How many legions and equivalents at Zama?

Nov 2011
863
The Bluff
Where Salaminia fails is that he believes Livy is fact, whereby it can be shown he is not. His 4000 Macedonians at Zama are at best more than likely a total mistake. OTOH it could be a total lie. Livy is probably considered best as Wiki, a place to start to understand a subject, but not one to rely on. What Livy seems to do is gather information rather than understand it, nor query its validity.
Please cease misstating my case. Nowhere have I claimed that "Livy is fact". I have claimed that he provides far more detail than does Appian and that there is no reason to doubt that detail as it will have derived from Polybios. You, on the other hand, display a serious misunderstanding of the sources you are attempting to compare. Appian is producing a summary somewhat in the manner of Diodoros. Livy is producing a complete history of Rome and necessarily produces a far more detailed work. The source Appian used (or one of them) provided the figures he gives both for Scipio's troops on departure from Sicily and Hannibal's army for Zamma. Livy - as has been pointed out numerous times - also had access to this source but produced the figures he will have found in Polybios' (lost) narrative: overstrength legions of 6,200. He explains how they were formed and he explains the political situation that saw the Senate refuse Scipio the right to levy any legions for his departure to Sicily, allowing only that he ask for volunteers. There exist no arguments to dismiss or ignore this testimony. If you have some cogent source critical arguments against these notices I'd ask that you might produce them.

On the matter of Livy's Macedonians, I have already provided the fact that this is internally consistent - the fact they are mentioned in three different contexts. It is very difficult to keep up with your ever changing positions on these men. Do you now hold they were never there or are you still claiming they were somehow the light troops with the elephants? Clarity would be nice. As noted, there is little need for Philip's ambassador to ask for their release if they did not somehow exist. The two camps are either a Roman annalist's propaganda (awfully consistent) or that these men likely formed part of the Carthaginian garrison.

By manipulating the figures Appian tries to make Zama an equal achievement to Cannae, ie from a tactical victory that saw one side inflict twice the casualties to only equal in the next. He also has Scipio have 16k infantry land in Africa, the same as the previous attempt in the 1st war, that was annihilated. This number is likely to be propaganda rather than history, that any intelligent historian would recognise.
You cannot simply state such without making a case. Can you please provide argued evidence that Appian has so "manipulated" the figures to this end? Argued evidence is not the flat assertions, hunches and speculation you've provided so far. Once more unto the breach: Appian will have found these numbers in the sources he used (likely including Hannibal's Lakedaimonian tutor, the historian Sosylus), he did not pull these figures out of thin air. For the record, neither Polybios (or his sources) likely had a decimal point accurate number for Hannibal's forces.
 
Please cease misstating my case. Nowhere have I claimed that "Livy is fact". I have claimed that he provides far more detail than does Appian and that there is no reason to doubt that detail as it will have derived from Polybios. You, on the other hand, display a serious misunderstanding of the sources you are attempting to compare. Appian is producing a summary somewhat in the manner of Diodoros. Livy is producing a complete history of Rome and necessarily produces a far more detailed work. The source Appian used (or one of them) provided the figures he gives both for Scipio's troops on departure from Sicily and Hannibal's army for Zamma. Livy - as has been pointed out numerous times - also had access to this source but produced the figures he will have found in Polybios' (lost) narrative: overstrength legions of 6,200. He explains how they were formed and he explains the political situation that saw the Senate refuse Scipio the right to levy any legions for his departure to Sicily, allowing only that he ask for volunteers. There exist no arguments to dismiss or ignore this testimony. If you have some cogent source critical arguments against these notices I'd ask that you might produce them.

On the matter of Livy's Macedonians, I have already provided the fact that this is internally consistent - the fact they are mentioned in three different contexts. It is very difficult to keep up with your ever changing positions on these men. Do you now hold they were never there or are you still claiming they were somehow the light troops with the elephants? Clarity would be nice. As noted, there is little need for Philip's ambassador to ask for their release if they did not somehow exist. The two camps are either a Roman annalist's propaganda (awfully consistent) or that these men likely formed part of the Carthaginian garrison.



You cannot simply state such without making a case. Can you please provide argued evidence that Appian has so "manipulated" the figures to this end? Argued evidence is not the flat assertions, hunches and speculation you've provided so far. Once more unto the breach: Appian will have found these numbers in the sources he used (likely including Hannibal's Lakedaimonian tutor, the historian Sosylus), he did not pull these figures out of thin air. For the record, neither Polybios (or his sources) likely had a decimal point accurate number for Hannibal's forces.
You use Livy to continually belittle my POV. I personally find Livy to be less than reliable. OTOH I'm not completely happy with my POV either. My gut feelings are usually decent, but I have yet to feel my opinion is right on this subject.

What I am pretty sure about is that Hannibals army at Zama was not greater than 40k, and that Scipios army was larger.
 
Nov 2011
863
The Bluff
You use Livy to continually belittle my POV. I personally find Livy to be less than reliable. OTOH I'm not completely happy with my POV either. My gut feelings are usually decent, but I have yet to feel my opinion is right on this subject.

What I am pretty sure about is that Hannibals army at Zama was not greater than 40k, and that Scipios army was larger.
Thanks for the considered, in-depth reply. I expected no more.

If "belittle" means the structured rebuttal of a position which is based on assumption, the silence of sources and speculation then guilty as charged. That you'd use the term "belittle" says more about where you're at here, I'm afraid. And, yes, I use Livy - as well as the other sources - for all the reasons stated endlessly. Only the blinkered dismiss evidence and that, too, says much about your position and "method". That you find Livy "less than reliable" is hardly surprising, his testimony terminally undermines your view.
 
Last edited:
Thanks for the considered, in-depth reply. I expected no more.

If "belittle" means the structured rebuttal of a position which is based on assumption, the silence of sources and speculation then guilty as charged. That you'd use the term "belittle" says more about where you're at here, I'm afraid. And, yes, I use Livy - as well as the other sources - for all the reasons stated endlessly. Only the blinkered dismiss evidence and that, too, says much about your position and "method". That you find Livy "less than reliable" is hardly surprising, his testimony terminally undermines your view.
Other sources? You have only used Livy to rebut my POV almost every time.
4000 Macedonians at Zama is almost certainly more than an error. Livy is dodgy.
Thanks for the considered, in-depth reply. I expected no more.

If "belittle" means the structured rebuttal of a position which is based on assumption, the silence of sources and speculation then guilty as charged. That you'd use the term "belittle" says more about where you're at here, I'm afraid. And, yes, I use Livy - as well as the other sources - for all the reasons stated endlessly. Only the blinkered dismiss evidence and that, too, says much about your position and "method". That you find Livy "less than reliable" is hardly surprising, his testimony terminally undermines your view.
I'm willing to bow to your superior wisdom. Please tell me how you believe Zama played out? Which author do you prefer?
 
Nov 2011
863
The Bluff
Other sources? You have only used Livy to rebut my POV almost every time.
I/we have discussed Appian, Polybios and Livy throughout this thread and on that other site as a perusal will show. I'm certain it must seem to you that "I've only used Livy" to rebut your view. The reason for that is your continued insistence on claiming that Scipio left Sicily with ten legions. It seems not to have sunk in that of our sources, only Livy provides the box and dice detail of the troops given to Scipio for Sicily/Africa by the Senate; the political background to that decision; and of the troops which left Sicily for Africa with and how they were assembled.

Before we revisit the same old objections, Polybios' narrative of these events does not survive and his African account is severely lacunose. Appian is summarising his source, often in a manner as capricious as Diodoros at his worst, and supplies basic information. Livy, on the other hand, provides all the ins and outs of the political machinations before the Senate of Scipio and his enemies; the decision of that body with respect to Sicily/Africa; the fact that he would not be allowed to raise any further legions than those in Sicily already but accept only individual volunteers; what he did with those volunteers and Scipio's rebuilding of those legions and the numbers involved. Given all of that, what is not to understand in making use of Livy? Perhaps, like yourself, you would prefer I ignore Livy and instead rely upon the silence of Polybios (due to the fact his narrative here has not survived) filled in with speculation and guesswork?

4000 Macedonians at Zama is almost certainly more than an error. Livy is dodgy.
"More than an error". What, precisely, is that to mean? Care to elucidate or should we simply continue with implication/innuendo? You are most conflicted on this issue. Grasping at these 4,000 for elephant lights has given away to more than an error! Again, you need to provide a rational and coherent explanation for these (as many have done) rather than imply that Livy mentioning these is somehow "lying" and therefore his entire testimony is rejected in toto. It's a bit like your dismissal of the Punic elephants ever being in this battle on that other site: consistent internal evidence in the sources shows that Rome indeed took the elephants from that battle and used them. Hard to do when they were never there.

I'm willing to bow to your superior wisdom. Please tell me how you believe Zama played out? Which author do you prefer?
And that, I'm afraid, sums it up: one simply must prefer a single source. It doesn't work that way, though it is clearly your preferred "method".
 
I/we have discussed Appian, Polybios and Livy throughout this thread and on that other site as a perusal will show. I'm certain it must seem to you that "I've only used Livy" to rebut your view. The reason for that is your continued insistence on claiming that Scipio left Sicily with ten legions. It seems not to have sunk in that of our sources, only Livy provides the box and dice detail of the troops given to Scipio for Sicily/Africa by the Senate; the political background to that decision; and of the troops which left Sicily for Africa with and how they were assembled.

Before we revisit the same old objections, Polybios' narrative of these events does not survive and his African account is severely lacunose. Appian is summarising his source, often in a manner as capricious as Diodoros at his worst, and supplies basic information. Livy, on the other hand, provides all the ins and outs of the political machinations before the Senate of Scipio and his enemies; the decision of that body with respect to Sicily/Africa; the fact that he would not be allowed to raise any further legions than those in Sicily already but accept only individual volunteers; what he did with those volunteers and Scipio's rebuilding of those legions and the numbers involved. Given all of that, what is not to understand in making use of Livy? Perhaps, like yourself, you would prefer I ignore Livy and instead rely upon the silence of Polybios (due to the fact his narrative here has not survived) filled in with speculation and guesswork?



"More than an error". What, precisely, is that to mean? Care to elucidate or should we simply continue with implication/innuendo? You are most conflicted on this issue. Grasping at these 4,000 for elephant lights has given away to more than an error! Again, you need to provide a rational and coherent explanation for these (as many have done) rather than imply that Livy mentioning these is somehow "lying" and therefore his entire testimony is rejected in toto. It's a bit like your dismissal of the Punic elephants ever being in this battle on that other site: consistent internal evidence in the sources shows that Rome indeed took the elephants from that battle and used them. Hard to do when they were never there.



And that, I'm afraid, sums it up: one simply must prefer a single source. It doesn't work that way, though it is clearly your preferred "method".
You cannot state I'm wrong if you do not have a clear idea what is right. Tell me how you believe the battle unfolded and we can discuss that.

Unfortunately, you do not know what is correct, simply because there is not enough verifiable information available for you to do so.

OTOH, I am trying to understand a dodgy opinion on a battle that fails on almost every logical level. You cannot kill the message so you simply are trying to kill the messenger. Unfortunately for yourself, while the internet seems to be a great place to snipe from, you cannot stop anyone here with an enquiring mind who wishes a reasonable answer. I'll post my latest theory soon, knowing full well you have not the same courage to do the same.
 
Nov 2011
863
The Bluff
You cannot state I'm wrong if you do not have a clear idea what is right. Tell me how you believe the battle unfolded and we can discuss that.

Unfortunately, you do not know what is correct, simply because there is not enough verifiable information available for you to do so.

OTOH, I am trying to understand a dodgy opinion on a battle that fails on almost every logical level. You cannot kill the message so you simply are trying to kill the messenger. Unfortunately for yourself, while the internet seems to be a great place to snipe from, you cannot stop anyone here with an enquiring mind who wishes a reasonable answer. I'll post my latest theory soon, knowing full well you have not the same courage to do the same.
I'm afraid it does not work that way. You do not get to make dodgy assertions based upon assumption, speculation, the silence of sources and "your gut" and then when challenged on those, decide that you cannot be wrong because you assume I have no idea of what "is right". Nonsense: you make the assertion; you defend it. The core, indeed the reason for this thread is your question "How many legions at Zamma?" Unless you've forgotten, your answer:

Officially it's 2, maybe 3, obviously with an equal amount of Alae for around 4-5 equivalent.

I reckon 10 is required to make the battle make sense. What is your opinion?
You have been challenged on the detail of this claim from the beginning, challenges which clearly indicate my position regarding the issue and which you appear to consider "sniping". To date, those challenges go unanswered and this little attempt at deflection is simply the latest. Denatus, in the second post on this thread, neatly summed matters:

Scipio commanded two legions in Africa. The core of these legions were the survivors of Cannae who had been serving in Sicily since 215BC. Livy calls them the Vth and VIth (XXIX.24), and says the two legions (reinforced by volunteers and men who had served under Marcellus) plus Latin and Italian allies that crossed to Africa in 204 numbered 17,000-32,000, depending on the source (XXIX.25).

When Scipio was consul in 205 political opponents (Fabius and Valerius Flaccus et al) had prevented him from holding a levy, and he took only 7000 volunteers with him to Sicily. Polybius (fragment XV.5) and Appian (Pun 32) say Massinissa joined with 6,000 Numidian infantry and 4,000 cavalry before the battle of Zama.
And that is correct. Now, as I've been saying all thread, if you wish to be taken seriously, you need to deal with that and the volumes of source testimony referenced since, for your "inquiring mind" has been tighly closed against all of it. While you might have the courage of your convictions, you sorely lack the evidence for your viscera.
 
Last edited:
Nov 2018
170
Wales
I'm afraid it does not work that way. You do not get to make dodgy assertions based upon assumption, speculation, the silence of sources and "your gut" and then when challenged on those, decide that you cannot be wrong because you assume I have no idea of what "is right". Nonsense: you make the assertion; you defend it. The core, indeed the reason for this thread is your question "How many legions at Zamma?" Unless you've forgotten, your answer:
Actually, your complete failure to state your position on Zama reveals all. You have no true evidence.
 
Actually, your complete failure to state your position on Zama reveals all. You have no true evidence.
No true evidence of what? It's no longer clear what you're objecting to. You made arguments about how Zama went down, and we rejected your arguments through reference to the literary evidence. In other words, we don't think you succeeded in meeting the burden of proof required of you in making your claim. It's not clear what more you want.
 
Likes: Salaminia
Nov 2011
863
The Bluff
I'll make this simple:

Nonsense: you make the assertion; you defend it. The core, indeed the reason for this thread is your question "How many legions at Zamma?" Unless you've forgotten, your answer:

I reckon 10 is required to make the battle make sense. What is your opinion?
You have been challenged on the detail of this claim from the beginning, challenges which clearly indicate my position regarding the issue and which you appear to consider "sniping". To date, those challenges go unanswered and this little attempt at deflection is simply the latest. Denatus, in the second post on this thread, neatly summed matters:

Scipio commanded two legions in Africa. The core of these legions were the survivors of Cannae who had been serving in Sicily since 215BC. Livy calls them the Vth and VIth (XXIX.24), and says the two legions (reinforced by volunteers and men who had served under Marcellus) plus Latin and Italian allies that crossed to Africa in 204 numbered 17,000-32,000, depending on the source (XXIX.25).

When Scipio was consul in 205 political opponents (Fabius and Valerius Flaccus et al) had prevented him from holding a levy, and he took only 7000 volunteers with him to Sicily. Polybius (fragment XV.5) and Appian (Pun 32) say Massinissa joined with 6,000 Numidian infantry and 4,000 cavalry before the battle of Zama.
Now, as I've been saying all thread, if you wish to be taken seriously, you need to deal with that and the volumes of source testimony referenced since, for your "inquiring mind" has been tighly closed against all of it. While you might have the courage of your convictions, you sorely lack the evidence for your viscera.
And your considered answer is?

Actually, your complete failure to state your position on Zama reveals all. You have no true evidence.
To keep your "inquiring mind" tightly closed against any and all evidence which does not confirm your "theory", as you have from the beginning. And if that's all there is.... QED.