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The Ancient Era Discuss Ancient Warfare! Romans, Carthaginians, Greeks, etc.

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  #196  
Old 12 Jun 17, 16:28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paralus View Post
I'd rather not given Appian does not, as I've said before, provide an account of the battle of the Great Plains much as you'd like to believe he does (the sources for which are Plb.14.7.4-8.12; Livy, 30.8). Further - and again as I've said before - if Appian is a "joke historian" then much that we know of the Third Punic War is a joke. Ditto much of the Spanish war and much of the Civil wars. None of this happened because Appian is a writer of fiction.

You criticise and dismiss Appian as unbelievable. You dismiss Livy on the grounds that he "plagiarised" Polybios who is, himself, to be set aside aside as some sort of Roman puppet. On the latter, your attempt at casting doubt on his veracity merely indicates Carthage as defying one of the terms of the settlement of 201. Just as Polybios shows Antiochos IV defying the Peace of Apameia as I demonstrated above. You simply dismiss notices of Hannibal returning from Italy with men even though he clearly did. It might pay to read those sources you so cavalierly "handle" a little more closely. Mago sailed from Italy and while some of his ships were captured off Sardinia, the greater part were not. Four thousand Celtiberian mercenaries also made it to Africa for the battle of The Great Plains. Roman ships cannot be everywhere though you seem to think they were omnipresent. Not to mention the fact that crewing and putting such ships to sea was an horrendously expensive exercise. And that's when Rome had the men and sailors to effectively man these ships: slave rowers conscripted in 214 (Livy, 24.11.7-9); Scipio using Spanish prisoners to fill out his undermanned ships (Plb.10.17.11-12).

You make basic errors in attempting to justify your "thesis". For example, you continue to state - as fact - that the Roman Hastai must number the same as the Carthaginian front line (12,000). At no stage do you even consider that a significant proportion of this Carthaginian front line were slingers and archers. These are not heavy infantry of the battle line just as the Roman velites are not.



And as long as you continue to dismiss the sources because they do not conform to your speculation (Polybios is a Roman cypher; Livy is a plagiarist), I reserve to right to describe your opinion as historical fiction and your historical "method" as rather more than seriously lacking. I do not use Appian to "prove" my point in your words, I weigh and use all sources rather than disparage them because they do not sedulously conform to my view.
Once Coelius Antipater comes to light, we might know the truth. Until then, all we can do is look at the internal consistency of each author and find how they measure up.

Anyone stating a 'revelation', modern or ancient, that is not supported by hard data can be dismissed, and yes, it does mean that most of histories sources can be dismissed. This does not mean that 'history' is a lie, but much of it is, and usually in the detail.

Appian can be generally dismissed, but his numbers of troops at Zama are revealing. He increases Hannibals total from Polybius's 40k to 50k troops. Given that he implies 8k of Hannibals troops are cavalry, that leaves 42k infantry. Appian also gives Scipio 23500 infantry and 4k cavalry. Many scholars interprete Hannibals army at 40k, ie 2 x 2000 cavalry (wings) plus 3 x 12000 (lines of) infantry. If Hannibal was unable to bring his veterans from Italy, since Carthage could not send troops in the opposite direction, that leaves Hannibal with only 24k (2 x 12000 lines of) infantry. OTOH, since Polybius infers 12000 Hastati in Scipios first line, that means a 42k infantry total. 42k infantry means 3k Roman cavalry, plus the 300 additions from Sicily, plus 4k from Massinissa, ie 7300.

Since we know Appian to be a total Roman propagandist, you only need to reverse his figures to perhaps provide the truth on the actual numbers on each side at Zama, (Scipio 42k infantry, 7.3k cavalry vs 24k infantry, 4k cavalry). Before anyone thinks Hannibal was silly to fight with this deficiency, look at the numbers on each side for his previous famous 3 battles to think he would not do so.

Elephants. Elephants are strong, heavy, thick skinned and very agile. They are not like scythed chariots relying on momentum to break through enemy lines. Alexander the Great faced Persian scythed chariots, and he used lanes, so that they would pass through his infantry without causing harm. For good reason, he did not then use lanes to defeat elephants when facing the Indians later. Elephants can stop and turn sideways, which makes such lanes irrelevant. The correct tactic against elephants is a mixture of caltrops or similar, in conjunction with missile fire. Indian armies used heavy bows and broad swords as a counter, often in an open formation. Elephants are the obvious clue that Polybius's account is doubtful.

Then we have the outcome. As punishment for 15 years of Hannibals humilation of Rome, including some of its very best armies being destroyed in battles that cannot be glossed over, he is sentenced to being King of Romes most hated and lethal enemy? I personally would have had Hannibals head on a stick and build some amazing monument. Trajan achieved less with his Dacian campaign, and yet his Column reveals a far lesser victory.

Probably the most important fact around Zama is that even the few Roman sources do agree on the details.

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  #197  
Old 14 Jun 17, 07:38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
Once Coelius Antipater comes to light, we might know the truth. Until then, all we can do is look at the internal consistency of each author and find how they measure up.
Quote:
Compared with the earlier sources Appian falls far short; but it is perhaps discourteous to deprecate his value unduly, as is often done, when in the absence of other authorities his witness must be accepted, for instance in the Third Punic War and parts of the Spanish and Civil Wars [...] There are some traces of Polybius in the books here relevant, but they appear to be indirect. Coelius and Livy also shine through Appian’s account. In the Iberica the tradition though inferior is by no means bad it is free of the worst of the inventions of later annalists and preserves bits of the earlier ones. Appian may have supplemented Coelius from better writers here than elsewhere, or more probably Coelius himself used better sources for the Spanish campaign than he did for Africa. That is, Appian deteriorates when Coelius deteriorates.
H. H. Scullard, Scipio Africanus in the Second Punic War, p 26.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
OTOH, since Polybius infers 12000 Hastati in Scipios first line, that means a 42k infantry total.
He does not. He claims that the Carthaginian front line was 12,000 strong. These are Ligurians, Celtics, Belearic Islanders and Moors. The first two a close infantry troops which will have been brigaded in a somewhat looser order than the typical Greek phalanx – closer to the Roman “close” order. The Belearic Islanders are slingers and the Moors dart or javelin throwers. These latter two are not close order battle line infantry. They will have supported the elephants against the velites. Slingers and javelin throwers do not make up a “heavy” infantry battle line.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
Since we know Appian to be a total Roman propagandist, you only need to reverse his figures to perhaps provide the truth on the actual numbers on each side at Zama, (Scipio 42k infantry, 7.3k cavalry vs 24k infantry, 4k cavalry).
Nice “method”.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
The correct tactic against elephants is a mixture of caltrops or similar, in conjunction with missile fire. Indian armies used heavy bows and broad swords as a counter, often in an open formation. Elephants are the obvious clue that Polybius's account is doubtful.
Alexander used sarisai, archers and javelin throwers against Poros’ elephants. Eumenes and Antigonos simply used the same methods. Caltrops were used against elephants placed on wings (see Gaza, 312BCE) and at Megalopolis (in a siege) where close order infantry did not then have to negotiate them when they fought. At Zama, Scipio’s lines had to advance and fight over such as the elephants were placed across the whole line.

But we know those elephants were there – and not only because we are told they were.

Quote:
So the treaty was made, the triremes were given up and burned, and of the elephants the larger number were carried off to Rome, while the rest were presented to Masinissa. (Dio/Zonoras 17.14)

Next day the consul led out all his army in battle line, placing in front of the ranks his elephants, an auxiliary which the Romans then used for the first time, because they had some which they had taken in the Punic war (Livy, 31.36.4 – in Macedonia 200).

They placed sixteen elephants in reserve behind the triarii, for, in addition to the fact that they seemed unable to face the greater number of the king's elephants —there were fifty-four of them —African elephants cannot resist even an equal number of Indian, whether because the latter are superior in size —for in fact they are far larger —or in fighting spirit (Livy, 37.39.5 – Magnesia 189).
I see your “spoiler” still includes the claim that Scipio had the ability to recruit 50,000 men by enlisting Sicilian infantry. Again, not one scintilla of evidence exists for this and Sicily had been in revolt for some years – including Hiero’s kingdom under his son Hieronymus. But this has all been said and debate is useless when one "reverses" source information, cherry picks that which suits and dismisses the rest because it does not fit the pre-conceived thesis.
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  #198  
Old 14 Jun 17, 17:03
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paralus View Post
H. H. Scullard, Scipio Africanus in the Second Punic War, p 26.



He does not. He claims that the Carthaginian front line was 12,000 strong. These are Ligurians, Celtics, Belearic Islanders and Moors. The first two a close infantry troops which will have been brigaded in a somewhat looser order than the typical Greek phalanx – closer to the Roman “close” order. The Belearic Islanders are slingers and the Moors dart or javelin throwers. These latter two are not close order battle line infantry. They will have supported the elephants against the velites. Slingers and javelin throwers do not make up a “heavy” infantry battle line.



Nice “method”.



Alexander used sarisai, archers and javelin throwers against Poros’ elephants. Eumenes and Antigonos simply used the same methods. Caltrops were used against elephants placed on wings (see Gaza, 312BCE) and at Megalopolis (in a siege) where close order infantry did not then have to negotiate them when they fought. At Zama, Scipio’s lines had to advance and fight over such as the elephants were placed across the whole line.

But we know those elephants were there – and not only because we are told they were.



I see your “spoiler” still includes the claim that Scipio had the ability to recruit 50,000 men by enlisting Sicilian infantry. Again, not one scintilla of evidence exists for this and Sicily had been in revolt for some years – including Hiero’s kingdom under his son Hieronymus. But this has all been said and debate is useless when one "reverses" source information, cherry picks that which suits and dismisses the rest because it does not fit the pre-conceived thesis.
The whole issue with the general opinion concerning Zama is that the details are already cherry picked. We use Polybius's numbers for Carthaginians at Zama, and use Appians numbers for Roman totals, despite the fact Appians total Carthaginian numbers are different.

History tends to exaggerate Polybius's bromance between Scipio and Hannibal, especially with the resulting peace treaty, when other sources eg Appian, Cornelius Nepos, Dio Cassius state otherwise. I can add many more examples of the few accounts differing in detail, whether a large or small extent. The fact remains is that there is not one standard viewpoint of the battle in actual Roman history, only our Wiki version of it.

However, I'm willing to play your game on numbers . Let's us assume that half of the 12k Carthaginian front line numbers were light infantry, that leaves 6k 'heavies'. Given that ancient armies drew up in three equal lines of heavies, with light in front, that means Hannibal had 18k heavies (3x6k), plus 6k lights for a maximum of 24k. If Appian is to be believed, Romes 23.5k total infantry (assuming it includes 6k Numidians fighting in the Roman style) means around 17k heavies and 6.5k lights. However, from Appians number of infantry (16k) and cavalry (1.6k) initial landing in N Africa with Scipio, he does not include light infantry in his totals of troops. That means 33k Roman troops at Zama (23.5k heavies and 10k lights) vs 24k Carthaginians (18k heavies and 6k lights). That is also assuming that Hannibal was able to send troops from the Italian peninsular when his brother Hasdrubal was unable to send troops in the opposite direction.

However, I will give you another credit for mentioning the Sicilians, ie the anecdote about the 300 noble horsemen later. The poor Sicilains would not have the same choice.
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  #199  
Old 16 Jun 17, 21:05
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
The whole issue with the general opinion concerning Zama is that the details are already cherry picked. We use Polybius's numbers for Carthaginians at Zama, and use Appians numbers for Roman totals, despite the fact Appians total Carthaginian numbers are different.
"We" do not. All the sources are utilised in attempting to ascertain numbers for the battle. The great pity is that Polybios is mostly lost for the for Scipio's operations in Africa prior to Zama. At some stage he will have described Scipio's forces fortThe Megalopolitan did not feel disposed to repeat himself once at Zama. The clue, as I've said before, is Livy who follows Polybios but with additions from his own sources (29.25.1-6):

Quote:
As to the number of soldiers transported to Africa the authorities differ by no small figure. In some I find that ten thousand infantry, two thousand two hundred cavalry were embarked; in others sixteen thousand infantry, sixteen hundred cavalry; in others the total is more than doubled —thirty-five thousand infantry and cavalry. [5] Some authorities have not introduced the figures, and it is among these that I should myself prefer to be counted in view of the uncertainty. [6] Coelius, while he gives no figures, nevertheless immensely increases the impression of great numbers.5 He says that birds fell to the ground owing to the shouts of the soldiers, and that such a multitude boarded the ships that not a human being seemed to be left either in Italy or Sicily.
We can safely infer that Antipater was among those who believe that Scipo took a host similar to that of Artaxerxes II at Cunaxa! As to what might be the actual numbers, I've been over that often enough. It is more than a safe bet that no Sicilian infantry was taken; no evidence whatsoever even suggests that. We may very well havean indication of Polybios in 29.24.12-14:

Quote:
The fifth and sixth legions were those from Cannae. Having said he would transport these legions to Africa, he inspected the soldiers one by one, and leaving those whom he believed to be unfit, he substituted for them men whom he had brought with him from Italy, and recruited the legions to such an extent that each had six thousand two hundred infantry and three hundred cavalry. In like manner he chose foot-soldiers and horse from the Latin allies out of the army which fought at Cannae.
While 6,200 is unusual for this period, Scipio was invading Africa. Given similar numbers from the Latins that is 24,800 infantry. As Livy says, there are a range of figures given by his authorities.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
However, I'm willing to play your game on numbers . Let's us assume that half of the 12k Carthaginian front line numbers were light infantry, that leaves 6k 'heavies'. Given that ancient armies drew up in three equal lines of heavies, with light in front, that means Hannibal had 18k heavies (3x6k), plus 6k lights for a maximum of 24k. If Appian is to be believed, Romes 23.5k total infantry (assuming it includes 6k Numidians fighting in the Roman style) means around 17k heavies and 6.5k lights. However, from Appians number of infantry (16k) and cavalry (1.6k) initial landing in N Africa with Scipio, he does not include light infantry in his totals of troops. That means 33k Roman troops at Zama (23.5k heavies and 10k lights) vs 24k Carthaginians (18k heavies and 6k lights).
It is not "my game on numbers"; it is logic. And, as Spock might intone, "your logic is uncertain". I do not think the Belearic slingers and Moor javelin men numbered half the front line. Perhaps they wer near to 4,000, maybe less. Either way, it is illogical for slingers to stand in an infantry battle line once the skirmishing is done. Are they supposed to hit the hastai with their slings? Ditto the javelin men. These are used in exactly the same way as Alexander used the greatest of this type, the Agrianianns, as missile throwers before the onset of main battle and in support of his cavalry. Here they will have supported the elephants (see Gabiene and Gaza: Diod. 19.40.1 & 3-4; 19.82.3-4). As the infantry battle was about to begin, these troops will have retired to the wings of the front line either through the first line or directly to the wings if that's where their respective unit had skirmished. What continuing part they took in the battle depends on what ammunition remained to them and whether they were supporting their cavalry.

The Ligurians and Celts did not fight like Greek hoplites or Liby-Phoenician spearmen. Nor did they fight like the Romans. Although battle line infantry they fought in a looser order than all of these. Polybios describes this manner prior to Cannae "but the swords were entirely different, those of the Spaniards thrusting with as deadly effect as they cut, but the Gaulish sword being only able to slash and requiring a long sweep to do so" (3.114.3). This is precisely what he is contrasting at 15.13.1-4 (nothing to do with numbers of Romans):

Quote:
The whole affair being now a trial of strength between man and man at close quarters, as the combatants used their swords and not their spears, the superiority was at first on the side of the dexterity and daring of the mercenaries, which enabled them to wound a considerable number of the Romans. The latter, however, trusting to the steadiness of their ranks and the excellence of their arms, still kept gaining ground, their rear ranks keeping close up with them and encouraging them to advance...
The Celts required room to swing their long swords. There is another description of them doing so in Polybios but I cannot recall it at the moment. Thus these troops will have formed in a more open battle order.

But I've a rugby test to get to against the "Jocks" and will have to get my lethargic bones moving.
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Old 17 Jun 17, 19:17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paralus View Post
"We" do not. All the sources are utilised in attempting to ascertain numbers for the battle. The great pity is that Polybios is mostly lost for the for Scipio's operations in Africa prior to Zama. At some stage he will have described Scipio's forces fortThe Megalopolitan did not feel disposed to repeat himself once at Zama. The clue, as I've said before, is Livy who follows Polybios but with additions from his own sources (29.25.1-6):



We can safely infer that Antipater was among those who believe that Scipo took a host similar to that of Artaxerxes II at Cunaxa! As to what might be the actual numbers, I've been over that often enough. It is more than a safe bet that no Sicilian infantry was taken; no evidence whatsoever even suggests that. We may very well havean indication of Polybios in 29.24.12-14:



While 6,200 is unusual for this period, Scipio was invading Africa. Given similar numbers from the Latins that is 24,800 infantry. As Livy says, there are a range of figures given by his authorities.



It is not "my game on numbers"; it is logic. And, as Spock might intone, "your logic is uncertain". I do not think the Belearic slingers and Moor javelin men numbered half the front line. Perhaps they wer near to 4,000, maybe less. Either way, it is illogical for slingers to stand in an infantry battle line once the skirmishing is done. Are they supposed to hit the hastai with their slings? Ditto the javelin men. These are used in exactly the same way as Alexander used the greatest of this type, the Agrianianns, as missile throwers before the onset of main battle and in support of his cavalry. Here they will have supported the elephants (see Gabiene and Gaza: Diod. 19.40.1 & 3-4; 19.82.3-4). As the infantry battle was about to begin, these troops will have retired to the wings of the front line either through the first line or directly to the wings if that's where their respective unit had skirmished. What continuing part they took in the battle depends on what ammunition remained to them and whether they were supporting their cavalry.

The Ligurians and Celts did not fight like Greek hoplites or Liby-Phoenician spearmen. Nor did they fight like the Romans. Although battle line infantry they fought in a looser order than all of these. Polybios describes this manner prior to Cannae "but the swords were entirely different, those of the Spaniards thrusting with as deadly effect as they cut, but the Gaulish sword being only able to slash and requiring a long sweep to do so" (3.114.3). This is precisely what he is contrasting at 15.13.1-4 (nothing to do with numbers of Romans):



The Celts required room to swing their long swords. There is another description of them doing so in Polybios but I cannot recall it at the moment. Thus these troops will have formed in a more open battle order.

But I've a rugby test to get to against the "Jocks" and will have to get my lethargic bones moving.
You do know you are your own worst enemy . We'll ignore the fact that Zama has no eye witness accounts and no archaeology for a start.

Let's start with your line above:
Quote:
The Celts required room to swing their long swords.
.
Thus these troops will have formed in a more open battle order.
If Hannibals first line had outstretched Scipios at Zama, he would have had the overlap, and we know what happens then, given Roman sources. An open formation is about 4x4" vs typical legionary 3x3" spacing for each troop. Taking your position of no light troops in Hannibals front line, and assuming equal length of lines, if Hannibal has 12k combat troops in his front line, then Scipio has 16k Hastati facing them. That also means 16k Principes and 8k Triari. It also means 16k Velites and 56k infantry in total.

An ancient mobile army is limited to 50k. An infantry total of 56k is implausible. You need to think about your opinions more logically.

Further, I don't recall Antipater's description of Zama. What I do know is that the actual accounts of Zama can differ remarkably, given the 'Historian' involved. A good example of differing opinions is that of Polybius and Appian. Polybius gives a whole section in his history on why Hannibal did the best he could, but Rome was going to win anyway. By the time you get to Appian, he is using Silius Italicus's Punica, at least for the 'colour' of the combat by the use of language. Appian offhandedly blames Hannibal for losing Zama by the general retiring to try to get some Spanish cavalry to resume fighting, and the infantry thinks he is fleeing. OTOH Dio Cassius has a third, and different account of Zama. His version is very silly, and rightly ignored.

Roman sources differ on what happened in this particular battle. How do you know which is true? The details have too many anomalies to suggest you actually know what you are talking about, apart from knowledge of the extremely limited unsubstantiated sources. I could go on but I don't need to. Without hard science, we are relying on the victors narratives. This can be correctly be dubbed suspect.
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This site is having as many problems as myself today. Perhaps it had a day of some excess as I did yesterday...

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Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
You do know you are your own worst enemy . We'll ignore the fact that Zama has no eye witness accounts and no archaeology for a start.
Zama is not alone in having "no archaeology" but that does not mean it did not happen. Nor is archaeology going to tell us much about numbers, tactics, et al. Polybios has told us that he'd conversations with Masisnissa and he certainly had access to accounts in Rome both written and oral passed from the previous generation.

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Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
If Hannibals first line had outstretched Scipios at Zama, he would have had the overlap, and we know what happens then, given Roman sources.
I have not suggested that he had any such overlap. Hannibal had the advantage in infantry though he was substantially lower in cavalry. This is not to suggest any great overlap for Hannibal's idea was to wear down the Romans until his veterans could deliver the coup de grace. His cavalry had to hold long enough for that to happen. Scipio, no newby to the game, realised this as one can see (Plb.15.14.1-3):

Quote:
The space between the two armies that still remained in position was full of blood, wounded men, and dead corpses; and thus the rout of the enemy proved an impediment of a perplexing nature to the Roman general. Everything was calculated to make an advance in order difficult,—the ground slippery with gore, the corpses lying piled up in bloody heaps, and with the corpses arms flung about in every direction. However Scipio caused the wounded to be carried to the rear, and the hastati to be recalled from the pursuit by the sound of a bugle...
Hannibal's idea was to blunt the Romans and his sacrifice of infantry was meant to achieve this. Scipio stopped the battle and reorganised his lines for the final confrontation rather than continue the pursuit in what was becoming a ragged manner.

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Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
An open formation is about 4x4" vs typical legionary 3x3" spacing for each troop. Taking your position of no light troops in Hannibals front line, and assuming equal length of lines, if Hannibal has 12k combat troops in his front line, then Scipio has 16k Hastati facing them. That also means 16k Principes and 8k Triari. It also means 16k Velites and 56k infantry in total.
It seems incredible to me that you continue to make the same basic error. Polybios is clear that the Carthaginian front line was made up of four mercenary groups: Ligurians, Celts, Balearic Islander and Moors. To quote Walbank (Historical Commentary on Polybios, VII, p457):

Quote:
To turn Baleares and Moors into legionaries was to make indifferent swordsmen out of first class slingers; and the first line may have consisted of Lihurians and Celts (who could fight at close quarters) intermixed with slingers; the result would not be very substantial infantry but Polybios makes it clear that Hannibal regarded this first line as expendable, and intended to weary the Romans and blunt their weapons before the real troops, the veterans, got to close quarters (16.3).
Two thousand of these troops had been recruited by Mago and sent to Carthage (Livy, 28.37.9). How many were left is anyone's guess as is how many were added for this battle. These troops cannot stand in a close quarter infantry line. They will have either assisted the elephants by leaving the front line and going with them or engaged in initial skirmishing and retired. Thus the Carthaginian close quarter infantry line which engaged the hastai will be the 12,000 less these troops. Polybios is consistent in describing this line as close quarter infantry. At 12.7 he describes the Roman and Carthaginian front lines as φάλαγγες (phalanxes); going onto say they advanced βάδην ἀλλήλαις καὶ σοβαρῶς ἐπῄεσαν ("deliberate step and proud confidence"). As walbank notes, this is exactly the description Polybios uses of the Romans at Trebia (3.72.13). I would also point out that Polybios' descriptions of the "covering force" of light armed troops in this battle is rather instructive and pertinent to Zama (3.72.7):

Quote:
Hannibal waited for the right moment to strike, and as soon as he saw that the Romans had crossed the Trebia, throwing out eight thousand spearmen and slingers to cover his advance, he led out his whole army.
Now, one needs to tread lightly with translations. The Greek for "Spearmen and slingers is "τοὺς λογχοφόρους καὶ Βαλιαρεῖς" or "the longchophoroi and Baleares". Here, as at Cannae, "λογχοφόρους" is mistranslated (infamously as "sarisa bearers" at Cannae by Paton leading to a world of confusion) as "spearmen". The context is clear: these are light infantry screening the army deployment so these are missile troops along with the slingers. That is precisely what the Moors and Baleares are at Zama. These light troops engage the Romans and having done their job Polybios describes their retirement thus: "as their advanced guard had retired again within their lines, and the heavy-armed soldiers were engaged". Entirely what we'd expect and these troops hardly did any differently at Zama.

Polybios is the most reliable source for Zama even given the lacunose state of the manuscript. If we insist on "hard science" we can dismiss just about all of our received ancient history. If we dismiss our sources we have no history. We need to work with what have and not insist on a ridiculous perfect world.
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Old 18 Jun 17, 04:20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paralus View Post
This site is having as many problems as myself today. Perhaps it had a day of some excess as I did yesterday...



Zama is not alone in having "no archaeology" but that does not mean it did not happen. Nor is archaeology going to tell us much about numbers, tactics, et al. Polybios has told us that he'd conversations with Masisnissa and he certainly had access to accounts in Rome both written and oral passed from the previous generation.



I have not suggested that he had any such overlap. Hannibal had the advantage in infantry though he was substantially lower in cavalry. This is not to suggest any great overlap for Hannibal's idea was to wear down the Romans until his veterans could deliver the coup de grace. His cavalry had to hold long enough for that to happen. Scipio, no newby to the game, realised this as one can see (Plb.15.14.1-3):



Hannibal's idea was to blunt the Romans and his sacrifice of infantry was meant to achieve this. Scipio stopped the battle and reorganised his lines for the final confrontation rather than continue the pursuit in what was becoming a ragged manner.



It seems incredible to me that you continue to make the same basic error. Polybios is clear that the Carthaginian front line was made up of four mercenary groups: Ligurians, Celts, Balearic Islander and Moors. To quote Walbank (Historical Commentary on Polybios, VII, p457):



Two thousand of these troops had been recruited by Mago and sent to Carthage (Livy, 28.37.9). How many were left is anyone's guess as is how many were added for this battle. These troops cannot stand in a close quarter infantry line. They will have either assisted the elephants by leaving the front line and going with them or engaged in initial skirmishing and retired. Thus the Carthaginian close quarter infantry line which engaged the hastai will be the 12,000 [b]less[/i] these troops. Polybios is consistent in describing this line as close quarter infantry. At 12.7 he describes the Roman and Carthaginian front lines as φάλαγγες (phalanxes); going onto say they advanced βάδην ἀλλήλαις καὶ σοβαρῶς ἐπῄεσαν ("deliberate step and proud confidence"). As walbank notes, this is exactly the description Polybios uses of the Romans at Trebia (3.72.13). I would also point out that Polybios' descriptions of the "covering force" of light armed troops in this battle is rather instructive and pertinent to Zama (3.72.7):



Now, one needs to tread lightly with translations. The Greek for "Spearmen and slingers is "τοὺς λογχοφόρους καὶ Βαλιαρεῖς" or "the longchophoroi and Baleares". Here, as at Cannae, "λογχοφόρους" is mistranslated (infamously as "sarisa bearers" at Cannae by Paton leading to a world of confusion) as "spearmen". The context is clear: these are light infantry screening the army deployment so these are missile troops along with the slingers. That is precisely what the Moors and Baleares are at Zama. These light troops engage the Romans and having done their job Polybios describes their retirement thus: "as their advanced guard had retired again within their lines, and the heavy-armed soldiers were engaged". Entirely what we'd expect and these troops hardly did any differently at Zama.

Polybios is the most reliable source for Zama even given the lacunose state of the manuscript. If we insist on "hard science" we can dismiss just about all of our received ancient history. If we dismiss our sources we have no history. We need to work with what have and not insist on a ridiculous perfect world.
I don't need to really read beyond your first real paragraph. I've never said there was no Zama.

More importantly archaeology can determine what actually happened on a battlesite.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrWnGHDV2kg


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVuVtP_xepU

Even then, the above have some flaws.

Once you are able to back up your claims with hard evidence, or discuss the inconsistencies between the various accounts, all you are relying on is hearsay.
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Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
I don't need to really read beyond your first real paragraph.
Quite. This seems to be your method: dismiss anything which does not suit your preconceived view. The source tradition has been dealt with numerous times across this interminable, repetitive thread. Should you wish to acquaint yourself with it I recommend Walbank's commentary and can offer other scholarship on the sources. But there is no point in that is there? A closed mind will not admit such discussion.

I have read all your paragraphs when posted and, for the great part, have responded to each. That you completely dismiss the rest of my previous post as, I assume, irrelevant "hearsay", I find somewhat rude. I can understand that the evidence presented in that is rather uncomfortable for one who does not understand that slingers and javelineers have no place in close quarter infantry combat.

There seems little point in continuing given your attitude. Perhaps others might take up the cudgels?

Before departing, I find this interesting:

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Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
Just caught this thread.
Odd, after some nine months, that you'd discover your own thread. Anyone might be given to think you felt a need to reopen it!
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Old 18 Jun 17, 18:03
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Originally Posted by Paralus View Post
Quite. This seems to be your method: dismiss anything which does not suit your preconceived view. The source tradition has been dealt with numerous times across this interminable, repetitive thread. Should you wish to acquaint yourself with it I recommend Walbank's commentary and can offer other scholarship on the sources. But there is no point in that is there? A closed mind will not admit such discussion.
You misread me, and you have added to this discussion on one extrtemely important occasion imho. The fact that Masinissa's infantry could have been Roman trained makes perfect sense given the limited and conflicting sources. A Scipio army with an additional 6000 N. African light infantry would have made mincemeat of 80 elephants.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paralus View Post
I have read all your paragraphs when posted and, for the great part, have responded to each. That you completely dismiss the rest of my previous post as, I assume, irrelevant "hearsay", I find somewhat rude. I can understand that the evidence presented in that is rather uncomfortable for one who does not understand that slingers and javelineers have no place in close quarter infantry combat.
Correct . Light infantry have no place in close quarter fighting. Their mention in Hannibals front line of 12k total, means his actual melee capable front line was less than 12k.

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Originally Posted by Paralus View Post
There seems little point in continuing given your attitude. Perhaps others might take up the cudgels?
The problem is the lack of evidence. The written accounts differ as well. Let's initially consider Polybius. He devotes a whole section of his history on why Hannibal lost, despite doing everything possibly he could do to win. OTOH, by the time you get to Appian, Hannibal inadvertently causes his army to rout.

Cassius Dio almost has the Carthaginian army routing from the word go. Rome roars, and the enemy flees. If Hannibal had a larger army, with 80 elephants, and even more cavalry than Scipio as Appian states, why would the Africans be scared when they finally outnumber the enemy, in both infantry and cavalry, and have elephants as well. And they have Hannibal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paralus View Post
Before departing, I find this interesting:

Quote:
Just caught this thread.
Odd, after some nine months, that you'd discover your own thread. Anyone might be given to think you felt a need to reopen it!
I'm interested in anomalies in history. Zama doesn't work. I don't know the specifics on why it doesn't work, but I do know that what we are told does not make sense. We can dismiss Appian. He appears to be relying on Silius Italicus's Punica for 'colour' concerning Zama for a start.

We also know that despite Hannibal's successes, Carthage was going to lose. If Rome was going to submit, it would have been after Cannae. Instead, they continued to resist, and would have won eventually. It's simply a matter of logistics.

What made me post was the arrogance of your last line of your effort, which I missed initially. My bad.

OTOH, since I give your life meaning, I will continue to respond to your posts.
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The problem with the history of Zama is the lack of acceptable evidence. There is no hard evidence at all, and the very few actual authors’ accounts differ from each other as well. The actual authors’ are as follows:

Polybius
http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/...%3Achapter%3D9

Livy
http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/...3Achapter%3D32

Cassius Dio
http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/...s_Dio/17*.html

Appian
http://www.livius.org/sources/conten...-punic-wars-8/

Silius Italica
https://archive.org/stream/punicasi0...iuoft_djvu.txt

Petrarch
Book7-8 of Africa. Cannot find link .

A few other authors’ also speak about Hannibal eg Cornelius Nepos, Plutarch and John Tzetzes, but that’s about it. We have 5 Roman accounts on Zama and about the same number of other authors’ concerning other themes concerning Hannibal in the 600 years or so after Hannibal.

Now compare that with the number of authors that deal with the Pre-Galfridian historical/legendary sources of King Arthur.
Simply from memory I can name the following:

Taliesin: The Spoils of Annwn

Aneirin: Y Goddodin

Nennius: Historia Brittonum

Red Book of Hergest

White Book of Rhydderch

Annales Cambriae

Legend of St. Goeznoviu


William of Malmesbury: De Gestis Regum Anglorum

Henry of Huntingdon: History of the English

Saints Lives : Cadoc

Saints Lives : Carannog

Saints Lives : Gildas

Saints Lives : Illtud

Saints Lives : Padern


I have certainly missed out several mentions in other Saints Lives, and more stories exist in the Welsh tales translated by Charlotte Guest in her Mabinogion. That is around double the 'historical' accounts compared to Hannibal.

No one can trust written history. Even more damning can be apparent physical evidence. Look at this dna map of mainland Britain.
https://static.independent.co.uk/s3f...netics-map.jpg

It appears clear who are the Saxons, ‘Celts’ etc etc. The map fails to impart one incredible point of detail. Almost everyone in Britain is closer genetically to each other than than to anyone on the continent. What this means is that there was no Anglo-Saxon invasion as we know it, and the clues in the written record were already there.

Anyone stating that they definitely knows what happened at Zama and its aftermath is lying to themselves, because there is simply not enough dependable information out there to do so.

However, if anyone does have any useful insights, such as Massinissa's infantry may have been organised along Roman lines, that would be appreciated.
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