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The Roman Fleet of the Republic
#31
no, you dont get it. As I said, if you have same crew, with same experience, then superior number of rowers will make its effect. Why then Bireme is not faster than Trireme, when it is in the same situation? after all Bireme is just a 15-20 ton ship vs 40ton Trireme...

And for Zumwalt, its being fielded with 3 ships built. its costly ship, but its the future. and no, you cannot put STEALTH on normal ships.. whole point of tumblehome construction was due to how radar waves are hitting the hull of ordinary ships and deflecting it widely, so its easy to track those ships at extreme ranges.. with Zumwalt, good luck. I wouldnt be surprised, there will be another take on that ship in the future, when certain technologies are a bit cheaper, the same way as F-35 takes over F-22. And same way, If F-35 was stopped after just 180built (like F-22) its unit price would be same as with F-22.. yet with 2500 planes built, unit price will go down dramatically to the level even 4gen fighters cant compete with.. same would be true with Zumwalt..


and btw, they didnt had to build sea jet to test the shape... but the software and hardware that keeps the stability on harsh sea...

anyway, back to your Hannibal the Rhodian - we actually dont know for certain what ship type he had, and what ship type caught him. But we know Romans operated Triremes as well, and Triremes were faster than anything else.. therefore the reason why Rhodian was able to escape was not because of his ship, but because of his crew... and most likely, also the crew was important to his capture.. Romans could just take picked men for that chase, best men they had in entire fleet to caught with him..

so actually, at one point, you diminish my numbers i provided, and tell that they have no impact because ship construction speed doesn't matter, but at the other side, you give Rhodian capture as an example and try to put the main difference on a ship type...
Jaroslav Jakubov
Reply
#32
Paul wrote:
One example will suffice.
 
Well at Drepana, Claudius had 120 ships and Iunius had 120 ships.
 
Ha Ha, very funny! LOL!
One example does not prove a generalisation, especially when it’s untrue. OTOH, One example does suffice to disprove a generalisation.
 
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.

Alarm bells should certainly be ringing for your postulations! Similar sized armies, but vastly different sized fleets demonstrate that you can’t just play with the arithmetic to arrive at correct numbers of ships or men !! You need supporting evidence. In this instance – the invasion of Africa in the first war, it is possible from the evidence to deduce likely totals from Polybius, and also see how Eutropius and Orosius arrived at incorrect totals. In fact you have to postulate that over half the army returned to Sicily/Italy to get back to reality, when the evidence in Polybius tells us only the fleet returned with the prisoners ( and presumably the fixed complement of 40 odd Marines sufficed to guard them ). In the case of the second war, 219 BC, Sempronius has the right number of warships[160] to transport his army[ 24,000 foot and 2,400 horse] only if part are on transports according to Livy[XXI.17.4 and Pol III.41.2].Scipio has 60 quinqueremes, and 22,000 foot with 2,200 horse, so his army evidently travelled on transports escorted by the 60 warships. ( Your 232 ships for Sempronius is an error, Livy says the total launched was 220 quinqueremes, split 16 and 60.)
When you start ignoring primary source evidence in favour of unevidenced postulations, it should tell you your theory is falling apart, and set off flashing red lights and klaxons!

 
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.

...a carrying capacity of UP TO 24,000 men. In reality, Fulvius probably had , as Polybius [II.11] says, just the fleet with its normal complement of around 40 marines, not weighed down by the burden of a cargo of troops ( who would weigh around 12 tonnes! This would effect a ship’s performance, slowing it down and making it top-heavy), while Postumius brought “the land forces” consisting of “ about 20,000 foot and 2,000 horse” which sounds like a slightly overstrength consular army (which would have a nominal ‘paper’ strength of around 18,400) with the surplus perhaps being additional socii or auxiliaries such as Cretan archers, assuming “about 20,000” is not just a rounding up of 18,400. We don’t know what the balance of the Roman Army was doing, or where it was. There are any number of possibilities. This is another example of the Army being deployed ‘assymetrically’, rather than divided equally between Consuls, like the Army being left in Africa under M. Atilius Regulus, while L. Manlius Vulso returned with the Fleet and a large number of prisoners to celebrate a Triumph for the battle . ( Both Consuls were awarded the Triumph jointly, according to the ‘Fasti’, though Regulus was not present, of course)
 
 
 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.

Yes, it is well established that 40 quinqueremes could transport 60 legionaries plus 20 velites attached in addition to 40 odd marines for a total of 120 soldiers per ship. This capacity could transport a full-sized Legion (4,200) plus 300 cavalrymen, assuming these are not on horse transports - but only if you assume that the ships did not have a quota of permanent marines, and that all the soldiers were from the Legion, which we know was not the case.(BTW, transports are not always mentioned, but when they are they seem to often outnumber the warships by a factor of 2 or 3 or more.)
 
Given that that one of the causes of the War was the way that Illyrian pirates preyed on the large numbers of Italian merchants who resided up and down the Dalmatian coast, I would think it relatively straightforward to raise a Legion from their communities, possibly even a Legion of Roman citizens. They could hardly refuse, having lobbied the Roman Senate into going to War.....

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.

Make your mind up! You here postulate that Polybius means four ‘double legions’  numbering at least 32,000-33,600 embarked for Africa, but elsewhere that 6 Legions did. Your explanation of how 8 became 6 [and then 3! ] below is singularly unconvincing. That number is impossible, because it would require 400 ships ( 80 per ship, excluding permanent marines– way more than even Polybius specifies, and he must have known this therefore 4 Legions means what it says – 4 legions, or some 16-18,000 men or so – especially when this is consistent with our other information e.g. that Regulus’ army numbered 15,000 odd, which faced Xanthippus’ 12,000 odd at Bagradas and destroyed Regulus’ army.)
No Roman fleet ever numbered that many warships or rather ‘decked battleships’, that is, quadriremes and quinqueremes. (400, and in the first Punic War, 300)
 
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.

The fourth Legion/squadron provided the last line (reserve) in the Roman fleet formation, hence the analogy with ‘Triarii’, the  reserve last line of the army, so a very apt one. Polybius is quite clear that the Army numbered 4 Legions, embarked on 4 squadrons. (giving squadrons of aprox 82 (330 div by 4) assuming an even division, 60 per squadron based on 240 ships - so much for your "squadrons of ten.")
  
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.

Well, if Regulus was ambitious to capture Carthage, it would seem to be imbecilic to send away over half the Army, and the evidence is that he didn’t. It certainly couldn’t be done with 30,000 men, let alone 15,000. It would take something like 50-60,000 or more troops 4 campaigning seasons to besiege and capture a disarmed Carthage in the Third Punic War. It is more likely that, like Hannibal in the next war, his strategy was to ravage the countryside, cause allies to defect thus isolating the city and forcing it to negotiate.
  
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.

There is no other 15,000 men! The arithmetic as well as the source material means Orosius and Eutropius, both relatively late sources, cannot be correct about numbers embarked. Eutropius wrote a ‘Breviarum’/summary of Roman history and Orosius was a Christian proselytiser who wrote a brief history called ‘Against the Pagans’. I re-read the relevant sections of Orosius (Book 4) and Eutropius (II.21) to refresh my memory. Eutropius reports  Regulus’ army as being 32,000 strong, and Orosius has Regulus’ army 30,000 strong, and both report  Manlius returning with 27,000 prisoners, which if correct, would preclude any troops returning for want of room! Neither reports more than ‘half the army’ returning, so since it is in none of our sources it can be safely dismissed.
 


 

 
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.

Having now known you for some time, I wouldn’t expect you to be open minded or open to persuasion.. My posts are intended as information for the general readership, who can reach their own conclusions.
 
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.

So, you are now asserting again that there were 330 ships, after saying this number was incorrect ?  Incidently Orosius IV.8 also refers to 330 ships but it is likely the source of that figure was Polybius.
You are again counting the marines as land soldiers again. My reckoning, as set out previously’ is that a century (60 men) and their attached 20 velites were added to the 40 or so permanent marines ( who would rarely be disembarked, for it would deprive the ship of a major weapon). That would require a minimum of 210 ships at least.  The admittedly meagre evidence suggests the fleet at Ecnomus numbered around 230-240 ‘cataphracts/battleships’ and that if 330 is the correct total, it includes the lighter ‘aphracts’/undecked ships -  lembi scouting ships and the like. Incidentally, 120 men would have roughly just one square metre each on the deck of a quinquereme!
 
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.

I don’t accept that number, quoted for Regulus’ army and the expeditionary force, because it is clearly too high and so implausible as to be impossible, not least because of the number of ships needed (400 quinqueremes), and the size of Xanthippus’ Carthaginian army.. In this instance Polybius’ account is much more plausible, which has some 16,000 men embark for Africa, and 15,000 under Regulus at Bagradas facing a Carthaginian phalanx of 12,000 (Poly I.32.), who could not plausibly have beaten an army more than twice their size, even with elephants!
 
Nothing you can throw at me will change my mind.
Oh, I’m well aware of that! See above.
 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.
So you agree my deduction that Regulus and Manlius had 240 ‘cataphract’ warships?
There is no evidence for 6 Legions, nor that they numbered 5,000 each and they wouldn’t fit on 240 ships anyway.
There is no evidence that ‘half the army’ returned with Manlius, only prisoners.
At Cape Hermaeum the rescue force is 350 ships according to Polybius, slightly more than Ecnomus, and Carthage 200, (and Eutropius and Orosius have different figures) but the real number of Roman cataphracts is likely to have been around 250. Certainly not the 120 of Diodorus’ anecdote about the Carthaginian commander’ trick to escape execution [XXIII.10 fragments]. Even adding in the captured Carthaginian ships , Polybius has 364 ships return  and then storm losses of 284.
Further, your “3 legions” would completely fill the decks of 120 ships, so how were the 2,000 odd survivors transported ? Perhaps in the 14 captured ships Polybius has the Romans take back with them ? (24 according to Diodorus, but perhaps some 10 were damaged and unseaworthy )
 
Paul wrote:
Digression on Roman Army numbers:
 
And copied and pasted from the Bill Thayer site.

No, actually. It is from Smith’s ‘Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities’ of which there are various editions on the Perseus site, and as you say on the Lacus Curtius site. Because the RAT site’s formatting won’t let me ‘cut and paste’ into a reply, I had to type it out, so I took the opportunity of editing and epitomising relevant sections, and deleting irrelevant parts to try and keep the ‘digression’ as short as practicable.
  
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


We were discussing the size of the force that invaded Africa, which you claimed was 41,000 strong using Polybius’ figures. 330 ships x 300 rowers =99,000 subtracted from Polybius’ total of 140,000 men =41,000 ( not the 41,000 of Diodorus for the siege of Herete in Sicily), notwithstanding you describe Polybius totals as incorrect – with which I agree. See? You are confused.
  
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.
I wouldn’t try to convince you of anything. Like I said, the information provided is for the general readership, else we’d be having this debate in private.
None of our sources record a Legion 5,000 strong until the second year of the Second Punic War, so it would be an anachronism to claim such for the First Punic War. You can't just ignore the sources altogether and invent your own postulations. That is very poor methodology.....
 
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!

Of course not, I am merely making the point that most sources use 'paper'/theoretical strengths to calculate numbers, but we have no way (nor did they) of knowing actual numbers on a given battlefield. Hence they could happily round 4,200 to 4,000 for convenience.
 
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.

Again there is no evidence of any 'Consul's squadron, and on your postulations, shouldn't there a 'Consul's squadron each?
 

    
Paul wrote:
Steven wrote:
“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 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.

Tut, tut! Uncalled for. That is an example of ‘reductio ad absurdum’, an irrational form of logical fallacy. I was merely making the point that I don’t need to be lectured on the proper use of original source material versus modern interpretation, by the likes of your unnecessarily sarcastic and offensive piece .of logical fallacy above, especially when you erred in thinking the 4,000/4,200 man Legion is purely ‘Polybian’....
Funny that you should be quoting lyrics from the Eric Burdon 1967 hit. I recognised it instantly, for back then I was a big “Animals” fan, and I still have the black vinyl LP from ‘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. 

So we are to ignore Livy, Dionysius and Polybius 4,000/4,200 as aberrations or special cases, and assume that the ‘proper’ number for a Legion at this time was 5,000? That sounds like mere rationalisation to me, to get away from an inconvenient truth. ( or to use your phrase; ‘Mumbo Chumbo’ ) LOL!
"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
#33
JaM wrote :
no, you dont get it. As I said, if you have same crew, with same experience, then superior number of rowers will make its effect. Why then Bireme is not faster than Trireme, when it is in the same situation? after all Bireme is just a 15-20 ton ship vs 40ton Trireme...”

Obviously you are not a Marine Engineer. Ultimately, it is the hull waterline length that is the major factor in governing the ‘theoretical hull speed’ – longer ships are theoretically faster, and this what your graphs are ultimately based on, but there are many other variables that may affect speed in reality, such as the length v beam ratio, weight and many others – even weather. A ship which is theoretically faster than another in calm water can be slower in rough conditions.
And number of rowers may theoretically add more power, but they also add more weight. It is power-to-weight ratio that matters, not just power. As an example, in Dragon boating with a crew of 20, boats powered by girls are often as fast as, and sometimes faster than one powered by men, who are obviously bigger and more powerful. The men’s crew might weigh 1600 kg, while the women’s crew might weigh 1,000 kg. This has knock-on effects. The men’s boat will sit maybe a foot/30 cm lower in the water, so it has much more wetted surface area, hence much more drag, and that just compounds the girls weight advantage. And there are other technical aspects, which I won’t go into. But at the end of the day, the lighter girls boat has better power-to-weight ratio and less drag ( so doesn’t need so much power), reflected in their relative speeds.
And for another practical example, back to the anecdote about Hannibal the Rhodian. His quinquereme was faster than earlier ones (which the Romans had copied), probably because it was lighter built...... But your graph only has one point for quinqueremes when it should have many.
 
anyway, back to your Hannibal the Rhodian - we actually dont know for certain what ship type he had, and what ship type caught him."

Actually, yes we do. Hannibal’s vessel was a quinquereme. In this way a fleet of two hundred quinqueremes was rapidly got ready, all built on the model of the "Rhodian's" ship.” Pol [I.59.8]
And we know the vessel that caught him was a captured quadrireme. “However, in one place where there were shoals a solid bank was formed at the cost of infinite pains, and on this a four-banked ship which was coming out at night grounded and fell into the hands of the enemy.  This ship was of remarkably fine build, and the Romans, after capturing it and manning it with a select crew, kept watch for all the blockade-runners7 and especially for the "Rhodian." It so happened that he had sailed in that very night, and was afterwards sailing out quite openly, but, on seeing the four-banked vessel putting out to sea again together with himself and recognizing it, he was alarmed.  At first he made a spurt to get away from it, but finding himself overhauled owing to the good oarsmanship of its crew he had at length to turn and engage the enemy.  Being no match for the boarders, who were numerous and all picked men, he fell into the enemy's hands. His ship was, like the other, very well built,  and the Romans when they were in possession of her fitted her out too for this special service and so put a stop to all this venturesome blockade-running at Lilybaeum.” Pol[I.47]
The quadrireme was faster than the quinquereme, which is one of the reasons your graph is invalid.

 But we know Romans operated Triremes as well, and Triremes were faster than anything else.. therefore the reason why Rhodian was able to escape was not because of his ship, but because of his crew... and most likely, also the crew was important to his capture.. Romans could just take picked men for that chase, best men they had in entire fleet to caught with him.

The Romans tried to catch ‘The Rhodian’ by putting up their best: “The Roman General.....had fitted out in the night ten of his fastest ships/naus [we aren’t told their type]” and they failed to catch him, and he even taunted them by stopping and waiting for them, before speeding off. The Rhodian’s ship too, was specially fitted out with a crack crew.
Triremes are not necessarily the fastest, and in this instance are not fully decked ships (cataphract), so can’t carry enough marines to tackle a cataphract (Cataphractoi), nor does the extra height of the bigger quinquereme allow them to board.

“so actually, at one point, you diminish my numbers i provided, and tell that they have no impact because ship construction speed doesn't matter, but at the other side, you give Rhodian capture as an example and try to put the main difference on a ship type...”


On the contrary, I’m saying that your graph doesn’t account for how a well-built quadrireme can be faster than a well-built quinquereme,  or how one quinquereme can be faster than another, so is a useless predictor of a vessel's speed. In real life it was a combination of a particularly well-built ship but more importantly the skill and experience of the oarsmen, which you now acknowledge.

The Zumwalt and its costs etc are so far off-topic that I shall end discussion of her and other modern weapons like F22’s and F35’s.....
"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
#34
Paul wrote:
Ha Ha, very funny! LOL! One example does not prove a generalisation, especially when it’s untrue. OTOH, One example does suffice to disprove a generalisation.
 
You said “one example will suffice.” I have complied with your request. There is no pleasing some people.
 
Paul wrote:
Alarm bells should certainly be ringing for your postulations! Similar sized armies, but vastly different sized fleets demonstrate that you can’t just play with the arithmetic to arrive at correct numbers of ships or men!! You need supporting evidence.
 
I’m not even going to defend myself here as it is pointless. As for supporting evidence, lots of it in the section of the Roman Fleet which is still ongoing.
 
Paul wrote:
In this instance – the invasion of Africa, it is possible from the evidence to deduce likely totals from Polybius, and also see how Eutropius and Orosius arrived at incorrect totals.
 
You make it like your calculations are the only ones that are conclusive. You do this with impunity, and then hollow loud and long if I do likewise.
 
You tell me the sources do not say that the legion had 5,000 men, and yet use the figure of 40 marines, a figure the primary sources do not state. In a previous post I showed that Orosius’ figure of 9 Roman ships lost for 1,100 men, when divided by 120 men per ship, works out to be 1,080 men, which means Orosius’ figure of 1,100 men has been rounded by 20 men, a figure that is acceptable for rounding. But again, this in your view means UP TO 120, all done so your deductions will conform to Polybius’ legion of 4,000 men or 4,200 men. You desperately need you 40 marines to increase your numbers. Take them away and you are left floundering.
 
Paul wrote:
When you start ignoring primary source evidence in favour of unevidenced postulations, it should tell you your theory is falling apart, and set off flashing red lights and klaxons!
 
Thanks for the lecture. But rather than falling apart, after studying all the naval battles of the First Punic war, more insights have arisen. And how about Diodorus numbers for Lilybaeum, both ships and men involved. It is pure manna from heaven and again, supports all my calculations. Does it do the same for you?
 
Paul wrote:
around 40 marines, not weighed down by the burden of a cargo of troops ( who would weigh around 12 tonnes!
 
Does it say that in the primary sources?
 
Paul wrote:
(BTW, transports are not always mentioned, but when they are they seem to often outnumber the warships by a factor of 2 or 3 or more.)
 
Does it state that in the primary sources? Iunius has 120 ships and 800 transports, but these seem to be provisional transports. Why are you allowed to make these calculations, and when I do, using primary source numbers, I am committing every crime in the book.
 
Paul wrote:
Make your mind up! You here postulate that Polybius means four ‘double legions’ numbering at least 32,000-33,600 embarked for Africa, but elsewhere that 6 Legions did. Your explanation of how 8 became 6 [and then 3! ] below is singularly unconvincing.
 
No Paul, I said that the four divisions Polybius is relating to could also mean each division consists of two legions. You cannot say as an absolute, that it literally means four legions. Remember, there are two consuls present and we know that each consul commands four legions, giving a total of eight legions.
 
And I am not confused. Polybius is talking about two consular armies being in Sicily with 330 ships, being organised into four divisions. So 330 ships divided by four, by removing my 10 cavalry ships means the remaining 320 ships divided by four  = 80 ships. Now as I have shown you and this forum that a legion had 40 ships, each division has 80 ships of infantry, or two legions.
 
Paul wrote:
That number is impossible, because it would require 400 ships ( 80 per ship, excluding permanent marines.....No Roman fleet ever numbered that many warships or rather ‘decked battleships’, that is, quadriremes and quinqueremes. (400, and in the first Punic War, 300)
 
You alone have set the figure of 80 men per ship. Where does it say 80 men per ship in the primary sources? Where is the evidence?
 
Paul wrote:
The fourth Legion/squadron provided the last line (reserve) in the Roman fleet formation, hence the analogy with ‘Triarii’, the reserve last line of the army, so a very apt one.
 
I stated this in a previous post, and before you joined in. Do I have to produce it?
 
Paul wrote:
Well, if Regulus was ambitious to capture Carthage, it would seem to be imbecilic to send away over half the Army, and the evidence is that he didn’t. ... It certainly couldn’t be done with 30,000 men, let alone 15,000. It would take something like 50-60,000 or more troops 4 campaigning seasons to besiege and capture a disarmed Carthage in the Third Punic War.
 
My money is on the senate left him with 3 legions to maintain his foothold on Aspis for the winter with no campaigning to be undertaken, but on the proviso of being allowed to defend himself. Regulus had his own aggressive agenda, and he did nearly pull it off and have Carthage sue for peace, but as his terms were too harsh, he gave the Carthaginians no option but to fight.
 
Paul wrote:
There is no other 15,000 men! The arithmetic as well as the source material means Orosius and Eutropius, both relatively late sources, cannot be correct about numbers embarked.
 
Well Paul if you say so.
 
Paul wrote:
Eutropius wrote a ‘Breviarum’/summary of Roman history and Orosius was a Christian proselytiser who wrote a brief history called ‘Against the Pagans’.
 
Yes Paul I get it, you believe Eutropius and Orosius are unreliable and Polybius is the most reliable of all ancient historians because he was closer to the event. Some of the books I have read over time about WWII by authors close to the event were utter rubbish. For one thing, none of them knew about Ultra or Beckley Park until 1975. And when it did come out, read how accounts of the WWII were rewritten. That piece of garbage Guderian used it to blame his every failure.
 
Paul wrote:
Neither reports more than ‘half the army’ returning, so since it is in none of our sources it can be safely dismissed.
 
I love the double standards. In that case, your figure of each Roman ship having 40 marines, as it is not mentioned in the sources, it can safely be dismissed. As Polybius does not mention that each legion of 4,200 men was transported on 40 ships, it can safely be dismissed.
 
Paul wrote:
Having now known you for some time, I wouldn’t expect you to be open minded or open to persuasion.
 
Oh trust me I am open to persuasion and very open minded. There has been a few items that Nathan Ross and others on this forum such as Michael have helped me to see in a different perspective. One such example by Nathan is the reinforcements for Titus during the Jewish War. However, nothing you have presented is either persuasive or convincing, and when that happens, I will stand by my research to the last drop of blood.
 
Paul wrote:
So, you are now asserting again that there were 330 ships, after saying this number was incorrect? Incidently Orosius IV.8 also refers to 330 ships but it is likely the source of that figure was Polybius.
 
The figure of 330 ships leaves out the horse transports, but it is correct for 8 legions, not 6 legions at Ecnomus.
 
Paul wrote:
You are again counting the marines as land soldiers again.
 
As the primary sources do not tell us there are 40 marines, it is pointless to include them.
 
Paul wrote:
I don’t accept that number, quoted for Regulus’ army and the expeditionary force, because it is clearly too high and so implausible as to be impossible, not least because of the number of ships needed (400 quinqueremes), and the size of Xanthippus’ Carthaginian army.
 
If you follow Polybius and Orosius of 120 soldiers to a ship, Orosius’ 30,000 infantry only needs 250 ships, a saving of 150 ships over you total of 400 ships. Maybe you could follow the primary sources and allocate each ship 120 soldiers taken from the legions and drop the 40 marines you absolutely believe in.
 
Paul wrote:
So you agree my deduction that Regulus and Manlius had 240 ‘cataphract’ warships?
 
Hmm, I think you should be agreeing with me. I bought it to your attention and this forum that a legion needed 40 ships and that 6 legions went to Africa, which require 240 ships, which omits the cavalry.
 
Paul wrote:
There is no evidence for 6 Legions, nor that they numbered 5,000 each and they wouldn’t fit on 240 ships anyway.
 
Well if the primary sources tell us that a legion had 40 ships, and you believe there were 240 ships, then there were 6 legions. There is no evidence for 40 marines being allocated to a ship either, and that 80 legionaries were added to bring it up to 120 men. But it is ok for you to come to that conclusion based on your deductions.
 
Paul wrote:
Further, your “3 legions” would completely fill the decks of 120 ships, so how were the 2,000 odd survivors transported ? Perhaps in the 14 captured ships Polybius has the Romans take back with them ? (24 according to Diodorus, but perhaps some 10 were damaged and unseaworthy)
 
Well if you subtract Polybius’ total of 114 Carthaginian ships captured at Hermaeum, not the incorrect size of 14 ships you have given, from Polybius’ total of 364 ships lost in the storm, you get 250 ships. I will repeat my case again.
 
There were 8 legions in Sicily with 330 ships (leaving out the horse transports), 6 legions went to Africa in 250 ships (240 for infantry and 10 for cavalrymen, minus horse transports), then 125 ships under Manlius returned with all their transports to carry the prisoners in), which as you claim would be 2 to 3 times the fleet would suffice. This leaves Regulus at Aspis with 125 ships at Aspis. On the return to Italy, Manlius is united with his one legion in Italy of 40 ships, and then departs for Italy. This leaves one legion belonging to Regulus in Sicily with 40 ships, and it is these same 40 ships Polybius believes were left with Regulus in Africa.
 
Regulus is defeated with only 2,000 survivors from his army, who are then besieged by the Carthaginian army. With the rowers from the remaining 125 ships, that is 37,500 men, it would explain why the Carthaginian attempts to capture the place failed. The senate then sends a consul with 125 ships (240 infantry and 5 cavalry) or 3 legions to Aspis. Once at Aspis the fleet numbers 250 ships (240 infantry and 10 cavalry, minus the horse transports of the relief force). On their return Polybius gives the size of the fleet caught in the storm at 364 ships, which is the 250 ships from Aspis and the 114 Carthaginian ships Polybius claims were captured at Hermaeum (250 + 114 = 364 ships). Now Eutropius figure of 464 ships is the classic example of taking the grand total and accidently adding to this one of the sub totals.
 
Paul wrote:
We were discussing the size of the force that invaded Africa, which you claimed was 41,000 strong using Polybius’ figures. 330 ships x 300 rowers =99,000 subtracted from Polybius’ total of 140,000 men =41,000 (not the 41,000 of Diodorus for the siege of Herete in Sicily), notwithstanding you describe Polybius totals as incorrect – with which I agree. See? You are confused.
 
What are you on about? I mentioned that subtracting the 99,000 rowers from Polybius’ total of 140,000 leaves a residue of 41,000 men and lo and behold, I provided you with a reference from Diodorus of 40,000 infantry and 1,000 cavalry operating in Sicily for the same period of time.
 
You then accused me of making up the figure of 41,000 men based on the fact you could not find the reference. So how do you explain Polybius and Diodorus arriving at the same figure of 41,000 men? Now if you take those 40,000 men and if you follow Polybius and Orosius, you will need around 333 ships, which does approximate to Polybius’ and Orosius figure of 330 ships for the Africa campaign. Funny about that.
 
For 229 BC, Postumius brought “the land forces” consisting of “about 20,000 foot and 2,000 horse.” What does “about 20,000 foot” mean? I get four legions each of 4,800 men for a total of 19,200 men. If it was 20,000 foot, I would say 4 legions of 5,000 men. My research shows that without officers and supernumeraries, a legion amounted to 4,800 men, and with the officers and supernumeraries, 5,040 men. I have found that sometimes, the primary sources total for the army includes the officers and supernumeraries. They are my findings and I am staying with them due to too many references support my findings.
 
Paul wrote:
You can't just ignore the sources altogether and invent your own postulations. That is very poor methodology.....
 
There is no evidence that there were 40 marines allocated to a ship, so how about following your own advice. When I said the difference between Orosius figure of 104 Carthaginian ships and Polybius’ total of 114 ships could have been arrived at by having the 9 Roman ships sunk, round to 10 ships and added to the 104 ship total. You berate me for speculation and yet you continue to do exactly what you accuse me of doing.
 
Paul wrote:
Again there is no evidence of any 'Consul's squadron, and on your postulations, shouldn't there a 'Consul's squadron each?
 
Again there is no evidence of 40 marines allocated to a ship. What I did, and god it seems to be a major crime, was use Polybius’ 120 soldiers to a ship, end up with 320 ships accounted for and with the residue 10 ships allocate them as cavalry. It is supported by Diodorus’ 40,000 infantry and 1,000 cavalry. Plus after deducting the two legions left in Sicily, having 6 legions in Africa and then half the army going home, my cavalry figure approximates with Polybius 500.
 
Paul wrote:
Tut, tut! Uncalled for. That is an example of ‘reductio ad absurdum’, an irrational form of logical fallacy. I was merely making the point that I don’t need to be lectured on the proper use of original source material versus modern interpretation, by the likes of your unnecessarily sarcastic and offensive piece .of logical fallacy above, especially when you erred in thinking the 4,000/4,200 man Legion is purely ‘Polybian’....
 
Well Pau I have found you to be a tad insulting. I wanted to lighten up the conversation as the dogma was getting to me. Plus you started the number juggling jibe, one you used with the word “if”, the other as a matter of fact.
 
Paul wrote:
Funny that you should be quoting lyrics from the Eric Burdon 1967 hit. I recognised it instantly, for back then I was a big “Animals” fan, and I still have the black vinyl LP from ‘when I was young!’
 
It was playing in the background as I was writing, as was Sky Pilot, House of the Rising Sun, We Gotta Get Out of this Place etc.
 
Pau wrote:
So we are to ignore Livy, Dionysius and Polybius 4,000/4,200 as aberrations or special cases, and assume that the ‘proper’ number for a Legion at this time was 5,000? That sounds like mere rationalisation to me, to get away from an inconvenient truth. ( or to use your phrase; ‘Mumbo Chumbo’ ) LOL!
 
You do realise that Dionysius’ quote belongs to 492 BC, and Livy’s 4,200 men, to 346 BC according to Smith’s dictionary. Is that sufficient evidence for a legion of 4,200 being the mainstay right to the Second Punic War?
 
At present I have a lot of work finishing the naval battles of the First Punic War and heading overseas soon, so as we continue to disagree on nearly everything, I believe it is pointless continuing recycling the same banter. Unless of course you want to introduce the data for Lilybaeum, which is a little gold mine. Also it gets tiring pointing out some of the discrepancies in Polybius and you ignoring them. But when all is said and done, you have accused me of the very things you are doing, and honestly, I am a tad tired of it.
Reply
#35
Paullus Scipio: you are comparing apples with peaches here and drawing conclusions out of it..

Hull speed teoretical values are good indicator what would be maximum possible speed for certain ship type. It is quite obvious from those values, Quinquereme was superior to Quadrireme in terms of hull shape.

But back to your power to weight ratios. Quinquereme with 300 rowers and weight around 100tons, vs Quadrireme of 75-80 tons and 170 rowers, gives you 3rowers per every ton for Five, but just 2.1 per ton with Four...  so obviously, Five had much better power to weight ratio than Four.   Crew weight is part of the ship weight already. If we compare it to Trireme, then we have 170 rowers with 40ton ship and ratio of 4.25. Of course those values are just theoretical, but they clearly show where advantage was..

Yet, Quinquereme was a combat ship, oriented towards boarding action, therefore Quinquereme fitted for combat would be a lot heavier therefore slower. Rhodian most likely had lightened ship, with any additional heavy planking (ramming protection) at the waterline removed, he didnt carry any towers or additional marines, but he was doing these runs to actually SUPPLY the garrison, therefore his ship would be modified for additional cargo.

One thing you forgot to take into assumption is speed under sails, and direction of the wind in that area... no matter how good crew you have, they wont be able to row at full speed for long period of time..  Rhodian's ship could be under full sails, with optimal wind and Romans would have no chance catching it even with Triremes..

And last, as these values i posted say, there are multiple different parameters that need to be taken into assumption. Some ships might have high acceleration, but would lack the top speed, while others could have high top speed but much slower acceleration. Similarly,with all rowing ships, cruising speed would be much lower than maximum speed which could be achieved only for a limited time..

If you are chasing somebody, you need to have greater sustained speed than him. Only then you can get to him. I can imagine that a Quinquereme with reduced numbers of rowers under full sails, while loaded with cargo would be most likely slower than a Quadrireme without cargo, but with Marines on board, sailing under full sails..  ordinary combat ships didnt usually use sails.. so they would be unable to catch ship under sails, because no matter how fast they can get for short period of time, they would be unable to sustain that speed for long..

Plus, lets not forget, that Antonius was able to escape from Actium with some of his ships by raising sails, while Octavian's ships could not catch them.. which clearly shows there was a huge difference for ship under sails or without them...



so making conclusions out of one example, and saying because of it, Quadrireme must have been faster than Quinquereme is false.
Jaroslav Jakubov
Reply
#36
After compiling Roman fleet numbers from the First Punic War to 190 BC, much of it is straight forward and has fallen into place without much of a struggle. There was the odd pocket of resistance caused by Polybius, but his mistakes are also a key to obtaining the right answer. As usual, the varying numbers are displaying Roman doctrine, especially those of Livy with some defining legionary fleets with their cavalrymen ships and horse transports, and then when required to work in light order, or what I call intercept fleets, that is a fleet dedicated to intercepting any Carthaginian fleet in the vicinity, the cavalrymen ships and horse transports remain in port. And this is why I have previously described the First Punic War fleet numbers like examining a harbour register of ships coming and going. Depending on what day you look at the registry, the number of ships present will be different.
 
In relation to ship numbers, Christa Steinby: “Rome versus Carthage: The War at Sea,” Pen and Sword, has this to say in the Introduction chapter:
 
“As we read the ancient sources, there will be questions about ship numbers. We cannot do arithmetic with ancient figures but have to take them as they are.”
 
This negative attitude is very that persists among those historians in the field of Roman military history, and an attitude that bars the road to further discovery. When it comes to the numbers they have given up, believing it is some unsolvable and unsurmountable mathematical Mount Everest. I can tell you it is not. My goal or drive has been to understand how the numbers in the primary sources, especially those numbers that conflict between two sources describing the same battle have come about. I have always believed there had to be a logical answer to the question.
 
Putting aside Christa Steinby’s personal restriction, the number of ships given for the First Punic War is so contradictory, they demand to be investigated, and not in a half hearted manner.
 
In 249 BC, in relation to the fleet of Iunius, Diodorus (24 1) lists Iunius’ losses at 50 disabled large freighters, 17 warships sunk and 13 rendered useless. The 17 ships + 13 ships = 30 ships, and added to this, the 50 ships disabled gives a total of 80 ships. Later those 13 ships rendered useless were burnt by the Romans, thereby labelling them as destroyed.
 
For the battle of the Aegates Islands in 242 BC, Diodorus (24 11), has the Roman loose a total of 80 ships. Of those 80 ships, 30 ships were completely destroyed and 50 ships partially disabled. Eutropius and Orosius have the Romans loose 12 ships, and Polybius records no Roman losses. So we have a very large discrepancy between Diodorus and the three other ancient historians.
 
To recap, for 242 BC, Diodorus has 30 Roman ships destroyed, 50 disabled and for 249 BC, Diodorus has 30 ships destroyed 50 disabled. Also in 249 BC, according to Diodorus, the Romans lost 117 ships and in 242 BC, it’s the Carthaginian turn to lose 117 ships.
 
Also the figure of 35,000 men being lost from the fleets, both Roman and Carthaginian is repetitive in the primary sources and invites further investigation.
 
If you examine the battle of Ilipa, Appian and Polybius give the Carthaginian army at 70,000 infantry and 5,000 cavalry. Here Appian’s source was Polybius, so we can ignore Appian. Livy gives the Carthaginian army at 50,000 infantry and 4,500 cavalry. The discrepancy between Polybius and Livy is 20,000 infantry and 500 cavalry.
 
The academic approach is to select which of the ancient historians is the most reliable. As academia believes Polybius is the more reliable, it would be Polybius. However, some academics have sadly accepted that in this one and only case, Livy is unfortunately possibly right. But that should not detract from what Polybius has put on the table, which is the number of Scipio’s Iberian allies. Polybius has arrived at his over inflated Carthaginian infantry of 70,000 infantry because he has added Scipio’s Iberian allies with the Carthaginian army. Here is an example of Polybius adding a subtotal to the wrong army. His another and most common example is to add subtotals to the total instead of deducting them, as he should have done for Scipio’s army bearing down on New Carthage in 209 BC.
 
Another example of Polybius’ carelessness is in relation to the Roman fleet. In some incidences he has arrived at the number of ships in a fleet by taking the number of ships in the fleet and believing this to be the number of men allocated to each ship, has then divided this by the number of men in the army.
 
Besides the chapters on the Roman fleet, I have added the battle of Mylae and Ecnomus to the book. Both battles were recreated on the double garage floor at a one to one scale, suing ship counters from various ancient naval boardgames. My conclusion is naval combat is very similar to ancient cavalry combat, which involves fighting by squadron relay. With each line of squadrons supporting the squadrons in front, I can see how the Carthaginians would want to get around the flanks and rear of the Roman formation. By hitting the rear ships, the Carthaginians don’t have to worry about a Roman supporting ship coming at them. And this little exercise made me understand why the triarii division at Ecnomus had the most trouble.
Reply
#37
Paul wrote:
Ha Ha, very funny! LOL! One example does not prove a generalisation, especially when it’s untrue. OTOH, One example does suffice to disprove a generalisation.
 
You said “one example will suffice.” I have complied with your request. There is no pleasing some people

Like I said.......one example only suffices to disprove a generalisation, as I am sure you know.
You are surely aware of the many other examples?
 
Paul wrote:
Alarm bells should certainly be ringing for your postulations! Similar sized armies, but vastly different sized fleets demonstrate that you can’t just play with the arithmetic to arrive at correct numbers of ships or men!! You need supporting evidence.
 
I’m not even going to defend myself here as it is pointless. As for supporting evidence, lots of it in the section of the Roman Fleet which is still ongoing.

You’re not going to defend yourself because there is no defence. Deducing numbers of men from numbers of ships and vice versa, alone, is not a viable method.
The point is valid. “x” warships can’t always be extrapolated to “y” troops by multiplying by 120, the maximum a quinquereme could carry. Sometimes, as in the example of Scipio’s army sent to Spain in 218 that you mentioned, the troops went on transports, escorted by warships and see also Scipio Africanus’ army in 204 which needed 400 transports.
 
Paul wrote:
In this instance – the invasion of Africa, it is possible from the evidence to deduce likely totals from Polybius, and also see how Eutropius and Orosius arrived at incorrect totals. 
You make it like your calculations are the only ones that are conclusive. You do this with impunity, and then hollow loud and long if I do likewise.

Essentially, all three arrived at their incorrect totals by multiplying their supposed number of ships by 120, the maximum number of troops that could be carried aboard a quinquereme.
Bearing in mind that the total infantry for a ‘Double-Consular’ army is 8 Legions for a total of 32,000 – 36,000 men, then Polybius’ implied total of 41,000 is too many, and Orosius/Eutropius figure of 30/32,000 at Bagradas is all 8 Legions, less ‘wastage/casulaties’. The most likely total is Polybius’ 4 Legions ( 16-18,000 infantry) less ‘wastage/casualties’, which is consistent with Polybius’ 15,000 at Bagradas. The higher figures of Orosius/Eutropius based on 8 Legions are just too high, for it is impossible that the whole force embarked, leaving Sicily totally denuded of troops!!
And I didn’t say conclusive, merely likely. And if your calculations are based on shaky foundations and assumptions, it is only proper to point out their weakness, not to mention outright errors.
The troop totals postulated in all three cannot be relied on, because they are all calculated from the supposed number of ships multiplied by 120 troops, the maximum a warship could carry. In Polybius’ case 330 x 120 = 39,600 rounded up, and in the case for Orosius and Eutropius source, 250 x 120 = 30,000 ( working back from the totals given), but Polybius also says there were 4 Legions, which works out at 8,400 Roman infantry, plus 8-10,00 ‘Socii’, so roughly 16,400 – 18,400, and later that the Army under Regulus numbered 15,000 infantry at Bagradas against 12,000 Punic infantry, consistent with this figure. Orosius and Eutropius give 30-32,000 at Bagradas, which implies they or their source believed 8 Legions went to Africa – the full double-consular army. It is illogical to try and combine the two different sets of figures by assuming half the army went home without any evidence of such, especially when it is clear that only the fleet returned. Regardless of totals, all three sources have the whole army with Regulus.
 
You tell me the sources do not say that the legion had 5,000 men, and yet use the figure of 40 marines, a figure the primary sources do not state.
See below post for primary source evidence regarding permanent allocations of marines to ships.

In a previous post I showed that Orosius’ figure of 9 Roman ships lost for 1,100 men, when divided by 120 men per ship, works out to be 1,080 men, which means Orosius’ figure of 1,100 men has been rounded by 20 men, a figure that is acceptable for rounding.

Of course it does! The figure was arrived at solely by hypothetically multiplying 120 x 9. An arithmetical exercise just like Orosius’ other totals. Do you think that every single soldier aboard 9 ships was killed ? That’s not very likely is it ? One would expect at least some survived to swim to nearby ships.
But again, this in your view means UP TO 120, all done so your deductions will conform to Polybius’ legion of 4,000 men or 4,200 men.

Not so, simply making the point that 120 is a maximum figure, and that number isn’t invariable, there could be any number less than that.

You desperately need you 40 marines to increase your numbers. Take them away and you are left floundering.

Not at all. I merely make recognition of a demonstrable fact [see below], that Roman warships had a permanent quota of marines assigned as part of the crew, just as we would expect. ( newly embarked troops, for instance, wouldn’t know how to operate the ship’s gear, such as the ‘corvus’/raven).
It’s right that 120 is the maximum number of troops that could be carried aboard, due to deck area, and one shouldn’t assume 120 in every case.
On the contrary, it is you that must claim that there are no permanent marines for the purpose of your calculations, yet there is unimpeachable primary evidence ( the Cos inscription referred to below) that Republican warships carried a permanent quota of marines, invalidating your calculations.....
 
Paul wrote:
When you start ignoring primary source evidence in favour of unevidenced postulations, it should tell you your theory is falling apart, and set off flashing red lights and klaxons!
 
Thanks for the lecture. But rather than falling apart, after studying all the naval battles of the First Punic war, more insights have arisen. And how about Diodorus numbers for Lilybaeum, both ships and men involved. It is pure manna from heaven and again, supports all my calculations. Does it do the same for you?

One sentence hardly constitutes a lecture! I could say much more....... Big Grin
This is a rather vague and woolly assertion about Lilybaeum. Please give specifics and references. At a guess you may be referring to events described in the fragments of Book XXIV, but if so, Diodorus’ numbers simply roughly confirm Polybius for numbers of rowers and troops per vessel, and imply the ‘light vessels’ were likely mostly triremes. ( 240 Roman warships,60 lighter vessels plus “a large number” of transports, and a force of 110,000. 240 x 420 = 100,0800. The remaining 9,200 will be the crews of the 60 lighter ships, an average of 153 per vessel. A trireme had a crew of 200, so most would appear to be Triremes with some smaller vessels)

Paul wrote:
around 40 marines, not weighed down by the burden of a cargo of troops ( who would weigh around 12 tonnes!
 
Does it say that in the primary sources?

See below for sources for a figure of 40 marines.
 
Paul wrote:
(BTW, transports are not always mentioned, but when they are they seem to often outnumber the warships by a factor of 2 or 3 or more.)
 
Does it state that in the primary sources? Iunius has 120 ships and 800 transports, but these seem to be provisional transports. Why are you allowed to make these calculations, and when I do, using primary source numbers, I am committing every crime in the book.

Do you mean references to transports? The answer is Yes, see e.g. Diod. XXIV.1.9 where Iunius Pullus has “36 warships and a considerable number of transports”.....there are plenty of others[e.g. the “large number of transports” referred to above.]. This was a mere ‘throwaway’ comment and not of any particular relevance. If you are interested, I’m sure you are capable of further research..... and in the case of Pol [I.52.6] that you refer to there is nothing about ‘provisional’. They seem to be the usual merchant grain ships..... and BTW what do you mean by ‘provisional’? That the ships carried provisions/food supplies, or that the ships were only temporarily transports?
 
Paul wrote:
Make your mind up! You here postulate that Polybius means four ‘double legions’ numbering at least 32,000-33,600 embarked for Africa, but elsewhere that 6 Legions did. Your explanation of how 8 became 6 [and then 3! ] below is singularly unconvincing.
 
No Paul, I said that the four divisions Polybius is relating to could also mean each division consists of two legions.
In that case your four ‘divisions’ would mean 8 Legions embarked for Africa, not 6
You are being terribly inconsistent.
You cannot say as an absolute, that it literally means four legions.

But Polybius DOES say that there were ‘literally’ four Legions, numbered Legion I, Legion II, Legion III, and Legion IIII.
Remember, there are two consuls present and we know that each consul commands four legions, giving a total of eight legions.
There are a number of occasions when two Consuls might be present, but not necessarily with all their forces. In fact, your unevidenced figure of 6 Legions based on incorrect numbers is itself an example of the Consuls commanding less than their total forces.
 
And I am not confused. Polybius is talking about two consular armies being in Sicily with 330 ships, being organised into four divisions. So 330 ships divided by four, by removing my 10 cavalry ships means the remaining 320 ships divided by four  = 80 ships. Now as I have shown you and this forum that a legion had 40 ships, each division has 80 ships of infantry, or two legions.

A legion was transported on 40 quinqueremes? There is no real evidence for this calculation of yours, as we shall see.So you are back to Polybius’ 330 warships heading off to Africa, instead of the 250 you advocate? Not terribly consistent.
In any event, if my figures are roughly correct, then with one century per ship, it would take 60 ships to transport a Legion.....
 
Paul wrote:
That number is impossible, because it would require 400 ships ( 80 per ship, excluding permanent marines.....No Roman fleet ever numbered that many warships or rather ‘decked battleships’, that is, quadriremes and quinqueremes. (400, and in the first Punic War, 300)
 
You alone have set the figure of 80 men per ship. Where does it say 80 men per ship in the primary sources? Where is the evidence?

See below for how those figures were derived and the evidence.
  
Paul wrote:
Well, if Regulus was ambitious to capture Carthage, it would seem to be imbecilic to send away over half the Army, and the evidence is that he didn’t. ... It certainly couldn’t be done with 30,000 men, let alone 15,000. It would take something like 50-60,000 or more troops 4 campaigning seasons to besiege and capture a disarmed Carthage in the Third Punic War.
 
My money is on the senate left him with 3 legions to maintain his foothold on Aspis for the winter with no campaigning to be undertaken, but on the proviso of being allowed to defend himself. Regulus had his own aggressive agenda, and he did nearly pull it off and have Carthage sue for peace, but as his terms were too harsh, he gave the Carthaginians no option but to fight.

So you claim 3 Legions of 5,000 despite there being no evidence for Legions this size at this time, or the whole First Punic war.....
 
Paul wrote:
There is no other 15,000 men! The arithmetic as well as the source material means Orosius and Eutropius, both relatively late sources, cannot be correct about numbers embarked. And their figures are for Bagradas, they don't say how many embarked.
 
Well Paul if you say so.

I have explained how Orosius and Eutropius figures were derived and why they cannot be correct, so it is not just a case of my “saying so.”.
 
Paul wrote:
Eutropius wrote a ‘Breviarum’/summary of Roman history and Orosius was a Christian proselytiser who wrote a brief history called ‘Against the Pagans’.
 
Yes Paul I get it, you believe Eutropius and Orosius are unreliable and Polybius is the most reliable of all ancient historians because he was closer to the event. Some of the books I have read over time about WWII by authors close to the event were utter rubbish. For one thing, none of them knew about Ultra or Beckley Park until 1975. And when it did come out, read how accounts of the WWII were rewritten. That piece of garbage Guderian used it to blame his every failure.
That’s a mere 30 years after the end of WWII. Polybius was writing 100 years after the first Punic War began, time enough for any ‘secrets’ to emerge and hardly “close to the event.” Orosius and Eutropius were writing 700 years aprox after the event, and of course relying on earlier sources. But is not their 'lateness' but rather their intrinsic errors that are the problem, like them working on the assumption that both Consul's whole armies (8 Legions) went to Africa.
 
Paul wrote:
Neither reports more than ‘half the army’ returning, so since it is in none of our sources it can be safely dismissed.
 
I love the double standards. In that case, your figure of each Roman ship having 40 marines, as it is not mentioned in the sources, it can safely be dismissed. As Polybius does not mention that each legion of 4,200 men was transported on 40 ships, it can safely be dismissed.

Source evidence for permanent marines aboard each ship, see post below. I don’t recall any source saying a Legion was transported on 40 ships, which is wrong in my view ( see above)
 
Paul wrote:
Having now known you for some time, I wouldn’t expect you to be open minded or open to persuasion.
 
Oh trust me I am open to persuasion and very open minded. There has been a few items that Nathan Ross and others on this forum such as Michael have helped me to see in a different perspective. One such example by Nathan is the reinforcements for Titus during the Jewish War. However, nothing you have presented is either persuasive or convincing, and when that happens, I will stand by my research to the last drop of blood.
 
....Not even when I point out obvious errors on your part ? Wink
 
Paul wrote:
So, you are now asserting again that there were 330 ships, after saying this number was incorrect? Incidently Orosius IV.8 also refers to 330 ships but it is likely the source of that figure was Polybius.
 
The figure of 330 ships leaves out the horse transports, but it is correct for 8 legions, not 6 legions at Ecnomus.
 
Paul wrote:
You are again counting the marines as land soldiers again.
 
As the primary sources do not tell us there are 40 marines, it is pointless to include them.

But your calculation postulates no ‘epibatai’/marines at all, and that all 120 were army soldiers. In an ge when boarding predominated over manoeuvre and ramming, a ship without marines was effectively ‘de fanged’.
Please explain also how the 120 break down into units?
 
Paul wrote:
I don’t accept that number, quoted for Regulus’ army and the expeditionary force, because it is clearly too high and so implausible as to be impossible, not least because of the number of ships needed (400 quinqueremes), and the size of Xanthippus’ Carthaginian army.
 
If you follow Polybius and Orosius of 120 soldiers to a ship, Orosius’ 30,000 infantry only needs 250 ships, a saving of 150 ships over you total of 400 ships. Maybe you could follow the primary sources and allocate each ship 120 soldiers taken from the legions and drop the 40 marines you absolutely believe in.

See below for there definitely being permanent ‘epibatai’/Marines as part of the crew, and more than 20 of them, and why the total of 40 is likely.
 
Paul wrote:
So you agree my deduction that Regulus and Manlius had 240 ‘cataphract’ warships?
 
Hmm, I think you should be agreeing with me. I bought it to your attention and this forum that a legion needed 40 ships and that 6 legions went to Africa, which require 240 ships, which omits the cavalry.

In your first post, Sept 18 you said :
The Roman fleet for the invasion of Africa in 256 BC is mainly made up of warships (330).”
 Which comes from [Pol I.25.7] and repeated by Orosius [IV.8]
Then Sept25
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.[incorrect, see posts ante] 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.”

You then say there is no way the Romans had 330 ships, but don’t give a total for the Roman fleet.
The same day I posted an estimate of 240 Roman ships ( which should be treated as an approximation), a figure I repeated on Sept 30.
The same day appears to be the first time you refer to “240 ships”. Yet you continue to do your arithmetic based on 330 ships......

Paul wrote:
There is no evidence for 6 Legions, nor that they numbered 5,000 each and they wouldn’t fit on 240 ships anyway.
 
Well if the primary sources tell us that a legion had 40 ships, and you believe there were 240 ships, then there were 6 legions.

Let us consider your supposed evidence for a Legion being transported on 40 ships.

. Steven wrote:
“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.”
This is your evidence for a Legion being transported on 40 ships, which began with your calculation that a Legion of 4,800 (40 x 120) could be so transported. Now we have seen that the strength of a Legion is well evidenced at 4,200, and there is no source evidence for 4,800 or 5,000, so your starting figure is wrong. Then you seem to have carelessly read the source material, because your presumed evidence is no evidence at all. The reason for the troops being transported on Warships at Ecnomus etc rather than transports is because of the Punic naval threat. When there was no naval threat, the troops generally travelled on transports – see the examples from the second Punic war we have referred to.

First; Polybius[II.12.2] Aulus Postumius in Illyria was left 40 ships whilst his colleague took the army and fleet. He was to arrange to raise a Legion from the Roman/Italian communities. We are not told if he managed to enrol a complete Legion or not, but it doesn’t matter anyway. He didn’t go anywhere, remaining in Illyria for the rest of the war. No Legion on 40 warships then.

Second; Livy [XXIX.13] does indeed allocate a Legion already in Sardinia to Tiberius Claudius, and its former commander Gnaeus Octavius is given 40 warships for the “defence of the sea coast”. Again no legion on 40 warships.
So these examples are not evidence of 40 warships being used to transport a Legion at all.

Thirdly; Caesar [BG IV.22] states that Caesar collected 80 transports [‘navibus onerariis’] “enough, in his opinion, to carry  two Legions across” ( a further 18 transports carried the cavalry)

None of your examples show a Legion being transported on 40 quinqueremes.

 There is no evidence for 40 marines being allocated to a ship either, and that 80 legionaries were added to bring it up to 120 men. But it is ok for you to come to that conclusion based on your deductions.

That conclusion of mine is at least based on the evidence of there definitely being permanent marines allocated to each ship, even if we aren’t absolutely told the number is 40. It is more than 20 and commanded by a ‘Centurio Classica’, and at this time a Centurion commanded either 30 (Triarii) or 60 legionaries, so the number should be between those figures. Given Greek practice, which we know Rome followed at this time, the number should be 40 ‘epibatai’/marines. The number 40 is also consistent with a whole century ( 60 plus 20 attached velites) being allocated per ship, which is likely to avoid breaking up units.( see below)
Paul wrote:
Further, your “3 legions” would completely fill the decks of 120 ships, so how were the 2,000 odd survivors transported ? Perhaps in the 14 captured ships Polybius has the Romans take back with them ? (24 according to Diodorus, but perhaps some 10 were damaged and unseaworthy)
 
Well if you subtract Polybius’ total of 114 Carthaginian ships captured at Hermaeum, not the incorrect size of 14 ships you have given, from Polybius’ total of 364 ships lost in the storm, you get 250 ships. I will repeat my case again.

Sticking with Polybius’ numbers for a moment ( and our other sources give a variety of numbers), 350 Roman ships fought at Cape Hermaeum and “captured 114 ships with their crews” (unlikely c.f. other sources), apparently with no losses [Pol I.36.12].If we add the 40 ships left with Regulus, that means there were potentially 504 warships for the return trip, but Polybius records only 364, of which 284 were lost, ( not all 364 – a simple slip error by you) and presumably transports as well. My 14 was simply 350 + 14 =364, with the rest unseaworthy and probably burnt....but our other sources give widely differing numbers, so one cannot draw any real conclusions here..

 
There were 8 legions in Sicily with 330 ships (leaving out the horse transports)
Good start, two standard Consular armies, each of two Roman Legions ( 4,200 each) and two of ‘Socii’ ( probably 5-6,000 strong) for a total of 36,000 men roughly.
 6 legions went to Africa.........
None of our sources says this. Polybius[I.26] reports 4 Legions carried by 4 squadrons (so no squadrons of 10 as you propose) were selected  to go to Africa.(Probably 2 Legions of 4,200 plus 2 of ‘Socii’ 4-6,000 strong, for a total of perhaps as few as 16,800 but perhaps18,400 or so – and definitely not 30-32,000 infantry, the number of Orosius and Eutropius at bagradas, obviously based on the two Consuls whole force of 8 Legions.
..... in 250 ships (240 for infantry and 10 for cavalrymen, minus horse transports),

Not enough ships ! 30,000 infantry are too many for 240 warships ( at 120 maximum per ship, and this figure also assumes no permanent marines – which point I’ll return to later. Six legions, assuming 3 Roman and 3 ‘Socii’ should have 3,600 cavalrymen – far too may for your unevidenced ‘invented’ “Consul’s squadron” of 10 ships, or even 20 ships if one assumes the other Consul also had his own squadron. You are going to have to revise your calculation/estimate of the number of warships!
Having said this, it is quite possible that fewer than the establishment number of cavalry were transported. Horse transports normally carried around 20-30 horses, but in this case they are being towed and are therefore probably barges without propulsion, so maybe more horse. It is difficult to believe a quinquereme towed more than one. Assuming 60 horse transports gives us say 30 x 60=1800 horses – only half the number needed. Either there were only this many cavalry, or else the rest were supposed to obtain horses locally after landing.....
..... then 125 ships under Manlius returned with and  all their transports to carry the prisoners in), which as you claim would be 2 to 3 times the fleet would suffice. This leaves Regulus at Aspis with 125 ships at Aspis.

Not according to Polybius[I.29.9]. He says Manlius returned to Rome with “the Fleet”( and no returning troops are mentioned.).Regulus remains in Africa with the army, now 15,500 strong ( not the 30-32,000 Orosius and Eutropius record) and just 40 ships.

On the return to Italy, Manlius is united with his one legion in Italy of 40 ships, and then departs for Italy. This leaves one legion belonging to Regulus in Sicily with 40 ships, and it is these same 40 ships Polybius believes were left with Regulus in Africa.

There’s no evidence for any of this. What “one Legion in Italy”? When did Manlius Legion(s) leave Sicily? The remainder of the two Consul’s armies (4 Legions) are in Sicily, and number 16-18,000 or thereabouts. “One legion of Regulus in Sicily “? This is an assumption based on another assumption – that 6 Legions went to Africa. And why is Polybius wrong about the 40 ships? Because it doesn't fit your postulation?
 
Regulus is defeated with only 2,000 survivors from his army, who are then besieged by the Carthaginian army. With the rowers from the remaining 125 ships, that is 37,500 men, it would explain why the Carthaginian attempts to capture the place failed.

True enough, especially when they were in a fortified camp. But Regulus was only left with 40 ships (12,000 rowers) according to Polybius. No mention anywhere of Regulus having 125 ships, or half the fleet.( just as there is no record of Manlius having half the army to take to Italy)

 The senate then sends a consul with 125 ships (240 infantry and 5 cavalry) or 3 legions to Aspis.

...Did you mean 120 infantry ships and 5 cavalry? Same problem, not quite enough ships for the infantry, and way not enough for the cavalry even if all were Roman (300 cavalry per legion) rather than any of ‘Socii’ (900 per Legion)and since there were only 2 Roman Legions in Sicily, you must reckon at least one of ‘Socii’...
I assume the 3 Legions you refer to are the three you allege returned from Africa to Italy with Manlius?
Guess those boys would be pretty seasick, travelling from Africa to Italy on the crowded open deck of a warship, and then back again!
 
Once at Aspis the fleet numbers 250 ships (240 infantry and 10 cavalry, minus the horse transports of the relief force). On their return Polybius gives the size of the fleet caught in the storm at 364 ships, which is the 250 ships from Aspis and the 114 Carthaginian ships Polybius claims were captured at Hermaeum (250 + 114 = 364 ships). Now Eutropius figure of 464 ships is the classic example of taking the grand total and accidently adding to this one of the sub totals.

Firstly, that 114 ships were captured and none sunk, for no Roman losses, seems rather unlikely, and Polybius 364 must consist of the 350 (not 250) he says were at Hermaeum  plus 14, and on Polybius’ reckoning there should be a total of 504 ships (350 plus 40 plus 114 captured) so something is amiss with his ship numbers. There is no sub-total of exactly 100 ships to arrive at Eutropius’ figure transmitted to us. More likely a copyist’s error for ‘364’ which would have likely come from Polybius.
Not to mention other sources figures are different e.g Diodorus reports 340 warships lost in the storm, as well as 300 cavalry transports and other vessels....
 
Paul wrote:
We were discussing the size of the force that invaded Africa, which you claimed was 41,000 strong using Polybius’ figures. 330 ships x 300 rowers =99,000 subtracted from Polybius’ total of 140,000 men =41,000 (not the 41,000 of Diodorus for the siege of Herete in Sicily), notwithstanding you describe Polybius totals as incorrect – with which I agree. See? You are confused.
 
What are you on about? I mentioned that subtracting the 99,000 rowers from Polybius’ total of 140,000 leaves a residue of 41,000 men and lo and behold, I provided you with a reference from Diodorus of 40,000 infantry and 1,000 cavalry operating in Sicily for the same period of time.
Not the same time, and not the same men! The men who went to Africa were nearly all killed in 256 BC. Diodorus’ figure is for the siege of Herete in Sicily in 252/251BC, 4 years or more later.
 
You then accused me of making up the figure of 41,000 men based on the fact you could not find the reference. So how do you explain Polybius and Diodorus arriving at the same figure of 41,000 men?

Pure coincidence, the figures are not related in any way ( see above). In any event Polybius has erred in his arithmetic, and so have you. The implication that Polybius’ 140,000 minus 99,000 rowers = 41,000 is inconsistent with his 4 Legions etc elsewhere. Diodorus doesn’t say how many Legions his 41,000 represents.

 Now if you take those 40,000 men and if you follow Polybius and Orosius, you will need around 333 ships, which does approximate to Polybius’ and Orosius figure of 330 ships for the Africa campaign. Funny about that.

Nothing funny at all. You have used Polybius’ 330 ships x 120 men = 39,600 – Polybius rounded the total 138,600 to 140,000. Orosius used Polybius’ numbers for ships, directly or indirectly, and does NOT say there were 40,000 Roman troops, but 32,000.
 

 
For 229 BC, Postumius brought “the land forces” consisting of “about 20,000 foot and 2,000 horse.” What does “about 20,000 foot” mean? I get four legions each of 4,800 men for a total of 19,200 men. If it was 20,000 foot, I would say 4 legions of 5,000 men. My research shows that without officers and supernumeraries, a legion amounted to 4,800 men, and with the officers and supernumeraries, 5,040 men. I have found that sometimes, the primary sources total for the army includes the officers and supernumeraries. They are my findings and I am staying with them due to too many references support my findings.

Which is completely contrary to what Polybius specifically says again and again, especially VI.20.8, that a Legion numbered 4,200/4,000, and gives that number from the beginning of the First Punic War.
And just where do you get sources that specify that officers and supernumeraries are over and above the regulation 4,200? Again this is flatly contrary to Polybius, who says the officers are elected from within the ranks[ VI.24] and therefore the 4,200 is inclusive of officers etc. The figure of 4,200 is about as secure as any piece od ancient literary evidence can be, and is all but universally accepted.
 
Paul wrote:
You can't just ignore the sources altogether and invent your own postulations. That is very poor methodology.....
 
There is no evidence that there were 40 marines allocated to a ship, so how about following your own advice. When I said the difference between Orosius figure of 104 Carthaginian ships and Polybius’ total of 114 ships could have been arrived at by having the 9 Roman ships sunk, round to 10 ships and added to the 104 ship total. You berate me for speculation and yet you continue to do exactly what you accuse me of doing.

MARINES:
There is no evidence in the literature that specifies 40 Marines permanently attached to a ship, but literature isn’t the only original source material. When the Romans built and manned their First fleet, they looked to their ‘socii navales’, the Greek cities of southern Italy as to how to run a fleet. Consequently the terms for the officers and ratings are all Greek ones, and they are following Greek practice closely – Greek practice included 40 marines per warship. This is partially confirmed by a Republican inscription (IGRR I 843) from Cos listing the complement of a warship. It names a ‘navarch’, a ‘trierarch’, a ‘kubernastus’ (Latin: gubernator), i.e., the navigational officer or helmsman, a ‘proreus’or proreta officer in the bow, two  ‘keleseutai’or celeustae, the rowing officers, a ‘pentekontarchos’ apparently a junior officer, an ‘atros’or medicus , the doctor, and at least 20 ‘epibatae’, also epibatae in Latin, the marines forming part of the crew. The inscription then breaks off – frustratingly not giving us the total number of marines before the  ‘epetai’ latin ‘remiges’/rowers, are listed (if indeed they were).
This inscription tells us several things. It confirms that the Romans adopted Greek practices and ranks wholesale. It confirms that there were permanent ‘epibatae’/ marines assigned to each ship as part of the crew, that they ranked below the officers and ratings, but above the rowers, and that they numbered more than 20. Since they were commanded by a ‘centurio classicus’/naval centurion there was a substantial number e.g. in the army a century numbered 60 or 30 (in the Triarri). The Greek 40 is the obvious number. Furthermore, this fits Polybius’ 120 soldiers aboard exactly. It is likely that the Romans would not split up units if possible, and 40 ‘epibatai’/marines plus a century ( 60+20 velites) =120 exactly. This latter number also fits the maximum possible also, with each soldier having approximately 1 sq metre of deck area each, as I mentioned.
 
Paul wrote:
Again there is no evidence of any 'Consul's squadron, and on your postulations, shouldn't there be a 'Consul's squadron each?
 
Again there is no evidence of 40 marines allocated to a ship.

Except that there is, see above.... even if you dispute ‘40’ there are still more than 20, so since ALL your calculations assume no permanent marines, they are all incorrect. A warship without marines would be like a gun without bullets...

 What I did, and god it seems to be a major crime, was use Polybius’ 120 soldiers to a ship, end up with 320 ships accounted for and with the residue 10 ships allocate them as cavalry.

320 x 120 = 38,400 which I suppose can be rounded to 40,000, except 320 ships couldn’t carry that 40,000. 10 ships could carry only half the force’s nominal 2,400 cavalrymen, assuming 4 Legions as Polybius tells us, or 3,600 cavalrymen assuming your unevidenced 6 Legions. Examining half-a-dozen sets of figures shows that in reality there seems to have been always 300 cavalry with a Roman Legion but that the number of Socii cavalry was frequently below quota and could vary from 500-900.
... It is supported by Diodorus’ 40,000 infantry and 1,000 cavalry.

Not at all. Diodorus’ figures are the numbers of a siege army at least 4 years after the Army in Africa was destroyed. They are totally unrelated. Pure co-incidence, and we have no idea of the breakdown into Legions, Socii, local allies etc of Diodorus’ raw number, though it is possible this could, as earlier represent a double-consular army of 8 Legions plus local allies, or similar, assuming the number is accurate

 Plus after deducting the two legions left in Sicily, having 6 legions in Africa and then half the army going home, my cavalry figure approximates with Polybius 500.

Three Legions would have a ‘paper’ minimum of 900 cavalry if all were Roman, and 1300 if one were of Socii, which doesn’t square with Polybius’ 500 at all.
There is absolutely NO evidence that half the army went home. All our sources have the whole army with Regulus. BTW, Regulus should have had at least 1,500 cavalry for 2 Roman Legions and one ‘Socii’ per your reckoning, and for Polybius 4 Legions, he should have started with 2,400 cavalry, but probably less ( see above). Wastage seems to have been prodigious, but less so among the infantry ( 15,000 left from 16-18,000 of the original 4 Legions referred to by Polybius) which is exactly what we should expect, for cavalry forces throughout history ‘waste away’ very quickly.
  
Pau wrote:
So we are to ignore Livy, Dionysius and Polybius 4,000/4,200 as aberrations or special cases, and assume that the ‘proper’ number for a Legion at this time was 5,000? That sounds like mere rationalisation to me, to get away from an inconvenient truth. ( or to use your phrase; ‘Mumbo Chumbo’ ) LOL!
 
You do realise that Dionysius’ quote belongs to 492 BC, and Livy’s 4,200 men, to 346 BC according to Smith’s dictionary. Is that sufficient evidence for a legion of 4,200 being the mainstay right to the Second Punic War?

There is, I believe, reasonable evidence if we include other examples you have left out. Even a cursory examination reveals more, especially bearing in mind we only have three detailed accounts of the evolution of the structure of the Roman army over the first 500 years or so of its history – two in Livy [I.43 & VIII.8], one of which is repeated by Dionysius [IV.16-18] and one in Polybius[VI.20ff], the most thorough and detailed of all.
In addition to the two you quote, we have:
Polybius [I.16 & II.24 &VI 20 &VI.21.10]; 263 BC, 225 BC and 216 BC; and also [III.72.12 & III.107]; 218 BC and 216 BC and Livy [XXI.17]; 219 BC
....all of which refer to Legions of 4,000/4,200 with Polybius calling this number the “invariable” strength of a Legion save when it was raised to 5,000 in an emergency.
Doubtless there are others, for I only made a brief check.
These dates cover the First and Second Punic Wars period, and in none of our sources is there a reference to a Legion of 5,000 prior to Cannae 216 BC Polybius[III.107.11.] ( except Telamon 225 BC, when Polybius refers to Legions of 5,200 – which may be a copyists error for 4,200) As I said earlier, that figure of 5,000 man Legions is an anachronism for the First Punic War, for none such are reported in any of our sources, and one cannot deduce the size of a single Legion from overall Army sizes such as Diodorus’ 41,000 when no breakdown is given.....

At present I have a lot of work finishing the naval battles of the First Punic War and heading overseas soon, so as we continue to disagree on nearly everything, I believe it is pointless continuing recycling the same banter. Unless of course you want to introduce the data for Lilybaeum, which is a little gold mine. Also it gets tiring pointing out some of the discrepancies in Polybius and you ignoring them. But when all is said and done, you have accused me of the very things you are doing, and honestly, I am a tad tired of it.
 
It is not just me who disagrees with your hypothesis, for ‘communis opinio’ tends to favour what I have said, and your views are unique, and for all the reasons stated, not very likely. Nor have I ignored ‘discrepancies’ in Polybius having pointed out several discrepancies and errors in Polybius myself. Moreover, I most certainly have not indulged in some of the poor methodology you have put forward. I have put forward source support for everything I have said.
As for Lilybaeum, it is referred to constantly throughout the war in our sources, and you will have to be specific, giving references, if you wish to discuss something relating to that place, and not leave me having to guess what you might be referring to ( but see my comments above).
I too believe there is little more worthwhile to say on this subject. At the end of the day, readers will decide for themselves whether your assertions that Polybius is ‘wrong’ to say that 4 Legions went to Africa, even though this is consistent with other evidence, and that your postulation, in an effort to meet figures of 30-32,000 infantry of 6 Legions (using an anachronistic 5,000 per legion) is more likely, with half the army (3 Legions) going back to Italy and then returning to Africa ( just like the song ‘The Grand Old Duke of York’ ), leaving a mere 1 Legion to hold Sicily ( an obvious impossibility) is not terribly plausible.

You obviously have not convinced me, I prefer what our sources say (notwithstanding their arithmetical errors)

It remains only to thank Steven for bringing up a subject not often discussed - naval warfare in the first Punic War. It was pleasant to revisit a subject I hadn't looked at in detail for some time.....

Do I take it you are off to your usual destination, or is this a trip to pastures new?
"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
#38
Paul wrote
You’re not going to defend yourself because there is no defence.
 
My reason is because this has become an exercise in interpretation not observation, which is always the problem when debating with you. Basically, it’s a matter of you insisting I present evidence for an alternative model, while interpreting the texts and data to suit your own theories without even recognising that is what you are doing. This has been and always is the end result of discussing anything with you. You’re just too dogmatic.
 
Think what you want of me, scorn my methodologies as much as you care to, I am past it. I know presenting any evidence in any shape or form to you will always be taken apart in any manner possible if it does not conform to your theories or viewpoint.
 
On a sincere note, I do hope your health is improving.
 
 
Reply
#39
(10-03-2016, 12:45 PM)JaM wrote: Wrote: Hull speed theoretical values are good indicator what would be maximum possible speed for certain ship type. It is quite obvious from those values, Quinquereme was superior to Quadrireme in terms of hull shape.

I have never denied that, but pointed out that there are many other variables such crew as ability, the actual design and build of the ship ( e.g no type of vessel was a single, identical design), the condition of the ship (new and dry or old and waterlogged), overall weight etc and the most important factor is crew skill. Theoretically, according to the figures you supplied a trireme potentially could achieve 9.5 knots under oar, and in fact an American crew achieved 9 knots in "Olympias", very creditable for a novice crew with less than 40 hours training, whereas the 'real thing' had professional rowers who had years of experience.

But back to your power to weight ratios. Quinquereme with 300 rowers and weight around 100tons, vs Quadrireme of 75-80 tons and 170 rowers, gives you 3rowers per every ton for Five, but just 2.1 per ton with Four...  so obviously, Five had much better power to weight ratio than Four.   Crew weight is part of the ship weight already. If we compare it to Trireme, then we have 170 rowers with 40ton ship and ratio of 4.25. Of course those values are just theoretical, but they clearly show where advantage was....

Again, you are making the same mistake of looking at a single factor, when it is the combination of all factors that governs performance. (BTW, the figures you give for acceleration seem very suspect. The best "Olympias" achieved was to accelerate from stationary to 6 knots in 30 seconds, whilst you give 0 to almost 5 knots in an unbelievable 5-6 seconds! )

Also, you don't seem to pay much attention to what has been previously posted. An Athenian 'quadrireme' had 70 oars with two oarsmen per oar for a total of 140 oarsmen, and the vessel was rowed at two levels.

The fact that the theoretical hull speeds you give are actually not that different, ranging from 9.5 knots down to 7.8 knots is a difference of only is a mere 1.7 knots ( a fraction over 3 km per hour) between fastest trireme and a quadrireme. Differences in just one variable could account for that, let alone half-a-dozen or more variables!

Yet, Quinquereme was a combat ship, oriented towards boarding action, therefore Quinquereme fitted for combat would be a lot heavier therefore slower. Rhodian most likely had lightened ship, with any additional heavy planking (ramming protection) at the waterline removed, he didnt carry any towers or additional marines, but he was doing these runs to actually SUPPLY the garrison, therefore his ship would be modified for additional cargo

You are talking about the 'wales' along each side. Since they were an integral part of the ship's structure, they could not be removed !
Their main function is as 'stiffeners' longitudinally, but if you design the vessel so that one of the wales runs roughly along the waterline, then you get a degree of protection against ramming.


One thing you forgot to take into assumption is speed under sails, and direction of the wind in that area... no matter how good crew you have, they wont be able to row at full speed for long period of time..  Rhodian's ship could be under full sails, with optimal wind and Romans would have no chance catching it even with Triremes..

I have been a sailor all my life, and also a rower and paddler, so I know all about what you are referring to. Please read again my post of Oct 2, when I quoted Polybius [I.47-48] in part. (You can read it in full easily, for Polybius is readily available on the net.) The prevailing winds off northern and western Sicily in Summer are North-Westerly, Force 3-4 (12-28 km per hour), a light to moderate breeze perfect for sailing.
Hannibal took full advantage of this breeze to run before it straight into Lilybaeum.[Pol I.47.2]. Conversely of course, the wind direction made sailing the other way impossible, so both Hannibal and the Romans were under oar when he came out. [Pol I.46.9 and I.47.9]

And last, as these values i posted say, there are multiple different parameters that need to be taken into assumption. Some ships might have high acceleration, but would lack the top speed, while others could have high top speed but much slower acceleration. Similarly, with all rowing ships, cruising speed would be much lower than maximum speed which could be achieved only for a limited time..

If you are chasing somebody, you need to have greater sustained speed than him. Only then you can get to him. I can imagine that a Quinquereme with reduced numbers of rowers under full sails, while loaded with cargo would be most likely slower than a Quadrireme without cargo, but with Marines on board, sailing under full sails..  ordinary combat ships didn't usually use sails.. so they would be unable to catch ship under sails, because no matter how fast they can get for short period of time, they would be unable to sustain that speed for long.

I quite agree..... Smile

Plus, lets not forget, that Antonius was able to escape from Actium with some of his ships by raising sails, while Octavian's ships could not catch them.. which clearly shows there was a huge difference for ship under sails or without them...

For a full account of Actium written by me , explaining how wind affected the outcome see 'Ancient Warfare' Vol 5 number 5, p.27.



so making conclusions out of one example, and saying because of it, Quadrireme must have been faster than Quinquereme is false.

Yes, I would agree if I had said that, but I didn't!!!. What I said was that your theoretical speeds could not predict the 'real life' speed of a vessel, because there were many more variables. Some quinqueremes and triremes were faster or slower than others of the same type, and because even theoretical speeds are not very different, a quadrireme might be faster under oar than a quinquereme - as the case of 'Hannibal the Rhodian' proves.





Steven wrote:
My reason is because this has become an exercise in interpretation not observation, which is always the problem when debating with you. Basically, it’s a matter of you insisting I present evidence for an alternative model, while interpreting the texts and data to suit your own theories without even recognising that is what you are doing. This has been and always is the end result of discussing anything with you. You’re just too dogmatic.


If you are going to come up with a new or innovative hypothesis, then of course you must present evidence to support it, preferably from primary sources, which is what anyone should do. If the evidence then presented is flawed or in error, then the hypothesis fails. I generally try to stick to source evidence rather than ‘interpret’  texts, which is fraught with peril. Some interpretation is unavoidable, because our ancient historians rarely spell everything out in detail. ( Polybius’ description of the Roman Army [VI.19 ff] is a rare exception where he is setting out the Roman Military System for the benefit of Greek readers – luckily for us, and even then there are further details we might wish to know.)
I don't think I am being 'dogmatic', nor do I interpret to suit my own theories, to the exclusion of other possibilities. When presenting a case, I am careful to use words such as 'speculative', 'plausible', 'possible' and 'probable', and I often present alternatives, as I did regarding the problem of Roman cavalry numbers in the invasion force after Ecnomus - the very opposite of dogmatic.
"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
#40
Paul wrote:
I generally try to stick to source evidence rather than ‘interpret’ texts, which is fraught with peril.
 
My one weakness is I am not good at expressing myself eloquently, and my vocabulary is not as vast as I would like it to be, but in relation to my research, I work diligently with the primary sources because I know it is fraudulent not to do so. I follow the doctrine that 120 soldiers were allocated to a ship because Polybius instructs us so. I have found this to be supported by Orosius, something I found, and not something told to me by academics. I have applied those 120 soldiers to other scenarios to see how it holds up. It does so very well.
 
I also have a strong inclination to want to study situations in the primary sources that I find rather strange. For example, in 219 BC, there are two consuls, Sempronius and Scipio. Polybius allocates 160 ships to Sempronius for the invasion of Africa, and only 60 ships to Scipio, for the invasion of Iberian. The question that haunts me is why the disparity in ship allocation?
 
Why not take the total of 220 ships and allocate each consul 110 ships. During the Second Punic War, fleets of 100 ships were employed raiding the coast of Africa. So what I do is investigate whether an error has or has not been made by Polybius. The process is not hard and the rule is only use the data given by the primary sources, which state:
 
A consul commanded 4 legions
A legion had 40 ships
120 soldiers were put on a ship
 
So what can we learn from this? Sempronius has 160 ships, which would equate to each legion having 40 ships. With 120 soldiers allocated to a ship, each legion of Sempronius has 4,800 men. Therefore, Sempronius’ 160 ships are transporting 19,200 men or 4 legions each of 4,800 men.
Following this procedure, Scipio with 60 ships has 7,200 men. Following Sempronius’ guidelines, Scipio should have 160 ships to transport 4 legions each of 4,800 men, which in the primary sources would be rounded to 5,000 men and part of the consular army expressed as 20,000 infantry.
 
In total, both consuls would require 320 ships to transport their soldiers. What if Polybius confused the 320 ships as being 320 MEN per ship? So 320 men multiplied by 60 ships equals 19,200 men, or 4 legions each of 4,800 men.
 
And why is it that if you take Polybius’ total of 220 ships for both Sempronius and Scipio, and you divided it by 4, you end up with four divisions each of 55 ships, and then according to Livy (23 38 7-10) there is a Roman fleet of 55 ships? And why are there three references to 50 ships and two references to 100 ships? Could these be rounded numbers?
 
None of the above has truly been investigated, so it is virgin territory for anyone entering such a realm. And like any investigation, it does bring up new questions, and as to why there are 4,800 men in a legion as opposed to Polybius’ 4,200 men. My research has found Polybius has made a major mistake by confusing the 40-century legion (which is mainly a garrison legion), with the 60 century legion.
 
If one day people moved away from the Polybius legion of 4,200 men, you will find the whole primary sources opening up before your eyes, as I have found over the last 10 years.
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#41
Gentlemen, this is a final warning about the discussion. Keep it technical, and if you want to discuss how the other party discusses, use the PM system - it's what it's there for. Also, if anyone wants to discuss the way things at this forum go, please begin a new thread in a different section.
I removed from the last two posts all material about the former, as well as the latter.


This is a very technical discussion, waged between members who are very deep into the sources. It's very interesting for me to follow but wouldn't dream of adding anything. I'm by far not qualified for that, as I'm sure most of our member here aren't!
Keep it coming!
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THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
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#42
Steven wrote:
My one weakness is I am not good at expressing myself eloquently, and my vocabulary is not as vast as I would like it to be, but in relation to my research, I work diligently with the primary sources because I know it is fraudulent not to do so. I follow the doctrine that 120 soldiers were allocated to a ship because Polybius instructs us so. I have found this to be supported by Orosius, something I found, and not something told to me by academics. I have applied those 120 soldiers to other scenarios to see how it holds up. It does so very well.

As I said, the fact that a Roman quinquereme could carry up to a maximum of 120 marines, a figure confirmed by the available deck space (1 square metre per soldier – pretty packed, with just enough room to sit down) does not mean that it invariably did, for they would add up to 12 tonnes of top weight, which would both slow the vessel, and make it rather top-heavy, restricting manoeuvre. One should be cautious  about always applying this figure.
 
I also have a strong inclination to want to study situations in the primary sources that I find rather strange. For example, in 219 BC, there are two consuls, Sempronius and Scipio. Polybius allocates 160 ships to Sempronius for the invasion of Africa, and only 60 ships to Scipio, for the invasion of Iberian. The question that haunts me is why the disparity in ship allocation?

If you would take less interest in just numbers, and adopt a more expansive approach to the source material, you would know. The reason is obvious and we are told it.Scipio’s force was ample to tackle the Punic navy in Iberia, which consisted of 50 quinqueremes, 2  quadriremes and 5 triremes. Of these, 18 quinqueremes were unserviceable for lack of trained crews, meaning there were only 32 quinqueremes, 2 quadriremes and 5 triremes available against Scipio’s 60 fully manned quinqueremes.[Pol III.33.14] Despite losing crews to Punic raids,  when they were scattered while foraging, reducing the Roman fleet to 35 serviceable ships, in 217 BC the fleets finally clashed at the battle of the Ebro river. The Punic fleet now numbered 40 quinqueremes, but probably unbeknownst to them, the Roman fleet had been reinforced by around 20 ships from their ally Marseilles, type unknown. The contest was short, and the Punic ships ran for shore, where their Army was watching. Notwithstanding this, the Romans boldly approached and managed to tow away 25 Punic quinqueremes. Control of the Iberian coast passed to Rome, and was never challenged again.
Sempronius on the other hand would have to face the main Carthaginian fleet, and probably comfortably outnumbered them.

Why not take the total of 220 ships and allocate each consul 110 ships. During the Second Punic War, fleets of 100 ships were employed raiding the coast of Africa
 
See above. Sempronius’ force were not merely ‘raiders’. His strategic task was to mount an invasion.

 So what I do is investigate whether an error has or has not been made by Polybius. The process is not hard and the rule is only use the data given by the primary sources, which state:
 
A consul commanded 4 legions – usually, but not always.

A legion had 40 ships – your evidence for this turned out to be no evidence at all ( see my post above Thurs Oct 6.) Do you have other evidence for a Legion being embarked on 40 quinqueremes.

120 soldiers were put on a ship – up to 120 soldiers could be carried on a quinquereme, when it was transporting an army. The permanent ‘epibatai’ which formed part of the crew, numbered more than 20 and probably 40. This was ‘fighting trim’ for naval fighting.
 
So what can we learn from this? Sempronius has 160 ships, which would equate to each legion having 40 ships. With 120 soldiers allocated to a ship, each legion of Sempronius has 4,800 men. Therefore, Sempronius’ 160 ships are transporting 19,200 men or 4 legions each of 4,800 men.

This is a ‘numbers game’ and doesn’t follow at all. In fact it demonstrates the folly of using this methodology. First we are precisely told what Sempronius’ force consisted of : Two Roman Legions of 4,200 plus 300 cavalry, 16,000 ‘Socii’(an unusually high number) with 1800 cavalry. [Livy XXI.17 ff].  Total: 24,400 plus 2,400 cavalry.
Secondly Sempronius’ army probably would have travelled on transports, as Scipio’s did. In the event, he never embarked for Africa at all, for he was recalled to Italy once it became known from Scipio that Hannibal was headed for Italy. [Pol 3.69.9][Livy XXI.51 for a slightly different version of Sempronius’ march to the Trebia]

Following this procedure, Scipio with 60 ships has 7,200 men. Following Sempronius’ guidelines, Scipio should have 160 ships to transport 4 legions each of 4,800 men, which in the primary sources would be rounded to 5,000 men and part of the consular army expressed as 20,000 infantry.

We are also told Scipio’s forces: The two usual Roman Legions with 2 x 300 cavalry, and 14,000 ‘Socii’ with 1600 cavalry. Total: 22,400 infantry and 2,200 cavalry.
A better example of the flawed methodology of simply counting warships and multiplying by 120 to obtain totals would be hard to find. The Army obviously travelled to Spain on transports.
 
In total, both consuls would require 320 ships to transport their soldiers. What if Polybius confused the 320 ships as being 320 MEN per ship? So 320 men multiplied by 60 ships equals 19,200 men, or 4 legions each of 4,800 men.

You cannot be serious!!! This is just more numerological 'mumbo jumbo', to borrow Steven's expression. A quinquereme’s maximum number of ‘passengers’ was 120. The deck area is simply far too small to carry 320, a physical impossibility.[ see previously]. Polybius would have known this, and I doubt if he was 'confused'. And the sources record a total of 280 warships, not 320 which is just a hypothetical number you have calculated.
 
And why is it that if you take Polybius’ total of 220 ships for both Sempronius and Scipio, and you divided it by 4, you end up with four divisions each of 55 ships, and then according to Livy (23 38 7-10) there is a Roman fleet of 55 ships? And why are there three references to 50 ships and two references to 100 ships? Could these be rounded numbers?

...And if you divide 220 by 5 you get 44! So what? The Roman fleet referred to is in 215, some years later, and consists of 25 existing ships, plus 25 new ones, plus 5 which brought the captured Macedonian ambassadors to Hannibal to Rome. It sails from Ostia down to Tarentum to guard against Philip V of Macedon. They transported an unknown number of soldiers.
 
As with the reference to Diodorus’ reference to 41,000 men, what possible connection is there to the fleets and armies of 219/218 ?

None of the above has truly been investigated, so it is virgin territory for anyone entering such a realm. And like any investigation, it does bring up new questions, and as to why there are 4,800 men in a legion as opposed to Polybius’ 4,200 men. My research has found Polybius has made a major mistake by confusing the 40-century legion (which is mainly a garrison legion), with the 60 century legion.

To my knowledge, I have never come across or heard of a ‘garrison legion’ two thirds the size of the usual Legion. References please......?

If one day people moved away from the Polybius legion of 4,200 men, you will find the whole primary sources opening up before your eyes, as I have found over the last 10 years.

Polybius describes in great detail the Roman Legion of 4,200 (plus 300 cavalry), and as I pointed out previously, this is specifically stated to be inclusive of Officers and supernumaries [VI.24] – they are elected from within the ranks. It is all but universally agreed that Polybius, followed by Livy is correct about Legion numbers.(not to mention other writers)

Do you have any evidence that the standard Roman Legion at this period numbered 4,800 or is this another of your numerological calculations?
"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
#43
I have finally finished the naval chapter covering the First Punic War to the Syrian War. I am more than a little surprised at the amount of data that has not been properly investigated. Some of this data is quite revealing. The Roman navy like its army is highly systemised. Also there are a lot of similarities in the number of ships captured, lost or disabled for the First Punic War. For 249 BC, Diodorus has the Roman loose 117 ships and in 242 BC, the Carthaginians have 117 ships captured.

 
Polybius has 24 Roman ships sunk in 256 BC and Diodorus has 24 Roman ships sunk in 254 BC. Polybius total number of ships both Roman and Carthaginian lost in 256 BC amounts to 118 ships (24 Romans lost, 30 Carthaginian lost and 64 Carthaginians captured), which is one ship less than Diodorus’ figure of 117 Romans ships lost in 249 BC and 117 Carthaginian ships captured in 242 BC. Polybius’ figure of 50 Carthaginian ships sunk in 242 BC is the same number of Roman ships damaged as given by Diodorus for 242 BC. We also find 63 or 64 Carthaginian ships lost in 256 BC, and 63 ships in 242 BC. Polybius has 50 Cartho ships lost in 260 BC and also 242 BC. In many incidents there are no Roman losses recorded and this makes me believe they have been included with the Carthaginian losses.
 
I think the problem could have stemmed from working with records listing the number of ships available, number of ships lost, number of ships repaired, number of enemy ships captured, and the number of enemy ships repaired and put back into service as Roman ships. I also have one account of Polybius double counting, and one account of the Carthaginian fleet numbers being added to the Roman total.
 
I recreated the battle of Ecnomus on the garage floor (double garage) using ships counters from ancient boardgames on a 1:1 ratio. In his account of the naval battle of Ecnomus, Polybius refers to the fleet’s squadron organisation rather than the legion organisation, so it is not difficult to follow. However, two problems do arise. Polybius claims the fourth squadron overlapped those in front, and the Carthaginian left wing sailed down the coast and attacked the Roman horse transports.
 
Polybius has the third squadron in a single line and the fourth squadron also in a single line but overlapping. As the third and fourth squadron have the same number of ships, I cannot get the fourth squadron to overlap those in front of it. However, if Polybius was referring to the horse transports, then yes, the fourth squadron overlaps the horse transports as not every ship in the third squadron is towing horse transports. With the consul ships as the guide, Polybius has the first and second squadron form the wedge and this I have been able to match.
 
The problem with the Carthaginian left wing that sails down the coast and attacks the third squadron, would miss the opportunity of attacking the first and second squadron in the flank and rear, and also to be in a position to have just part of the third squadron hemmed in by the sea as Polybius states it was, would have the Carthaginian left wing do some fancy manoeuvres that would leave them exposed to a Roman attack.
 
The problem of the Carthaginian left wing disappear if it is interpreted to be the left wing of Hanno’s squadron, whose mission was to sail across open sea and attack the fourth squadron in the flank and rear, while Hamilcar engaged the Roman fleet frontally. It could be that Polybius has confused Hanno’s left wing as being the left wing of the whole Carthaginian fleet.
 
Anyway, after trying so many variations of this battle, that is my conclusion.
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#44
I forgot to mention that for the battle of Aegate Island in 242 BC, Orosius has 125 Carthaginian ships sunk, 63 Carthaginian ships captured, and 12 Roman ships lost. Polybius has 50 Carthaginian ships sunk. Returning to Orosius, taking his total of 125 Carthaginian ships sunk, minus 63 Carthaginian ships captured, and minus the 12 Roman ships lost equals 50, which is the number of Carthaginian ships sunk as given by Polybius.

 
63 Carthaginian ships captured (as per Orosius)
12 Roman ships sunk (as per Orosius)
50 Carthaginian ships sunk (as per Polybius)
125 ships
 
Also for the battle of Ecnomus in 256 BC, there were 63 Carthaginian ships captured according to the Auctor de Viris Illustribus, and 64 Carthaginian ships captured according to Eutropius, Orosius and Polybius. The same sets of numbers reappear throughout the naval accounts.
 
Diodorus has 24 Roman ships sunk at Hermaeum in 254 BC.
Polybius has 24 Roman ships sunk at Ecnomus in 256 BC
Mylae 260 BC has 30 to 31 Carthaginian ships sunk.
Ecnomus 256 BC has 30 Carthaginian ships sunk.
Hermaeum in 254 BC has 30 Carthaginian ships sunk
Drepanum in 249 BC has 30 Roman ships escape
 
Polybius has 114 Carthaginian ships captured at Hermaeum but does not list any as being sunk, whereas Eutropius and Orosius have 104 Carthaginian ships sunk and 30 captured. Most battles do not list any Roman ships as sunk or captured, which leaves the question as to why. Orosius has 9 Roman ships sunk, and 104 Carthaginian ships captured at Hermaeum. Now if the 9 Roman ships is rounded to 10 and added to Orosius 104 Carthaginian ships captured, we arrive at the figure of 114 ships, which is the number of Carthaginian ships captured as per Polybius.
 
Polybius does not provide any losses for the Romans at the Aegates Islands but my bet is they are included in his total of Carthaginian ships captured and sunk. For the Aegates Islands, Diodorus states that 20 Carthaginian ships were captured with their entire crew. Now when these 20 Carthaginian ships are subtracted from Polybius total of 70 Carthaginian ships captured, Polybius’ figure is reduced to 50, which is his number of Carthaginian ships sunk.
 
Because I believe there have been numerous accounts of double counting of the sub divisions being added to the total number of ships, I don’t believe the losses suffered by the Carthaginians and the Romans in many of these battles are as high as they are made out to be. I also believe the losses for the year 256 BC, 255 BC and 254 BC have been confused and mixed up, and the worst examples of naval losses are those given by Diodorus.
 
From my study of the naval warfare between the Carthaginians and Romans, I get the strong impression that once the first line, and in some cases the second lines of ships are over powered, the rest of the fleet takes to flight. Naval combat seems to follow that of cavalry combat, and the Romans like to fight four squadrons deep, hence why Polybius gives the Romans no more than a four squadron organisation at Ecnomus.
 
Anyway, that is my take and I am happy with it.
Reply
#45
(02-16-2017, 08:21 AM)Steven James Wrote: As the third and fourth squadron have the same number of ships, I cannot get the fourth squadron to overlap those in front of it... the Carthaginian left wing that sails down the coast and attacks the third squadron, would miss the opportunity of attacking the first and second squadron in the flank and rear, and also to be in a position to have just part of the third squadron hemmed in by the sea as Polybius states it was...

I would suggest that the rear Roman squadron was sailing in a more extended line. They would need to do this, so the vessels at the ends of the line could see what was happening in front of them and watch out for enemy flanking attacks. Otherwise the squadron would be effectively blind, screened from the battle by the transports in front of them.

Once Hanno's right-flank squadron attacked from the south, the fourth Roman squadron would swing to their left to oppose him. The Carthaginian left squadron would have made their own flanking move shortly afterwards. They would not have attacked the leading Roman squadrons from the rear, as they would be presenting their own sterns to the Roman third squadron, and would have been enveloped in turn.

The Roman third squadron, having dropped their towing cables, appear to have shifted northwards to keep the Sicilian coast on the right flank and prevent the enemy from encircling them to the northwards. So this part of the action happened very close in to shore.

We therefore get the three separate sea fights described by Polybius. I've seen quite a few different diagrams of how the battle might have unfolded, and all seem to follow more or less that pattern without problems.
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