How many legions and equivalents at Zama?

Jan 2018
20
England
The numbers are not consistent, this is the issue I think. There really is a lack of detail in the stats.
4,000 and 5,000 are the legion sizes that Livy refers to in his summary of army strengths. Both though are rounded numbers.
Safe to say perhaps that Appian (or his source) seems to have thought that the legions were of a standard size of 3,600 men (with supernumeraries bring it up to around 3,720 I believe) and this odd amount was rounded to 4,000. This is of course, without the light troops listed, but if you add 1,200 velites we get 4,920 and thereby the other rounded up legion size of 5,000 men.
Tempting then to say that the figure of 6,200 is a legion of 5,000 with a double counting of the velites. We can`t be sure in this estimate that Livy used only one source, or that the calculation was his own.
I think that this was an error, but not originally on Livy`s part. Perhaps he was using a text from Polybius, which is now missing?
 
Nov 2011
1,146
The Bluff
I think that this was an error, but not originally on Livy`s part. Perhaps he was using a text from Polybius, which is now missing?
I don't think this is Livy counting. This is an explanatory notice of the filling out of the legions and raising of same to 6,200. It stands in stark comparison to what follows it: the various numbers Livy found and the nonsense of falling birds, et al. As to your question, I've little doubt this sort of explanatory detail came from Polybios who is, of course, severely lacunose on the African campaign as a whole with great parts missing from our preserved text.
 
Jan 2018
20
England
I don't think this is Livy counting. This is an explanatory notice of the filling out of the legions and raising of same to 6,200. It stands in stark comparison to what follows it: the various numbers Livy found and the nonsense of falling birds, et al. As to your question, I've little doubt this sort of explanatory detail came from Polybios who is, of course, severely lacunose on the African campaign as a whole with great parts missing from our preserved text.
I agree.
I`m trying to pin the other sets of stats to a time period/source too. I have some thoughts on the matter, but I will post later on the subject.
 
Nov 2018
211
Wales
Polybius is quite clear on Legion size and composition (Polybius 6.6.19):
each legion is brought up to four thousand two hundred, or in times of exceptional danger to five thousand
From 6.6.21
They divide them so that the senior men known as triarii number six hundred, the principes twelve hundred, the hastati twelve hundred, the rest, consisting of the youngest, being velites. If the legion consists of more than four thousand men, they divide accordingly, except as regards the triarii, the number of whom is always the same.
6.6.22 concerns Velites.
6.6.23 concerns Hastati, Principes and Triari.
 
Jan 2018
20
England
Polybius is quite clear on Legion size and composition (Polybius 6.6.19):

From 6.6.21

6.6.22 concerns Velites.
6.6.23 concerns Hastati, Principes and Triari.

Nick,
Take a look at this: https://www.academia.edu/29930853/The_Roman_Legion_of_406_BC
Polybius was mistaken about Roman legionary organisation.
Athough Livy, it seems, had a better understanding of Roman army structure, he tended to follow Polybius generally and use his stats for Roman army sizes.
If anyone had made a miscalculation in estimating the size of Scipio`s legions, it`s "odds on" it was Polybius rather than Livy.
 
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Nov 2018
211
Wales
Nick,
Take a look at this: https://www.academia.edu/29930853/The_Roman_Legion_of_406_BC
Polybius was mistaken about Roman legionary organisation.
Athough Livy, it seems, had a better understanding of Roman army structure, he tended to follow Polybius generally and use his stats for Roman army sizes.
If anyone had made a miscalculation in estimating the size of Scipio`s legions, it`s "odds on" it was Polybius rather than Livy.
Thanks, but I'm not on google or facebook so cannot read it.

However, I would point out that Polybius and the Scipio family are inseperable. He was actually at the sack of Carthage so he should know at the very least, an overview of a legion, especially given his intimacy with Romes military..
 
Nov 2011
1,146
The Bluff
Thanks, but I'm not on google or facebook so cannot read it.

However, I would point out that Polybius and the Scipio family are inseperable. He was actually at the sack of Carthage so he should know at the very least, an overview of a legion, especially given his intimacy with Romes military..
It isn't on Facebook; it's on the Academia.edu site, a paper sharing site for scholar's works. Free to join.

I'd agree re Polybios. While he's not free from error, it would be surprising if his errors regarding the Roman legion of his time were completely confused.
 
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Nov 2018
211
Wales
It isn't on Facebook; it's on the Academia.edu site, a paper sharing site for scholar's works. Free to join.

I'd agree re Polybios. While he's not free from error, it would be surprising if his errors regarding the Roman legion of his time were completely confused.
Thanks for the reply but you need to log in using google or facebook and I'm on neither one.

Likewise concerning Polybius, he's the man most likely to be right. It does appear from numbers of troops stated sailing from Sicily, that Livy may have seen Appians work, but still prefers Polybius's account of the battle.