Category Archives: Class Stuff

The Battle of Zama: Aftermath

Carthage was reduced to a fraction of its empire at the end of the Second Punic War. (Picture in public domain.)

The Battle of Zama took place at Zama, near Carthage, in October of 202 BC. Publius Cornelius Scipio led the Roman army and extra Numidian cavalry against Hannibal and his Carthaginian troops. The Romans soundly defeated the Carthaginians, which brought an end to the Second Punic War (Wikipedia contributors).

According to Polybius, Scipio set the terms for a treaty and told the Carthaginian ambassadors. The ambassadors returned to Carthage to tell their senate, and Hannibal persuaded them to accept the “lenient terms” (Polybius). The terms of the treaty included parts beneficial to both sides, though naturally favoring the Romans. Carthage was to be a client state of Rome, but would be able to retain all territory owned prior to the war, as well as all property. Carthage would still rule itself, and no Roman garrison would be set in the city. In return, Carthage needed to return all prisoners of war and deserters to Rome, pay a tribute of 10,000 talents (200 a year for 50 years), and provide corn and pay the Roman army while they waited until Rome replied to the treaty. Also, Carthage had to give up 100 hostages (males between the age of 14 and 30), and give up their war elephants and all warships except 10 triremes. If crippling any potential land or sea force wasn’t enough, Rome forbade Carthage from making war on any nation outside of Africa, and required permission to war within Africa. F.E. Adcock suggested the Romans crippled the Carthaginian navy because they had a policy of making their states keep weak ones, so Rome wouldn’t have to build up a strong navy (118).

Masinissa, of the Numidians that had helped the Romans, was crowned as the King of greater Numidia. Scipio was given the name “Africanus”, and was proclaimed a war hero (“Results of the Second Punic War”).

 

Works Cited

“Results of the Second Punic War.” United Nations of Roma Victrix. UNRV.com, 2003-2011. Web. 16 Feb. 2012.

Wikipedia contributors. “Battle of Zama.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 9 Dec. 2011. Web. 16 Feb. 2012.

Adcock, F.E. “‘Delenda Est Carthago.’” Cambridge Historical Journal 8.3 (1946): 117-128. Print. 6 Feb. 2012.

Polybius. Histories: IV. Trans. W.R. Paton. Ed. Jeffrey Henderson. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000. Print.

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To Rome!! Or not…

After a victory of epic proportions at the Battle of Cannae, the assumed logical step for Hannibal and the Carthaginian army would be to march on Rome and overtake the capital. With 20/20 hindsight, it is in fact quite obvious that Hannibal’s failure to capture Rome “cost him his one good chance of final victory” and eventually led to his downfall (Matyszac). Livy has recorded that while congratulating him on an incredible victory, Hannibal’s general Maharbal stated:

“That you may know, what has been gained by this battle I prophesy that in five days you will be feasting as victor in the Capitol. Follow me; I will go in advance with the cavalry; they will know that you are come before they know that you are coming” (22.51). Livy records that Hannibal “told Maharbal that he commended his zeal, but he needed time to think out his plans” (22.51). To this Maharbal replied: “The gods have not given all their gifts to one man. You know how to win victory Hannibal, you do not how to use it” (22.51).

One can only speculate his true motivation behind the decision not to march on Rome, but clues exist that help to illustrate a clearer picture of Hannibal’s judgment.

Hannibal (Wikipedia Contributors)

One of the most fundamental, yet easily overlooked reasons behind Hannibal’s decision is his supply of food. Prior to Cannae, Hannibal lacked the sustenance necessary to support an army. At this time he was not receiving any support from Carthage and his troops spent much of their time foraging across the Italian countryside (Shean, 185). Hannibal’s strategy once in Italy focused largely on relying upon Rome’s resources (Lazenby, 43). Shean states that “logistical problems had dogged him throughout his early campaigns in Italy [and] the victory at Cannae brought no immediate relief to these problems” (185). It is not difficult to imagine why Hannibal chose not to drag an already battered, poorly provisioned and underfed army on a 250 mile march to attack a walled and fortified city. Even after a catastrophic defeat, the Romans still had an advantage of an “inexhaustible suppl[y] of provisions and of men” (Lazenby, 43). According to Shean, “Hannibal’s failure to move on Rome stemmed from the least glamorous and most mundane reason of all: no food” (185).

Maharbal’s eager exclamation of Hannibal dining as a victor in Rome within five days is indeed a pretty sentiment, but would be logistically next to impossible. The distance Hannibal’s forces would be required to cover the between Cannae and Rome within five days would equate to a pace of fifty miles per day, as opposed to the usual pace of Hannibal’s army which hovered around nine (Lazenby, 41).  After such a sprint across the Italian countryside, it is highly unlikely that his troops would be able to accomplish anything significant once they reached Rome—a city that was by no means left unfortified or lacking in able-bodied civilians (Lazenby, 41). Hannibal would not only face many who would have already seen military service, but many armed slaves, and all who would rise to defend their country, honor, wives and children (Lazenby, 41; Polybius, par. 109).

It is impossible to pinpoint a single motivation for Hannibal’s decision not to attack the capitol. Food, logistics and manpower may have all contributed to the objections against taking the city. Hannibal may have recognized his disadvantage in the particular type of “trench warfare” that would have been required to take Rome (Lazenby, 41). It is also a possibility that the victory at Cannae left Hannibal with the impression that the “war was already won” (Matyszac, 38). Whatever the reason behind the decision, “that day’s delay is believed to have saved the City and the empire [of Rome]” (Livy, 22.51).

Sources:

Knox, E.L. Skip. The Punic Wars: Battle of Cannae. Boise State University History of Western Civilization. 15 Feb 2012. http://www.boisestate.edu/courses/westciv/punicwar/09.shtml

Lazenby, John. Was Maharbal Right?. Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies. 22 Feb 2011. Web. 16 Feb 2012. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.2041-5370.1996.tb01912.x/abstract

Livy. Livy’s History of Rome: The Disaster of Cannae. Book 22. University of Virginia Electronic Text Center. Web. 15 Feb 2012.

Matyszac, Philip. The Enemies of Rome From Hannibal to Attila the Hun. London: Thames and Hudson, 2004. Print.

Polybius. The Battle of Cannae, 216 BCE. Book III. Fordham University Ancient History Sourcebook. Web. 15 Feb 2012.

Shean, John F. Hannibal’s Mules: The Logistical Limitations of Hannibal’s Army and the Battle of Cannae, 216 B.C.. Franz Steiner Verlag, 1996. 16 Feb 2012. http://www.jstor.org/stable/4436417

Wikipedia contributors. “Hannibal.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 14 Feb. 2012. Web. 17 Feb. 2012.

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Due date change for Alexander

Your Alexander blog is now due on Thursday, Feb. 9 by midnight MST.

Email me if you’ve got any questions.

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Greek Strategy in the Battle of Marathon

  Battle of Marathon Battle of Thermopylae Battle of Salamis
Time August/September

490 BCE

August 7 or September 8-10, 480 BCE September, 480 BCE
Where it was fought Marathon Greece Thermopylae, Greece The Straits of Salamis
 

Who’s fighting who

Athenians

And Plateans

Greek City- States Persian Empire Persians Greek City-states Achaemenid Empire
 

 

Led By

Miltiades the younger, Callimachus Themistocles, Leonidas I and Demophilus Xerxes I of Persia, Mardonius, and Hydarnes Datis,  Artaphernes Eurybiades, Themistocles Xerxes I of Persia, Artemisia I of Caria, and Ariabignes
Result Greek victory Persian Victory Greek Victory

Looking at the Battle of Marathon from the Greek side, we see that strategically the Greek (particularly Athenian) motivation was to defend themselves against Persian invaders. It is believed that King Darius of Persia ordered his general, Mardonius, to pillage, burn and enslave Athens as punishment for their role in the feeding the Ionian Revolt which lasted from c. 499 to 493 BCE (“Greco-Persian Wars”). In the battle of Marathon, 10,000 Athenian citizen-soldiers confronted an overwhelmingly larger Persian force and miraculously emerged victorious.

Even though fighting on home turf, the Greek force was still at a disadvantage.  Terrain is a definite deciding factor in any battle as each group developed fighting tactics based on the nature of the country—therefore, if one group can entice their opponent into an engagement on favorable terrain, there is a decisive advantage given to one party while the other is fatally handicapped. While the Greeks may have had home court advantage, the flat battlefield and surrounding country was ideal for the Persian cavalry (“The Battle of Marathon, 490 BC). Greek victory may be partially attributed to the ineffectiveness or tardiness of the Persian cavalry.

To Fight, or Not to Fight:

Herodotus recounts Athenian generals being divided in opinion whether to risk battle with the Persians because the Athenian forces were too few in number. The ten generals cast a vote, with the deciding eleventh vote belonging to Callimachus of Aphindae. It is believed that Miltiades, a general in favor of battle, approached Callimachus in an attempt to persuade his vote toward engaging in battle. His argument for conflict was that the people of Athens were faced with one of two options: submit to slavery without engaging in conflict or fight to defend themselves with the hopes that with a just cause and the assistance of the gods they can overcome the enemy and leave a legacy for future generations (Koeller).

When the vote was cast, the Athenian force prepared for battle. The small army succeeded in blocking the two exits to the plain of Marathon which brought about a stalemate. After waiting five days, the Athenians attacked the Persians (“The Battle of Marathon, 490 BC”). To the astonishment of the Persian army, what appeared to be a small handful of men charged across the plain of Marathon without archers or cavalry—apparently welcoming their own destruction (Koeller). Even outnumbered as they were, the Greek hoplites were much more effective against the Persian infantry (“The Battle of Marathon, 490 BC”).  In defense of their lives, freedom and city, the Athenian army slew about six thousand four hundred barbarians, while only losing one hundred ninety two of their own (Koeller). The victory at Marathon was monumental to Greeks, so much so that after the death of Aeschylus (a famous Greek playwright who is considered the father of tragedy) his participation in the Battle of Marathon was held in higher esteem than his life as a successful playwright (West).

Αἰσχύλον Εὐφορίωνος Ἀθηναῖον τόδε κεύθει

μνῆμα καταφθίμενον πυροφόροιο Γέλας·

ἀλκὴν δ’ εὐδόκιμον Μαραθώνιον ἄλσος ἂν εἴποι

καὶ βαθυχαιτήεις Μῆδος ἐπιστάμενος

Beneath this stone lies Aeschylus, son of Euphorion, the Athenian,

who perished in the wheat-bearing land of Gela;

of his noble prowess the grove of Marathon can speak,

and the long-haired Persian knows it well.

Copy & Translation of the inscription on Aeschylus’s tomb (“Aeschylus”)

 

Battle Plan: Battle of Marathon (Hatzigeorgiou)

 

Fighting on the plain of Marathon (Hatzigeorgiou)

 

Sources:

Research:

Koeller, David. Then Again. “Herodotus The Persian Wars: The Battle of Marathon.” Liberal Arts College in Chicago , IL., 2005. Web. 24 Jan 2012. http://www.thenagain.info/Classes/Sources/HerodotusMarathon.html

“Aeschylus.” Wikipedia, 26 Jan 2012. Web. 24 Jan 2012. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aeschylus

“Greco-Persian Wars” Wikipedia, 20 Jan 2012. Web. 31 Jan 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GrecoPersian_Wars

“The Battle of Marathon, 490 BC.” EyeWitness to History, 2006. Web. 31 Jan 2012. eyewitnesstohistory.com

 Images:

Hatzigeorgiou, Karen J. “Battle of Marathon.” Karen’s Whimsy, 2011. Web. 31Jan 2012. karenswhimsy.com/battleofmarathon.shtm

“Aeschylus.” Wikipedia, 26 Jan 2012. Web. 24 Jan 2012. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aeschylus

 

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Legio I Lynx Fulminata

Welcome to the blog of Legio I Lynx Fulminata.*  Join us as we march through time and space conquering considering the various facets of war in the Classical and Medieval Eras.

*(AKA Weber State U. Honors 2110:  Intellectual Traditions – Great Ideas of the West in the Classical & Medieval Eras:  Warfare)

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