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Old April 7th, 2014, 11:08 PM   #1
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Lightbulb Zama, a roman propaganda campaign


Hello! Did the battle of Zama ever exist? Or was it just a misleading information especially biased used to promote a political cause or point of view, this political propaganda could have been launched by Scipio himself, although i lack an iota of proof to support this, it's just an idea, what do you think?
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Old April 8th, 2014, 12:01 AM   #2

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I'd have thought someone would have noticed it was all lies. There were quite a few Romans and Latins in the army.
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Old April 8th, 2014, 12:36 AM   #3

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qvaestor Septimvs lvlivs View Post
Hello! Did the battle of Zama ever exist? Or was it just a misleading information especially biased used to promote a political cause or point of view, this political propaganda could have been launched by Scipio himself, although i lack an iota of proof to support this, it's just an idea, what do you think?
Sounds a bit like "America faked the moon landings" to me. basically, Scipio's entire army would have to have been in on it, and nobody blabbed?

I'd have thought Hannibal might have mentioned something...
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Old April 8th, 2014, 12:46 AM   #4
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Hmmm. Well if it didn't occur then Polybius was a liar and a fraud. And given his association with Scipio Aemilianus (and his ties to the Scipio's) and his penchant for advocating first hand accounts makes it difficult to swallow. iow. if we can trust his eyewitness of the sack of Carthage or his account of Ticinus; then Zama is probably good. Granted the time difference.
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Old April 8th, 2014, 12:56 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Belisarius View Post
Sounds a bit like "America faked the moon landings" to me. basically, Scipio's entire army would have to have been in on it, and nobody blabbed?

I'd have thought Hannibal might have mentioned something...
Hannibal eh...
But after Rome caught Hannibal and his writings, well, i can naturally assume you know what the Romans would do.
BURN IT! BURN IT ALL! and re-write it. Scipio could have bribed his army, he was exceedingly wealthy after his sack of Qart-Hadast and his exploits in Hispania, He obtained a rich cache of war stores and supplies, Livy talks about this and the story, that portrayed Scipio as a hero rather than a villain [Livy, Ab urbe conditia xxvi. 50]

But it's as you said "America faked the... moon landing" Totally controversial, you wouldn't really know unless you're Scipio or someone in his army, that is of course if the battle didn't take place.

But i doubt that every commander, centurion and soldier in his army plus Polybius and several senators would just Interglot or dummy up about the issue.

Oh yeah, doesn't Masinissa's betrayal with Carthage at the last moment kind of Symbolize the events that lead to the tutenberg (How do you even spell that) forest, the betrayal of Arminius against Varus?

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basically, Scipio's entire army would have to have been in on it, and nobody blabbed?
Well, not necessarily every soldier, whilst this is true in a sense, it wouldn't really provoke the soldiers to action would it? I say only those who'd have political connections within the army would seek change, the soldiers wouldn't even know he'd do this, just some Tribunes and Quaestors, he could easily deal with those and that's if there not dubious of there surroundings!

Last edited by Qvaestor Septimvs lvlivs; April 8th, 2014 at 01:38 AM.
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Old April 8th, 2014, 12:59 AM   #6
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Possible but not probable..as at that point your denying a primary sources veracity and honesty. So the next question is: are you? And on what basis?
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Old April 8th, 2014, 01:22 AM   #7
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Possible but not probable..as at that point your denying a primary sources veracity and honesty. So the next question is: are you? And on what basis?
Oh, it's merely Opinionative, just some theories. Nevertheless, is should have put forward some counter evidence before theorizing. Sorry about that, i shall edit that part out.

Last edited by Qvaestor Septimvs lvlivs; April 8th, 2014 at 01:37 AM.
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Old April 8th, 2014, 01:25 AM   #8

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Historical research works on the basis of evidence. Which means, any historian builds his theories based on what sources tell him/her. If there is no evidence for an event or a particular interpretation of an event, then insofar as historical theory goes, the event never happened. One can build any number of theories on "what might have happened", but only those based on the availability of sources can be considered logically viable.

For example - Maybe Hannibal was defeated by an Egyptian Army? Or maybe a Spanish Army? And Scipio just happened to turn up at Zama, decide to claim credit, kill all the Spanish/Egyptians, tell his soldiers that the army they killed were Carthaginians, and then go and burn Carthage. Or alternatively, Scipio was defeated at Zama, then an earthquake destroyed Carthage, and Hannnibal's army became demoralized and fled, and Scipio claimed credit.

Anything is possible, including invasions by Space Aliens or Lizard Men. But until the evidence for something is present, one must assume that these are no more than imaginative fiction, not historical theory.

If you wish to dispute the authenticity of the Primary Source, you must have counter evidence of some sort which casts doubt on the authenticity. Even if you discredit the primary source, until counter evidence is unearthed, theories must revolve around the evidence available, even if it is a disreputable primary source. Only if evidence turns up of a different story and narrative can an alternative theory be considered.

Thus for you to posit that Zama was a Roman Propaganda Campaign and the battle never happened you must show that either
a) There is evidence for such an assertion

b) That the primary source is fundamentally unreliable in many aspects, through evidence.
NOTE: It is preferable that you show both, and proving the second cannot validate you're theory in the absence of positive evidence, it merely invalidates aspects of the current accepted theory
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Old April 8th, 2014, 01:58 AM   #9

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qvaestor Septimvs lvlivs View Post
Hello! Did the battle of Zama ever exist? Or was it just a misleading information especially biased used to promote a political cause or point of view, this political propaganda could have been launched by Scipio himself, although i lack an iota of proof to support this, it's just an idea, what do you think?
Personally I think you deserve a visit from Scipio's ghost, but writing sensibly, of course Scipio fought the Battle of Zama. How else was Carthage finally defeated? It isn't just that there were witnesses, remember that prisoners would have been brought back to the slave markets. Booty divided by auction among the victorious Roman soldiers.

In any case, Scipio was already enjoying huge political success. He'd been voted Consul unanimously as a result of securing Spain, and really didn't need the propaganda.
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Old April 8th, 2014, 02:32 AM   #10

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The theory that Zama was a hoax has a small but energetic following. The idea seems to have originated with Tunisian writer Abdelaziz Belkhodja.

I don't subscribe to it myself, as it does seem to be a romantic fantasy of "Hannibal was never beaten, and the evil Romans pretend he was", but for those interested, here's an article about the theory. The Trouble With Zama: Paradox, Smoke and Mirrors in an Ancient Battlefield | Hannibal and the Punic Wars | Ancient History & Civilisation | Articles

One supporting factor is taken to be the circular military harbour in Carthage, which recent research dates into the second century BC. From there, the question arises how a state beaten as severely as Carthage after the Second Punic War and kept in a state of submission could have dared to build such a harbour - unless it never was this severely beaten. Other factors include questions regarding Hannibal's elephants and the feeling that Zama was a "Cannae in reverse", which the Roman collective consciousness must have been much in need of.

Strong factors against the "Zama was a hoax" theory are to me the fact that Scipio received a triumph and had monuments erected in Rome to commemorate this victory. While it might be possible, at a stretch, to invent a battle in a far-off land that was never fought, it would be difficult to invent (or justify) monuments in Rome to commemorate said battle - where everyone could go and check...

Last edited by GoldSeven; April 8th, 2014 at 02:42 AM.
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