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Revisiting Zama
#1
I hoping for an intelligent criticism of my current opinion on Zama.  I've posted the following on several sites, but yet to have feedback.

Zama is one of those battles, where there is a comparatively large amount written about it by ancient historians, and yet that evidence conflicts with each other.  What we can be fairly sure is that the strategic basics are correct, ie that the battle actually took place, whom it was fought between, when and where it took place, and who won.  When Polybius was writing within living memory of the battle, these essential elements of the battle are unlikely to be incorrect.  However, the detail of the battle is truly suspect.
To understand the battle of Zama, one of the important elements is determining the size of relevant armies.  If you do not know the relevant sizes of the armies you cannot truly understand which tactics were actually used.  By analysing the numbers, it becomes crystal clear why Hannibal did not use his larger army to simply engulf his foe.  This is because his army was smaller than his opponents, although not for the first time when facing Romans.
For good reason, Polybius is considered the most reliable source concerning the battle, and he gives the Carthaginian side a total of 40,000.  Given that the Scipio family won that battle, and providing the information, we can safely assume that this is the absolutely maximum figure for Hannibal’s force, those particular Romans are not going to diminish their victorious accomplishment after all.  Polybius was writing his histories to prove the inevitability of Rome as a superpower, and if Hannibal’s army was the larger he would have said this.  He had two chances to do so.  The first when he stated Hannibal lost with 40k soldiers.  The second was when the Hastati faced 12k mercenaries.  In both instances, if the Romans were outnumbered, it would have underscored his point about why Rome won.  By remaining silent in both cases we can be sure Scipios army was larger, despite some modern historians using Appian’s figures for Rome, simply because they are all that are overtly stated.  This is actually lazy.  Given that Appian increases Hannibal’s army by 10k men, it already points to a massaging of figures.  The obvious reason for this is to make Rome’s win at Zama,  and Carthage’s wins at Cannae comparable, as opposed to Polybius giving the defeat at Cannae twice as bad, as far as numbers were concerned.
It appears that Appian lies are one of omission.  He states Scipio leaves Italy with 7000 volunteers, picks up two legions in Sicily, and arrives in Africa with 16000 infantry and 1600 cavalry.  On initial viewing, this is wrong, simply because the proportions are incorrect.  If we are talking about 4 standard legions we are short 800 infantry, but with 400 additional cavalry.  OTOH, if we are talking two legions and attached alae, we are short 800 infantry and 800 cavalry.  It’s unlikely that a general of Scipio’s calibre would make such an organisational mistake. 
Fortunately, Appian mention that the two legions, the 5th and 6th, were at Cannae, and oversized.  At 5300 men apiece, these exactly fit the additional troops Scipio is said to have picked up on route from Italy to Africa.  600 of these are cavalry, useful, since it means we can calculate that the initial volunteers consisted of 1000 cavalry and 6000 infantry.  Velites do not have seem to have been volunteers in the legionary system much of the time, thus we are looking at 2 standard Roman legions plus 400 additional noble close colleagues.  Thus Appian states Scipio had 2 standard and 2 larger Roman legions, plus 400 volunteers, which made up the stated force.  These figures would not include the alae that would also accompany the legions.  4 standard alae consists of 16800 foot and 3600 cavalry, although 2 could have been oversized, to mirror the 5th and 6th.  This should give us a Scipio army of a minimum of 40k+ foot and 5200 cavalry.
The cavalry figure is obviously too large.  If the victor of a battle states on the importance of an ally general for his additional cavalry, and no one usually places Hannibal’s mounted troops greater than 4000 total, Scipio almost certainly did not arrive with far more than the stated 1600.  The cavalry element consists of nobles, and the Sicilian aristocrats clearly did not want to be part of Scipio’s endeavour.  The 5th and 6th (penal) legions that were garrisoned in Sicily may not have had their full compliment of cavalry either, some of the noble element having escaped censure, such as Scipio himself.   It is possible that the 1600 cavalry mentioned, perhaps with an additional 300 upgraded foot, and a few Sicilian nobles is about right, for a total of about 2000.
Scipio’s army would have been reduced in number even after a successful campaign by the time of Zama, but it is almost certain the Hastati equalled the number of mercenaries in Hannibal’s first infantry line.  12000 mercenaries implies at least c12000 Hastati. 12k Hastati implies 12k Principes and 6k Triarri, for 30k heavy foot, ie 10 legions effective.              
Hannibal’s army is easier to understand.  We have figures of 12000 mercenaries and 80 elephants in a total of max 40000.  We also know that Carthage was able to field 10000 citizen infantry for campaigns.  (The later is reminiscent of the Persians Immortals, and if so, also implies 1000 cavalry, the proportion of 10 heavy infantry to 1 heavy cavalry also being usual in a standard Legion).  This ‘levy’ would most likely be guardsmen of various types, disciplined and well armoured to look the part, but mainly green, thus similar to Hastati in quality.  However, the Italian campaign veterans would not be at the battle for several reasons.  If Carthage was unable to supply Hannibal troops by sea, Hannibal will be unable to send troops in the other direction.  Even if there was a truce, the Italian army is tying down around a score Roman legions, and leaving the ‘toe’ would free nearly 100k Roman soldiers to wage war on Carthage direct, or Spain, not a real option.  One stated opinion is a successful naval battle that allowed Hannibal to escape with his vets.  This is very silly for many reasons.  The real give away that these elite troops were not present, is that during the battle, the veterans are said to lower their spears to prevent the first two lines from retreating through their lines.  By the time of Zama, Hannibal’s European troops were fighting in the Spanish style (short sword and javelin), while it was the Africans who were still using the Greek style (long spear and Hoplon).  The Carthaginian’s 3rd line troops were almost certainly Africans.  The fact that Hannibal’s 3rd line was so far back in relative terms reminds me of Alexander’s use of sarissophoroi to inspire fear of retreat among his own troops.  The fact that non Carthaginian troops are used in this way is not surprising, given how green the 2nd line probably was, and the fact that the Levy were technically a higher ‘caste’, and thus if not hated, at least partially despised.  The Citizens knew they would have to fight.  Livy’s 4000 ‘Macedonians’ are unlikely to be present, for a number of reasons too numerous to list here, but c3-4000 extra troops could be accounted for by elephant escorts at around 40-50 velites per elephant, standard practice over a century previously.
The probable army of Hannibal at Zama, thus consists of 80 elephants with 3-4k escorts, 12k mercenaries, 10k levy and 10k ‘veterans’, with 2k Numidian cavalry and 1k ‘guard’ cavalry, for about 38-39k total.   Important to note is that this hypothesis has Hannibal with around 30k heavy foot, the same number as in Scipios army.  It is implied in both Polybius and Livy that these types of troops were quantitatively equal in both armies, and thus a decent indicator that these totals are correct.
Scipio has c30k heavy foot, if we assume Masinissa’s foot were trained as 2 legions, c12k velites, and 6k+ cavalry.  Scipio’s advantage in numbers is easily explained by the number of ships required to transport them from Sicily to N Africa, far more than required to transport 16k foot and 1.6k cavalry.  Scipios advantage is in the superior numbers of light troops and cavalry, Hannibal has 80 elephants.
 
The Battle of Zama then begins, and both Polybius and Livy both state that Hannibal did what he could to win, but was essentially let down by his troops.  The actual narrative belies this, and Hannibals impact on the battle is essentially negligible when it mattered.  Hannibal starts off fairly well, choosing where to fight, although his men are said to suffer great thirst in achieving said aim.  The Carthaginian general also makes sure the enemy has the sun in its eyes, and then unleashes his elephants.  The enemy is forced to react, and at this point, Hannibal retains initiative.  Then it goes horribly wrong for the Carthaginian forces, which then appear to become paralysed by inertia, with a total and utter lack of leadership. 
The elephants are routed while the rest of the army stands still.
The Carthaginian cavalry are than charged while at a halt, and routed, while the rest of the army stands still.
The Hastati then melee the mercenaries, while the rest of the army stands still.
The mercenaries fall back and melee their employees, while the veterans stand still.
Both mercenaries and levy now route while the veterans stands still.
Scipio now reorganises his army while the veterans stand still.
Scipios reorganisation, with his best troops on the wings, plus the returning cavalry, defeat the veterans.   At this point the Carthaginian general has an epiphany, and Hannibal stops standing still and runs away.  
The narrative assumes Hannibals plan revolves around using elephants to destroy Scipios army, and when it fails, he suffers a fatal lack of initiative, his army being defeated in detail.
Fortunately for posterity, there is a clue in the text that reveals that Hannibal may have had a plan beyond hoping the elephants would win by themselves.  It appears that one small element of the Zama prose is really important.  When the elephants routed, they fled to their own right flank, apparently causing the Carthaginian heavy cavalry to become disordered, and routed by a subsequent Roman charge.  I personally find this element very important.  A pro Roman historian has actually told us a few useful points.  The first is that elephants were used.  While elephants are obviously stated to have been used, the fact that Polybius has stated they ‘routed’ to the absolutely most useful point they could possibly be sent essentially destroys many revisionists opinion that Zama had fewer elephants, or were not even present.
Elephants on a flank to prevent superior numbers of enemy cavalry having an effect, was shown to be a battle winner since Ipsus 301BC.  It suggests that Hannibal was creating an anchor for his front line and intending to win the battle elsewhere, ie on the other flank.  A left flank victory was shown to be possible by the Thebans against superior quality forces at the battle of Leuctra 371 BC. Hannibal is likely to have a Sacred Band of 2500 elite troops among his 10000 Levy, given that in the absence of stated change, a particular convention will continue.  Obviously these 2500 may not be of the quality the Theban 300 were, but they did give a very good account of themselves in their previous outing.    
Concerning the mercenaries, it should be noted they always bent or broke in the previous 3 known battles (Trebia, Lake Trasimene and Cannae), and for Hannibals 2nd and 3rd lines simply waiting for this to happen, instead of manoeuvring, as in every other battle, is highly unlikely.
My best guess is that if Hannibal does have his line anchored on the right, and his position of his elephants suggests it was, his tactic will be of an Alexander’s hammer and anvil style of battle, albeit a left handed strike.  We are told he initially has initiative, with Scipio being forced to counter his elephants with a(n unlikely) tactic (never used before or since).   At this point we can either believe Hannibal had a plan, not yet revealed, or that his army simply sat, to be defeated in detail.  Received wisdom states the latter. 
While I believe the strategic basics of the battle are correct, the details are definitely suspect.     
So what happens after the battle?
 
Scipio is incredibly lenient.  Carthage not only survives, but starts to build a new military harbour.  Carthage loses all territories north of the Mediterranean, but with the absence of Hannibal, is likely to lose them anyway.   Punitive massive fines are said to have been imposed on Carthage, but there is no hard evidence of a sudden decline of Punic economic decline, or the Scipio family gaining massive wealth.
My opinion, and that is all it is, is that Carthage had seen Rome being to hold out during a siege for over a decade, and would follow suit.  Scipio simply did not have the men to mount a siege, and any negotiations would be skewed by this fact.
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#2
I have had a reply on the https://historum.com/forums/site. A couple of regulars there have tried to remove my post. I might be wrong, but nothing in my above post is more than concerned enquiry.

What I AM looking for is where I am wrong, and where I might be right.

Hope someone can help Smile.
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#3
Sorry to see that people were trying to remove your post. Doesn't seem like there is anything too terribly controversial in your analysis. Not really sure I (or anyone for that matter) can flat out say you are right or wrong per se. I do like your reasoning behind the troop sizes but again, it is all kind of conjecture at this point. I am certain troop sizes for Zama have been discussed. Scipio seemed to be a merciful commander so I don't see how he handled the aftermath of Zama as anything out of character. It was truly a battle of the ages between super powers which shaped the world even today. Best regards!!!
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#4
(05-17-2019, 10:13 PM)Nick the Noodle Wrote: A couple of regulars there have tried to remove my post. 


We don't do that over here. 
Have you read this thread?
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
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#5
(05-26-2019, 02:45 AM)Robert Vermaat Wrote:
(05-17-2019, 10:13 PM)Nick the Noodle Wrote: A couple of regulars there have tried to remove my post. 


We don't do that over here. 
Have you read this thread?

It doesn't happen there either. There is a world of difference between a poster suggesting a thread has gone in circles for some time and should probably be closed to removing a post.
Paralus|Michael Park

Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους

Wicked men, you are sinning against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander!

Academia.edu
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#6
Nick,
Let`s look at the strategic basics.
For what reason did Scipio march west along the Bagradas valley and to Narragara?
By ravaging the countryside, did Scipio simply intend to goad Hannibal into an engagement? To lure him into a major land battle in which Hannibal is at a numerical disadvantage in cavalry ? This was a point questioned by Dodge, and Hannibal`s actions, as they appear in Polybius and Livy are still questionable today. Would Hannibal really have made such a basic error as this?
It was much more than a simple goading I think; Scipio intended to; a) link up with Massinissa and b) prevent Vermina reinforcing Hannibal.
Taking the initiative, I think Scipio took up a central position which ensured both outcomes and defeated both Carthaginian/Numidian cavalry forces in detail.
No grand battle, no elephants; Hannibal`s cavalry was beaten though and after some few days of skirmishing an armistice - the real battle of Zama is in Appian - it is the cavalry battle that takes place before the conversation between the two generals.
This, by the way, is a conversation which Polybius inserts the three spies story from Herodotus to make the meeting seem credible, but the real reason for the meeting must have been a change of strategic situation; although his light horse were holding the enemy off in several skirmishes, Hannibal`s cavalry had been defeated and Minucius Thermus had ambushed Hannibal`s "supply column". This is in Appian, but not Polybius. And so later, after the final defeat of Vermina`s forces, the Carthaginian senate agree to Scipio`s terms and there is a settlement.
The best evidence for the battle that I know of is the monument at Kbor Klib. It is Numidian monument built sometime in the 170-150`s and it demonstrates the importance of Numidian forces in the cavalry advantage that Scipio had in the campaign. If you`ve not seen it, then take a look at: Kbor Klib and the Battle of Zama by Duncan Ross. BAR International Series 1399 (2005).
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#7
(05-13-2019, 06:47 AM)Nick the Noodle Wrote: For good reason, Polybius is considered the most reliable source concerning the battle...

I think we can doubt this to be the case...

Actually, Polybius sets the scene of the battle with a lie, why does he recycle Herodotus` three spies story at this point in his narrative ?
It allowed Polybius to present the case for Rome and against Hannibal at the meeting between the two generals, and demonstrate Rome`s moral superiority before the battle.

In doing so he discared the real battle of Zama that had probably been accepted, but it was only a part of the history up until the middle of the C2nd BC; the cavalry battle fought close to the monument of Kbor Klib was seen just as a preliminary to a major battle that had been reported at the time by Gaius Laelius, then formally but only in rather vague terms in Rome several months afterwards by L. Veturius Philo when it was known that there was no longer any Numidian support for Carthage.

Up until the middle of the C2nd the story of the campaign of 202 that ended the war had been growing which must have included a cavalry battle fought (won by Numidian/Roman forces) close to Kbor Klib, talks between Hannibal and Scipio, and then a major, set-piece battle in which Hannibal is conclusively defeated. Some traces of this "history" (or rather the sequence of event in Roman histories and annals) are to be found in Appian.

Polybius bias is so very obvious here in this and in other examples in this campaign also (he does not mention Octavius` victory over Vermina, nor Q. Minucius Thermus` action, for two instances), it`s difficult to dismiss the possibility that he knowingly covered up the truth in order to present Scipio Africanus in a better light.
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#8
(07-04-2019, 07:33 AM)Michael Collins Wrote: Polybius bias is so very obvious here in this and in other examples in this campaign also (he does not mention Octavius` victory over Vermina, nor Q. Minucius Thermus` action, for two instances), it`s difficult to dismiss the possibility that he knowingly covered up the truth in order to present Scipio Africanus in a better light.

It is well to note that Polybios is extremely lacunose concerning the African campaign. Book 15 begins with what is clearly a repeat of the fact that the Roman supply ships had been captured by Carthage and goes on to tell us the results. This action was evidently recounted in Book 14. The cavalry defeats you speak of will also have been placed in book 14. We cannot say, with any real certainty, what Polybios did or did not say about these due to the state of Book 14.

Interesting that Appian, too, presents the "three spies". Agreed this is not likely to have happened, nor the meeting of the two belligerents.
Paralus|Michael Park

Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους

Wicked men, you are sinning against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander!

Academia.edu
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#9
(07-05-2019, 06:06 AM)Paralus Wrote:
(07-04-2019, 07:33 AM)Michael Collins Wrote: Polybius bias is so very obvious here in this and in other examples in this campaign also (he does not mention Octavius` victory over Vermina, nor Q. Minucius Thermus` action, for two instances), it`s difficult to dismiss the possibility that he knowingly covered up the truth in order to present Scipio Africanus in a better light.

It is well to note that Polybios is extremely lacunose concerning the African campaign. Book 15 begins with what is clearly a repeat of the fact that the Roman supply ships had been captured by Carthage and goes on to tell us the results. This action was evidently recounted in Book 14. The cavalry defeats you speak of will also have been placed in book 14. We cannot say, with any real certainty, what Polybios did or did not say about these due to the state of Book 14.

Interesting that Appian, too, presents the "three spies". Agreed this is not likely to have happened, nor the meeting of the two belligerents.


Yes, why Hannibal would need a reconnaissance of Scipio`s forces if he had already engaged with the enemy`s cavalry several days beforehand ?

I believe that somewhere along the line, a meeting did take place between Hannibal and Scipio because of the nature of the real battle of Zama the stratgeic situation had changed, the two generals returned to their operational bases and some form of armistice or agreement must have existed.
Appian mentions an initial settlement between the commanders mediated by Massinissa and that interesting because:
1. Hannibal already knows Massinissa is in the area
2. This is after the cavalry battle
3. Most likely it was Massinissa (commanding the light horse) who was the most forward Roman-allied senior general, and quite apart from his earlier affiliations with Carthage, he would naturally be the enemy commander through whom Hannibal would need to initiate contact to open negotiations with Scipio.
Hannibal had suffered a defeat (a cavalry battle), but he remains in command of Carthaginian forces and Scipio`s conditions are not agreed to by the Carthaginian senate for another two months after the cavalry battle of Zama.

Polybius was perhaps the first to state that the meeting between the generals took place before, rather than after Zama.
Relying upon Polybius` authority and obliged to follow him, but also with access to more detailed/credible earlier versions of events, Appian is unable to avoid creating doubles like this.
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#10
(07-05-2019, 08:24 AM)Michael Collins Wrote: Yes, why Hannibal would need a reconnaissance of Scipio`s forces if he had already engaged with the enemy`s cavalry several days beforehand ?

The fact that Hannibal had engaged the enemy's cavalry several days beforehand does not necessarily tell him anything more about the Roman forces than encountering Mazaeus prior to Gaugamela told Alexander about Dareios' forces. Which is not say I agree that the three spies is factual.

I've no issue with Hannibal engaging with the Romans via Massinisa and arranging the truce which the Carthaginians subsequently broke leading to Zama. If what you are saying is that the only battle of Zama was the cavalry engagement and skirmishes and that Polybios has fabricated this climactic battle to the aggrandisement of the Scipionic house, then we see things terribly differently. That Africanus received such a cognomen and triumph for a cavalry battle, I cannot see (or are we suggesting Great Plains?). That Roman history was so distorted within living memory of at least some of those there beggars belief. Many of these soldiers and officers went on to Greece with Flamininus as well as elephants captured from Carthage. I believe it's been mentioned hereabouts, but the Scipios had many political enemies - Africanus particularly. That these would sit by as history was rewritten is difficult to understand. Rome is not Egypt where, for example, the "heretic" Akhenaten can be literally erased from the record!
Paralus|Michael Park

Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους

Wicked men, you are sinning against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander!

Academia.edu
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#11
Michael wrote:
That Roman history was so distorted within living memory of at least some of those there beggars belief. Many of these soldiers and officers went on to Greece with Flamininus as well as the elephants captured from Carthage.
 
Why do you interpret the embellishment or falsification of the battle of Zama to have taken place between during the lifetime of those that served during Scipio Africanus’ campaign? First, when did Polybius become main stream with the Roman people? Who introduced Polybius to the Roman people? Was it Diodorus? Was the embellishment of Zama begun with the writings of Publius Scipio Africanus son?
 
Michael wrote:
I believe it's been mentioned hereabouts, but the Scipios had many political enemies - Africanus particularly. That these would sit by as history was rewritten is difficult to understand. Rome is not Egypt where, for example, the "heretic" Akhenaten can be literally erased from the record!
 
Goodness Michael, Roman history is full of contradictory stories about the same event. No just one, but many, many such accounts, and putting aside the history of the kings, many of these contradictory accounts are found from the beginning of the republic to the fall of Carthage in 146 BC. And where there are contradictory events, there is error or fabrication.
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#12
Hi Paul,

I`m sorry, I did not explain this in more detail...
in Polybius` version of the three spies story, Hannibal is unaware of Massinissa`s whereabouts. If a cavalry battle had taken place before Polybius` battle (minus Massinissa) Hannibal would have had the advantage of having Numidian support and Scipio would have no light horse capability at all.
Polybius then has Scipio appear to be the weaker of the two in cavalry forces and so goads Hannibal into a pitched battle.

Hannibal can not be unaware of Massinissa before the great battle AND also conduct negotiations through him. Is Polybius correct about this, or is Appian? Because Polybius has massaged events by adding the spies, I`m rather inclined to accept Appian to be more credible when he accounts for the commander`s first meeting/negotiations.

Livy`s version btw is closer to Herodotos, Scipio demonstrates to the Carthaginian spies the full strength and might of his army, including Massinissa`s forces, and so Scipio undermine`s Hannibal`s confidence and the morale of his army.

In either account, whether it is the deception in Polybius, or the stratagem in Livy, the three spies episode is focused on cavalry advantage; I believe that is perhaps THE element of truth in the whole of Polybius` account of the great battle and the events leading to it.

Yes, I do believe that Roman history is rather distorted in this instance at least. I was going to post on Appian`s version of the battle anyhow, so here goes...

There is in Appian an indication of how the battle was presented to Roman readers before Polybius.
See how Octavius and Themus are given roles commanding parts of the Roman army in the battle (Appian. Punic Wars 9.44) and Massinissa and Laelius are together, on the right of the army.
Appian describes a rather different battle; it must be based upon earlier Roman histories.
Note how the elephants are deployed across the entire Carthaginian front (as per Bagradas), whereas Polybius has them stationed in front of the Celts and Ligurians. Appian tells us the Celts and Ligurians were opposite Octavius, and so were deployed on the Carthaginian right.
Commanding the Roman right, Laelius and Massinissa are opposed by Numidians.

Interestingly, in Appian 9.45/46 the description of the fighting changes and mainly takes place between Scipio, Massinissa and Hannibal. Sometimes it is expressed as single heroic combats, but much of it describes fighting after Massinissa had supported renewed Roman attempts to rout the Carthaginians. There then follow attempts to rally and reorganise and the army commanders reacting to one another`s actions.

By contrast, Polybius` version is more one-sided, Hannibal is quite inactive, non-responsive.
Polybius in his account of the battle was providing a new version of events. Octavius and Thermus are over-looked and their contribution in the great battle of Zama itself and in two other actions in the campaign are edited out. Is it a mere coincidence that Laelius is the only other Roman mentioned in Polybius` version of the battle of Zama?

So, to paraphrase you if I may, why didn`t anyone question Polybius`history at the time?

Polybius was writing after sometime around 150 BC - at that time Carthage`s days are numbered; the city is largely destroyed in 146.
As Polybius wrote for his contemporary Greek audience, would it have taken a while longer to filter back to a Roman one and would it have been no longer a pressing issue when it did?
Anyhow, shortly after the campaign, Africanus` soldiers were given a bonus and retiring veterans had been rewarded with land grants in the territories of Hannibal`s old Italian allies.
As for eye-witnesess who might have blown the whistle; the obvious one, Cato had been replaced by Laelius early in 202 as Scipio`s Quaestor.
Scipio`s field commanders and political allies had been rewarded with military commands, with work on commissions, or as envoys, and supported in their attempts to win big political positions for a decade or so after the end of the war and it would appear that until Polybius writes in the 150`s these commanders were given glory and prestige in Roman histories too.
In addition to this, the official records of Rome are in the "safe hands" of Scipio Africanus` political ally, Publius Licinius Crassus Dives who was Pontifex Maximus from 213-183.

(07-07-2019, 10:32 AM)Steven James Wrote: Michael wrote:
That Roman history was so distorted within living memory of at least some of those there beggars belief. Many of these soldiers and officers went on to Greece with Flamininus as well as the elephants captured from Carthage.
 
Why do you interpret the embellishment or falsification of the battle of Zama to have taken place between during the lifetime of those that served during Scipio Africanus’ campaign? First, when did Polybius become main stream with the Roman people? Who introduced Polybius to the Roman people? Was it Diodorus? Was the embellishment of Zama begun with the writings of Publius Scipio Africanus son?
 
Michael wrote:
I believe it's been mentioned hereabouts, but the Scipios had many political enemies - Africanus particularly. That these would sit by as history was rewritten is difficult to understand. Rome is not Egypt where, for example, the "heretic" Akhenaten can be literally erased from the record!
 
Goodness Michael, Roman history is full of contradictory stories about the same event. No just one, but many, many such accounts, and putting aside the history of the kings, many of these contradictory accounts are found from the beginning of the republic to the fall of Carthage in 146 BC. And where there are contradictory events, there is error or fabrication.

Not guilty, Paul said this!
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#13
Michael Collins Wrote:
Steven James Wrote:Michael wrote . . .

Michael wrote . . .

Goodness Michael . . .

Not guilty, Paul said this!

Steven,
If you want to use Word and avoid misattributions, as well as saving yourself the trouble of retyping, click on ‘Reply’, then click the ‘View source’ button, cut the result and paste it into Word. Then you can edit it as required, write your response, copy it and then paste it back into RAT. That is what I have just done.
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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#14
(07-07-2019, 10:32 AM)Steven James Wrote: Why do you interpret the embellishment or falsification of the battle of Zama to have taken place between during the lifetime of those that served during Scipio Africanus’ campaign? First, when did Polybius become main stream with the Roman people? Who introduced Polybius to the Roman people? Was it Diodorus? Was the embellishment of Zama begun with the writings of Publius Scipio Africanus son?

Firstly, I do not assume the battle has been embellished or falsified. I believe this battle took place something in the manner in which the various sources render it.

On the matter of Polybios, the date of publication of his history is, and shall remain, a matter of debate given ISBNs and copyright did not exist at the time! What can be said is that the original history terminated at Pydna and that, after the sack of Corinth (and Carthage), Polybios recommenced or continued his history (the early books show signs of revision as well). It is no great stretch to see a good part of Polybios' work begun during his exile in Rome. He'd access to the Scipionic circle and much else - including Massinissa who he claims to have known and spoken with. While we nowadays associate such works being published completed, such wasn't always the case in ancient times (Diodoros, Livy for example). It is pure guesswork to pick a date for any of his books unfortunately.

There is no reason, speaking of Diodoros, to suppose Polybios' work was introduced to the Romans by Diodoros as that work had been in circulation for a century. Although one of Polybios' reasons for writing was to explain why Greece fell to Rome, that does not mean it was solely aimed at a Greek audience or that it would take a Greek (or other) to "introduce" Polybios to Rome. It's just as likely his work circulated as widely in Rome as elsewhere.
 
(07-07-2019, 10:32 AM)Steven James Wrote: Goodness Michael, Roman history is full of contradictory stories about the same event. No just one, but many, many such accounts, and putting aside the history of the kings, many of these contradictory accounts are found from the beginning of the republic to the fall of Carthage in 146 BC. And where there are contradictory events, there is error or fabrication.

No one - including myself - argues that there are not contradictory stories or details within stories about the same subject/action. One need only look at the different traditions regarding the legions raised for Cannae or Scipio's forces which left Sicily. That often stems from different views of the original sources as much as corruption of such stories over time. Appian's "heroic" combat likely stems from the Greeks in Hannibal's camp for example (Sosylos for example). I would argue that is different than inventing an entirely new tradition out of whole cloth.
Paralus|Michael Park

Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους

Wicked men, you are sinning against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander!

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#15
Michael Park wrote (too many Michaels)
Firstly, I do not assume the battle has been embellished or falsified. I believe this battle took place something in the manner in which the various sources render it.

You did say “That Roman history was so distorted within living memory of at least some of those there beggars belief.” My response was that any embellishment or falsification did not have to occur while those who participated were alive, but much later.

Michael Park wrote
On the matter of Polybios, the date of publication of his history is, and shall remain, a matter of debate.

Exactly, but you also claim that Polybius’ work “had been in circulation for a century” before Diodorus. The earliest source that mentions using Polybius is Diodorus, that is all the evidence we have.

Michael wrote:
No one - including myself - argues that there are not contradictory stories or details within stories about the same subject/action. One need only look at the different traditions regarding the legions raised for Cannae or Scipio's forces which left Sicily.

I cannot understand that you find it a problem. If you follow Livy from the legion levies and movements from the appointment of Fabius Maximus to the battle of Cannae, it is self explanatory.

Michael wrote:
I would argue that is different than inventing an entirely new tradition out of whole cloth.

When you compare all sources for the Second Punic War and examine the contradictions, you will find an entirely new tradition of invention. For example, Livy has Gnaeus Scipio in Iberian defeating Carthaginian fleets, raiding all over Iberia, capturing town after town, and yet Appian claims Gnaeus Scipio did nothing of importance.
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