How many legions and equivalents at Zama?

Nov 2011
820
The Bluff
29,000 legionaries is merely 400 Hastati and Principes and 200 Triari short of 10 legions, losses easily accounted for given the campaign before Zama itself.

The evidence is in the text if you fully comprehend the subject matter.
Again, I'd refer you to the post of Diocletiansbetterthanyou above but, if one fully comprehends the subject matter, one would realise that if Scipio had had ten legions he will also have had ten alae. You are yet to state where, if anywhere, a source gives the consul for Africa anything more than his consular army; that is, two legions and their alae. What we do have is clear, unarguable testimony of Rome telling this newly created consul that he may recruit what volunteers might put their hands up from Italy and take forces from the army of Sicily. That testimony also tells the number of volunteers and what Scipio did with them. Rome did not raise an army for Scipio and it most certainly did not give him five legions to take to Africa. What Scipio did was to raise the number of troops in the Sicilian legions (and their alae) to 6,200 using the volunteers from from his previous campaign. From this we can safely deduce 24,800 including velites before including African additions. The only place Scipio could find five legions was at the behest of the Roman Senate. Please find us all any source attestation that the consul for Africa was granted five legions by this body.
 
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Again, I'd refer you to the post of Diocletiansbetterthanyou above but, if one fully comprehends the subject matter, one would realise that if Scipio had had ten legions he will also have had ten alae. You are yet to state where, if anywhere, a source gives the consul for Africa anything more than his consular army; that is, two legions and their alae. What we do have is clear, unarguable testimony of Rome telling this newly created consul that he may recruit what volunteers might put their hands up from Italy and take forces from the army of Sicily. That testimony also tells the number of volunteers and what Scipio did with them. Rome did not raise an army for Scipio and it most certainly did not give him five legions to take to Africa. What Scipio did was to raise the number of troops in the Sicilian legions (and their alae) to 6,200 using the volunteers from from his previous campaign. From this we can safely deduce 24,800 including velites before including African additions. The only place Scipio could find five legions was at the behest of the Roman Senate. Please find us all any source attestation that the consul for Africa was granted five legions by this body.
Don't be silly. No one has ever stated 60k legionaries at Zama. I have stated 10 legions equivalent at Zama, because that is what the evidence more than suggests. That means 5 Roman legions plus an equivalent amount in the Alae, perhaps less some cavalry, because the 'allied' nobles really did not want to invade N Africa anyway.

And they had good reason to do so as well. The previous invasion of N Africa saw a similar sized army as Scipios stated invasion force, getting defeated very easily. What Appian clearly does is to ignore the home teams supporting cast. He clearly dismisses the velite numbers in the initial invasion force. Scipios 16000 legionaries would clearly have had 6400 velites, if we assume Polybius is correct, ie 1 cav means 10 heavies and 4 lights. This is important. If he ignores Romans in the numbers of invaders, he will certainly ignore every member of the Alae. Not the most unusual Roman attribute concerning foreigners to be sure.
 
We've also returned to this 400 transport argument in support of 10 legions. It has been pointed out a number of times that Scipio scraped together what forces and vessels he could despite minimal government support. We should not be assuming 400 legionary transports but miscellaneous vessels.
Are you really saying he invaded a continent with a similar sized army to that which got stomped in a previous war, and without any real planning?

How stupid do you think Scipio was?

We can be very sure that Scipio thought he would win because he had planned every last detail. This meant decent transports for his troops. Certainly he knew what he needed because they had to carry 45 days rations for each man with them as well. Are you truly saying he turned up at a harbour and took what boats were available, with this type of baggage?

How stupid do you think Scipio was?
 
Are you really saying he invaded a continent with a similar sized army to that which got stomped in a previous war, and without any real planning?

How stupid do you think Scipio was?

We can be very sure that Scipio thought he would win because he had planned every last detail. This meant decent transports for his troops. Certainly he knew what he needed because they had to carry 45 days rations for each man with them as well. Are you truly saying he turned up at a harbour and took what boats were available, with this type of baggage?

How stupid do you think Scipio was?
Yes I am. We're told that Scipio had to make do with what he could get his hands on. Moreover, he was a far better tactician with a more experienced army than Regulus. He didn't need to rely on numerical superiority, just as he didn't in Spain. There was also precedent. Take the final Roman effort in the First Punic War in 241. This was done with minimal government support. Lutatius mustered what ships he could directly from individual aristocrats. A transport fleet of miscellaneous vessels is thus understandable when we consider precedent and the limited nature of the support that Scipio received.
 
Nov 2011
820
The Bluff
Are you really saying he invaded a continent with a similar sized army to that which got stomped in a previous war, and without any real planning?
That is what we are told: two oversize legions and their alae. You are yet to provide any source evidence that states five legions. Livy, following a Polybios, is plain (28.45.14):

Although he had neither gained consent to hold a levy, nor had been especially insistent, Scipio obtained permission to take volunteers and to receive whatever should be given by the allies towards the construction of new ships,
Again, please state whence comes Scipio's five legions?

We can be very sure that Scipio thought he would win because he had planned every last detail. This meant decent transports for his troops.
Livy (29.24.9) is plain that Scipio ordered the requisitioning of every merchantman or freight carrier (onerarius) that could be found. So no, he did not requisition decent transports, he nicked what was around the Sicilian coast as Livy states.

How stupid do you think Scipio was?
A question for you to answer as you are the one doubting Scipio's ability to get the job done with two well over strength legions and comparable alae. Or why he spent so much time courting African allies to ensure a welcome.
 
Nov 2018
157
Wales
If anything, I would be much more surprised if the Senate really gave Scipio five legions equivalent. To take five legions equivalent out of Italy would have had no precedent at that time.
If anything, I would be much more surprised if the Senate really gave Scipio five legions equivalent. To take five legions equivalent out of Italy would have had no precedent at that time.
Now this is a very fair point, and the best, most concise reply I've had in a long time.

Hannibal was still in Italy at the time after all.
 
Nov 2018
157
Wales
That is what we are told: two oversize legions and their alae. You are yet to provide any source evidence that states five legions. Livy, following a Polybios, is plain (28.45.14):



Again, please state whence comes Scipio's five legions?



Livy (29.24.9) is plain that Scipio ordered the requisitioning of every merchantman or freight carrier (onerarius) that could be found. So no, he did not requisition decent transports, he nicked what was around the Sicilian coast as Livy states.



A question for you to answer as you are the one doubting Scipio's ability to get the job done with two well over strength legions and comparable alae. Or why he spent so much time courting African allies to ensure a welcome.
There is nothing truly to state that Scipio was a tactical genius before Zama. He failed to stop Hasdrubal supporting his brother after all, his stated victory at Baecula was anything but. In fact Hasdrubal succeeded in holding off Scipio's army while continuing his advance into Italy.

It's just as well Scipio courted African allies, he would have lost otherwise.

As stated earlier, I do have concerns over 5 actual Roman legions. However, the available facts do state 10 legions equivalent at Zama in terms of infantry numbers, if not in terms of cavalry.

You are always using Livy as a source. Can we assume you prefer his version of Zama, rather than Polybius?. How accurate do you think Livy was?

For the record, I try to steer well clear of such a dubious author.
 
There is nothing truly to state that Scipio was a tactical genius before Zama. He failed to stop Hasdrubal supporting his brother after all, his stated victory at Baecula was anything but. In fact Hasdrubal succeeded in holding off Scipio's army while continuing his advance into Italy.

It's just as well Scipio courted African allies, he would have lost otherwise.

As stated earlier, I do have concerns over 5 actual Roman legions. However, the available facts do state 10 legions equivalent at Zama in terms of infantry numbers, if not in terms of cavalry.

You are always using Livy as a source. Can we assume you prefer his version of Zama, rather than Polybius?. How accurate do you think Livy was?

For the record, I try to steer well clear of such a dubious author.
If we consider the lacunose nature of Polybius' account of the African campaign and the fact that Livy used Polybius as a source, I would say that Livy's account of the African campaign is important and that it gives us a window into what Polybius may have said but no longer survives. I also think that Livy is regardless still due a good deal of consideration, even if he is usually inferior to Polybius. Note for example that his figures for the numbers and casualties at the Battle of Cannae make sense, whereas Polybius' do not (from what I remember, in Polybius' account, more people are killed in the Roman army than they are recorded as deploying on the battlefield).

As for Scipio, however one wants to interpret the Battle of Baecula (as far as I'm concerned, he still tactically bested Hasdrubal's army, albeit without a positive strategic effect - tactical victory vs strategic defeat), he still captured New Carthage, won the Battle of Illipa (using complicated manoeuvres) and ultimately rid Spain of the Carthaginians over the course of only four campaigning seasons and with a numerical inferiority. He had some cause for confidence. As for the African campaign, Scipio may have expected to win some initial victories with relative ease before needing to recruit African allies. Hannibal was yet to arrive in Africa, and he knew he could beat Hasdrubal son of Gisco (based on Illipa).