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Heroes Community > Other Side of the Monitor > Thread: Carthage was never a threat to Rome.
Thread: Carthage was never a threat to Rome. This thread is 2 pages long: 1 2 · «PREV

Tavern Dweller
posted December 29, 2010 06:17 PM

Carthage was never a threat to Rome. They were a nation of traders and did not have the capacity for war as the Romans did. The only threat Rome faced from Carthage were two men, one a grizzled veteran of the aristocracy, the other his son. Both had fought the Romans or done everything in their power to make life harder for the Romans during their entire life, but Carthage never fully invested in war and it was impossible to do so. During times of war they were still in a democracy, unlike the Romans, who elected a dictator. They did not have their own manpower to conscript, but mercenaries. Carthage lost to the Romans and it couldn't have turned out any other way, since it was impossible to maintain a victory in Rome itself.

The real conclusion is that your topic proof that not the masses of people and the folk is turning the wheel of history and time, but the great historical persons.

If we follow your logic strictly this mean that... let's say, Hitler was never real threat to the whole Europe, since All European countries and USSR have much bigger human and material resource.

And even if you say yes to that. What with Alexander the Great? Was he never real threat to the antique world? He was just king of a very, very, very small Balkan country, with a very, very, VERY small human and material resource. Why was he successful? So it means according to your logic that Macedon itself was never a real threat for the antique world, the real threat is Alexander, right? And in the case of your first post, the real threat to Rome were the Barkas, right?

If you say yes here, I can agree, but only in parts. I agree that the great persons lead the masses, that masses are helpless without them and that they can't do anything without them. But. If one man can make that mass to do something, whatever it is, the mass is also capable to do it, the great leader is the only element is a great deed.

So this mean. Is one man, the great historical person, can make one mass of people a threat to another, it means that this mass was a real threat, but not an active one. The threat is "sleeping", and waiting for someone to wake it.

=> One very small mass with very small resource, but with a great leader can be a threat. Without the leader, it can not.

Can Macedon be a threat for the antique world without Alexander III? No. But with him it is, and it was.

It like to say that when you have two sticks of wood they are not threat, but when you start rub the wood, you can start fire, and fire can grow to a conflagration.

Same - a small nation can be a threat with the right leading. It happened so many times.

Wallachia was never threat to the ottoman without Vlad III too.

Many, many others.

Aaargh - my part of the post quoting Vokial BG didn't stick - so here it is again

That is not at all what he was saying. He said that the council which lead Carthage never perceived itself as a threat to Rome.

Also Macedonia would have been a threat to conquer once Phillip was born and ruled it. Any heir of his would have had his ambition taught to him - by osmosis if nothing else. Alexander just happened to be the one most capable of making something happen as a result.

In this case had there never been anything but a bunch of Phoenician trader wusses born, their economic power would indeed have posed an actual real threat to Rome, if Hamilcar and son were never born.

Interestingly the lasting power of Alexander was not his army or his conquests but his approach to wielding multiple cultures together instead of stamping out all not his own. That had the most lasting impact.

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Undefeatable Hero
No gods or kings
posted January 16, 2011 03:46 AM
Edited by DagothGares at 03:52, 16 Jan 2011.

By no means did I want to make something of a statement on any scientific mechanisms in history (though, I even doubt such a thing exists, but whatever). I basically wanted to tell a story (for after all, history isnothing but people telling stories).

I want to state that Hannibal didn't mobilise the Carthaginian people, first of all. There were Carthaginians in the army, sure, but those were professional soldiers (like sons of slaves or snow offspring who joined the army as a way out of poverty or as a way to not be a nuisance for their rich progenitors for instance), like the army that Marius created and they definitely weren't the majority (the majority being Iberians, Gauls, Greeks and Numidians). The carthaginian people themselves turned against Hannibal, being reluctant to reinforce him (only doing so when they thought Hannibal would win) and the council always advocated appeasing methods towards the Romans, willing to give up territory, money and disbanding their army just to be left alone (of course, Hannibal had sworn to his dad to never allow this).

Hannibal is also a threat that the Romans created for themselves. By taking Sicily (and other lands, like Corsica and Sardinia) and making a hug debt, they basically created something akin of an interbellum Germany... well, it would be, if the Carthaginians weren't so good at making money that they paid a twenty year debt in a few years. Hannibal was created in the first Punic war, however, and many of the things that happened in the first one can be traced back to the second. What is it that Rome should have done, according to me, then? Well, leave well enough alone I guess. If they let the mamertines be taken by Carthage, then the Sicilian conflict would have been settled, the carthaginian army paid their wages and no feelings of resentment, ergo, no Hamilcar and no Hannibal. It's kind of how Machiavelli once said: "Men ought either to be indulged or utterly destroyed, for if you merely offend them they take vengeance, but if you injure them greatly they are unable to retaliate, so that the injury done to a man ought to be such that vengeance cannot be feared."

Though, I guess Rome thought they greatly injured Carthage.

You may be right about the great people driving forwards history, even though, I think these men are usually only made great in hindsight. Some people analysed the battle of Cannae and called hannibal's tactic a master stroke of genius, while others claimed his formation folded that way, because his troops were badly organised. Scipio defeated Hannibal by choosing the where and when of the battle. Also, what I would like to add is that the system from which these people came helps a lot too. The Romans, for instance, had a meritocracy of sorts in a proto-democratic system, which means that even though the power is still limited to an elite, the strong ones in the elite get it (at least in theory, it took 18 years before a decent Roman general arose, but whatever, we'll run with it) (and theRomans had seen their share of great people. It wasn't just one Alexander and then it stopped). I think this is also the reason why the Roman empire started to stagnate when Octavian died (and the Republic became an old-fashioned absolutist monarchy) (also, they stopped waging war and that's kind of the thing the Roman economy had been thriving on since, Marius). I don't know much about the Carthaginian governmental system, but they also seemed to work in a sort of proto-democracy, much like the Romans, except that the Carthaginian government didn't like war as much as, say, the Roman one did (or they thought their issues with Rome would be solved if they just kept submitting to their demands) (even though their city got burned to the ground, their population slaughtered and the earth purged with salt so nothing would ever grow there again after the third Punic war which the Romans without even the slightest provocation against a Carthage that was nothing but a city state at that point).

Also, the examples you gave are kind of situational, Vokial (but I guess all history is like that).

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Undefeatable Hero
What if Elvin was female?
posted March 08, 2011 10:32 AM
Edited by JoonasTo at 10:32, 08 Mar 2011.

Why do you guys always make awesome threads when I'm not around!

Good read here.

But you've missed one point regarding the battles. If you look at Scipio's victory in Africa and Hannibal's victories in Italy. Hannibal had superior tactics in a lot of the Italian battles and then he got completely outclassed in Africa by Scipio(which wasn't anything great really, they just kind of walked over the Carthaginians). In Italy Hannibal had experienced troops, veterans as you said and Italy fielded mostly armies of conscripts. In Africa Hannibal was forced to lead troops who were new under his command, most of them fresh and Scipio had veterans, completely on a different level of the troops in Italy Hannibal stomped on. Now one veteran of Hannibal's in Italy could probably match around 2 roman conscripts and Scipio's veterans could probably match around 1.5 Carthaginian soldiers in Africa. Now in Italy this was the deciding factor because Hannibal could crush and root the core of the Roman armies with his veterans rather easily(because farmers seeing a wall of cavalry run over the first five lines of their formation kind of want to run away).

Now we get to the interesting part, in Africa Hannibal had new troops under his command, not disciplined or trained by him, not used to his tactics, not trusting him so much whereas Scipio had his own veterans who had fought under him and for him.(and around 3000 more cavalry, including the Numidians that fought for Hannibal before but let's forget that for a moment) Now after Scipio had dealt with the elephants(being his only real technical success on a battlefield) his cavalry routed the Carthaginian cavalry and that was really the end of the battle in tactical terms, the rest is just useless hacking away. After Hannibal saw his cavalry routed he must have facepalmed hard and pretty much just hoped to beat the 34k Romans with his 50k. Now this might have even worked if he hadn't been against experienced soldiers. All the Romans had to do at this point was keep hacking the infantry till the cavalry would come crush them from behind. If one was new to the battlefield he could have watched both of their cavalry run off to god knows where and seen an army one-and-a-half times bigger than his own one might have gotten a bad feeling about it but being the veterans they were they knew they'd have the day after their cavalry returned(unless something was currently killing them somewhere) and because they trusted their leader they believed it would.
This combined with Hannibal's troops' inability to hack away at them fast enough(to tell the truth, it was kinda the opposite with Romans hacking away at them) kept their morale up while the opposite side's morale plummeted(there WERE 15k more of them and they couldn't do jack, that kinda kills the mood, you know) after the cavalry charged their rear that was the end of the tale.

So had Scipio had fresh troops they might have seen things differently and gotten hacked away if Hannibal had better troops.
His cavalry might not have routed in the first place and even if they did, the returning Roman cavalry might have been small enough to be swarmed or it might have simply decided it wasn't worth it anymore.

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