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Old January 10th, 2017, 06:33 AM   #31
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I don't think he could have against Rome of Hannibal's day, let alone at the height of their power.
Ok whats the reasons for not being able to against Rome of Hannibals time?
remember that Hannibals army was very different in terms of equipment compared to Alexander including the fact that Alexander has more resources then Hannibal and would be leading a more battle hardened fighting force, and if this is the Alexander of the Macedonian Empire who also has access to the very unit that gave the legions nightmares, horse archers. Then rome stands very little chance. Not to mention the 10,000 Peltasts and 3,000 Hypaspists who were far more elite, and Alexander has much more numerous amounts of these kind of troops then Hannibal who only had his 1,000 Balearic slingers.

the Phalanx and Hypaspists of Alexander can also deal with cavalry attacks, Hannibal didn't have men that were trained like that only his Spanish, Gallic and Numidian cavalry ever had face offs with Roman cavalry. Which gives Alexander a lot more options on the battlefield if the Romans think they can pull off a Zama on him. Let's face it, if they attempt to attack him in the rear they are basically charging straight into Macedonian reserve pike men and well equipped hoplite infantry. Good luck to the Romans on that one.

This is why i think Alexander could do it. His army was ridiculously powerful, i honestly don't think there was any army in the ancient world that could beat him.

Last edited by TheMilitaryHistoryAddict; January 10th, 2017 at 07:11 AM.
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Old January 10th, 2017, 07:41 AM   #32

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Rome of Hannibal's time aka he's playing a grudge match against Scipio Africanus for the Mediterranean Domination Bowl?
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Old January 10th, 2017, 08:17 AM   #33
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Rome of Hannibal's time aka he's playing a grudge match against Scipio Africanus for the Mediterranean Domination Bowl?
I think Alexander would still win by a long shot even against Scipio. people can argue all day about who was the better general, or who had the better tactical army etc. But this hypothetical battle would be decided at the strategic level.


Alexander conquered the Achaemanid’, far and away the greatest Empire the world had seen up to that point. Scipio defeated Hannibal when the Carthaginian army was a shadow of the victorious force that was at Cannae.

Alexander’s resources - Alexander had the resources of Greece, the Persians Empire and whatever territories he had conquered behind him. Scipio had the resources of Italy, which had just been burned to the ground by Hannibal.

Alexanders army - at his full height of power after he returned from India Alexander had easily 60,000- 80,000 Macedonian pikeman, peltasts, hypaspists and cavalry, and his army only got stronger with conquest. He also added the Athenian fleet, Greek allies, and Persians.

His elite cavalry would have mitigated any Roman advantage in speed and mobility - which around 200 BCE was not even fully developed.

Scipio’s resources - At the moment he defeated Zama, Rome was finishing a 20-year war that had seen at least 2 Roman armies completely defeated in the field, and the entire Italian Penninsula pillaged by Hannibal. Compared to Alexander he had minimal supplies, a drained treasury, and almost no manpower.

Scipios army had no more than 40,000 Roman soldiers, and that’s being generous. This was before the very strict and detailed Roman training that allowed for the mobility of the Roman legions after the Marian Reforms. Because the Romans had suffered so many defeats, these were likely bottom of the barrel recruits - too young, too old, etc.

Scipio did win some good victories in Spain i must admit, but his real claim to fame was defeating Hannibal at the battle of zama.

Alexanders imperial army would have bulldozed Scipio.

Last edited by TheMilitaryHistoryAddict; January 10th, 2017 at 08:19 AM.
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Old January 10th, 2017, 09:06 AM   #34

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If we are pitting Rome against Macedon, then we have to assume the Punic War never happened, though, and Rome would be as fresh.
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Old January 10th, 2017, 04:27 PM   #35
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Just speculating here, but I'm assuming this to be 323 BCE when Alexander was still alive. Later on, when Rome had all its manpower in place after the conquest of Italy, it was essentially unbeatable.

I believe he would invade with a much smaller force: he would likely be ferrying them to the Italian mainland from Sicily after conquering Carthage, which was his original plan before he died. His reputation would precede him as he was master of nearly the whole known world by that point. His men were fanatical beyond belief, plus he had the resources and riches of the whole Persian Empire in his pocket.

I don't think there would be much fighting, people would remember what happened to Tyre when it resisted. City after city would simply open their gates to him or face complete obliteration. It would be less a hard fought military campaign than a grand tour of his new territories as he added the west to the east.

Much like Garibaldi did millennia later, he'd ride a wave of momentum and excitement right up to where Rome is. The mere sight of him would cause hysteria in those aware of his reputation. As much as the Romans idolized Alexander the Great, they would know what they were facing, too. I imagine the entire Senate coming out to greet him as his army approaches the city. At the time, in 323 BCE, the Romans were in a death-struggle with the Samnites, and peace would've needed to be made rather than have the city face an enemy on two fronts.

However, I believe this would've only delayed, not prevented, the rise of Rome. It would've all crumbled after his death, no matter the precautions he made there could be no personality to hold it all together. Rome would've naturally emerged as the strongest contender and maybe, in time, even reconquered the whole as a much larger Roman Empire than the one we know.
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Old January 10th, 2017, 04:55 PM   #36
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If we are pitting Rome against Macedon, then we have to assume the Punic War never happened, though, and Rome would be as fresh.
Which Punic War? There were three of them. And they were all fought long after Alexander's death, which was at a time that point Rome had unified the Latins, subjugated the Etruscans, blocked Gaullic advances into central Italy, and were working on defeating the Samnites to gain Campania. Rome didn't truly have a beef with Carthage until they had defeated the Samnites and Southern Italian tribes, subjugated Magna Graecia, defeated Pyrrhus, and started to threaten Sicily (a highly strategic and valuable piece of real estate).

Likely any war with Macedonia would have been fought when Rome threatened the Greek city states of southern Italy, same as the Pyrrhic Wars. To put that in perspective, Alexander had significant cassus belli to invade Persia and to consolidate his new satraps. He had no cassus belli for India, which is likely why his tropps mutinied. He would have had no cassus belli to invade Italy, there was no beef between Rome and Macedonians, Rome was still just a central italy regional power that wasnt even threatening any Greeks yet. When they got threatened they would likely appeal to the most powerful Greeks, the royal court of Macedonia, gor help, and that would habe been enough for whichever Macedonian king to invade and subjugate/tax that new trading power, the Romans.
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Old January 25th, 2017, 06:44 AM   #37

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Ok, well erm in that case it probably would've been a very long war. Yes they did, but the difference is they never faced a proper competent veteran Macedonian army commanded by Alexander all of those defeats to the Romans, were down to two things, lack of cavalry and infantry support and poor generalship, Alexander had neither of these so of course its a much bigger challenge for Rome. When you have a Lion who overcame odds before and leads an army of lions you better have something equal to or something better to defeat it. Truth is nothing in the world at that time was close to him and his forces.
The Romans defeated a great commander in Pyrrhus and, I think, a fair commander in Phillip V. The former victory did not have much to do with a lack of cavalry and infantry support or poor generalship. They were able to turn back the elephants, which were not uncommon in these armies, after being routed by those elephants back to their camp.

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Old January 25th, 2017, 06:55 AM   #38

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Mid Republic period: Macedonians would have won the battle, but Alexander himself would have died, thereby losing the war.

Every major pitched battle Alexander fought as general had him directly attacking directly at the enemy commander's position. It worked very well against the Persians, because their king was a wimp for scampered off at first sign of danger. The Roman consul would likely be stationed with the Extraordinaire of the Dexter Ala, nearby to the leading ranks. Alexander would lead the cavalry charge using horses that didn't have stirrups or even a saddle, and no shield, against the best infantry in the entire Roman army, all armed with body shields, swords, and numerous pila.

When fighting Romans Pyrrhus was smart enough to take off his armor and make a subordinate wear it (who was then promptly killed). Alexander's pride wouldn't have allowed that. He'd have gone down fighting, possibly breaking the right wing, more likely not though, either way he'd likely die or be seriously wounded in the process, his army and kingdom would fall apart from noble infighting, while Rome just levies another army, and another, and another. Until they win the war.
Guessing that an aggressive commander like Alexander would die in battle is fair enough, but I don't support the idea that a commander would approach every situation in the same style. Alexander fought the way he did knowing what Darius meant to the Persians. Does he fight the same way with an understanding of the Romans? Does he employ a tactic which may have a lesser value?

I cannot figure that the lack of stirrups would have been an issue for these men if it was not an issue during their time or for Pyrrhus' cavalry. As far as I can tell, heavy cavalry was capable of being heavy cavalry regardless.

Maybe Alexander wins some battles and Rome just keeps raising armies until it wins. However, this starts again with the premise that Alexander would engage the same way regardless of opponent. I'm no expert on the man, but I am aware that he fought various opponents and the solution to defeating them was not always the same. On the other side, the Romans had very real limitations, which we see in the sources numerous times, and if they did lose repeatedly, they'd be in trouble like anyone would be.
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Likely any war with Macedonia would have been fought when Rome threatened the Greek city states of southern Italy, same as the Pyrrhic Wars. To put that in perspective, Alexander had significant cassus belli to invade Persia and to consolidate his new satraps. He had no cassus belli for India, which is likely why his tropps mutinied.
This lacks context. The troops had been campaigning for 13 years and had already defeated Persia. They wanted to go home. It is not as though they, fresh and at the outset of the campaign, decided that fighting in India was wrong because they lacked a cassus belli. I understand that the hatred of Persia played some role in their motivations, but that's a very different point. That isn't to say a reason wouldn't have been cooked up. I just do not buy that if he had set his sights on Rome, he would have meaningful trouble setting about fighting about them.
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He would have had no cassus belli to invade Italy, there was no beef between Rome and Macedonians, Rome was still just a central italy regional power that wasnt even threatening any Greeks yet. When they got threatened they would likely appeal to the most powerful Greeks, the royal court of Macedonia, gor help, and that would habe been enough for whichever Macedonian king to invade and subjugate/tax that new trading power, the Romans.
I would learn towards the view that it wouldn't be that he couldn't invade for want of a cassus belli, but that he most likely wouldn't have a reason to target the Romans first. They would not have been the most attractive, nor the most obviously powerful target.

Last edited by Pyrrhos The Eagle; January 25th, 2017 at 07:13 AM.
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Old January 25th, 2017, 07:01 AM   #39

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Which Rome?

Is Alexander being matched against the Romans of his day, or in this hypothetical scenario is Alexander born later and taking on the Romans of a later era?

He'd have probably lost against Pyrrhic War-Punic War era Rome. During Alexander's life however Rome was not yet a major power. The Latin War had concluded only a few years before Alexander crossed the Hellespont.
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Old January 25th, 2017, 07:12 AM   #40

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Which Rome?

Is Alexander being matched against the Romans of his day, or in this hypothetical scenario is Alexander born later and taking on the Romans of a later era?

He'd have probably lost against Pyrrhic War-Punic War era Rome. During Alexander's life however Rome was not yet a major power. The Latin War had concluded only a few years before Alexander crossed the Hellespont.
I also don't understand Alexander's position against the Roman Empire. Alexander of any time shares territory with the Roman Empire. The OP says 180 AD and mentions Alexander after Persia, which cannot happen. It would have to be Rome prior to the Punic Wars at least.

I think around the time of Alexander's death the Romans would not have much of a chance. I don't believe they'd necessarily be his toughest challenge in the West either. Around the time of Pyrrhus, if under similar circumstances, I would still favor Alexander considering he should have more to fight with than his cousin did (especially, if he has Greek support) and that the Romans were very near to accepting terms after Pyrrhus had defeated them in only one battle.

Last edited by Pyrrhos The Eagle; January 25th, 2017 at 07:14 AM.
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