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This article has been signaled by Iulus Indus on Contubernium (but i view now also in RAT).

http://www.ffil.uam.es/equus/warmas/onl ... EFINIT.pdf

Tis can be a interesting starting point for a discussion about the manipular legion.

Not knowing Quesada (our Thersites) article (unluckily, I would use it in my bibliography) i have made the same (+-) hypotesis in my article on vexillum at start of this year http://www.sosma.it/vexillum.pdf (pag.62-67) with an addendum about the triarii formation.

what you think about Quesada (Thersites) idea?
It does not strike me as absurd, on the contrary. Twenty years ago, I was studying the romanization of ancient Spain, and I noticed how advanced those so-called tribes actually were. I was left with the impression that it was not a tribal society at all - only made tribal by Roman commanders who needed an excuse for their failures. I never had an opportunity to finish that littke project. But the idea that Iberian tactics were up-to-date and a match for Rome, seems enitely plausible.
Well, if they weren't a match, why would it have taken more than one major campaign, and so many years to accomplish the task of conquest?? If they weren't good fighters, why would three legions have been raised from their midst? (8th, 9th and 10th)
I refer in particular to the part of article which speaks of space between legionaries, Jona (it is the part common also to my article)
Quesada's article is very interesting and enlightening, and has been referred to before here ( see 'Use of Iberians...'thread in the 'Allies and Enemies section).
For further information on 'changing over lines' - see 'Late Roman Formations' thread - the clips of South Korean Riot Police training in drill, and also in action.
The differences between the two latter demonstrate amply how neat drill deteriorates rapidly under stressful 'Battle' conditions. If the theoretical drills may have been similar to those suggested many years ago by me in "Warfare in the Classical World", and by Peter Connolly in "The Roman Army" and "Greece and Rome at War", then judging by the clips, in the heat of battle, the drills will have been far less formal and more like the "clouds" suggested by Quesada (though doubtless this varied from one situation to another, depending on the circumstances of the combat).
As another example, consider how the 'Parade Ground' drill of 18th and 19th century european armies also deteriorated in battle, so that a theoretical square/carre became more of a 'blob', but still effective in fending off cavalry. The formal drills however were still useful in training.
I can visualise that this procedure would also be true of Roman drill.
Quote:As another example, consider how the 'Parade Ground' drill of 18th and 19th century european armies also deteriorated in battle, so that a theoretical square/carre became more of a 'blob', but still effective in fending off cavalry. The formal drills however were still useful in training.
I can visualise that this procedure would also be true of Roman drill.
I guess that as long as the other side are A) Being beaten, and B) Not winning, the formation is good no matter how ragged or blobby it looks.

I'd go so far as to suggest that a disorderly formation is in fact a necessity when it comes to actual blows on more uneven and varied terrain than a parade ground. Keeping a perfect formation might be a recipe for disaster, as advantages of terrain and opportunity would be lost, as well as the need to adapt and respond being lost.
Quote:This article has been signaled by Iulus Indus on Contubernium (but i view now also in RAT).

http://www.ffil.uam.es/equus/warmas/onl ... EFINIT.pdf

Tis can be a interesting starting point for a discussion about the manipular legion.

Not knowing Quesada (our Thersites) article (unluckily, I would use it in my bibliography) i have made the same (+-) hypotesis in my article on vexillum at start of this year http://www.sosma.it/vexillum.pdf (pag.62-67) with an addendum about the triarii formation.

what you think about Quesada (Thersites) idea?

This was very interesting to read(the first link). I've always asked myself how the gaps in the formation were used.
I was under the impression the were used to move the next line of formations forward, also can be used by light troops to move through, and also the gaps were covered by the 'checkerboard' formation, allowing
the rear formation to cover the flanks of the groups to it front.
http://www.sosma.it/vexillum.pdf Cry

I can't read italian so it's impossible for me to inderstand your article.
I translate you this evening. (have you view the images?)
Quote:I translate you this evening.

Great! Will you display it somewhere? I'm eagerly looking forward to read it. Thank you.

Greetings
Alexandr
I have a some major difficulties with the 'clouds of infantry' theory.

The theory suggests that the traditional 'linear formation' theory is based upon 18th/19th practice, which is anachronistic and mistaken, and which should not apply to the Romans.

My question is whether the traditional linear theory should apply to many of Rome's opponents.

When it comes to the Successor phalangite formations, I would agree: they are described as fighting in dense blocks, maintaining a rigid formation, and being extremely frightening because of this.

Yet why should the 'linear' theory apply to 'barbarian' enemies such as the Samnites, the Spanish, the Celts and the Germans? It would seem that their civil structures and methods of fighting are such that they also would have used the 'clouds' variation for combat.

The theory also supposes that the maniples, when in 'cloud' formation, adjusted their frontage to maintain a 'front line' that would have no flanks for an enemy to attack. Yet, if we discard the notion of linear deployment and use 'cloud' formations, there are no real 'flanks', and as such there is no need for the maniples to expand to cover their flanks. Therefore, they could easily leave gaps between maniples, since any advantage to the enemy is negated due to the fluidity of the maniple. Furthermore, such an attempt would leave the enemy open to an ensuing flank attack by the unopposed second (or third) Roman line.

Overall, the theory has a lot to recommend it, but it needs to be examined with both the fighting practices of the enemies of Rome as well as that of the Romans themselves in mind.

(Unfortunately, as usual, I have only a limited amount of time available and now need to stop. Hopefully I will be able to explain my viewpoint better at some point in the future when I have more time to elaborate and explain - as well as doing a spellcheck! :lol: )


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Ian (Sonic) Hughes
It would seem that Quesada would agree that the Iberians did not use rigid lines; nor have I seen any strong arguement that the Celts or Germans relied on linear or rigid formations.

However, I do believe that having a continuous front was strongly preferred to having obvious gaps in a front. The problem of being attacked in a direction which the soldier is not facing (or not moving in - i.e. heading north and being attacked from the east) is a very real one for a soldier with a shield on his left side and a weapon in his right hand. Also, men in combat are very sensitive to being attacked from a direction they cannot see; no one wants to be surrounded, even if this makes no direct difference (i.e. being surrounded, but the enemies in your back are some distance from your body).
Quote:no one wants to be surrounded, even if this makes no direct difference (i.e. being surrounded, but the enemies in your back are some distance from your body).
But any of the enemy trying to surround you would find themselves surrounded due to the checkerboard formation, even if loose. In fact the loose order (I'd prefer not to use 'cloud') would enable the Romans to far more readily counter any such advance by the enemy, which would be far more difficult to do in dressed ranks. As the author says, if pila were retained for the full duration of battle, such a maneouvre would be far more difficult for the enemy.

I think the theory is very sound and makes far more sense than, as pointed out, a musket & pike bias. I'm a great believer in short bursts of intense engagement followed by rests and missile/insult throwing anyway. It was a joy to read this paper.
What paper is this? You read italian?
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