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Old December 30th, 2017, 10:21 PM   #11

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The reason I find Llerda even more impressive than Alesia and Pharsalus is because, essentially, seemingly daunting enemy armies were neutralized through simply being comprehensively out-maneuvered and with a relative minimal of fighting, unlike the other 2. Llerda, or something like it, is literally Sun Tzu/Art of War's wet dream.

I will admit though that Caesar faced and overcame greater dangers at Alesia. Though the Gauls were not as good, generally, as the Romans fougt by Caesar, there is no doubt that Vercinegetorix was a much more dangerous commander than Caesar's opponents in Spain. It's personal preference for Llerda more than anything I suppose, with it standing out to me as the most unique display of his abilities as a strategist, and the rarest of its kind as a whole throughout military history. It isn't often that one achieves a such overwhelming victory over numerically-superior forces with such relatively little fighting.
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Old December 31st, 2017, 05:57 AM   #12

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Pharsalus.

Even as someone who is far from being Caesar's biggest fan, I must concede that that battle ranks as one of the most impressive displays of generalship in antiquity.
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Old December 31st, 2017, 06:31 AM   #13

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"The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting."

By Sun Tzu's measure the invasion of Italy deserves a mention.

He captured the entire Peninsula, the capital and treasury with it, with hardly a fight and he did with only a single legion that was outnumbered by more than two to one in theater. From there after the Pompeiians would never again have a commanding strategic position.

A fair amount of luck was involved to be sure, but it was luck and initiative that was seized in an incredibly audacious campaign.
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Old December 31st, 2017, 06:55 AM   #14

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Originally Posted by Scaeva View Post
"The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting."

By Sun Tzu's measure the invasion of Italy deserves a mention.

He captured the entire Peninsula, the capital and treasury with it, with hardly a fight and he did with only a single legion that was outnumbered by more than two to one in theater. From there after the Pompeiians would never again have a commanding strategic position.

A fair amount of luck was involved to be sure, but it was luck and initiative that was seized in an incredibly audacious campaign.
It's easy to conquer an entire country when every city surrenders to you without a fight...
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Old December 31st, 2017, 08:35 AM   #15

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It's easy to conquer an entire country when every city surrenders to you without a fight...
Pompey had twice as many troops as Caesar did in Italy and could have potentially sent him packing, but didn't, because Caesar caught the Boni flatfooted and seized the initiative from them. In their shock they imagined the force he crossed the Rubicon with was much larger than it was.

That cities would surrender to Caesar without a fight was also not a certainty beforehand and occurred because Caesar's invasion took his enemies by surprise. It was also a surprise that was inflected on the Boni by deception. Before the crossing Caesar behaved as if it was business as usual and he was making no moves toward Rome, the day prior even attending a public event in Ravenna and examining plans for a gladiator school.

If Pompey was in a position to contest Caesar many of those cities wouldn't have thrown their gates open to him. They were going to bank on whoever looked stronger. Caesar seized the strategic initiative and never lost it, and that Italy's loss was both rapid and nearly bloodless was entirely because of it.
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Old January 1st, 2018, 02:03 AM   #16

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I don't inherently disagree with what is being said about Caesar's Ilerda campaign and Italian campaign. I would argue however that those campaigns were Caesar's most flawless campaigns. While that is a good indicator for determining which was his best I think that one could also take the alternative method of applying his best performance against the odds. Either way it would still be true if one phrases it in such particular ways. If the goal is to determine which campaign is objectively his best then it is a matter of finding a criteria to apply to the argument.
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Old January 1st, 2018, 02:09 AM   #17
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It's easy to conquer an entire country when every city surrenders to you without a fight...
There was one fight I believe.
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Old January 1st, 2018, 02:13 AM   #18

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I think there was two but the Optimates tried to fight a rearguard action at Corfinium. If there was another engagement I don't remember where it was fought.
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Old January 1st, 2018, 04:34 AM   #19

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I think there was two but the Optimates tried to fight a rearguard action at Corfinium. If there was another engagement I don't remember where it was fought.
There wasn't much of a fight at Corfinium, since the garrison compelled Ahenobarbus to surrender after 7 days.
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Old January 1st, 2018, 04:35 AM   #20

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Originally Posted by Scaeva View Post
Pompey had twice as many troops as Caesar did in Italy and could have potentially sent him packing, but didn't, because Caesar caught the Boni flatfooted and seized the initiative from them. In their shock they imagined the force he crossed the Rubicon with was much larger than it was.

That cities would surrender to Caesar without a fight was also not a certainty beforehand and occurred because Caesar's invasion took his enemies by surprise. It was also a surprise that was inflected on the Boni by deception. Before the crossing Caesar behaved as if it was business as usual and he was making no moves toward Rome, the day prior even attending a public event in Ravenna and examining plans for a gladiator school.

If Pompey was in a position to contest Caesar many of those cities wouldn't have thrown their gates open to him. They were going to bank on whoever looked stronger. Caesar seized the strategic initiative and never lost it, and that Italy's loss was both rapid and nearly bloodless was entirely because of it.
I'm not saying that the planning which lay behind it wasn't clever. It's just that the campaign itself was child's play-and helped no doubt, by the rawness of most of the Pompeian troops and the incompetence of most of their commanders.

Last edited by Publius; January 1st, 2018 at 04:38 AM.
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