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Divi Filius

A scathing treatment of Hannibal

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Rome was not a civilised state.

 

No, it was, but they had different moral and ethical standards to us based on the world they lived in. The ancient was was a cruel dangerous place, and not only the romans are guilty of a very severe way of living. Perhaps what makes Roman culture unique is the way they used death as public entertainment, but the sophistication of that cruelty indicates civilisation. Not one we're fully comfortable with, it must be said, but they gave us quite a legacy all told.

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By any civilised standard, the Romans should have accepted defeat.

 

By conventional standards, perhaps, but those standards have absolutely nothing to do with civilization. Are you seriously attempting to argue that Rome was uncivilized?

 

With regards to its attitude to warfare, yes.

 

Don't you think that the attitude of 'We'll beat you and make you do what we say' is uncivilised? What about free will? What about democracy? The Romans were the bullies of the ancient world. Bullying is not accepted as 'civilised' behaviour.

 

Do you also think that what happened in the Roman 'Games' was civilised?

 

I think before this can go anywhere, you'd need to define what you mean by 'civilised'.

 

My dear Sonic,

 

Bad mouthing Rome on this forum would be like wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the Stars and Bars to a Martin Luther King Day march.

 

As another commentator pointed out, when it came to brutality in the ancient world I think the Assyrians take the gold medal. Their monuments actually show enemy POWs being tortured and mutilated. I'd give the silver medal to the Akkadians (q.v., stele of Naram Sin ascending the mountain where he walks upon the dead bodies of his enemies). The Romans wouldn't even rate the bronze for cruelty.

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By any civilised standard, the Romans should have accepted defeat.

 

By conventional standards, perhaps, but those standards have absolutely nothing to do with civilization. Are you seriously attempting to argue that Rome was uncivilized?

 

With regards to its attitude to warfare, yes.

 

Don't you think that the attitude of 'We'll beat you and make you do what we say' is uncivilised? What about free will? What about democracy? The Romans were the bullies of the ancient world. Bullying is not accepted as 'civilised' behaviour.

 

Do you also think that what happened in the Roman 'Games' was civilised?

 

I think before this can go anywhere, you'd need to define what you mean by 'civilised'.

 

My dear Sonic,

 

Bad mouthing Rome on this forum would be like wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the Stars and Bars to a Martin Luther King Day march.

 

As another commentator pointed out, when it came to brutality in the ancient world I think the Assyrians take the gold medal. Their monuments actually show enemy POWs being tortured and mutilated. I'd give the silver medal to the Akkadians (q.v., stele of Naram Sin ascending the mountain where he walks upon the dead bodies of his enemies). The Romans wouldn't even rate the bronze for cruelty.

 

I never said that the Romans were the worst; I simply pointed out that they were in no way perfect. I also don't believe that I have 'bad-mouthed' Rome: if you go through the world with rose-tinted glasses believing that Rome was wonderful and better than today or whatever, then you have a problem with reality.

 

The Romans were different to what we are today. The average Roman probably lived his entire life within a twenty mile radius of his home: we take international travel for granted. They had medical facilities that were good, but didn't have our knowledge of the causes of disease etc. And their code of 'ethics' was completely different to ours. for example, slavery is now illegal in most countries.

 

As historians, we need to be aware of all facets of the peoples and societies we are studying. If we ignore the bad points and concentrate simply on the good, we are doing ourselves and the ancients a great disservice.

 

Not long ago, somebody asked me - knowing of my fascination for history - which period I would prefer to live in. My answer was 'the present'. I am interested in Ancient Rome, and have actually got a Masters Degree in the subject. But I wouldn't want to live there! Knowing my luck I'd be a slave in a salt mine!!

 

One last thing. 'Bad mouthing Rome on this forum would be like wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the Stars and Bars to a Martin Luther King Day march.' I'm British and don't understand this. Can somebody please explain??

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One last thing. 'Bad mouthing Rome on this forum would be like wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the Stars and Bars to a Martin Luther King Day march.' I'm British and don't understand this. Can somebody please explain??

 

 

"Stars and Bars" was the flag of the Confederacy (the South) during the American Civil War (1861-1865). After the South's defeat the Stars and Bars became a symbol of resistance to the dominance of the Northerners. It was also the symbol of the Klu Klux Klan.

 

You see, that's an example of cultural imperialism: as a Yank I just assumed that everyone would understand that reference.

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One last thing. 'Bad mouthing Rome on this forum would be like wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the Stars and Bars to a Martin Luther King Day march.' I'm British and don't understand this. Can somebody please explain??

 

 

"Stars and Bars" was the flag of the Confederacy (the South) during the American Civil War (1861-1865). After the South's defeat the Stars and Bars became a symbol of resistance to the dominance of the Northerners. It was also the symbol of the Klu Klux Klan.

 

You see, that's an example of cultural imperialism: as a Yank I just assumed that everyone would understand that reference.

 

Thanks for clearing it up! If you'd have said the Confederate Flag, I'd have understood!! I've never heard it called the 'Stars and Bars'!

 

It's nice to live in ignorance in England! :)

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if you go through the world with rose-tinted glasses believing that Rome was wonderful and better than today or whatever, then you have a problem with reality.

...Not long ago, somebody asked me - knowing of my fascination for history - which period I would prefer to live in. My answer was 'the present'. I am interested in Ancient Rome, and have actually got a Masters Degree in the subject. But I wouldn't want to live there!

 

This helps to clarify your perspective, and I agree with the above on balance. (Although, FWIW, I'd prefer to live in a more Hellenic, less Judeo-Christian society.)

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Hannibal had absolute control of the war? Didn't know where that came from. He was not directly involved in affairs in Spain after he moved into Italy, and definitely not in control of the policies back home. Otherwise, the Carthaginians would not have redirected reinforcements originally intended for him to Spain and Sardinia. A very pathetic move.

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Why should the Carthaginian senate send reinforcements to Hannibal in Italy? He has won several major battles, most of them inflicting huge casualties upon Rome.

My 2 cents on why they weren't sending them to Italy is becase the were sending them to Spain which is were their economic interests were actually already invested.

 

Hannibal himself was more than likely prudent enough to concur with that decision don't you think? He probably knew more than anyone that if Hasdrubal Gisco & Mago lost Spain any major victory in Italy would be bitter sweet.

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Why should the Carthaginian senate send reinforcements to Hannibal in Italy? He has won several major battles, most of them inflicting huge casualties upon Rome.

My 2 cents on why they weren't sending them to Italy is becase the were sending them to Spain which is were their economic interests were actually already invested.

 

Hannibal himself was more than likely prudent enough to concur with that decision don't you think? He probably knew more than anyone that if Hasdrubal Gisco & Mago lost Spain any major victory in Italy would be bitter sweet.

 

Additionally, the very notion that Rome was able to maintain a front in Hispania (and an aggressive offensive one at that) while denying reinforcement and supply to Hannibal in Italy is a clear indication that Hannibal's campaign was not nearly so devastating or overwhelming as is often implied.

 

Simply... it's hard to disagree with the original assessment by professor B.D. Hoyos that Hannibal was a brilliant battlefield tactician, but lacked the necessary strategic capabilities to compliment that battlefield skill.

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I've noticed some of the posts on this thread are claiming that Rome was uncivilised. By whose standards? We think very highly of our democratic, increasingly socialist and restricted modern west, but the romans thought very highly of their state. To be frank, if you were able to voice your criticisms to them, they'd probably laugh or shake their heads. Are we so different from the romans? No. Ouir culture is broadly based on the ruin of theirs, and we have much to thank them for. What you must remember is that they lived two thousand years ago, in a world that was universally harsher and more violent. Life was short for everyone due to accident, disease, or violence, and if the romans employed violence as a means of preserving peace, were they doing anything worse than their rivals? Or are our wars more ethically sound than theirs? The only difference between our culture and theirs that matters is that they institutionalised violence in a way that we now find abhorrent. But ask yourself - Are we that far away from where the romans were? The answer is unconfortable - because the answer is buried in human behaviour and with different circumstances, we too would be like them.

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He was not directly involved in affairs in Spain after he moved into Italy, and definitely not in control of the policies back home.

 

The argument is not whether he had tactical control, but whether he had overall logistic and strategic control over the course of the war(the ability to direct supplies and troops).

 

Vain Glory self-aggrandizing Hannibal. Thinking he was another Alexander.

 

Hannibal did not need anymore men, as we have discussed, he did not carry the mentality of a total war. Remember, Persia crumbled after three decisive battles; the total casualties of which did not even total suffered by Rome between Trebia and Cannae.

Edited by Divi Filius

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Civilized? Germany? The USSR? Japan? WWII? Saddam in Iraq? Cambodia?

 

MPC's excellent post says the most of it. Insofar as Hannibal being a great strategist or tactician, it should be pointed out that he never brought the Cunctator to heel. Were his victories the result of his superiority or the inferiority of his opposing commanders?

 

'Battles are won before they are fought.' Wars are won before they are fought. At Pearl Harbor, the Japanese commander said: "I fear that we have awakened a sleeping giant." He did; and his country was lost. Hannibal did not consider the Roman economy nor the Roman HEART, all of which was there for him to plainly see. He didn't see it; he effectively lost his country. Personally, I don't consider a person who lost his country a 'Great Captain'. If you consider him a 'Great Captain', then what do you consider Scipio?

 

If my faulty ancient memory serves, Hannibal wasted 17 years trying to beat the Romans. It took Scipio two years to do the job properly. And Hannibal still carried a chip on his shoulder - until he did the right thing.

Edited by Gaius Octavius

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If my faulty ancient memory serves, Hannibal wasted 17 years trying to beat the Romans. It took Scipio two years to do the job properly.

Well actually if you end with Zama, it was just shy of 8 years... :blink:

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If my faulty ancient memory serves, Hannibal wasted 17 years trying to beat the Romans. It took Scipio two years to do the job properly.

Well actually if you end with Zama, it was just shy of 8 years... :blink:

 

If I err, you correct me. Probably thinking about N. Africa. My point being that when Scipio met Hannibal, case closed.

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