Historum - History Forums  

Go Back   Historum - History Forums > Blogs > markdienekes
Register Forums Blogs Social Groups Mark Forums Read


Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.

Why Didn't Hannibal March on Rome?

Posted October 23rd, 2011 at 04:12 AM by markdienekes
Updated April 4th, 2014 at 09:12 AM by markdienekes

Hannibal and the Siege of Rome:

This is a series of replies to questions about why perhaps Hannibal didn't siege Rome that I posted in another thread:




Originally Posted by Cornelius Click the image to open in full size.
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. 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.

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.

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 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 (Sheen, Hannibal's Mules, p.164*). 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.

*John F. Shean, Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte
Bd. 45, H. 2 (2nd Qtr., 1996), pp. 159-187



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)


I think that O'Connell sums it up well in his book Ghosts of Cannae, that despite how shaken the inhabitants of Rome were, the senate remained clear-headed and made the leadership and personnel decisions to deal with the immediate crisis and to restore Rome's capacity to defend itself (its hard to judge which page it would be on the paperback, as I have an online version... which reads as p.525).

Gregory Daly in his book Cannae: The Experience of Battle in the Second Punic War says the Romans would have had ample time to prepare for the Carthaginian attack, for the city was well fortified, and there was no shortage of men to defend it (p.46)

Richard Gabriel says of it: There were two legiones urbanae raised at the beginning of the year and Marcellus' 1500 men at Ostia, the legion of marines that he had sent to Teanum Sidicinum, for nearly 17,000 men already under arms. In addition, all the able-bodied men of the city could have been pressed into service, including the slaves, some of whom were already armed (Hannibal, p.156). Lazenby says the same thing in Hannibal's War (pp.85-86). In Hannibal by Dodge he proves a list of figures - supposing the Romans could have had up to 40,000 men defending the walls (p.387)

Dexter Hoyos in Hannibal's Dynasty: Power and Politics in the Western Mediterranean 247-183 BC says the above forces, but he makes some interesting points that these were not a complete answer, and that it is not certain Rome would be free of treachery citing other foreign residents who may not have been totally committed to Rome (p.120)

Carey (Hannibal's Last Battle: Zama and the Fall of Carthage) says the Romans had plenty of time to mount a spirited defence had Hannibal decided to march, and that Hannibal's army was certainly fatigued after the battle and not in any shape to not only make forced marches across the Apennines (which Hans Delbruck makes a point of in Warfare in Antiquity, p.337), but also to take the city, and the defences of Rome's capitol city was an entirely different order of magnitude to his previous sieges (pp.68-69). Tony Bath makes the same points in his book, Hannibal's Campaigns and says they were perfectly capable of defending themselves from a well-fortified city and had a huge reservoir of able-bodied citizens who could be armed and pressed into service (p.85).

Adrian Goldsworthy in his book The Fall of Carthage says: that a few men panicked and despaired should not surprise us; what is truly remarkable is that the majority remained so determined to fight on. He also then goes on to that they quickly recovered from the shock and took practical measures to rebuild their strength (pp.218-219).

They lost 177 members of the senate after Cannae, a lot of the middle generation and it should be stressed that two generations of future magistrates had been wiped out, leaving the helm firmly in the hands of the 'old guard', men who had been consuls way back in the 230s BC (and a group that directed affairs pretty much regularly down to 207 BC). Could this much reduced senate really convince people to fight who didn't actually want to, especially considering the recent disasters? How would the people react to them had they known they refused to even speak to the Carthaginians bringing terms of peace? (Vishnia, 2011, State, Society and Popular Leaders in Mid-Republican Rome 241-167 BC). It appears they were willing to continue the fight regardless of the mistakes made after only a brief period of despondency...






Originally Posted by Cornelius Click the image to open in full size.
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.


Two city legions (an important distinction between the word legion here and Augustus' later Urban cohorts), 1500 men under Marcellus at Ostia, the legion of marines at Teanum Sidicinum, Postumius' two legions and allies in Cisalpine Gaul, and the armies in Sicily and Sardinia which could have been transferred across to Rome by sea before Hannibal's arrival. 8,000 slave volunteers and 6,000 criminals were quickly raised and armed with foreign armour and weapons from past triumphs to bolster the defences, not to mention the civilian population of Rome itself which would have also defended itself - had Hannibal somehow managed to get into the city, it has been argued by Strauss and Ober (The Anatomy of Error: Ancient Military Disasters and their lessons for Modern Strategists, 1992, p.154-5) that his army could have become involved in vicious street fighting which would have made it far from certain Hannibal could keep a hold on the city (especially considering that Hannibal would have arrived there with at most 25,000 men). Not to mention the 14,000 survivors Varro rallied after Cannae. Rome was far from undefended. I'm not sure why I have to keep bringing this up when the sources reveal this! Had they known they had nobody to defend themselves, why dismiss Cartharlo without even admitting him into the city to discuss peace - apparently Hannibal's terms were moderate? To suggest they would have capitulated at the sight of Hannibal's army is unknowable - but given the information I've read, I'm more inclined to believe they would have defended their city to the death.










Originally Posted by Cornelius Click the image to open in full size.
markdienekes,

Like you say, there is no way of knowing whether Rome had surrendered if Hannibal had marched on Rome. On the other hand, I maintain that the petty forces Rome had left after Cannae would've been no match for Hannibal(let's face it, Rome's resources were exhausted after Cannae; it'd have taken too long for the Romans to recruit another army of sufficient size). If he had besieged Rome, it would have been very difficult for the Romans to recruit more troops, because A) they would be stuck in their city and B) the Italian Allies would realize that Rome stood no chance of winning. In fact, Hannibal didn't even need to take Rome by force; he could have surrounded the city and waited for the citizens to starve to death. That would most likely have forced the Romans to sue for peace. Regarding what you said about the Romans being able to forage Hannibal's supply lines if Hannibal had besieged Rome, well, then he could have sent troops to defeat the foraging parties. The Mongols were in pretty much the same situation outside Beijing; they had besieged the city, but the Chinese sent armies from the south to relieve it. But Djengis Khan, another military mastermind, defeated them - so why couldn't Hannibal have done the same thing in basically the same situation? I rate Hannibal higher than Djengis Khan, so... Then again, I'm sure it would have been possible to take Rome by force. The city of Carthage was also surrounded by formidable walls, and yet it only took Scipio Aemilianus one year to take it. Why couldn't Hannibal have done the same?

To summarize, I'm confident that not marching on Rome after Cannae was a huge mistake that costed the Carthaginians their victory in the Second Punic War. If Hannibal had known how to use a victory, he wouldn't have made that mistake.



They already had armies of sufficient size to defend the walls. The garrison of Rome has been worked out by Dodge to have been about 40,000 strong (Hannibal, p.387), almost twice as many men as Hannibal would have had if he left immediately after his victory at Cannae (the other half of his army wounded and unable to march the 250 miles to Rome, whilst he also lost 11 percent of his force, a staggeringly high casualty rate for a victor.) and that's not including Postumius's legions and those in Sardinia and Sicily which could have been quickly diverted to Rome by the use of the navy (and those in Spain if Hannibal had settled down for a long siege).

Carthage was in a completely different situation, being completely blockaded by the aid of the Roman navy, and the siege had already been going on for years before hand by the time Scipio took charge. Starvation was already taking its toll on the populace. They had no allies to call to for aid, whereas Rome had plenty without including the 30 Latin colonies. As I mentioned in post 27 Hannibal and Siege of Rome

In regards to Hannibal trying to lay siege and starve Rome out:

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. (Delbruck, Warfare in Antiquity, p.338)

It simply wasn't an option with what Hannibal had after Cannae.









Originally Posted by Cornelius Click the image to open in full size.
I respectfully disagree. If Rome could muster 40,000 men to defend its walls, those troops would've been raw recruits - no match for Hannibals veterans. And didn't Hannibal prove at Cannae that he could defeat armies twice the size of his own? Also, I don't think the part of "hostile territory" is quite true. If Hannibal had marched on Rome, the Italian Allies would probably have joined Hannibal, thus making Italy friendly territory, thus making supply lines a very small problem. As for supplying Rome by the sea, Rome was only supplied by the sea through the Tiber. Hannibal could have blocked the Tiber or simply used archers to kill the crew of any vessel trying to bring food to Rome. So no, I don't think that taking Ostia first would've been necessary - not that doing so would've been very difficult after Cannae.


On a battlefield Hannibal's force would have the advantage, but even recruits could have put up a good defense on strong walls, much like Carthage's citizens did in the Third Punic war. Hannibal's veteran army in Spain struggled for 8 months against Saguntum, and they were mostly civilians without the backup of the legions Rome still had out in the field and allies to support her. The Italian allies would probably have joined Hannibal? That's a fairly big assumption, since most didn't when Hannibal had defeated Roman forces on the Peninsular and went around burning and looting, and clearly showed that Rome could not defend them (or even themselves). Overall, my position on this is with the majority of modern scholarship, that he couldn't have taken the city directly after Cannae. We'll have to agree to disagree
Whether or not he could have prevented supplies getting into Rome by river, Hannibal would have been surrounded by armies with his own supplies cut-off before Rome began to feel the effects of starvation.

Personally, I feel that had the Battle of Dertosa in 215 BC been won by his brother, and Hannibal had been reinforced by Hasdrubal and Mago's armies, then he could have perhaps made an attempt on Rome... but that wasn't to be.






Originally Posted by Cornelius Click the image to open in full size.
Quite a few did. The Samnites and the Campanians, for example. In fact, a large part of southern Italy joined Hannibal. Who knows how many would've joined him if he had besieged Rome? I mean, being able to besiege Rome sends quite the message, doesn't it?


So does the message that he can't take Rome. I don't believe that Rome's colonies would have abandoned her, nor many other cities who feared hegemonic aspirations of other cities they had age old rivalries with had they turned to Hannibal which had been put to rest by Rome. Carthage and Hannibal were still an alien quality whose motives were unknown. At least with Rome they knew where they stood. Rome still had 10 legions available in Italy, Spain, Sicily, Sardinia and Cisalpine Gaul and their allied contingents, plus plenty of hostages from the elite in many cities that could keep the cities from betrayal in fear of losing loved ones.

Not all of Campania (quite a few important cities) or all the Samnites, or in fact entire areas did not join him, instead, Hannibal had a checkerboard effect across Southern Italy. Essentially those who joined Hannibal thought they could gain something, mostly power over their regions. To lots of communities, this thought would have been very uncomfortable.

(apologies for digging this post out again, but I think it explains the point best!)
Fronda in his book Between Rome and Carthage: Southern Italy during the Second Punic War supposes the alliances to both Hannibal and Rome were dictated by centuries of interstate rivalries that determined what actions the cities and towns would take when faced by Hannibal - political factionalism within the cities governing elite and interstate rivalries hindered Hannibal's strategy - for example - gaining Capua turned a number of cities from ever joining Hannibal out of choice because of their fear of Capuan hegemony (who most likely didn't want to control all of Italy, but take back what had been stripped of them by Rome) - those in the past that had joined Capua in her policy decisions in war turned from Rome - and those that didn't had fought that very same Capuan league in the past, and their very survival depended on staying with Rome as they feared they'd lose out in an alliance with Hannibal. This was the case all over the South where he tried to turn allies from Rome. In Bruttium, centuries of warfare between the Greeks and the Bruttians made the Greeks hesitant of joining Hannibal when most of Bruttium joined him, which is true of Greek intercity rivalry too - when he captured Locri, who had previous interstate rivalry with Rhegion, the Rhegions turned to Rome for help fearing Locrian hegemonic aspirations. Likewise, the Bruttians also attacked Croton without Hannibal's knowledge, which shows they also expected more power - sadly - with Rome's reaction after Cannae to garrison cities that might sway in order to prevent such a thing (though this did not mean it would work - see Tarentum in 213/2) this limited Hannibal's success massively. The combination of long term conditions (local rivalries) and short term factors (Rome's military response) proved to much for Hannibal's strategy to overcome.

Theoretically, if all of Rome's 30 colonies and allies deserted her had Hannibal besieged Rome, then of course Hannibal would have won, but that strikes me as too easy, and a simple way of looking at all the problems of factional and interstate rivalries of the cities in question that scattered the Peninsular during this time.

Hannibal then, in my opinion, made a logical choice to begin to weaken Rome by playing on the morale affects of Cannae, perhaps in order to strike at Rome when he had his own supply lines secured and his reinforcements. Sadly, results in other theatres and the military response of Rome on the peninsular turned Hannibal's war into one of attrition.
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 12444 Comments 20 Edit Tags
« Prev     Main     Next »
Total Comments 20

Comments

  1. Old Comment
    pixi666's Avatar
    Fantastic I`m sure this blog will be referred to in many future discussions.
    Posted October 23rd, 2011 at 08:25 PM by pixi666 pixi666 is offline
  2. Old Comment
    markdienekes's Avatar
    Thanks for reading Pixi!
    Posted November 20th, 2011 at 03:27 PM by markdienekes markdienekes is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Mohammed the Persian's Avatar
    Very interesting, indeed!

    I always wondered why Hannibal didn't besiege Rome, it was stupid of him to not do that

    Wonderful post, nonetheless
    Posted December 8th, 2011 at 05:28 AM by Mohammed the Persian Mohammed the Persian is offline
  4. Old Comment
    markdienekes's Avatar
    Thanks for reading MtP!
    Posted December 10th, 2011 at 12:52 PM by markdienekes markdienekes is offline
  5. Old Comment
    Very good defense of Hannibals actions.
    Posted June 22nd, 2012 at 07:07 AM by Delenda est Roma Delenda est Roma is offline
  6. Old Comment
    President Camacho's Avatar
    Good work!
    Posted January 25th, 2013 at 01:23 PM by President Camacho President Camacho is offline
  7. Old Comment
    markdienekes's Avatar
    Thanks for reading, glad you found it interesting!
    Posted February 3rd, 2013 at 01:12 AM by markdienekes markdienekes is offline
  8. Old Comment
    A wealth of knowledge in this forum. Thanks for the detailed explaination. Many unobserved assumptions removed by a variety of new variables to be added in future mental combination. It helps open up perspective. I always found the documentary and movie explanations of Hannibal's motivation for not attacking Rome it's self strange and too succinct, especially the change of heart theory from a man with such overwhelming willpower. It's his resourcefulness that I wonder could have found a way to paralysis greater Roman political, military and judicial means. Defeating the Romans by a possible third way.. or a combination. Even with all these variables, if he outthought himself, changing his (incredible) habitual behaviors for success, if there could not have been a way to seize it all. Attacking other Roman systems then largely military. Removing her political system, sustaining his own economic means but harming Rome's to a far more efficient effect. Yet with all these variables standing in way, even more then normaly noted, it is amazing he came so far with so little in the way of support or resources.
    Posted June 2nd, 2013 at 12:28 PM by Connect Connect is offline
    Updated June 2nd, 2013 at 12:30 PM by Connect
  9. Old Comment
    markdienekes's Avatar
    Glad you found it useful!

    His lengthy stay in Italy was attacking the political and economic systems too - Rome was close to economic collapse a number of times, and thanks to private citizens and the loot from Syracuse, kept their head above water and continued on, whilst he was effecting agriculture across the peninsular, and famine ravaged their territories, whilst politically, Hannibal was making gains too due to the effects of a lengthy war. Not bad for a plan B after he realised they could not be brought to the negotiating table.
    Posted June 3rd, 2013 at 10:01 AM by markdienekes markdienekes is offline
  10. Old Comment
    Modest Learner's Avatar
    Given Rome's such a superiority over Carthage (as you have said that they had enough troops even after Cannae and "they did not even have the legions stationed overseas - in Sicily, Sardinia, Spain - return home"); I am beginning to feel that the campaign was doomed from the beginning. Correct me if I am wrong.

    Anyways, wonderful post.
    Posted July 12th, 2013 at 09:29 PM by Modest Learner Modest Learner is offline
  11. Old Comment
    markdienekes's Avatar
    Thanks for reading, mate!

    I feel a number of things may have tipped it into Carthage's favour, though, and with the benefit with hindsight, we can see just how tough a task it was for Hannibal and the rest of Carthage to challenge Rome.
    Posted July 20th, 2013 at 02:59 PM by markdienekes markdienekes is offline
  12. Old Comment
    Viperlord's Avatar
    Well, can't believe I never got around to reading this before. Great post!
    Posted August 3rd, 2013 at 11:46 AM by Viperlord Viperlord is offline
  13. Old Comment
    markdienekes's Avatar
    Thanks for reading, Viper!
    Posted August 5th, 2013 at 01:12 AM by markdienekes markdienekes is offline
  14. Old Comment
    Pyrrhos The Eagle's Avatar
    A very good read. I certainly agree.
    Posted March 30th, 2014 at 09:30 PM by Pyrrhos The Eagle Pyrrhos The Eagle is offline
  15. Old Comment
    markdienekes's Avatar
    Thanks for reading!
    Posted April 23rd, 2014 at 05:17 AM by markdienekes markdienekes is offline
  16. Old Comment
    Majasprat's Avatar
    A very interesting read Mark. Well done

    Is 11% really that big of a loss for a victor? It doesn't seem like that big of a hit.
    Posted September 3rd, 2014 at 06:41 PM by Majasprat Majasprat is offline
  17. Old Comment
    Hannibal lack for urban experienced fighters was the major hult to invade Rome city itself, here are many major reasons:
    1- Hannibal was frustrated with the way the Barbarians behaves and that is not the way to realize the modern world by replacing modernity with barbarism.
    2- Hannibal understood that his men were good in the open field and had no men left and tools for big city as Rome, urban war was risky to take without the proper units.
    3- Hannibal didn't want the local barbarians to insult Rome for personal experience over their alliance and technical problems he learned over time.
    4- Hannibal was alien to Roman land and had few national support, much weaker to rule over the empire. This was a mission impossible without a large population from homeland of Carthage. These victorious battles would be more successful in the Cartheginian land.
    5- Hannibal defeat and force to leave Italy was natural as a result of foriegn land invasion, any modern army today would face the same problems and oppositions forced to withdraw like the American forces from Iraq despite their victory to invade.
    Posted October 16th, 2014 at 03:33 AM by Phoenician Phoenician is offline
  18. Old Comment
    In Fronda's book between Rome and Carthage. which page is this quote on? I need the page references for a project

    “Southern Italy during the Second Punic War supposes the alliances to both Hannibal and Rome were dictated by centuries of interstate rivalries that determined what actions the cities and towns would take when faced by Hannibal - political factionalism within the cities governing elite and interstate rivalries hindered Hannibal's strategy - for example - gaining Capua turned a number of cities from ever joining Hannibal out of choice because of their fear of Capuan hegemony (who most likely didn't want to control all of Italy, but take back what had been stripped of them by Rome) - those in the past that had joined Capua in her policy decisions in war turned from Rome - and those that didn't had fought that very same Capuan league in the past, and their very survival depended on staying with Rome as they feared they'd lose out in an alliance with Hannibal. This was the case all over the South where he tried to turn allies from Rome. In Bruttium, centuries of warfare between the Greeks and the Bruttians made the Greeks hesitant of joining Hannibal when most of Bruttium joined him, which is true of Greek intercity rivalry too - when he captured Locri, who had previous interstate rivalry with Rhegion, the Rhegions turned to Rome for help fearing Locrian hegemonic aspirations. Likewise, the Bruttians also attacked Croton without Hannibal's knowledge, which shows they also expected more power - sadly - with Rome's reaction after Cannae to garrison cities that might sway in order to prevent such a thing (though this did not mean it would work - see Tarentum in 213/2) this limited Hannibal's success massively. The combination of long term conditions (local rivalries) and short term factors (Rome's military response) proved to much for Hannibal's strategy to overcome.”
    Posted July 13th, 2016 at 05:55 AM by JackWDugan JackWDugan is offline
  19. Old Comment
    markdienekes's Avatar
    Hey Jack, sorry I haven't responded. It's been about half a decade since I read the book, but it's mostly just a summary of some of his general points - if I get some free time I'll try and help find some of the pages
    Posted July 27th, 2016 at 03:49 AM by markdienekes markdienekes is offline
  20. Old Comment
    VorpalxBlade's Avatar
    I have a question about this blog. I agree that Hannibal probably had no chance at all of taking Rome. However, I find Machiavelli's thoughts on this subject from his Art of War deeply contradictory to his character and somewhat interesting. Here is the quote:

    I do not believe it is out of order to add to this discussion those things that happen after a battle, especially as they are brief, and not to be omitted, and conform greatly to this discussion. I will tell you, therefore, how engagements are lost, or are won. When one wins, he ought to follow up the victory with all speed, and imitate Caesar in this case, and not Hannibal, who, because he had stopped after he had defeated the Romans at Cannae, lost the Empire of Rome.

    Why is it that such an informed authority on military history would make the bold claim that Hannibal lost the Empire of Rome because he didn't march on Rome (at least, that's what he insinuates)? This is contradictory since Machiavelli is biased towards the Romans, and I'm sure was aware that Rome was in fact quite well prepared to face a siege, and still had plenty of standing men.

    Does he use this example simply because he's using a mainstream viewpoint in order to make a great example, regardless of whether he was right or not?
    Posted July 26th, 2017 at 12:46 AM by VorpalxBlade VorpalxBlade is offline
 

Remove Ads


Copyright © 2006-2013 Historum. All rights reserved.