Do you believe Caesar performed the march to Hispania in 27 days?

Feb 2019
450
Thrace
#1
I've done some research. During WW2, an American battalion performed a 219 km march in 4 days, meaning about 55 km per day. They claimed it was a world record. A Japanese march occurring prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor covered 196 km in 72 hours, meaning about 65 km per day (one soldier died due to exhaustion).

The forced-march world record was set in 21 October 2017 by a team of 8 Royal Marines, who covered a distance of 42 km in 4 hours.

Caesar's legions allegedly marched 2,400 km in 27 days, meaning they averaged nearly 89 km per day. Supposing the daily march time was 8 hours, that would mean Caesar's army easily broke the world record twice per day for almost a month (albeit they probably marched more than 8 hours per day). The world record holders performed their march with 18 kg of gear, which is probably similar to how much the Roman gear weighed.

So what do you guys make of this? Am I missing any crucial details? Do you believe his iconic march actually was achieved in 27 days?
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
26,877
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#2
The "Iter magnum" of a Roman Legion [when they marched more than usual] was of about 36 km per day. In 27 days Roman Legions covered 972 ... let's say 1,000 km. What I don't understand is that 2,400 km ... Between Rome and Barcelona there are about 1,400 km.

Now I don't remember when in Spain Caesar went. This would be pivotal.
 
Feb 2019
450
Thrace
#3
The "Iter magnum" of a Roman Legion [when they marched more than usual] was of about 36 km per day. In 27 days Roman Legions covered 972 ... let's say 1,000 km. What I don't understand is that 2,400 km ... Between Rome and Barcelona there are about 1,400 km.

Now I don't remember when in Spain Caesar went. This would be pivotal.
He traveled from Rome to Obulco, which is 2,400 km.

Battle of Munda - Wikipedia
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
26,877
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#5
The battle of Munda happened in 45BCE, the march of 27 days to Spain happened before of the battle of Farsalo which happened in 48BCE [3 years before]. We need to know where he went in 48BCE.
 
Feb 2019
450
Thrace
#6
The battle of Munda happened in 45BCE, the march of 27 days to Spain happened before of the battle of Farsalo which happened in 48BCE [3 years before]. We need to know where he went in 48BCE.
Well, in the 2nd source it says he covered 1500 miles ( which is 2,400 km) in 27 days, so the question still stands. Is it possible that Caesar performed such a march?
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
26,877
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#7
Well, in the 2nd source it says he covered 1500 miles ( which is 2,400 km) in 27 days, so the question still stands. Is it possible that Caesar performed such a march?
I don't think so. It can be an exaggeration. Legionaries were used to walk, covering long distances without troubles, but there was a reason not to keep a pace beyond the iter magnum: to arrive tired on the battlefield wasn't the best option ever!

To cover 2,400 km the Legions needed about 66-67 days [keeping the iter magnum].
 
Feb 2019
450
Thrace
#8
I don't think so. It can be an exaggeration. Legionaries were used to walk, covering long distances without troubles, but there was a reason not to keep a pace beyond the iter magnum: to arrive tired on the battlefield wasn't the best option ever!

To cover 2,400 km the Legions needed about 66-67 days [keeping the iter magnum].
Well that's a bummer... :(
 
Feb 2019
450
Thrace
#9
But anyway, how come there are 2 mentions of a 27 day march to Spain (one before Pharsalus, and one after 46 BC)? It's late here and my brain is fried atm, what am I missing? Sounds too fishy to be true!
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
26,877
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#10
27 days, marching [keeping the iter magnum] = about 1,000 km. Sufficient to go from Northern Italy to Spain. Are we sure that there was a bit of confusion about which Legion reached Spain in 27 days? Or was it an average time?