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Nameless city in Africa taken by Scipio
#31
I would have said that Laelius was Polybius` main eye witness with Laelius providing Polybius with what he wanted to hear about Zama. In the same factional camp, most likely they were in collusion in the reporting of most of the events in the war that related to Scipio Africanus.
There are two events where Laelius was probably not a witness and do not appear in Polybius` account of the campaign in 202 BC.
Laelius was probably not interested in describing the victories of Minucius Thermus and Gaius Octavius anyhow, but these battle accounts must have originated from earlier histories and I assume Polybius was aware of them.
Of course, Thermus` battle is left out because it would clash with Polybius` borrowed three spies story, but I believe that Thermus`s action, the event in Appian that caused Hannibal to seek to negotiate with Scipio, is more likey to have been fought against a reinforcement from Vermina. I think this very likey to be the case if you take into account that Scipio`s position would have been a central one; ideal to intercept and ambush a force approaching from the west to reinforce Hannibal in the east, close to the city of Zama.
It would appear that Hannibal`s position was bad after the cavalry battle near Zama, but it was not a disaster; only skirmishes followed Appian`s cavalry battle, not a pursuit and Thermus who would have been following Hannibal`s supply train, would not have been able to get into an ambush position ahead of Hannibal`s equipment train.

Octavius victory against Vermina is omitted because at that point in the narrative Polybius tells us that Laelius is sent to Rome with news of a victory against Hannibal. The story seems to me to come from Laelius` perspective.
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#32
Michael wrote:

I would have said that Laelius was Polybius` main eye witness with Laelius providing Polybius with what he wanted to hear about Zama.
 
Appian does not mention Laelius as being at Zama. In his place he has Gaius Octavius, the commander of a Roman fleet. Laelius travels back to Rome for the peace negotiations, so maybe Appian knew he could not be present at Zama.
 
Michael wrote:
Of course, Thermus` battle is left out because it would clash with Polybius` borrowed three spies story, but I believe that Thermus`s action, the event in Appian that caused Hannibal to seek to negotiate with Scipio, is more likey to have been fought against a reinforcement from Vermina. I think this very likey to be the case if you take into account that Scipio`s position would have been a central one; ideal to intercept and ambush a force approaching from the west to reinforce Hannibal in the east, close to the city of Zama.
 
That is a possibility. So much of the chronology of the African campaign has been altered.
 
Michael wrote:
It would appear that Hannibal`s position was bad after the cavalry battle near Zama,
 
No, I don’t think so. No one has declared how many cavalry were involved, which tells me it was an extremely minor engagement, and most likely a chance encounter. There were peace negotiations occurring, so both sides did not want the situation to escalate.
 
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#33
Appian gives Laelius as the commander on the Roman right wing and he is commanding cavalry because he has Numidians opposite his position. Octavius is mentioned as the Roman commander on the left, but he would be commanding a body of infantry, again because the enemy troops he is fighting are Ligurians and Celts, not the cavalry. (Appian 9.44)
But anyhow, I do still suspect that these are really two different battles - the infantry battle in which Appian gives details about the Roman commanders is from some earlier fiction and the battle itself, in which Laelius was the senior Roman commander present supported by Massinissa.

Defeat in a cavalry battle, however minor would have worsened Hannibal`s situation. He was, from the start, inferior in cavalry numbers, but now there was little hope of reinforcement from Vermina, and consequently he was compelled to negotiate a truce with Scipio. The field commanders reach an agreement and so both armies returned to their operational bases. Peace negotiations would follow once the threat of Vermina`s forces were removed.
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#34
Michael wrote:

Appian gives Laelius as the commander on the Roman right wing and he is commanding cavalry because he has Numidians opposite his position. Octavius is mentioned as the Roman commander on the left, but he would be commanding a body of infantry, again because the enemy troops he is fighting are Ligurians and Celts, not the cavalry. (Appian 9.44)
 
Now that is a lesson in looking up the sources instead of trusting to memory.
 
Michael wrote:
But anyhow, I do still suspect that these are really two different battles - the infantry battle in which Appian gives details about the Roman commanders is from some earlier fiction and the battle itself, in which Laelius was the senior Roman commander present supported by Massinissa.
 
For me it is the cavalry skirmish followed by the attack on the supply train. That is it, not big Zama, no 80 elephants, no veterans of the third line as Polybius tells us. It would seem that Appian has his hands on the factual account and sadly, has then tried to weave in the Polybian version. Livy has done this with Baucula.
 
I’ve been giving the Second Punic war a rest at present. The year 298 BC has caught my attention. We have a Scipio present during the Third Samnite War, and already contradiction has reared its head. A great battle fought by Scipio, but a funerary inscription shows he only captured two towns and took hostages. The other consul is also reported to have fought a set piece battle, won and given a triumph. This could show that the fabrication of the Scipio’s could have been a family affair, and not the work of Polybius. Still more digging to do.

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#35
Well, I think it was something of a more significant combat and the monument of Kbor Klib* represents the best evidence for telling us about the true nature of the battle. It also provides us the answer to the question as to why the Romans did not return to build a permanent memorial to such an important battle. Zama was largely a Numidian victory - aided by the Roman cavalry, which was most likely commanded by Laelius.

*If readers haven`t yet come across this: Kbor Klib and the Battle of Zama by Duncan Ross. BAR International Series 1399 (2005).
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#36
(04-20-2019, 08:07 AM)Steven James Wrote: I’ve been giving the Second Punic war a rest at present. The year 298 BC has caught my attention. We have a Scipio present during the Third Samnite War, and already contradiction has reared its head. A great battle fought by Scipio, but a funerary inscription shows he only captured two towns and took hostages. The other consul is also reported to have fought a set piece battle, won and given a triumph. This could show that the fabrication of the Scipio’s could have been a family affair, and not the work of Polybius. Still more digging to do.


Interesting... I notice that the Pontifex Maximus from 304 BC was Cornelius Scipio Barbatus, the father of Lucius.
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#37
Michael wrote

Interesting... I notice that the Pontifex Maximus from 304 BC was Cornelius Scipio Barbatus, the father of Lucius.
 
When studying Roman history, it is important to keep the three following references in mind.
 
Claudius Quadrigarius (FRRH2 1.1) writes that the ancient records now available are untrue because of men wanting to please individuals inserting themselves into first families and the most distinguished houses, to which they do not in fact belong.
 
Cicero (Brutus 62): These eulogies have falsified our history. Much written in them is fiction, fictitious triumphs, more consulships than an individual actually had, false clan names and false reckonings of some as plebeians, since men of lower status have been falsely introduced into unrelated clans which happen to have the same name.
 
Livy (8. 40. 4-5) “I believe that the true history has been falsified by funeral orations and lying inscriptions on the family busts, since each family appropriates to itself an imaginary record of noble deeds and official distinctions. It is at all events owing to this cause that so much confusion has been introduced into the records of private careers and public events. There is no writer of those times now extant who was contemporary with the events he relates and whose authority, therefore, can be depended upon.”
 
Also P. Cornelius Scipio (the son of Africanus) also wrote in Greek on Roman history. The scope of this work is unknown. It cannot be ruled out that Polybius could have drawn on this history.
 
In his narrative on the sack of Cartagena in 209 BC, Livy writes: “I followed the Greek author Silenus I should give the number of scorpions large and small as 60; according to Valerius Antias there were 6000 large ones and 13,000 small ones; so wildly do men invent.”
 
Here we have Valerius Antias multiplying a smaller number by ten. Antias could be the culprit who has done this on many occasions during the First and Second Punic Wars, especially in relation to the numbers of Carthaginian elephants.
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#38
And in Publius Licinius Crassus Dives we have the Pontifex Maximus from 212 - 183; the person with the opportunity and motive; the ability to make the official records of Rome serve the aims and ambitions of Scipio; his political ally. I know we`ve addressed the question before, but who, at the time, would question such authority? Official Roman history would be based upon it - I think the general form that histories of the Zama campaign took before Polybius was similar to Appian`s chronolgy, but for Polybius` elaboration of the battle of Zama itself and odd details like the borrowing of the three spies story.
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#39
Michael wrote:

And in Publius Licinius Crassus Dives we have the Pontifex Maximus from 212 - 183; the person with the opportunity and motive; the ability to make the official records of Rome serve the aims and ambitions of Scipio; his political ally. I know we`ve addressed the question before, but who, at the time, would question such authority? Official Roman history would be based upon it - I think the general form that histories of the Zama campaign took before Polybius was similar to Appian`s chronolgy, but for Polybius` elaboration of the battle of Zama itself and odd details like the borrowing of the three spies story
 
Seems like we now have the making of a board game mystery. A game of who did it.
 
On a different era, but one involving tweaking history, I now have collaborating evidence the siege of Veii only lasted seven years. An additional three years were added to bring it in line with the ten year siege of Troy. Certain events that occurred in Homer can be found in the siege of Veii.
 
Battle of Algidus in 431 BC in relation to wounds of the three Roman commanders also follows a battle during the Trojan War. Quinctius wounded in the arm, Agamemnon wounded in the arm. Diomede shot in the leg, Fabius shot in the leg. Postumius’ skull fractured by a stone, left the field. Hector hit by a boulder retired from the field.
 
I’m getting very disillusioned with Roman history from republic to end of Second Punic War. So much fabrication, and more than I thought possible. Principate looking really good.
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#40
"So much fabrication, and more..." you say, but this surely is what makes it so interesting for us though?

Yes, it sure is a mighty good whodunnit !

Earlier you mentioned the possibility that Polybius used Scipio`s memoires as a source for his history, but also there was Scipio`s oldest son who I understand wrote a history, I was wondering if there were indications (or some markers perhaps) of this in Polybius` version? A speculative long shot of course, but worth looking at again if there are any clues there that may point to a different source?
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#41
Michael wrote:

Earlier you mentioned the possibility that Polybius used Scipio`s memoires as a source for his history, but also there was Scipio`s oldest son who I understand wrote a history,
 
No, I was not referring to Scipio’s memoirs. I wrote the following: “Also P. Cornelius Scipio (the son of Africanus) also wrote in Greek on Roman history. The scope of this work is unknown. It cannot be ruled out that Polybius could have drawn on this history.”
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#42
(05-04-2019, 02:44 PM)Steven James Wrote: Michael wrote:

Earlier you mentioned the possibility that Polybius used Scipio`s memoires as a source for his history, but also there was Scipio`s oldest son who I understand wrote a history,
 
No, I was not referring to Scipio’s memoirs. I wrote the following: “Also P. Cornelius Scipio (the son of Africanus) also wrote in Greek on Roman history. The scope of this work is unknown. It cannot be ruled out that Polybius could have drawn on this history.”

Ahhh my poor memory, sorry ...but Scipio`s memoires would have been more useful.

I followed my own suggestion yesterday. It`s only a detail, but I was looking for the way that battle losses were reported in Appian`s account of Thermus` action and in Polybius for the battle of Zama itself; it`s almost an expression, or a turn of phrase, both sum the losses up as: "...x,000 killed and as many prisioners/captured."


I searched for the expression or something like it in Polybius history, there two more occasions where something like this phrase has been used in book 5, but neither of these relate to the Zama campaign, nor to its participants.
No connection then. Not necessarily a common source, but it was Polybius`way of expressing the battle losses in a generalised manner.
Antias and Appian give us more credible numbers for enemy losses, so did Polybius reject the official figures in favour of the greater and exaggerated claims by Laelius and/or Scipio via Scipio`s son ?
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#43
Michael wrote:

I followed my own suggestion yesterday. It`s only a detail, but I was looking for the way that battle losses were reported in Appian`s account of Thermus` action and in Polybius for the battle of Zama itself; it`s almost an expression, or a turn of phrase, both sum the losses up as: "...x,000 killed and as many prisioners/captured."
 
I brought that up a few postings back.
 
Michael wrote:
No connection then. Not necessarily a common source, but it was Polybius`way of expressing the battle losses in a generalised manner.
 
Recognising patterns in the primary sources is a good method…and as I have learnt a lot of tiring work. Another pattern is to omit someone’s name. This has been done due to the event being a fabrication. In 403 BC, the elected consular tribunes, while Veii elected a king. Livy claims the king of Veii had a strong like for wealth, had an overbearing temper, and had failed in his candidature for the priesthood. However, Livy’s source completely fails to appropriate a name to this king, and this strongly indicates the king of Veii is a fabrication, invented to show the Roman’s preference for liberty as opposed to the Etruscan’s choice of tyranny.
 
In 396 BC, Livy mentions two consular tribunes; Cnaeus Genucius and L. Titinius campaigned against the Faliscans and Capenates. While on the march, both consular tribunes were ambushed by the Faliscans and Capenates. During the battle Cnaeus Genucius was killed. The other consular tribune, L. Titinius rallied his men and reformed them on some high ground, and refused to come down to level ground and engage the Faliscans and Capenates. After this, Livy fails to mention the fate of Titinius and his men, who must have remained on that hill for all eternity. In a similar death to Cnaeus Genucius, Livy writes that in 362 BC, the consul L. Genucius was ambushed by the Hernicians and killed. This looks like recycled history and for a reason. After the defeat of Cnaeus Genucius and the unknown fate of L. Titinius, stuck on the hill for all eternity, Furius Camillus was elected dictator. The death of Cnaeus Genucius in 396 BC is recycled history, inserted to give a plausible explanation to electing Camillus as dictator, so as to solely give Camillus the credit for the capturing Veii. When it comes to Camillus, there is a lot of contradictory history surrounding Camillus, and most is recycled history.
 
Another pattern. In 509 BC, the Romans revolted and overthrew the monarchy when Sextus Tarquinius raped Lucretia. In 449 BC, the Romans revolted against the Decemvirs as a result of the brutal lust by one of the Decemvirs, Appius Claudius (the bad Claudius theme again), who had developed a passion for Verginia, a girl of plebeian birth. In 377 BC, Fabius Ambustus had two daughters (names unknown). The older daughter was married to a patrician, and the younger daughter to a plebeian. The younger daughter was jealous of the customs and dignity allocated to her sister’s husband for being a patrician. The younger daughter confessed to her father Fabius Ambustus about her regret for marrying a husband inferior in birth, and being a plebeian, her husband was barred from having honour or political influence. Fabius Ambustus promised his younger daughter he would conform on her house the same honours given to a patrician. Fabius Ambustus’ actions caused a ten year conflict between the patricians and the plebeians for better plebeian rights.
 
In the same manner as the rape of Lucretia in 509 BC, the killing of Verginia in 449 BC, and the jealous sister in 377 BC, all allude to being fabrications, and follow the same theme of innocent women being the catalysts for major political reform. The same themes being recycled does get boring and shows the original author had little imagination.
 
Roman history from the republic to the end of the Second Punic War is also filled with recycled history.
 
After being defeated at the Trebbia, Scipio is besieged in Cremona and Sempronius is besieged in Placentia. The only way they can be supplied is by boats using the Po. So nothing is happening, and for one ancient source (????), nothing happening is intolerable, so let’s have Sempronius make his way to Rome, dodging Hannibal’s cavalry so he can attend the elections of the new consuls. Then let’s have Sempronius, after voting, make his way back to Placentia, and again participate in being besieged. Polybius has omitted this event. My money is on the fact Polybius did not know this event was a fabrication, but purposely omitted it because it made Sempronius a better man than Scipio. Next piece of fabrication has Hannibal, with 12,000 infantry and 5,000 cavalry, march on Placentia. The next day Sempronius and Hannibal engage in a set piece battle, while Scipio, remains in Cremona, sitting in front of the fire (????). I have no idea what Scipio was really doing, but he isn’t mentioned fighting with Sempronius, which is strange.
 
Following Livy (21 59) at the first encounter, the Romans routed Hannibal’s army back to its camp, and then began to attack the Carthaginian camp. At three o’clock, as the Romans were worn out by from trying to capture the camp, Sempronius gave the signal to retire. As soon as Hannibal heard the Roman trumpets blare out the order to retire, Hannibal immediately launched his cavalry to attack the Roman right and left, while Hannibal led the main body of infantry from the middle of the camp. Livy then describes how the fight was equal, and it was the arrival of night that put an end to hostilities and prevented both armies from mutually being destroyed. Is he serious! Both armies separated with equal losses, with 600 infantry and 300 cavalry falling on both sides. Now don’t those casualty figures tell you this is bollocks?
 
Although the events are reversed, a similar incident appears in the writings of Frontinus, Polyaenus and Zonaras. In 216 BC, at Capau, when facing the army of the dictator Junius Pera, Frontinus has Hannibal order 600 cavalrymen to appear in successive detachments without intermissions around the Roman camp. After being harassed all night, the Romans were worn out by sentry duty and the continuously falling rain. In the morning, when Junius Pera gave the signal for recall, Hannibal led out his army, who had been well rested and captured Junius Pera’s camp by assault. Frontinus (Stratagems 2 5 25)
 
Michael wrote:
Antias and Appian give us more credible numbers for enemy losses, so did Polybius reject the official figures in favour of the greater and exaggerated claims by Laelius and/or Scipio via Scipio`s son?
 
Hell, there is no way I can answer that.
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#44
 

Through no real design, the discussion between Michael and I went off line. In this thread I made reference to the legions being transported by fleet had a different organisation. One translation I have of Livy (22 57) mentions a naval legion, the third at Ostia in 216 BC under the command of Furius Philus (size of fleet not given). Another translation has “the third fleet,” so not sure which is the accurate translation. This fleet raided Africa so would definitely be a naval legion and the legion would conform to the fleet organisation. The reason is because the standard legion organisation is not compatible with the mathematical arrangement of the fleet.
 
Besides Furius Philus in Ostia, Livy has Titus Otacilius at Sicily given an additional 25 quinqueremes to his fleet of 50 ships, bringing his total to 75 ships. If it was advantageous to the state, Titus Otacilius was to sail to Africa. However, in the same year (216 BC), Livy has Furius Philus return with his fleet from Africa to Lilybaeum in Sicily. Therefore, Titus Otacilius did not go to Africa. Both commanders should be each commanding 25 ships, which means Livy or his source has double counted one of the Roman fleets. Livy also mentions two Carthaginian fleets around Sicily, which could have added to the confusion. What is interesting about these fleet numbers, and many more such examples, is they omit the light ships in the Roman fleet. Diodorus and Polybius mention light ships as part of the fleet in their histories, but one source continually fails to include them. And it’s not just the fleets; I have examples of this occurring in the land armies for the Second Punic War. This source only appears for the Second Punic War.
 
Returning to the Roman light ships, my theory is the light ships do not have the corvus, and relied on ramming and sheering as their tactics of choice. Depending on the size of the fleet, the number of light ships has helped determine the formation and frontage of a Roman fleet. Some naval battles I have studied suggest on occasion, half the light ships were at the front of the fleet and the other half at the rear of the fleet. The problem I have found is Polybius’ account of Ecnomus, he has in some places confused the legion organisation of the fleet with the squadron organisation, and it is not hard to do. I understand that this is not evidence, but having a few copies of the Avalon Hill boardgame Trireme, we have set up some Roman naval battles on a one to one ratio. The Roman light ships can cripple or damage their opponents, leaving the corvus ships to come forward to grapple and board the damaged opponents.
 
Florus claims the Roman fleet resembled that of a land army, and he is correct. The Roman fleet has a narrow frontage and a greater depth, and more in the style of the Roman formation at Cannae. It was pointed out to me by a colleague it matches the formation Gellius’ terms a tower. I also have evidence that legions sent to Sicily as garrison legions or for the protection of Sicily did not conform to the fleet organisation, but followed the standard legion organisation.
 
After 14 years of research and writing, my passion for the Romans completely waned. I never wanted to see another book, documentary or movie on the Romans ever again. However, working on the Roman fleet for some reasons has restored my passion.

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#45
Steven James Wrote: 
However, working on the Roman fleet for some reasons has restored my passion.

That is good to hear!
Robert Vermaat
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FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
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