23
votes
4answers
3k views

Why didn't Hannibal attack Rome after the Battle of Cannae?

Hannibal Barca defeated 8 Roman legions in the Battle of Cannae. At that time Carthage also had control over Hispania. Why did Hannibal not seize Rome at that time?
23
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the earliest known account of the modern military salute?

The military salute, made with right hand to head of a soldier, seems to be a European tradition, however it is adopted by many armies in the world. What are origins of this gesture? I came across a ...
20
votes
7answers
5k views

Why did the US drop nuclear bombs on a weakened Japan? [closed]

Why did the United States drop two nuclear bombs on the Japanese mainland? It appeared that Japan was ready to surrender.
19
votes
3answers
3k views

When and why was the samurai class abolished?

I am aware the Emperor Meiji abolished the Samurai class during the reformation. Why did he do so? How was it enforced?
18
votes
3answers
892 views

How did Hitler behave towards all those whom he knew in his childhood and youth after he rose to power?

What do we know of Hitler's acts and attitudes towards those people he knew in his childhood and youth after he rose to power? For example, his World War One comrades? Did they receive and attention ...
18
votes
4answers
229 views

How would you accurately use older British currencies when writing a story?

For writing a story set in Napoleonic Wars era, how should one use the currencies accurately? I read in novels they use currencies like shilling, pound, guinea, sovereign, four (or six-, etc) pence, ...
17
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the state of the art historical analysis of claims that Carthaginians discovered America?

The Carthaginians, and the Phoenicians in general, are renowned for their seafaring abilities. There is evidence for their circumnavigation of Africa, and strong evidence for the fact that Hanno the ...
16
votes
1answer
1k views

What percentage of the population in the “Old West” actually carried handguns?

I'm hoping cenus information and historical gun manufacturing records make this an answerable question. What percentage of the population in the Old West actually carried handguns? Was it a minority ...
15
votes
4answers
1k views

How many Samurai killed themselves?

How many Samurai killed themselves compared to the actual number of Samurai and how many Samurai were dishonored but did not kill themselves?
15
votes
1answer
653 views

Why did Meiji consider switching from Japanese to English?

During the Meiji restoration, the Emperor sought to switch Japan's national language from Japanese to English. Why was that? Why, ultimately, was it unsuccessful? The Role of English and Other ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

Why was the Western Front so static in World War I?

Once the German advance was halted, neither side could seriously advance for two years. This seems like an extraordinarily long time. Why didn't anyone succeed at going around the trenches or striking ...
14
votes
8answers
4k views

What's the advantage of the infantry column formation in the Napoleonic Wars?

In movies/books set in the Napoleonic Wars, the British are normally deployed into lines and the French into columns. The columns are usually the advancing ones, charging into the line as the line ...
14
votes
5answers
1k views

Is there any evidence that the Catholic Church slowed innovation during the Middle Ages?

I often hear that the rate of innovation was very high during ancient times in Greece and the Roman empire. I've also heard that the rate of innovation was reduced once the Catholic Church gained ...
13
votes
8answers
2k views

At the end of WWII, were nazis working on any other super weapon besides V-2?

At the end of WWII, were nazis working on anything else besides V-2? If so, what was it, how close was it to completion, and could it potentially turn the events around for them?
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Could The Soviet Union have continued fighting World War II without Caucasus oil?

In 1942, Germany's Fall Blau was initially aimed at capturing or interdicting shipments of oil from the Caucasus to the rest of the Soviet Union. Even though armies were diverted to Stalingrad and ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

What does it mean that the early supreme court “gave themselves” the power of judicial review?

I'm watching the "Crash Course: American History" youtube series, and I like, it, but it obviously skips over a ton because it's packing decades at a time into 10 minutes. So he just (briefly) ...
11
votes
6answers
14k views

Why have officers in the U.S. army tended to “top out” at the level of Major?

In the U.S. army, something like 75%-80% of newly-commissioned Second Lieutenants are promoted to First Lieutenant (around age 25), perhaps 75%-80% of First Lieutenants are promoted to Captain (ages ...
11
votes
2answers
695 views

English monarchs on the battlefield

It seems that in English 'older times' it was expected for the King or monarch to lead the armies in battle. My research suggests that this was the case in the 12th century in the civil war between ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

What are the French gains after the American Revolutionary War

Did France gain anything significant (territories or other concessions) at the conclusion of the American Revolutionary War? I tried to look up for it, but what I found were very minor (Senegal in ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

What devices used computer-like programs in industrial era?

As possibly some of you remember early computers had very small human-machine interface and coding programs was done by cards like this one: or a tape like these: This invention of controlling ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

What were Rommel's views on the Nazi crimes?

Erwin Rommel is often portrayed as the chivalrous Nazi. I've read on the internet that he once proposed to Hitler that a Jew be appointed a Nazi official, but I'm not able to verify that. What were ...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

How much faster were the printing presses than hand writing?

How many times faster were the printing presses, which gave Europe an advantage over other continents in term of access to knowledge, compared to copying of books by hand?
9
votes
2answers
1k views

WWI trench tactics using shields?

Are there any records of WWI trench tactics involving shield formations similar to the example below of the ancient Testudo formation? . I imagine that it could have been successful if used to get ...
9
votes
3answers
483 views

What wars were started when an indebted country refused to pay?

For example, France invaded Mexico (both times) when Mexico stopped some of their payments. What are some other examples?
8
votes
1answer
339 views

What percentage of men, ages 18 to 35, from the northern states served in the Union Army?

In my genealogy research, I can assume with some certainty that if a white southern family had sons born between 1835 and 1846 there is a pretty good chance that all of them will have served in the ...
8
votes
2answers
209 views

How accurate is quantitative evidence included in Caesar's Commentarii de Bello Gallico?

Two pieces of evidence in relation to Caesar's Comentarii de Bello Gallico currently seem to suggest two different conclusions as to the authors veracity in reporting numbers. One is from a comment ...
8
votes
6answers
2k views

Historical use of alcohol as a source of clean water

I've heard that there were two common methods to disinfecting water in the past: boiling water or turning it into alcohol. Presumably, those in the East relied on boiling water, while those in the ...
8
votes
2answers
951 views

Which city was attacked by Nazi-German war flights in India during WW2?

Nazi-Germany ran a bombing raid over India, in WW2. Which city was bombed, and what effect did it have? i.e how many casualties, or was transport closed down.
8
votes
1answer
580 views

The value of spice trade during the age of exploration

One of the initial motivations for the Europeans in sending exploration voyages was to find cheap spices. To be worth such expensive and risky mission, spices must have been worth a lot and must have ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Was the transition from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age violent?

In Europe, when the Bronze Age ended and the Iron Age began, was it a peaceful spread of technology, or was it a violent conquest where the newcomers were able to win by their more advanced ...
7
votes
5answers
3k views

Why do some countries call Germany “Alman” too?

In Persia, Germany is called "Alaman". In Portugal it's called "Alemanha". I know some other countries in the world call it 'Alman' too Why the name changed?
7
votes
4answers
828 views

What is the historical evidence behind the claim that the Soviet armies perpetrated mass rapes during their stay in Germany?

Besides accounts from Anthony Beevor's book and research done by Sander & Johr, which some members of the amateur historian community dismiss as biased and revisionist, are there any other source ...
7
votes
2answers
340 views

Orphism's alleged influence on Christianity

I've read in Nils Johan Ringdal's delightful but ill-footnoted Love For Sale: A World History of Prostitution that the apostle Paul was influenced by Orphism when he set out to weaken women's roles in ...
7
votes
1answer
618 views

What was the status of specialized workers during the Roman times?

It's obvious that people in the Senate or people with political power would be considered of higher status, while ordinary plebs, such as farmers, would have a lower status. However, where exactly ...
7
votes
5answers
962 views

In the United States government, has there been cases that electoral colleges don't vote for the candidate the majority of their state voted for?

Has there ever been a case where electoral colleges vote for someone the people didn't vote for during an election for president of the United States?
7
votes
3answers
674 views

Founding Fathers and the American Civil War

I was reading an article and was wondering if there is anything out there to indicate that the Founding Fathers saw the potential for conflict regarding these specific points: Economic and ...
6
votes
2answers
415 views

How did the Egyptian engineers of the Third and Fourth Dynasty construct the Pyramids and Sphinx without modern science and mathematics? [closed]

What was the "state of the art" in engineering, science, and mathematics in Ancient Egypt when the Sphinx and the Giza Pyramids were built during the Third and Fourth Dynasties? How did they ...
6
votes
1answer
6k views

How did Germany rebuild so quickly after World War I?

After World War I, Germany suffered severe economic damage. Germany was asked to make horrendous war reparations, suffered hyperinflation, social chaos .... In addition, world economic conditions were ...
6
votes
1answer
393 views

What were acceptance criteria/process to the Vienna Fine Arts Academy in 1906-7?

One famous applicant rejected by the Vienna Fine Arts Academy was of course, Hitler. I got to thinking: so who was accepted instead? To make sense of this we would need to know how was the admission ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

How did ethnic Turkish people embrace Islam?

How was Islam spread among Turkish population or in historical Turkey? How did ethnic Turkish people embrace Islam?
6
votes
1answer
411 views

Literacy in the classical world

How literate was the ancient world? I'm particularly interested in the Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians in, say, the first few centuries BC. It's hard to find authors willing to give an explicit number, ...
6
votes
5answers
503 views

What incentives are in place for American soldiers to go fight in Iraq?

I am from Brazil, a country that has not fought any war since WW2. If you join the army, go fight in Iraq and then return, what will the USA pay you? Is there a health plan for life, a pension, or ...
5
votes
3answers
667 views

Did the Greeks win the battle of Salamis because their rowers were “free”?

While I was at university in the late 1970s, I was told by a faculty advisor that the Greek rowers at the Battle of Salamis were given cushions that greatly increased their comfort and efficiency (and ...
5
votes
3answers
128 views

literature about colonialism

I'm looking for one big, synthetic work about colonialism from 15th to 18th century. I need general history, included history of Spain, France, Portugal, Netherlands and England/Great Britain. Do you ...
4
votes
2answers
555 views

Spanish-American war from Spain's perspective?

What did the Spanish-American war look like from Spain's perspective? Did the general population support the war? What were the reasons why Spain lost, was the general public aware of these reasons ...
3
votes
1answer
186 views

How long did belief in the Egyptian sun god Ra last?

According to Wikipedia, Ancient Egyptian belief in the sun god Ra started sometime before 2500 BC. In that Wikipedia article, it also states, "The rise of Christianity in the Roman Empire put an end ...
3
votes
2answers
128 views

What were the origins of democracy?

I realize that many people say that Athens is where democracy started, but is there any solid proof that it was the first? On Wikipedia, it is stated that: there is evidence to suggest that ...
24
votes
9answers
8k views

How severe were the casualties in ancient/medieval battles?

I've heard that in most battles prior to the introduction of gunpowder weapons, the casualties were usually very low (around 5% even in long battles) prior to the moment when someone's formation was ...
19
votes
7answers
3k views

Why were Albanians the only nation in the Balkans who converted to Islam during the Ottoman occupation?

The Ottoman Empire conquered the Balkans and occupied it for half a millennium. They managed to convert most of the Albanians to Islam, however, all the other nations in the area remained Christian. ...
18
votes
1answer
869 views

Did “droit du seigneur” actually exist in medieval Europe?

Droit du seigneur, also known as "jus primae noctis" (right of the first night), was the supposed right of a feudal lord to sleep with his serfs' brides on their wedding night. Was it actually ...

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