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The Roman Fleet of the Republic
#16
Thank you Steven! Smile
 
Steven wrote:
"Polybius' figure of 330 Roman ships for Ecnomus is incorrect especially as Polybius claims they picked the best ships and crew before heading to Africa. Polybius is here describing Roman protocol, so there is no way the Romans had 330 ships at Ecnomus. The number of men in the army that landed in Africa reveals the real size of the fleet at Ecnomus.  At Ecnomus, Polybius claims the Carthaginian squadrons that attacked the third and fourth squadrons were the same size. Taking that into account, and the fact there were three Carthaginian divisions, my reconstruction of the battle would indicate the Carthaginian fleet numbered around 180 ships, facing a Roman fleet with a frontage of 30 ships."
 
 
Now I know you are not fond of Polybius, but he is still reckoned our most reliable source for the period of which he writes. Nevertheless, that does not make him immune to the occasional error!
There is another way of reckoning/estimating the Roman naval force, which as you say can be worked out from the army figures.
 
He describes Ecnomus from I.25 ff. Firstly, Polybius does not say they selected the best ships and crews. He simply says they set off with a fleet of 330 'kataphractois'/decked warships, meaning quinqueremes/penteres [I.25.7]. He says only that the Romans selected "the best men from their Land Forces" [I.26.5].
 
Now the force from which these troops were selected is the armies of the two Consuls, who would have 2 Legions each of 4,200 or so, and an equivalent number of Allies/Socii ( 33,600 total aprox, excluding cavalry). The Consuls seem to have selected half of these, amounting to 4 Legions(16,800 aprox, again excluding cavalry – later Regulus would be left with approximately 15,000 infantry and 500 cavalry [I.29.9] which is entirely consistent, allowing some losses.), and divided the fleet into four squadrons, each of which transported a Legion [Poly I.26.6]. Not including the ship’s permanent marines ( who may have been proletarii), 40 strong, it appears that 80 legionaries were allocated to each quinquereme, which would be one century of soldiers (60) plus their attached light infantry/velites ( 20). Each Legion consisted of 60 centuries ( though the last line, the 'Triarii' probably only had half as many men per century). The fourth squadron, being at the rear like the ‘Triarii’ in the Army, was also nicknamed ‘Triarii.’[I.26.15]. This would imply that the Roman fleet numbered some 240 quinqueremes, including perhaps some quadriremes which would also count as 'kataphractois'. Now we know that there were Horse transports present, and the cavalrymen will probably have been on these to look after their mounts, and invariably there were some light galleys for scouting, courier vessels etc, plus probably other transports/supply vessels.

The possible error that Polybius may have made is that having found the figure of “330” in his sources, he has assumed that this referred to just the ‘battleships/quinqueremes’, rather than the entire fleet.

Of course these deductions are rather speculative, but they are plausible and consistent with the numbers Polybius gives for the Army.

A second probable error is that Polybius then assumes the Carthaginian fleet also carried 120 marines on this occasion, when arriving at a total of over 150,000 Carthaginians present [I.26.8]. This is hardly likely in the slightest, for the Punic fleet was not transporting an army. Support for this comes from the fact that the Romans lost 24 ships sunk, but none captured ( which would involve boarding), whilst the Carthaginians lost “more than thirty”, with 64 captured, thanks to the Roman ‘corvi/ravens’ boarding bridges and the high number (120) of troops/marines carried .[I.28.14].
"dulce et decorum est pro patria mori " - Horace, ODES
(It is a sweet and proper thing to die for ones country)

"No son-of-a-bitch ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country" -GeorgeC Scott as General George S. Patton
Paullus Scipio/Paul McDonnell-Staff
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#17
Paul wrote:
Now I know you are not fond of Polybius, but he is still reckoned our most reliable source for the period of which he writes. Nevertheless, that does not make him immune to the occasional error!
 
Unfortunately, too many modern historians are emotionally attached to Polybius. Take for example Tarn, in his paper on The Fleets of the Punic war, when evaluating Florus’ figure of 160 ships and Polybius’ 120 ships for the same year, Tarn writes on page 50 as a footnote:
 
“Naturally I attach no importance to the fact that Florus says the Romans built 160 ships in 260 BC.”
 
In my opinion Tarn is no longer a critical thinker. All his research merely tries and conforms to Polybius. Now if my research had found Polybius to be the most accurate of all ancient historians I would be singing his praises from atop every roof. However, I’ve just have too much evidence now to show he is clumsy with his arithmetic. He also does not understand Roman protocol and I would go one step further and say as a historian he can be lazy. Polybius is very critical of other historians, so why the smoke screen?
 
Paul wrote:
Firstly, Polybius does not say they selected the best ships and crews...He says only that the Romans selected "the best men from their Land Forces" [I.26.5].
 
Welcome to Roman protocol. They are recorded doing the same thing at Drepanum. And when the primary sources do not explicitly tell us they are doing this, they still are and in every campaign involving the navy. When this selection process is over, a consul will put to sea with a specific number of ships as consular protocol demands, and this is what is happening throughout the First Punic War. The numbers are constant and in many place quite accurate. Some numbers include the cavalry, others don’t. Some also include the horse transports, others don’t.
 
Paul wrote:
Now the force from which these troops were selected is the armies of the two Consuls, who would have 2 Legions each of 4,200 or so, and an equivalent number of Allies/Socii (33,600 total aprox, excluding cavalry).
 
Calculating one naval action is not enough. The whole First Punic War needs to be studied and dissected. You also have not factored in Orosius’ 30,000 men in Africa and Eutropius’ 32,000 men, which means you total of 33,600 without cavalry, is 3,600 men or 1,600 men over these two figures. Then you have to give a precise breakdown of the 15,000 infantry and 500 cavalry left behind. Are the 500 cavalry rounded? Now if half the army returned to Italy as we are told, Eutropius’ army of 32,000 men would be reduced to 16,000 men and Orosius to 15,000 men.
 
Paul wrote:
Now we know that there were Horse transports present, and the cavalrymen will probably have been on these to look after their mounts......
 
Are you sure the cavalrymen would be demoted to horse grooms, and are transported among all the horse dung? Surely not!
 
Paul wrote:
Of course these deductions are rather speculative, but they are plausible and consistent with the numbers Polybius gives for the Army.
 
Your 33,600 men is not consistent with Polybius. He gives the fleet size at about 140,000 men. With 300 rowers to a ship, his 330 ships need 99,000 rowers, leaving 41,000 infantry. So your figure of 33,600 infantry needs to find another 7,400 men.
 
Paul wrote:
A second probable error is that Polybius then assumes the Carthaginian fleet also carried 120 marines on this occasion, when arriving at a total of over 150,000 Carthaginians present [I.26.8]. This is hardly likely in the slightest, for the Punic fleet was not transporting an army.
 
I’m getting the impression some of the fleet numbers for the Carthaginian are contrived. At Mylae, Polybius (1 23 3) numbers the Carthaginian fleet at 130 ships, which could have been arrived at by adding the original 70 Carthaginian ships (as per Orosius) in 260 BC, the 50 Carthaginian ships at the Cape of Italy (as per Polybius), and Scipio’s 11 captured Roman ships (as per Orosius), for a total of 131 ships, rounded to 130 ships.
 
On the good side, buried in all that 1st Punic war fleet data is the number of soldiers allocated to a Carthaginian ship. At first I mistook it to be rounding as the number if very paltry, so once the Romans get onboard the best option is to surrender. Explains why the sources have ships with the entire crew surrendering, and it makes sense.
 
I’ve managed to work out how those missing 1,000 men between Orosius and Eutropius for the Aegates Island came about. Both have combined sources providing both soldiers and rowers, and others just the rowers. The actual number of Roman ships lost has been included in the Carthaginian total, which doesn’t surprise me, and one contingent of Carthaginian ships has been double counted, which again doesn’t surprise me. What has been happening is Polybius or his source, takes the total and then accidentally adds the subtotals to the total instead of subtracting them. Orosius figure of 63 captured Carthaginian ships equates to 33 Carthaginian and 30 Roman ships (as per Diodorus). Polybius figure of 10,000 Carthaginian prisoners equates to 9,900 rowers taken from 33 ships (33 ships x 300 rowers per ship), so that explains why I have used the figure of 33 ships. So Polybius’ 10,000 prisoners are part of Eutropius and Orosius figure of 32,000 men, and tells us he has only given us part of the available information, which makes him a lazy sod.
 
Paul wrote:
Support for this comes from the fact that the Romans lost 24 ships sunk, but none captured ( which would involve boarding),
 
Sort of the same thing I said in a previous post. I do love my own analogies being given back to me.
 
 
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#18
Here are my conclusions. The figures of ships lost, captured and damaged for the Aegates Islands as given by Diodorus, Eutropius, Orosius and Polybius have been arrived at by the subtotals of the ships captured being repeated twice in Polybius, twice in Orosius, three times in Eutropius, but once in Diodorus. The number of ships sunk also includes the subtotals of the number of ships captured. The figure of 32,000 men captured and 14,000 or 13,000 men killed is part of the figure of 32,000 men. Polybius’ figure of about 10,000 captured is also part of the 32,000 men. The confusion has resulted from the 30 Roman ships lost (as per Diodorus), which is also a subtotal for the number of Carthaginian ships lost. After removing the double counting, or triple counting in Eutropius, the data indicates the Carthaginian fleet of 250 ships and 150 transports (400 ships), represents both the Roman and Carthaginian fleet numbers. Of the 150 Carthaginian warships, the Carthaginians had 50 warships captured (Polybius has then as sunk), of which 20 warships were captured with their entire crews (as per Diodorus). The Romans had 13 warships sunk, and 17 warships disabled. Orosius and Eutropius’ figure of 12 Romans sunk has been rounded from 13 ships. Both authors did this for the Mylae campaign of 260 BC, with 31 ships sunk and 13 ships captured being changed out of personal preference I believe, to 30 sunk and 14 captured. Polybius' figure of 200 Roman ships (as opposed to 250 ships), omits the reserve ships (nicknamed by Polybius as triarii at Ecnomus). Polybius on other occasions also omits the reserve squadrons.

 
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#19
Steven wrote:

He also does not understand Roman protocol and I would go one step further and say as a historian he can be lazy. Polybius is very critical of other historians, so why the smoke screen?

Please explain what you mean by “Roman Protocol” in a naval context. You seem to be saying that the Consuls always had a set or constant number of ships, which certainly isn’t true.
 
Paul wrote:
Firstly, Polybius does not say they selected the best ships and crews...He says only that the Romans selected "the best men from their Land Forces" [I.26.5].
 
Welcome to Roman protocol. They are recorded doing the same thing at Drepanum. And when the primary sources do not explicitly tell us they are doing this, they still are and in every campaign involving the navy. When this selection process is over, a consul will put to sea with a specific number of ships as consular protocol demands, and this is what is happening throughout the First Punic War. The numbers are constant and in many place quite accurate. Some numbers include the cavalry, others don’t. Some also include the horse transports, others don’t.

I find these assertions rather baffling, especially as you don’t give references or examples of what you are referring to. See above, please explain why you think Roman Consuls always put to sea with a ‘specific’ and ‘constant’ number of ships, especially when you then go on to assert that sometimes transports etc are included, other times not. If you are merely ‘juggling’ numbers, so as to arrive at your ‘constant number’, then that is bad methodology.
 
Paul wrote:
Now the force from which these troops were selected is the armies of the two Consuls, who would have 2 Legions each of 4,200 or so, and an equivalent number of Allies/Socii (33,600 total aprox, excluding cavalry).
 
Calculating one naval action is not enough. The whole First Punic War needs to be studied and dissected. You also have not factored in Orosius’ 30,000 men in Africa and Eutropius’ 32,000 men, which means you total of 33,600 without cavalry, is 3,600 men or 1,600 men over these two figures. Then you have to give a precise breakdown of the 15,000 infantry and 500 cavalry left behind. Are the 500 cavalry rounded? Now if half the army returned to Italy as we are told, Eutropius’ army of 32,000 men would be reduced to 16,000 men and Orosius to 15,000 men.



Orosius and Eutropius must be referring to the total strength of the armies in Sicily, [8 legions incl Allies] before they set off – roughly the same as the ‘paper’ figure of 33,600 I gave, and not those selected to go to Africa. Only 4 legions, presumably 2 of Romans and two of Allies were taken to Africa according to Polybius [I.2
6.6]. Obviously the numbers are not too exact, as you acknowledge when you refer to rounding – Allied legions often had higher numbers than a Roman one, nor do we know how many might have been sick or casualties etc, [and neither did our sources know precise numbers.] In any event, at a century ( 60 men aprox) per ship, Orosius and Eutropius need an impossible 500- 533 warships to transport them !!!
Nor did "half" the army return to Italy. Polybius [I.29.8] says :
" Messengers from Rome now arrived with instructions for one of the Consuls to remain on the spot with an adequate force and for the other to bring the fleet back to Rome. Marcus Regulus, therefore, remained, retaining  forty ships and a force of fifteen thousand infantry and 500 horse...."
 
 This would be the four Legions, less sick and injured, in all probability. Why would the retained force be deliberately 'understrength'?

Paul wrote:
Now we know that there were Horse transports present, and the cavalrymen will probably have been on these to look after their mounts......
 
Are you sure the cavalrymen would be demoted to horse grooms, and are transported among all the horse dung? Surely not!
At all times in History, cavalrymen are reluctant to be parted from their mounts, and grooms generally need supervision. A transport has more room and is more comfortable than a warship, and the grooms would remove dung ( which was only down in the hold anyway) daily for hygiene reasons.
 
Paul wrote:
Of course these deductions are rather speculative, but they are plausible and consistent with the numbers Polybius gives for the Army.
 
Your 33,600 men is not consistent with Polybius. He gives the fleet size at about 140,000 men. With 300 rowers to a ship, his 330 ships need 99,000 rowers, leaving 41,000 infantry. So your figure of 33,600 infantry needs to find another 7,400 men.
It certainly is consistent ! That is roughly the strength of 8 Legions (33,600 or so). He has obviously arrived at his figure overlooking this fact, by multiplying 300 rowers plus 120 troops per ship x 330 ships = 138,600, rounded to 140,000 ( he also rounds the numbers in a Legion from 4,200 to 4,000 at times e.g [I.16.2]). My figures are broadly correct. Your figure of 41,000 infantry includes the permanent Marines, and gives an impossible 10,250 infantry in each of the 4 Legions.
 
Paul wrote:
A second probable error is that Polybius then assumes the Carthaginian fleet also carried 120 marines on this occasion, when arriving at a total of over 150,000 Carthaginians present [I.26.8]. This is hardly likely in the slightest, for the Punic fleet was not transporting an army.
 
I’m getting the impression some of the fleet numbers for the Carthaginian are contrived. At Mylae, Polybius (1 23 3) numbers the Carthaginian fleet at 130 ships, which could have been arrived at by adding the original 70 Carthaginian ships (as per Orosius) in 260 BC, the 50 Carthaginian ships at the Cape of Italy (as per Polybius), and Scipio’s 11 captured Roman ships (as per Orosius), for a total of 131 ships, rounded to 130 ships.

Yes, others too, such as Lazenby have made similar deductions.
 
On the good side, buried in all that 1st Punic war fleet data is the number of soldiers allocated to a Carthaginian ship. At first I mistook it to be rounding as the number if very paltry, so once the Romans get onboard the best option is to surrender. Explains why the sources have ships with the entire crew surrendering, and it makes sense.

Do provide your number for Punic marines , and your references, please!
 
I’ve managed to work out how those missing 1,000 men between Orosius and Eutropius for the Aegates Island came about. Both have combined sources providing both soldiers and rowers, and others just the rowers. The actual number of Roman ships lost has been included in the Carthaginian total, which doesn’t surprise me, and one contingent of Carthaginian ships has been double counted, which again doesn’t surprise me. What has been happening is Polybius or his source, takes the total and then accidentally adds the subtotals to the total instead of subtracting them. Orosius figure of 63 captured Carthaginian ships equates to 33 Carthaginian and 30 Roman ships (as per Diodorus). Polybius figure of 10,000 Carthaginian prisoners equates to 9,900 rowers taken from 33 ships (33 ships x 300 rowers per ship), so that explains why I have used the figure of 33 ships. So Polybius’ 10,000 prisoners are part of Eutropius and Orosius figure of 32,000 men, and tells us he has only given us part of the available information, which makes him a lazy sod.

....or alternately that your ‘number juggling’ is incorrect, since the numbers given by Orosius and Eutropius cannot be right – see above. Also we have varying numbers for ships taken and P.O.W’s in our sources.....Polybius gives 50 sunk and 70 captured [I.61] and 10,000 prisoners, but doesn’t give Roman losses. Diodorus has a similar 117 ships lost [24.11.1], of which only 20 are captured ( and gives Roman losses as 80 ships, 30 completely and 50 disabled and damaged) Eutropius [2.27.2] and Orosius[4.10.7] both give 63 ships captured plus 125 sunk (??) and only 12 Roman ships lost, all sunk. Polybius’ figures give only 142 P.O.W’s per ship, which even allowing for heavy losses seem very low ( Punic vessel: 300 rowers and 40 marines at least). All we can say with any certainty is that the Carthaginians probably lost something like half their fleet.
 
Paul wrote:
Support for this comes from the fact that the Romans lost 24 ships sunk, but none captured ( which would involve boarding),
 
Sort of the same thing I said in a previous post. I do love my own analogies being given back to me.
To what do you refer? I don’t recall anything similar in this thread.....
"dulce et decorum est pro patria mori " - Horace, ODES
(It is a sweet and proper thing to die for ones country)

"No son-of-a-bitch ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country" -GeorgeC Scott as General George S. Patton
Paullus Scipio/Paul McDonnell-Staff
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#20
Paul wrote:
Please explain what you mean by “Roman Protocol” in a naval context. You seem to be saying that the Consuls always had a set or constant number of ships, which certainly isn’t true.
 
A consul never takes his full complement of ships to sea. A small number are left behind. That is what all my research has shown me. So why can’t this be true Paul?
 
Paul wrote:
Orosius and Eutropius must be referring to the total strength of the armies in Sicily, [8 legions incl Allies] before they set off – roughly the same as the ‘paper’ figure of 33,600 I gave, and not those selected to go to Africa.
 
Well how about I prove your theory is full of holes, and too many at that. Also you do not use the data in the primary sources relating to the First Punic War.
 
Paul wrote:
Only 4 legions, presumably 2 of Romans and two of Allies were taken to Africa according to Polybius [I.25.6].
 
Where does Polybius actually say it was 4 legions? Or is this what you believe it to be?
 
Paul wrote:
In any event, at a century (60 men aprox) per ship, Orosius and Eutropius need an impossible 500- 533 warships to transport them !!!...This would be the four Legions, less sick and injured, in all probability. Why would the retained force be deliberately 'understrength'?
 
You have the audacity to accuse me of juggling numbers and then you serve up this bad example of juggling numbers and then explain your shortfall by using the under strength excuse. Let me give you some real evidence taken from the primary sources and nothing else.
 
My conclusion is the Romans had 8 legions in Italy, and a fleet to transport 8 legions Then 6 legions went to Africa, leaving 2 legions in Sicily (Roman protocol), 3 legions returned to Italy from Africa, and 3 legions stayed and were defeated. Taking the ancient authors practice of a legion being 5,000 men, the figure of 30,000 men in Africa would amount to 6 legions each of 5,000 men. Now Eutropius 32,000 men could include 2,000 cavalry. Polybius then has half the army return to Italy, and gives a figure of 15,000 men and 500 cavalry, which would amount to 3 legions each of 5,000 men.
 
At the siege of Heraclae (First Punic war), Diodorus (23 9 1) numbers the Roman cavalry at 540 cavalry, which would amount to 18 squadrons. So is Polybius’ figure of 500 cavalry that remained behind, is it rounded from 540 cavalry or not? A good historian would investigate whether that question can be answered.
 
Again I will repeat what I have previously posted, which is Polybius’ numbers do not agree with your claim of 33,600 infantry. I notice you could not supply the number of cavalry in your theory, which is a major shortcoming.
 
Polybius’ figure of 140,000 in the fleet with 300 rowers per ship means Polybius’ 330 ships had 99,000 rowers. This leaves 41,000 men. Now Paul if you and those so called academics specialising in the Roman army did some original research of the primary sources instead of reading the works of modern historians, you will find that Diodorus (23 20), when discussing the siege of Herete in 252 BC during the First Punic war, numbers the Roman army in Sicily at 40,000 infantry and 1,000 cavalry.
 
Now as I am a blonde please help me out here. In my way of thinking, Diodorus’ 41,000 men is the number of men left from Polybius figure of 140,000 after subtracting the 99,000 rowers. Well then again, it could be a coincidence, considering academia keeps chanting their mantra about there is a paucity of information in the primary sources, but this dumb blonde has worked out that by subtracting Diodorus’ 41,000 man army from Polybius’ 140,000 men in the fleet, this dumb blonde gets 99,000 rowers and an army of 41,000 men. Do tell me Paul where I have gone wrong because I don’t understand how Polybius and Diodorus could be reconciled, and what’s more, how about the numbers also including the cavalry, something you could not do.
 
So whether you like it or not Paul, 40,000 men equates to 8 legions of 5,000 men. My research shows that 8 legions where in Sicily, 6 legions went to Africa, 3 legions returned home, leaving 3 legions in Africa (15,000 men). The 3 legions in Africa are lost, and another 3 legions are sent to replace them and were involved in the battle of Hermaeum. Polybius reference to 40 ships staying behind at Aspis in Africa relates to the wrong chronology. When the three legions returned to Italy under the consul Manlius, the 40 ships he left in Sicily would have joined him, thereby leaving 40 ships in Sicily, which belonged to Regulus.
 
I make the claim half the army returned Italy because that is what the numbers show that is what happened. And it has to do with Roman protocol of which my research has revealed. Leaving one consul with more men than other would be an insult to the other consul. And before you bombard me with contradictory numbers that contradict this, believe me I have studied them all, and there is a good and solid reason as to why they have occurred.
 
But I am not finished yet Paul. I want to show you there is more information in the primary sources that provide more evidence and detail of Roman fleet organisation and size, and information that gets ignored by academics. So when you go running to your academic books, be aware of their shortcomings.
 
Now Polybius claims each Roman warships carries 120 soldiers and your claim of 40 marines and 80 soldiers is bullocks and is following academic fashion established by Kroymayer in 1897. Lazenby is not a supporter of the theory and using Polybius as his source, goes on to say that the marines were picked from the legions, of which there are 3 references. So in a nutshell, they pick men from the legions, put them onboard and call them marines. These so called marines tell their officers to get f*^$[email protected] because I get seasick.
 
But is Polybius right about 120 soldiers being allocated to each ship. Yes he is, but you won’t find it reading Lazenby or any other academic work. All it takes is a calculator to see if any number in the primary sources has any relevancy. At the naval battle of Hermaeum in 255 BC, Orosius (4 9) has the Romans loose 9 ships and 1,100 soldiers. Now by multiplying 120 men by 9 Roman ships this funny enough amounts to 1,080 soldiers, which leaves the possibility it has been rounded to 1,100 soldiers. So I am pretty confident that Polybius is on the money. My detractors I am sure will find a way to make that wrong, or going by past experiences will ignore it.
 
In 229 BC, Polybius (2 12 2) mentions the consul Aulus Postumius had one legion and 40 warships. In 204 BC, Livy (29 13) has the Roman senate allocated one legion and 40 warships to Sardinia. In 55 BC, Caesar (BG 4 22) undertook a reconnaissance of Britain with two legions transported by 80 ships. Again, being a dumb blonde, help me out here Paul, but all these references seem to show that 40 ships transport one legion. Is there any way of proving this?
 
 
Now Paul, if 40 ships make one legion and each ship carries 120 men, then a legion would number 4,800 men. Am I right of am I wrong? And please do answer the question, as being a blonde, and therefore, challenged on all aspects, I need to know how I am doing.
 
Now let’s return to Polybius fleet of 330 ships, 8 legions at 40 ships per legion equals 320 ships. Oh dear, the dumb blonde is 10 ships short. Ok, what if the missing 10 ships are carrying the cavalry, and this works out to be 1,200 cavalry at 120 cavalry men per ship? So Diodorus’ figure of 1,000 cavalry could be round from maybe 1,200 cavalry. The good news is the primary sources do provide the answer.
 
Paul wrote:
At all times in History, cavalrymen are reluctant to be parted from their mounts, and grooms generally need supervision. A transport has more room and is more comfortable than a warship, and the grooms would remove dung (which was only down in the hold anyway) daily for hygiene reasons.
 
Well Paul you cannot be right all the time. Maybe those 10 cavalry ships are the consul’s squadron, which means the cavalrymen were not in the horse transports sniffing horse dung. After all, I know many horse owners but they are not interested in living in the stable among the horse dung. But hey, maybe these Roman elites were a different breed.
 
Steven wrote:
So your figure of 33,600 infantry needs to find another 7,400 men.
 
Paul responded
It certainly is consistent! That is roughly the strength of 4 Legions (33,600 or so). He has obviously arrived at his figure overlooking this fact, by multiplying 300 rowers plus 120 troops per ship x 330 ships = 138,600, rounded to 140,000 (he also rounds the numbers in a Legion from 4,200 to 4,000 at times e.g [I.16.2]). My figures are broadly correct. Your figure of 41,000 infantry includes the permanent Marines, and gives an impossible 10,250 infantry in each of the 4 Legions.
 
Consistent! And this is the crutch of the problem. You take the figure of 41,000 men (as per Polybius) and slam it into your theory that there were only 4 legions and then claim I am wrong because I do not conform to your viewpoint. Try 40,000 infantry into 8 legions and 1,000 cavalry.
 
Paul wrote:
Do provide your number for Punic marines, and your references, please!
 
No I won’t Paul! I just given enough of my research away in this post to counter act against you claim of number juggling. However, the number of soldiers has been arrived at by studying all the numbers for the fleets. There are a few references to the number of Carthaginian ships being captured with their entire crews. And from the prisoners, and ships lost and captured, the answer can be found amongst that lot.
 
Paul wrote
....or alternately that your ‘number juggling’ is incorrect, since the numbers given by Orosius and Eutropius cannot be right – see above.
 
Well my number juggling is a lot better than yours by a long shot.
 
 
Paul wrote:
Also we have varying numbers for ships taken and P.O.W’s in our sources.....Polybius gives 50 sunk and 70 captured [I.61] and 10,000 prisoners, but doesn’t give Roman losses. Diodorus has a similar 117 ships lost [24.11.1], of which only 20 are captured ( and gives Roman losses as 80 ships, 30 completely and 50 disabled and damaged) Eutropius [2.27.2] and Orosius[4.10.7] both give 63 ships captured plus 125 sunk (??) and only 12 Roman ships lost, all sunk. Polybius’ figures give only 142 P.O.W’s per ship, which even allowing for heavy losses seem very low ( Punic vessel: 300 rowers and 40 marines at least). All we can say with any certainty is that the Carthaginians probably lost something like half their fleet.
 
All you have given is the data from the primary sources, which anyone can do, and come to the conclusion or conjecture, the Carthaginians “lost something like half the fleet.”
 
For Hermaeum, Polybius has 114 ships captured, while Eutropius and Orosius have 104 ships sunk. Difference is 10 ships. Have you ever considered that the 9 ships sunk, could have been rounded to 10 ships and then accidentally added to the figure of 104 ships? Could this explain the difference? You don’t know Paul because I believe you have never approach the subject in this manner. Lazenby does not do it fully, nor any other historian. The 30 ships captured with their entire crew, could they also be part of the 104 ship total.
 
Paul wrote:
To what do you refer? I don’t recall anything similar in this thread.....
 
Post number 3 by me “The 9 Roman sunk and 24 Carthaginian captured at Hermaeum better reflects both countries naval doctrines, that is for the Carthaginians to manoeuvre, ram and sink, the Romans to get close and board. When there is more Carthaginians sunk as given by Eutropius and Orosius for the Aegates Islands, this indicates the numbers are faulty.”
 
When I wrote that Polybius was a lazy sod, I knew you would come out firing. You continue to believe in the Polybius legion of 4,200 men. My greatest investigative method is I am not emotionally involved with any ancient historian. Maybe one day you and all those so called academics will hopefully abandon your mumbo chumbo, sissy pansy blind obedience to Polybius. Only then will you reach primary source nirvana.
 
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#21
Please keep the personal comments to a minimum everyone.
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(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
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#22
Do you mean me calling me a dumb blonde is getting personal? Wink
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#23
(09-29-2016, 09:51 AM)Steven James Wrote: Do you mean me calling me a dumb blonde is getting personal? Wink

I don't know your hair color. Angel

But you know what I mean, just a friendly reminder to all involved. Big Grin
_________________________________
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR: Forum rules
FECTIO Late Roman Society
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
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#24
Jaroslav Jacobov wrote:
"long time ago guys at RTR did some extensive research on this topic, they came up with these figures:....."

I'm afraid those tables are pretty worthless, for they only calculate the theoretical 'hull speeds' of the various types of vessel based on data which is largely guesswork.

In reality, the major factor in speed for any vessel was the skill and experience of the rowers, as I posted previously. The second major factor is the condition of the boat, which if it is old or on campaign for a whole season gets waterlogged, and this adds considerably to the boat's weight. This is why we see references in the source literature to 'fast' triremes and 'slow' triremes, and of course the vessels of any one type were not identical either ( see Virgil's 'boat race' poem for example.) Having competed in rowing and paddling events at World levels makes one acutely aware of this. Certainly, length, beam and displacement affect matters too, but are not as important as the cew of oarsmen, or even the skill of the helmsman.

Looking at the 'theoretical' speeds you provide, a quinquereme should be significantly faster than a quadrireme, but one only has to look at the capture of Hannibal the Rhodian's quinquereme, which was chased, overhauled and captured by a quadrireme, to see that 'it ain't necessarily so'.

As to your quoted bibliography, it is just a 'shotgun' list of most of the literature on the subject of ancient ships, and I doubt for example whether "The Thera ships;another interpretation" or "Evidence for the ram in the Minoan period" has anything significant to say about speed of a quinquereme or  trireme !! Rolleyes
"dulce et decorum est pro patria mori " - Horace, ODES
(It is a sweet and proper thing to die for ones country)

"No son-of-a-bitch ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country" -GeorgeC Scott as General George S. Patton
Paullus Scipio/Paul McDonnell-Staff
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#25
Paul wrote:
Please explain what you mean by “Roman Protocol” in a naval context. You seem to be saying that the Consuls always had a set or constant number of ships, which certainly isn’t true.
 
A consul never takes his full complement of ships to sea. A small number are left behind. That is what all my research has shown me. So why can’t this be true Paul?

One example will suffice. You yourself refer to the two Consuls before Ecnomus in 256 BC having 330 warships between them ( Polybius’ figure; more likely 240, see my earlier post), while the Consul  Aulus Postumius had one legion and just 40 warships[Polybius [II.12.2] in 229 BC that you also mention. (His colleague Gnaeus Fulvius had the bulk of the fleet, some 200 warships [Pol II.11.1]). Quite a difference, and no ‘/constancy’ there! Not to mention that the Roman Navy had fluctuating numbers of ships at different times in the war. I could give other examples......
 
Paul wrote:
Orosius and Eutropius must be referring to the total strength of the armies in Sicily, [8 legions incl Allies] before they set off – roughly the same as the ‘paper’ figure of 33,600 I gave, and not those selected to go to Africa.
 
Well how about I prove your theory is full of holes, and too many at that. Also you do not use the data in the primary sources relating to the First Punic War.

You cannot ‘prove’ any such thing. Anyone reading my posts can see that I always quote, and refer to, primary sources for my data. This assertion of yours is obviously untrue.
 
Paul wrote:
Only 4 legions, presumably 2 of Romans and two of Allies were taken to Africa according to Polybius [I.26.6].
 
Where does Polybius actually say it was 4 legions? Or is this what you believe it to be?

That’s the second time I have given the reference for Polybius referring to 4 Legions, so you should have read it. For the avoidance of doubt, here is the passage:
Accordingly they picked out the best men from the land army and divided the whole force which they meant to take on board into four divisions.

Each division had alternative titles; the first was called the "First Legion" or the "First Squadron,"—and so on with the others. The fourth had a third title besides. They were called "Triarii," on the analogy of land armies.” 
Paul wrote:
In any event, at a century (60 men aprox) per ship, Orosius and Eutropius need an impossible 500- 533 warships to transport them !!!...This would be the four Legions, less sick and injured, in all probability. Why would the retained force be deliberately 'understrength'?
 
You have the audacity to accuse me of juggling numbers and then you serve up this bad example of juggling numbers and then explain your shortfall by using the under strength excuse.
You seem to have misread what I wrote. I said “IF” you are merely ‘juggling’ numbers, so as to arrive at your ‘constant number’, then that is bad methodology.
I have not ‘juggled’ any numbers, merely quoted a primary source ( Polybius) and pointed out that on the basis of Polybius, and on the arithmetic, the 30,000/32,000 alleged by Orosius/Eutropius cannot be correct. By the way, there is an error on the number of ships, which should read “approximately 400 ships” to transport those figures, I overlooked the 20 velites making 80 soldiers added to each ship. – still an impossibly large number of warships.
You also appear to have misunderstood what I wrote about strengths. If the figure of 30-32,000 was correct (and there are many reasons it cannot be), why would over half be sent back, leaving the Army decidedly “understrength”? What was the point in sending them in the first place? On the other hand if the four Legions totalled around 16,800 ( 4 x 4,200), then minus sick and injured etc the whole army would number 15,000 (plus 500 cavalry). It made sense for “the Fleet” to return – which is what Polybius says, just the fleet [I.29.9], because it was of no use over Winter outside sailing season, the naval allies could be sent home, the ships refitted and be ready possibly to bring further reinforcements and supplies, and tens of thousands of sailors need not be fed from the army foraging around Carthage. Obviously, the whole Army would still be needed to blockade Carthage. Polybius tells us that it was “the ships crews and all the prisoners” who returned – no mention of any soldiers returning, except perhaps the permanent Marines, let alone half. .
 Let me give you some real evidence taken from the primary sources and nothing else.
.....except the bits you have added, or incorrectly deduced!
 
My conclusion is the Romans had 8 legions in Italy, and a fleet to transport 8 legions Then 6 legions went to Africa, leaving 2 legions in Sicily (Roman protocol), 3 legions returned to Italy from Africa, and 3 legions stayed and were defeated. Taking the ancient authors practice of a legion being 5,000 men, the figure of 30,000 men in Africa would amount to 6 legions each of 5,000 men. Now Eutropius 32,000 men could include 2,000 cavalry. Polybius then has half the army return to Italy, and gives a figure of 15,000 men and 500 cavalry, which would amount to 3 legions each of 5,000 men.
We agree that there were two Consular armies each of two Legions plus two of ‘socii’, for a total of 8. There is no evidence that 6 Legions went to Africa – that is simply your surmise from Orosius/Eutropius figures, using an incorrect 5,000 per Legion. (This is an anachronism, see digression post). Polybius says four, each transported by one squadron of warships. – I’ll return to Legionary numbers in a digression shortly. Polybius absolutely does NOT say half the army returned, that is pure surmise on your part based on faulty data. The Romans did not have enough warships to transport 6 Legions of 5,000 men in any event. All this stems from preferring the information of Orosius/Eutropius writing around 750 years later aprox, over that of Polybius, writing much nearer the time, around 100 years later .

 
At the siege of Heraclae (First Punic war), Diodorus (23 9 1) numbers the Roman cavalry at 540 cavalry, which would amount to 18 squadrons. So is Polybius’ figure of 500 cavalry that remained behind, is it rounded from 540 cavalry or not? A good historian would investigate whether that question can be answered.
At Diod XXIII.9.1, Roman casualties of 30,000 infantry and 1,500 cavalry are referred to. Can’t see anything about 540 cavalry in the Loeb. A good historian might start by getting his facts and references straight.
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Digression on Roman Army numbers:

The regular number during this space of time may be fixed at 4000 or 4200 infantry. According to Dionysius [VI.42] M. Valerius, the brother of Publicola, raised two legions [B.C. 492], each consisting of 4000, and Livy, in the first passage, where he specifies the numbers in the legions [VI.22, B.C. 378], reckons them at 4000, and a few years afterwards (VII.25 B.C. 346) he tells us that legions were raised each containing 4200 foot soldiers, and 300 horse. The legion which possessed itself of Rhegium (B.C. 281‑271) is described [Liv XXVIII.28] as having consisted of 4000, and we find the same number in the first year of the second Punic War (Liv XXI.17 B.C. 218). Polybius, in like manner[I.16], fixes the number at 4000 in the second year of the first Punic war (B.C. 263), as I referred to in a previous post; and again in the first year of the second Punic War (III.72, B.C. 218). According to Polybius [II.24]], in the war against the Gauls 225 BC, which preceded the second Punic War, the legions of the consuls consisted of 5200 infantry, accompanied by 7,500 'socii'                                                                                                                                                                                                                 while those serving in Sicily and Tarentum contained 4200 only,  proof that the latter was the ordinary number.

From the second year of the second Punic war until the consulship of Marius, the number could increase to 5000 or 5200. Polybius, indeed, in his treatise on Roman warfare, lays it down [VI.20] that the legion consists of 4200 foot soldiers, and in cases of peculiar danger of 5000, which was contemporary practise. However, the whole  of the second Punic War was a period of extraordinary exertion, and so from the year B.C. 216, we shall scarcely find the number stated under 5000 (e.g. Polyb. III.17, Liv XXII.36, XXVI.28,XXXIX.39), and after the commencement of the Ligurian war it seems to have been raised to 5200 (Liv. XL.1, 18, 36, XLI.9, but in XLI.21  it is again 5000). The two legions which passed over into Africa under Scipio (B.C. 204) each contained  6200(according Liv XXIX.24, boosted by 7,000 volunteers) those which served against Antiochus 5400 [Liv XXVII.39], those employed in the last Macedonian war 6000 (Liv. XLII.31, XLIV.21, comp.XLIII.12), but these were all special cases.

With respect to the cavalry, in those passages of Livy and Dionysius, where the numbers of the legion are specified, we find 300 horsemen set down as the regular complement (justus equitatus) of the legion.

Polybius, however, is at variance with these authorities, for although in his chapter upon Roman warfare [VI.20]he gives 300 as the number, yet when he is detailing [III.107] the military preparations of the year B.C. 216, after having remarked that each legion contained 5000 infantry, he adds, that under ordinary circumstances it contained 4000 infantry and 200 cavalry, but that upon pressing emergencies it was increased to 5000 infantry and 300 cavalry, and this representation is confirmed by his review of the Roman forces at the time of the war against the Cisalpine Gauls [II.24]. It is true that when narrating the events of the first Punic War, he in one place [I.16 – see previous posts]) makes the legions to consist of 4000 infantry and 300 cavalry; and in the passage referred to above (II.24) the consular legions amounted to 5200 infantry and 300 cavalry, but both of these were pressing emergencies. The reference to 200 may be a textual corruption.

When troops were raised for a service which required special arrangements, the number of horsemen was sometimes increased beyond 300. Thus the legion despatched to Sardinia in B.C. 215 [Liv XXIII.24] consisted of 5000 infantry and 400 cavalry, the same number of horsemen was attached to a legion sent to Spain in B.C. 180 under Tiberius Sempronius[Liv XL.36], and in B.C. 169 it was resolved that the legions in Spain should consist of 5000 infantry and 330 cavalry[Liv XLIII.112], but in the war against Perseus when the infantry of the legions was raised to 6000 the cavalry retained the traditional number of 300Liv XLII.31].

Each Roman citizen Legion was accompanied by a Legion of ‘Socii/allies’, whose numbers varied. Polybius says these were equal in number [VI.26], only with 3 times as many cavalry i.e.900. However the ratio could be more, on average 5:4, but sometimes as many as 3:2 (e.g. Telamon against the Gauls, an emergency). Therefore ‘Socii’ could number from 4,000 or so up to 7,500 on occasion.
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Again I will repeat what I have previously posted, which is Polybius’ numbers do not agree with your claim of 33,600 infantry. I notice you could not supply the number of cavalry in your theory, which is a major shortcoming.

Not so, I was simply unwilling to digress too greatly, but see above for detailed digression! I have previously explained at how Polybius’ arrived at 140,000 ( 330 ships X 420 crew, marines, and troops =138,600 rounded to 140,000)
 
Polybius’ figure of 140,000 in the fleet with 300 rowers per ship means Polybius’ 330 ships had 99,000 rowers. This leaves 41,000 men.
Steven wrote Sept 25:
“Polybius' figure of 330 Roman ships for Ecnomus is incorrect especially as Polybius claims they picked the best ships and crew before heading to Africa.”
We seem to have a contradiction here. You say 330 ships is wrong, and I agree, and then proceed to base your figures on Polybius’ calculations !! The above figures you give must be incorrect.

Now Paul if you and those so called academics specialising in the Roman army did some original research of the primary sources instead of reading the works of modern historians, you will find that Diodorus (23 20), when discussing the siege of Herete in 252 BC during the First Punic war, numbers the Roman army in Sicily at 40,000 infantry and 1,000 cavalry.

Like you, I am generally sceptical of modern authors, but am prepared to read them in case they come up with something new or original (not often!).

A double Consular army numbers some 8 Legions, 4 x Roman 4,200 plus 4 x at least 4,200 – 5,000 or more  Socii, so approximately 40,000....... but there should have been 4,800 cavalry at full strength.
However you must not read my posts properly if you don’t realise that everything I put forward is based on original sources, and not just in this thread, but Always.
 
Now as I am a blonde please help me out here. In my way of thinking, Diodorus’ 41,000 men is the number of men left from Polybius figure of 140,000 after subtracting the 99,000 rowers. Well then again, it could be a coincidence, considering academia keeps chanting their mantra about there is a paucity of information in the primary sources, but this dumb blonde has worked out that by subtracting Diodorus’ 41,000 man army from Polybius’ 140,000 men in the fleet, this dumb blonde gets 99,000 rowers and an army of 41,000 men. Do tell me Paul where I have gone wrong because I don’t understand how Polybius and Diodorus could be reconciled, and what’s more, how about the numbers also including the cavalry, something you could not do.

I can’t find anywhere in the fragmentary Books XXIII and XXIV of Diodorus a reference to the Roman army landing in Africa 41,000 strong, do you have a reference for this? I think you are getting somewhat confused for I think 41,000 is just a number you calculated, based on incorrect figures of Polybius ( which you also say are incorrect). I take it you what the computer acronym GIGO stands for?
 I didn’t previously refer to cavalry numbers because we aren’t given specifics, but I’ve set out possible standard numbers above.
 
So whether you like it or not Paul, 40,000 men equates to 8 legions of 5,000 men.

Error alert! As you have done in the past, you are applying an anachronism, for Legions 5,000 strong are not referred to in our sources for this period, therefore didn’t exist.( see digression).

 My research shows that 8 legions where in Sicily, 6 legions went to Africa, 3 legions returned home, leaving 3 legions in Africa (15,000 men). The 3 legions in Africa are lost, and another 3 legions are sent to replace them and were involved in the battle of Hermaeum. Polybius reference to 40 ships staying behind at Aspis in Africa relates to the wrong chronology. When the three legions returned to Italy under the consul Manlius, the 40 ships he left in Sicily would have joined him, thereby leaving 40 ships in Sicily, which belonged to Regulus.
 
I make the claim half the army returned Italy because that is what the numbers show that is what happened. And it has to do with Roman protocol of which my research has revealed. Leaving one consul with more men than other would be an insult to the other consul. And before you bombard me with contradictory numbers that contradict this, believe me I have studied them all, and there is a good and solid reason as to why they have occurred.

This argument incorrect , as you apparently realise. I am sure you can 'rationalise' away anything. But the fact is there is no evidence whatever for 'half the army returning'....it is just your calculations, which are unfortunately based on incorrect information. You can't build a house on foundations of mud...... And giving a reason such as "Leaving one consul with more men than the other would be an insult to the other Consul" is an extremely poor piece of rationalisation. There are plenty of examples of the Romans dividing their forces unequally between Consuls - you even give examples yourself!

   
But is Polybius right about 120 soldiers being allocated to each ship. Yes he is, but you won’t find it reading Lazenby or any other academic work. All it takes is a calculator to see if any number in the primary sources has any relevancy. At the naval battle of Hermaeum in 255 BC, Orosius (4 9) has the Romans loose 9 ships and 1,100 soldiers. Now by multiplying 120 men by 9 Roman ships this funny enough amounts to 1,080 soldiers, which leaves the possibility it has been rounded to 1,100 soldiers. So I am pretty confident that Polybius is on the money. My detractors I am sure will find a way to make that wrong, or going by past experiences will ignore it.
 
In 229 BC, Polybius (2 12 2) mentions the consul Aulus Postumius had one legion and 40 warships. In 204 BC, Livy (29 13) has the Roman senate allocated one legion and 40 warships to Sardinia. In 55 BC, Caesar (BG 4 22) undertook a reconnaissance of Britain with two legions transported by 80 ships. Again, being a dumb blonde, help me out here Paul, but all these references seem to show that 40 ships transport one legion. Is there any way of proving this?
 
 
Now Paul, if 40 ships make one legion and each ship carries 120 men, then a legion would number 4,800 men. Am I right of am I wrong? And please do answer the question, as being a blonde, and therefore, challenged on all aspects, I need to know how I am doing.
 
Error. Each ship can carry UP TO a maximum of 120 soldiers. There are no references to Legions in our sources of 4,800 men. For this period, only 4,000 and 4,200 ( the paper maximum, and 4,000 or so in practice is likely right, since units are seldom if ever at their full ‘paper’ strength.....)
Paul wrote:
At all times in History, cavalrymen are reluctant to be parted from their mounts, and grooms generally need supervision. A transport has more room and is more comfortable than a warship, and the grooms would remove dung (which was only down in the hold anyway) daily for hygiene reasons.
 
Well Paul you cannot be right all the time. Maybe those 10 cavalry ships are the consul’s squadron, which means the cavalrymen were not in the horse transports sniffing horse dung. After all, I know many horse owners but they are not interested in living in the stable among the horse dung. But hey, maybe these Roman elites were a different breed.

Yup! Certainly in Imperial times, Roman cavalrymen were located in barracks with each man immediately above his horse stabled below.....I never said that cavalrymen lived in the stable, or hold in this instance, just travelled with their horse in all likelihood, for all sorts of reasons. What is this “Consul’s squadron” of ten ships that you have conjured up? No mention of that in our sources. Just 4 squadrons, each carrying a Legion.
 
Steven wrote:
So your figure of 33,600 infantry needs to find another 7,400 men.
 
Paul responded
It certainly is consistent! That is roughly the strength of 4 Legions (33,600 or so). He has obviously arrived at his figure overlooking this fact, by multiplying 300 rowers plus 120 troops per ship x 330 ships = 138,600, rounded to 140,000 (he also rounds the numbers in a Legion from 4,200 to 4,000 at times e.g [I.16.2]). My figures are broadly correct. Your figure of 41,000 infantry includes the permanent Marines, and gives an impossible 10,250 infantry in each of the 4 Legions.
 
Consistent! And this is the crutch of the problem. You take the figure of 41,000 men....

No, that’s your calculation and it’s wrong for the reasons I have set out.
..... and slam it into your theory that there were only 4 legions and then claim I am wrong because I do not conform to your viewpoint.
....not my theory, but for the umpteenth time, Polybius says 4 Legions.
.....Try 40,000 infantry into 8 legions and 1,000 cavalry.
....That’s just you trying to make numbers fit. In fact, assuming normal Roman organisation – and our sources don’t say otherwise – the paper numbers would be around 16,800 infantry ( possibly more with increased ‘Socii’, see above) and 2,400 cavalry ( 300 x 2; plus 900 x2)
 
Paul wrote:
Do provide your number for Punic marines, and your references, please!
 
No I won’t Paul! I just given enough of my research away in this post to counter act against you claim of number juggling. However, the number of soldiers has been arrived at by studying all the numbers for the fleets. There are a few references to the number of Carthaginian ships being captured with their entire crews. And from the prisoners, and ships lost and captured, the answer can be found amongst that lot.
What is the point of research if it is not shared, but concealed? That is a waste of everyone’s time.....
 
Paul wrote
....or alternately that your ‘number juggling’ is incorrect, since the numbers given by Orosius and Eutropius cannot be right – see above.
 
Well my number juggling is a lot better than yours by a long shot.
Very doubtful, since your calculations are based on implausible numbers in Orosius/Eutropius.
 
 
Paul wrote:
Also we have varying numbers for ships taken and P.O.W’s in our sources.....Polybius gives 50 sunk and 70 captured [I.61] and 10,000 prisoners, but doesn’t give Roman losses. Diodorus has a similar 117 ships lost [24.11.1], of which only 20 are captured ( and gives Roman losses as 80 ships, 30 completely and 50 disabled and damaged) Eutropius [2.27.2] and Orosius[4.10.7] both give 63 ships captured plus 125 sunk (??) and only 12 Roman ships lost, all sunk. Polybius’ figures give only 142 P.O.W’s per ship, which even allowing for heavy losses seem very low ( Punic vessel: 300 rowers and 40 marines at least). All we can say with any certainty is that the Carthaginians probably lost something like half their fleet.
 
All you have given is the data from the primary sources, which anyone can do, and come to the conclusion or conjecture, the Carthaginians “lost something like half the fleet.”
Exactly right! I look at the most plausible evidence, and don’t go beyond it into ‘number games’.
 
For Hermaeum, Polybius has 114 ships captured, while Eutropius and Orosius have 104 ships sunk. Difference is 10 ships. Have you ever considered that the 9 ships sunk, could have been rounded to 10 ships and then accidentally added to the figure of 104 ships? Could this explain the difference? You don’t know Paul because I believe you have never approach the subject in this manner. Lazenby does not do it fully, nor any other historian. The 30 ships captured with their entire crew, could they also be part of the 104 ship total.
This is all non-evidence based speculation....
And you should be aware of the Lawyers maxim that evidence is weighed, not counted. Some evidence is much more plausible than others.....
 
Paul wrote:
To what do you refer? I don’t recall anything similar in this thread.....
 
Post number 3 by me “The 9 Roman sunk and 24 Carthaginian captured at Hermaeum better reflects both countries naval doctrines, that is for the Carthaginians to manoeuvre, ram and sink, the Romans to get close and board. When there is more Carthaginians sunk as given by Eutropius and Orosius for the Aegates Islands, this indicates the numbers are faulty.”
 
When I wrote that Polybius was a lazy sod, I knew you would come out firing. You continue to believe in the Polybius legion of 4,200 men. My greatest investigative method is I am not emotionally involved with any ancient historian. Maybe one day you and all those so called academics will hopefully abandon your mumbo chumbo, sissy pansy blind obedience to Polybius. Only then will you reach primary source nirvana.

LOL! That comes across as a trifle arrogant, considering I have been studying this subject ( ancient military history ) since long before you were born ( over 50 years!), always using the best available evidence in primary literary sources, archaeology and sometimes iconography too. Would you tell your grandfather "How to suck eggs"? as the saying goes.
Oh, and as you will have read in my digression, it is not just Polybius who gives a Legion of 4,000-4,200 for this period, but Livy and Dionysius too. Are they all wrong, and you right? Somehow I don't think so........

 
"dulce et decorum est pro patria mori " - Horace, ODES
(It is a sweet and proper thing to die for ones country)

"No son-of-a-bitch ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country" -GeorgeC Scott as General George S. Patton
Paullus Scipio/Paul McDonnell-Staff
Reply
#26
Paul wrote:
One example will suffice.
 
Well at Drepana, Claudius had 120 ships and Iunius had 120 ships.
 
Paul wrote:
You yourself refer to the two Consuls before Ecnomus in 256 BC having 330 warships between them (Polybius’ figure; more likely 240, see my earlier post), while the Consul Aulus Postumius had one legion and just 40 warships [Polybius [II.12.2] in 229 BC that you also mention. (His colleague Gnaeus Fulvius had the bulk of the fleet, some 200 warships [Pol II.11.1]). Quite a difference, and no ‘/constancy’ there! Not to mention that the Roman Navy had fluctuating numbers of ships at different times in the war. I could give other examples......
 
Oh you are right, there are plenty more examples you and myself could provide. But have you studied any of them in detail because something didn’t appear right to you about them? For 219 BC, the consul Sempronius is given an army of 26,400 men, and 232 ships in which to invade Africa. The other consul, Scipio has an army of 24,200 men and 60 ships to invade Iberia.So Sempronius has 26,400 men being transported by 232 ships and Scipio with an army of 24,200 men (2,200 men less than Sempronius) transported on 60 ships. If alarm bells haven’t rung yet they should be.
 
Returning to 229 BC, Polybius has Fulvius with 200 ships, while Postumius is left with the land forces. Now if Postumius is left with the land forces, then what was in those 200 ships with Fulvius? Postumius then sails from Brundisium with “about 20,000 infantry and 2,000 cavalry.” This works out to be 4 legions each of 5,000 men, which is about right for a consular army. So where are the other four legions? Now if each ship carried 120 soldiers, then the 200 ships should be carrying 24,000 men. Then we have Fulvius going home with the fleet, leaving Postumius to raise one legion but having 40 ships, which is what I said is required to transport one legion. I have a problem with Postumius raising a legion in Illyria. Anyway I have covered this in the book and explained about the chronology of events.
 
Paul wrote:
That’s the second time I have given the reference for Polybius referring to 4 Legions, so you should have read it. For the avoidance of doubt, here is the passage: “Accordingly they picked out the best men from the land army and divided the whole force which they meant to take on board into four divisions.
 
I know what reference you are referring to. It is not evidence. However, eight legions divided by four equals four divisions each of 2 legions. So in this case, Polybius’ reference to a legion or squadron can equate to 2 legions, one allied one Roman.
 
Paul citing Polybius:
Each division had alternative titles; the first was called the "First Legion" or the "First Squadron,"—and so on with the others. The fourth had a third title besides. They were called "Triarii," on the analogy of land armies.”
 
So the triarii are a legion, is that what you are saying. Sorry this is not convincing evidence of there only being 4 legions.
 
Paul wrote:
You seem to have misread what I wrote. I said “IF” you are merely ‘juggling’ numbers, so as to arrive at your ‘constant number’, then that is bad methodology.
 
Yes you said that at first, but I am very well aware that in the same posting you wrote: “or alternately that your ‘number juggling’ is incorrect,” which now omits the if word, and is more of a statement of fact.
 
Paul wrote:
I have not ‘juggled’ any numbers, merely quoted a primary source
 
Well funny about that, so have I. It appears we are at an impasse.
 
Paul wrote:
You also appear to have misunderstood what I wrote about strengths. If the figure of 30-32,000 was correct (and there are many reasons it cannot be), why would over half be sent back, leaving the Army decidedly “under strength”?
 
As we did not attend the council of war, you and I cannot answer that question. But you would have to factor in the problem of logistics and supplying the men during winter. The Roman senate could have wanted Regulus to hold Aspis until the campaign season began and then the senate would dispatch another 3 legions to join Regulus and with it a new consul to replace Regulus. It seems Regulus was more interested in capturing Carthage before the new consul arrived. Anyway that is my conjecture on Regulus, which is supported by Polybius.
 
Paul wrote:
What was the point in sending them in the first place?
 
Sending them to Africa or sending them home?
 
Paul wrote:
Polybius tells us that it was “the ships crews and all the prisoners” who returned – no mention of any soldiers returning, except perhaps the permanent Marines, let alone half.
 
So what happened to the other 15,000 men? Oh that’s right, you don’t trust Eutropius or Orosius. Sad really.
 
Paul wrote:
We agree that there were two Consular armies each of two Legions plus two of ‘socii’, for a total of 8.  
 
And that’s where our agreeing ends.
 
Paul wrote:
Polybius absolutely does NOT say half the army returned, that is pure surmise on your part based on faulty data.
 
You can call it faulty data or whatever you like. I am not changing my mind.
 
Paul wrote:
The Romans did not have enough warships to transport 6 Legions of 5,000 men in any event.
 
Oh but they had 330 ships to do what with? Polybius says they had 330 ships carrying 120 men, so that makes 39,600 men, whereas your four legions each of 4,200 men, for a total of 16,800 men would only require 140 ships, leaving 190 ships unaccounted.
 
Paul wrote:
All this stems from preferring the information of Orosius/Eutropius writing around 750 years later aprox, over that of Polybius, writing much nearer the time, around 100 years later.
 
And here is what it is all about. I have put some trust in Orosius and Eutropius over Polybius. By not being emotionally attached to some historian, I am open to their fallacies, rather than putting them on a pedestal as the be and end all. You cannot accept the 30,000 men of Eutropius and Orosius, and that is where we differ.
 
Nothing you can throw at me will change my mind. The 8 legions in Sicily had 330 ships (minus the horse transports), then 6 legions in 240 ships set out for Africa and ran into the Carthaginian fleet, defeated the Carthaginian fleet, returned to Sicily to replace and losses (taken from the two legions left behind), set out again for Africa with 6 legions (240 ships), fought in Africa, then 3 legions (120 ships and transports) under Manlius returned to Italy and on the way picked up Manlius 40 ships in Sicily. Regulus was defeated. 3 legions (120 ships) were sent to Africa to help the survivors and also keep their foothold in Africa, but due to a plague (as per Orosius), on their returned to Italy, were caught in a storm and lost 220 ships (as per Diodorus).
 
40,000 men = 8 legions of 5,000 men.
30,000 men = 6 legions in Africa
15,000 men = 3 legions left in Africa
 
And you cannot ignore the fact that Polybius’ figure of 15,000 men left behind is actually half that of Orosius’ 30,000 men.
 
Paul wrote:
At Diod XXIII.9.1, Roman casualties of 30,000 infantry and 1,500 cavalry are referred to. Can’t see anything about 540 cavalry in the Loeb. A good historian might start by getting his facts and references straight.
 
Ouch that hurt. Lazenby (The First Piunic War page 59) gives it as 540 cavalry. If you look at the Bill Thayer site you will find a ? next to the figure of 1,500 cavalry. I looked into this years ago and the advice I was given was 540 was the go. So I guess by further looking into this that makes me a bad historian. However, I don’t see myself as a historian, just a rather inquisitive person.
 
Paul wrote:
Digression on Roman Army numbers:
 
And copied and pasted from the Bill Thayer site.
 
Paul wrote:
Polybius, however, is at variance with these authorities, for although in his chapter upon Roman warfare [VI.20] he gives 300 as the number, yet when he is detailing [III.107] the military preparations of the year B.C. 216, after having remarked that each legion contained 5000 infantry, he adds, that under ordinary circumstances it contained 4000 infantry and 200 cavalry, but that upon pressing emergencies it was increased to 5000 infantry and 300 cavalry, and this representation is confirmed by his review of the Roman forces at the time of the war against the Cisalpine Gauls [II.24]. It is true that when narrating the events of the first Punic War, he in one place [I.16 – see previous posts]) makes the legions to consist of 4000 infantry and 300 cavalry; and in the passage referred to above (II.24) the consular legions amounted to 5200 infantry and 300 cavalry, but both of these were pressing emergencies. The reference to 200 may be a textual corruption.
 
Well hallelujah, the second thing we are in agreement about.
 
Paul wrote:
Like you, I am generally sceptical of modern authors, but am prepared to read them in case they come up with something new or original (not often!).
 
I knew there was a reason why I like you.
 
Paul wrote:
I can’t find anywhere in the fragmentary Books XXIII and XXIV of Diodorus a reference to the Roman army landing in Africa 41,000 strong, do you have a reference for this? I think you are getting somewhat confused for I think 41,000 is just a number you calculated, based on incorrect figures of Polybius (which you also say are incorrect).
 
I’m confused! Not by a long shot. The 41,000 men and 1,000 cavalry I clearly stated was “for the siege of Herete in 252 BC (Sicily) during the First Punic war,” not Africa as you claim. And you will find the reference is Diodorus (Book 23 20) as previously given. Here is the link:
 
http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Diodorus_Siculus/23*.html
 
Paul wrote:
I take it you what the computer acronym GIGO stands for?
 
Oh yes, it has something to do with the way you use data in the primary sources. And I must say, in a rather beastly manner old sport.
 
Paul wrote:
Error alert! As you have done in the past, you are applying an anachronism, for Legions 5,000 strong are not referred to in our sources for this period, therefore didn’t exist. (see digression)
 
Oh so they only existed when the primary sources say they existed like at Cannae. Well if you believe legions of 5,000 men did not exist during the First Punic War, I will leave you to it, but please stop wasting energy trying to convince me otherwise, it will prove fruitless.
 
Paul wrote:
Error. Each ship can carry UP TO a maximum of 120 soldiers. There are no references to Legions in our sources of 4,800 men.
 
When there is, they are rounded to 5,000 men.
 
Paul wrote:
For this period, only 4,000 and 4,200 (the paper maximum, and 4,000 or so in practice is likely right, since units are seldom if ever at their full ‘paper’ strength.....)
 
What is this full paper strength rubbish? The primary sources don’t give a hoot about sick and injured. Do you think that is what they are using as sources, army field returns!
 
Paul wrote:
What is this “Consul’s squadron” of ten ships that you have conjured up? No mention of that in our sources. Just 4 squadrons, each carrying a Legion.
 
I explain how I came to those 10 ships from Polybius’ 330 ships. Applying data from the primary sources and dividing it or multiplying it and having it fit, is not conjuring up anything. However, when you throw numbers about, you believe it is scientific and nothing to do with conjuring anything.
 
For the First Punic war I don’t think the Romans have mastered fully transporting horses. By the Illyrian campaign of 229 BC, the numbers indicate they have it mastered.
 
Paul wrote:
What is the point of research if it is not shared, but concealed? That is a waste of everyone’s time.....
 
Displaying it on a forum means I will never be credited for it. And if I did, then I have to provide the numerous examples I have done to show how it works, well that is how the numbers support it, and without rounding. As I have not finished the First Punic war naval battles, it will remain with me.
 
Paul wrote:
Exactly right! I look at the most plausible evidence, and don’t go beyond it into ‘number games’.
 
The most common problem found in the primary sources is some ancient historians have taken the sub totals and added them to the grand total instead of subtracting them. Is that hard for anyone to believe? For me it certainly explains the discrepancy in the numbers. Don’t take my word for it, look at Ilipa as an example.
 
Paul wrote:
This is all non-evidence based speculation....
 
But what I didn’t show you was once you get the right ship numbers, they match those killed and captured numbers.
 
Paul wrote:
LOL! That comes across as rather arrogant, considering I have been studying this subject (ancient military history) since long before you were born, always using the best available evidence in primary literary sources, archaeology and sometimes iconography too.
 
And here you accuse me of coming across as arrogant and then you serve that up. Ok, I get it; you are older and know better. We being younger must accept everything you say without question; after all, being older must mean you are wiser. From now on when posting on this forum, we all give our ages, and those younger must kowtow to the older. I’ll start, I’m aged *&, smoked my first cigarette and 10, read my first book on the Romans at 12, fell in love with Cleopatra when I was 13, she was brown and I was pretty green, when I was young.
 
Paul wrote:
Oh, and as you will have read in my digression, it is not just Polybius who gives a Legion of 4,000-4,200 for this period, but Livy and Dionysius too. Are they all wrong, and you right? Somehow I don't think so........
 
Putting aside Polybius, those other references to a legion of 4,200 men, I have found to be something different to Polybius’ legion of 4,200 men. Also the situations that are occurring when Livy’s reference to the 4,200 man legion appears is very telling. Now don’t think for a minute that Livy’s 4,200 man legion is the same as Polybius, because if you add another 1,000 men to it, isn’t that the figure Livy and Polybius mention is done in times of emergency, then the legion would number 5,200 men, a figure you provided in your Bill Thayer digest? Something to think about in this crazy game of numbers.
 
 
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#27
Paullus Scipio: my point was purely technical - from construction perspective, Quinquereme is said to be faster than Quadrireme. Of course if you fully load the Quinquereme, then it would be unable to get to those speeds.. Yet, if you have both ships with experienced crew and standard combat load, then all these will be constant, therefore construction speed will play its role as well.


But, i don't think it is right to downplay the construction limitations. Those theoretical values are actually as accurate as it gets.. you dont need to build a ship to get these numbers today..

Today, we have modern simulation software that allow you to measure things that were not possible before, so you actually can get relatively accurate overview of a ship behavior within the software - that's how modern shipbuilding works.. it would be quite bad if you projected a ship and would be unable to tell how it will behave until actually tried on open sea.. that would be a huge waste of money actually.. Imagine modern destroyer like Zumwalt, which is using quite a different shape of hull, would be made without engineers actually knowing how that shape would behave in sea..
Jaroslav Jakubov
Reply
#28
(09-30-2016, 01:28 PM)JaM Wrote: Paullus Scipio: my point was purely technical - from construction perspective, Quinquereme is said to be faster than Quadrireme. Of course if you fully load the Quinquereme, then it would be unable to get to those speeds.. Yet, if you have both ships with experienced crew and standard combat load, then all these will be constant, therefore construction speed will play its role as well.


But, i don't think it is right to downplay the construction limitations. Those theoretical values are actually as accurate as it gets.. you dont need to build a ship to get these numbers today..

Today, we have modern simulation software that allow you to measure things that were not possible before, so you actually can get relatively accurate overview of a ship behavior within the software - that's how modern shipbuilding works.. it would be quite bad if you projected a ship and would be unable to tell how it will behave until actually tried on open sea.. that would be a huge waste of money actually.. Imagine modern destroyer like Zumwalt, which is using quite a different shape of hull, would be made without engineers actually knowing how that shape would behave in sea..

You don't seem to understand my last post, which I am tempted to repeat as an answer to this one, for it covers everything you raise.  Yes, the graph charts a calculated purely 'theoretical' hull speed only. In reality, no vessel will conform to that theoretical line. There are far too many variables, of which I have mentioned only some. You say that if all other variables are equal and constant, then theoretical hull speed will play a part. The problem is that those variables are never equal or constant in reality. Let me give you an example. Modern rowing eights, or better yet Dragon boats which have a crew of 20 (unlike ancient ships, which were individually built and therefore differed) are all  identical, being made in a factory. Your theoretical graph would predict that they should all cross the finish line together, but they never do. There can be substantial differences between first and last. This is because the 'engine' in each boat, whether 8 or 20 crew, is very different, and it is that human engine which ultimately governs the speed of the boat. In an ancient galley there are many other variables which means that your graph is useless, witness the Hannibal the Rhodian affair ( whose quinquereme was running 'light' having delivered its cargo and was returning home). As I pointed out earlier, your graph predicts the  quadrireme which outpaced it should not have 'theoretically' been able to! There is a world of difference between 'theory' and 'reality'!

Your example of the Zumwalt is ironically a classic example of how design theory can come unstuck, even today. Almost every designed element of this ship has turned out to be flawed. One was that the engineers realised they could not predict the 'tumblehome' hull shape's behaviour accurately from "simulation software", and so a quarter-scale trial vessel had to be constructed (called the 'Sea Jet') at hideous expense to find out "how that shape would behave in the sea". The results were disappointing, but construction of the full size vessel had already progressed too far to cancel it. There were to be 32 'Zumwalt' class destroyers, then 24, then 7 and finally only 3. The ships are a hideously expensive multi-billion dollar 'white elephant' failure.
So much for " an accurate overview of ship behaviour within the software". It doesn't work!!
"dulce et decorum est pro patria mori " - Horace, ODES
(It is a sweet and proper thing to die for ones country)

"No son-of-a-bitch ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country" -GeorgeC Scott as General George S. Patton
Paullus Scipio/Paul McDonnell-Staff
Reply
#29
lol, of course it works! Zumwalt doesn't have any flaws in term of its designed hull, its cost is a result of other factors, yet ship as it is, is the best destroyer/cruiser ship in the world, with potential of deployment modern weapons. (plus its trials went quite fine, much better than for example LCS which had a ton of issues and some people seems to confuse these two) It will be the first ship introducing the hypervelocity guns. Yes, it is costly, due to STEALTH, which makes this ship on the radar look like a small fishing vessel..   i wouldnt be surprised, if Zumwalt got into same situation as F-22, which had production stopped due to the cost, just to find out 10 years later that it was premature,stupid decision and more F-22 are needed.. yet its too late to make more.

and btw, "tumblehome" hull shape was used for hundreds of years, its not like its some revolutionary shape that was never used at sea.. Software modeling works and its insanely accurate. its used today for every single ship being built. We are not in 16.century where ships were build blindly, and sailing capabilities were only found after ship was tested on sea..


anyway, even with your examples of modern boats, it doesn't fits - because we are talking about ships with significantly more rowing power.. After all, Quinquereme has 300 rowers while Quadrireme had just 170-180, with very similar shape of the hull. It is the same situation like comparing a Bireme to Trireme.. so again - Quinquereme has better optimized hull for speed, has significantly more rowers, therefore, if experience of rowers would be the same as on Quadrireme, there is just no chance that Quadrireme would be able to catch up to such Quinquereme..
Jaroslav Jakubov
Reply
#30
Yeah, right! The fact that virtually the whole class has been cancelled speaks for itself. Don't believe manufacturers propaganda about it being "best in the world" or "trials going fine" - it's a dud and that's why it's been cancelled. As to 'tumblehome', that worked on 18 C sailing ships which were a totally different hull shape, not built for speed, but doesn't work in a modern context. Stealth shapes don't significantly increase construction costs.

If the software was "insanely accurate" why was it necessary to build and test "Sea Jet" at a cost of billions of dollars?. And it doesn't matter a jot if stealth reduces it's radar signature to that of a fishing boat, it's still detectable and shows up on radar. It could only 'hide' amidst a fishing fleet, which is hardly likely to happen!!!

As to galleys, you still don't 'get it'. The 'engine efficiency' is the overwhelming factor, not numbers of rowers. The ancient '40' had the most number of rowers but was too heavy and too slow.

..."there is just no chance that Quadrireme would be able to catch up to such Quinquereme.." So how do you explain the capture of Hannibal the Rhodian?

Clearly the quadrireme's rowers were more efficient. Like I said the overwhelming factor is the experience and skill of the rowers - the engine - not some theoretical graph prediction, because 'real life' is never like that projection, which fails to take into account all the many variables. It predicts ONLY one factor, theoretical hull speed, which is only a minor factor at best.
"dulce et decorum est pro patria mori " - Horace, ODES
(It is a sweet and proper thing to die for ones country)

"No son-of-a-bitch ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country" -GeorgeC Scott as General George S. Patton
Paullus Scipio/Paul McDonnell-Staff
Reply


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