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Theoretical Discusions?
#1
Is there an unwritten rule against theoretical discussions, or against comparisons between different armies? And what problems do people here find with these discussions, and if there is not an unwritten rule against them, what solutions would they suggest?
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#2
It could be the fact that this is ROMAN Army Talk. So when theoretical discussions run rife with all kinds of comparing Chinese to Hussans to US Marines and whatever along "what if ..." scenario's debating what a source may have meant to say, I myself find these rather tedious, lacking scientific background and would wish that discussion was held on the Historium forum.... But that is just me :whistle:
Salvete et Valete

Nil volentibus arduum


Robert P. Wimmers
Archeologie Beleven!
>http://www.ferrumantica.eu  (The NEW Fabrica of Vvlpivs!)
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#3
This is a forum for discussion about the Roman Army primarily. Yes, we have a Greek Section, and yes there is a Byzantine Section under that (the latter is Roman though technically). We also have a section on allies and enemies of Rome.

However, discussions about Polish Hussars and Persian Chariots aren't part of any of that. Our objective is to focus on Rome, otherwise we'd be "Ancient Army Talk" or "Historical Armies Talk."

(TBH, I've supported expansion of the creation of new forums behind the scenes, but it's been shot down repeatedly.)
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#4
Hi, I don't mind theoretical discussions but not when it's between armies of different eras. To compare armies for example between pre-gunpowder to post-gunpowder armies is fairly pointless but I think as a whole members try to keep to the subject and I don't envy the moderators when discussions get out of hand. But the Roman Empire was so big and lasted so long you have a lot of area to cover with armies changing a lot from republican times to the fall of the western empire in clothing, weapons, armour, tactics and enemies that you are going to get these discussions and comparisons.
Regards
Michael Kerr
Michael Kerr
"You can conquer an empire from the back of a horse but you can't rule it from one"
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#5
Well, there are some topics which neatly fit into different categories, others not so much.

Organization of the middle Republican Roman army? Class distinctions in Gallic society? I think these fit into their categories.

Alternative theories of how armies fought? Estimates of population density? Estimates of the logistical limits to army size? I don't think these can be handled separately for Greeks, Romans, and everyone else. And although I have my doubts about the claims about the Polish winged hussars, they were relevant to understanding cavalry vs. infantry fights.
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#6
Personally, I feel there are enough other fora who deal with the "what if ..." scenario's.
What I cherish in RAT is the dedication of many of its members to expand actual knowledge and the addiction to sticking to science rather then fantasy. There are subjects I myself find far fetched, such as the very complex astonomical debates, but these deal with the way Roman military society may or may not have been governed by the numerical teachings. So there is no objection there as far as the subject matter is concerened.
I have found the enemies and allies section most entertaining and the Greek section is also valuable, as we know many Roman issues arose from their close ties with Greek society. Outside that, I understand the approach of discouraging forays outside of the known Roman period. That spans more then 500 years, so should be interesting enough.
Discussions tend to get out of hand when the poster stated a bold claim in order to invite attack, and then goes on the counterattack to prove him- or herself "right". This sort of behaviour may be accepted elswhere, but it is not in the spirit of RAT. I would therefor ask and advise any members who think that is proper conduct to seek another outlet for their convictions.
Salvete et Valete

Nil volentibus arduum


Robert P. Wimmers
Archeologie Beleven!
>http://www.ferrumantica.eu  (The NEW Fabrica of Vvlpivs!)
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#7
Anything that is clearly outside the scope of this forum can easily go to the OT section. Theoretical discussions that have to do with ancient matters/tactics etc, encompassing a wide range of locations, eras etc can either go there or if focused on a specific existent section, it could go there as long as the focus does not change. Bringing an example of the 19th century in a 5th century discussion is by all means allowed and encouraged. Shifting the focus of the discussion on it is not. In that case, a new topic about this particular event in the OT section should be started, so that the former discussion can retain its focus. I think that we tend to think of the OT section as something only fit for issues of vary casual importance, but this is not the case. Everyone should feel free to discuss tactics of the Zulu against the British Empire there, the tactics of Assyrian chariots, operation Barbarossa etc. The alternative, that is creating new sections for issues outside the original scope of RAT has been discussed but truth is that the will to maintain the nature of the forum has prevailed every time. This is why we had a new thread started in the OT section about the winged hussars and this is why another thread about cavalry of all eras was also started there. If, for some reason, there is a great interest in this forum about a field of discussion we do not cover, then we can discuss it again, but opening a section only to have a handful of threads a year is not helpful.
Macedon
MODERATOR
Forum rules
George C. K.
῾Ηρακλῆος γὰρ ἀνικήτου γένος ἐστέ
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#8
To clarify, I wasn't talking about what-if scenarios.

I was thinking of Delbrück's use of modern road space requirements, or Engels' use of modern estimates of the carrying capacity and food requirements of pack animals, as rough proxies for ancient ones.

I was thinking of 'barbarian' army sizes, and the problems of estimating the actual population, and what proportion of the population might reasonably be in arms. I don't think we can rely on Greek and Roman sources to accurately describe 'barbarian' populations and army sizes, so I think we need cross-cultural comparison either with Greek and Roman examples, or with other examples, until enough archaeological evidence is available.

I was thinking of Sabin's, Zhmodikov's, and Thorne's attempts to reconstruct battle dynamics. It's probably one of the more challenging issues, and so much is open to multiple interpretations. I just want some way to help make sure these yield more light than heat.
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#9
Quote:This is a forum for discussion about the Roman Army primarily. Yes, we have a Greek Section, and yes there is a Byzantine Section under that (the latter is Roman though technically). We also have a section on allies and enemies of Rome.

However, discussions about Polish Hussars and Persian Chariots aren't part of any of that. Our objective is to focus on Rome, otherwise we'd be "Ancient Army Talk" or "Historical Armies Talk."


We are lucky to have RAT and a board that is rather forgiving, especially for us "enemies of Rome" who sometimes dig back to pre-Roman eras in that particular culture, whether it be Celtic or Sarmatian. The pre-history is important in defining weapons and clothing worn and used within the Roman era.

Theoretical "what if" speculations and "ancient-modern" comparisons are best left to the History Channel, our finest medium from bringing fiction to life. :whistle:
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
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#10
I lol'd at that.
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#11
Quote:I was thinking of Sabin's, Zhmodikov's, and Thorne's attempts to reconstruct battle dynamics.
Thorne?! :?
posted by Duncan B Campbell
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#12
Quote:However, discussions about Polish Hussars and Persian Chariots aren't part of any of that. Our objective is to focus on Rome, otherwise we'd be "Ancient Army Talk" or "Historical Armies Talk."

(TBH, I've supported expansion of the creation of new forums behind the scenes, but it's been shot down repeatedly.)
Persian chariots belong just as much as any other topic in ancient history, since this forum has sections for the Greeks, other ancient cultures, non-military history, and so on. While for various reasons I have kept out of the recent threads on cavalry, I think that if people are going to claim that later periods prove something about ancient history, people who disagree have the right to present evidence! One cannot do ancient history without comparative evidence, any more than one can do it without documentary evidence or archaeological evidence.

On the other hand, threads without a clear connection to the ancient world might be better elsewhere. I think that the politics taboo is a reasonable idea.
Nullis in verba

I left this forum around the beginning of 2013, but I hope that these old posts have some value
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#13
James Thorne, in "Battle, Tactics, and the Emergence of the Limites in the West," in Paul Erdkamp, A Companion to the Roman Army, argues that Roman battles were probably characterized by short clashes and longer stand-offs out of reach of the other side.
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#14
Quote:James Thorne, ..., argues that Roman battles were probably characterized by short clashes and longer stand-offs out of reach of the other side.
I think this is Sabin's theory, isn't it? Based on Caesar? Goldsworthy already suggested something similar, I think.
posted by Duncan B Campbell
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#15
Quote:Discussions tend to get out of hand when the poster stated a bold claim in order to invite attack, and then goes on the counterattack to prove him- or herself "right". This sort of behaviour may be accepted elswhere, but it is not in the spirit of RAT. I would therefor ask and advise any members who think that is proper conduct to seek another outlet for their convictions.
I may have started the whole cavalry controversy by my blunt comments that I do not trust any sentence which begins "no horse would" or "no cavalryman would." I have been tetchy these last few months due to difficulties in the rest of my life, and I do apologize for being tactless.

The moderators can of course interpret the topic of this forum as they wish. I personally think that this forum would be worse off if discussions were limited to the Roman army and its neighbours.
Nullis in verba

I left this forum around the beginning of 2013, but I hope that these old posts have some value
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