Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Vexing Velites


I've conflicting info here.

Some sources give me a figure of 1200 Velites per legion.

Another tells me that every century of Hastati had 60 men plus an additional 20 Velites. Two centuries per maniple gives me 40 Velites for every 120 Hastati and thus in a legion with ten Maniples of Hastati, there ought to be 400 Velites rather than 1200.

I think I'm missing something really obvious.

Can anyone tell me what?


Willum said...

This seems to vary from source to source. In Tony Bath's 'Hannibal's Campaigns'he states that a while a Hastati or Principes maniple consisted of 120 men a Triarii was only 60 men. He gives a legions strength as 4500 - 1200 Velites, 1200 Hastati, 1200 Principes, 600 Triarii and 300 cavalry. Terence Wise agrees the 4500 strength including 300 cavalry but states that while the Hastati and Principes maniples consisted of 140 men, the Triarii maniple was made up of 70 Triarii and 70 Velites. Giving totals of 1200 Hastati and Principes, and 700 Triarii and Velites. I've always preferred Tony Bath's ratios.

Bloggerator said...

Hi Willum,

The 4500 figure certainly chimes with what I'm reading at the moment.

I think Terry Wise is wrong on the Triarii. I'm pretty sure (again from my current reading) that the Triarii were in single-century maniples that were 60 men strong.

It seems to me that at this point in time the Romans were standardised on a 60-man "century" with maniples of one or two of them.

Best regards,