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hannibal didnt follow through, why?

Discussion in 'Non-World War 2 History' started by majorwoody10, Nov 13, 2006.

  1. majorwoody10

    majorwoody10 New Member

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    it seems that hannibal kicked the snot outta the roman army three times in europe ...why did he not continue on to rome and finish the job once and for all....
     
  2. Canadian_Super_Patriot

    Canadian_Super_Patriot recruit

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    Maybe by then his forces were weak ? and maybe he didnt stand a good chance of taking out romes garrisons ?
     
  3. Roel

    Roel New Member

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    Rome had no garrison in the late 3rd century BC since no armed men were allowed inside the walls.

    The common theory is that Hannibal felt his army was too small to actually encircle, fully conquer or control the city of Rome. There is also the suggestion (though this is impossible to prove) that Hannibal felt it dishonourable to destroy the capital of an already beaten country and that he was tired of shedding Roman blood after Cannae.

    Also it must be remembered that Rome levied just as many legions the year after Cannae as they had had before that catastrophe. Apparently Rome was down for a moment but certainly not out.
     
  4. majorwoody10

    majorwoody10 New Member

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    if hannible had marched south to rome directly from cannae though ..i think he could have easily sacked rome ...it takes some months to convert a roman farm hand or mechanic into a legionare and hannibal had eaten up almost all the legeonares rome had in stock by the end of the cannae fiasco...
     
  5. TISO

    TISO New Member

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    Hannibal simply didn't have enough forces and especialy supplies to engage in prolonged siege of Rome and his army was not trained for it (they were mercenaries and lightly armed auxiliaries). He did ask for help from Cartagena but recived no reinforcements. If Cartagena would reinforce him with trained men, equipment and supplies, Rome would be just a footnote in history books. As one historian put it at that time Cartagena was superpower and Romans were just bunch of hillbillies on the Tiber.
     
  6. majorwoody10

    majorwoody10 New Member

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    tiso ...was rome a walled city at that time ? how many legions were left to throw in hannibals path , had he marched on rome after cannae ? ...hannibal would have smashed them ,then had all the supplies in rome, no?
     
  7. TISO

    TISO New Member

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    At the time all cities were walled, so was Rome. Walled city is easy to defend. Even Cartago was defended mostly by untrained civilians against Romans. And siege was long and bloody and as all sieges became war of atrition. Romans could afford that with Carthago, Hannibal couldn't afford similar operation against Rome. Romans also emloyed their own trained troops with good engeneering skills against Cartago. Hanibaly forces were mostly mercenaries and Cisalpine Gauls.
    Hannibals army was good on the field but would be almost usless in siege warfare. Hannibal should be considered as The best general. His forces should thereticaly lose the war at the beggining but he beat Romans again and again. Siege of Rome would deplete his already relatively small forces even further. One has to take into the account that he was operating far behind enemy lines without benefit of local allies (except Cisalpine -N. Italian Gauls).
     
  8. Roel

    Roel New Member

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    Firstly, legionaries before the reforms of Gaius Marius recieved very little training and brought their own weapons and equipment to the battlefield. Since most of the assidui from which the legions were drafted were themselves veterans from earlier seasons, it would not take some months but some weeks at most to convert them into legions. They were all amateurs, decidedly not professional soldiers.

    Secondly, mechanics in Rome? Even if artisans were actually drafted for the legions (which they were not), how could they possibly be mechanics in a pre-industrial world?

    Thirdly, Cannae cost the lives of about 25% of the assidui. That leaves 75%, even if we ignore the fact that in times of emergency the Roman Senate could declare tumultus and draft literally anyone to fight in their defence.
     
  9. TISO

    TISO New Member

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    Did you mean my comment:

    Romans also emloyed their own trained troops with good engeneering skills against Cartago.

    Romans were famous for their engeenering skills like building contaning walls, diches... Basicly Chartagos fate was sealed by Roman engeeners ( soldiers with a shovels :D ) building on sea side and closing the port of the city not by Roman legionars breaching the walls.

    After the Marius reforms Roman army won more battles and wars with shovel than with the sword (Ceasar at Alysea for example).
     
  10. Roel

    Roel New Member

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    No, I was referring to majorwoody's comment:

     
  11. TISO

    TISO New Member

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    My bad. But then experts like blacksmiths could be seen as proto-mechanics :D
     
  12. Roel

    Roel New Member

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    They would still not be drafted, though, since they were not assidui.
     
  13. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    Well, Carthage did finally send Hannibal a large reinforcement army under his brother Hasdrubal, but the Romans destroyed it in Spain. Not too shabby for a bunch of Tiber hillbillies. ;)

    The fact is that Rome consistently beat Carthage at every turn, both at sea and on land. Hannibal's military genius turned things around for awhile, but eventually, even Hannibal succumbed to Roman power.
     
  14. Roel

    Roel New Member

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    Actually the First Punic War was little more than a string of humiliating Roman defeats followed by one decisive Roman victory. The same could be said for the Second Punic War, and the Third was just vile.
     
  15. Cdat88

    Cdat88 recruit

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    Roel, while there was no garrison in Rome, there were 2 legions dedicated to the defense of Rome. A total of 23 legions were available at the time, 15 of which were in Italy. One in Capua, 2 at Rome leaving 12 legions divided into 6 armies. 3 (60,000 troops) were allocated yo Marcus Livius to the north, facing Hasdrubal. The other three were facing Hannibal to the south, a total of 60,000 troops under Claudius Nero. Hannibals army was guessed at 30,000, Hasdrubals at Metaurus was guessed at 40,000.
     
  16. Roel

    Roel New Member

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    Yes, actually one point I wanted to make was that in the year following the disaster at Cannae the Romans drafted the same number of legions they had had the year before, which indicates that their losses while staggering were not beyond repair, at least not in case of emergency (such as the Hannibal ad portas emergency).
     
  17. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    True enough, yet to win two wars after suffering strings of disastrous defeats in both is unheard of in the history of war, and an amazing feat, IMHO. The Third Punic War is definitely not pretty to look at, even for a war.
     
  18. Roel

    Roel New Member

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    Not so amazing if you consider that it was all because Rome always had more assidui to call up for service. Most wars the Roman Republic fought throughout its history could easily be compared to the Russian contribution to WW2.
     
  19. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    I believe that there's more to it than just numbers. Motivation, especially at the national level, has a lot to do with it as well. Consider that the Romans of that time felt that military service was not something to be avoided; the Carthaginians, on the other hand, avoided it as much as possible, using mercenaries whenever they could.
     
  20. Roel

    Roel New Member

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    Motivation completely vanished as soon as Rome began to wage wars outside Italy and other areas where loot was rich. Leaps and bounds in Livy's population records suggest that many people avoided the census until they were given some incentive. Certainly, a feeling of national pride was not present in pre-Imperial Italy since it was not a nation at all, but rather a conglomerate of subjugated city states under the arbitrary rule of cruel and far-away Rome.
     

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