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105

While the total encirclement might be the most impressive thing about Cannae, remember that it's just a special case of a pincer movement where the pincer goes all the way around the enemy. A pincer is itself just a special case of a flanking manuever in which both flanks are attacked simultaneously. The most important thing about Cannae was that Hannibal ...


91

While the tactical factor (not being able to move units around) is important, the main issue is one of soldiers panicking. Remember that it does not matter what the numbers are actually; your soldiers cannot see the lines in the map and are victims of the fog of war. Soldiers in the battlefield do not get to see a nice map showing the position of the units, ...


32

First of all, Carthage did not fall in the First or Second Punic Wars. The Carthaginians were defeated twice, and compelled to surrender to particularly harsh terms the second time, but the City of Carthage itself was not conquered. Keep in mind that Carthage was not some run of the mill city-state, but rather the capital of a far flung maritime empire. ...


31

Short Answer: His army was too small to either assault or securely besiege Rome Rome itself remain defended by two legions and a large, conscriptable population Marching on and laying siege to Rome was beyond his logistical capacity He cannot realistically defeat Rome while her Latin and Italian allies remained loyal The traditional analysis is that ...


24

The tablet is almost certainly a modern fake: Despite Gordon’s certainty about the genuineness of the inscription, he failed to find support from colleagues and, notably, entered into a bitter dispute with Frank Moore Cross Jr (born 1921), Hancock Professor of Hebrew and Other Oriental Languages Emeritus at Harvard. Cross pointed to problems with ...


23

This is a subject of some dispute, but perhaps the most common view is that Hannibal probably crossed the Pyrenees via the mountain passes of modern Le Perthus. He crossed the Pyrenees by the Col du Perthus, a relatively low pass near the eastern end of the mountains near the eastern end of the mountains near the Mediterranean Sea. The Col du Oethus is ...


18

The Carthaginians were in several ways distinct from their Phoenician forefathers, while at the same time remaining a recognizably Phoenician offshoot and maintaining cultural ties with Tyre throughout their history. A notable difference is that the Carthaginians were an aristocratic society, while most other Phoenician city states were hereditary royalties. ...


18

The simple answer is because bones are organic, and organic things don't last 2000 years. Even hard organic things like bones, except in very extreme (eg: rare) circumstance. Exposed bone, unless its somewhere with little life, will generally be gone within a year. Usually when we talk of archeologists finding "bones" what they have really found is fossils ...


17

tl; dr - encirclement creates a mobility advantage for the encircling forces. Ultimately encirclement permits the encircling commander to choose the location, time, conditions, and duration. The defending/encircled force has no options. Melee formations are tightly packed - shields overlap. If you want to survive, you want to be as close as possible to the ...


17

I just wanted to expand on a comment by armatita and hence address some part of the OP's question more generally. Independent of the specifics of this battle and tactics, it is mathematically disadvantageous to be encircled, even partially. If we assume that each person needs the same amount of space to actively participate in combat (move their weapons ...


15

SHORT ANSWER Unfortunately, we can't be sure, but it is likely that the Carthaginian senate was for life at some point during its long history. DETAILED ANSWER The main problem in determining whether or not Carthaginian senators served for life lies in the ancient sources. The qualifications of senators and the precise functions of the senate are also far ...


13

Some Late Punic texts (ca. 200-400 CE) were written in Latin letters, and so fully vocalized. The best treatment of these is R. M. Kerr, Latino-Punic Epigraphy. FAT ser. 2: 42. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2010. Punic certainly had vowels; the writing system didn't fully represent them (because the syllable structure of all Semitic languages makes it easy to know ...


13

You are correct that being surrounded isn't necessarily a bad thing, and this question isn't a straightforward one to answer. As Pieter Geerkens noted in a comment, if you do it right then the defender enjoys the advantage of interior lines, and smart commanders throughout history have let themselves be surrounded on purpose to that effect. To arbitrarily ...


10

The first thing to note is that fashions changed rapidly in ancient times, just like they do today and one "Phoenician" might be wearing something completely different than another one. Also, a foreigner who was doing business in Rome normally would dress just like the Romans. Wearing foreign garb in Augustan Rome would not be a recipe for success. Also, ...


10

The Carthaginians were culturally Phoenician, and most evidence I've come across points to the calendar being lunisolar. There are some pretty strong indications that it would have been similar to (or evolved into) the Hebrew calendar, and there are several month names that are shared with other cultures in the region. Phoenician feasts and rituals revolve ...


10

Note item (6) - New Harbour Entrance on your map. This entrance was constructed in 147 B.C. (the third year of the siege) simultaneous with item (7) - Scipio's Mole blocking the original entrance. During the siege the Carthaginians were able to continue trading overseas, albeit with limited success because of Rome's influence. The Siege was prosecuted ...


10

There's actually quite a bit available, even just from wikipedia: Catapults: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Carthage_%28c._149_BC%29 Trireme Rams, Corvus (naval): http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_corvus.html Sambuca, Claw of Archimedes, Heat Ray, onagers (naval): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Syracuse_%28214%E2%80%93212_BC%29#...


10

There are no conclusive archaeological evidence, and the status of child sacrifice in Carthage is a matter of debate. In general, while there used to be a strong consensus amongst historians that the Roman insistence on the Carthaginians' infanticide was more than war propaganda, in later years several historians have raised doubts about the actual status of ...


10

Not really, no. Carthage itself started out as a Phoenician colony, along with Utica probably in the 8th Century BC. The Phoenicians themselves were a Northwest Semitic people whose language was closely related to Hebrew and fairly closely to Amorite and Aramaic. These western Phoenician outposts' main purpose was to help Phoenician traders manage the ...


9

(Refer to map below) After the Battle of Cannae (2 August 216 BC), Hannibal went immediately to Compsa (1), where he set up a base and took some of forces and sent them on a mission to collect allies in that area. He then gathered his main army and went to Naples (2) where he was hoping to take control of a seaport. When he got to Naples he found it had ...


8

Carthage's leadship was not fully behind Hannibal's war on Rome. They did try to take advantage of it (like the failed Sicily mission) but never put their full power behind Hannibal. By the time they realised that they should, it was too late. Reinforcements, siege weapons, and a navy would all have helped Hannibal a great deal. None of those things were ...


8

I believe we can spit this up into three parts: Roman Jewish Community: "Jews have lived in Rome for over 2,000 years [...] They may even have established a community there as early as the second pre-Christian century, for in the year 139 B.C. the pretor Hispanus issued a decree expelling all Jews who were not Italian citizens" Jewish Encyclopaedia So we ...


8

The exact amounts of forces that took part in this battle seem to be unknown or at least controversial. My opinion bases on the lecture of 10 pages of discussion at the main Polish historical board. In overall, it's safe to say that the the answer is yes, most of the Roman soldiers "Roman" and most of Hannibal's soldiers were mercenaries. Even if it would ...


8

The reason is that this was the Second Punic War. During the First Punic War the Carthaginians beat the Romans more than once, destroying their fleets...and the Romans built another fleet. This was what the Romans did. They did not give up just because they lost an army or a navy. They just raised another. And the First Punic War was not exceptional. A ...


7

There is a big reason and a small reason: Big reason: There's sampling bias. If encirclement leads to defeat, the result is a wipeout, which is notable. If encirclement doesn't lead to defeat, the result is nowhere near as notable. Small reason: The outside ring is slightly longer than the inside ring, and allows more layers of reinforcements, so there are ...


7

I think there may be a bit of confusion here between "encirclement" and "envelopment" - or a pincer movement. Think of an encirclement being a possible outcome of a double envelopment, with a single envelopment being the flanking of one wing of an enemy army. It is also not clear that the result of encirclement caused Roman soldiers to panic and attempt to ...


6

According to this source, Carthage remained a minor Phoenician outpost until after the fall of Tyre to Alexander the Great in 332 BC. At that time many of the wealthy citizens of Tyre, having ransomed themselves from Alexander, moved to Carthage and began the constructions that led to it rapidly becoming the wealthiest city of the Western Mediterranean. If ...


6

The absence of evidence is not proof, particularly when it comes to archeology where there's so much ground to [un]cover and so few people to do it, and in this case the proof is particularly difficult to find. We don't know Hannibal's route across the Alps. The two Roman historians who are our primary contemporary sources, Polybius and Livy, were short on ...


6

Neither Polybius or Livy, the 2 main accounts, mention how many elephants, if any, died during the crossing of the Alps. Appian's account says that Hannibal took 37 but also does not number those lost, if any, crossing the alps. Hannibal certainly had a number of elephants at the Battle of Trebbia, though all but 1 or 7 supposedly died in the cold weather ...


6

Turns out that he [R]efused to perform uncanonical consecration, and for this reason some of his flock accused him before the Saracenic emir, who tortured him in a cruel manner. Source EDIT Another side to ecclesiastical appointment was the increasingly common pattern [...] in which the appointment of church officials was confirmed by Muslim ...


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