- Nov 2011
- The Bluff
Nice point - and not a Scipio in sight! The fact is that the maniple is the basic tactical unit and it is from this that everything else proceeds. We do not have tactical manuals for the mid-Republican army as we do for the Macedonian phalanx, the closest being Polybios' narrative and he is plain on the ability of the Roman legion's ability to adapt. A point he makes clear in his digression post Kynoskephalai were he asserts the Roman soldier is able to fight on all four fronts. The average hastai is not going to do this himself in the middle on the manilple but the maniple does: it (and its soldiers) can face about to rear and each flank as the soldier may do individually. Precisely what we see at Cannae until everything collapses into shockingly bloody disorder and the press literally kills off any movement.There is also the example of the Metaurus, where Nero took half of his men around the back of the Roman army to reinforce the left flank.