How ancient states managed to raise, equip, maintain and send abroad such huge armies?
For example, at Magnesia both sides fielded about 50k combatants. At Cannae there were more than 130k combatants with similar numbers for Gaugamela.
Those numbers sound astonishing considering the incredibly primitive conditions. Despite the ROME STRONK meme, agriculture, communications, shipbuilding etc. were far more primitive that during the middle ages. Yet somehow, no European state was able to field such army again before 17th century.
Part of the reason is that ancient states (generally) had lower standards of training and equippment for their soldiery than what you saw for a lot of late medieval onward in Europe. The Romans at Cannae and Magnesia were still using a militia system; a good chunk of Hannibal's troops at Cannae were local Goths yanked up and hired for the campaign. The Selucid troops were all part time soldiers.
Career soldiers are a significant investment of resources, and consequently, the army shrinks when you field them (See, post-Marian reforms, the armies of rome get smaller despite the polity getting bigger and wealthier)
But also, greater organization. It counts a lot more than even raw wealth when you don't have this feudal proliferation of authority and office and a complicated gaggle whenever you need to get anything done.
Literally everything in this post is wrong.
Before the Marian reforms only land owners could serve in the army. Afterwards it opened up service to all citizens and their numbers swelled, peaking at 450,000 in the early 3rd century.
Before the Marian reforms, arms and armor were privately provided. After the Marian reforms, the state paid for it all.
Non-land owners did serve in the manipular legion. Where the fuck do you think velites and the leves from the earlier camilian legions came from?
> peaking at 450,000 in the early 3rd century.
450,000 out of the entire population of the Roman empire is a far tinier proportion of men under arms than the 100,000+ losses sustained in Trebia, Trasamine, and Cannae alone, nevermind the new soldiers raised, of the Roman Republic facing Hannibal.
When the Marian reforms were adopted, overall militarization of the Roman Republic went down, no longer could Rome afford to field as big armies (relative to the size of their overall populace), and it certainly couldn't afford to lose force after force after force and just keep coming back with more.
Militias are cheaper than professional militaries, I don't even know why you would contest something so obvious.
Except it isn't. The only part seriously wrong is him somehow thinking goths were in Africa at that time.
The republican army WAS a militia. By EVERY fucking definition. The soldiers were not professional. Not one.
But the state still had to organize food and other stuff for them. Which was an enormous effort.
Don't know if Republican citizen soldiers were paid, but Macedonian soldiers definitely were,even if they were too just militia. This is the question - how did ancient states manage all of that without utterly ruining themselves?
>but Macedonian soldiers definitely were,even if they were too just militia.
Nope. Depends on which one's you're talking about
The soldiers from the Greek City States yes. Those were citizen militia.
But the Macedonians themselves weren't. The core of the army was the Pezhetairoi (Foot-Companions) and these were professional fighters who received land-grants in exchange for their full time presence in the army. They were like Mini-Knights in terms of socio-economic status. As professional soldier > regular citizen in Macedonian culture.
Rome had bigger population than most medieval states. They also had conscription and medieval states such as France had army based on knights and mercenaries, therefore Roman armies were significantly bigger
Alot of these ancient estimates are probably propaganda, I find it difficult to believe with the technology of the time and general could command an army larger than 50k
The Carthaginians fielded a lot of libyan soldierly, as they were the natives of the area.
>I find it difficult to believe with the technology of the time and general could command an army larger than 50k
With he technology of the time, the size is irrelevant past a few thousand. It's no easier to shout to 5,000 men than it is to shout ot 50,000. The same number hear you regardless.
None of them.
You set a plan, issue the orders, and watch. Hopefully, it works well enough that sub commanders can fix the fuckups and capitalize on opportunities.
Meanwhile the general sits with his reserves and watches. They'll either deliver the killing blow, leave the field if all is lost, cover the retreat, or plug a hole in the line if it looks like you can otherwise win the grinding fight.
Byzantine manuals tell us that the reserve is the generals tool for affecting the battle, and advise keeping a large one, even if badly outnumbered.
Generally a knight, but it highly depends on the terrain, time period each are from, relative experience of the individuals, and if the knight is mounted, as well as how well armed he is by his own standards.
While technologically middle ages may have been more advanced, Rome was much more organised state.
Roman roads were used by medieval people, but they were built for the sole purpose of army logistics and communications(with courier offices+stables+inns every X miles or something like that). Medieval people never did something like it.
Greek estimates may be full of shit, at least when it comes to how huge Persian armies were.