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Polybius and Livy on the allies in the roman army

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Chapter Summary

From the fourth or third century until the beginning of the first century BC, Rome's armies were also the armies of her allies. Livy gives us no general account of the Roman army, comparable to book six in Polybius' Histories, since he is not interested in analysing the Roman state and its institutions. However, his narrative of Roman war in books 21-45 seems to give a good view of the allied system as it functioned during the half-century from 218 to 167 BC. This chapter presents the table which summarises the occurrences of specific allied units and/or numbered legions in Livy's full-scale battle narratives. The important point is that all the information that can be found on the tactical functioning of allied units is confined to a limited number of battles narratives, almost all deriving from the same late-annalistic source.

Keywords: battle narratives; Histories; Livy; Polybius; Roman army



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