Bernd 10/18/2020 (Sun) 08:22:09 No.40594 del
I might have written about the Law of Growing Numbers in the battles/about killing thread.
I observed this Law in working in my teenage years when I frequented football matches. After the event, the numbers fan judged the crowd and the official number of the attendance based on the tickets sold (plus season tickets) were two different thing. Fans always estimated the number of people present in the stadium higher than the officials said it was.
It's same with those who participate in battles (or in any other happening involving a crowd of people, such as party gatherings, demonstrations, whatever - police have a way of estimating, number of possible people per square meter, multiplied by the area of the demonstration expressed in square meters - this number is always lower than what demonstrators and politicians say).
The Law says both/all sides are presented higher than it actually is. If we won, the number of the enemy is estimated higher because we are so badasses we can defeat throngs of enemies. If we lost then the number of the enemy is estimated higher because only numerical superiority can defeat us (beside treachery). But our own number becomes also higher, because our cause is just, we are the good guys, ofc lot of people support us, we are everyone basically if you look at it objectively, no? We are strong, we are numerous.
I don't think anyone ever played down own numbers, it's just easier to overestimate the other side.
As far as I know historians do not take the numbers in the sources at face value. Just with everything else they examine it critically first, then say if it's possible or not.