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D B Campbell The Roman Army in Detail: The Problem of the First Cohort
#1
D B Campbell The Roman Army in Detail: The Problem of the First Cohort

https://www.academia.edu/30802577/The_Ro...rst_Cohort

6 centurions of the first cohort: AE 1993, 1364  and CIL XIII 6801
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#2
Speidel was able to prove six centuriae and he could also prove that each centuria had a special sign.
(ref. to Michael P. Speidel, Centurial Signs and the Battle Order of the Legions, in Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik, vol.154 (2005), p.286-292)

The question is rather whether this system of a six-centuria-cohort is still valid for the late third or early fourth century, so the time of the last full-legions. And here I have my eligible doubt.
Also the occurance of the 6th centurio in the late 2nd to early 3rd century must be considered carefully. There are some indication that a veteran vexilla was also fixed part to some cohorts during the time in question, forming its own centuria.
(CIL V 4903: vexillarius / veter(anorum) leg(ionis) IIII )

...probably commanded by a centurio in the rank of a traditional named triarius.
(with sources compare Erich Sander, TRIARIVS ORDO, p.92)

Moreover, the report of Campbell is certainly very informative and well written. So, thanks for sharing.
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#3
Marcel wrote:

There are some indication that a veteran vexilla was also fixed part to some cohorts during the time in question, forming its own centuria. (CIL V 4903: vexillarius / veter(anorum) leg(ionis) IIII ).
 
My conclusion is that when in camp, the veteran cohort was billeted next to the first cohort of the legion. If there were 2 veteran cohorts with a legion, the second veteran cohort was distributed among the 10 cohorts of the legion, thereby allocating each cohort an additional 48 men or 6 tents. Hyginus (5 and 24) also mentions the banner carriers being camped next to the first cohort.
 
Hyginus’ calculations dart in and out between a 400 man cohort and a 480 man cohort, giving the impression 80 men are somewhere else. Hyginus allocates a century of 80 men as having 10 tents but he also implies this must include the centurion’s tent in the allocated space. The controversy over the 4 men in each watch so that no more than 8 tents are pitched, or it could be 16 men, I have interpreted to be that of the 10 tents, the centurion has one tent (possibly with the optio), and the 80 soldiers 9 tents. Although this works out that 72 soldiers have tents, I am taking the premise that 8 soldiers per century are always on guard duty, so as 8 men return from guard duty, they occupy the next 8 men’s tent that are relieving them.
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#4
There ist also another very good conclusion of Stefan Zehetner about the inscription CIL VIII 18065, which mentions more than 6 centurions in several cohorts and just 5 centurios in coh. IX. This inscription takes a prominent part in the paper of Mr. Campbell. First of all the inscription calls the officers primi ordines et centuriones et evocatus.
(Zehetner, CIL VIII 18065 AND THE RANKING OF CENTURIONS, p.10: [quote] I think the tabularium principis was made of five optiones because there were at least five at any time. Watch cohort nine in CIL VIII 18065. There were only five names mentioned. A full cohort could consist of five to ten centuries. Six were only standard.)

And although there was surely a standardized size for new deployed troops, it might not always be possible to keep it in practice. Running through the CIL numbers of several provinces and several times-frames proves once again the high adaptability of different units and the diversity between the troops. As said, I speak about the numbers of centuriae and its officers, not about the internal system of promotions. The latter one seems quite harmonized and equal to all units.

Another point is that one must consider sometimes longer detached groups: the old vexillations. Possible that the number of detached centuriones were filled up, however, the detached centurios were still offically counted to the cohors of the parent unit. Insofar it's indeed possible to get sometimes higher numbers of them. But that's likely another topic.
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#5
Marcel wrote:

There ist also another very good conclusion of Stefan Zehetner about the inscription CIL VIII 18065, which mentions more than 6 centurions in several cohorts and just 5 centurios in coh. IX. First of all the inscription calls the officers primi ordines et centuriones et evocatus.
 
Many thanks for that Marcel.
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#6
(05-24-2017, 12:08 PM)Steven James Wrote: The controversy over the 4 men in each watch so that no more than 8 tents are pitched, or it could be 16 men, I have interpreted to be that of the 10 tents, the centurion has one tent (possibly with the optio), and the 80 soldiers 9 tents. Although this works out that 72 soldiers have tents, I am taking the premise that 8 soldiers per century are always on guard duty, so as 8 men return from guard duty, they occupy the next 8 men’s tent that are relieving them.

The manuscript A from which all versions of Hyginus' text derive does not have any figure for the men on watch. Accordingly '<quaterni>' (as it usually appears in modern editions), meaning 'four each, four at a time', is conjectural. De Voto translates it as simply 'four' but Catherine Gilliver, in her translation in JRMES 4 (1993) has '16'. In this, she follows neither Grillone nor Lenoir but seems to be harking back to Lang in 1848. The logic appears to be that an 80-man century should have ten tents but, as only eight were pitched to make room for the centurion's tent, his tent occupied the space of two ordinary tents and, accordingly, the two displaced contubernia were those on guard. On this basis, therefore, 16 could be the correct figure.
Michael King Macdona

And do as adversaries do in law, -
Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.
(The Taming of the Shrew: Act 1, Scene 2)
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#7
Michael wrote:

On this basis, therefore, 16 could be the correct figure.
 
It’s been a while since I have looked at all my notes on Hyginus’ camp. Without factoring in the double cohort, 16 men per century on guard duty would make 96 men per cohort and 960 men per legion, which technically equates to 120 tents. So 3 legions will have 2,880 men on guard duty. Therefore, following 16 men on guard duty, Hyginus’ first cohort of 120 feet by 360 feet would have 4 rows each of 192 soldiers in 24 tents, leaving a space of 6 tents for 3 centurions. In total this works out that of the 960 men in the first cohort, 192 men are on guard duty (theoretically 1 row of 24 tents), leaving the residue 768 billeted in 96 tents organised into 4 rows.
 
Hyginus’ 180 feet by 240 feet, for 3 double cohorts totalling 2,880 men organised into 36 centuries each of 80 men would have a total of 576 men (192 per cohort) on guard duty at 16 men per century. Hyginus’ 180 feet by 240 feet, is the space for 2 double cohorts totalling 1,920 men, which would allocate 384 men to guard duty, leaving the residue 1,536 men billeted in 192 tents organised into 8 rows.
 
So far so good, and every 480 man cohort would have 4 rows for the infantry. However, I am getting a little concerned about the number of men on guard duty as it starts to seem a little excessive, when the rest of the 2,592 legionaries from cohorts 2 to 10 have to be factored in, but that could just be my own prejudice, which I must guard against.

Why I am a bit partial to 8 men per century on guard duty is the Romans do have a passion for the principal of one tenth. So 1 cohort produces 48 camp guards and 10 cohorts, 480 camp guards. Therefore, 3 legions produce 3 cohorts each of 480 men (1,440 men) as camp guards, or 1,584 men with 3 double cohorts.

 
With the camp being 2,400 feet long and 1600 feet long, by placing 480 camp guards on the long side, this would have one camp guard for every 5 feet, and by placing 240 men on each wide side, this would give each guard around 6 feet of space.
 
Hyginus calculations for the legion’s banner carriers being allocated the same space as a legionary cohort of 600 feet by allowing for the baggage trains is correct, and follows the same spacing for the infantry as the century, but the spacing for some of the infantry and cavalry does change in places and does hint at Hyginus making 5 or 6 legions fit into the spacing of 3 legions. This becomes evident in paragraph 25, 26.
 
His other problem I have found is he works on accurate numbers at times but then rounds them in the result, and then when combined with his change in the ratio of men and horses to the space, he does make it challenging.
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#8
(05-25-2017, 02:19 AM)Steven James Wrote: However, I am getting a little concerned about the number of men on guard duty as it starts to seem a little excessive

Vegetius tells us that the night was divided into four watches, so that none of the guard had to be awake for longer than three hours. Thus, only a quarter of the guard was on watch at any one time. This alters the spacing of those manning the ramparts. The remainder would have been resting, armed ready to repel any surprise attack. This raises the question of what shelter, if any, was provided for them. As Hyginus' treatise is essentially theoretical, his thinking may not have extended to that level of practicality. However, there is another possibility. The via sagularis in Hyginus seems to run parallel to the intervallum but those who have studied the layout of permanent forts and fortresses tend to equate the two. De Voto translates via sagularis as 'Cover Avenue' but, if one has to translate it (and personally I prefer not to translate technical terms), 'Cloak Street' might be more accurate. One could, therefore, imagine those of the guard who were not actually on watch resting on the via sagularis behind the rampart, wrapped in their cloaks. If this is not too fanciful, it might explain the rather peculiar naming of that part of the camp.


(05-25-2017, 02:19 AM)Steven James Wrote: Why I am a bit partial to 8 men per century on guard duty is the Romans do have a passion for the principal of one tenth.

The problem with this is that it requires the substitution of nine tents for the eight that, in this instance, is quite clear in the text. This smacks of altering the source to fit the theory. More likely is that, to make up his numbers for the guard, Hyginus simply doubled up on the normal principle.
Michael King Macdona

And do as adversaries do in law, -
Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.
(The Taming of the Shrew: Act 1, Scene 2)
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#9
Michael wrote:

This smacks of altering the source to fit the theory.
 
Oh here we go again, another accusation.  There is no theory to fit. It was just a personal experiment (brainstorming) and is not mentioned in the book. You mention the centurion’s tent occupied two ordinary tents Hyginus mentions the tents of the praetorian use bigger tents. Are you altering the source concerning the centurions to fit your theory of 16 men being on guard duty?
 
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#10
Marcel wrote:

There ist also another very good conclusion of Stefan Zehetner about the inscription CIL VIII 18065,
 
Unfortunately Marcel I do not hold to your views of Stefan’s conclusions.
 
Stefan Zehetner wrote:
As the first cohort had no pilus posterior it has to have another centurion filling his position.
 
A conclusion obviously reached because Vegetius does not list the triarius posterior in his first cohort.
 
Stefan Zehetner wrote:
He was selected as centurion in the grade of tenth hastatus.
 
Spurnius Lingustinus was selected as centurion of the tenth hastatus ordo. That is important and should not be left out.
 
Stefan Zehetner wrote:
As Livy mentioned Spurnius Lingustinus was promoted from the tenth maniple.
 
No it is not the tenth maniple, Livy states the 10th ordo, and had Spurnius Lingustinus been in charge of the 10th ordo during the principate he would have had the title of centurion ordinarius.
 
Stefan Zehetner wrote:
Remember there is no real rank and level grading now, because the situation is set in republican times, when there were no cohorts.
 
But later Stefan mentions that at Zama, Scipio Africanus grouped his legions in cohorts.
 
Stefan Zehetner wrote:
A full cohort could consist of five to ten centuries. Six were only standard.
 
10 full cohorts each of 10 centuries will equal 100 centuries to a legion. I have to question his knowledge on the Roman legion.
 
Stefan Zehetner wrote:
I agree with Domaszewski that there were two primi pilus in every legion, but I think they were equal in rank and function...But in CIL VIII 18072 there is only one primus pilus mentioned. How does this correlate? Well of course at sometimes there could have been only one primus pilus, because the second not yet was promoted. But CIL VIII 18072 is a special case.
 
And here we have the old chestnut of just calling it a special case when it does not fit the theory. How about more investigation? How about throwing out the theory? How about if the primary sources are at conflict with your theory, you go back and re-evaluating everything you believe about the Roman legion? How about you follow the primary sources instead of just conforming to academia’s mind think? How about instead of claiming the maniple was abolished by Marius, you work with the primary sources, and when they say maniple after the time of Marius, you go with it.
 
If Stefan did this and truly had an open mind, he might come to the understanding that the Roman legion had two different organisations, one vertical and one horizontal. The vertical is used in camp, or when it is safe to have units undertake missions away from the legion, whereas the horizontal is used on the battlefield, and no commander would detach units from the vertical before going into battle as it affects the legion’s frontage. Cato at the battle of Emporia in 195 BC, used the legions’ horizontal organisation to defeat the enemy, which involved an outflanking movement.
 
Stefan’s paper reminds me of the scriptwriter, who keeps continually writing hoping to find out what the story is about. The primary sources do not make the claim that Marius abolished the maniple, but Stefan believes it to be so. This is the problem with so many academic papers relating to the Roman legion; they just conform to the theories of the day. When do we get an academic that has the balls to break the mould?
 
 
 
 
 
 
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#11
Dear Steven.
Concerning the Ten-century-cohort I agree with you that it needs more clarification (some other comments above are difficult to understand). I stood under the impression that Stefan refers to the 1st cohort only. But I could be wrong here.
...and about the old manipulus: yes, I agree that the system has probably (!) longer survived than believed. Hyginus' camp-order is completely based upon the manipulus. And independely if his camp relates to the early imperial time or the late republic - it cannot be denied that parts of this system have survived. But it is debatable whether the system was kept to organize the inner ranking-structure or to keep the old administration - or whether it was really applied on battle field as done centurier ago. Against this theory is speaking that all new auxilaries are always organized in cohorts, and not in manipuli.
Anyway, since I have not written the paper, and since I don't play for other people the "advocatus diaboli", I have sent all your question to Stefan and he promised me to answer all question if he can.
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#12
(05-26-2017, 01:54 AM)Steven James Wrote: Oh here we go again, another accusation.

Pull in your horns, Steven. You are constantly enjoining us to trust the primary sources so, if you have a primary source (Hyginus) that unequivocally speaks of eight tents being pitched but you choose to read it as nine, you can expect to be challenged.

(05-26-2017, 01:54 AM)Steven James Wrote: There is no theory to fit. It was just a personal experiment (brainstorming) and is not mentioned in the book.

Well, there's a surprise. When you say (Post #3), ' I have interpreted to be that of the 10 tents, the centurion has one tent (possibly with the optio), and the 80 soldiers 9 tents ' and (Post #7), ' Why I am a bit partial to 8 men per century on guard duty is the Romans do have a passion for the principal of one tenth ', it looks like a theory to me. If it is, in fact, just a personal experiment or brainstorming, perhaps you should be less definite in your choice of words; then you might have less of a chance of being misunderstood. And who mentioned your book? Certainly not me.

(05-26-2017, 01:54 AM)Steven James Wrote: Hyginus mentions the tents of the praetorian use bigger tents.

How is this relevant? We are discussing legionary centuries.

(05-26-2017, 01:54 AM)Steven James Wrote: Are you altering the source concerning the centurions to fit your theory of 16 men being on guard duty?

No, I am following the primary source, as you would like me to do. Hyginus says that a century should have ten tents but no more than eight are pitched. This means that two tent parties have nowhere to sleep. They must be somewhere and you have quite reasonably suggested that those on guard duty are hot-bedding. The only difference between us is that you suggest that only one tent party is involved, whereas I follow Hyginus and suggest that it is two.
Michael King Macdona

And do as adversaries do in law, -
Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.
(The Taming of the Shrew: Act 1, Scene 2)
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#13
Marcel wrote:

Concerning the Ten-century-cohort I agree with you that it needs more clarification (some other comments above are difficult to understand).
 
Let me know which ones and I will clarify.
 
Marcel wrote:
I stood under the impression that Stefan refers to the 1st cohort only.
 
That needs to be clarified by Stefan.
 
Marcel wrote:
and about the old manipulus: yes, I agree that the system has probably (!) longer survived than believed.
 
I have followed the primary sources on the maniple and have it as an integral part of the organisation right up and including the late Roman legion as well.
 
Marcel wrote:
Hyginus' camp-order is completely based upon the manipulus.
 
I’m going in the opposite direction and say it is based on the century and contubernium.
 
Marcel wrote:
Against this theory is speaking that all new auxilaries are always organized in cohorts, and not in manipulae.
 
That was a subject that was a thorn in my side for some years. I had to step back from my research and find something that would give the answer. And it took some years to find the answer, which again was staring me in the face. The praetorians are reported by Tacitus as being organised into maniples, so why them and not the auxiliaries. The mention of praetorian maniples on rafts so as to prevent any criminals from escaping from the lake provided an answer. Maniples belong to one of the legion’s two organisation structures, and that was another eureka moment. When a certain number of the same infantry units is deployed in a particular manner, that determines when the maniple system is employed. It’s all about deployment, and by choosing system A, the primi ordines command structure takes over, choose system B and the centurion ordinarius command structure takes over.
 
And that is the confusion relating to the centurion command structure, and I can almost feel Stefan’s pain and confusion in his paper. The confusion wants to pull you in two directions, and looking back, I should have seen that as a hint during my own investigation.
 
So basically, all centurions are either hastati prior, hastati posterior, princeps prior, princeps posterior, pilus prior or pilus posterior, which I believe is the ranking system. However, it is their job function that changes some of them to the title of primi ordines or centurion ordinarius.
 
Stefan’s view that “there were 54 potential primi ordines in every legion,” which I am in complete disagreement with. It is much less in number, and it changes depending on whether a full strength legion is deployed. I have not yet seen a comprehensive study of the legion’s geometry, and that is where I have found many answers. The legion is built on the ratio 3:2, it is based on triangular numbers, which produce rectangles and squares.
 

Michael wrote:

Pull in your horns, Steven. You are constantly enjoining us to trust the primary sources so, if you have a primary source (Hyginus) that unequivocally speaks of eight tents being pitched but you choose to read it as nine, you can expect to be challenged.
 
Let us not forget there is a lot of corruption in Hyginus as you and many others have pointed out, and from what I have read over time, that passage is no exception, and there is nothing wrong with putting it to the test, and that is why in my notes I have also experimented with 8 tents, 9 tents, and 10 tents. When an ancient historian has varying numbers and sometimes contradictory numbers, then I like to experiment and see if I can find his mathematical mean. Once that can be found, then it can be determined whether he deviated from that mean, and he does. Therefore, I find it important then to subject every piece of his data to his mathematical mean to determine what could be or what could not be corrupt or incorrect.
 
There are incidents when Hyginus is halving his mathematical mean and this tells me he is now working on 6 legions and not 3 legions, and others on 5 legions.
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#14
Dear Steven,
first of all I belong to the group who likes the idea of long survived maniples and its tactical usage, based on the tales of Caesar, Tacitus and Josephus.
And although I like your enthusiasm, however, the topic about the maniples has been discussed to its end here in this forum and all you say (unfortunately without significant sources) is not new to most of us. And in german we say that there is no more meat on the bones. 

The camp order of Hyginus is completely based upon two opposite standing centuriae. In other words, not said by Hyginus, this is called a manipulus. That a manipulus is based on centuries and tent-communities (contubernales) should be clear.
However, I would agree - as mentioned above - that the maniples have survived much longer than believed, which is also supported by some epigraphical sources:
CIL VI 222: (centuriae) suae fecit volentib(us) manipul(aribus) suis quor(um) (from 111 AD); CIL VI 30881: (centurio) de suo dedit manipularibus suis / in Genium centuriae suae (118 AD);

Also the continuity of camp building through the entire imperial time based on the maniples (paired barracks) described by Mr. Webster.
ibid, The Roman Imperial Army, p. 137.

Vegetius reports that the manipulus is commanded by a caput contuberni, which is the file, a mess or contubernium of 10 men each (or 11 with the leader) - at least in his legion. (Veg. II 8, 9 and 12). Since the number of tent-communities or files differs from source to source, his number could be correct by considering that his description of a legion is also just a snapshot like all the other sources as well. I know numbers from primary sources of 7, 8, 10 (or 11 from Vegetius), even up to 16. In the latter case it is most likely just a διλοχία, two files, bonded adminstratively together.
Vegetius seems to regard manipulus as a diminutive of manus. That the term manipulus is sometimes used to point out an undefined group is also described in several other sources (Varro de ling. lat 5.88 and 6.85.) or Ovid Fasti 3.118, the latter source identifies manipulus as a handful soliers. 

The question remains when and why a maniple lost its tactical meaning or usage. AT the end it was just providing an administrative basis for camp building and/or reflecting the graduation of officers.

I would say it has begun with the segmentation of legions and the creation of vexillations, which was indeed carried out during the imperial time. In my forthcoming book I explain the exact way when the vexillations appeared. Although my work is related to the warfare of the late 5th and 6th century, this evolution is important to understand the very late roman tactics and its regiments. Sometime during the time of the Principate, the romans stopped to support campaigns by legionary cohorts. Until a certain date one can observe that legions were supported by cohorts from other legions, but they weren't vexillations. Later the new system of vexillations or detachements was introduced. It is this time when professional auxillaries of foreigners were recruited as well, fighting in a very roman fashion, just organized in cohorts, not maniples.
And I want repeat myself once more. I like the idea that the maniples as tactical units have survived until the late antiquity, but then we should be able to put some new findings or sources on table, and not repeating the same old arguments again and warm up the old cheese from yesterday.

Also, it should be clear from inscriptions, gravestones and epigraphical findings that all centurios in all cohorts belonged to one of the 6 mentioned groups (2x hastati; 2x principes, 2xpili/triarii).
e.g. CIL III 195: (coh) II pr(inceps) post.; CIL VII 112: cohor(te) VI hast. pri(or); CIL III n.102: coh(orte) V princeps posterior (and at least 50 other inscriptions could be named here). And meanwhile I provided enough information that they were at a certain time X generically called ordines: The officers of the order (in the meaning of group, troop or centuria). The primi ordines were the first officers. That the term "ordines" (without "primi") also was used to name the rest of the centurions within the legion is probably also a result of the segmentation of the legions, albeit debatable. Or the concept changed from a colloquial use to an official technical term after some years or decades.
That the primi ordines weren't initially equal to other centurions (other ordinari) is shown in several inscriptions when they are contrasted to each other:
CIL VIII 2532: vobis primi ordines et centuriones agiles; CIL VIII 18042: primi ordines et centuriones; CIL VIII 18065: primi ordines et centuriones et evocatus
Joachim Marquardt speculated that they were initially referred to the first centurions of the triarii only, that is primi pilus prior, secundus pilus prior etc.
...ibid, Römische Staatsverwaltung, vol.2, p.360-361 (including many good primary sources)
But in the meantime inscriptions were found, proving that the primi ordines referring to the members of the 1st cohort only - at least in the late 2nd century.
see TADEUSZS ARNOWSKI, PRIMI ORDINES ET CENTURIONES LEGIONIS I ITALICAE UND EINE DEDIKATION AN SEPTIMIUS SEVERUS AUS NOVAE IN NIEDERMOESIEN. In: Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 95 (1993) 205–219, esp. p.209
Vegetius starts to call all centurions as Ordinarii.
ibid. II §7: Ordinarii dicuntur qui in proelio (quia primi sunt) ordines ducunt
So, the question about the primi ordines is one issue, the other question is about officers just called ordines. And here Vegetius is confirmed epigraphically as well (once more).
AE 1989, 00641: ... Val(erius) Castus centur(io) ord(inarius) leg(ionis) I Iov(iae) Scyt(hicae) una cum Val(erio) Valeriano centen(ario) so cero suo posuit

The only thing I was able to prove in the strategicon, and speaking greek is an advantage to understand it, is that the files of 16 soldiers were subdivided by two groups of contuberni. The first 8 men belonged to the group called primani and the other 8 men were called secundi. This stands in the good roman tradition that groups are bonded to each other. Perhaps a small rest of the old system. They were always ready to move out of the bigger formation to be separated - and the strategicon even gives the latin command for that.
Finally they were fighting side by side as two different groups within the ad-hoc created tagma. But I wouldn't speak here from a system of maniples. Or was it?
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#15
(05-27-2017, 01:26 AM)Steven James Wrote: Let us not forget there is a lot of corruption in Hyginus as you and many others have pointed out, and from what I have read over time, that passage is no exception, and there is nothing wrong with putting it to the test, and that is why in my notes I have also experimented with 8 tents, 9 tents, and 10 tents.
Just a quick point of detail that might be helpful to your discussion. There has never been any doubt about Hyginus' statement regarding the number of tents. The manuscript reads: non plus quam octonos papiliones singulae tendunt, which means "they do not pitch more than eight tents for each". (To clarify: the discussion is about the hemistrigium, which is the row occupied by a single century.)
posted by Duncan B Campbell
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