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Livy and Polybius - Biases?
#1
I am interested in the 2nd Punic War and am interested to know if either source were sponsored by Roman families in order to make their military relative's memory look good for history (ie. the slain Consul Paulus at Cannae vs the ''aggressive'' surviving Varro)?

I understand that Polybius was a military man and wrote for the Scipio family, but what about Livy?
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#2
(06-12-2019, 03:38 PM)Johnny66 Wrote: I am interested in the 2nd Punic War and am interested to know if either source were sponsored by Roman families in order to make their military relative's memory look good for history (ie. the slain Consul Paulus at Cannae vs the ''aggressive'' surviving Varro)?

I understand that Polybius was a military man and wrote for the Scipio family, but what about Livy?

It would be wrong to say that Polybios "wrote for the Scipio family". They were most certainly his patrons while in Roman exile from Achaia and, as such, he's unlikely to be critical of them. That does not mean he overly exaggerated their importance or actions. Nor does it mean he is uncritical of Rome; he does indeed criticise.

Polybios wrote for several reasons but the central thread is his need to explain (mainly to his Greek readers) how it was that Rome came to subsume the Greeks and the oikumene. How the Macedonians fell as well as the Seleukids and Carthaginians. Polybios sees his starting Olympiad as the crux: there is Rome and Carthage in the west and in the east, three new rulers of the great Hellenistic kingdoms. It sets the stage for his narrative of power politics over the next seven decades as each power contends for prize. Ptolemy cravenly leaves the stage; Carthage is toppled; Philip V overreaches and, finally, Antiochos is defeated. Rome stands alone.

Livy is another kettle of fish. Not a military man, he culls the works of earlier authors (Polybios among them) and the Roman analysts. His access to these varied sources is demonstrated over and again and examples which spring to mind are Scipio's forces which left Sicily for Africa (where he lists several numbers as well as the make of the the two legions he bulked up with volunteers ) and Cannae where he reports the two traditions providing Roman numbers. A patriotic Roman, Livy enthuses over Roman virtus and rectitude and rarely misses an opportunity to demonstrate such. He is also guilty, at times, of adding what might be described as "Roman colour" to his narrative. That said, his casualty figures for Cannae are likely the more reliable and he provides detail we do not have in other sources (such as the right flank turning assault by Antiochos at Magnesia for example).
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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#3
(06-14-2019, 02:44 AM)Paralus Wrote:
(06-12-2019, 03:38 PM)Johnny66 Wrote: I am interested in the 2nd Punic War and am interested to know if either source were sponsored by Roman families in order to make their military relative's memory look good for history (ie. the slain Consul Paulus at Cannae vs the ''aggressive'' surviving Varro)?

I understand that Polybius was a military man and wrote for the Scipio family, but what about Livy?

It would be wrong to say that Polybios "wrote for the Scipio family". They were most certainly his patrons while in Roman exile from Achaia and, as such, he's unlikely to be critical of them. That does not mean he overly exaggerated their importance or actions. Nor does it mean he is uncritical of Rome; he does indeed criticise.

Polybios wrote for several reasons but the central thread is his need to explain (mainly to his Greek readers) how it was that Rome came to subsume the Greeks and the oikumene. How the Macedonians fell as well as the Seleukids and Carthaginians. Polybios sees his starting Olympiad as the crux: there is Rome and Carthage in the west and in the east, three new rulers of the great Hellenistic kingdoms. It sets the stage for his narrative of power politics over the next seven decades as each power contends for prize. Ptolemy cravenly leaves the stage; Carthage is toppled; Philip V overreaches and, finally, Antiochos is defeated. Rome stands alone.

Livy is another kettle of fish. Not a military man, he culls the works of earlier authors (Polybios among them) and the Roman analysts. His access to these varied sources is demonstrated over and again and examples which spring to mind are Scipio's forces which left Sicily for Africa (where he lists several numbers as well as the make of the the two legions he bulked up with volunteers ) and Cannae where he reports the two traditions providing Roman numbers. A patriotic Roman, Livy enthuses over Roman virtus and rectitude and rarely misses an opportunity to demonstrate such. He is also guilty, at times, of adding what might be described as "Roman colour" to his narrative. That said, his casualty figures for Cannae are likely the more reliable and he provides detail we do not have in other sources (such as the right flank turning assault by Antiochos at Magnesia for example).

Thanks for your detailed reply. I understand alot more about Polybius.

Was Livy also sponsored by any relatives of Punic War survivor's descendents?
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#4
‘Michael’ Wrote:It would be wrong to say that Polybios "wrote for the Scipio family". They were most certainly his patrons while in Roman exile from Achaia and, as such, he's unlikely to be critical of them. That does not mean he overly exaggerated their importance or actions.

I believe Polybius played down the mistakes of the Scipio family, especially Scipio Africanus’ father and uncle. In a speech found in Livy, Fabius Maximus blames Rome’s defeat at the Trebbia and Lake Trasimene to incompetent commanders and poor troops. I think there is a lot of value in this, and I would add Cannae to the list. Polybius even comments that the Trebbia could have been lost to Publius Scipio’s rashness, or the treachery of the Gauls. The various accounts of the death of Scipio Africanus’ father indicate his father did not learn anything from the Ticinus.

‘Michael’ Wrote:Livy is another kettle of fish. Not a military man…

Livy not being a military man has not been proven. He would have been of military age during the Roman civil wars, of which much of Livy’s work has not survived. Polybius claims to have held a military ranking, but most likely in name only. In comparison, although both writers have made mistakes, I find Livy’s understanding of the Roman army in higher regard than that of Polybius.

‘Michael’ Wrote:He is also guilty, at times, of adding what might be described as "Roman colour" to his narrative.
Could you be more specific on this? Does Livy do this specifically of his own accord, or is he just following his source?

I give up.
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#5
(06-15-2019, 07:56 AM)Steven James Wrote:
‘Michael’ Wrote:I believe Polybius played down the mistakes of the Scipio family, especially Scipio Africanus’ father and uncle. In a speech found in Livy, Fabius Maximus blames Rome’s defeat at the Trebbia and Lake Trasimene to incompetent commanders and poor troops. I think there is a lot of value in this, and I would add Cannae to the list. Polybius even comments that the Trebbia could have been lost to Publius Scipio’s rashness, or the treachery of the Gauls. The various accounts of the death of Scipio Africanus’ father indicate his father did not learn anything from the Ticinus.

"Playing down" or glossing over mistakes is eminently possible but that is a different thing to writing for or on behalf of the Scipios. Of his own admission, Polybios wrote to explain Rome's rise to the sole surviving power in the oikumene - again, mostly an explanation for his Greek audience who, within a generation, had become a Roman "backwater".

(06-15-2019, 07:56 AM)Steven James Wrote: Livy not being a military man has not been proven. He would have been of military age during the Roman civil wars, of which much of Livy’s work has not survived. Polybius claims to have held a military ranking, but most likely in name only. In comparison, although both writers have made mistakes, I find Livy’s understanding of the Roman army in higher regard than that of Polybius.

Livy's military service is an open question and being born in 59, he might have been eligible for the closing years. His handling of military matters is widely accepted as showing a lower level of comprehension of same than Polybios and his muddling of Greek speaks to a lower education than the more "important" families. One might note that, at Zama,  Livy claims that Hannibal kept his experienced Italian veterans in the rear at Zama because he could not trust them whereas Polybios correctly divines Hannibal's purpose. 

There is no question that Polybios both served and was trained in military matters. As hipparch of the Achaian League, he commanded cavalry operations - something he was doing at the time of the war against Perseus (170). We know he wrote a military treatise (Tactike) which has not survived and his interest in military matters (and desire to explain such) is a frequent component of his work.
 
(06-15-2019, 07:56 AM)Steven James Wrote:
‘Michael’ Wrote:He is also guilty, at times, of adding what might be described as "Roman colour" to his narrative. 
Could you be more specific on this? Does Livy do this specifically of his own accord, or is he just following his source?

I give up.

I'm assuming the questions are misplaced as they are not mine. Livy, where he can be compared with his source, often does this himself. An example which comes to mind is the conference at Lysimachaia between the Roman legates and Antiochos. Livy's source, Polybios (18.50-52), relates the speeches of both sides: the Roman is short and to the point; that of Antiochos some two and a half times longer. Livy (33.39-40) not only evens these up but alters the order of Antiochos' reply to match the Roman demands. In Polybios' text, the Romans attempt to blindside Antiochos by introducing coached ambassadors from Lampsakos and Smyrna resulting in Antiochos abruptly terminating matters on the basis he will not have such disputes mediated by Romans, though he was happy for the Rhodians to do so. Livy edits this out in its entirety as it will not do to have Romans being so belligerent: the war is all Antiochos' fault and Rome only defends herself.

I also find it more than odd that the Macedonians are horrified by the wounds caused by the gladius (31.34-3-4). It's not as if Macedonian cavalry, using the deadly kopis for slashing, had not ever seen such. Nor, for that matter, the infantry gutting the enemy with sarisai. Here John Ma ("Chaironeia 338: Topographies of Commemoration" JHS 2008, 72-91) is instructive. One might also question whether in hand to hand combat a gladius could so neatly decapitate the enemy.

Why do you "give up"?
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
(06-14-2019, 09:12 PM)Johnny66 Wrote: Thanks for your detailed reply. I understand alot more about Polybius.

Was Livy also sponsored by any relatives of Punic War survivor's descendents?

There's very little known about Livy's family connections. He came from modern Padua and so was a "provincial". From what we know he and others (Dionysios for example) came to Rome after the civil wars had been settled and others such as Trogus would follow closer to the end of the first century BC. Current views hold that Livy's first books were published in the twenties BC and there seems no reason to suppose any patronage which would stem from the time of the second Punic war. He seems one of many writers flourishing in Rome post the upheavals of the civil wars.
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
Reply
#7
Michael wrote:
"Playing down" or glossing over mistakes is eminently possible but that is a different thing to writing for or on behalf of the Scipios.

I don’t think Polybius was writing for the Scipios. However, Polybius could have used as his source the writings of Africanus’ son. That to me is the elephant in the room. The sad part is we do not know how much impact or influence the writings of Africanus’ son had.

Michael wrote:
Livy's military service is an open question

And that is why I believe academics should not make the claim Livy had no military experience. It is not fact, just opinion.

Michael wrote:
His handling of military matters is widely accepted as showing a lower level of comprehension of same than Polybios

Yes, academics have come to the conclusion without a thorough investigation of Polybius. Now if Polybius is suppose to provide the most reliable breakdown or description of the Roman legion, then how is it that this legion cannot be substantiated with the army numbers provided by Polybius for the Second Punic War? Both are at odds. And I have yet still to see the great study that proves that Polybius is more reliable in military matters than Livy. The only one I know of is the one I have undertaken. And Livy is far more aware of what an ordo is than Polybius will ever be. And Livy knew an ordo was not another name for a maniple as academia seems to believe.

Michael wrote:
One might note that, at Zama, Livy claims that Hannibal kept his experienced Italian veterans in the rear at Zama because he could not trust them whereas Polybios correctly divines Hannibal's purpose.

You cannot hide a dead elephant with one grasshopper. How do we know that Polybius “correctly divines Hannibal’s purpose” when none of us were an eye witness to Zama. Just because Polybius tells us does not mean Polybius is right.

Michael wrote:
There is no question that Polybios both served and was trained in military matters.

That does not make Polybius an expert on Roman military matters. In fact it could be an impediment. The Romans are not organised in the same manner as the Greeks. My translation of Polybius’ account of Ecnomus has Polybius describing the wedge formation in relation to the file organisation, and yet, I have not found anything to suggest the Roman fought by file or even acknowledged a file system. They do have an ordo system to do that.

Michael wrote:
Livy, where he can be compared with his source, often does this himself. An example which comes to mind is the conference at Lysimachaia between the Roman legates and Antiochos. Livy's source, Polybios (18.50-52), relates the speeches of both sides: the Roman is short and to the point; that of Antiochos some two and a half times longer. Livy (33.39-40) not only evens these up but alters the order of Antiochos' reply to match the Roman demands. In Polybios' text, the Romans attempt to blindside Antiochos by introducing coached ambassadors from Lampsakos and Smyrna resulting in Antiochos abruptly terminating matters on the basis he will not have such disputes mediated by Romans, though he was happy for the Rhodians to do so. Livy edits this out in its entirety as it will not do to have Romans being so belligerent: the war is all Antiochos' fault and Rome only defends herself.

The question is who was Polybius’ source? Both could have changed the original source. When it comes to army numbers concerning Greece, Plutarch does mention that Polybius got his army numbers wrong. I’ve shown in another post (Nameless city) how Polybius has manipulated the figures for the Carthaginian army.

Michael wrote:
I also find it more than odd that the Macedonians are horrified by the wounds caused by the gladius (31.34-3-4). It's not as if Macedonian cavalry, using the deadly kopis for slashing, had not ever seen such. Nor, for that matter, the infantry gutting the enemy with sarisai. Here John Ma ("Chaironeia 338: Topographies of Commemoration" JHS 2008, 72-91) is instructive. One might also question whether in hand to hand combat a gladius could so neatly decapitate the enemy.

Ah Michael, you are testing my memory, which at this point fails me. I have read another academic article that explains this.

Michael wrote:
Why do you "give up"?

My method of replying to this forum is to copy what has been written, and then paste it in a Word document. Then I copy and paste back into the forum. Every time I did this, the posting came out in a font too small to read. After trying different ways, the result was the same so I wrote “I give up” and left it. It has now been fixed, I presume by a moderator.
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#8
(06-16-2019, 06:33 AM)Steven James Wrote: I don’t think Polybius was writing for the Scipios. However, Polybius could have used as his source the writings of Africanus’ son. That to me is the elephant in the room. The sad part is we do not know how much impact or influence the writings of Africanus’ son had.



There is little doubt Polybios used the Scipionic circle for information but it is equally clear that he utilised many sources outside of this circle.



(06-16-2019, 06:33 AM)Steven James Wrote: And that is why I believe academics should not make the claim Livy had no military experience. It is not fact, just opinion.




"Opinion" based on Livy's work and the failings in his military narrative.



(06-16-2019, 06:33 AM)Steven James Wrote: Yes, academics have come to the conclusion without a thorough investigation of Polybius. Now if Polybius is suppose to provide the most reliable breakdown or description of the Roman legion, then how is it that this legion cannot be substantiated with the army numbers provided by Polybius for the Second Punic War? Both are at odds. And I have yet still to see the great study that proves that Polybius is more reliable in military matters than Livy. The only one I know of is the one I have undertaken. And Livy is far more aware of what an ordo is than Polybius will ever be. And Livy knew an ordo was not another name for a maniple as academia seems to believe



Polybios has been well studied. Book six is an excellent example of his interest in both political and military matters. "Ordo" would appear to be non-technically used as a unit of troops (Cic. Phil. 1.8.20). Polybios, on the other hand, regularly uses "speirai" to describe such.



I see no great problem with Polybios' numbers for the second Punic war. Now, I've not gone and counted every single notice of Roman troops in his work, but the main battles seem fine. The oversize legions for Cannae (where Livy reports two traditions) are not problematical and nor is Polybios' explanation of the mid-Republican army and its recruitment. These are things he may well have been privy to and the Scipionic circle could certainly supply such detail. I'm more of a believer in that Polybios' numbers (4,200) are the minimum and "regular" draft and that the state levied legions to a number it thought fit for purpose (Flamininus had oversize legions in the second Macedonian war for example).



(06-16-2019, 06:33 AM)Steven James Wrote: You cannot hide a dead elephant with one grasshopper. How do we know that Polybius “correctly divines Hannibal’s purpose” when none of us were an eye witness to Zama. Just because Polybius tells us does not mean Polybius is right.



The final row of Hannibal's troops were his hardened veterans of the Italian campaign - including former allies of Rome. These troops followed him out of Italy for the very good reason, one strongly suspects, that they will have been dealt with summarily by Rome. Nothing alters for Zama: running away here is unlikely in the extreme to save them from Roman retribution. They would fight.



Livy uses Polybios for the battle description and even follows the Megalopolitan's praise for Hannibal's tactics and command of his army. Where he differs is in relation to Hannibal's third line. The plan was clearly to wear the Romans down so that by the time the Romans reached the third line, they would be prey to Hannibal's best troops. It did not turn out that way - as happens in battle. But Livy clearly errs in thinking Hannibal placed his best troops last because he did not trust them.

Livy also misunderstands Polybios' description of the fighting styles of the opposing troops at Zama. Polybios describes the Carthaginian mercenaries as more dextrous compared to the Roman maniple and that this sees the mercenaries winning at first by inflicting many wounds. Livy misunderstands that this agility meant the mercenaries had no real fighting strength and were immediately pushed back.



(06-16-2019, 06:33 AM)Steven James Wrote: That does not make Polybius an expert on Roman military matters. In fact it could be an impediment. The Romans are not organised in the same manner as the Greeks. My translation of Polybius’ account of Ecnomus has Polybius describing the wedge formation in relation to the file organisation, and yet, I have not found anything to suggest the Roman fought by file or even acknowledged a file system. They do have an ordo system to do that.



Can you supply a reference to that please?



(06-16-2019, 06:33 AM)Steven James Wrote: The question is who was Polybius’ source? Both could have changed the original source.



Livy is clearly following the earlier author (Polybios) here as he does for much of this part of his history as a reading of both will conclusively show (where Polybios survives). It far less likey that Polybios was transcribing a source which Livy, much later, also happened to transcribe. So the question is: why did Livy alter what he found in Polybios?



(06-16-2019, 06:33 AM)Steven James Wrote: When it comes to army numbers concerning Greece, Plutarch does mention that Polybius got his army numbers wrong. I’ve shown in another post (Nameless city) how Polybius has manipulated the figures for the Carthaginian army.



Numbers in ancient sources are ever problematic as we've discussed elsewhere (concerning that army). Again it depends upon the source being used and claiming that Polybios manipulated figures would need a decent rationale.



(06-16-2019, 06:33 AM)Steven James Wrote: Ah Michael, you are testing my memory, which at this point fails me. I have read another academic article that explains this.





Quote:Livy, 31.34.3-4:
Nothing is so uncertain or so unpredictable as the mental reaction of a crowd. What he thought would make them more ready to enter any conflict caused, instead, reluctance and fear; [4] for men who had seen the wounds dealt by javelins and arrows and occasionally by lances, since they were used to fighting with the Greeks and Illyrians, when they had seen bodies chopped to pieces by the Spanish sword,1 arms torn away, shoulders and all, or heads separated from bodies, with the necks completely severed, or vitals laid open, and the other fearful wounds, realized in a general panic with what weapons and what men they had to fight.




(06-16-2019, 06:33 AM)Steven James Wrote: My method of replying to this forum is to copy what has been written, and then paste it in a Word document. Then I copy and paste back into the forum. Every time I did this, the posting came out in a font too small to read. After trying different ways, the result was the same so I wrote “I give up” and left it. It has now been fixed, I presume by a moderator.



That explains much. I had to enlarge your post 250% to read it it is so small. That line above is unintelligible on the site. Often the only way to read your post is to qoute it so as the text appears normal size. Can I suggest using the reply box to compose so as we can all read what you're writing? Utising the "quote" feature will make matters far more user-friendly as well.
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
Michael wrote:
"Ordo" would appear to be non-technically used as a unit of troops

Quoting a reference from Cicero is neither here nor there. Livy explicitly tells us that an ordo consisted of 180 soldiers and had six officers. Livy, when detailing the promotions of a centurion has him promoted to the tenth ordo of hastati. Therefore, ten ordines of hastati at 180 soldiers per ordo amount to 1,800 hastati. Livy has the hastati organised into 15 maniples, and 1,800 hastati divided by 15 maniples equals 120 men per maniple. Polybius tells us there were 1,200 princeps and 600 triarii, and when divided by 120 men per maniple means there were 10 maniples of hastati and 5 maniples of triarii. When you combine the 1,200 princeps and 600 triarii, you get 1,800 men that can be organised into 10 ordines each of 180 men. Livy’s legion holds up quite well.

Livy says there were 15 maniples of princeps. Academia believes Livy is wrong. No he is not. The triarii are just a name for the oldest princeps as are the antesignani for the youngest of the hastati. It is that simple. Gellius claims a legion had 30 maniples. Livy’s figures make 30 maniples all of 120 men.

15 maniples of hastati
10 maniples of princeps
5 maniples of triarii

Now academia, following Polybius, and totally unaware Polybius has made a mistake, in order to make it work, has divided the 600 triarii in to 10 maniples each of 60 men to make Polybius incorrect legion add up to 30 maniples. Put back the 600 hastati Polybius has omitted, due to him getting the antesignani (the youngest hastati) confused with the velites (the youngest in the legion), and you have a legion of 3,600 men. To this must be added the light infantry.

Michael wrote:
I see no great problem with Polybios' numbers for the second Punic war. Now, I've not gone and counted every single notice of Roman troops in his work, but the main battles seem fine.


You claim you have not gone and counted every single notice of Roman troops in his work, but then see no problem with Polybius’ numbers. That leaves the question, are you qualified to comment. Maybe it’s time to change your research methodology.

Michael wrote:
I'm more of a believer in that Polybios numbers (4,200) are the minimum and "regular" draft and that the state levied legions to a number it thought fit purpose for (Flamininus had oversize legions in the second Macedonian war for example).

How have you arrived at that conclusion that Flaminius had oversized legions? Livy numbers the Macedonian army at 25,500 men, consisting of 23,500 infantry and 2,000 cavalry. Livy states the Roman army was almost equal in number to the Macedonian army, but in cavalry the Romans were superior owing to the accession of the Aetolians. Livy has 3,000 foreign troops attached to the Roman army consisting of 600 Aetolian infantry, 400 Aetolain cavalry, 1,200 Athamanian infantry, 300 Apollonian infantry, and 500 Gortynian infantry.

Plutarch claims the Roman army was over 26,000 men, with 8,400 foreign infantry attached consisting of 6,000 Aetolian infantry, 400 Aetolain cavalry, 1,200 Athamanian infantry, 300 Apollonian infantry, and 500 Gortynian infantry. Livy’s 600 Aetolian infantry and Plutarch 6,000 Aetolian infantry is a difference of 5,400 Aetolian infantry.

So can you show me how the Roman legions are oversized legions based on the numbers given by both Livy and Plutarch?

Michael wrote:
Can you supply a reference to that please?

I’m taking this to mean you are referring to Ecnomus and not about the ordo Polybius (1 26) “their two six banked galleys in front and side with each other. Behind each of these they placed ships in a single file, the first squadron behind the one galley, the second behind the other.”

Michael wrote:
Numbers in ancient sources are ever problematic as we've discussed elsewhere (concerning that army). Again it depends upon the source being used and claiming that Polybios manipulated figures would need a decent rationale.

Then maybe you can explain this. Polybius allocates the Carthaginian commanders, Hasdrubal and Syphax the following number of infantry and cavalry:

Syphax          50000 infantry        10000 cavalry          60000 men
Hasdrubal    30000 infantry          3000 cavalry          33000 men
Total            80000 infantry      13000 cavalry          93000 men

The difference between Hasdrubal’s army and Syphax’s army as given by Polybius amounts to 20,000 infantry and 7,000 cavalry.

Syphax              50000 infantry        10000 cavalry      60000 men
Hasdrubal          30000 infantry          3000 cavalry      33000 men
Difference      20000 infantry            7000 cavalry      27000 men

The difference of 27,000 men is the exact number of infantry (about 20,000 men) and cavalry (7,000 men) as given by Appian for Hasdrubal’s army. So how did Polybius arrive at Syphax having an army of 60,000 men, when Appian provides no figures? The answer can be found in Appian’s narrative. Scattered throughout Appian’s account of the many skirmishers and Carthaginian troop movements preceding the battle of Utica, including the battle of Utica, and after the battle of Utica, can be found the figures for the number of Carthaginian infantry, cavalry, slaves, the men killed, the men that escaped, the number of prisoners and the Carthaginian recruits levied after the battle. When counted, these figures amount to 50,200 infantry (rounded to 50,000 infantry) and 9,700 cavalry (mentions by Polybius as numbering ‘about’ 10,000 cavalry) for Syphax’ army.

Syphax’s Infantry
6000 infantry (Appian Punic War 9
5000 slaves (Appian Punic War 9)
20000 infantry (Appian) Punic War 13)
5000 dead (Appian Punic War 15)
1800 prisoners (Appian Punic War 15)
2400 prisoners (Appian Punic War 23)
8000 infantry reinforcements (Appian Punic War 24)
2000 infantry (Polybius 14 6 3)
50200 men (rounded to 50,000 infantry)

Syphax’s Cavalry
600 cavalry (Appian Punic War 9)
7000 cavalry (Appian Punic War 13)
1000 cavalry (Appian Punic War 14)
600 cavalry surrender (Appian Punic War 23)
500 cavalry escaped (Appian Punic War 24)
9700 men (about 10,000 cavalry)

Polybius’ figure of 93,000 men for the Carthaginian army has been arrived at by counting the Carthaginian slaves, the Carthaginians killed and captured before, during the battle, and after the battle of Utica, plus Hasdrubal’s 30,000 infantry and 3,000 cavalry.

So why has Polybius fabricated the Carthaginian army at Utica by bunching all the army figures he could get his hands on?
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#10
Still no answer to the questions. Yes I gather, busy, busy, busy. Whenever I present Polybius' reconstruction of his numbers for Utica, it becomes all quiet on the western front. That tells me a lot. I also find it interesting that all those who are of the Polybius school, have never actually done an intense study of his military numbers, but will defend Polybius to the last breath.  Too many historians, be it amateur or professional have a lot of invested emotion in Polybius. A good historian has to be objective. However, this is not the case. The fact that modern historians have created a list of reliable and unreliable ancient historians has been driven by nothing more than emotion. As I have said, where is the great study undertaken on Polybius that confirms for all time he was the most reliable and trustworthy. Where is it?

The only thing the Polybius school has going is that "there is safety in numbers." If everyone keeps saying Polybius is reliable then he must be reliable. So when you run with the crowd, you end up where the crowd goes. It is incomprehensible for the Polybius school that Polybius could be unreliable, this would mean they have been wrong, and that is impossible because their egos cannot accept it. You mean I have been wrong all this time, no never! That is what I mean by being emotional rather than objective. Being objective means removing the ego.

Why has there never been a real serious study into Polybius, especially his military numbers? It is because the Polybian school are too scared as to what they might find. Better to live the illusion and protect one's reputation than discover the truth.  On RAT Facebook, an academic mentioned that he entered into his profession hoping to make a great discovery. He has also admitted that he has not made any great discovery. My personal belief is he elected to become an academic for all the wrong reasons. His story is so similar to many I have come across working in the Australian Film Industry for over 30 years. Many a budding young woman, wanting to be a star, decided to become an actress. Most of these never did, and a few I know of personally, became prostitutes. Now I have worked with many an unknown actress at the time who became stars, but they wanted to be an actor because they loved acting. For them, when they become stars, it was a by product that they found themselves in and not the main focus of their drive. So the academic that wanted to make the great discovery found the great discovery alluded him. He went about it the wrong way (ego first).

For me personally, I just wanted to know if it was possible to find out what the Roman legion was really about. In those days I was strongly entrenched in the Polybian school and looked down on poor Livy. I became a better amateur historian when I broke away from the mind set of modern academia, and started doing my own questioning. In the end, I worked out how a Roman tribe was constructed, and then because of this, I made a discovery, and that was the whole Roman social and military system had been designed by Pythagoras, and since that event in 2009, the evidence has been overwhelming. Even the early Catholics adopted the whole Pythagorean system. For those who do not like the fact the Romans tribes are a cosmic Pythagorean calendar and the organisation of the Roman legion is a replication of the Pythagorean cosmos, I do not care. My greatest and respected critics are not to be found on this forum, but outside of it. And these people are not sycophants, otherwise I would have nothing to do with them.

In my book, when published, which is starting to look realistic, I use the term "Polybius or his source." I give Polybius and any other ancient historian the benefit of the doubt. I am not anti Polybius, but  I do have a lot of evidence (military numbers), that show his calculations are sloppy and riddled with error. He has a strong tendency to add subunits to the main total instead of deducting them. His description of the Roman legion he has confused the antesignani (the youngest hastati) with the velites (the same age bracket as the antesignani), thereby missing 600 infantry from his calculations.

Now I will state I am not paranoid, so don't try that one on me. But this childish little game of boosting someone's rating who disagrees with me is really pathetic. It's always the same usual suspects. So if you want to boost your reputation disagree with me and watch them rise. I guarantee it will be an easy debate, because a lot of the time I don't bother to fight hard enough or defend myself. And the reason for that is I am not interested in changing your views or that matter your religion. It is pointless. I know when someone has entrenched views.

My response to the usual suspects is this, I find your research methodologies or your analytical skills riddled with shortcomings.  You approach any data in the most unimaginative way possible. In fact you look at the obvious and cannot go any further. If I was to present you with the Zosimus' claim that five tagmata amounting to 6,000 men were sent to Rome, your response would be to divide 6,000 by 5 and arrive at each tagma having 1,200 men. And then off you go trying to see how 1,200 could fit the other data. Someone told me this is "not even scratching the surface methodology."

Has anyone looked at Zosimus' point of view? He's a Greek, and could see everything in a Greek manner. Has anyone studied ancient Greek mathematics? Do the Greeks believe a century had 100 men? What if the Roman military century had less men? Maybe Zosimus did not know that.

As to my research, which seriously is nothing more than joining the right dots, well that is what I have been told, and I accept it, many a person who had scrutinised my work, and are free of ego, jealousy, and resentment, and are not small minded, have always sent me this quote from Einstein:

[center]"All new ideas go through three phases,
Firstly they are ridiculed,
Next they are violently opposed'
Lastly, they are accepted as obvious."[/center]
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