31 July 2008

A Satyrical summary of the Punic Wars: part 2

...Punic War No.2

...Proud and eager for new territories the Carthaginians conquered Spain. Rome lay just on the other side of the Alps, a temptation too much for Carthage's newest general Hannibal. (Legend says that Hannibal's father made him swear as a boy to always be Rome's enemy)

...Carthage was just getting over paying her fines for the last war, and feeling that sigh of relief and "what shall we do with the money now" syndrome, when Hannibal marched over the Alps with 60,000 men. (Oops, I guess we know were the money went) Carthage's brilliant and daring general invaded the country side around Rome, gathering some 20,000 Gauls into his army. He was such a great general that none could defeat him, during the whole time he stayed in Italy he lost not a single battle. Eventually the Romans fled to their well fortified city and waited for the next generation to grow up and become a new army. (Yes, that's how bad things had gotten)

...Then one day Rome got smart. "Why don't we sail around the peninsula and attack Spain which lies nearly defenseless in Hannibal's absence?" (I say give that guy a medal or something for coming up with such an obvious alternative to doing nothing) So they sailed around to Spain and did to Carthage what Carthage was doing to Rome, terrorized the countryside and forced the citizens to flee for safety in the cities. Soon Carthage itself was under threat.

...On a chessboard the situation would look something like this. Each opponent has outmaneuvered the other and crawled right up next to the king, they are both in check. (Impossible I know, but indulge me) Now one of them has the first move, it is his turn next. If that one is intelligent and lucky he has a piece which can put his opponents king in checkmate and free his king from check at the same time. (Difficult I know) Of course following the rules of chess strictly, your options are probably few or non existent. In fact this situation could only occur if one or both were grossly ignorant, misinformed or unobservant.

...But Rome and Carthage were fighting in real life, they did not need to bow to the rules of chess. If Carthage had been smart she would have ordered Hannibal to attack Rome, which was much weaker than she because of being under siege longer, and perhaps the war would have ended differently. Instead Carthage's fat politicians overreacted in fear and sent for Hannibal to return. So Hannibal lost a golden opportunity to invade Rome; and returned to Carthage where the Roman army was beaten off.

...Not to be outdone, Rome sailed to Spain and captured all of Carthage's territories there. Soon they became the major power of the Mediterranean. A big threat to Carthage, formerly mistress of the seas.

...Thus the double implications of loyalty to ones government officials were publicly displayed. A glaring example which simply screams "help me" from the pages of history. (Alas, we cannot see the future and tell when treason will be loyalty, or loyalty treason) By obeying the summons Hannibal saved himself from a traitors execution, but his choice sealed the death of Carthage along with his own. One day he would die an ignoble untimely death at his own hands. The same could be said of Carthage in a way.

Food for Thought...

"Every Civilization carries the seeds of its own destruction, and the same cycle shows in them all. The Republic is born, flourishes, decays into plutocracy, and is captured by the shoemaker whom the mercenaries and millionaires make into a king. The people invent their oppressors, and the oppressors serve the function for which they are invented."

-Mark Twain

25 July 2008

A Satyrical Summary of the Punic Wars, Part 1

...Punic War No. 1

...The first Punic War lasted from 264-241 B.C. There are many ways to explain or excuse its beginning; but here I intend to rather expose the folly of two nations. Man is greedy for gain, and man is eager for conquest. Why? I wonder why you ask, the answer is obvious. We are a fallen lot and without the transforming power of the Gospel cannot cease to live for ourselves and look out for our own personal interest. I have sympathies with both sides of the war, Carthage and Rome. So the fact that they both had to fight it out to the death like two spoiled children has always been a canker in my side. Although looking at history I can see God's hand at work.

...Carthage and Rome were the two major powers of the time, and they each envied the others land and position. Carthage was in her decline but still had enough spirit left in her to birth several famous generals. Up and coming Rome felt that Carthage had been eminent past its time and should step down to admit a new mistress of the Mediterranean world. (Namely herself)

...One city in particular seemed to draw more quarrels than the rest. It was called Messana and was located in southern Sicily. The reason it was such a bone of contention between them was because near to Messana were Greek colonies, which as everyone knows were allies with Rome. (you knew that right?) The Greek colonies were supposedly fearful that Carthage who owned Messana might attack them sometime. And I guess it was a possability. So they sent to Rome a cry for help.

...At length war broke out; hostile intentions were declared and the first Punic war begun. Although the Romans had little or no experience with ship building or sailing, they put their best foot forward and built a fleet. With this fleet they won a naval battle, and then promptly lost the whole thing to a storm. No matter, they quickly built another one. This one too emerged victorious from battle, and then was lost in another storm. You would think that at this point the Romans might have got the hint, I mean I would be asking, "Is this a sign or something?". But unfortunately for the Carthaginians the Romans were no overly superstitious and built yet another fleet. (The citizens were obviously planning way above the average replacement plan)

...By this time the Romans were experts at ship building I should think, so it is no wonder they won the war. Carthage angrily admitted defeat, at least for the time being, and surrendured Messana. The Romans demanded and indeminity for the war's expenses, which means that Carthage would pay the Roman's royal sums of money to cover the costs of the war. (I bet the Carthaginians were feeling the costs of "three fleets" then, and wishing the war had not lasted quite so long.) An uneasy peace reigned until the next Punic War errupted.

14 July 2008

Hannibal Barca; a guest post from my brother Jay

Hannibal Barca
By James East

...It was early morning and the sun was just mounting over the Spanish hills. Hannibal Barca walked amid the camp of soldiers, who were preparing themselves for the day ahead. Looking for his father among the Carthaginians, Hannibal soon found whom he sought readying himself for a long march. Hamilcar Barca was the general of the Carthaginians in Spain, but you couldn’t tell it from observing him. He eat, slept, and marched just like a common soldier. “We have a long mach before us son, we must reach our destination before nightfall” Said Hamilcar.

...Carthage, a great city in Africa by the Mediterranean, had sent an army to Spain to conquer new lands and slaves. Also Spain was rich in silver, which of course was an added benefit for the corrupt Carthaginian Senate. Hamilcar Barca had been elected to command this large force. Surprisingly, Hamilcar brought his young son Hannibal, who was only nine. But sadly Hamilcar died in 229 and his son in law, Hasdrubal (he had more than one of this name) succeeded him as general.

...Through the next seven years, Hannibal was an immense help to his brother in law, and was a key cause of the expansion and consolidation of Carthaginian rule in Spain. During this time, (about 226) a treaty was made that defined the Ebro River as the territorial line between Carthage and Rome.

... But another tragedy occurred in the Barca family. Hasdrubal, general of the Spanish army, was assassinated. And the army, though grieved at this intelligence, voted a better man into the position. At the mere age of twenty six, Hannibal was elected into the vacated position of general.

... A year after Hannibal’s becoming a general, the town of Saguntum appealed to be included under the Ebro river treaty, and to be put under the protection of Rome. For the people of Saguntum were afraid of the Barcas, and thought that sooner than later they would be on the list of burned cities.Now Saguntum was in the middle of the Spanish empire controlled by Carthage. This being the case, the Romans dived at a chance to stir up another war with their arch enemy.

...For a time Hannibal avoided this turncoat city, but when the Saguntums tried to convince other cities to follow their example, Hannibal retaliated by attacking Saguntum in the spring of 219. Altogether it took him eight months too capture the city, and he was wounded severely in the process. Due to this act of “aggression”, Rome asked the Carthaginians to remove Hannibal from command and punish him. If this was not done, Rome would declare war on Carthage. Fabius, the Roman envoy "…laid his hand on the fold of his toga…and, 'Here,' he said, 'we bring you peace and war. Take which you will.' Scarcely had he spoken when the answer no less proudly rang out: 'Whichever you please, we do not care.' Fabius let the gathered folds fall, and cried: 'We give you war.'

...Thus the Second Punic war began. Hannibal had played no part in the first which completed a few years after he was born, but it seemed he would have a major role in the second. In fact on the Carthaginian side, the war was carried on almost entirely by Hannibal and his brothers Mago and Hasdrubal.

... Now when Hannibal had been very young, his father made him swear enmity to Rome so long as he lived. Since war had been declared, Hannibal wished to place Carthage back in the position of mistress of the world. Since Hannibal was a very intellectually gifted man, and he knew that the Romans would believe him to advance to Rome by the long land route, since the Romans had superiority at sea, but to him time was of the essence, and he wanted to surprise the Romans by taking the path that they would least suspect. So Hannibal determined to invade Italy by crossing that enormous natural barrier that loomed up to the height of the clouds, the Alps. But Rome could not fall, not even if it was burned to the ground, it would be rebuilt, Hannibal’s only chance was to break apart the Italian confederacy, from which Rome drew immense resources. If he could draw most of the Italian to his side then perhaps, just perhaps, he could finally destroy Rome.

... Hannibal ensured that Spain and Africa would be safe in his absence. So he left 16,000 Spanish troops in Africa, and 16,000 African troops in Spain. He also received promises of support from the Gauls of northern Italy, who hated the Romans and all who were allies with them.

... In spring of 218, having prepared everything, Hannibal set out across the Ebro River with a force that consisted of, according to Polybius, 90,000 infantry, 12,000 cavalry and roughly 34 war elephants. Aware that the Romans would soon be arriving in Spain, Hannibal left 20,000 of his troops with his brother Hasdrubal, this same brother was also made general in Spain.

...Hasdrubal however, was unfortunate in that most of the veteran officers and troops went with Hannibal, while he was given command of mostly fresh recruits. But, though not given veterans, Hasdrubal still had a significant job. He was to protect Spain, and raise supplementary forces with which to invade Italy and reinforce Hannibal’s army with, when he was permitted to by the Carthaginian senate.

...In late spring of 218, Hannibal swiftly marched through and subjugated most of northern Spain. After doing so, he left Hanno with 10,000 infantry and 1,000 cavalry to hold the area with, and he also sent the same number of Spanish troops home. Now, having but 50,000 infantry and 9,000 cavalry, Hannibal headed toward the Rhone River.

...After crossing the Pyrenees, where he met stiff resistance from native tribes, Hannibal passed into Transalpine Gaul. By the time he reached the Rhone, Hannibal’s Spanish troops were greatly diminished in number, due to desertion and opposition. During the crossing of the Rhone, hostile tribes were seen on the opposite side, so Hannibal sent a body of men to cross further upstream and attack these savages in the rear.

...During all of this time Rome had not been idle, two armies had been formed, one under Consul P. Cornelius Scipio, for the attack on Hannibal, the other under Consul T. Sempronius, for the invasion of Africa. But Scipio was delayed by an uprising of the Boian and Insubrian Gauls. Thus Lucius Manlius, a Praetor, took Scipio’s army to protect the Po River against any uprising of the Gauls, thus Scipio had to wait in Rome for another army to be raised levied for him to command. Once this new army was levied, Scipio sailed with it to Massilia. Once he arrived at the Rhone, Scipio found that he had missed Hannibal by but a few days, and that the Carthaginian was marching northward. Now understanding what Hannibal intended Scipio sent his brother, who had accompanied him thus far, on to Spain while he returned to Rome to await Hannibal.

...The Carthaginian force approached the Alps by either the Col de Grimone or the Col de Cabre, passing into the upper Po basin, entering the hostile Taurini territory, where Hannibal razed the chief town. As they drove on up the mountains, they met with upon the soldiers, and the rear of the army was often harassed. Though he had Gallic guides, Hannibal began to mistrust their loyalty. Snow now fell heavily, and some slipped upon the ice from the year before and fell to their ruin. Against the opposing tribes, Hannibal took countermeasures, but these involved him in heavy losses in men. Though they captured a town and so replenished their provisions, still the going became more difficult.

...Finally, after 15 days what was left of Hannibal’s force descended into Italy, there remained but 20,000 infantry and 6,000 cavalry. And of the 34 war elephants but a few survived the icy crossing of the Alps. But five months ago the Carthaginians had set out upon this seemingly ill fated campaign; however prospects were lightened by the recruiting of around 4,000 Gauls. It was late fall of 218 and Hannibal had succeeded in finding a road to Rome, but now he did not have enough men to risk facing P. Cornelius Scipio (Scipio Africanus father). And so Hannibal worked on strengthening his force, namely bribing, pressing, and recruiting Gauls, Celts, and Ligurian tribes to his cause. Now, after this run of politics, Hannibal’s entire force numbered about 40,000 including cavalry and different tribes.

...In November the first battle against in Italy against Rome occurred, but it was mainly a cavalry encounter called the battle of the Ticinus River. It was fought north of the left bank of the Po, between the Sesia and Ticinus Rivers. The forces engaged were minimal, being about 8,000 per side. Hannibal placed his heavy cavalry in the centre and his Numidian light cavalry on the flanks. When this force charged, they enveloped the Roman cavalry, who were badly beaten and Scipio was wounded and forced to retreat. So the Romans withdrew to Placentia. This victory brought many more Gauls, some of whom had formally been Scipio’s allies. Again Scipio was forced to retreat, this time to the Trebbia River, where in December he joined with by Titus Sempronius Longus and his two legions. While Scipio was still recovering of his wounds, Sempronius was aching for a battle. Hannibal heard of this impatience and made a plan to take advantage of Sempronius.

...Another battle was in the making, Hannibal sent Mago, one of his brothers, with 1,000 men and 1,000 cavalry to hide among the streambeds along the Trebbia, and to make preparations to ambuscade the Romans. The next morning Hannibal sent his Numidian cavalry to harass the Roman camp. Meanwhile the rest of the army had breakfast and rubbed themselves down with oil to protect against the cold.

...Of course Sempronius fell for the cavalry bait and hastily mustered his force and gave chase to the Numidian cavalry, with not only his cavalry but infantry also, with out even allowing his men to eat. Unknown to the Romans, a little distance beyond the river was a screen of 8,000 light infantry behind which was a battle line of 20,000 African, Gallic and Spanish troops. Also there were around. 10,000 cavalry and elephants divided between the two flanks. Sempronius had roughly 16,000 Romans, 20,000 Italian allies, and was supported on his flanks by 4,000 cavalry and upwards of 3,000 Gauls.

...The velites (Roman skirmish infantry) first came into contact with the unexpected Carthaginian light infantry, but the velites performed badly and were withdrawn. Next the Roman legions advanced, while the Carthaginian elephants, cavalry and light infantry fell on the Roman cavalry, which, since outnumbered, broke ranks and fled pursued by Carthaginian cavalry, while the light infantry and elephants attacked the main Roman body. Though the velites drove of the elephants, the Romans could not pierce the main Carthaginian centre. And now to finish of any Roman morale, already lessened by cold, fatigue, hunger and lack of success, Mago and his body of men burst out of hiding and attacked the Roman rear. Now the Roman wings broke ranks and fled across the river, in which many drowned. But Sempronius with 10,000 managed to cut their way out of the death trap and make their way to Placenta. That night Scipio took the remainder of his army to Cremona and Placenta.

...Altogether Roman losses totaled approximately 15,000-20,000, whereas Hannibal lost but a few Gauls. But soon after the battle all but one of the elephants died of their wounds and the cold. But winter was coming on, and the season for Campaigning was over, so after recruiting a few more Gauls Hannibal and his men went into winter quarters.

...After a freezing winter, Hannibal, in the spring of 217, was able to advance to the river Arno and from there march toward the Apennine Mountains. This year the Roman Consuls were Gaius Flaminus and Servilus Geminus. Before he could cross the Apennines, Hannibal must outmaneuver these two generals and their armies, which he did by getting in between there two positions thus cutting them of from each other.

... Now Flaminus was very rash and headstrong, and Hannibal knew this through his spies, and so he devised another ambush to take advantage of this Roman impatience. This trap would be much greater than the one at Trebbia; it would be positioned near Lake Trasimene, a perfect area to waylay another army, since there where plenty of hills behind which an entire army could lay in wait undetected and unsuspected.

... Soon this plan was carried into action when in late spring in early morning the Consul Flaminus ordered his men to pursue the Carthaginians into the region of Lake Trasimene. But unknown to Flaminus, the night before Hannibal had commanded his men to light fires on the hills of Tuoro that the Romans might think his forces there. But Hannibal’s real position was at a point were the Romans would pass through on their way to were the fires had been seen the night before, and the Carthaginian force was laid out in such a way that it could surround the Roman and force them into the lake.

...The Romans marched in thick fog (which just aided the Carthaginians), heading right into the trap made for them. Abruptly out of the mist a trumpet was heard, it was answered by many more and the sound of countless rushing feet was added to the already deafening din of trumpets. Charging through the haze Hannibal’s force burst upon the Romans, who did not have time to form proper ranks before they received the impact of the charge and were enclosed. Slowly the Romans were driven back towards Lake Trasimene, until soon it was no longer a battle but a mass butchery of the Romans. The Gauls killed all they could of their former masters without pity, in remembrance of thepunishments they had received at the hands of the Romans.

... Of the 25,000 that broke camp that morning, at least 15,000 were killed, even Flaminus, the general, was among the slain. Also the army of 4,000 sent to reinforce Flaminus was utterly decimated en route. All in all about 10,000 Romans managed to escape by breaking through the opposing lines.

...Such was the panic of the Roman people that they appointed a dictator in the 217, Quintus Fabius Maximus, who was not rash like most of the other Roman leaders, but used guerilla tactics, and took great pains to preserve the Italian confederacy. This method was the best of all the ones used so far, but it was not successful in Rome, since it did not create any enthusiasm amongst the populace.

... Now that the path over the Apennines was cleared, Hannibal crossed them with but little inconvenience, though in the passage Hannibal lost the sight in one eye due to an infection. Now on the other side of the Apennines, Hannibal ravaged the fertile Apulia and Campania. Though Hannibal could have marched on to Rome, it would have been foolhardy to attack such a city without proper siege equipment, and Hannibal still had to dissolve the Italian confederacy and so crush Rome though politics, not war which was all but futile.

... In 216 the dictatorship of Fabius ended, and the new Consuls were Gaius Terentius Varro and Lucias Aemilius Paullus. These Consuls were in favor of real fighting, and were given an army twice the size of Hannibal’s. Once the season for campaigns opened, Hannibal captured an army supply depot at Cannae. Soon one of history’s greatest battles was to be fought near this town.

...By the time of this battle, which occurred in early August of 216, one of Hannibal’s great tactical advantages died, literally, all of the elephants were now deceased. The Carthaginians now stood on the Apulian plain facing west. Opposite of them stood the Roman force commanded by G.T. Varro whose turn it was to command( the consuls took turns commanding this enormous army, every day they would switch being the general). Perhaps if it had not been Varro’s day to command, this battle would never have happened, since Paullus was against any confrontation where Hannibal’s cavalry would have favorable ground. But it was Varro’s day to command so the battle did come to pass.

...Both armies advanced on each other, and Hannibal’s cavalry defeated the Roman cavalry, which was less in number. The infantry now hastened to attack, the Romans infantry was much greater than Hannibal’s, which numbered but 35,000.Also the legionaries of the Romans were of much better quality than the rag tag Carthaginian force, which consisted of Gauls, mercenaries, and African levies, most of which spoke a different language than they’re comrades in arms

...After a short time the Romans began to slowly, ever slowly force their foes back, but they forgotten or did not notice that Hannibal’s cavalry, which had pursued the Roman cavalry past Varro’s flanks, were now but a short distance behind. The Romans pushed forward so viciously that the Carthaginians now were shaped like a giant U with the Romans like a V forcing through them. But now those who thought that a Roman victory was in sight were astounded when the cavalry that still hovered by the Roman flanks and rear, charged while at the same time the Carthaginian infantry gathered and attacked with redoubled fury. Now tables were turned and the Romans were completely surrounded and fought to the last, for the soldiers preferred to die with their foe before them than receive ridicule in Rome. C.T. Varro left the battle with a handful of cavalry and light infantry, while the brave Paullus took command. Soon the Romans broke ranks and fled, and were pursued and hamstrung (crippled and left to be killed later).

...Finally the slaughter ceased and what was left of the Roman army was captured. By the end of the day 50,000 Romans were dead, and but 15,000 managed to escape, and the rest were captured. Only 6,000 of Hannibal’s force died that day, and these losses consisted mostly of Gauls and Iberians. Rome had suffered her largest defeat in battle. Hannibal had won this battle by a double envelopment maneuver, which allows a smaller force to decimate a larger one, but it is a risky tactic, since if the enemy is prepared for it than you will be the one decimated, not him.

...When the news was brought to Rome it was first me with disbelief than terror when the news was proven correct. Hannibal was certainly the greatest threat than ever before to the Romans. For the second time in this war the Romans appointed a dictator, M. Junius Pera. Once more the Romans resorted to harassment tactics against Hannibal, and astoundingly the Romans were now more united and purposed then they had been before their great defeat.

...Though Hannibal had won a great battle, as after Trasimene, and for the same reason as after Trasimene, it was not enough to merit a march against Rome, which still commanded a large supply of resources and troops. Now Hannibal’s entire war against Rome relied on two things, receiving help and reinforcements from Carthage, and causing some of Rome’s allies to defect so his side. Hannibal now put the political side of his nature to work, and was soon rewarded greatly when a large city, Capua, cast her lot with Hannibal. This was an excellent fortune, so also was that the Carthaginian senate decided to aid both Hannibal’s invasion in Italy and in the defense of Spain (no doubt they had their own ambitions in mind when they made this decision).

...During this time, the Romans had decided that they would never give up, but would fight to the last man, and the word “peace” was forbidden to be spoken. The Romans even went so far as to release slaves, criminals, and debtors to recruit into their army (a very un-Roman thing to do), which was starting to grow strong again. But though the good news was heard that Hannibal did not intend to march on Rome, this was countered by the reports that Sicily was being attacked by two Carthaginian armies, and their ally Heiro King of Syracuse lands were being ravaged. Help, though little, was soon sent to Sicily.

...About this time Hannibal received reinforcement from Carthage, though it was not much, and a few more towns defected to Hannibal’s cause, but what Hannibal really wanted was the town Nola. But Hannibal was unable to capture Nola since Marcus Claudius Marcellus, an old but wise Roman general, was able to force to leave the vicinity of the city. Marcellus was one of the first truly intelligent generals that Hannibal had to face.

...Once again Hannibal was harassed by that old fox Fabius, and so Hannibal departed the region and passed into Campania. And here it was that Fabius got the chance he was waiting for, he managed to box Hannibal up in a canyon that because of steep and broken ground was unfavorable for cavalry and determined to give battle the next morning. For almost all of Hannibal’s victories had been for the reason that Hannibal had superior cavalry both in numbers and quality than that of the Romans.

...But since he could not use his cavalry effectively here Hannibal decided that some how he must retreat, which he did by taking several thousand cattle and tying torches to their horns and sent them towards the Roman army. The Roman sentries believed that the Carthaginians were attacking them in the night and in the confusion that followed Hannibal and his army escaped in the darkness. But Hannibal’s army was starting to wane in power, while the Romans slowly but surely gained the upper hand.

...What Hannibal needed was more reinforcement and straight out battle, but the Romans had different ideas. Always Hannibal’s foragers were in fear that suddenly they would be attacked and slain and little rest did the army get for they were followed continually and the stragglers were often assaulted by a foe that left as soon as assistance came to their victims. But in spite of this slight comfort came with the reports in 215 that Sicily had surrendered to Carthaginian rule after Heiro died, and his son gladly joined theCarthaginian side.

...Some success smiled on Hannibal, and in 214-212 most of the southern Italian cities joined him. But in the north Capua was put under blockade, and when Hannibal sent a relief force it was repelled. And also Marcellus went with two legions to Sicily to subdue the rebellion there, and this freed up Hannibal’s mobility.

...But in Italy ill was afoot for the Carthaginians, Marcellus after a long siege captured Syracuse and defeated Carthaginian presence there. In 210 the final Carthaginian forces in Sicily were mopped up. It would have been much better if the Carthaginian senate had chosen to send their armies to Hannibal instead of Sicily.

...But a few battles were in store for Hannibal in Italy, the first of which being Herdonea, a city which was under siege. When Hannibal was informed of this and that soon the people of this city might surrender, he left his baggage train behind and went on with full speed. The Romans were taken completely by surprise, and 16,000 were killed before the rest escaped. After this engagement Hannibal fought a long and indecisive battle that resulted in a tactical draw, the opposing general being none other than Marcellus, who had returned to Italy after subduing Sicily, after this draw followed the retreating Hannibal the next morning.

... It was now spring of 209, and finally a large battle was to be fought, before which Hannibal was already weakened by the defection of a great sum of his Numidian and Spanish cavalry to the Romans. Hannibal fought a long and indecisive battle that resulted in a tactical draw, the opposing general being none other than Marcellus, who had returned to Italy after subduing Sicily, after this draw followed the retreating Hannibal the next morning.

...That night when Hannibal attempted to set up camp the harassment that he had been receiving almost all that day from his former cavalry, escalated into a battle which ended with nightfall. But on the next day Hannibal was victorious when the eighteenth Roman legion broke ranks and caused panic among the rest of Marcellus’s army. But on the third day of the battle Hannibal army was forced to return to its camp with the losses of 5 elephants (these were received with the reinforcement from Carthage) and 8,000 men. During the night the Carthaginians retreated and, but Marcellus felt unable to follow because of his losses, but he did send scouts to monitor Hannibal’s dwindling force.

...In 207 Hasdrubal, Hannibal’s brother, arrived in Italy by way of the Alps. The brothers arranged to meet in Umbria, but some of their messengers were intercepted and Hasdrubal was moved upon by several Roman armies, which numbered about 40,000. This Roman force attacked and defeated Hasdrubal’s army of 30,000. Hasdrubal was among the 20,000 slain, and his head was catapulted into Hannibal’s camp.

...Now that this last hope of reinforcement was dashed, Hannibal consolidated all that was left his army in Bruttium. In this place he was able to hold back the Romans four years. Now Hannibal but hoped to live and at least for a time he put his dream of sacking Rome away

... Then in 203 Hannibal was recalled to defend Carthage from Scipio (later Africanus) who was planning to invade Africa. But it took Hannibal two years to maneuver to a port from which he could sail to Africa. When he arrived on his native shore, of his army remained but 12,000 veterans. Hannibal had been in Italy for fifteen years, in hostile territory, and had received but little assistance from Carthage. Now he found that peace had been made with Rome, but his arrival caused the Carthaginians to repent of their surrender and again war was declared. And this time Numidia was on the Roman side, and so was the invaluable Numidian cavalry, and, though some were still loyal to Carthage, a number of other African tribes had defected to Rome.

... In the region of Zama near the Bagradas River in 202, Scipio was in a difficult position, for he needed to group up with his new ally, the Numidians who were under Masinissa that he might receive the cavalry that they brought to supplement his infantry. However Hannibal’s army was between the Scipio and Masinissa, for of course Hannibal did not wish that the Roman forces be combined. But Scipio managed a brilliant maneuver and was able to force Hannibal out of his fortified position, which he did by threatening Carthage. Hannibal with 45,000 infantry and 3,000 cavalry marched toward Scipio to prevent Scipio from attacking the capitol. After making camp, Hannibal sent out spies to discover the strength of Scipio’s army. But these spies were captured, and astonishingly instead of killing them, Scipio had the spies shown around his camp and then released. For Scipio wished Hannibal to think that he was short on cavalry, when really Masinissa would be arriving with his cavalry in two days.

...Now after the two armies were drawn up in battle formation Hannibal and Scipio met in a parley, in which Hannibal offered surrender of all the places which Rome and Carthage had before been in debate over (Sardinia, Sicily, and Spain), and all of the islands between Carthage and Rome, and a promise that Carthage would never make war on Rome. Scipio however did not except these terms and so purchased another day, and the next morning Masinissa arrived with 6,000 cavalry and 4,000 infantry. Now Scipio entire force numbered approximately 34,000 infantry and 9,000 cavalry, while Hannibal had 40,000 infantry and 4,000 cavalry.

...Though it may be a legend, It is told, too, that they ( Hannibal and Scipio) had another meeting afterwards, at Ephesus, and that when Hannibal, as they were walking together, took the upper hand, Africanus let it pass, and walked on without the least notice of it; and that then they began to talk of generals, and Hannibal affirmed that Alexander was the greatest commander the world had seen, next to him Pyrrhus, and the third was himself; Africanus, with a smile, asked, "What would you have said, if I had not defeated you?" "I would not then, Scipio," he replied, "have made myself the third, but the first commander." ‘(Plutarch - Life of Flamininus).

...It was a featureless plain that Scipio chose as the location for the battle, but this plain had but one major water source, which forced the Carthaginians to forage farther to gain water. Another fallback for Hannibal was that his force was made up from mostly new recruits, except his veterans from Italy which were nicknamed the Old Guard and he had less than usual cavalry, while Scipio on the other hand had a well trained infantry and a massive and well equipped cavalry.

...In this battle as in others Hannibal attempted to use the double envelopment maneuver on Scipio, but since his cavalry was inferior he used them as bait to draw the opposing cavalry away from the battle. After doing this Hannibal sent 80 war elephants in a long line towards the Romans, this must have been a terrifying sight, but the Romans were able to turn back most of the elephants by scaring them by banging swords on shields and firing arrows at them. Scipio however did almost exactly what Hannibal did at Cannae, first he sent his cavalry in pursuit of the opposing cavalry past Hannibal’s flanks, after defeating the Carthaginian cavalry the Scipio’s changed course back toward the field of battle. In the meantime the infantry lines were preparing to clash. Hannibal’s front line was composed of Gauls and Ligurians, the second was mostly new African recruits, and the final line was the Old Guard. Scipio’s lines were made up in three lines also, but there was more distance between the lines then there was between Hannibal’s lines.

... Once the infantry of these opposing armies came into contact the first Roman line drove the first Carthaginian line into the second Carthaginian line, which would not allow the first line to pass into their ranks so that what was left of the first Carthaginian line went to the flanks of the second Carthaginian line. The same thing happened to second Carthaginian line which after the Old Guard would not let them into their ranks they passed to the flanks. But the Romans were unable to pierce or force back the Old Guard. So Scipio withdrew a short distance and rearranged his troops so that it was now one long line, and though Hannibal did the same the Roman line was longer since they had lost less men. Now when the Romans again came upon the Carthaginians the remainders of the first and second Carthaginian lines were beaten back though as before the Old Guard would not yield.

...But now disaster struck Hannibal when Masinissa came with his cavalry and fell upon the Carthaginian rear, the result was the same as it had been at Cannae, only instead of the Romans receiving the massive losses it was Hannibal. Overall the Carthaginian losses amounted to 20,000 dead, 15,000 captured, while the Roman losses where but a mere 1,500 dead and 4,000 wounded. Hannibal left the field with but a small escort of his troops, and he strongly advised the Carthaginians to get the best terms they could and surrender. And since the battle of Zama left it helpless, so in 201 Carthage surrendered to Rome.

...The terms of Surrender were not as good as those offered before Hannibal’s return to Africa, but still they were not cruel. Spain was to be given to Rome as well as all other countries Carthage had outside Africa, all but ten of the Carthaginian warships were to be given to Rome, as well as all of Carthage’s elephants were to be handed over and finally every year for fifty years Carthage would pay 10,000 talents to Rome. Also Carthage could never make war with Rome, and never could make war anywhere except in Africa and only with Rome’s consent, and Masinissa would receive all the lands of his forefathers.

...On the whole Hannibal had spent 15 years in Italy, and he was said to have slain three hundred thousand in battle and have destroyed four hundred cities, but he accomplished little if any good. But Scipio was awarded the honorary title Africanus (conqueror of Africa) for the service he gave to Rome in that country. But it shows Hannibal’s courage in that even now he did not give up the hope that he might be able to destroy Rome.

... Though he had not been in Carthage for 35 years Hannibal was made Shophet (chief magistrate) of the city. And the time he spent in this position was mostly spent in making many changes for the best, but in doing so Hannibal made enemies of a great deal of nobles who were jealous of Hannibal’s popularity. These nobles exacted their revenge by accusing Hannibal of inciting Antiochus III of Syria to take up arms against the Romans, a lie which the Romans believed, though it may have been out of their spite for Hannibal.

...So Hannibal fled to the court of Antiochus deciding that since he was accused of stirring up Antiochus he might as well help the Syrian in his war on Rome. But Scipio came to the court of Antiochus also and was able to make Antiochus suspect Hannibal of having secret conversation with him. And also Antiochus was envious of Hannibal’s fame and popularity, so he sent Hannibal to raise a fleet in Phoenicia.

... And so for a short time Hannibal became an admiral, but in truth Hannibal was no seamen and this was shown by his defeat he received from the Romans off Side, in Pamphylia. And shortly after this Antiochus was defeated in a land battle by both Scipio Africanus and Scipio’s brother Lucius. But unfortunately when Antiochus surrendered, one of the terms was that Hannibal should be handed over.

...Though opinions vary, Hannibal is thought to have now fled to Armenia in 189 where he helped build a city called Artashat in his gratitude to the king of that country. But it is certain that Hannibal went to the king Prusias of Bithynia in 185. This king was at war with Rome’s ally Pergamum. And Hannibal helped Prusias fight this war and he gained a great victory at sea where he used the first example of biological warfare when he had cauldrons of snakes thrown aboard the enemy ships. Finally a victory among many defeats, but Hannibal was but a shadow of his former glory, and like a beast that could not escape from its hunters, a haggard old man devoid of cheer. But on that day when he won his last victory as he strode among his soldiers he remembered long ago in his youth that he had done likewise before he had carried all the care, worry, and responsibility of being a general.


Somehow the Romans came into position to demand that Prusias give Hannibal to them. To evade the dishonor of being captured, Hannibal at the age of sixty four killed himself by poison. But his military tactics are still taught at academies today. Even though Hannibal taught them most of their basic knowledge of strategy and tactics, the Romans always remembered him as the best of the foes they ever faced. The world will remember Hannibal as one of the greatest generals of all time.

03 July 2008

A brief look at the Roman Republic, Part 2

...It is a general rule that governments effect society, but society shapes government. This is not always the case, nor indeed should it be. God's people have the requirement of obeying and keeping God's laws-not changing them according to the way society happens to perceive things at that time. An example from our own country is abortion, if God says we shall not murder then why do many Christians believe that taking a child's life can be right? But this brings up a whole different topic which is not under scrutiny here. The point merely serves to show us that in most societies the law can be amended and is subject to change based on the people it serves. Rome's Republic was no exception.
...Rome's slow evolving from a Monarchy to a Republic and then at last an Empire can be traced back to the people. The government of Rome reflected its peoples morals and beliefs. Early Rome was a Monarchy, the Monarch had a Senate of advisers but he was the ultimate authority. Then around 509 B.C the nobles rose against their king, overthrew the monarchy and established a Republic. This Republic reflected the strength of the Romans mind, his sanction of liberty. As the people dissolute and effeminate a shift took place in the government. In an instant the Roman Empire was conceived and and under Julius Caesar born. (29 B.C.) Its birth pangs were fairly peaceful in Rome itself, but the rest of the world soon felt the change. And one day, not to far away, Rome would collapse out of its own pleasure seeking and greed.
...But in the Republics day men were not yet so influenced by hedonism. Its citizens were farmers in peace and soldiers in war. Each man held his own land, and so, was self sufficient. Over time the nobles grew dissatisfied and heavy taxes were imposed. When the common man went to fight in Romes wars, away sometimes for years, he found upon his return that that his lands were confiscated. Why? Because while he was away taxes had not been paid. Now he was a tenant on his own land, lucky if he still had a family since the nobles often sold a mans wife to raise money for taxes. Can it be wandered that the Plebians demanded their own Concillium Plebis with Tribunes to protect them?
...A man was the head of his family, called "Paterfamilias" in Latin. Women were subject to their husbands in every way; although they retained their dowry and used it for support in the eventuality of widowhood or divorce. Children were raised with the highest respect for the Paterfamilias, who held the power of life and death over them. When a Patrician girl was between the ages of twelve and fourteen her father arranged a marriage; for the poor marriages generally took place later, around eighteen to twenty. Boys remained under their fathers rule even after marriage, he, his wife and children. when the Paterfamilias died the men started their own-being still connected to their brothers by clan ties called "gens".
...Slaves were less common in early Roman times, but increased rapidly as the Republic neared its end. They received no rights, they were not allowed to vote or own property. The Roman "jus civil" and "jus gentium" laws did not apply to slaves. In fact until the "natural laws" were put in effect, the recieved very little consideration in civil matters at all. Under the "natural laws" however, slave owners were required to treat their slaves well, and slaves were given some basic human rights.
...By the time the Republic became an Empire the people themselves had changed. They were less concerned with justice and equality, their natural vigorof mind dissapated to a mere shadow of its former glory. Rome as a nation was hungry for power, wealth and lands beckoned them alluringly, convincing the citizens that an Empire was desirable for conquest. Certain rich men corrupted the government, and worked on the minds of the common people until they gave up their hardy ways of life in favor of luxory.
...Romes rise and fall was a process, one that her imitators would do well to study. The government reflects the people, and the people need Christs transforming renewing power in their lives. If a people like Romes could create such a strong government; imagine what a people devoted to Christ might do! Men and women, devote yourselves to a high and noble calling-spreading the truth of the gospel in every sphere you touch.

01 July 2008

History Scrapbooking! Part 1!!!

...Scrapbooking has become very popular of late. It is a huge pastime with whole ranges of products that cater to every creative need. From stickers to stylized paper, empty books to embellishing plaques; the scrabook community has it all. Because of the great variety one has the ability to be flexible, there really is no set rule. When designing a scrapbook you get to decide, its up to you! I guess that's one of the things that makes it so exciting.

...Here I am chiefly going to show what I have done with my historical scrapbook. Below are excellent links for some of the resources I use. (time line figures, scrap booking paper, history lap books, TOG) Right now my family is using Marcia Somerville"s Tapestry Of Grace curriculum for history.





...I started out by finding a large binder with lots and lots of thick pages. The front was blank so I got the fun of decorating it, I drew a scene and started painting with acrylics. As you can see I have not finished this part! The title is "Lauren's Scrapbook of Ancient Civilizations".

...Inside the cover is a blank place for the "Contents" to be added once I am finished. The first page is a decorative one, showing some examples of what will be displayed inside.

The first section is on Creation, it features drawings, charts, time lines and verses from Genesis. Old National Geographic magazines are a wealth of clippings on nearly every subject. Here I have cut out some scenes of the universe.

A neat trick to make your book go father is to add flap out pages. My book is about the size of a 12' by 12' piece of scrapbooking paper, so I just pick ones I like and glue the far edge on top of the existing page. This works best with heavier paper, like cardstock. Underneath more things can be displayed, which adds extra depth and hands on to your project!

Below is a fold out book featuring the seven days of creation. It is tied shut with a piece of yarn when not in use. The edges were trimmed with decorative scissors. These are great details to incorporate on your page if you have room! (sorry the picture is blurry)

Noah is featured on the page across from creation, including a sketch of the Tower of Babel. Sometimes I like to draw directly onto the books page rather than paste in a drawing. This page also has a flap, one side of it has a map and the other a genealogy .

...Turning to the next page is Mesopotamia. Here I put in the first overlay map I had done for this book. "Knowledge Quest" has some wonderful maps, which can be ordered on a cd to be printed whenever needed. Many of the maps I have made use theirs as a base. Then I add a clear overlay sheet for further details. At the bottom inside corner of the first page on Mesopotamia I mounted a small envelope for storing extra papers etc.. that would not fit on the page. Sometimes a regular sized mailing envelope works well, but elsewher I also use large ones for even more room.

Next is the "Patriarchs". It is fitting they should come after Sumer, which is where Ur most likely was. This page has Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. On the far page is a family tree my brother and I made while studying this time era. It seemed a shame to put it away somewhere never to be seen again, after all our hard work! So in it went, since it is on the far page I punched a hole through the actual book and it to be able to tie it with a small scrap of leather. (The family tree is a flap up) This way it does not flap open when turning the page.

Much of my clip art came from old illustrated book covers! Most of the time covers get ripped up and ragged anyways, so while making my scrapbook I went through the whole house confiscating book covers. Then I cut out the sample illustrations I wanted and glued them into my scrapbook!

Be on the lookout for Historical Scrapbooking Part 2, which will feature Egypt, Moses, India and China!

Hinduism's Hold

...Why is it that while so many pagan religions have died out, Hinduism has retained such a firm hold in today's society? If we remember that all mankind have souls as well as bodies, it becomes easier to understand. Although man is fallen we were still created in the image of God. Mankind is searching for truth although ironically it rejects "the Truth", that all are fallen and need a Savior, Jesus Christ. The main Hindu gods are three beings who represent the spirit of the universe, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. Although each is is its own entity in a sense, they are also the same thing, or one. This sounds familiar to the Christian mind, since we worship one God who is Three in One. One of many differences between Christianity and Hinduism is that Hindu's believe they can gain salvation on their own, without a savior.Of course this appeals to mans desire to be wise, powerful and like God!Here is a religion which incorporates some convoluted forms of truth, while appealing to mans sinful nature of wanting to be God. Perhaps this is why Hinduism has lasted so long in our society and with such firm roots while other ancient religions have slowly disappeared.