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References to late Roman army???
(10-13-2017, 05:38 PM)Robert Vermaat Wrote: such sources are not primarily concerned with a correct number of soldiers, and were often written much later.

I agree - especially when two or more different numbers appear in the different versions, and there's almost certainly been some corruption along the way. But we don't know whether these figures represent accurate evidence passed down many times, or are simply invented, or refer perhaps to a Biblical source (as they seem to do in some cases).

The names in this one seem peculiar to me. Late Romano-Egyptian names are often quite odd, but these look like muddled hybrids of Latin, Greek and something else. 

It is interesting that so many of these 'military martyrs' seem to have come from Egypt, and are supposedly martyred elsewhere. Theagenes, Theodore, Maurice and the Theban Legion, now these four as well. Bit of a meme in martyrology, perhaps?
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Julian wrote:

So what is the solution 3000 or 3400 soldiers? Could the Armenian version be the unrounded number of the Greek/Latin version?
 
The “other 1,000 soldiers” could be part of the 3,400 soldiers, so we have 2,400 soldiers plus the other 1,000 soldiers. The 3,000 soldiers could be rounded from 3,400 soldiers. It is important here to try and establish the method of the writer. Some ancient historians round subtotals, so for example the source could have read, 2,400 infantry and 800 other soldiers, which has then been rounded to 1,000 soldiers, thereby producing a total of 3,400 soldiers instead of 3,200 soldiers.
 
Robert wrote
It's still a martyrium. As I explained to Steven earlier, such sources are not primarily concerned with a correct number of soldiers, and were often written much later. Although interesting of course, the number mentioned (without even the number of units) won't be adding to a discussion about troop numbers.
 
Such numbers may be of no interest to some, but many of the numbers relating to the martyrs actually conform to my research. The figure given recently by Julian of 1,104 soldiers is another perfect match that conforms to my research. It works out to be two vexillations with the right amount of cavalry for an infantry vexillation, and follows the Roman traditional military organisation since the principate. So should I merely throw it out because some devalue the data of the martyrs?
 
I am fascinated by the fact no one here knows the exact size of a Roman legion, a vexillation, a cuneus, and a numerus, yet are confident the numbers in the martyr stories cannot be taken seriously. I hope Evan does not follow this approach and does not leave one stone unturned.
 
Nathan wrote:
I agree - especially when two or more different numbers appear in the different versions, and there's almost certainly been some corruption along the way.
 
The numbers of men for Cannae from various ancient historians vary, which doesn’t mean there is corruption. It shows the different methods of the ancient historian. Plutarch has the highest total because he has included all the officer, which Polybius and Livy omit. It is that simple.
 
My final word on the martyr stories is this. Many of the numbers given for the soldiers match my unit organisation after Constantine, and many of the numbers include the officers. When all these numbers match without being manipulated, then it is like winning Lotto.
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(10-14-2017, 02:34 AM)Steven James Wrote: The “other 1,000 soldiers” could be part of the 3,400 soldiers, so we have 2,400 soldiers plus the other 1,000 soldiers. The 3,000 soldiers could be rounded from 3,400 soldiers. It is important here to try and establish the method of the writer. Some ancient historians round subtotals, so for example the source could have read, 2,400 infantry and 800 other soldiers, which has then been rounded to 1,000 soldiers, thereby producing a total of 3,400 soldiers instead of 3,200 soldiers.
[..]
So should I merely throw it out because some devalue the data of the martyrs?

Or they were not part of it. Or they were two units of 500, and the 3400 were a unit of 2000, a unit of 1000 and two units of 200. 
Or there were maybe 8 units, all depleted or immensely understrength.
Or..
Or...

Fact is, we have no idea where this number came from - earlier sources or from the author's mind. 
FACT is, we have no idea of the methodology of the author, and therefore the evidence is inadmissable. It's perhaps an interesting number, but it belongs with a saint clenching his jaw and breaking his bonds in front of his torturers, declaring the glory of God. 

Indeed, 'some' devalue the data of the martyrs. It's only learned historians, who know their trade and use real methodology, so I guess that's not important if you just happen to disagree with all that 'science' stuff. No matter.
But I guess that some people, reading how a green dragon flew over a unit of 1000 soldiers, would happily enter the number of soldiers as evidence for their research and ignore the dragon... Wink
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Robert Vermaat
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As Mark Twain said: Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.

If I can find the source for the tribune Campanus with his 1000 soldiers, then the rest will fall into place.

As AHM Jones said: As I explored the ancient sources I regretfully came to the conclusion that a lifetime would not suffice to read them all; anyone who surveys only the relevant shelves of Migne’s Patrologiae will understand… There are a few grains of wheat in these, but the quantity of chaff(from my point of view) is overwhelming, and many of the best grains have been winnowed by earlier scholars, particularly those of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, whose editions of patristic literature are a mine of curious information.

I have read the surviving histories of Dexippus. Look at the new discovered fragment the Scythica Vindobonensia : Decius was concerned about the wrongdoing of the auxiliary troops and the capture of Philippopolis. And when the army was gathered, about 80,000 men…

Dexippus had full knowledge of the Roman Army, I think he knew exactly the components of Decius’ army, yet he chose not to reflect it in his histories. Why? Because according to the vainglories of the time, numbers are icky and therefore not to be written down in “literary” works.

Another example:

(Fragment 30 ; timeframe Aurelian) From then on, about two thousand vandal riders fought with the Romans, some of whom were selected from the crowd, and some who were willing to take a war without compulsion.

Again this rounding. I think he knew the amount of squadrons and the amount of troops(the key here is the word about), remember he was a general. I know that it is not a telos (2048) of cavalry, because Dexippos would have written down the word Telos.

Sometimes much–celebrated histories are useless, while much-maligned hagiographies are useful!

Unbeknownst to many, a new golden age has arrived. Hagiographers have tired endlessly over the past years and we have acquired at least 10.000 Greek and 10.000 Latin texts of the first 6 centuries AD. A new golden age for Roman Army Studies has arrived. Scholars, academics, do not deplore the hagiographers, even if they tend to “dwell in the obscure”.


Robert Vermaat:But I guess that some people, reading how a green dragon flew over a unit of 1000 soldiers, would happily enter the number of soldiers as evidence for their research and ignore the dragon

Lucian of Samosata The Way to Write History : His personal observation has been so close that he describes the Parthian ‘Dragons’ (they use this ensign as a numerical formula — a thousand men to the Dragon, I believe)
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Robert wrote:

Fact is, we have no idea where this number came from -earlier sources or from the author's mind.
 
The whole point of my posting, which you have overlooked (again), is that I am discussing these numbers in relationship to my research. Taken in this content, many of them conform to the organisation of my research. If they didn’t I wouldn’t be defending about them.
 
Robert wrote:
Indeed, 'some' devalue the data of the martyrs. It's only learned historians, who know their trade and use real methodology, so I guess that's not important if you just happen to disagree with all that 'science' stuff. No matter.
 
You can defend learned historians and their so called real methodology all you want Robert. I have found their so called real methodology to have major flaws. Most learned historians are just conformist, lacking conviction and originality. Today’s books on the Roman army are just cut and paste of other author’s comments and theory.
 
Robert Vermaat wrote:
But I guess that some people, reading how a green dragon flew over a unit of 1000 soldiers, would happily enter the number of soldiers as evidence for their research and ignore the dragon
 
Julian replied to Robert:
Lucian of Samosata The Way to Write History: His personal observation has been so close that he describes the Parthian ‘Dragons’ (they use this ensign as a numerical formula — a thousand men to the Dragon, I believe)
 
Maybe Robert, it's your methodology that needs to be overhauled.
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(10-15-2017, 06:42 AM)Steven James Wrote: The whole point of my posting, which you have overlooked (again)
[..]
You can defend learned historians and their so called real methodology all you want Robert. 

Why would I have overlooked that? Would there be any other reason for you to post?
Of course I will defend historical methodology Steven. It protects us from pseudo-historians who use only what they like. In this day and age that is crucial.
_________________________________
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR: Forum rules
FECTIO Late Roman Society
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
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(10-14-2017, 07:41 PM)Julian de Vries Wrote: Dexippus had full knowledge of the Roman Army, I think he knew exactly the components of Decius’ army, yet he chose not to reflect it in his histories. Why?

Scythica Vindobonensia pdf translation and commentary here.

80,000 men is indeed a huge army, for the Danubian provinces in the 3rd century! This might suggest, for example, that the army numbers given in the Persian Naqsh-e Rostam inscription (for approximately the same period) may not be so exaggerated after all - although how many troops did Decius lose at Abrittus? However, we don't know whether Dexippus is drawing on some officially-recorded number here, or just making a rough estimate.

But let's assume he did have access to an official list of Decius's army (if such a thing existed) - would it have been more helpful if he had said that Decius had 78,692 men? We might be more ready to believe him, but the figure itself tells us not much more than the round number. All we would know is that somebody had actually bothered to count them all.

The far more exact numbers of John Lydus and Agathias for the total army under Severus or Diocletian are in fact no more useful to us in working out the precise size of individual Roman units than Dexippus's rough estimate.


(10-14-2017, 07:41 PM)Julian de Vries Wrote: Sometimes much–celebrated histories are useless, while much-maligned hagiographies are useful!

Useful or useless for what, though? Why should we assume that the writers of Christian hagiographies, working from non-official anecdotal sources and sometimes hundreds of years after the fact, are more likely to have recorded accurate numerical information than senatorial historians? If Dexippus is giving a rough estimate (and Dio with his 5500 Sarmatians and 13000 Quadi) then why should the hagiographers be treating their figures any more scrupulously?

Hagiographies are certainly useful in telling us what the church of the 4th-5th century thought about its recent past, about the state of religious dogmas at the time, and even (at some remove) about the social structures of the day and the sorts of interaction between civilians and soldiers, for example. They need to be treated very carefully, but they are far from useless.

However, I till think that we cannot look to either narrative literary histories, martyr stories or anecdotes for the sort of precise detail we would need to accurately reconstruct army numbers; as you suggest, they are all working with too broad a brush.
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Robert wrote:

Of course I will defend historical methodology Steven. It protects us from pseudo-historians who use only what they like.
 
And do you regard me as a pseudo-historian?
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Hieronymus Stridonensis, Commentaria in Matthaeum, PL 26, 0200D (340-420AD)

(Vers. 53, 54.) An putas quia non possum rogare Patrem meum, et exhibebit mihi modo plus quam duodecim legiones angelorum? Quomodo ergo implebuntur Scripturae: quia sic oportet fieri? Non indigeo duodecim apostolorum auxilio, etiamsi omnes me defenderent, qui possum habere duodecim legiones angelici exercitus. (0200D) Una legio apud veteres sex millibus complebatur hominum. Pro brevitate temporis numerum non occurrimus explicare, typos tantum dixisse sufficiat: septuaginta duo millia angelorum, in quot gentes hominum lingua divisa est, duodecim legionibus fieri. Sequens sententia promptum ad patiendum demonstrat animum, quod frustra prophetae cecinerint, nisi Dominus eos vere dixisse, passione sua asseruerit. (0201A)

*

Now Jerome says that a legion is / was 6000 soldiers.
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