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snapper
06 Mar 12,, 14:16
"Of a truth the gods do not give the same man everything: you know how to gain a victory, Hannibal, but you do not know how to make use of it." A quote attributed to Maharbal after Cannae.

Suppose:

A. Immeadiately after Cannae Hannibal waits for nothing, gathers all walking he can and goes straight for Rome? Maybe 1 weeks forced march; see map File:Hannibal route of invasion.gif - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hannibal_route_of_invasion.gif)

B. Suppose he waits 2-3 days (no longer than a week) and then leaves for Rome with a slightly better equiped and repaired army?

Which gives him the better chance of bringing Rome to the negotiations table? Can he do this at all?

It is often said that Hannibal lacked seige equiptment... Starvation was and is single greatest seige method of forcing a seige.

I know this is an old one but not seen it posed here where we have so many people experienced in the realities of war.



Just as a note my solution: Send the cavalry and any fresh infantry ahead (must have had a few), not to hurt anyone seriously but to make them think the full army is coming then follow when troops are patched up and supplies laid up etc with the main army asap. He should also NOT have sent all the Senators rings to Carthage but to his Gallic allies to encourage further immeadiate recruitment. Then proceed to Rome and starve them out while figuring out how to make a battering ram.

Remember he is NOT trying to destroy Rome but to 'liberate' Italy from Rome.

Mihais
06 Mar 12,, 15:44
My 2 Sestertii.Hannibal had 10-12% KIA at Cannae.Meaning that he had at least 3-4 times that amount of WIA.There was no fresh infantry and no fresh cavalry.Hannibal army right after Cannae is combat ineffective.The Romans,shock aside,still had enough forces to defend the city and more were raised after the battle quickly.They may not have been efective or able to engage the Carthaginians on the field,but they had no need to.Marching on Rome was for everyone a statement that Hannibal wanted to end the war.Failure to take the city would have meant the loss of the Punic army and even if the army somehow survived,the loss of prestige and the continuation of the Roman league intact.Greek cities in the South would not have changed sides without a strong Carthaginian army present.

Hannibal used and abused the Gauls.They may have risen against Rome while Hannibal was present and they kept fighting victoriously(in defensive) long after he left.But they were still reeling after their defeat at Telamon 9 years earlier.Gallic politics were also divided.Without the Punic army in their midst,there was no real catalyst to unite and take offense.

Hannibal's chance layed with the Carthaginian Senate stopping being itself and send him all resources available.

S2
06 Mar 12,, 16:14
"Just as a note my solution: Send the cavalry and any fresh infantry ahead (must have had a few), not to hurt anyone seriously but to make them think the full army is coming then follow when troops are patched up and supplies laid up etc with the main army asap..."

You run the risk of suffering defeat in detail.

"...He should also NOT have sent all the Senators rings to Carthage but to his Gallic allies to encourage further immeadiate recruitment..."

Nicely-done. Sooo very english.

"...Then proceed to Rome and starve them out while figuring out how to make a battering ram."

Hopefully unnecessary once the Romans see the accumulated masses before them courtesy of your adroit touch with those rings.

Officer of Engineers
06 Mar 12,, 16:46
Fabious is still the show stopper

Mihais
06 Mar 12,, 18:23
The Roman Senate met the surviving Consul Varro and thanked him for having faith in the force of his country and engage Hannibal at Cannae.Enough said.

snapper
06 Mar 12,, 19:23
Colonel: With all respect IF Hannibal marches on Rome, either A or B as above, then the Fabian strategy of NOT fighting Hannibal is a non starter, starve or fight; you chose.


Hopefully unnecessary once the Romans see the accumulated masses before them courtesy of your adroit touch with those rings.

Hannibal of the Rings!


They may not have been efective or able to engage the Carthaginians on the field

Isn't that enough to lay seige?

Officer of Engineers
06 Mar 12,, 19:38
Colonel: With all respect IF Hannibal marches on Rome, either A or B as above, then the Fabian strategy of NOT fighting Hannibal is a non starter, starve or fight; you chose.Hannibal is not going to march on Rome when Rome has another army in the field.

Mihais
06 Mar 12,, 19:41
Snapper-No.With 20000 or so men you can barely surround Rome.Hannibal's army struggled 8 months at Saguntum and back then he had the full Spanish army,80000+ fresh troops.

snapper
06 Mar 12,, 20:19
Ok is the Roman army in the field 'effective'? Mihai says no and the Colonel yes... I suppose it depends on how effective the remaining comparable armies in the field are. If Hannibal moves on Rome the chances of rebellion in Capua etc increase no? Romans can't get out of Rome so lets have fun = more recruits.

Colonel will a Roman army in the field stand and fight? Not Fabian strategy? If they stand then the above.

Mihai, time is no object for the beseiger... just getting supplies to the army; a cavalry duty or supply from rebellious cities once he's there.

Officer of Engineers
06 Mar 12,, 20:27
It doesn't matter how bad the Roman army is, no one can afford to be sandwiched in between the city walls and a relief force.

And you're missing the point about Fabious. Here's a man who was not afraid of Hannibal, knew how to fight Hannibal, willing to fight Hannibal, and fought Hannibal no matter what the opposition, even amongst his own ranks.

The first and foremost about any opposition that would make a tough going no matter how good your own force is - that the enemy is both willing and able to fight. Fabious had both qualities in spades.

snapper
06 Mar 12,, 21:05
If the relief force is not upto a relief then Alesia.

Officer of Engineers
06 Mar 12,, 21:10
Hannibal was a maneuver general, not a positional general. A fantastic tactician but a poor strategist. He never did once forced a Roman army to accept battle.

Mihais
06 Mar 12,, 21:31
Sara,nope.The besieger has more problems than the besieged,if the city is prepared and well supplied with food and water.Whatever can be foraged will be gone soon,even if the defenders don't practice scorched earth and foul water and poor food will affect even a modern high tech army with dysenteria.Back then it was much worse and whole armies perished by disease in front of fortified walls.If there is a relief force or one that can harass the besiegers,it's even worse.In short,those are the reasons fortified cities were a functional concept for thousands of years.If you remember,Vercingetorix was sorta forced into Alesia and the city wasn't properly supplied,an impediment compounded by being overcrowded.

None apply to Rome after Cannae.The city was well supplied after Trasimene.The defenders outnumbered what Hannibal could bring to Rome right after Cannae.Hannibal in a fixed position is an easy target for a commander like Fabius,as the Colonel said.Fabius has an intact fleet,a league of loyal city to harass Hannibal's meagre logistic lifeline and superior numbers.Roman Senate and the most loyal cities were acutely aware of these advantages,thus while the situation was serious,it was not desperate and nobody from the core of Roman power tried to bail out.

Doktor
06 Mar 12,, 21:41
Mihais,

Something is wrong wih your numbers, mate.

Hannibal had 45,000-50,000 troops on the field and suffered 10,000-15,000 KIA. If you add 2-3x more wounded he has no troops left.

Otherwise I agree with your logic that he can't siege Rome. He has no experience in siege, no tools and no troops for such an adventure.

Snapper,


Even if Gallic accept to send more troops, when will they arriveand in what numbers?

Mihais
06 Mar 12,, 22:18
Hannibal lost between 5000 to 8000 men.The higher the number,higher the Roman patriotism of the historian.If he had lost more,we would have known.

Doktor
06 Mar 12,, 22:29
Hannibal lost between 5000 to 8000 men.The higher the number,higher the Roman patriotism of the historian.If he had lost more,we would have known.

Are you including Gallic and Spanish losses?

Mihais
06 Mar 12,, 23:19
All KIA's.A bit more than half were Gauls.Polybius and Titus Livius included them,I'm just relaying information.Can't kill them if they lied:biggrin:

Doktor
07 Mar 12,, 00:55
All KIA's.A bit more than half were Gauls.Polybius and Titus Livius included them,I'm just relaying information.Can't kill them if they lied:biggrin:

We are derailing, either KIA+WIA numbers are wrong or 20k is a figure too small for the men that would be fit to participate in the siege. Unless of course Hannibal's casualties were 60%, which were not.

Anyway, the fact remains that Hannibal can't effectively siege Rome, even if all 50k troops he had prior are alive and well. Can we move on?

snapper
07 Mar 12,, 03:26
Hannibal was a maneuver general, not a positional general. A fantastic tactician but a poor strategist. He never did once forced a Roman army to accept battle.

Ok... now I am getting lost! A 'tactician' relates to battlefield tactics right and a strategist to 'campaign movement', with logistics (food, weapons, clothes etc) thrown in? So Hannibal is not a strategist? The whole concept of over the Alps and all? That IS a strategic concept yes? (Not sure if I have terms right when addressing the military).

You say that Hannibal never managed to bring a Roman army to battle Sir; yes but only after Fabius Maximus was appointed Dictator/assumed command, and his express policy was NOT to give battle.


Sara,nope.The besieger has more problems than the besieged,if the city is prepared and well supplied with food and water.Whatever can be foraged will be gone soon,even if the defenders don't practice scorched earth and foul water and poor food will affect even a modern high tech army with dysenteria.Back then it was much worse and whole armies perished by disease in front of fortified walls.If there is a relief force or one that can harass the besiegers,it's even worse.In short,those are the reasons fortified cities were a functional concept for thousands of years.If you remember,Vercingetorix was sorta forced into Alesia and the city wasn't properly supplied,an impediment compounded by being overcrowded.

None apply to Rome after Cannae.The city was well supplied after Trasimene.The defenders outnumbered what Hannibal could bring to Rome right after Cannae.Hannibal in a fixed position is an easy target for a commander like Fabius,as the Colonel said.Fabius has an intact fleet,a league of loyal city to harass Hannibal's meagre logistic lifeline and superior numbers.Roman Senate and the most loyal cities were acutely aware of these advantages,thus while the situation was serious,it was not desperate and nobody from the core of Roman power tried to bail out.

Ok so you have more (useless) soldiers than Hannibal 2/3rds of whom may change sides. IF he beseiges Rome every day he sits outside the greater the likelihood that City A (particularly the Greek cities - who Hannibal was allied with in their homeland) will defect. The odds on manpower COULD change very rapidly.

Officer of Engineers
07 Mar 12,, 05:47
Ok... now I am getting lost! A 'tactician' relates to battlefield tactics right and a strategist to 'campaign movement', with logistics (food, weapons, clothes etc) thrown in? So Hannibal is not a strategist? The whole concept of over the Alps and all? That IS a strategic concept yes? (Not sure if I have terms right when addressing the military).The move across the Alps was a fantastic piece of strategic surprise but it was squandered when he could not bring the Romans into a battle of annihilation. Cannae does not count. Rome was not annihilated.


You say that Hannibal never managed to bring a Roman army to battle Sir; yes but only after Fabius Maximus was appointed Dictator/assumed command, and his express policy was NOT to give battle.I said that he was never able to force battle. He could not force the Romans to a battle that they had to fight.


Ok so you have more (useless) soldiers than Hannibal 2/3rds of whom may change sides. IF he beseiges Rome every day he sits outside the greater the likelihood that City A (particularly the Greek cities - who Hannibal was allied with in their homeland) will defect. The odds on manpower COULD change very rapidly.Wellington once said, if you face Napoleon, run away. If you face his Marshalls, stand and fight.

Hannibal could not defend two cities at once.

Mihais
07 Mar 12,, 13:06
We are derailing, either KIA+WIA numbers are wrong or 20k is a figure too small for the men that would be fit to participate in the siege. Unless of course Hannibal's casualties were 60%, which were not.

Anyway, the fact remains that Hannibal can't effectively siege Rome, even if all 50k troops he had prior are alive and well. Can we move on?

I see why you're confused.Ancient sources give the KIA's.The WIA's are estimated based on typical engagements and modern studies about ancient battles.Some certainly died,some were disabled permanently,while others recovered.Againt some adversaries,it is resonable to say that a higher WIA/KIA ratio existed,based on their tactics and weapons.Like the Parthians,Dacians and Thracians.

Now ,we can move on:biggrin:

snapper
08 Mar 12,, 10:01
Well I asked for a military view and am grateful for your opinions, though I not entirely convinced; marching on Rome surely is the ONE way to force Rome to accept battle? If they are defeated there, outside the very gates of Rome, it's pretty much game over.

Never mind... Suppose Hastrubal had not been defeated? Would the presence of a second Carthaginian/allied army in the immeadiate theatre have alowed Hannibal to win the 2nd Punic War?

Officer of Engineers
08 Mar 12,, 15:19
Well I asked for a military view and am grateful for your opinions, though I not entirely convinced; marching on Rome surely is the ONE way to force Rome to accept battle?Is it Rome or Hannibal who offers battle?


Never mind... Suppose Hastrubal had not been defeated? Would the presence of a second Carthaginian/allied army in the immeadiate theatre have alowed Hannibal to win the 2nd Punic War?Hastrubal was no Hannibal.

Blademaster
08 Mar 12,, 17:59
How come Hannibal did not practice scorched earth policy? He could have raided Roman farms, industries, sea ports, ala Mongol style. It would have the effect of bottling up Roman armies in the cities and Romans would have lost the country side effectively losing control of its empire.

Officer of Engineers
08 Mar 12,, 18:03
The reason why Hannibal did not do it and why Fabious did was that Hannibal's men got nothing to eat. Fabious burned everything in front of Hannibal, leaving Hannibal's men nothing to eat.

snapper
08 Mar 12,, 21:04
Is it Rome or Hannibal who offers battle?

Hastrubal was no Hannibal.

Beseiging Rome forces them to give battle no? If Hannibal is sitting outside Rome another supporting army has forage duty or guard our back duty.

Doktor
08 Mar 12,, 21:08
Beseiging Rome forces them to give battle no? If Hannibal is sitting outside Rome another supporting army has forage duty or guard our back duty.

S,

You seem to ignore Mihais's comment that Hannibal was in no position to siege Rome.

snapper
08 Mar 12,, 22:00
If he marches on Rome and kills people trying to get in or out it's enough.

Officer of Engineers
08 Mar 12,, 22:17
Beseiging Rome forces them to give battle no? If Hannibal is sitting outside Rome another supporting army has forage duty or guard our back duty.You're not understanding. Who defines the battlefield? Rome or Hannibal? Who has setup the battlefield the way he wants it?

snapper
09 Mar 12,, 00:30
I suppose this depends on who has the better scouts? Well I am sure that is NOT the answer but IF Hannibal can get to the Roman walls fast enough to 'bottle them up' then if/when they come out he can dictate where to fight. I am not sure he would have chosen Cannae with his back to a river but he managed to improvise/fluke his way through that one. Lake Trasimene certainly he engineered and the Trebia ambush etc but Cannae? IF he goes to Rome and forces a Roman army to fight the chances are he wins. Rome can then be sat out.

I see your point that he cannot force a Roman army to fight in a tactical sense (although in a strategic sense he has already done this) but the "Now I am coming for you Rome" means surely they HAVE to fight him? IF he didn't chose Cannae - and why would he? - I cannot see why another battle forced upon him would result in a different outcome. So I suppose it depends on if he can get the Romans to fight.

I suppose it is possible they could do a Kutuzov a la 1812 but what then politicaly for their allies?

Blademaster
09 Mar 12,, 00:50
I suppose this depends on who has the better scouts? Well I am sure that is NOT the answer but IF Hannibal can get to the Roman walls fast enough to 'bottle them up' then if/when they come out he can dictate where to fight. I am not sure he would have chosen Cannae with his back to a river but he managed to improvise/fluke his way through that one. Lake Trasimene certainly he engineered and the Trebia ambush etc but Cannae? IF he goes to Rome and forces a Roman army to fight the chances are he wins. Rome can then be sat out.

I see your point that he cannot force a Roman army to fight in a tactical sense (although in a strategic sense he has already done this) but the "Now I am coming for you Rome" means surely they HAVE to fight him?

I suppose it is possible they could do a Kutuzov a la 1812 but what then politicaly for their allies?

Like OOE said, Hannibal could not head for Rome and siege Rome while being pressed by another Roman army. It would be like Battle of Alesia with defiant Romans led by Fabious and a Roman army led by Scorpius coming to hit, only that the Romans would most definitely win. The Romans knew that and purposefully kept one Roman army away just in case Hannibal came marching to the gates. The Romans wanted Hannibal to go to Rome so they could end the war much sooner. Hannibal knew that and had to do something else. The problem was that Hannibal couldn't figure out to do it when the Carthaginian Senate refused to see Hannibal's pleas and support his requests for more armies. He could have directed one army to go to Rome and siege it while keeping his army away and destroy the countryside and force the Roman armies to come to him in order to relieve Rome.

snapper
09 Mar 12,, 02:27
He could have directed one army to go to Rome and siege it while keeping his army away and destroy the countryside and force the Roman armies to come to him in order to relieve Rome.

So doable in your opinion then? (With 2nd army).

zraver
09 Mar 12,, 03:25
Well I asked for a military view and am grateful for your opinions, though I not entirely convinced; marching on Rome surely is the ONE way to force Rome to accept battle? If they are defeated there, outside the very gates of Rome, it's pretty much game over.

Never mind... Suppose Hastrubal had not been defeated? Would the presence of a second Carthaginian/allied army in the immeadiate theatre have alowed Hannibal to win the 2nd Punic War?

marching on Rome forces Hannibal to give battle, not Rome. Rome does not need to come out from behind the walls unless Hannibal moves on Ostia, in which case he squanders the advantage his cavalry gives him. The best he can do is set up a siege in being where he uses cavalry and flying columns to isolate Rome from direct contact with the interior. However, this is less than ideal as unlike Carthage which was a coastal empire, Rome was a power based on interior population centers with well established roads and ports linking the Italian peninsula from multiple locations. He simply didn't have the manpower to truly isolate Rome.

snapper
09 Mar 12,, 11:45
Ok so he sets up 'a siege in being'. The longer this goes on the more defections there are from Rome and the greater Hannibals manpower. The game is NOT to take Rome but to 'liberate' the Gallic and Greek cities/break the federation. If 70% of the cities previously allied to Rome defect the war is all but over. I accept that he cannot win militarily immeadiately after Cannae but that is not the aim. The aim is to win politicaly.

Blademaster
09 Mar 12,, 16:01
Ok so he sets up 'a siege in being'. The longer this goes on the more defections there are from Rome and the greater Hannibals manpower. The game is NOT to take Rome but to 'liberate' the Gallic and Greek cities/break the federation. If 70% of the cities previously allied to Rome defect the war is all but over. I accept that he cannot win militarily immeadiately after Cannae but that is not the aim. The aim is to win politicaly.

Doesn't matter. He lost politically when the Carthaginian Senate refused to back him anymore and the allies knew that and used that to their leverage and to Hannibal's detriment. The only way I could see Hannibal being successful is capturing the Naples port and then retake the Sicilian Island and station troops among the Alps passes and effectively bottle the Romans and re-establish Carthaginian might and rebuild the empire and gathering more armies and settle for the long haul, playing it like a strategic game. He didn't and that is why he lost to Fabian, a strategician, the same way that Confederation Gen. Robert Lee lost to Union Gen. US Grant in US Civil War.

If the Romans didn't want to offer battle, fine, just raid all the border towns and seaports and destroy any naval projection capability and offer pirates and marauders bounty for successful raids against Roman towns and garrisons. Death by a thousand cuts strategy and Romans would be forced to deal with Hannibal's choosing of the battle.

snapper
10 Mar 12,, 12:59
I shall bow to the accumulated wisdom of my elders on this matter.

I have another to ask though!

Amled
04 Jul 14,, 00:16
It clear that thereís sufficient expertise that point out that a march by Hannibal on Rome was not an option.
But this is a What If thread, so what if Hannibal had marched on Rome?
What would have been his options? He didnít have siege equipment, and didnít have sufficient forces to lay siege.
But he could have laid waste to the cities Aqueduct Network!
The Aqua Appia and Anio Vetus; the two aquaducts in service at that time, sent aprox., 250,000 m3 liters of water into the city every day.
Romeís population at that time was aprox., 500,000 free born men, add to that women and children plus old people and slaves and the number would be well over a million, and they would all need water. The city wells would be unable to cope, the waters from the Tiber was foul and undrinkable.
He could force his enemies to come to him on his terms.
Maybe not a war winner but an option.

Mihais
04 Jul 14,, 06:08
Doubtful there were that many in Rome at the time.Roman citizens were already being colonized all over Italy.You have ~700000 fighting men,Roman and allies,which means a population of 3.5 millions in all Italy.

Amled
04 Jul 14,, 12:05
Doubtful there were that many in Rome at the time.Roman citizens were already being colonized all over Italy.You have ~700000 fighting men,Roman and allies,which means a population of 3.5 millions in all Italy.
Thatís because there is no firm number.
Various learned experts put the population of The city of Rome (weapon carrying males) at anywhere from 250,000 - 750,000 again this is minus the non-essentials.
For ease I took the middle ground.
250 or 500 still a lot of water, way beyond what the city wells could supply.

zraver
04 Jul 14,, 14:51
That’s because there is no firm number.
Various learned experts put the population of The city of Rome (weapon carrying males) at anywhere from 250,000 - 750,000 again this is minus the non-essentials.
For ease I took the middle ground.
250 or 500 still a lot of water, way beyond what the city wells could supply.

Still think your numbers are way too high. Rome's population didn't explode until after the Italian, Italian Greek and Latin Municipea were made Roman citizens. Prior to this, Rome would raise a crop of soldiers and thens end retired veterans and poor farmers out a new colony to gain/ firm up control of a strategic location.

Amled
04 Jul 14,, 15:44
Still think your numbers are way too high. Rome's population didn't explode until after the Italian, Italian Greek and Latin Municipea were made Roman citizens. Prior to this, Rome would raise a crop of soldiers and thens end retired veterans and poor farmers out a new colony to gain/ firm up control of a strategic location.

The one thing a cursory google of this subject makes clear, is that it's filled with conjecture.
So lets take the 250,000 + dependants.
The city would still need the aqueducts to survive.

The Thames and Hudson Atlas of World History suggests that it was approximately 250,000

Ancient Rome's Real Population Revealed
Andrea Thompson** | **October 05, 2009

The first century B.C. was one of the most culturally rich in the history of the Roman Empire ó the age of Cicero, Caesar and Virgil. But as much as historians know about the great figures of this period of Ancient Rome, they know very little about some basic facts, such as the population size of the late Roman Empire.
Now, a group of historians has used*caches of buried coins*to provide an answer to this question.
During the Republican period*of Rome*(about the fifth to the first centuries B.C), adult male citizens of Rome could be taxed and conscribed into the army and were also given the right to vote. To keep track of this section of the population (and their taxable assets), the Roman state conducted periodic censuses.
Unexplained increase
From the middle of the third to the end of the second centuries B.C., the adult male population was estimated to have risen from about 200,000 to 400,000 individuals. Those numbers, however, donít jibe with censuses organized by the first emperor Augustus in the first centuries B.C. and A.D., which showed a population that had increased to about 4 million to 5 million males.
While the granting of citizenship to allies on the Italian peninsula accounts for some of the increase, there is still an estimated unexplained doubling or tripling in the Roman population before the first Augustan census in 28 B.C. Just what accounts for that increase is a matter of intense debate.
One camp explains the discrepancy by suggesting that the Empire began counting women and children in the census. While this would account for the relative increase, it would actually imply an overall decline in the population of Rome and there are no suggestions that the entire populace was counted in historical records.
On the other side of the debate are those who suggest that the population simply boomed. This would mean that*the Roman Empire*ó and other premodern societies ó achieved much higher economic output than previously supposed. It would mean that Roman history as it is now understood would have to be rewritten.
Coin clues
To help put an end to the debate, University of Connecticut theoretical biologist Peter Turchin and Stanford University ancient historian Walter Scheidel focused on the region's prevalence of coin hoards, those bundles of buried treasure that people hid to protect their savings during times of great violence and political strife. If the people who hid these bundles were killed or driven off, they wouldn't have been able to retrieve them, leaving them for archaeologists to find.
According to the researchers, mapping out the times when the coins were buried is a good indirect method for measuring the intensity ofinternal warfare and unrest, and therefore a key indicator of population demographics.
"Hoards are an excellent indicator of internal turmoil," Turchin said. "This is a general phenomenon, not just in Rome."
The model the two developed using the coin distribution and less controversial census data from earlier periods suggests that the population of Rome did in fact decline after 100 B.C., suggesting the census did likely begin to include women and children and that Ancient Rome wasn't substantially larger than historians had thought.
By these estimates the entire population of the Roman Empire ó and not just its male population ó was somewhere around 4 million to 5 million people by the end of the first century B.C.
"This may seem like an arcane dispute, but it isn't really because the difference is so large Ė 200 percent," Scheidel said. "This model is much more consistent with the low count. I'm not sure that by itself it has absolutely proven it, but it certainly provides additional evidence for the low-count hypothesis."
The findings are detailed in the Oct. 5 issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Mihais
04 Jul 14,, 16:23
The debate on the population is moot.Hannibal did marched on Rome.He came,he had a brawl with the garrison and he left.
However,even if he had managed to do as you suggest,cut the water supply of Rome right after Cannae,he didn't had the time and the resources to take the city.
First,all the animals in Rome could drink from the Tiber.Second,even at 0.5 millions,Rome can last enough on water reserves for every army left in the field to surround Hannibal.Third,water supplies can be preserved by evacuating civilians.Even after a siege has begun,a breakthrough can occur.Hannibal was very short on men,he couldn't defend much.
Most important,Hannibal runs out of food before Rome runs out of water.

Amled
04 Jul 14,, 18:45
The debate on the population is moot.Hannibal did marched on Rome.He came,he had a brawl with the garrison and he left.
However,even if he had managed to do as you suggest,cut the water supply of Rome right after Cannae,he didn't had the time and the resources to take the city.
First,all the animals in Rome could drink from the Tiber.Second,even at 0.5 millions,Rome can last enough on water reserves for every army left in the field to surround Hannibal.Third,water supplies can be preserved by evacuating civilians.Even after a siege has begun,a breakthrough can occur.Hannibal was very short on men,he couldn't defend much.
Most important,Hannibal runs out of food before Rome runs out of water.
Youíre right. Hannibal came, fought and the left. Iím perfectly aware he didnít destroy the aqueducts, and on his sojourn through Southern Italy he must surely have seen them.
And yes he would have been toast if heíd to besiege the city.
But he didnít have to come near Rome to destroy the aqueduct, the headwater of the aqueduct supplying ĺ of the cityís water supply lay more then 150 km., SW. of Rome.
All Iím doing is suggesting an alternative tactic, and cutting of the 374 of the water supply to your enemyís capitol city would seem a viable tactic.
To paraphrase: ďa society is only three meals away from revolution.Ē . Inserting water instead of meal, and the fact that the Mob in Rome wasnít known for its compliant nature, would make it even more viable. And even if he didn't have the forces to take and hold Rome, bringing chaos to your enemy's capitol should have seen a good thing seen from his perspective.

zraver
04 Jul 14,, 22:44
Amled, sure you know that number is not just for the city, but for the territory of the entire old Roman Kingdom. During the Punic wars, I doubt Rome (the city) even had 250K souls in it, let alone 250K men.

Monash
05 Jul 14,, 00:18
Amled, sure you know that number is not just for the city, but for the territory of the entire old Roman Kingdom. During the Punic wars, I doubt Rome (the city) even had 250K souls in it, let alone 250K men.

It would be a very hard task to conduct a siege of a major, well fortified and defended city like Rome when you don't have secure supply lines back to your home territory and all the surrounding population centres are hostile to your cause. Throughout the 2nd Punic War Romes Latin allies remained firmly committed to the Republic. This was one of the main reasons for the ultimate failure of Hannibal's Italian Campaign. Yes, he garnered support from the Celtic tribes of Northern Italy who had long been hostile to Rome but as far as I can recall he got little or no support from the Central and Southern Italian city 'states' which were extant at that time, all of whom were allies or clients of the Romans.

So by the time he was operating in the vicinity of Rome he had two choices - keep moving in order to obtain supplies or encamp in a relatively secure location and then commit a large part of his available military force to well defended foraging expeditions. Neither approach lends itself well to siege operations as they were conducted in ancient times.

zraver
05 Jul 14,, 05:39
It would be a very hard task to conduct a siege of a major, well fortified and defended city like Rome when you don't have secure supply lines back to your home territory and all the surrounding population centres are hostile to your cause. Throughout the 2nd Punic War Romes Latin allies remained firmly committed to the Republic. This was one of the main reasons for the ultimate failure of Hannibal's Italian Campaign. Yes, he garnered support from the Celtic tribes of Northern Italy who had long been hostile to Rome but as far as I can recall he got little or no support from the Central and Southern Italian city 'states' which were extant at that time, all of whom were allies or clients of the Romans.

So by the time he was operating in the vicinity of Rome he had two choices - keep moving in order to obtain supplies or encamp in a relatively secure location and then commit a large part of his available military force to well defended foraging expeditions. Neither approach lends itself well to siege operations as they were conducted in ancient times.

Absolutely agree.

Amled
07 Jul 14,, 16:19
Amled, sure you know that number is not just for the city, but for the territory of the entire old Roman Kingdom. During the Punic wars, I doubt Rome (the city) even had 250K souls in it, let alone 250K men.
To be honest I not sure any more, maybe you have a better source for your figures, but the ones Iíve tried are filled with conjecture. Both in regards to population size, and to whether they are just men of weapon carrying age, or the population as a whole.
An acquaintance, a retired archeologist replied to my inquiry that being outside of his area of expertise, any population figure would be as contentious as the ones already fielded, but he did focus in on the amount of water the aqueducts delivered. That 250,0000m3 per day was more then The City itself needed, that a surplus was lead of to the surrounding countryside, maybe even used for irrigation.
This being before large scale grain imports, Rome was still dependent on agricultural imports from its surrounding farms to feed itself. Probably why less then 50 years after Hannibal they were obliged to construct another aqueduct to double their intake yet again.
I fully agree with the consensus here on the thread, that after Cannae the rest of the campaign in central an southern Italy was simply a large scale smash and grab raid. to sap Romeís strength and will to fight. This being so, my contention was simply why not take out the aqueducts? The chaos in the city and disruption to the agriculture, would surly be; seen from Hannibalís side, a good ting.
This being said, another question arises. During Hannibal campaign I Central Italy, he must surely have seen the aqueduct towers, especially when he turned north towards Rome. Then being the canny warlord he undoubtedly was, why didnít he take them out?

snapper
09 Jul 14,, 07:58
Why didn't he take the aqueducts out?

I doubt anyone can say for sure but part of the answer may lie in the ancient conception of war and the purposes for it and acceptable means for the conduct of it which is vastly different from ours today. To them war was about armies fighting each other in the field and who controlled the field at the end of the day - a proof of superior virtue as they saw it which justified their cause - not about destroying infrastructure. It's quite likely that destroying important infrastructure would be seen as barbarian and ignoble and therefore prove counter productive. It's one thing to kill the enemy that challenge you in the field but quite another to destroy a water supply. Pyrrhus was regarded as second only to Alexander (his cousin) not because he won wars but because he won all the battles he fought in the field.

Amled
09 Jul 14,, 12:50
I doubt anyone can say for sure but part of the answer may lie in the ancient conception of war and the purposes for it and acceptable means for the conduct of it which is vastly different from ours today. To them war was about armies fighting each other in the field and who controlled the field at the end of the day - a proof of superior virtue as they saw it which justified their cause - not about destroying infrastructure. It's quite likely that destroying important infrastructure would be seen as barbarian and ignoble and therefore prove counter productive...
I did think like you that maybe some unwritten code of conduct guided him.
But then I remembered Alexander himself ordered that plague filled bodies be catapulted into besieged cities.
Also a little digging revealed that even the Romans used to poison wells to weaken their enemies.
Thereís a moral there or something.
They are both remembered as archetypes. Maybe thatís because they didnít acknowledge the rules.


http://www.penn.museum/documents/publications/expedition/pdfs/47-1/fleming.pdf

Doktor
09 Jul 14,, 13:17
Amled, sure you know that number is not just for the city, but for the territory of the entire old Roman Kingdom. During the Punic wars, I doubt Rome (the city) even had 250K souls in it, let alone 250K men.

250BC for 250k souls is doable, 500k is not. Near the begining of the new age, Rome had cca 900k popultion. You should take into consideration that in this century the population skyrocketed due to various political games.

Also, Rome might be good on water, but how much food they had stored?

snapper
09 Jul 14,, 16:36
While I recognise Alexanders use of dead bodies this was not destruction of infrastructure (as we'd call it today) in itself nor is the poisoning of wells. Ravaging crops etc was seen to be fair game if nobody would come out to fight - the purpose of ravaging crops was to persuade the owners to come and fight but not to keep the land. In the Peloponnesian War the Spartans destroyed the Athenian crops year after year without forcing them to fight as they could rely on naval supply of food. Did they stop the natural water supply? No because the purpose was to bring them battle in a staged confrontation.

zraver
10 Jul 14,, 12:18
250BC for 250k souls is doable, 500k is not. Near the begining of the new age, Rome had cca 900k popultion. You should take into consideration that in this century the population skyrocketed due to various political games.

Also, Rome might be good on water, but how much food they had stored?

IIRC, during this period it was only men of property who were legionaires, mostly small farmers

Doktor
10 Jul 14,, 12:35
IIRC, during this period it was only men of property who were legionaires, mostly small farmers

I was wondering since at some time the provinces were sending food to sustain the capital.

Monash
11 Jul 14,, 12:03
Since Hannibal never put Rome under close siege the city was free to import additional food stuffs as required from wherever they could source it, be it by ship up the coast to Ostia or overland via whatever routes weren't cut off by Hannibal's army. No doubt they paid a 'risk premium' for the privilege at the time (merchants being merchants) but the inconvenience was temporary.

kato
11 Jul 14,, 17:55
Regarding the water supply, the two aquaeducts supplying Rome at the time were Appia and Anio Vetus. The Appia, the first aquaeduct of Rome, ran almost entirely underground, the Anio Vetus only received above-ground structures in later rebuilding - under Augustus and Hadrian, primarily. The Appia in particular was intentionally built underground for security reasons, since Rome in its early years had some problems with the Samnites living in the area.

People, from popular culture, get the wrong idea when thinking of Roman aquaeducts. The large bridge structures one might think of are the exception. Underground tunnels were the rule.

Amled
11 Jul 14,, 19:27
...People, from popular culture, get the wrong idea when thinking of Roman aquaeducts. The large bridge structures one might think of are the exception. Underground tunnels were the rule.
Surface or sub-surface my first suggested target was the source of the Anio Vetus which supplied the majority of imported water, which lay about 65km. S of Rome.
But Iíve been made aware of various reasons such a campaign would not have been contemplated, among others;
- that it would not have been an accepted mode of war making,
- that it would not have mattered, since alternative ways of making up for a shortfall of 17,000mm3 water would have been available, local wells, stored water etc.

kato
11 Jul 14,, 21:16
The Anio Vetus only supplied "muddy water" to Rome too according to contemporary sources.