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Old February 23rd, 2014, 07:21 AM   #61

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Originally Posted by Pyrrhos The Eagle View Post
The point is that it wasn't specifically a Roman thing to do and there are other reasons before "Roman Spirit" why defenders do it.
Was defending the city of Rome not part of the "Roman Spirit"?
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It's not about letting Rome off easy. It's just that the terms powers agreed to in these wars would be painful, but not so devastating. Carthage had to give up most of its overseas territories in the first war, but was able to recover in Iberia. The treaty in no way spelled doom for Carthage and likewise it would necessarily be so destructive for the Romans in the second war. Even after the Second Punic war Carthage was able to pay off Rome and recover to some extent.
Rome would be in a much weaker position than Carthage had they lost the Second Punic War. Carthage had a strong naval tradition and was able to easily conquer Iberia by taking advantage of inter tribal squabbling. Had Rome lost the Second Punic War, they would probably only be able to expand northwards, straight into the Cisalpine Gauls. They would probably lose their Adriatic colonies, and all of their allies would probably take advantage of Rome's defeat to revolt, plus both the Samnites and the Greeks would surely revolt and block the way for Roman armies to get to the Adriatic. This would limit potential Roman expansion northwards, into the agricultural lands of Northern Italy. Rome would be in a much weaker position and much less likely to have a resurgence such as Carthage did if they had lost the Second Punic War.
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In terms of the world, sure, but in terms of Italy, I wouldn't call Rome a minor power in 315 BCE. I'm not denying that Rome was committed, that much is obvious. Still, they were willing to surrender and forced to honor a treaty.

Sure, it's true that Rome was extremely committed to fighting its war, but we shouldn't pretend that they would never surrender. Sure, they didn't surrender in the second war, but certainly they could have if a few more things went against them. It's certainly also true that they had lost other wars and considered surrendering when the stakes also included losing some power in Italy.
The point is that Rome kept on fighting after losing two whole armies, almost no other ancient state, especially of that size, would do that. Rome probably only had about 50% of the manpower reserves at the start of the Second Samnite War that they did at the start of the Second Punic War. While they did consider surrendering in some wars, the point is that they never did, even under the worst of conditions.
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Old February 24th, 2014, 04:24 AM   #62

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The point is that Rome kept on fighting after losing two whole armies, almost no other ancient state, especially of that size, would do that. Rome probably only had about 50% of the manpower reserves at the start of the Second Samnite War that they did at the start of the Second Punic War. While they did consider surrendering in some wars, the point is that they never did, even under the worst of conditions.
Circumstantial. Rome was lucky not to be forced to surrender. You're assuming that Rome's success was entirely their martial spirit and ruthlessness. The issue is more complex than that, especially after we consider the increasing scale of Roman society and its urbanisation, which does not lend itself to the mindset you are trying to describe.
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