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Calling all armchair generals! Boudica's Last Stand.
Mio wrote:
There needs to be a balance of experience within the fighting troops, so I wonder what the deciding factors were on who remained behind as the garrison. The oldest and the newest, perhaps?

Blasphemer….blasphemer. :grin: :grin: :grin: On a serious note….it is always the oldest troops who guard the camp and the primary sources do support this. First reference is the battle of Silva Arsia in 509 BC (Dionysius 5 15). Dionysius calls them the triarii. In 486 BC, Dionysius (8 86) mentions the triarii being the oldest guarded the camp and fought in close order as a reserve force. What Dionysius is saying is the oldest of the old troops are the camp guards and he is right (Livy 2 47), (4 19). The triarii and the artificers are mentioned guarding the camp during the battle of Veii in 480 BC (Dionysius 9 12). On another occasion Dionysius (9 61) mentions the veterans of the reserve as guarding the camp.

I believe Dionysius and Livy use of the term triarii is correct. The triarii was not a term introduced with the maniple legion but like the term principes was in use before the introduction of the maniple legion. It has been modern academics that have incorrectly associated the term triarii with the introduction of the maniple legion. There are also references to the triarii guarding the baggage camp, and according to Livy (44 38 6) "they are not the worst of the soldiers who are left in custody of the baggage."

So we have references to the oldest men guarding the camp and we still find references to this happening up to Pharsalus and beyond. Then we come to another doctrine as old as time and not readily recognised by academics. In 455 BC, Livy mentions a cohort of volunteers past the military age being present on the battlefield. Then we have Paterculus and Tacitus mentioning during the principate veteran soldiers and veteran cohorts. Nothing has changed, the doctrine continues. So the veterans of the XXth legion, because Tacitus does not mention them as being cohorts, means they are the oldest troops of the XXth legion and not veterans or evocati cohorts attached to the XXth legion.

Therefore, it is the oldest troops that are left to garrison the camp. And Michael could be right with his theory they were under the command of the junior centurions of the legion. Most of the varying legion numbers found in Tacitus omits part of all of the oldest troops. Another doctrine I have found is half the oldest troops are left to garrison the fort, and the other half went on campaign. While on campaign, the remainder of the older troops were assigned to guard the baggage camp.

I also believe the auxiliaries follow the same organisation and age divisions as the legionaries. This is so the auxiliaries can deploy with the same depth as the legionaries. So if the oldest legionaries are left to guard the camp, I believe the oldest auxiliary infantry do the same.

I have found the Romans are sticklers for protocol and nothing they did came out of vacuum. What they do in later time periods had been done before. The legion size that was present at the Allia (6000 men per legion), is the same legion at Zama and is the same legion Livy is describing for 340 BC. Most of these legion sizes and doctrines were established with the introduction of the Servian constitution.

Michael wrote:
I was speaking in purely legionary terms but I have no doubt that he had cavalry as well, at the very least for scouting and screening purposes. I wouldn't confine it to one ala, though, and I wouldn't rule out his having auxiliary infantry too.

You are quite right about the presence of auxiliaries. My methodology is to follow Roman doctrine to determine the size of the Roman contingent, then after doing this, subtract this from the figure of about 10,000 men to try and determine the number of auxiliary troops. However, as Tacitus gives no cavalry numbers as he did at Mons Graupius and as there are no other sources giving army numbers, it is all conjecture and all I am doing is playing with numbers.

Michael wrote:
Hence my suggestion that he called up the veterans of his three campaigning legions. This explains the presence of the veterans of the Twentieth and the order to Postumus to bring up the element of the Second under his command. The veterans of the Fourteenth would simply have joined their parent legion and, accordingly, do not get a separate mention

Good point. It made me realise that Tacitus by including the story of Postumus not to send his veterans, means the veterans of the 14th legion were with Paulinus, otherwise the story of the 14th veterans not turning up would be included. So the number of legionaries grows and from the about 10,000 men in Paulinus’ army, the number of auxiliaries gets smaller.
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Messages In This Thread
Re: Calling all armchair generals! - by Ensifer - 03-11-2010, 03:13 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 02-18-2012, 06:26 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 02-19-2012, 12:02 AM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 02-19-2012, 02:50 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 02-19-2012, 05:40 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 02-19-2012, 11:26 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 04-24-2012, 05:11 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 04-24-2012, 09:42 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 04-24-2012, 10:10 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 04-25-2012, 03:11 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 04-25-2012, 03:25 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 04-25-2012, 08:36 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 04-26-2012, 02:57 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 04-27-2012, 01:50 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 08-05-2012, 02:24 PM
Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by antiochus - 11-07-2014, 02:18 PM
Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by antiochus - 11-08-2014, 01:50 AM
Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by antiochus - 11-11-2014, 02:03 AM
Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by antiochus - 11-18-2014, 07:54 AM
Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by antiochus - 11-20-2014, 02:37 AM
Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by antiochus - 11-25-2014, 08:29 AM

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