Hannibal vs. Julius Caesar: Better Military tactician

Hannibal vs. Caesar

  • Hannibal

    Votes: 20 69.0%
  • Caesar

    Votes: 9 31.0%

  • Total voters
    29
#4
I personally find his victories on the battlefield to be more impressive. There is almost a beauty to Cannae, I love his full-army ambush at Lake Trasimene, and even though the number superiority in Numidian cavalry allowed Scipio to win the day at Zama, I think there's a cleverness to his set-up there as well, which as Polybius acknowledges proved a great challenge for the Romans. I'm also a fan of his other clever antics, such as the oxen trick at Ager Falernae, his avoiding doing damage to Fabius' property (to cast suspicion on Fabius), and his use of Marcellus' seal to attempt to gain entry into cities. It also amazes me that he won his battles and kept an army in Italy for most of the war despite having such diverse nationalities within his army and despite being surrounded by enemy armies.

That being said, I'm not particularly interested in getting personally bogged down in a debate over who was the better tactician. I'm more keen to watch the impending battle as an observer.
 
Last edited:
Jul 2017
2,313
Australia
#5
I'm not interested in debating either, God knows, everybody knows I've done enough of that in these forums with a particular individual. I would point out though that the context of both Hannibal's time and Caesar's time in relation to army structure and tactics complicates matters. It's not an easy decision based on "Caesar never did a Cannae though."
 
#7
I'm not interested in debating either, God knows, everybody knows I've done enough of that in these forums with a particular individual. I would point out though that the context of both Hannibal's time and Caesar's time in relation to army structure and tactics complicates matters. It's not an easy decision based on "Caesar never did a Cannae though."
I was editing my post when you responded, incidentally.
 
Jul 2017
2,313
Australia
#8
I mean, Hannibal's Italian campaign is more an example of his excellent maneuver and logistical ability, rather than an overall example of his tactical ability, which is the subject under conversation here.
 
Mar 2016
1,222
Australia
#9
Very hard to say, and to be honest any decision I make would be fairly arbitrary since I consider them to be the two greatest generals of the ancient world after Alexander. I will say that Hannibal perhaps gets the slight edge in my preference, solely because he fought Roman armies more than Caesar did, but then again the Roman army of Caesar's time was considerably better trained and equipped than the Roman armies of Hannibal's time, so again it's difficult to say. To be honest I don't think I can answer it properly. If both men were merely "very good" generals rather than "greatest of all time" it'd be easier to make a more clear-cut decision. If Hannibal were in Caesar's place, and Caesar was in Hannibal's place, I don't doubt they'd perform almost as good as they did in real life.
 
Likes: Scaeva
#10
I mean, Hannibal's Italian campaign is more an example of his excellent maneuver and logistical ability, rather than an overall example of his tactical ability, which is the subject under conversation here.
Sure, I get that. But it was worth mentioning for the sake of presenting the strategic and demographic context of his victories on the battlefield.