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View Poll Results: Who was more talented?
Hannibal 24 63.16%
Scipio 14 36.84%
Voters: 38. You may not vote on this poll

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Old December 20th, 2010, 02:40 AM   #11

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Re: Hannibal or Scipio?


Quote:
Originally Posted by markdienekes View Post
To be honest, Zama wasn't all that decisive - had Hannibal won it they would have still lost the war, just prolonged it a bit... it was a foregone conclusion even Hannibal was aware of - hence his attempt to reason with Scipio before the battle.
You are speculating. If Hannibal had destroyed Scipio's army or killed Scipio, it would still be far from certain for Romans to win. That was the case in Cannae.

The reality is Zama was the final blow to the Carthaginians that was decisive in winning the war. Carthaginians were not broken before Zama. After Zama, they were. Hannibal failed to break Romans in Cannae even though he inflicted much higher casualty.
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Old December 20th, 2010, 02:50 AM   #12

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Re: Hannibal or Scipio?


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You are speculating. If Hannibal had destroyed Scipio's army or killed Scipio, it would still be far from certain for Romans to win. That was the case in Cannae.

The reality is Zama was the final blow to the Carthaginians that was decisive in winning the war. Carthaginians were not broken before Zama. After Zama, they were. Hannibal failed to break Romans in Cannae even though he inflicted much higher casualty.

If Hannibal couldn't beat them when Carthaginian power was at it's height and he had a foothold in Italy - then it would be highly unlikely to beat them with just Africa - a lot of which had already turned to the Roman cause. Zama was the final blow, but it was really over before that and Hannibal knew it even if lots of the Carthaginian Republic believed they could fight on - though they still had money to pay for mercenaries (evident in Mago's purchase of more mercenaries in Northen Italy in the dwindling years of the war) most of the power Hannibal had hoped to use to beat the Romans was long gone.

As for your reference to Cannae - it was at a very different time for both, and very different circumstances. The Romans could still produce massive amounts of soldiers and could rely on massive support (which to some degree is true of Carthage as well, being able to amass many soldiers in Africa despite some heavy defeats) - but by the time of Zama, those raised forces had already been smashed by Scipio in several engagements, Carthaginian Numidian allies also mostly beaten by Numidian forces allied to Rome or by Roman forces, Spain was a distant memory, and any help from Macedonia barely visible (they supposedly sent 4000 troops to Hannibal to fight at Zama but that is quite debatable - look here for more info on that http://www.jstor.org/pss/291827). Roman armies were now fairly experienced and numerous, whilst the armies amassed in Africa in the final years were mostly raw soldiers and it showed. They were on the back-foot as it were, and clearly not in the same position as Rome after Cannae in regards to resources and manpower. Zama was the last battle, but - in my opinion, it was over for them before it. And whilst it is speculation, the evidence to support this far outweighs evidence to suggest a Carthaginian victory was still possible had Scipio been defeated at Zama.

Last edited by markdienekes; December 20th, 2010 at 08:41 AM.
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Old December 20th, 2010, 03:49 AM   #13
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Re: Hannibal or Scipio?


Both were excellent tacticians, Scipio was truly the first Roman to exhibit such improvisational skills on the traditional Roman military tactics, yet my vote also goes to Hannibal. The man was just awesome on the field...
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Old December 20th, 2010, 04:33 AM   #14

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Re: Hannibal or Scipio?


Quote:
Originally Posted by markdienekes View Post
If Hannibal couldn't beat them when Carthaginian power was at it's height and he had a foothold in Italy - then it would be highly unlikely to beat them with just Africa - a lot of which had already turned to the Roman cause. Zama was the final blow, but it was really over before that and Hannibal knew it even if lots of the Carthaginian Republic believed they could fight on - though they still had money to pay for mercenaries (evident in Mago's purchase of more mercenaries in Northen Italy in the dwindling years of the war) most of the power Hannibal had hoped to use to beat the Romans was long gone.

As for your reference to Cannae - it was at a very different time for both, and very different circumstances. The Romans could still produce massive amounts of soldiers and could rely on massive support (which to some degree is true of Carthage as well, being able to amass many soldiers in Africa) - but by the time of Zama, those raised forces had already been smashed by Scipio in several engagements, Carthaginian Numidian allies also mostly beaten by Numidian forces allied to Rome or by Roman forces, Spain was a distant memory, and any help from Macedonia barely visible (they supposedly sent 4000 troops to Hannibal to fight at Zama but that is quite debatable - look here for more info on that http://www.jstor.org/pss/291827). Roman armies were now fairly experienced and numerous, whilst the armies amassed in Africa in the final years were mostly raw soldiers and it showed. Zama was the last battle, but - in my opinion, it was over for them before it. And whilst it is a speculation, the evidence to support this far outweighs evidence to suggest a Carthaginian victory was still possible had Scipio been defeated at Zama.
Your Jstor link goes nowhere.
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Old December 20th, 2010, 04:44 AM   #15

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Re: Hannibal or Scipio?


If the armies were reversed, Scipio couldn't have won the Battle of Zama. Hannibal's army was far, far more inferior to Scipios and they both knew it.

Hannibal was by far the better general, and if he'd had his army in its prime to face Scipio, Scipio wouldn't have won.
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Old December 20th, 2010, 04:50 AM   #16

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Re: Hannibal or Scipio?


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Originally Posted by Belisarius View Post
Your Jstor link goes nowhere.
Cheers mate, not sure why, it is the exact link to the page... I'll see what I can do! I have it as a pdf if you want to read it

Or failing that, type Macedonian troops at the battle of Zama - it should take you to the Jstor link!
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Old December 20th, 2010, 04:59 AM   #17

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Re: Hannibal or Scipio?


Scipio. He knew how to end the war. Hannibal had the chance to march on Rome and win the war, but for some reason, chose not to. Scipio had no such hesitations. Is that not a general's job? To win.
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Old December 20th, 2010, 05:13 AM   #18

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Re: Hannibal or Scipio?


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Scipio. He knew how to end the war. Hannibal had the chance to march on Rome and win the war, but for some reason, chose not to. Scipio had no such hesitations. Is that not a general's job? To win.
I've used this before in regards to the opinion he could have won the war by marching on Rome - please forgive me...)

Hannibal had a rational plan of attack, namely, to sever the ties of Rome's allies to dissolve the power of the Republic, something to his chagrin, proved difficult indeed. As I've said before, besieging Rome would have put him in a very dangerous situation that would most likely have destroyed him, namely, a war of attrition if Rome did not surrender. Immediately after Cannae Hannibal sent a delegation led by Carthalo to negotiate a peace treaty with the Senate on moderate terms. It would have made little difference if he had been outside Rome, he was only about a week's march away regardless, yet despite the multiple catastrophes Rome had suffered, the Roman Senate refused to parley. With poor supply lines, he relied on movement across the Italian peninsular to acquire food (one of the main reasons he brought so many Numidian cavalry with him - to forage - most of Hannibal's shock cavalry were Iberian and Celts) he could also not sever Roman supply lines.

In Hans Delbruck's Warfare in Antiquity he says: At Cannae then, he had beaten and wiped out only the smaller half of the Roman Legions (8 of 18), and the Romans soon replaced their losses through new levies; they did not even have the legions stationed overseas - in Sicily, Sardinia, Spain - return home. To have moved against Rome immediately after the battle with a view toward the terrorizing effect would therefore have served no purpose for Hannibal and, passing as a negative demonstration, would have nullified the other morale effects of the victory at Cannae. If the well-known statement by the cavalry leader, Marharbal, that Hannibal understood how to win but not exploit his victories, was actually said, it only proves that the brave general who said it was a simple fighter rather than a true strategist. During the lengthy butchery of the encircled legionaries the Carthaginian army had itself sacrificed 5,700 killed, and consequently in addition at least 20,000 wounded, who were not capable of marching again until days and weeks had passed. Had he started out immediately after battle, Hannibal would have arrived before Rome with hardly 25,000 men, and the Romans would not have given in to such a small force, even at the height of their terror. (p.337)

Rome was a very large, well-fortified city: the Servian wall had a circumference of more than five miles. Large open areas within the walls could accommodate refugees from the countryside. Rome was also a large trading capital, richly provided by supplies of all kinds. Hannibal would have had to control the sea and taken Ostia first so he himself could be supplied by sea to make besieging Rome not impossible with 50-60,000 men. But we know the Roman's had superiority at sea, which is why Hannibal had gathered his forces in a land army. According to Delbruck again:

The siege army would, therefore, have had to be supplied by land. Gigantic supply lines would have had to be organised and made to function through a completely hostile countryside and passing by innumerable cities and strongholds that blocked the routes. A very large portion of the Carthaginian force would have had to be assigned to this duty, and every isolated unit would have been exposed at every turn to the legions and cohorts, both Roman and allied, which were still stationed in the country or were newly organised. The remainder of the army which would have been available for siege, divided by the Tiber River, would have withstood only with great difficulty sorties of the numerically far superior garrison. The principal arm of the Carthaginians, their cavalry, could not have been of any assistance. (p.338)

With what forces Hannibal had at his disposal after Cannae, he clearly couldn't achieve the above.
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Old December 20th, 2010, 05:30 AM   #19

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Re: Hannibal or Scipio?


There's a great story about Hannibal and Scipio: Years after the 2nd Punic War had ended with Hannibal's defeat at Zama, the 2 generals found themselves sitting next to each other at a banquet in the palace of Antiochus the Great during a peace conference. The 2 generals apparently were on good terms, and Scipio struck up conversation with the Carthaginian by asking him: "So, who do you think were the greatest generals of all time?"

Hannibal responded: "Well, Alexander was the greatest of course." To which Scipio heartily agreed. "So who would you place 2nd?"

Hannibal, clearly teasing the Roman, said "Well, Pyrrhus of Epirus, of course." Scipio was a little annoyed, but persisted. "And 3rd?"

"Me!" said Hannibal. Scipio, somewhat bemused, said "Well then, where would you place yourself if I hadn't beaten you?"

"Then I would have been greater than Alexander."

Gotta love Hannibal
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Old December 20th, 2010, 01:53 PM   #20

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Re: Hannibal or Scipio?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Caracalla View Post
Scipio. He knew how to end the war. Hannibal had the chance to march on Rome and win the war, but for some reason, chose not to. Scipio had no such hesitations. Is that not a general's job? To win.
But hannibal did march on rome. He didn't have enough men to take the city in a siege and thats why he moved south. Recall that he was seperated by thousands of miles from his homeland with no reinforcements or supply line since the romans ruled the seas
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