Large Ancient

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Frequently Asked Questions...

Largest ancient battle?

What was the largest ancient battle? By ancient I mean before christ.

Best Answer...


By largest I presume you mean number of combattants involved.

For all ancient battles, the numbers involved are hard to discern - ancient historians being more concerned with a good story than arithmetical accuracy. Herodotus, for example, describes Xerxes as having an army in excess of a million men.

Realistically, an army of 20,000 men was large; and armies of up to 100,000 not unknown. On this basis (after a quick but not definititve flip through my sources) the battle of Philippi - 42BC - seems to have been pretty major, with 100,000 odd on each side.

Edit: Alesia - 52BC - may have been bigger. 50,000 Romans beseiged 80,000 Gauls, with a Gaulish relief army of 100,000 also involved.