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The Roman Legion of 406 BC
#1
I’ve posted a paper on academia.edu titled “The Roman Legion of 406 BC.”

 
https://independent.academia.edu/StevenJames1
 
Abstract
Despite the vast research conducted by scholars for the last 400 years regarding the Roman legion, there is still no consensus among scholars as to how the Roman legion was organised. In terms of reliability, most scholars have given preference to Polybius’ account of the legion over Livy’s account. This study shows that both Livy and Polybius made simply mathematical miscalculation in their description of the Roman legion, and when corrected, this makes it possible to reconcile both versions, which are one and the same. This paper explores the legion’s size, the century, maniple and cohort organisation, and especially the ordo and tribune cohort organisation, and the manner in how they work.
 
Steven James
 
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#2
Here's an idea that might round out your other works and help us understand them a bit better.

The relationship between Pythagoras and the Romans.

Don't focus on any military formulas, just use historical sources to prove how much he influenced Roman culture.
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#3
I appreciate the axiomatic nature of this article. Don’t be too unsure on your ability to communicate through the method of writing, you are improving in your rhetoric competence.
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#4
Bryan wrote:

Here's an idea that might round out your other works and help us understand them a bit better. The relationship between Pythagoras and the Romans. Don't focus on any military formulas, just use historical sources to prove how much he influenced Roman culture.
 
The relationship between Rome and Pythagoras is covered in the book. This is a paper on the legion of 406 BC, and adheres to historical sources to show how the legion was organised. Therefore your suggestion I don’t focus on the military formulas is illogical. The reality is you are trolling, and I have taken the bait. We had an agreement to ignore each other, an agreement you have continually fail to honour.
 
Julian wrote:
I appreciate the axiomatic nature of this article. Don’t be too unsure on your ability to communicate through the method of writing, you are improving in your rhetoric competence.
 
Many thanks. You will find in the paper an explanation of the ordo organisation I spoke of previously. I believe I am the only one that has investigated this organisation, plus the existence of the tribune cohort (for want of a better term). The concept that the military tribunes had no military role on the battlefield and were in the views of some scholars, mere messenger is unfounded.
 
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#5
Wasn't trying to troll. Sorry.
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#6
Bryan wrote:

Wasn't trying to troll. Sorry.
 
Well I hope that is sincere Bryan. Also I found your comment too broad and too general to give a reply as the topic is about the Roman legion of 406 BC. So if you or anyone wants to debate whether there was 15 maniples of hastati or whatever is in that paper, I look forward to it. However, there are one or two who I will ignore if they respond.
 
Steven
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#7
What are the tactical advantages of the ordo organization compared to the maniple organization. Could a centurion decide for himself to advance and override the orders of the military tribune?
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#8
Julian wrote:

What are the tactical advantages of the ordo organization compared to the maniple organization.
 
The ordo organisation is purely for creating gaps in the line for line relief and to create cavalry lanes. That is its military function. The maniple has too large a frontage to do this, and would jeopardise the legion’s safety by having very large gaps in the line. There are references to the troops passing between the maniples, and from my investigation into the legion, when the term maniple is used in the primary sources; it indicates a different deployment arrangement of the legion.
 
I didn’t include the chapter on how line relief is conducted, but if you look at the deployment diagram, as combat is conducted by tribune cohorts two men deep, each line only needs to replace 60 men (a century) from each ordo, arrayed 30 men by 2 men deep. It doesn’t involve whole blocks of units as per the Peter Connolly version, which to me is extremely cumbersome.
 
Julian wrote:
Could a centurion decide for himself to advance and override the orders of the military tribune?
 
This is too big a what if for me to answer. If the centurion is under the same command of a military tribune why would he?
 
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#9
Steven James said:

The ordo organisation is purely for creating gaps in the line for line relief and to create cavalry lanes. That is its military function. The maniple has too large a frontage to do this, and would jeopardise the legion’s safety by having very large gaps in the line. There are references to the troops passing between the maniples, and from my investigation into the legion, when the term maniple is used in the primary sources; it indicates a different deployment arrangement of the legion.

Oh, I see, I now understand the concept more fully. Instead of the notion that the roman army is like “a phalanx with joints”, you can see it better as “an interconnected web”.

Steven James said:

This is too big a what if for me to answer. If the centurion is under the same command of a military tribune why would he?

In the article Caesar’s Exempla and the Role of Centurions in Battle David Nolan states:

Through an analysis of the broader literary context in which the centurions are used, it is possible to identify these responsibilities and show that exemplary combat at the front of the cohort was not part of their normal duties. Rather, Caesar expected centurions to involve themselves in combat only when a legion was on the edge of collapse, with the specific aim of restoring the situation.

Just as in the book Between Rome and Carthage: Southern Italy during the Second Punic War by Michael P. Fronda you can as I believe use the concepts of intercity rivalries as a universal approach to the entire ancient world, in the same way you can use David Nolan concept for battle. This is why I asked the question : Could a centurion decide for himself to advance and override the orders of the military tribune?

So this is the situation, military tribunes had a function but what kind of function? What are its powers what are its freedoms what are its limitations? Is a military tribune akin to for example Napoleons marshals? Both in tactical as in operational sense. My question is did the military tribune intervened personally on the frontline for great morale support? Do we have any text on military tribunes sacrificing themselves on the battlefield?

In short what is the purpose of the military tribune? We must find out the boundaries of his role.
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#10
Julian wrote:

In short what is the purpose of the military tribune? We must find out the boundaries of his role.
 
Appian (The Wars in Spain 6 82), writes that the military tribunes and the centurions were responsible for deploying the men into battle array. Besides patricians serving as military tribunes, Dionysius 10 36) suggests a military tribune could also be a plebeian promoted from the ranks of the soldiers. Livy (4 47) cites military tribunes as plebeians before 400 BC. Livy (44 36) and Polybius (6 19-42) outline the duties of the military tribunes as enrolling new recruits into the legions, and then organising them into their respective units. The military tribunes were also responsible for choosing an appropriate campsite and for the regulation of the camp. When fighting the Gaul in 222 BC, Polybius (2 33 1) mentions the military tribunes instructing the soldiers on how they should fight, both as individuals and collectively. Isidore of Seville (Etymologica 9 3 29) defines a military tribune as one who dispenses justice for the soldiers, and Vegetius (3 9) states that some military tribunes were selected to train the troops.
 
However, if you want to discuss the military tribune, I think it would be better to start another thread.
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#11
Steven James said:

However, if you want to discuss the military tribune, I think it would be better to start another thread.

Oh, You have to forgive me, it seems I am completely deflecting away the discussion on your article. This was not my intention. Are there any other people commenting on this article? What is the common reception?
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#12
Julian wrote:

Are there any other people commenting on this article? What is the common reception?
 
It’s early days yet. Most need to digest it, and as I posted on a weekend, many RAT members are not at work, and replying to this forum on their company’s time.
 
What puzzles me is the amount of data in the primary sources that has not been properly investigated. Take Livy’s ordo organisation as one example. Livy states that an ordo had 180 soldiers, and yet no one could work out that the 1,200 principes and 600 triarii add up to 1,800 men, which is divisible by Livy’s ordo of 180 men. No one could then take Livy’s comment the centurion Spurius Ligustinus commanded the tenth ordo of hastati, which would indicate that the hastati also numbered 1,800 men and were organised into 15 maniples as per Livy. Added to this is Livy’ comment that 2,000 hastati accompanied Flaminius in Greece. Still no one could connect the dots. And I believe this has all come about because of academia’s blind belief and closed minded attitude that Polybius was the most reliable historian, as shown by those examples I put in the paper.
 
I’ve also covered how a consular army is organised on the march as per Polybius and have been able to deploy a consular army into battle formation in one movement as stated by Polybius, and this can be done if the consular army is attacked in any direction, as per Polybius.
 
There are some other surprises, which involve changing their military doctrine I have come across. After the Allia, the Romans have a special organised legion when facing the Gauls and according to Livy each legion numbered 4,200 men, which is not the 4,200 man legion of Polybius. There is another doctrine that has a number of cavalry attached to each troop type. If you leave the triarii in camp, the cavalry attached to the triarii also remain in camp as do the light infantry attached to the triarii. Have a look at Polybius’ account of Scipio’s march on New Cartagena and you will see this doctrine in play. The numbers given for the battle of the Trebbia, that is the 6,000 javelin men and Polybius’ figure of about 4,000 cavalry, these figures indicate that at the Trebbia, the triarii were left in the camp and with them their allocated cavalry and light armed infantry. This for me explained why Mago’s attack had such a devastating result.
 
Since I have added the sections on what the scholars say (to prove I am aware of academia’s theories), the feedback I have received is that people find it easy to believe in the Pythagorean system, but have questioned me on the validity of the theories of some academics as being made up, due to the preposterous nature of some of those academic theories.
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#13
I did not include in the paper on the legion of 406 BC relating to the Serra formation, that those centurions in ordines 2, 4, 7 and 9 of the hastati, and the principes and triarii, are in my view, given the title of centurion ordinarius. I believe the centurion ordinaries was a position and not a rank. Therefore, in total a 60 century legion had 24 centurion ordinarius (12 for the hastati and 12 for the principes and triarii.

 
In relation to the tribune cohort consisting of 10 centuries, this means every centurion in command of the 2nd, 4th, 7th, and 9th century, was a centurion ordinarius.

That is my theory.

 
 
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