RomanArmyTalk

Full Version: Doubt about Arrian\'s array
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
I was reading Arrian's ektasis kata alanon and I thought : is it possible that the legions were deployed in a duplex acies with cohorts arranged on four ranks? the units marched to the battlefield four abreast; then in the clash with enemy cavalry, according to Arrian's account, only the first four ranks had an active role... what do you think?
Philip Sidnell in his book "Warhorse" mentions that Arrian's "Array against the Alans" was not a battle report but theoretical operational orders for an expected battle and no one knows whether the battle actually happened. He then goes on to state that Cassius Dio says that the Alans withdrew after being persuaded by the gifts of the Persian King, whose lands were also threatened and frightened by Flavius Arrianus. But no report of any battle. Interesting that Arrian advocates the use of axes, maces and even the deadly steppe weapon the ice pick like sagaris for his cavalry.
Regards
Michael Kerr
Of course, Arian's Ektaxis is not a report. It is, I want to think, a beautiful example of how a written order to the commanders would look like. What makes you think that he might be talking about a duplex acies of infantry? Is it something in the text that you interpret this way?
Well when he 's speaking about infantry's role he says that the first three ranks have to receive the charge, while the fourth rank could throw the javelins( lonchas )... the other four ranks aren't mentioned... if they don't throw their javelins maybe it is because they are pretty distant, maybe they belong to the posterior cohorts
PS: I didn't know the ektasis was only an imaginary report.. :oops:
Before battles, orders would be issued and often these would be given in written form to the commanders. It ordains what should be done by them, how they should deploy their forces on the march and in the battle and how they should react to enemy maneuvers.

Arrian writes that the phalanx should be deployed 8 rank deep and in close order and then gives further details regarding the four first ranks, which should be formed of men with kontoi, stating even how they should stand and hold their arms. He then writes that the 4 next ranks should be of the logchophoroi and also sets a 9th rank of foot archers, an interesting addition of a rank of light infantry to support the phalanx.
Quote:Arrian writes that the phalanx should be deployed 8 rank deep and in close order and then gives further details regarding the four first ranks, which should be formed of men with kontoi, stating even how they should stand and hold their arms. He then writes that the 4 next ranks should be of the logchophoroi and also sets a 9th rank of foot archers, an interesting addition of a rank of light infantry to support the phalanx.
Which is the forerunner of the Late Roman deployment as preferred by Maurikios for unstance. Philip Rance and Everett Wheeler have taken this as an indication that the duplex acies remained an instrument of the Roman army. It was merely less popular during the Principate, but returned to favour during the 3rd c. and after.

Wheeler, Everett L. (2004): The Legion as Phalanx in the Late Empire (I), in: L'Armée romaine de Dioclétian à Valentinian Ier, Actes de IIIe congrès de Lyon sur l'armée romaine, ed. Y. Le Bohec and C. Wolff (Paris), pp. 309-58.
Wheeler, Everett L. (2004): The Legion as Phalanx in the Late Empire (II), in: Revue des Études Militaires Anciennes 1, pp. 147-75.