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References to late Roman army???
#61
Michael wrote:

When you first said that you would send me a copy of your book, it was without preconditions.
 
Somewhere this forum is a posting I made stating when you read it you could give you opinion of what you read. I said if you thought it was rubbish you were free to say so. I am not interested in going back through my emails but I send it to people asking for feedback.
 
As usual, when I explain primary source maths and how it works, this is always ignored in favour of finding a negative aspect to discuss. Some here are very quick to jump on anything they feel they can tear apart, but avoid the data they cannot.
 
I put up my theory about the difference between Zosimus and Sozemen and the 4 myriads. No one has anything to say on it? Or is your silence a sign of approval? Or is the fact I could be right is just too hard for some to bare?
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#62
(05-11-2017, 01:10 AM)Steven James Wrote: I put up my theory about the difference between Zosimus and Sozemen and the 4 myriads. No one has anything to say on it? Or is your silence a sign of approval? 


OK, I'll take it. 
You wrote:

"Just for the sake of it, let’s say Sozomen’s 6 arithmoi amount to 3600 men, with an arithmoi numbering 600 men. 
Let’s say each arithmoi consisted of 10 centuries each of 60 men. That gives a total of 60 centuries for the 6 arithmoi.
Let’s say that the source Zosimus is reading is describing the organisation and structure of an arithmoi or tagmata. 
Maybe Zosimus and Sozomen have done this because the original text they have only mentions the number of units involved, and not the number of men. 
Let’s say Zosimus has mistook the total of 60 centuries as belonging to one tagmata, and he believes a century has 100 men, so he ends up with 6 tagmata each of 6000 men for a total of 36,000 men. 
Then Zosimus divides the 36,000 men by 4 to arrive at each tagmata having 9000 men, of which he rounds to 10,000 men.
The question is why the number 4?"


You literally wrote 'let's say' and 'maybe' five times, plus a speculation about an unknown original source mentioning units and not the total number of men, plus Zosimus mistaking the total number of 60 centuries as belonging to one tagma, and on top of this, that he 'rounded of' 9000 men to 10.000 men (can you seriously call adding a 1000 men 'rounding off'?).

The questionis not 'why the number 4'. The question is 'how many bends and bottlenecks does a text need to be pressed and forced through to arrive at something usable?
You are not only speculating about the source Zosimus is using, you are speculating multiple ocasions about what the author is thinking, doin, etc. without that being mentioned in the source itself.

I cannot for the world say anything about the parts concerning the period until AD 250, for I don't have any expert knowledge there. But where it come to the Late Roman period I keep noticing these hoops you make the sources jump through. 
Exactly that is what makes me shy away from your conclusions.
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
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#63
(05-11-2017, 01:10 AM)Steven James Wrote: I put up my theory about the difference between Zosimus and Sozemen and the 4 myriads. No one has anything to say on it?

We said plenty - you just chose to ignore it. As you said here, "Further discussions on this will just be going around in circles again."

Noticing that 4000 x 10 = 40,000, and that 4 is two thirds of 6, tells us nothing about Roman military structure.


(05-11-2017, 01:10 AM)Steven James Wrote: Or is your silence a sign of approval?

Weariness, more likely. And the fact that you tend to fly off into high dudgeon whenever you're asked to support your theories...

Is there any point in asking where you get the idea that there were "480 cavalry allocated to a 4800 man legion"? (I've asked about this several times before).

Or that this cavalry force was "organised into 10 squadrons each of 48 men"?

Or that "the 6,000 man legion should have been organised into 50 maniples of 120 men and 100 centuries each of 60 men"?

These ideas are so far at variance with the available evidence that without substantial support they do not stand discussion - you're just asking people to take your ideas on faith alone. Some may be fine with that - others will not.
Nathan Ross
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#64
Robert wrote:

You literally wrote 'let's say' and 'maybe' five times,
 
And your point is? I was avoiding being specific. I could have said “for example,” or “what if,” would that be more accepting for you? Not asking for your permission but isn’t this nit picking?
 
Robert wrote:
plus Zosimus mistaking the total number of 60 centuries as belonging to one tagma, and on top of this, that he 'rounded of' 9000 men to 10.000 men (can you seriously call adding a 1000 men 'rounding off'?).
 
Have you studied all the numbers in the primary sources to be absolutely sure that rounding by 1,000 has not been done before? It might be more common than you think. But what you have forgotten is I was using an example based on 600 man units. I did not say that number was factual. It could be more. What if the actual unit size was 660 men and it got round down to 600 men, which is reasonable, or it remained at 666 for a total of 3,996 men, which still approximates to Sozomen’s figure of about 4000 men in total. The correct figure can be obtained from other data.
 
Robert wrote:
The question is not 'why the number 4'.
 
Totally disagree. Actually it is about the number 4, and why Zosimus arrived at 4 myriads.
 
Robert wrote:
The question is 'how many bends and bottlenecks does a text need to be pressed and forced through to arrive at something usable?
 
Not much...just apply some simply mathematical procedures, and then find if the primary sources back them up. If you find those numbers appear on more than 3 occasions or more, keep investigating.
 
Robert wrote:
You are not only speculating about the source Zosimus is using, you are speculating multiple ocasions about what the author is thinking, doin, etc. without that being mentioned in the source itself.
 
No I am just following mathematical procedures, and no different to those on this forum working through the Perge document.
 
Robert wrote:
Exactly that is what makes me shy away from your conclusions.
 
I have no interest in life trying to change a person’s religion, I see it as utterly pointless and the work of someone with a superiority complex. The philosophy applies here. The person I am out to convince is myself and I am a harsher judge of my research than anyone on this forum could be.
 
Nathan wrote:
We said plenty - you just chose to ignore it.
 
When it is nothing but uncorroborated opinion, I will ignore it.
 
Nathan wrote:
Noticing that 4000 x 10 = 40,000, and that 4 is two thirds of 6, tells us nothing about Roman military structure.
 
Do you really believe that your method of taking 6 tagmata and dividing it by about 4000 men, and ending up with a tagma of from 650 to 700 men tells us anything? You are just skimming the surface. I am trying to find a plausible reason as to why Zosimus arrived at 4 myriads, which goes a lot further than you method. Maybe if you compiled other data you might start to see over the horizon.
 
Nathan wrote:
Weariness, more likely.
 
No one’s asking you to read them.
 
Nathan wrote:
Is there any point in asking where you get the idea that there were "480 cavalry allocated to a 4800 man legion"? (I've asked about this several times before).
 
I was answering a question from Francis, and only addressing Francis, who enquired about were there any changes to the Pythagorean system. However, for the time of Augustus the tribal system has a legion of 4800 men and 480 cavalry, without the cavalry officers, which are additional, so add 32 officers and you get 512 cavalry. In the tribal system, the cavalry are based on being one tenth the number of men in a legion. That tribal system is unbreakable as it is supported by six different mathematical systems, and it has passed the test with those mathematicians who have examined it. And the history of the legions, numbers, sizes and other data support is beyond what you can imagine.
 
Nathan wrote:
Or that this cavalry force was "organised into 10 squadrons each of 48 men"?
 
No Nathan, read the post again. I was stating this was to be the original system but it got modified, and how it got modified.
 
Nathan wrote:
Or that "the 6,000 man legion should have been organised into 50 maniples of 120 men and 100 centuries each of 60 men"?
 
No Nathan, read the post again. I was stating this was to be the original system but it got modified from the original, and how it got modified.
 
Nathan wrote:
These ideas are so far at variance with the available evidence that without substantial support they do not stand discussion - you're just asking people to take your ideas on faith alone. Some may be fine with that - others will not.
 
You know perfectly well I was commenting on the changes made to the original system. The original Pythagorean legions of Augustus and later were not fully implemented.
 
 
 
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#65
Steven wrote:
And your point is? I was avoiding being specific. I could have said “for example,” or “what if,” would that be more accepting for you? Not asking for your permission but isn’t this nit picking?

You are missing the point. I'm not discussion your choice of words, but all the occasions you are assuming something about the text without any proof. The resulting numbers are less valuable every time they are created by such assumptions. You know that of course, but you choose to ignore it. That's your choice. But don't complain that people are less impressed by the conclusions ofyour research. 

Steven wrote: 
Have you studied all the numbers in the primary sources to be absolutely sure that rounding by 1,000 has not been done before? It might be more common than you think. 

Have you studied it yourself? Is it common? I think it's something you imagined that Zosimus did, whereas he in fact did nothing of the sort. I think it's not common that someone sees a number of 9000 and easily adds a 1000 to it.

Steven wrote:
What if the actual unit size was 660 men and it got round down to 600 men, which is reasonable

Is that reasonable? I doubt it very much. Rounding off 3996 to 4000 is indeed reasonable. 660 to 600 or 9000 to 10000 is not.

Steven wrote:
Not much...just apply some simply mathematical procedures, and then find if the primary sources back them up. 

But you are adjusting those primary sources in order to have them back up your findings! That's why I was quoting al the occasions you were writing 'let's say' and 'maybe'- you are not using the primary source as a given. And that is the opposite of how historical methodology should be used.

Steven wrote:
No I am just following mathematical procedures, and no different to those on this forum working through the Perge document.

I totally diasagree. Of course researchers can make assumptions and use procedures, and indeed as you say compare sources. But you are very often assuming that those sources made mistakes, made adjustments etc. without being able to back that up. And you are using the results to (con)form a grand scheme that runs throughout Roman history.
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
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#66
(05-11-2017, 03:21 PM)Steven James Wrote: No one’s asking you to read them.

Yes, I should have learned by now! Kind of quiet round here though... [Image: wink.png]


(05-11-2017, 03:21 PM)Steven James Wrote: for the time of Augustus the tribal system has a legion of 4800 men and 480 cavalry

Based on what? As you know, the only source for the number of legion cavalry under the empire is Josephus, who makes it 120. You've quadrupled this figure - why?



(05-11-2017, 03:21 PM)Steven James Wrote: I was stating this was to be the original system but it got modified, and how it got modified.

But neither your 'original' figures nor your 'modified' ones have any grounding in reality. You're proposing two sets of invented numbers as evidence for a change which you alone claim to have identified.


(05-11-2017, 03:21 PM)Steven James Wrote: The original Pythagorean legions of Augustus and later were not fully implemented.

Aha, so the Roman army was at fault for not according with your calculations! [Image: smile.png]
Nathan Ross
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#67
I must express here my astonishment about the theories raised - especially about references regarding the late roman army (thread-title). I also don't know which mathematical formula is to be applied in the fourth, fifth or sixth century regarding unit sizes and deployments (even much more early) - an era where a commander or emperor had to work with the "human material" or manpower available for that time.

Just for the reason of this thread I have put out some of my books out of my library, just to check my statement once more, which is valid for most of the late antiquity and the transition period to the early middle ages.

Strat. VIII 2, 84: We need a symmetrical army (στρατος) if we want be master about the enemy. however, [an army] more large is needed if we want keep control (φυλάττειν) about the new conquered land.
Mauricius speaks clearly in the imperative. He details that the units are no longer uniform today, and that they must be be deployed in a tagmatic system. The most important was, that all files have the same the depth of 8 or 16 men. Therefore it is no problem if a tagma would be 600 strong, while another one was 1200 strong (my own words). The tagmata were ad hoc bricks or battle-modules. In this case the inner order of the regiments became at the day of the battle quite irrelevant. This is also a reason why we cannot find all known roman military ranks in the Strategicon. In the opposite case it should be clear now why we find ranks in the Strategicon which are not evidenced by epigraphical findings or grave stones or papyri.
At the day of the battle some Centurios certainly fought as normal group leaders within the files or had minor tasks to guard the flag, which becomes clear since the Strategicon just mentiones iliarchs and hekatonatchs in the chapter about cavalry, while they are apparently missing when the Strategicon explains the infantry formation. Other Centurions were temporary declared as additional campiductors when a bigger regiment was diveded by two or three parts (tagmata) for the day of the battle. Some duces were called merachs, other moirarchs (were also duces, which is detailed by the Strategicon as well).
All those offices were temporary functions and roles, valid for the day of the battle. And this system is neither theoretical nor unrealistic.
Latin was the only valid language, so that all orders were understood by the soldiers - independently if the regiment was deployed in Dalamtia (with a latin speaking crew) or nearby Antiochia (a regiment speaking a strong syriac dialect).

According the Strategicon the deployment of the army is always dependent regarding the number of troops available at the day of the battle (ibid XII B 8). If the infantry is 24.000 strong, the ratio between heavy armed soldiers (Scutatii) and light armed soldiers (psiloi) should be 2/3 to 1/3. If the infantry is stronger (obviously possible) than that the ration should be 1/2 to 1/2 (ibid. XII B 9: ἐπιλογὴ καὶ ὀρδινάτιο τῶν πεζικῶν ταγμάτων).
The ratio between cavalry and infantry should be 1/3 mounted soldiers and 2/3 infantry. However, if the symmetrical deployment is used the ratio should be 1/4 to 3/4 (ibid XII A 7).

Central principle stays always to get an even number to reach the σύμμετρος στρατός (the symmetrical army) - a term for sure taken from Asklepiodotos and others. But the principle was still valid. I take my Taktika from Leo VI and I can read the same orders, expressed in his own words. However, also here one can observe a real practical application, which is shown by the scope of changes of the description regarding the inner order of the tagmata, changed numbers of soldiers and so on. It wasn't just copied. It was adapted to the time. This is also evident in the disappearance of Latin.

But we can also speak about Onasander, who lived in the 1st century AD and wrote his Στρατηγικός about Roman warfare. "Sometimes it is advantageous before a critical battle for the general not to be the first to form a line of battle but to wait within the camp for a time until he observes the battle array of the enemy, its character, arrangement, and position" (ibid Onos. XXIX 3). Furthermore "the general must consider which troops to oppose to which of the enemy, and in what manner" (ibid onos. XXX), and so on.
The own troops were simply said mirrored (deployed) to that of the enemy. There is no mathematical formula as well. By the way, the brick-principle was also valid during the time of Arrianus, even if the numer of men in a file was most likely not the same as that of Mauricius. But since the size of the troops was more or less equal at that time, the tagmatic system was not required or applicable. A barbaric cohors had "normaly" a size X and a roman one a size Y. It was in the matter of nature that a straight front could arise or to be deployed. The circumstances of the later period were certainly less easy.
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#68
 
Robert wrote:
Rounding off 3996 to 4000 is indeed reasonable. 660 to 600 or 9000 to 10000 is not.
 
How about presenting something more than just your opinion? Just because something does not appeal to your sensibilities, does not mean you are right.
 
Nathan wrote:
Yes, I should have learned by now! Kind of quiet round here though... [Image: z8+QECAwECAwECAwECAwfIgACCgiwtKy2DiYIvMn...Onz0AAOw==]
 
It is quite most of the time.
 
Nathan wrote:
Based on what? As you know, the only source for the number of legion cavalry under the empire is Josephus, who makes it 120. You've quadrupled this figure - why?
 
Based on what you say? Ok, based on the fact I have a better understanding of the legion of the principate than you. The facts are in the primary sources, but you have probably dismissed them long ago without deeper analysis because it data does do not conform to your preconceived point of view.
 
Here is some more of my research for you to piss on.
 
Hyginus numbered a part-mounted cohort milliary at 1,000 men organised into 10 centuries and consisting of 760 infantry and 240 cavalry organised into 6 squadrons. And unless I am mistaken, because I cannot divided 240 by 6, Hyginus’ figure of 6 squadrons amount to each squadron having 40 men.
 
Here’s my theory for you to piss on. To arrive at a figure of 40 men per squadron, Hyginus has taken the 128 legionis equites (120 cavalry and 8 officers) and added them to the 512 cavalrymen (480 cavalry, 32 officers) in an 16 squadron ala, thereby giving a the total of 640 men. So 128 legionis equites divided by 16 squadrons to an ala = 8 legionis equites and when added to the 16 squadrons each of 32 men, a squadron increased to 40 men.
 
Hyginus numbers an ala milliary at 1,000 cavalry organised into 24 squadrons. The figure of 1,000 cavalry has been rounded from 960 men (minus the officers). Hyginus taking the premise a squadron numbers 40 men, and then divided by 960 men by 40 men per squadron to arrive at 24 squadrons each of 40 men. When corrected, an ala milliary should be organised into 32 squadrons each of 30 men (minus the officers), and with the officers 1024 men.
 
Now here is some more information for you to piss on. Vespasian sent Cerealius, the commander of the 5th legion with a force of 3,000 infantry and 600 cavalry. (Josephus (The Jewish War 3 32) The figure of 600 cavalry = 120 equites legionis and 480 cavalry = 600 cavalry. With the inclusion of the cavalry officers, 640 men.
 
A fragment of Suetonius numbers a legion at 5,600 men = 5000 infantry, 120 equites legionis and 480 cavalry =5600 men.
 
Oh if you want to debunk the above, try providing source material instead of just giving me your uncorroborated opinion.
 
 
Nathan wrote:
You're proposing two sets of invented numbers as evidence for a change which you alone claim to have identified.
 
I alone have identified this because I alone have made new inroads into the Roman tribal system and you haven’t.
 
Nathan wrote:
Aha, so the Roman army was at fault for not according with your calculations!
 
Definitely not! You are again twisting my words to suite your own agenda.
 
Marcel wrote:
Strat. VIII 2, 84: We need a symmetrical army (στρατος) if we want be master about the enemy. however, [an army] more large is needed if we want keep control (φυλάττειν) about the new conquered land.
 
The Strategikon of Maurice is believed written in the late 6th century. A lot of military changes can happen after the sack of Rome in 410 AD and to the time of the Strategikon.
 
I read your posting but have no idea what point you are trying to make.
 
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#69
(05-12-2017, 02:42 AM)Steven James Wrote: How about presenting something more than just your opinion? Just because something does not appeal to your sensibilities, does not mean you are right.

So it's OK to add a 1000 men and still use the numbers afterwards to prove a theory? Just like that? And that, of course, is not just based on your opinion, but an accepted method? If so, then plase shw me for I realise I must be totally ut of touch with modern historical research!

Your studies lack historical methodology. You juggle the sources and the numbers therein to fit your theory. Rather than supporting your findings with a method that allows it to be tested you simply say the opposition is wrong or against you. 

Well, this would be another point for me to disregard your 'findings' Steven: when I have an unfounded opinion I'm wrong, but when you have an unfouned opinion you're right.
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
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#70
The Strategicon is only one of several books that relate specifically to the symmetrical battle order.
The Romans never made a mystery regarding the question, which principle they follow regarding
a) the deployment and inner order of units and
b) the battle field arrangement.

In addition, it remains probably a mysterium to me what the city of Rome and its ancient archaic tribal organisation had to do with a) inner order of units and b) the battle field arrangement in the years 290 (or before), 337 and 409 AD (and years later).
In his work, Mauricius repeatedly refers specifically to the past. Moreover, I believe I have attempted to explain simply that the Romans have always tried to bring a uniformity into the front. Or they simply copied the enemy (Battle of Zama) or they mirrored the enemy (Onosander). Or they were waiting for the battle field arrangement of the enemy and then the Romans responded with their own lineup (Caesar vs. Pompeius).

At the turn of the 1st century AD, Aelianus devoted his Taktika to an emperor, probably Traianus (ibid praef. 3).
The beginning of the symmetrical order - trying to reach 16.384 men - is always the λόχος of 16 men, followed by the
διλοχία (dilochia) = 32 men, followed by the τετραρχία (4x lochos) of 64 men.

Now, the author writes, the "real" tactical units are composed out of this base modules:
A τάξις (taxis) is a unit of light psiloi (128 men).
The συντάγμα consists of 256 men of heavy armed soldiers - they have to build up a module of 16x16 men on battle field. ἒκτακτοι are all additional soldiers (musicians, flag bearers, medicial staff etc) which are also part of the same unit, but those soldiers don't belong to the base of the 256 men.
512 composing the πεντεκοσιαρχία (round by 12 men only (!) = 500). This are two συντάγματα or four τάξεις.
1.024 is a χιλιαρχία - (rounded by 24 men only (!) = 1.000).
Followed by the τέλος of 2.048 men. This is the first unit which takes a fixed part in all battlefield arrangements, which can be proven in the reality. The unit is also called a μεραρχία (part of a bigger element = a μέρος of several other parts).
4.096 men composing a φαλαγγαρχία or ἀπότομη κέρατος.
διφαλαγγία (diphalangarchia) or κέρας has 8.192 and finaly the
16.384 men, which is a complete φάλαγξ (Phalanx) sering under the στρατηγός (Strategus, Magister Militum, Emperor etc).

And this is the theoretical war system of the roman army. However, this theory also appears to have been applied in practice, as described by Zosimus e.g. I 52, 3 regarding the Expedition Army of Aurelian before the battle against the Palmyrenic army. Also Agricola deployed his troops at Mons Graupius (Tac., Agricola 35-37.) in 83 AD in the same way. Therefore Mauricius (ibid. Strat. ΧΙΙ Β 8) is not speaking out of the blue, and his system is indeed based on something which was valid before 410 AD.
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#71
(05-12-2017, 02:42 AM)Steven James Wrote: I have a better understanding of the legion of the principate than you.

I wouldn't claim any particular understanding myself, but you're also claiming to have a better understanding than every scholar who has studied the Roman army for hundreds of years!


(05-12-2017, 02:42 AM)Steven James Wrote: Hyginus numbered a part-mounted cohort milliary at 1,000 men organised into 10 centuries and consisting of 760 infantry and 240 cavalry organised into 6 squadrons.

Habet cohors equitata milliaria pedites septingentos sexaginta, centurias decem, equites ducentos quadringinta, turmas decem (ps-Hygin, De Munitionibus Castrorum 27)

So 10 centuries and 10 turmae, not 6.

Hyginus could well be wrong about this - he gives the quingenary cohors equitata 120 cavalry and 380 infantry, but claims the infantry are divided into 6 centuries. This would imply a different size of century between the units.

A pre-Flavian inscription (CIL 03, 06760) gives four decurions in a quingenary cohors equitata - this would make four turmae of c.30, the usual figure, for 120 horsemen. Excavations at Birrens fort, which housed a cohors milliaria equitata, reveal what appear to be 18 barrack blocks - this would fit with 10 centuries of infantry and 8 turmae of cavalry.

However, Vindolanda tablet 154 gives the strength of Cohors I Tungrorum at 752 men, apparently divided into 6 centuries; the strength report of Cohors XX Palmyrenorum from Dura Europos has between 750 and 850 infantry and 250-335 horsemen (at varying dates) divided into 6 centuries and 5 turmae. So it appears that milliarian cohorts could have double-sized centuries, rather than more centuries - also that the number of men in an auxiliary century could vary considerably.

 
(05-12-2017, 02:42 AM)Steven James Wrote: Hyginus has taken the 128 legionis equites (120 cavalry and 8 officers) and added them to the 512 cavalrymen (480 cavalry, 32 officers) in an 16 squadron ala, thereby giving a the total of 640 men.

No he has not. The equites legionis were part of the legion, citizen soldiers carried on the centurial roles. The cohortes and alae he is describing are auxiliary formations. They are not part of the legion, and parts of the legion were not added to them to make up numbers!


(05-12-2017, 02:42 AM)Steven James Wrote: Hyginus numbers an ala milliary at 1,000 cavalry organised into 24 squadrons... When corrected, an ala milliary should be organised into 32 squadrons each of 30 men (minus the officers), and with the officers 1024 men.

Hyginus clearly believes that a milliarian unit numbered 1000 men. But, as suggested by both Vegetius and the various extant strength reports, a 'thousand strong' cohort could have numbered closer to 800; an ala might have been the same. This would give around 32-34 men in a turma, which sounds right. However, bearing in mind the appearance of double-sized centuries and turmae in auxiliary cohorts, and Hyginus's probable error with the number of turmae in a cohors milliaria equitata, we should be wary of these figures.

I don't understand what you mean by 'corrected' - by whom?


(05-12-2017, 02:42 AM)Steven James Wrote: Vespasian sent Cerealius, the commander of the 5th legion with a force of 3,000 infantry and 600 cavalry.

In this case, Vespasian has given Cerealis a field command - the numbers given are clearly not those of the 5th legion alone, but a combined force of vexillations, which may indeed include an auxiliary ala. Josephus has many instances of these mixed select forces: in BJ 4.7.4 Vespasian sends Placidus to Gadara with 500 cavalry and 3000 infantry.


(05-12-2017, 02:42 AM)Steven James Wrote: A fragment of Suetonius numbers a legion at 5,600 men = 5000 infantry, 120 equites legionis and 480 cavalry =5600 men.

This is Fragment 278: Legio dicitur virorum electio fortium vel certus militum numerus, id est V DC

We don't know what date this fragment relates to, nor whether it was actually written by Suetonius. But it could well be accurate.

A legion of nine 500-man cohorts and one double-strength first cohort, plus 120 legion cavalry, would total 5620 men, which seems close enough. Unfortunately we don't know when the double first cohort was introduced... also it would involve maxing out the cohort sizes, of course.

Certainly this is a better explanation than wantonly adding an auxiliary ala to the legion strength!

*Edit* - actually, if we assume that a standard principiate century was 83 men (80 legionaries, 1 signifer, 1 optio, 1 centurion), then a cohort would number 498 men. Nine standard cohorts and one double-strength first cohort would give us 5478 men. Add 120 legion cavalry (assuming they were not integral with the centuries) and we have 5598 men: a figure remarkably close to the one given in the fragment. Add the aquilifer and the praefectus castrorum and it's bang on target!
Nathan Ross
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#72
(05-12-2017, 10:55 AM)Nathan Ross Wrote:
(05-12-2017, 02:42 AM)Steven James Wrote: Hyginus numbered a part-mounted cohort milliary at 1,000 men organised into 10 centuries and consisting of 760 infantry and 240 cavalry organised into 6 squadrons.

Habet cohors equitata milliaria pedites septingentos sexaginta, centurias decem, equites ducentos quadringinta, turmas decem (ps-Hygin, De Munitionibus Castrorum 27)

So 10 centuries and 10 turmae, not 6.

The trouble here is that we are using two different readings of the text. Steven is using James De Voto's translation which includes the text of M. Lenoir (1979), whereas Nathan is quoting from a text similar to that of A. Grillone (1977). It does not seem to be Grillone's text, as that does not spell out the numbers. Grillone's version reads:

habet itaque cohors equitata miliaria centurias X peditum, equites CCXL, turmas X

Lenoir's version reads:

Habet itaque cohors equitata miliaria centurias X peditum, equites CCXL, turmas, decuriones <VI>

It can be seen immediately that the text that Lenoir was working from did not include the number of turmae or, indeed, the number of decurions. The figure 'VI' has been interpolated. It is curious also for the turmae and decurions to appear as they do. It would be very dangerous to build too much on such an uncertain text.

It should also be noted that, contrary to what Steven says, neither version gives the number of footsoldiers in this passage. Only the number of centuries is given. That figure does appear elsewhere but there is reason to treat it with suspicion. At the beginning of his work (as it has come down to us), Hyginus tells us that a full century holds 80 men. This presumably relates to the legion although, as the actual beginning of the work is lost, this is not absolutely certain. Nevertheless, there is no reason to suppose that the number of men in a legionary or auxiliary century need be different. So, the number of infantrymen in the ten centuries in Hyginus' cohors equitata miliaria would come to 800 which, taken with the 240 cavalrymen, would bring the total number of men in the unit to 1,040, close enough to 1000 to justify its being referred to as milliary.
Michael King Macdona

And do as adversaries do in law, -
Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.
(The Taming of the Shrew: Act 1, Scene 2)
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#73
Nathan wrote:

I wouldn't claim any particular understanding myself, but you're also claiming to have a better understanding than every scholar who has studied the Roman army for hundreds of years!
 
I’ve read hundreds of years worth of their theories, for over 30 years. At first they were my gods. I would look forward to the latest journal with great anticipation for what was to be found. Before everything went electronic, I had photocopy masses of papers and what nots. Then one day, I just could not motivate myself to even bother looking in the university library to see if a new journal arrived. It took me over a year to wonder why I had changed, and then it dawned on me. I realised my gods were false gods.
 
Every paper and book I read on the Roman army was acting like the Chinese water torture. Years of reading those papers and books with their constant blaming of the ancient authors for so many reasons had got to me. If you compile all their excuses or blame game reasons, it is almost like modern historians believe there was an ancient conspiracy to embellish or corrupt their accounts because of some romantic notion they had to glorify Rome. I had bought into this mind set.
 
This mindset is basically being a conformist. Each new generation of historians follows the mindset of the generation that preceded them. I can understand this happening. It would not be good for some student to challenge his professor. The end result has been hundreds of years of research and research grants just to conform to traditional views, which for the republic must adhere to Polybius’ description of the legion.
 
Then one day I decided to make an effort to understand the ancient writers, and to try and discover the reasons why they have arrived at their figures. I have found that many of the ancient historians has not been given a fair hearing for hundreds of years. As one friend of mine stated, the modern historian abuses the primary sources for their own ends. In a nutshell, the data in the primary sources has not been given the deeper analysis it deserves.
 
Nathen wrote:
Habet cohors equitata milliaria pedites septingentos sexaginta, centurias decem, equites ducentos quadringinta, turmas decem (ps-Hygin, De Metatione Castrorum 27) So 10 centuries and 10 turmae, not 6.
 
Michael has commented on this so no need for me to go over the same ground. Another example is Livy’s account of Magnesia, in which he gives the size of each legion as being 5400 men (quina milia et quadringenos). Yet every English translation I have come across has 5000 men.
 
Nathan wrote:
Hyginus could well be wrong about this - he gives the quingenary cohors equitata 120 cavalry and 380 infantry, but claims the infantry are divided into 6 centuries. This would imply a different size of century between the units.
 
Why do you think it implies a different size of century? Why would the Romans have different size centuries? Josephus has 600 infantry and 120 cavalry. If you stand firm that a century had 80 infantry and go from there you may be surprised where it takes you. Then apply this to all of Hyginus. You might find he will give you more answers.
 
Nathan wrote:
A pre-Flavian inscription (CIL 03, 06760) gives four decurions in a quingenary cohors equitata - this would make four turmae of c.30, the usual figure, for 120 horsemen.
 
No argument from me, but with the officers, it comes to 128 men (4 squadrons each of 32 men).
 
Nathan wrote:
Excavations at Birrens fort, which housed a cohors milliaria equitata, reveal what appear to be 18 barrack blocks - this would fit with 10 centuries of infantry and 8 turmae of cavalry.
 
I remember some archaeologist making the comment that barrack blocks are not good indications of how many men they can accommodate. That is why I avoid them, most of it is just guesswork.
 
Nathan wrote:
However, Vindolanda tablet 154 gives the strength of Cohors I Tungrorum at 752 men, apparently divided into 6 centuries; the strength report of Cohors XX Palmyrenorum from Dura Europos has between 750 and 850 infantry and 250-335 horsemen (at varying dates) divided into 6 centuries and 5 turmae. So it appears that milliarian cohorts could have double-sized centuries, rather than more centuries - also that the number of men in an auxiliary century could vary considerably.
 
No, it does not appear to be anything but guess work. And now you introduce the double century. So why do the Romans have a need for a double century organisation? Can you provide evidence for a double century? Varro talks about the century doubling, but does it apply to your situation?
 
Nathan wrote:
No he has not. The equites legionis were part of the legion, citizen soldiers carried on the centurial roles. The cohortes and alae he is describing are auxiliary formations. They are not part of the legion, and parts of the legion were not added to them to make up numbers!
 
I have made my point on this matter years ago. The Romans are still following the practice of the republic, which allocates a certain number of Roman cavalry to a legion. The difference from the period of Caesar onwards is the cavalry did not remain attached to the legion at all times, and their number could vary.
 
However, Tacitus writes that Gaius Silius had 30,000 infantry and 3,000 cavalry. If the 30,000 infantry represent 6 legions each of 5,000 men and 6 alae each of 500 men, then technically each legion has been allocated one ala quingenary.
 
Nathan wrote:
Hyginus clearly believes that a milliarian unit numbered 1000 men. But, as suggested by both Vegetius and the various extant strength reports, a 'thousand strong' cohort could have numbered closer to 800; an ala might have been the same.
 
If I come to some conclusion that a subunit had this many men, and I cannot find any evidence in the primary source that has that exact number, or multiples of that number, then I don’t have a leg to stand on.
 
Nathan wrote:
This would give around 32-34 men in a turma, which sounds right.
 
And have you applied this to determine how it stands up?
 
Nathan wrote:
However, bearing in mind the appearance of double-sized centuries and turmae in auxiliary cohorts, and Hyginus's probable error with the number of turmae in a cohors milliaria equitata, we should be wary of these figures.
 
Back to the double sized century again. Where’s the proof? And why not a triple sized century?
 
Nathan wrote:
In this case, Vespasian has given Cerealis a field command - the numbers given are clearly not those of the 5th legion alone, but a combined force of vexillations, which may indeed include an auxiliary ala.
 
Cerealis has 600 cavalry. So now you are saying an ala now has 600 cavalry? Most historians believe 512 cavalry. Why is your ala different?
 
Nathan wrote:
Josephus has many instances of these mixed select forces: in BJ 4.7.4 Vespasian sends Placidus to Gadara with 500 cavalry and 3000 infantry.
 
Cerealis has 3000 infantry and 600 cavalry while Placidus 3000 infantry and 500 cavalry. Both have the same number of infantry but not cavalry. Are you not curious?
 
Given the fact you believe a squadron had 32-34 (which you believe sounds right), 600 divided by 32 = 18 point 75, 600 divided by 33 = 18 point 18, and 600 divided by 34 = 17 point 64.
 
Given the fact you believe a squadron had 32-34, 500 divided by 32 = 15 point 62, 500 divided by 33 = 15 point 15, and 500 divided by 34 = 14 point 70.
 
So far your cavalry sizes are not functioning. So where does your cavalry sizes fit? They don’t work for 800 cavalry units, nor units of 700 men. So we have eliminated 500 man cavalry units, 600 man cavalry units, 700 man cavalry units. That leaves only one possibility; the cavalry sizes in the primary sources are rounded numbers. An ala of 512 divides by 32, but not 33 or 34. 640 men (my research) consisting of one ala of 512 and 128 equites legionis divides by 32, but not your figure of 33 or 34.
 
Nathan wrote:
A legion of nine 500-man cohorts and one double-strength first cohort, plus 120 legion cavalry, would total 5620 men, which seems close enough. Unfortunately we don't know when the double first cohort was introduced... also it would involve maxing out the cohort sizes, of course. Certainly this is a better explanation than wantonly adding an auxiliary ala to the legion strength!
 
For this to work you need a double cohort to bring up the numbers. Ok, now prove that for this period a double cohort existed. And you claim that is a better explanation than adding an ala to the legions strength.
 
You also forget that I shown how Hyginus could have arrived at 40 man squadrons by combining one ala and the equites legionis then divided by the 16 squadrons in an ala to arrive at 16 squadrons each of 40 men. I have found that the Romans have a tendency to want to have unit sizes end in a zero, and 40 man squadrons meet that requirement. It makes sense as every 40 man squadron has 8 men they can detach for other duties.
 
Nathan wrote:
*Edit* - actually, if we assume that a standard principiate century was 83 men (80 legionaries, 1 signifer, 1 optio, 1 centurion), then a cohort would number 498 men.
 
How do you know the signifier is not part of the 80 man century?
 
Nathan wrote:
Nine standard cohorts and one double-strength first cohort would give us 5478 men. Add 120 legion cavalry (assuming they were not integral with the centuries) and we have 5598 men: a figure remarkably close to the one given in the fragment. Add the aquilifer and the praefectus castrorum and it's bang on target!
 
Ok, now continue to back this up by processing all the military numbers in the primary sources dealing with the principate, and that includes Hyginus. That is what I do, time and time again for every period.
 
Now the difference between you and me is I have worked on covering the Roman legion from the Servian constitution to the sack of Rome. I have amassed a lot of evidence taken from primary source data that shows the structure of the legion always adheres to the Servian constitution, and surprising, the Late Roman legion is no exception.
 
Michael wrote:
It should also be noted that, contrary to what Steven says, neither version gives the number of foot soldiers in this passage. Only the number of centuries is given. That figure does appear elsewhere but there is reason to treat it with suspicion.
 
At paragraph 26, when the horsemen...subtracted from the cohort, the remainder is 760.
 
Michael wrote:
Nevertheless, there is no reason to suppose that the number of men in a legionary or auxiliary century need be different.
 
My exact sentiments. Introducing double centuries, or some units having different size centuries as Nathan has implied, is a recipe for confusion and chaos.
 
Michael wrote:
So, the number of infantrymen in the ten centuries in Hyginus' cohors equitata miliaria would come to 800 which, taken with the 240 cavalrymen, would bring the total number of men in the unit to 1,040, close enough to 1000 to justify its being referred to as milliary.
 
The 1,040 men is also my conclusion. Hyginus then rounds the 1,040 men to 1,000 men, and as he states, he subtracts the 240 cavalry from 1,000 to arrive at 760 infantry. I find it puzzling that he is detailing the space required for a Roman military camp based on using rounded numbers. Putting that aside, I like Hyginus, he provides a wealth of invaluable information.
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#74
(05-13-2017, 06:16 AM)Steven James Wrote: Michael has commented on this so no need for me to go over the same ground.

All Michael has done is confirm that the source you are using does not say what you think it says. One version gives 10 turmae, the other does not specify.


(05-13-2017, 06:16 AM)Steven James Wrote: Why do you think it implies a different size of century? Why would the Romans have different size centuries?

If 6 centuries contain 380 men and 10 centuries contain 760 men, then the centuries cannot be the same size. I think it's more likely that the numbers are wrong.


(05-13-2017, 06:16 AM)Steven James Wrote: I remember some archaeologist making the comment that barrack blocks are not good indications of how many men they can accommodate.

They are not - but they are a pretty good indication of how many subunits - centuries or turmae - there were. Which is what we are discussing here.


(05-13-2017, 06:16 AM)Steven James Wrote: And now you introduce the double century... Can you provide evidence for a double century?

I didn't introduce it - Vegetius did. And I provided evidence above.

There appear to be far too many men on the Vindolanda rolls for the centurions to be each commanding 80-man centuries. We see the same thing at Dura. It might be that our evidence is partial (very likely), or that the size of the centuries had been increased beyond what we today would consider 'normal'. Often when we look at actual documentary sources (rather than idealised literary ones) we need to keep an open mind and not try to force the past into what we think it should be.


(05-13-2017, 06:16 AM)Steven James Wrote: I have made my point on this matter years ago.

You've mentioned it often enough, but never provided any evidence to support it. If you want to start incorporating (non citizen) cavalry alae into (citizen) legions, or equites legionis into cavalry alae, you'd better have some pretty spectacular new material to back it up!


(05-13-2017, 06:16 AM)Steven James Wrote: Cerealis has 600 cavalry. So now you are saying an ala now has 600 cavalry?

Nope. Cerealis is commanding a mixed force of detachments (Josephus many times refers to numbers of 'select men'). There is no evidence here for the size of individual units.


(05-13-2017, 06:16 AM)Steven James Wrote: Given the fact you believe a squadron had 32-34... So far your cavalry sizes are not functioning.

I don't 'believe' that - but I think it's plausible. Unlike you, I am not suggesting a grand theory of unit sizes or numbers for the Roman army. Based on an average century size of c.60-80 (or 63-83 perhaps!), and an average turma size of c.30-32, with or without officers etc, we could come up with a great many permutations.


(05-13-2017, 06:16 AM)Steven James Wrote: Ok, now prove that for this period a double cohort existed.

As I'm sure you know, we cannot be sure when these 'Suetonian fragments' were written, or to which period they relate. But if we assume that Suetonius himself wrote them about his own day (best guess), then he's describing the post-Flavian legion of the early 2nd century.

The legion fort at Inchtuthill provides clear evidence of a doubled first cohort for the post-Flavian period.


(05-13-2017, 06:16 AM)Steven James Wrote: I shown how Hyginus could have arrived at 40 man squadrons by combining one ala and the equites legionis then divided by the 16 squadrons in an ala to arrive at 16 squadrons each of 40 men.

You didn't show this - you suggested it. The idea of combining auxiliary cavalry and legion cavalry into the same alae - even into the same turmae - is entirely opposed to all evidence.

Your figure of 40 men in a turma comes from dividing Hyginus's 240 equites by 6. However, Hyginus does not give the number of turmae as 6 - he gives ten, or none at all if you prefer. 8 seems most likely, based on other evidence.

So as Hyginus is not implying that there are 40 men in a turma, there is no need to start adding extra men to make up the numbers.



(05-13-2017, 06:16 AM)Steven James Wrote: How do you know the signifier is not part of the 80 man century?

I don't. It's quite possible that all the various ranks and grades were included in the 'Hyginian' 80-man century. However, it's just as possible that the signifer and optio were extra men. Consider the century drawn up in formation - where do the 'officers' stand? Nobody knows for sure, but the centurion and signifer could have been positioned at the front, or right flank, out of the ranks of the 80 milites, and the optio at the rear likewise.

But this is a different discussion entirely!

You have not explained what you meant by the figures being 'corrected' in your previous post.
Nathan Ross
Reply
#75
(05-13-2017, 06:16 AM)Steven James Wrote: Michael wrote:
It should also be noted that, contrary to what Steven says, neither version gives the number of foot soldiers in this passage. Only the number of centuries is given. That figure does appear elsewhere but there is reason to treat it with suspicion.
 
At paragraph 26, when the horsemen...subtracted from the cohort, the remainder is 760.
 

This is the passage that I suggested was suspect. If there are ten centuries in the cohort, the figure of 760 infantrymen means that there are 76 in the century which, as far as I know, does not conform to anyone's understanding of the structure of the century and certainly not Hyginus' statement that it held 80 men. 


(05-13-2017, 06:16 AM)Steven James Wrote: Michael wrote:
Nevertheless, there is no reason to suppose that the number of men in a legionary or auxiliary century need be different.
 
My exact sentiments. Introducing double centuries, or some units having different size centuries as Nathan has implied, is a recipe for confusion and chaos.
 

Nor is it necessary to postulate a 40-man turma. Other evidence suggests that the turma numbered 30 troopers or 32, if you count in the duplicarius and the sesquiplicarius. My quotations from the editions of Grillone and Lenoir demonstrate that their texts derive from two different and incompatible manuscript traditions and there is reason to believe that the principal manuscript is corrupt at this point. Any precise figure suggested for the number of turmae in a cohors equitata miliaria is, therefore, likely to be speculative. Mommsen probably came closest when he suggested that there were eight.
Michael King Macdona

And do as adversaries do in law, -
Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.
(The Taming of the Shrew: Act 1, Scene 2)
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