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Thread: Apres Cannae

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    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.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blademaster View Post
    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).

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    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.

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    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    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.
    Last edited by Blademaster; 09 Mar 12, at 15:04.

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    I shall bow to the accumulated wisdom of my elders on this matter.

    I have another to ask though!

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    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.
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    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.
    Those who know don't speak
    He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. Luke 22:36

  9. #39
    Senior Contributor Amled's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mihais View Post
    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.
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  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amled View Post
    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.

  11. #41
    Senior Contributor Amled's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    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.
    When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow. - Anais Nin

  12. #42
    Senior Contributor Mihais's Avatar
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    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.
    Those who know don't speak
    He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. Luke 22:36

  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mihais View Post
    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.
    When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow. - Anais Nin

  14. #44
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    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.

  15. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    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.
    Last edited by Monash; 05 Jul 14, at 03:52.

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