I don't usually frequent message boards but thought I'd make a comment or two about ancient Germans. Thanks for the kind comments and interest, I just would like to add to the 'fur' debate.
Trajan's Column celebrates Roman victory over Dacia, Dacia being a region near the Black Sea, quite far east of the bulk of Germanic tribes. Their appearance isn't typical of the germanic nations as a whole, and probably showed quite a marked Thracian influence, culturally. We can imagine countless Germanic or Teutonic clans and tribes, on the other hand, living in Northern Europe, some of which would have been dominant, others less so. It is difficult to prove, one way or another, what most of these tribes looked like. I would certainly not be entirely comfortable in claiming that these peoples dressed in a specific way, or stating that they would or would not wear this or that. It's all open to extrapolation and inference. Educated guesswork, essentially, especially considering the relative lack of documentary evidence.
I am aware of pictorial reference in many published sources. Some ranging from a quite 'dry', almost 'wargames' approach, (Suebian knot, hexagonal shield, striped trousers, you know the look), right up to the more fanciful, 'hairy barbarian' look. I imagine the truth, as always, lies somewhere in between. One thing we do know, however, is that, (at least as far as a number of German tribes are concerned), they are noted for wearing a mantle of fur, draped over the shoulders, gathered with a thorn or pin. Together with the fact that the region is noted for supplying the Roman Empire with fur pelts, (as well as amber), is enough for us to assume that fur was most definitely a feature of tribal life, (especially when we also consider the emtremely cold conditions and the central totemic position of certain animals in the culture).
All of this adds up to the fact that there is plenty of room to add some nice texture to a range of ancient Germans, and Warlord are keen to offer colourful and characterful miniatures ranges, rather than something which could be considered a little dry. Some might say that the range is a tad too fanciful for them personally, that's fine, it's all a matter of taste, I guess.
Anyway, guys, thanks for your time, input and interest, it makes the job of sculpting a very rewarding one.
Just happened to be thinking about this topic the other day, funny to see it revived now!
Thanks for your input Steve, among those words you make one very important point: that we, actually, don't really now. Especially when we consider the vast range of tribes that we consider 'Germanics', some will, no doubt, have worn a substantial amount of furs, others probaby nothing at all (worn no furs that is, though some individuals are likely to have really worn nothing at all ).
So, without any conclusive sources, all we can do is both base our judgement on the sources we do have and give our personal preference.
While it seems likely some Germanics would have worn some furs, I personally doubt the more southern tribes (and those would have been the ones the Romans usually encountered) would have worn them a lot. Trajan's column but also germanics portrayed on Roman tombstones all look remarkably similar, and none of the ones I recall wear actual fur clothing. I can imagine them having some warm fur cloak, but as usually is the case with cloaks, it wouldn't be worn in combat (just like they probably wear shirts outside of combat too). In a seperate category I would place those who wear skins of bears, wolves etc in the same fashion as signiferi, something I can see a (select few) doing.
More interesting, with the lack of a lot of evidence, is what people would like to see, and why. As I've made clear before, I didn't really like the look of the preview models. The fur shirts and whatnot, however, make them look so.. caveman-y, if you know what I mean. Combine this with the strange bow and inpractical hairstyle, and you get something that to me looks more fantasy than historical. And last time I checked, WG produces historical miniatures.
By the way, aren't the Germanics on Trajan's column (at least those on the pictures I remember) fighting on the Romans side? I recall some in the emperor's personal retinue at least, typical with bare chests, sometimes bare feet too, bearded, occasionally with clubs. Don't think they have anything do with with any Thracian culture, being auxilia, far from home (some would've been Batavi, practically from the other side of the empire). Not that they are very Romanised either, judging by their appearance.
There are Dacian enemies depicted on the column in various states, surrender, being taken captive, in combat, etc., most of which show some apparently Thracian influence, tunics, for example, and the headgear very reminiscent of Thracian headwear.
I guess it comes down to personal preference, really, as far as the range goes, though I would maintain that they're definitely grounded in a historical sensibility. Nothing within the range conflicts with the evidence, (such as it is), and, in fact, there is a fair amount of support for the look of the range in various sources.
You are absolutely right Centurio. It's just what the gaming buyer expects and the producer want to sell, not educate.
We have many pictorial Roman sources. Krierer "Antike Germanenbilder" 2004 is a work about these that name 348 pieces (!) but I doubt that it was read outside academic circles. The Markus column and the Trajan one show the Germans without any fur. So do all the other monuments. The only source for wide use of fur dress is Tacitus Germ 17, but he has many other questionable statements.
In graves from 1st century we rarely find traces of fur clothing. We find them only in female graves. They continued to wear the Bronze age shoulder capes.
The man from Rendswühren moor wore cow fur, at his calfs. But worn with the fur inside!
Strassmeir / Gagelmann "Das Heer des Arminius" is easily available and cheap but in German, again I doubt that it is much read among the English speaking gamers. It should be a must for every designer.
That they used fur is obvious. We do too. And the Romans did. Romans got fur from Germania. But the large Roman imports of fur do not denote that the miles wore it in battle. Most battles are fought in the campaign season, not in the winter season. We get some miles in paenula but the classic wargaming Roman is shown in summer weather dress.
We got some martial Roman staff officer miniatures with fur capes. Not based on any Roman sources but on certain movies. Give the people what they want.......