically accurate, I'll probably end up doing a conversion....

Drumming up interest.

The drummer in the sailor set is for the oarsmen to keep the stroke. Since every soldier had a shield and a weapon as a tactic to scare elephants just banging the shield would be enough instead of relying on an actual muscian. So I am content with Romans only having wind instruments and not percussian. When people translate from ancient sources there is always room for misinterpretation. So one may translate drum thinking of an actual instrument when in fact it is the verb to drum which in this sense may mean making a noise with the spear and shield to frighten the oncoming elephants. However, if you really want drummers I think that it is a simple conversion rather than also forcing the rest of us to also have Phil Collins and Ringo Starr look alikes in our Roman Legions.

Best regards,


To Malcolm: Thank you! I respect your view.

Thank you for sharing the good idea Malcolm. I actually wouldn't mind a Roman 'band' in a Strelets 'Roman Palace' set, with dancers, singers, lyres, lutes, kitharas, organs, drums and rattles.

On the other hand I am stunned that you suggest I would want to 'force' you into buying a specific set of toy figures, in particular a set of Roman 'Phil Collins and Ringo Starr look alikes'.

Here in the US, where I live, we believe in freedom of choice and customer rights, but I do realize that this may not necessarily be true for your own cultural environment - that is a reality, not meant to be offensive.

Please understand that I do respect your point of view and I can only beg you to tolerate mine. Thank you!

Re: To Jan.

Dear Jan,

I was surprised with your response to my earlier posting. As I mentioned there the conversion to produce a troop type whose existence is questionable would not be too difficult.

On another note please consider if you want to question my "cultural environment" ask me directly without the backing of a whole country. If youre not standing for President I think you can just talk to me on a 1 to 1 basis.

Back to your first point, the Roman Life Theme as portrayed by Atlantic for example with their Egyptians/Greeks/Romans could have some following where a company like Stretlets with their policy of all different figures could be done well. A little like their Medieval Britain. However, maybe overall sales would be expected to be low and they would box it in the same manner: with 3 or 4 boxes for the same era.

Best regards to all those that live in the land of the free and home of the brave, from a damp Madrid.


Re: Re: To Malcolm

May the sun shine upon you and brighten your day.

I'm starting to believe that the 'Renaissance' of our hobby will last for a very long time and that we'll eventually get all the sets we can dream of - we just need to tell the manufacturers what we'd like to see. That's why I'm making an effort to verbalize my most secret wishes as a toy soldier collector - and I was admittedly a little hurt for a very short while when I read some of your comment. But today is a new day.

Greetings to Spain y muchas gracias amigo!


Jan, I've been living in Herculaneum for about 20 years (a small world, isn't it!?) and, alas, I have to tell the is mostly uneven to find barraks there... They would have been in the outmost part of town, if any, but all that part now is under the new town (Ercolano nowadays) and it would be really impossible to discover them
And, for the civilian drums in the frescos (wall paintings)... I'm only aware of what is called "tamburello" or "tammorra"! A very small instrument used to play "tarantella": would you like to have all those enemies laughing at your legions?

Re: Herculaneum...

Hi Enrico i visited Napoli during a cruise. missed seeing Pompei and Herculaneum(tour operator did not go there) but saw Sulphatario instead(would rather have seen Herculaneum, but it was mayday and traffic around Napoli was jammed. Lovely country side.

Made up for it on next port in Livorno/Leghorn and saw Fireza/Florence and its Renaissance finese also managed to climb the Pisa Tower before it closed.