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Anakin

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  1. Anakin

    Cannae and the Roman Republic

    Neither do I. No problem with the allies (ie, Gauls). You're more than welcome to provide any textual or archaeological evidence that supports the purported hired nature of the Punic non-citizen soldiers. That seems to be the problem here my friend. You are yet to provide any "textual or archaeological" evidence that supports your argument that the Punic forces were 'levied' troops rather than 'hired' mercenaries. We have enough evidence to suggest there were hired troops in the Carthaginian army, refer to the Mercenary War. The war began as a dispute over the payment of money owed the mercenaries between the mercenary armies who fought the First Punic War on Carthage's behalf, and a destitute Carthage, which had lost most of its wealth due to the indemnities imposed by Rome as part of the peace treaty. The dispute grew until the mercenaries seized Tunis by force of arms, and directly threatened Carthage, which then capitulated to the mercenaries demands. The conflict would have ended there, had not two of the mercenary commanders, Spendius and Mathos, persuaded the Libyan conscripts in the army to accept their leadership, and then convinced them that Carthage would exact vengeance for their part in the revolt once the foreign mercenaries were paid and sent home. They also persuaded the combined mercenary armies to revolt against Carthage, and various Libyan towns and cities to back the revolt. What had been a hotly contested "labour dispute" exploded into a full-scale revolt. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercenary_War
  2. Anakin

    Cannae and the Roman Republic

    Maybe Polybius did use the term "mercenary" in a propagandistic and derogatory manner, however, when I first used this I did not. Truth be told I am not even sure how the conversation deviated from discussing the make-up of the Roman and Punic army. Fact still remains, and you're welcome to correct me if I am wrong, that Carthage did not have a large standing army during the first and the second Punic War: the sources suggest that Carthage relied on allied and 'mercenary' troops and as far as I know there are no other sources that suggest otherwise.
  3. Anakin

    Cannae and the Roman Republic

    Mercenaries made-up a large part of the Carthaginian army as well as troops supplied by allies, i.e. Celts, Numidians etc, unless there was a direct threat to the city. Whilst we may not have a clear indication of Carthaginian units we do have an idea of allied and mercenary units and the unit make-up of the various Carthaginian armies in the Punic War which we can use in our discussion. Again, that is the Romans late description, extremely biased and chauvinistic, as they widely used such statements to embarrass Carthage and support their pretended inherent ethnic superiority. Just check out Polybius' Histories, actually written after Carthage disappeared, when nobody could speak for the Punic side. The actual mercenary nature of most of such units (many of them eventually accepted as auxiliary by the Romans almost automatically) is not well attested by any source. In fact, the military nature and status of the Punic "mercenary" and the Roman auxilia were presumably analogous. And of course, we don
  4. Anakin

    Cannae and the Roman Republic

    Mercenaries made-up a large part of the Carthaginian army as well as troops supplied by allies, i.e. Celts, Numidians etc, unless there was a direct threat to the city. Whilst we may not have a clear indication of Carthaginian units we do have an idea of allied and mercenary units and the unit make-up of the various Carthaginian armies in the Punic War which we can use in our discussion.
  5. Anakin

    Cannae and the Roman Republic

    That's what made Rome perhaps the greatest civilisation in history: their dogged persistence and their refusal to accept defeat. A number of other factors also contributed to Rome's eventual success and annihilation of Carthage: 1. Rome had access to a large pool of men which allowed them to raise troops faster than the Carthaginians could. To put things in perspective Carthage was fighting Rome in the Italian Peninsula and the Iberian Peninsula, Rome was not only fighting Carthage, but also the Seleucid Empire, the Macedonian and the Celts and despite massive losses in Trebia, Trasimene and Cannae they were still able to field well trained legions with great support auxilary units supplied by their allies. 2. Roman legions had far superior training in comparison to Carthaginian merceneries. Carthage's successes in my point of view was thanks to their heavy infantry and Massinissa's Numidians forces. When Massinissa allied himself with Scipio Carthage lacked the cavalry support they were used to and this is evident in the Zama. The Roman quickly became accustomed to Hannibal's elephants and I believe he would have still achieved victory without them but what was key to his success was the cavalry. 3. Carthage could not supply Hannibal with relief forces. Focus was to strengthen forces in the Iberian Peninsula. The task was further complicated when Carthage lost supremacy of the sea. But the biggest reason why I believe Carthage eventually lost the war was because their generals simply did not receive the kind of support the consuls did during the Punic War. Regardless of what defeat the Romans were dealt with, regardless of fighting on other fronts, the Senate's focus was the greater glory of Rome.
  6. Anakin

    Advice Needed

    There are many ways to do things in accounting... every transaction or entry must have a counter on the opposite side of a ledger, but otherwise there really is very little set in stone (even the ridiculous US tax code is full of "different perspectives"). For you, accounting seems simple, because it's what you do and what you know, but for the average person, an accounting career can seem terribly daunting. I'd hazard to guess that whether you are a corporate "bookkeeper" or working for a CPA firm, you specialize in something... whether it be taxes, audits, daily accounting, etc. The study of history really isn't much different when you stop to consider it. While you will need a basic understanding of the overall arc of time involved, you will eventually end up with a relatively focused specialty. Focus your passion and there will be less reason to fear the bigger picture. (Then again, this is coming from an amateur historian with an advanced education in finance as well... so what the hell do I know ) Hehe thank you for elaborating on my point. I wasn't going to go into as much detail about finance/accounting here. But you are right with what you're saying and I can see where you're coming from. Thank you for that. Helped me put things in perspective.
  7. Anakin

    Advice Needed

    I completed my undergraduate degree majoring in Accounting. As I said in my original post history has always been just a hobby for me. Looking at things in hindsight I guess I should have (originally) done my undergraduate in history but coming from a Indian family I guess at the time when I made my choice it was always about doing something that "put food on the table", or so my parents were fond of saying. Nearing 30 now I decided it was now or never for a change in career, hence, my decision to not pursue further education in accounting and the study ancient history. I understand what you're saying about undergrad studies and the requirements and when you said "even top ancient historians only know a fraction" that provides some comfort My personality is as such that I have the desire to know as much humanly possible, though I know it is not always possible to know everything, and I take the same approach with my studies as well. With history its different to accounting. With accounting there is only one way you can do things, with history there is no right or wrong answer - its how your present your argument. The volume of reading as well differs greatly between accounting and history. I guess it's not the reading part but rather the remembering part that scares me
  8. Anakin

    Advice Needed

    What advice would you guys give to someone who has finally decided to pursue higher education majoring in ancient history? Just to give you guys a quick background: I work in finance, am academically qualified in accounting but I chose that more to keep my parents happy, or rather because they counseled me that was the most practical thing to do. But let
  9. Anakin

    Roman Cohort versus a Macedonian Phalanx.

    I agree . In addition, commaders started battels after a long period of pre fighting and fighting . Let us take Zama, it is too simple to say that Scipio smashed Hannibal . There were 16 years of figthing before the battle, 16 years that changed everything. Hannibal's army was not the army of 218-215 . His government manuverd him to a situation that he would never enterned by his own will . I consider Scipio's (less famed) successes in 210-203 not less important than his victory at Zama . Partially agree with your comments and Caldrail's but before I address Caldrail's and your comments directly I wish to highlight on point from your comment above (and no doubt a few will disagree with me). A lot of Hannibal's success against the Roman can only be partially attributed to his talents. With the exception of Cannae most of Hannibal's battles was against badly led Roman legions. As for Scipio he faced an already battered and bruised Carthaginian army so I agree with you on your point. Which brings me to my next point: the key to a army is the general. History tells us of generals who overcame all odds against (at most time) a much larger army - Phyrus, Alexander, Caesar, the Crusader army under Bohemond I, Aetius' victory over Attila just to name a few. There has also been cases of numerically superior armies who have been routed because of bad generalship: Xerxes' and Darius' Persian armies, Crassus in Carrhae, Roman legions in the war against Hannibal just to name a few. Don't be too quick to dismiss the importance of the general in the army. Whilst the troops do bulk of the work, the general has the hardest take: the planning and deployment. Alexander showed us what a good general can do at the Battle of Issus and Valens showed us what the outcome will be if led poorly at the Battle of Adrianople.
  10. Anakin

    Roman Cohort versus a Macedonian Phalanx.

    Tough question but one worth careful thought. Alexander as we all know was one of (some consider THE) the greatest generals of all time, however, I personally believe that Alexander and his phalanxes was never truly tested in Persia and as such do not deserve, for the lack of better word, some of the recognitions accorded to them. Darius never truly tested Alexander not the way the Gaul's tested Caesar, particularly in Alesia. The Persians were fragmented, Darius never having full control of the army. My personal thought would be that if you were to put Alexander and his phalanxes (including veterans he inhereted from his father, Philip II, and generals like Antipater) against Caesar and his legions (including veterans from Gaul) and both legions have equal cavalary support I do not doubt Caesar will emerge victorious despite Alexander and having his companion cavalary. Both Caesar and Alexander are masters at exploiting the opposition's weaknesses (Alexander twice broke through Persian ranks to get to Darius, Caesar's turning the tables on the Gauls in Alesia) but any general will be hard pressed to find a weakness in Caesar's legions, but Alexander's army, the simple fact that the phalanx was not as flexible as the Roman legions will work against him.
  11. Anakin

    Greatest Roman Generals?

    While I don't disagree with the fact Scipio was one of the greatest generals of the republic era there is one point I think we need to be mindful of. Scipio faced Hannibal when the latter's power was on the decline. He was stuck in Italy waiting for reinforcements for a considerable period of time when the Romans took the battle to Carthage in Spain and Africa. Hannibal's tactics in truth did not change much as well. By the time Scipio faced Hannibal in Zama he knew perfectly well how to handle the war elephants. Keeping these points in mind I don't think he was as brilliant as many paint him to be. The greatest general in my opinion was Caesar. He was a great politician as well as a master tactician. The seige of Alesia was testament to his brilliance - he surpassed Alexander's brilliant seige of Tyre. To add to that Caesar's invasion of Gaul was the greatest undertaking of that era - he conquered Gaul in just over 8 years. To add to that he defeated a German army as well as expanding the frontier to soutern England. This is to name just a few. On the topic of conquests, Caesar's feats were not matched till the days of Trajan's successful conquest of Dacia. As a politician he paved the way for the waning republic (with its corrupt senators) to be dismantled and reorganised as the Roman Empire. I won't go too much into detail with his political achievements; most are well aware of his achievements here. As a sidenote, while some might disagree, Rome gained true success when the government was reorganised as an empire. But that's just my personal opinion.
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