Fantasy/Pre-Modern Melee Combat Mistakes That Are Too Common

Discussion in 'Research' started by Blacksmith11, Aug 5, 2018.

  1. Lew

    Lew Member Supporter Contributor

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    I am enjoying this exchange! @Blacksmith11 and @X Equestris, you two are entitled to disagree, because you both seem to be incredibly well-informed and well-read on that era.
     
  2. X Equestris

    X Equestris Contributor Contributor

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    I don't care if the sword was a backup weapon in any of the cases I mentioned. The fact of the matter is that they could cut through certain types of armor. The kopis and falcata were expressly designed to do so.

    Problem with modern reconstructions is that you can't assure perfect accuracy. There're a few instances of Viking Age bones where mail rings were forced through muscle and into direct contact with bone in a way that would suggest cut over thrust. Reconstructions would suggest this is impossible, but no alternative for the forensic evidence has been offered. And of course one doesn't need to get through the mail itself to inflict injury. Even with padding a powerful slash could break bones or cause horrible bruises.

    And while you've focused on mail, there are other, weaker types of armor that could be more reliably slashed through. Scale, lamellar, certain thicknesses of cloth armor.

    My entire point is to compare spears/pikes vs. swords, and in order to control this little experiment they have to be in relative isolation. So the fact that light troops and cavalry were stripped away is kinda the point.

    Except that the historians of the time give Epirote deaths at Heraclea at almost a third of his entire force. Dionysius' figures for Asculum give 3/8. Pyrrhus was upset because he'd lost a great deal of men and irreplaceable commanders. Now, Heraclea is particularly interesting because both sides made seven pushes and couldn't break each other. Pyrrhus's men had actually started to buckle when he unleashed his elephants, which routed the Romans because they'd never seen them before. In a straight head to head match, the first time the Romans faced a pike phalanx, the legion and the pike phalanx stalemated each other.

    You're going to need some compelling sources, because historians from the period and the bulk of modern historians maintain that the crescent was deliberate. Considering that the Romans had broken through Hannibal's center in the last straight up field battle he'd fought with them (Trebia), and that Hannibal had one of the sharpest tactical minds in ancient history, him designing a countermeasure against Roman penetrative power seems more likely.

    There was no "hemmed in by the buildings". Cannae itself wasn't on the battlefield. The River Aufidius would've hemmed in the Romans, though.

    And yet swordsmen, especially the Romans, still beat them.

    Any heavy infantry formation is going to be unbeatable if they're "properly" supported by light troops and cavalry. The phalanx isn't that special.
     
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  3. Blacksmith11

    Blacksmith11 New Member

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    Your typical Greek Hoplite would be up against a Persian Archer in cloth clothing with an Axe as a backup and a small shield made of hide and wood. A Kopis will of course kill the archer with ease as it can hook the shield and pull it out of the way and the bronze shield will smash the guy down. Against a Persian Kardaka who is wearing scale armor, has a helmet, a long spear, and a heavy shield, using the kopis is a fool's game.


    I know of those cases, and the mail in question was made from sponge iron by chemical analysis and it was butted. This is the lowest quality of iron you can get and it is no surprise it failed, especially as it was butted. You might as well go into battle naked if you're bringing butted mail.

    Scale armor offers superior protection compared to mail and properly designed and made, it will stand up to .22 round at 20 feet. But bear in mind no self-respecting crook will pack a .22, so I don't recommend it for protection against bullets. However, if your concern is people with hammers and axes, scale armor is the s@#$, and will deflect the force away from your body, and thrusts are usually no goes. Its main disadvantage is that it isn't shapeless like mail, and has to be tailor made to you. Having worn both sets of armor, I can tell you that chain mail, so long as I'm in the right size range will fit perfectly every time once I slip it on and adjust the belt. Can't do that with scale, it has to be tailored to you or you can't move your arms well which would be fatal in battle.

    Lamellar, depends on what material was used. Boiled leather is useless unless worn over silk, plate lamellar is very effective.

    Cloth depends on the type.

    Then we will strip the Swordsman of their light troops and cavalry then. The spearmen still win. Longer reach, better penetration.

    Modern research shows Epirote Causalities amounted to 4,000 out of Pyrrhus 35,500 men at Heraclea. 11% is way less than a third. Had Pyrrhus lost a third of his force, he would have abandoned the fight then and there. Asculum, Pyrrhus lost 500 fewer troops and started the battle with 5,000 more troops than he did at Heraclea. Beneventum was inconclusive with neither side having won a clear result, the Romans were thrown back into their camp by Epirote Forces, but the Epirote attack on the camp failed, and both sides disengaged.


    We don't need compelling sources, we just need the battlefield itself which has been excavated and the original battle reports written by the commanders. You don't get more first hand than that. Cannae was a grain depot. Rome wanted it back. The fight thus began for the grain depot which caused the crescent in the center. River Aufidius was behind Hannibal, its current position is due to geological changes and human engineering projects. So Hannibal was the one pinned, a serious blunder on his part, and had Varro spread his troops out wider and sought an envelopment, Hannibal would have had no room to retreat and would have been annihilated.

    Under specific circumstances that were exceptions, not the rule.
     
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  4. X Equestris

    X Equestris Contributor Contributor

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    No, your typical Greek hoplite would be fighting other hoplites. Conflict with the Persians was the exception, not the rule. Again, the kopis was designed to deliver its blows like an axe, with substantial slashing power. And again, the question of whether it was a sidearm is irrelevant; the question is "could some swords slash through certain types of armor?" You previously said no, never. Now that vast evidence that the answer to that question is actually yes has been presented, you seem to be shifting the goalposts to "oh but they were sidearms". Which is irrelevant.

    And you have sources for that? Because everything I'm finding says the Vikings used riveted and soldered mail, not butted.

    Scale armor has slightly better protection against blunt blows, but it has its own disadvantages. It's certainly not better overall, otherwise it never would've been supplanted by mail. And considering a disparaging reference or two to it in Norse sagas, it's safe to say that the lower quality versions of it were plentiful.

    Except history shows this isn't necessarily the case. To look at Heraclea again, the cavalry and light troops were otherwise engaged, so the manipular legion and pike phalanx clashed in relative isolation. They stalemated until false rumors of Pyrrhus's death shook the phalangites' morale. Pyrrhus rallied his troops, but since the Romans still had a slight edge thanks to the earlier buckling he deployed his elephants and swept them from the field. On a side note, let's not forget that spear formations are vulnerable to flanking by more fluid forces. That's what happened to the Romans at Allia.

    I'm looking at Dionysius of Halicarnassus's numbers here. 11,000 is just shy of a third of 35,000, and 15,000 is 3/8 of the 40,000 at Asculum. You can take Plutarch's numbers if you want (and you are; modern research guesses at somewhere between the two, as it's very hard to make reliable estimates), but even he admits that it was heavy losses of men and commanders that grieved Pyrrhus.

    Except that Internet searches don't turn up any such battlefield reports. Odd, considering intact, legible first hand accounts of Cannae would be a massive archaeological find. Especially if they disproved the widely accepted accounts of the battle's course and showed respected ancient historians like Polybius to be wrong. Would you link your supposed source on this?

    The river was not behind Hannibal. It was on the Carthaginian left flank and the Roman right. Cannae itself was not on the battlefield. And Varro could not spread his troops out wider, as he'd specifically chosen a narrow battlefield in the hopes that it would neutralize Hannibal's vastly superior and more numerous cavalry by limiting their mobility.

    Exceptions are all I need to show that spears aren't the end all be all of premodern warfare.
     
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  5. Irina Samarskaya

    Irina Samarskaya New Member

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    Learning all this from Shadiversity and the likes was a joyride that recquried a lot of reviewing of what I've written!

    Now I know metal armor=invincibility lol.

    And all that helps a lot when trying to believably depict battles, individual or group.
     
  6. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    I KNOW, RIGHT? :D I got the fun idea that one of my Urban Fantasy villain protagonists would be a fan of military history, and the next thing I know, I'm spending hours binging on Shadiversity, Lindybeige, Scholagladiatoria...

    I've since decided that said protagonist has very strong opinions about one-handed flails being quote-unquote "stupid" :) and I want to make it a running thing throughout my series where
    1. She talks about different situations needing to be handled differently
    2. She asks one/both of her friends "Matt Easton's word of the day?"
    3. They reply "'Context'"
    Did you see Shadiversity's video about how Jedi should be using their lightsabers one-handed fencing style (like a rapier) instead of two-handed battlefield style (like a greatsword)?
     
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  7. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Contributor Contributor

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  8. Irina Samarskaya

    Irina Samarskaya New Member

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    Afraid not, I didn't even know he made that video lol! I mostly watched his castle stuff, some armor, some weapons. I think the last thing I listened to was about "How Castles Were Built" and I gotta say: I love that Australian Mormon!

    I don't have much to say about your thoughts since it sounds a lot different from where I've got experience with. I'm also poor with humor, at least intentional humor, so I can't comment about that either.

    Though, I am curious what the basic plot is since it sounds more like a friendly rivalry rather than a dramatic conflict. What's the idea? Where's the basic plot going? Is the villain a real bad guy or just the antagonist of the hero? Is it a High School or College setting? Kinda reminds me of Full Metal Panic lol.
     
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  9. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    It has made a huge impact in my Wii-swordfighting ;)

    The plot is that my protagonists (a trio of drug dealers turned bank robbers, one of whom is a serial killer) discover the existence of the supernatural and set out at becoming dark mages, and I've been coming up with ways of integrating one protagonist's (the serial killer) love of military history into her conversations with her friends, both "on the job" and off (such as: whenever she says anything about it being important to understand context, she reminds them that that's Matt Easton's favorite word).
     
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  10. Irina Samarskaya

    Irina Samarskaya New Member

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    I see. Could you please give an example? Reminds me of Toko's alternate personality in Danganronpa lol. I like the sound of that...
    Though, the basic plot sounds very outlandish. Why are the heroes drug-dealers-turned-bank-robbers? Are they simply greedy? Does it vary per character? Does it matter?

    What's the theme? An outlandish story (like Danganronpa lol) can be very powerful if either the theme is good (now that I don't know how to judge beyond my own personal tastes) or if the moment-to-moment stuff is very well-thought-out and has a great cast (like the detective parts of Danganronpa and the "Ultimates").

    Is She by any chance a female version of Metatron? I recall him saying "context" a lot lol...
     
  11. Necronox

    Necronox Senior Member

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    Ooooooh, this thread (as a historian myself) is making my skin tingle..... I also apologise now, ahead of time, if ever I get a bit... overzealous.

    Generally speaking history is a lot of texts, artifacts, pottery, burials and the likes from which we extrapolate some wild conjectures about how these people lived, fought, died, or whatever else. I can point you to dozens of sources that state that the spear was only ever really used (in medieval or pre-medieval times) by poorer troops due to how cheap it is/was to build and maintain. Similarly, I could show you dozens of papers that say otherwise. The same could be said for pretty much anything or any aspect of history. Just like the Dane at Stamford Bridge. Was he real? We don't know. We don't have any evidence. But that doesn't mean he wasn't real - we don't have any evidence of that either really. All we have, for the most part and to my knowledge (this is wildly out of my areas that I research regularly), he originates from stories and the likes and eventually became a folklore or legend.

    History is not about facts as we would call them. we simply cannot say the roman legion would of fought off the phalanx because of X or Y. Many aspects get involved in this which do not even remotely begun to include history or archeology. For instance, psychology, religion, culture, etc... all play a part in this alongside with the commanders and what not. Lots and lots of facets, very few concrete facts and even fewer concrete 'theories'.

    In that regards, even what was written cannot be trusted. the Homeric tales are a largely studied are a facsimile of greek culture and society alongside their beliefs. However, it is still a story - we do not know exactly how fictional it is on it's own right (i.e without cross comparison with other sources). Trajan's column in Rome is also a large source as it depicts a lot of peoples and how romans fought. the various types of roman armor (including the famou lorica segmentata) is depicted here. However this is an sculptor's depiction, of an even most he likely did not see, about something intended to boost someone else's political and popular support. It would be like reading Donal Trump's election promises and saying that is an accurate representation of the USA's people will/wishes.

    I am not saying that in any situations these are useless, but instead that historian don't usually argue in absolutes like it is being done here. Instead, arguments about theories, validity of these and the likes are more emphasised.


    First of all, let me just say Lars Anderson is proficient in trick shooting and very good at it in my opinion. I personally do not like him as he misrepresents a lot when it comes to "historical" archery. He uses extremely low draw weights and is very flamboyant in his style - most of which I do not see as very applicable in any real battle context. Archers, as far as I think of it, were not front-line troops. The fired over the heads of troops, or over long distances, or in volleys, or what not. Which kind of negates most of these as a lot of archers where hunters or peasants with little proper training. But that is just my opinion. He may well be right, but in the research I have done during my off time, I found more inconsistencies and logical fallacies with his arguments about these techniques then support.

    As for the whole weapon V weapon argument. I've done HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts). In my case, I focused more on 12th century, single handed swords in combination with shields. Typically a 'kite' shield or a buckler. I have fought, with my petty arming sword, against pole arms, halberd and long swords and won. Some other times, I lost. Whilst a 1v1 duel is a poor argument for a battle scenario. I am saying that skill is a lot more important then the weapon you are wielding or what you are wearing. The way I think of arms and armour, is that they do not win the battle for you. They are just 'Boosters'. They may make it easier, or maybe you do not have to think about protection of yourself in full plate as much, or what not. but individually they cannot guarantee a win - even if you're in full plate, with long sword and everything. If you're versing some unarmed peasant who just happens to be a martial arts expert and you're not. I'm putting my money on the expert.

    Also, and this is just more of a friendly reminder. Swords and weapons (along with armour for the most part) is incredibly difficult to categorise. Long swords, depending on category, can be either two handed, or one handed. In my case, I define long swords are two-handed swords from - typically - a 14th or 15th century setting or origin. This is a common problem in history, especially when talking about swords, as everybody has their own little personal category that is usually a little bit different to anyone else.


    But, to summarise my point. In hollywood, I do not mind if they 'bend' 'accepted' history. So long as they provide a logical and plausible solution that is supported by the at least some facts/theories. Outside of that, it is difficult t0 say they are wrong - or that they are right if the case might be. We could, however, easily say that they represent the most accepted viewpoints about X or Y (or controversially, that they don't).

    But, that said, Uber-swords annoy me (or that is what I call it. Like swords (and other weapons really) that can cut bullets, or swords that can cut through stone, full plate armor, or entire buildings like it was cheese. Or worse is the proverbial "Katana (or whatever other weapon/armour/object) is best!" fan-ideology that has somehow sprouted somewhere. All those are typically nonsensical as they, in my opinion, do not even follower basic physics or are very narrow-minded.
     
  12. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    I don't have any specific scenes yet for that line :oops: and I don't know who Metatron is, but I just sent a PM about the plot, cast, and atmosphere :)
     
  13. Necronox

    Necronox Senior Member

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    Metatron is a youtuber about historical medieval weaponry, armour and the likes. He, along with other people like Shadiversity and Skallagrim form the backbone of a lot of the youtube-medieval-military-channel aspect.
     
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  14. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    I need to take a look at this :D

    LEARN ALL THE THINGS!!!
     
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  15. Irina Samarskaya

    Irina Samarskaya New Member

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    Metatron's also a Sicilian fluent in Japanese, Chinese, etc. He's great when he breaks into Cockney, and he's very smart and good at making education fun like Shadiversity!
     
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  16. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Contributor Contributor

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    Lindy Beige is another good channel for historical content on weaponry, all the way
    up to old school tanks. :p
     
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  17. Blacksmith11

    Blacksmith11 New Member

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    Well true and they primarily fought with spears in formation. What we have here it seems is an argument over how these troops fought. Yes swords were used and against unarmored opponents they would be effective, this is not in dispute. Now under exceptional circumstances a Kopis could crack through armor, but those circumstances are not likely in pitched combat unless they got a drop on someone.

    We have to analyse the Hoplite as a system. Your typical citizen Hoplite mobilized in an emergency has a helmet, spear, and Aspis Shield. If he were wealthier or sponsored by a man of wealth, he might have a linothorax. If he is a full time professional soldier, he will have the full kit and kaboodle.

    Now the citizen Hoplite Mobilized in an emergency is less protected of course and if facing a professional Hoplite with a Kopis whose spear broke, one on one, the Professional Hoplite has a decent chance of victory by dint of full time training, better protection, and an aggressive mindset. Such a Hoplite will aim to bash his opponent down with his shield, if done right, he can break his opponent's shield arm and he is done. If that fails, he will seek to break his opponent's spear first, after which he will attempt to hook his opponent's shield with the Kopis and pull it out of the way to shield bash his chest and face.

    You haven't sourced anything by the way. Grænlendinga þáttur (ch. 5) which you are referring to by Viking contempt of scale mail, uses spangabrynja to describe it. This word is best translated to plate mail which scale armor is not, and it is not made clear what Símon was offered as weregild for the slaying of his kin. In chapter 53 of Egils saga, Þórólfur killed an Earl with a spear thrust through his mail shirt. In chapter 37 of Laxdæla saga, Hrútr slew Eldgrímr with a thrust through the shoulder blades with a polearm called a bryntröll which went through the chain mail protecting Eldgrímr and killed him. When reading Viking Sagas, the spear and polearms tend to do the killing against armored opponents.

    Scale armor remained in use well into the 18th Century by the way.

    Heraclea, the Romans had 10,000 extra men over Pyrrhus who kept his Elephants in reserve like a Good Commander does and timed their release perfectly, causing a route. Pyrrhus lost 4,000 men, the Romans 15,000 with 1,800 captured out of a force of 45,000 for 37% losses vs 11% for Pyrrhus. Hardly a Pyrrhic Victory as Pyrrhus swelled his ranks to 40,000 men in the aftermath. Had he stayed in Italy and focused on defeating Rome first, then going after Carthage in Sicily, he could have won the war.

    At Allia, the Celts composed mainly of spearmen. We really don't have a reliable account of what happened other than the Romans got beaten and Rome sacked.

    Plutarch, Cassius Dio and Dionysius of Halicarnassus must be taken with grains of salt. Hieronymus of Cardia in referenced often, but we don't know a thing about him aside from being a Companion of Alexander and a minor functionary of several Diadochi States. What we have recovered of his works, is night and day different from what the former three wrote.

    Because they are not available unless you have a paid subscription to University Documents or are willing to take a trip to University Archives of Università di Roma and follow their rules. Not everything is on the Internet and when I worked with the Europa Barbarorum team for 3 years, I was allowed limited access to these materials. If you want to shell hundreds of dollars, go ahead.

    Yes it was. This has been confirmed by archaeological digs and ground radar surveys around Cannae in the past 20 years plus extensive archive searches for maps of the area going back centuries.

    Varros plan was to push the Carthaginians into the River, this would not have worked if Hannibal's left flank was anchored on the River, as his cavalry would have bought enough time to retreat as a hill would have prevented the Roman Cavalry from deploying in time to stop a retreat. That and the Romans would have had to funnel its center right flank through Cannae itself which was held by Hannibal. And if we accept the notion that both sides had their flanks anchored on the River, then Varro committed suicide for his army as Hannibal would have had the high ground and would have had his African Pikemen in the center to the river on their right and powerloaded his left flank with the Celts, Iberians, and Cavalry with the Romans attacking uphill against a ridge line with 45 degree slopes. I have been to Cannae, I walked that area. If we accept Polybius account at face value, Varro done f#$% up and no one in his council of war would have gone with his plan and plain killed him to save trouble later. In fact the previous day, this is where Hannibal wanted to fight, but the Romans refused the fight here.

    With the River directly behind Hannibal, Varro's plan makes great sense from a tactical view, but the Grain Depot which Hannibal occupied, threw that into the toilet. Varro wanted it back as Hannibal had recently harvested the grain in the area and stored it there. The buildings gave the light troops here cover and several fences and furrows helped to break up the Roman Advance and threw up dust. When the Roman center broke through to the River, the dust had prevented them from seeing the loss of their cavalry support and the pincering African Troops.
     
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  18. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    Definitely one of my favorites :)
     
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  19. Blacksmith11

    Blacksmith11 New Member

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    The Japanese don't understand the Western Fetish over the Katana when they find out about it. For them the Japanese Sword Arts which encompasses numerous sword types is a meditation exercise to develop a certain mindset. In actual combat, however, the Spear and Bow and later in history the gun were the preferred weapons and mastering the spear was more important for Samurai than sword mastery, and bow and gun proficiency was a must. The Sword was a backup weapon and if you were pulling a sword, you were in the s@#$ or in an alley way in town after dark and jumped.

    Also not all Japanese Swords are a Katana which was a rare officer's sword, most people mistake the Tachi as the Katana which is a completely different design and manufacturing process. They are visually similar, but closer inspection reveals marked differences in the blades.
     
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  20. Mouthwash

    Mouthwash Senior Member

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  21. X Equestris

    X Equestris Contributor Contributor

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    All I'm saying is that the kopis could and did get through armor with cuts. Going any deeper than that misses my point entirely: that some swords could slash through certain types of armor at certain times.

    I've sourced plenty of things, by the way. And I've never disputed that spears were a dominant Viking weapon. The fact of the matter is that there is some dispute over the precise meaning of the word. "Plate mail" would imply an armor with plates of some sort linked in a similar way to regular mail; that would point toward scale or maybe certain types of lamellar.

    You can take the lower figures all you like, but they don't explain why the Magna Grecian cities stopped contributing troops to Pyrrhus. Heavier casualty figures do.

    Except that these were Italian Celts, who really liked their swords. That's something the ancient historians are very consistent on: they seem to have fought mostly as swordsmen.

    Uh huh, sure. See, that's the sort of discovery that makes it into the news. The fact that it's totally absent from any news sources that focus on ancient history makes me doubt its very existence.

    And let me guess, those findings are also conveniently behind a paywall. Because again, I've found zero mention of them. But if they do exist, let's not forget the Aufidius has changed course many times throughout history. Digs and radar tell us roughly where the battle was, but they don't necessarily show you where the river was at the time.

    For reference, this is the field at Cannae based on the ancient accounts and the work of modern historians like Peter Connolly:

    image.jpeg

    You seem to be forgetting that the Romans initially arrived on the opposite side of the river, then crossed over. They did not come down from the high ground. There is no support for that theory.

    Going to Cannae means nothing; it has changed in the past two millennia. The plain between the high ground and river is believed to have been wider, for example.

    You seriously misunderstand how tightly the Romans clung to their civic virtues if you really believe somebody at this stage of the Republic would've murdered a sitting consul just to save their own hide. And impetuousness was a common flaw of Roman commanders. It's why they lost at Trebia and Trasimene.

    As for why they refused battle the day before, don't forget that when two consular armies were present they alternated days of overall command. The more cautious Paullus didn't like the look of the battlefield or the fact that Hannibal had been able to wait there for weeks, so he didn't give battle. Meanwhile, the Carthaginians had been harassing Roman water parties. This was deliberately intended to inflame Varro.

    Varro's plan itself wasn't that awful if you consider the forces he had available and his knowledge of the war so far. He knows that the Romans pierced Hannibal's center at Trebia and broke through the stopper force at Trasimene, so he doubles down on the traditional attack through the center. He knows Hannibal's cavalry are better than and outnumber his, so he chooses a narrow battlefield where they can't outflank his wings. The hope was that his cavalry could hold long enough for the legions to break through the center, then split and roll up the flanks.

    It might've worked against a normal center, but Hanibal had crafted his crescent center to compensate for those earlier breaches, and he stacked the left with his heavy cavalry so they could break straight through their Roman counterparts, then swing around and hit the allied cavalry. There were no buildings on the battlefield to break up the Romans; Hannibal simply turned the strength of their infantry into a weakness.

    Honestly, it feels like you're trying to promote a pet theory about Cannae that has no support with either ancient or modern historians, and debunking such a thing isn't worth more time or words.
     
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  22. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Contributor Contributor

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  23. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Member

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    As someone who was fascinated by the Punic Wars during high school, I felt nostalgic reading about some good ol' Paulus, Varro, and Hannibal history in your post. :-D
     
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  24. Lew

    Lew Member Supporter Contributor

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    Right now, we are watching two very well-informed and talented debaters, @Blacksmith11 and @X Equestris, go at it in a very well-disciplined argument, I am enjoying this and learning from both.
     
  25. Blacksmith11

    Blacksmith11 New Member

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    Which are exceptions that prove the point I am making. Armor was heavily used because it works and forces your opponent to develop specialized weapons to get around it, and can mean the difference from a killing blow and an incapacitating blow.

    Magna Grecian Cities dropped support because Pyrrhus went to Sicily and then became despotic in administrating it to throw together a navy.
    Except we find spears and axes more than swords in the archaeology. Swords are a mark of a professional warrior who would have made up only a small proportion of the Celtic Force and be concentrated around their Kings and Chiefs. Your average Celt would have a spear, a shield, and a helmet for the most part unless they were a skirmisher and thus took a sling or bow.

    Not sure what you are referencing here. It helps to separate the points you wish to go over.

    Most of the good stuff is, and for good reason, they are highly fragile and being preserved. Take Otzi for example, he is an incredible find, but remains under heavy lock and key to preserve him and it takes years to get approval to see him and takes years to get papers through to publish. Many ancient documents we have are crumbling and the greatest care has to be taken in handling them or we will lose them. Also politics has a play in this as well.

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    This is the terrain of Cannae.

    Cannae was on a Hilltop and occupied by Hannibal, a grain depot was further north and occupied.

    The River was further north than currently by as much as 2 kilometers in some spots.

    So yeah the only way the deployments make sense is if Hannibal was trapped against the River with his back to it facing west. Any other way and neither side has room to maneuver their cavalry and the Roman Survivors would have had no way to retreat except towards Cannae which was held by Hannibal.

    Varro thought he had Hannibal in a trap he couldn't break out of, but failed to consider the farm buildings, fences, furrows, and the grain depot much like Lee did on the third day of Gettysburg. He also failed to account for the dust his men would throw up as the grain had been harvested and the soil was loosened.

    If we go with Connolly's map, the fight took place on a frontage of 1 kilometer which is nonsense though the Normans did fight there in the 11th Century and the Cannae Museum has a collection of Norman Artifacts from that period. We need to go 2.7 kilometers further north into the croplands and then we got room for a battle. However, this means Hannibal was pinned against the river. Varro had outmaneuvered Hannibal and pinned him in a bad spot, but made several tactical blunders allowing Hannibal to recover the situation. Spreading his army out and having the Triarii go with the Cavalry instead of feeding them into the grinder would have annihilated Hannibal's force and earned Varro a triumph.

    Instead he packed his center with the wind blowing east which meant dust blowing in their faces and helping reduce glare from the sun in Hannibal's troops faces. The Iberians and Celts had several buildings and furrows to shelter with and fight from and this served to break the Roman Momentum long enough for the Cavalry fight to conclude before the Roman Infantry broke through the center only to be trapped against the River themselves.

    Without the depot and the terrain factors, Hannibal's center would have caved before the Cavalry fight would have concluded and his force would have been wiped out.

    This fits with the few details we actually have of the battle.

    If you have an alternate theory by all means try and fit it into the terrain there.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2018 at 3:59 AM
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