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Ilipa
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In his account of the battle of Ilipa, Polybius cites the outflanking maneuver was conducted by one cohort whereas Livy states three cohorts. My research shows there are three cohort organizations in a legion. The first is the military tribune cohort, termed by Caesar as a tribune cohortium. The second is the senatorial cohort as cited by Livy, and the third is what the Romans call the picked cohort which is based on the age of the troops. For the battle of Ilipa, my numbers show that a tribune cohort has exactly the same number of men as three picked cohorts. The outflanking troops are mentioned during the maneuver by Livy and Polybius as advancing at the run or at a rapid pace and this can only suggest they are light infantry capable of keeping pace with the cavalry. I have the three picked cohorts as being the antesignani taken from both the Roman and Allied legions on each wing, but the proportion of men involved are mostly Roman, which could explain why it is called a Roman force. Polybius mentions the outflanking force contained “the usual number of velites” and this relates to the number of velites attached to the legion (20 velites per century). Polybius mentions the wheeling maneuvers were conducted by maniples, whereas my research shows picked cohorts from the time of Servius Tullius to Vegetius are organised by centuries not maniples. Also the velites are not organised by maniples. This also applies to the military tribune cohort which is organised by centuries and this tradition goes back to the days of Romulus. The only cohort organisation that has maniples is the senatorial cohort. However, when not detached the antesignani belong to the maniples of hastati and this could be what Polybius means. I also believe Polybius reference to heavy infantry applies to the antesignani and he is using the term heavy infantry in comparison to the velites. In this manner, the hastati in comparison to the antesignani would be heavy infantry. This is more about terminology than actual body armour being worn. Because the Romans follow strict procedures of distribution, the number of cavalry, velites and antesignani conducting the outflanking maneuver for each wing in less than 1400 men, which is in direct contrast to Lazenby’s 12,500 men per wing.

I have interpreted Polybius’ remarks that “the rear ranks were able to get into the same line as the leading ones” to mean the cavalry moved up between the intervals of the velites. By having intervals allows the velites to support the Roman cavalry when fighting the Carthaginian elephants. Taking all of the above into account, Polybius’ description of the outflanking maneuver is very coherent.
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