Mounted atop their small horses, these men of the Cantabri tribes are with the possible exception of the Numidians, the best skirmisher cavalry in the western world.
Can Form Cantabrian Circle
Expert at Hiding in Woods
(Kan-tab-ray Ep-on-ay-ray-dum; "Cantabri Swift Cavalry") - Mounted atop their small horses, these men of the Cantabri tribes are with the possible exception of the Numidians, the best skirmisher cavalry in the western world. Their shaggy, sure-footed horses are not quite as fast as the larger Iberian breed, but are much more at home among the hills, bogs and forests of their rugged northern homelands. They are very good horseman and extremely agile when it comes to dodging missiles, which almost makes up for their lack of real protection. Since they wear only a rough tunic and cloak, their caetra shield is their sole defence. As for weapons, they have a multitude of javelins and a falcata sword as their side-arm.
They are really only suited for skirmishing tactics, and normally stay away from prolonged melee, preferring instead to discharge an enormous barrage of javelins. Their signature formation is the ‘Cantabrian Circle’ – they would form a single-file rotating circle and as the men came around to face the enemy formation they would let their missile fly. The effect was a continual stream of javelins onto a typically close ordered enemy. It also had the added advantage of making individual riders hard to target.
Historically, the Cantabri were an independently minded Celtic-influenced people that lived a very poor existence in the rugged hills of modern northern-eastern Spain. Their land had very little arable land and forced them to raid their neighbours to south or hire themselves out in the various wars that consumed Iberia at any given time. Their most famous contingent was without a doubt, their skirmishing cavalry which frustrated the Romans with their ability to cut down any forager they dared to send ahead of the army, before disappearing back into the hills. Eventually, in the reign of Augustus, after several aptly named “Cantabrian Wars” they were mostly wiped out – their homes reduced to charcoal and their people to slaves and serfs of Roman veteran colonies.