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Old July 13th, 2011, 01:42 PM   #21
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In some way Hannibal was a modern man who lived in the wrong time. He saw war as we see it know i hope. A waste of life. He did smash Rome 3 times and that surely weakend its army, some of it's allies had abandonned it. He could have gotten men but I think he was just tired of the constant waste of life and wanted it to end with no more spilled blood. Unfortunatelly human nature led to the death of even more people, maybe more than they would have died if Rome was attacked and hopefully captured or destroyed. This is however a hypothetical scenario. Probably wouldn't have happened and there is no way to know what Hannibal was like inside.
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Old July 14th, 2011, 02:41 AM   #22

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All in all,I would have to agree to most of the Cornelius's points.And how can the argument that witht he taking of Rome,the war would have been continued,be sustained??!IMO,that's taking the "Rome invicible" to a whole new level.
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Old July 14th, 2011, 02:43 AM   #23

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In some way Hannibal was a modern man who lived in the wrong time. He saw war as we see it know i hope. A waste of life.He could have gotten men but I think he was just tired of the constant waste of life and wanted it to end with no more spilled blood.
Do I read that right?Do you know how many civilians Hannibal slaughtered while in Italy??!!

To argue that he was a modern humanitarian,or something like that is...wow.

PS:This is not meant as piss-taking on Hannibal.I admire the man.I'm just pointing out flawes HistoryNut's argument and reasoning.
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Old July 14th, 2011, 05:29 AM   #24
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In the beggining Hannibal was a cruel man I know. But after the battles, sitting before Rome, he kinda maybe changed. I didn't really write the first post as I was really thinking it(1 o'clock in the morning). I am making suggestions about what he was in the end. Men can change in just a day.
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Old July 14th, 2011, 08:13 AM   #25

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Originally Posted by Alcibiades View Post
Do I read that right?Do you know how many civilians Hannibal slaughtered while in Italy??!!

To argue that he was a modern humanitarian,or something like that is...wow.

PS:This is not meant as piss-taking on Hannibal.I admire the man.I'm just pointing out flawes HistoryNut's argument and reasoning.
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I wasn't aware Hannibal slaughtered any Italian cities. I thought his whole campaign hinged on the fact that he was going to peel away the Italian allies from Rome.

I don't agree with HistoryNut here though, I think he was just an intelligent man of his time.
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Old July 14th, 2011, 04:21 PM   #26

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I'll get to some of my thoughts on these soon matey, just came back from holiday (why did all the subjects I can actually contribute appear when I'm away!!!)
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Old July 15th, 2011, 02:04 AM   #27

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There are loads of people who absolutely adore Hannibal, claiming that he was the greatest general ever to have lived. These people absolutely refuse to admit that he had flaws. Well, not I. Someone said that "Hannibal knew how to gain a victory, but not how to use it". I think there may be some truth behind that; after Cannae, Rome's resources were exhausted(there is no way I buy Labienus's claim that "Rome could recruit up to an astonishing 700 000 men at the time" - I'd say a maximum of 300,000 men in normal cases, but most certainly not immediately after Cannae) and the Italian Allies were wavering in their loyalty to Rome. Had he known how to use a victory, Hannibal would've applied more pressure on the Italian Allies, which would have resulted in an Italy united against Rome. As for Hannibal not besieging Rome after Cannae, I think that proves he wasn't as flawless a general as some people claim him to be. Rome had very few troops left in the field after Cannae, and if Hannibal had marched immediately on Rome after Cannae, Rome couldn't have recruited more men. Instead, the Romans would've been stuck in their city. If he had done that, it is highly likely that the Italian Allies would have abandoned Rome. Now, Hannibal didn't have siege engines with him - so what? The Romans usually didn't bring siege engines with them - they were built on the spot, right outside the enemy walls. Didn't Hannibal know how to build siege engines then? Surely he could have found someone who knew(yes, much like the Mongols did in China). Didn't Hannibal dare march on Rome? That doesn't make sense - he dared march across the alps and face the Romans heavily outnumbered. So why didn't Hannibal march on Rome when the city was defenseless aside from a petty city militia? In my opinion, he didn't march on Rome because he wasn't a flawless commander - his weakness was siege warfare, and he probably knew it. Now, which Hannibal-lover is gonna jump at me first for saying this?
I don't think many would say he had no flaws. Being a man, he was prone to making mistakes. Perhaps not marching on Rome was one of them, but I don't think so. I'm not sure why you believe the Roman's couldn't recruit as they would be stuck in their city and that had he done so, all the allies would have abandoned Rome. The allies were fairly loyal in the long run, perhaps due to fear of Roman reprisals and suspicions on the motives of the Carthaginians themselves. The Romans have people connected to the senate outside Rome, and had the time to organise people to do such a thing, riding from Rome to other locations to begin the recruiting. It was very hard for a commander to make another go to battle if one side did not want it, so any fresh raised legions could have simply skirmished with Hannibal's foragers. Had Hannibal took to simply blockading the city his own lines of supply would have been at risk.

Being over 250 miles away, it would have taken three weeks for Hannibal to get there (not the 5 days suggested by Maharbal) which would have been ample time to shore up the cities defenses against Hannibal's weakened army (as suggested by Lancel, Lazenby, Shean, Daly and Goldsworthy). In the event of a protracted siege - the legions in the north, Sicily and elsewhere could have been called upon as relief forces (along with the freshly raised legions). Livy's words on the plight of Rome are rhetorical exaggerations. Rome had men to defend it's walls. Varro rallied his troops from Cannae, some 10,000 men who could have been put to use too.

(Apologies for re-posting this but from an old post) 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 a few weeks 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)

And onto besieging Rome:

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.

Adrian Goldsworthy writes:

It is difficult to see what more Hannibal could have done to attain victory. We can never know how close the Romans came to conceding defeat. Perhaps a march on Rome after Cannae would have broken the Roman's nerve, but we cannot be sure of this and such a move would have been a great gamble. One major problem for the Carthaginians was that they had one superb commander with an excellent army, whilst elsewhere they had poor commanders with average armies or average commanders with poor armies. From the beginning the Romans were able to produce in considerable quantity armies which were average in quality and the skill of their commanders, giving them an advantage over all but Hannibal. As the war progressed and Roman leaders and soldiers gained experience, their superiority over the other Punic armies became even more marked.
The Fall of Carthage by Adrian Goldsworthy, p.314


To be honest, there has been much consideration into Hannibal's actions after Cannae, and why he didn't march on Rome. Shean in (Hannibal's Mules) believes it was the simple fact it was the consideration of supplying such a 250 mile march. Theoretically it was possible for pack animals to carry supplies to last for 19 days, and the number of animals would have been far too many available in his position, nor was a single region capable of providing fodder for the animals. If Hannibal had planned to attack Rome, he would have needed to march more than 15 miles a day to reach the wall in time and wanted a continuous march without foraging - for that they'd need 544,920 pack animals, and it was reckoned Hannibal had around 20,000 at any one time. Yes, his reason may well have been something as mundane as a lack of food!



I'm really not sure where people get the idea he had no siege equipment, as this is not backed up by a reading of the sources. There is abundant evidence that Hannibal used siege weapons throughout his Italian campaign, building them when needed. Appian mentions siege engines in Hannibal's attack on the town of Petilia shortly after the battle of Cannae (App. Hann. 5.29). Livy makes mention of various different siege machinery. One attempt at capturing Nola in 216 BC, Hannibal ordered his men to bring up the equipment needed for an assault of the town (Livy. 21.16.11-12). The assault failed, but he moved onto Acerrae, where he again made siege and assault preparations. The town was circumvalleted and the town was captured (Livy 23.17.4-6). Later that year Hannibal used mantelets and dug saps when he assaulted Casilinum (Livy. 23.18.8-9). The following year he had to wait for a day in his attempt to capture Cumae as he had to bring up the necessary equipment from camp (Livy. 23.36.5-8). When he assaulted the town, he made use of a high wooden tower against the wall. He also used artillery and siege engines against the citadel of Tarentum. His siege capability was not as bad as historians make out, and he did infact storm a few places, and it is only the ones he failed to take that gets attention.



In fact, very few cities in the war were taken by assault and the capture of fortified places has always been extremely difficult. According to Goldsworthy, 'as we have seen, direct attacks on a large city were only successful when they combined surprise with treachery from the inside or special knowledge of a weakness in the defences.' (p.313)

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Originally Posted by Sargon of Akkad View Post
I wasn't aware Hannibal slaughtered any Italian cities. I thought his whole campaign hinged on the fact that he was going to peel away the Italian allies from Rome.

I don't agree with HistoryNut here though, I think he was just an intelligent man of his time.
Hannibal's campaigns included a lot of raiding, which would have killed a lot of civilians... the Romans took to lots of raiding in Southern Italy too.

Last edited by markdienekes; July 15th, 2011 at 02:49 AM.
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Old July 15th, 2011, 02:41 AM   #28

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I don't know if that is true, but 23 legions is "only" 100,000 men, and they probably weren't at full numbers. Besides, 4 years after Cannae is hardly immediately after Cannae.



Why would he need to garrison those cities at all? If he had besieged Rome, Rome couldn't have sent troops to those cities, so they would have been safe anyway. Besides, why couldn't those cities have provided their own garrisons?



Why is that? Rome had basically no troops left after Cannae. Hannibal could have besieged Rome, and the Romans wouldn't have been able to do anything about it.
You are spot on. The key to Hannibal's campain lied in

a) Breaking Romans' will

b) Making allies leave Rome

By beseiging Rome, Hannibal could make a very loud statement to Roman and their allies. It's not about how many men could Rome muster. After Cannae, Romans were panicking and had no men to fight. I think there's no better way to break Roman will than this. And there's no better way to make the allies leave than demonstrating to them that Rome was very vulnerable and could not escape Hannibal's troops.

BTW, it doesn't take alot of engineering to besiege Rome. The barbaric Goths did it with a pretty sad military.
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Old July 15th, 2011, 02:52 AM   #29

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BTW, it doesn't take alot of engineering to besiege Rome. The barbaric Goths did it with a pretty sad military.
Didn't slaves open the gates from the inside though, essentially meaning treachery allowed them in.
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Old July 15th, 2011, 04:56 AM   #30

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Didn't slaves open the gates from the inside though, essentially meaning treachery allowed them in.
Nothing to prevent a slave doing that for Hannibal then.
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