Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Carthage

History stories are wrong: History never united a people on a worthy humanitarian tangible value

There is no doubt in my mind that History stories were written by Victors since writing was invented.

And whatever achievements and number extended are way too biased, faked and over-rated.

And you should learn the context and the worthiness of the “adversaries”: Usually, the “vanquished were far more cultured and economically advanced than the conquerors.

And whatever achievements coined by the occupiers where done by the conquered party such as artisans, educated, thinkers or war detained people.

And whatever unity existed in the warrior-kind “City-State” expansionist was for the purpose of looting and the added-value and worthiness of the subjugated people.

That in modern history, only wars united “nations” and the occupation of colonies and their exploitation.

Whatever was tangible was of the material kinds: higher human values was totally forgotten and never disseminated once the occupation settles in.

The Modern States that learned to listen to the demands and request of its people and reacts promptly in reconsidering its laws are the most advanced, regardless of their size in land and population and are the most respectful of the UN resolutions regarding human rights. They have confidence that their educated and cultured citizens are more attuned to the world calamities than their functional institutions.

Note: The civilizations in the Near-East (Syria and Iraq) didn’t undertake a war for war sake. They were prosperous and maintained fair trades with their neighbors and had fair laws for the time and good administration.

These civilizations signed countless peace treaties to keep trade feasible. The only times they had to go to wars, it was because a neighboring State failed to prosper and sought the easy way out by looting excursions and setting up trade barriers.

It is the case of Carthage: Hannibal could have easily subjugated Rome, but he preferred to sign a peace treaty. Rome opted to subjugate Carthage by all means through successive wars.

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Illustrious and immortal personalities: The Phoenician masters…

Masters in architecture, engineering, cosmology, astronomy, philosophy, literature, history writing, agriculture, viticulture, food preservation, textile, dying…

1. Mochos the Sidonian, the geographer who wrote “Sacred Annals”.

Poseidonius believed that the concept of Atoms originated with Mochus

The Greek geographer Strabo (1st century AD) wrote:

“The Sidonians are skilled in beautiful arts, philosophy, sciences, astronomy, arithmetic… These sciences have come to the Greek and Egytians from the Phoenicians…”

2. Sanchuniaton of Berytus (Beirut)  wrote “Phoenicia History” and is credited as the “Father of History“, centuries before Herodotus

3. Pythagoras mother was Phoenician and she sailed from the island of Samus to Lebanon Afka Temple in order for her son to receive the lustral consecration (baptized according to the rite that is still performed in Lebanon).

4. At least 11 tragic plays by Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides have subject matter and characters featuring Phoenician connection and references. These plays appeal to the loftiest and noblest virtues of the soul.

5. Clitomachus-Asdrubal (called Hasdrubal of Carthage) chaired Plato Academy in Athens

6. Philodemus of Gadara wrote “On Music”

7. Porphyrius of Tyre  wrote “Treatise on the soul” and the commentaries on “The Dialogue of Plato“.  He was for Plotinus, Aristotle and Homer what Plato Plato was to Socrates.

8. The French Combes-Dounou (1802) translated the 43 essays of Maximus of Tyre (70-130 AD)

9. Herrenius Philo of Byblos wrote “On cities and their famous men”,  “On Books”, and “History of Adrian”

10. Appolonius of Tyre (60 BC) is the stoic philosopher who provided a “Tabulated account of the philosophers of the school of Zeno and their books”

11. Mago of Carthage wrote the masterful 28 volumes on agriculture “Treatise on Agriculture” and considered by the Romans as the “Father of Agriculture”

12. Longinus wrote “On the Sublime”

13. Nonnus wrote “Dionysiaca”

14. Melodious Romanos is considered the “Pindar of rhythmic poetry”

15. Nemesianus of Carthage wrote “Nautica”

16. Lucius Apuleinus of Madaura (125-180 AD) wrote fables in “Psyche” and “The Golden Ass”

17. Thales of Miletus was born and raised in one of Phoenicia city-State on the coast of current Turkey.

18. The Phoenicians built the city-State of Thebes in Greece, 3 centuries before Athens existed. This famous city generated the illustrious Amphion, Hesiod, Corinna, Pindar, Epaminondas, Plutarch

19. Three out of the 7 Greek Wise-men were Phoenicians, and among them was Thales of Miletus.

The Pre-Homeric poetry was discovered in Ras Shamra (ancient city of Ugarit). Cyrus Gordon wrote in 1929:

“The greatest literature discovered since deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs and Mesopotamian cuneiform…”

Actually, the mythical stories in Homers’s work were Phoenician stories in how they discovered the seas and oceans

Note: Read “6,000 years of peaceful contribution to mankind” by late Charles Corm

Masters in Agriculture, Wine and Beer making, Food preservation, Textile, Dying, paper production… The Phoenicians

It is reported that Marcus Porcius Cato the Elder, after visiting Carthage and returning to Rome with the most exquisite and delightful crops of the orchards in Carthage, he exclaimed with raging indignation:

“Carthage is back to its former glory and power. I am of the opinion that Carthage must be destroyed…”

And Carthage was sacked in 149 BC, let burn for 17 days, and perishing 50,000 inhabitants…

The Roman senate ordered to retrieve from the ruins the 28 volumes of Mago masterful “Treatise on Agriculture”.

This treatise of the “Father of Agriculture” was translated into Latin. The Phoenicians considered agriculture as a precise science.

The Roman scholar Silanus translated the chief parts of the volumes.

St. Augustine, who spoke the still living Punic tongue in the 4th century AC, wrote: “On the word of many scholars, there was a great deal of virtue and wisdom in the Punic books…”

Even in the 20th century, many illustrious chemists did their best to decode the Phoenician purple color  and their dying processes and failed.

The Phoenician textile industry was traded in every corner of the world, and silk, and cotton were common elements in the fabrics…

Papyrus and paper are derivation of the Phoenician term babir, and the City-State of Byblos, renowned for book production gave birth to  Bible, bibliotheca, bibliography…

The Roman Strabo wrote:

“In Sidon and Tyre, one could learn astronomy and arithmetic, which are necessary for navigation… And one could also study all branches of philosophy…”

Paul Valery wrote in “Architecture, 1923”: “This audacious Phoenician ceaselessly agitated the Ocean…

When archaeologists and paleontologists … claim that mankind civilization has the Near East as its hotbed, they mean:

“The Phoenician and Chaldean immigrated everywhere around the world and traded their goods, language, alphabet, industries… and left their imprint of high level civilization to future generations of mankind…”

Note 1:  Colonized the Americas? https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2013/10/14/evidences-the-phoenicians-colonized-the-americas-and-new-zealand-part-3/

Note 2: Inspired from “6,000 years of peaceful contribution to mankind” by late Charles Corm 

6,000 years of Peaceful Contribution to Mankind” by late Charles Corm

In 1934, the US Jesuit priests Ewing and Doberty discovered the Jeita Grotto in Lebanon. And 20 meters deep in the rubble, they found a skeleton of a 10 year-old that they christened Egbert. The features of the skeleton, of 50,000 years ago, had the same modern physical features of current mankind.

6,000 years ago, as the neighboring civilizations built houses out of clay bricks and mud blocks, the people in Byblos used stones, excavated from quarry hard rock.

The stones house was held by 7 stone pillars: 3 pillars embedded in the stonewall on each side, and the 7th pillar installed smack in the middle, acting as buttress to the 6 pillars by means of wooden beans… Thus, this dictum of “The 7 pillars of wisdom

The French archeologists Dunant and Pierson explain this usage of the 7 pillars of wisdom as a symbolic example of perfection.

The Phoenicians discovered the North Star, which the Greeks christened “The Phoenician”

1. The maritime periplus of Hanno:

This Carthage admiral (500 BC) explored the western coast of Africa and reached Cameroon, and established 300 colonies or trading posts.

Hanno loaded 6 galleys of 500 mariners each and crossed the Straits of Gibraltar, moved beyond Senegal, Liberia, Nigeria and up to Cameroon. The volcano of Mount Cameroon, the only active volcano along this coast line, was in eruption and the fumes formed a “Chariot” shape. Hanno called it “Kamour Ayoun” or (Chariot of the Gods).

This expedition met with gorillas and they named them “N’Ghoril” or the “hairy man”

A few of the colonies were Tangiers, Agadir, Acra, Arambys, Cerne, Roxo, Noun, Gytte

Names such as Hani (Hani Baal), Hanoun, Hnein and Honein refer to Hanno

2. The maritime periplus of Himilco:

Himilco set out from Carthage around 500 BC and reached England, Ireland (Holy Island), and the Baltic Sea

The Isles of Scilly (south England) is still called Cassiterides (from Kasdir or Tin, where Carthage mined the tin mineral)

Carthage also profited from the “murex” seashells in Neabra-in-Castle and established the purple dye industry. Historian Will Durant argues that “The Phoenicians were nothing if not the Britons of antiquity…”

The German archeologist Heinrich Schliemann (1822-1890) stressed that the Phoenicians’ amber necklaces found in Tirynsian tombs were genuine and authentic amber of Baltic provenance.

Actually, many Baltic cities in Medieval period made their fortune trading amber that conferred initial magnetic shudder named “electrum”

3. The maritime periplus of Necho around the Cape of Good Hope

Pharaoh Necho II (610-595) dispatched a Phoenician expedition from the Red Sea, down the Indian Ocean, and around Africa continent, and back to Egypt through the Mediterranean Sea.

The sailors claimed they had the sun on their right side in one portion of the periplus instead of the left side.

(The southern stretch of Africa reaches below the Equator before the sun rises back to the left toward the Gulf of Guinea on the Atlantic Ocean).

They circumnavigated the African continent, thousand of years before the Portuguese and Spanish mariners

Victor Berard (1864-1931) argued that the “Odyssee” of Homer was based on a traditional Phoenician periplus

As the Chaldean reached the Americas from the East (through the Pacific Ocean), the Phoenician landed in South and North America westward through the Atlantic Ocean, thousands of years before the European colonialists.

The Phoenician reached Americas in two directions:

1. The distance from Cape Verde (west Africa) to the eastern tip of Brazil is much shorter from Tyr to the Straights of Gibraltar or from Carthage to Cameroon. The vessels floated adrift, taking advantage of trade winds blowing in an oblique direction around the tropic.

2. From Portugal to the Gulf of Mexico, the Gulf Stream drifted the vessels.

There are similarities in the customs, rituals and solar/cosmic cults… among the Phoenician and Aztecs, Mayas, and Incas civilizations

Traces of Phoenician 22 alphabetical letter characters were identified in Brazil, Mexico, Urugway, and the USA (the Susquehanna Stones…

The next posts will provide additional proofs from Venezuela, Brazil, Polynesia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Hawaii, Samoa and the Bering Strait

A few of the cities that the Phoenicians established along the eastern coastline of the Mediterranean Sea:

1. On current Syria: Ras Shamra, Gabala, Paltos, Balaneae, Antaradus, Aradus, Maratus..

2. On current Palestine coast: Ace, Ptolemais, Gaba, Dora, Paneas (Caesarea of Philippi)…,

3. Inland of Syria: Apamea

Note: Part 1 https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2013/09/24/the-most-ancient-and-intrepid-mariners-the-chaldean-of-the-near-east/

Phoenicia: Who is Zenon of Kition?

The Lebanese author, Alexander Najjar, published a French novel “Phoenicia“.

I know most of the historical side stories of this novel:  It is an opportunity to disseminate what has been recounted of the siege of Alexander to Tyr on his way to conquer Egypt.

The mother of the philosopher Zenon was from Tyre, and his father from Sidon (City-States in current Lebanon, known as Phoenicia).  The family relocated to one of the Phoenician-built cities in Cyprus, Kition (current Larnaca).

The Phoenicians had built more than 70 coastal cities along the Mediterranean shores, from Cyprus, Sicily, Sardinia, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, to Libya…The merchant ships would follow the current going north to Cyprus, then westward to Sicily, Sardinia, before reaching Carthage and the other ports, and returning along the northern Africa coast of Libya, Egypt to Tyr.

For example, the City-State of Thebes in Greece was built by the Phoenician, 5 centuries before Athens was built:  Alexander destroyed completely Thebes, a preview savage act for eradicating the Phoenician civilization, culture, and language.

Actually, the Greek never attempted to translate the Phoenician manuscripts and plagiarized extensively their civilization.

(The Arabs did an excellent job translating all of Greek manuscripts, which saved Greek culture from oblivion…)

At the age of 30, Zenon was taking a cargo of goods to the Greek port of Piraeus and the boat was shipwrecked.  Zenon ended up in Athens.

He read the second book of Xenophon “Memorables” that included long discussions between Socrates and Aristippe on the themes of pleasure and temperance.

Zenon met the cynic philosopher Crates of Thebes and followed him as disciple.  Zenon also learned from Stilpon, Diodore Cronos, Xenocrates of Chalcedonia, and Ptolemon of Athens.

Zenon founded the Stoic philosophy.

He had many disciples such as Cleanthe, Philonide of Thebes, Chrisippe of Tarsus, Persee of Kition, and Apollonios of Tyr.   He recounted to his disciple Apollonios of Tyr the story of his mother during the siege of Tyr by Alexander.

Zenon was tall, slender, dark of complexion and led a sober life eating bread, honey, fig, and drinking a little wine on occasions. He gave priority to moral values and virtue, at a period people ceased to believe in Gods, in good and evil behaviors…

Thus, Zenon taught to submit to destiny.  He said:  “It is harder to hold a balloon filled of air under water than to change the mind of a philosopher if he is exempt of passion and vanity.

After defeating the Persian King in Issos (on the border of current Turkey and Syria), Alexander decided to conquer Egypt before tracking the Persian King in Babylon.  It is said that Alexander had to subjugate all cities and port-cities along the way to Egypt because the Persian fleet was dominating the sea and could cut his supply route and attack the read guard of his army.

All cities surrendered without fight except Tyr.

Powerful Tyr knew that Alexander’s goal was to eliminate Tyr dominance in the sea at any cost.  Why should Tyr support the savage and poor Macedonian conqueror when rich Persia lavished grants on Tyr and spared it any direct occupation?

Sidon and Byblos had surrendered without any fight to Alexander and even supported him by sea.

Alexander tried to build a land bridge to join land of Tyr to sea island Tyr, strongly fortified.  This land bridge was destroyed several times and Alexander was ready to give up after 7 months of siege.

Then, one morning, 250 ships converged to Tyr from Cyprus, Rhodes…to support Alexander, after they got news of the defeat of the Persian King.

Carthage declined to come to the rescue of Tyr because the emerging power of Rome was harassing its merchant routes and cities.

Alexander massacred 8,000 people in Tyr and totally ruined this proud city.

Hannibal is the greatest and youngest military leader who commanded an invincible small army to defeating the most powerful military empire, Rome. It is recorded that Alissa of Tyr (an ancient City-State in Lebanon) established Carthage in current Tunisia.  The emerging Roman Empire clashed with Carthage in the first Punic war (Punic for Phenician since this first war was mainly maritime).  The war ended with a peace treaty against the will of Carthage commander-in-chief Hamilcar Barca (father of Hannibal).   Hamilcar was practically exiled after the truce.

In the meantime, Carthage had over 20,000 mercenaries on hand and didn’t feel paying them their full dues.  The mercenaries were in the city of Carthage and could have occupied it if they had a leader.  Carthage paid a portion of the salaries with promises to pay the remaining sum if they vacate the city, which the mercenaries did. Carthage then ordered Hamilcar back to subjugate the mercenary army. Hamilcar waged war against the mercenaries for 40 months before finishing the job.  By then, Carthage was exhausted with empty treasury.

Hannibal was 9 years old when his father died and he spent the next 16 years in the military.  By the age of 25, Hannibal was commanding the troops in Spain and had occupied most of Spain.  Rome started touting Carthage for another round of military engagements.  Carthage was still very weak and exhausted and its oligarchy avoided another confrontation.

 Rome then declared war on the ground that Hannibal broke the treaty. This is the second Punic war.  Carthage still hoped for a negotiated settlement on Spain and declined any military movements.  Hannibal disobeyed and got his small army marching on Rome.

Hannibal marched quickly with 50,000 in infantry, 9,000 in cavalry, and a few elephants and crossed the Rhone River in France before the Roman army could intercept him.  Hannibal climbed the Alps mountain peaks as snow was falling.  This is considered the boldest and craziest endeavor in history.  By the time Hannibal reached the Po River in Northern Italy his army was reduced by half.

Even with this tired and much reduced army, Hannibal crushed two Roman armies in two encounters (each Roman army at least double Hannibal’s.  The route to Rome was wide open but Hannibal refused to march on Rome.  One of Hannibal cavalry commanders asked Hannibal permission to advancing to Rome saying: “Rome is five days away.  By the time your infantry arrives I will offer you Rome.”  This cavalry commander was beside himself as Hannibal declined the offer and he replied: “Hannibal, you are an excellent tactician but a very lousy strategist.” 

The first question is: “Why Hannibal had to cross the Alps when Carthage had a capable navy?  There are many reasons, most of them interconnected.  First, Carthage was inclined not to accept the war: it already had a bad experience with hiring mercenaries.  Second, the aristocracy in Carthage feared that this young and hot-blooded commander might use the navy to enter Carthage and then resume the war according to his plans.  Third, Hannibal wanted to occupy all the lands leading to Italy to safeguard his rears and rob Rome of any future wealth and supplies in men and horses.  If Carthage was agreeable to waging war then Hannibal could have occupied the lands and then board the navy to Italy.

The second question is: “Why Hannibal failed to march on Rome?”  The one who dared to cross the Alps with elephants could logically dare to attempt to march on Rome and negotiate an advantageous deal even without putting a serious siege on Rome; assuming that Hannibal had no siege equipments.  The most plausible answer is that Hannibal was not in Italy to destroying Rome but to even-out the odds for the supremacy of an empire.  Hannibal was not in Italy to strengthen Carthage oligarchic structure which he loathed.  He preferred a Republic system.

Some say that Hannibal wanted to enter Rome with the least casualties by occupying the country side and depriving Rome from any supplies.  This reasoning might be valid but I have another alternative opinion.  Hannibal wanted to emulate Alexander by winning the heart and mind of the Romans. Hannibal was a military man and admired the Roman military spirit and would have rather be a commander in Rome than a commander in this rotten mercantile State of Carthage that feared him and refused him aids, even when he was about to defeat Rome completely.

Hannibal marched on to the Adriatic Sea and then south and captured many Roman territories. In 216 BC, Rome had assembled a fresh army of 80,000 infantry and 8,500 cavalry and advanced to Canna.  Hannibal had barely 23,000 infantry and 10,000 o veteran cavalry.  Hannibal cavalry destroyed the young Roman cavalry within an hour and then encircled the Roman infantry on all sides.  Only 4,000 Roman soldiers escaped this massacre; most Romans died trampled.  Rome learned to care better for its cavalry; that is what it did in the battle of Zama 13 years later.  Again, Rome was wide open for the take; Hannibal declined this petty temptation to marching on Rome, grab power, and ending up administering an empire that would certainly be fighting Carthage again.  Hannibal wandered for another 12 years in Italy.

Apparently, Hannibal loved Italy and this new civilization; he enjoying roaming in Italy; he enjoyed being his own boss; a wandering king with no fixed palaces; no stuffy ceremonials; no mean political maneuvering.  Hannibal was young (only 28); he is young and having a blast and had all the time ahead of him before taking on boring responsibilities.  Hannibal was the ultimate Corporal: first in battle and last to quit the battle field.  Hannibal had all his time:  Either Rome comes around and negotiate a settlement or he will check any Roman resurgence of military might.

By then, the Roman General, Scipio the Younger, had advanced in Spain and defeated the army of Carthage sent to relieve Hannibal in Spain.  Why Hannibal didn’t return to his home base in Spain and cut-off any Roman military adventure through Spain?  The second Punic war would have been settled quickly.  Probably, Hannibal feared that he would be acclaimed King in Spain and be pressured to start an empire; this idea was not within the calling of this all-time gentleman soldier.

Scipio marched on to Carthage.  Hannibal was summoned to Carthage; how could Hannibal and his army reach Carthage unless by sea?  Hannibal could not decline facing the more powerful empire, even if he loathed oligarchic systems:  He was to be coming to the rescue of the weaker party and prevent the establishment of a single superpower.

Hannibal was defeated at the battle of Zama and was exiled.  Superpower Rome ended up an oligarchy.  Give time, every superpower invariably consolidates in an oligarchic system.  Wise Hannibal lived to be 2,300 year-old; and counting.

Hannibal stayed at the Greek/Syrian Seleucid King and they fought the Roman again and were not lucky.  Hannibal fled up north and then committed suicide by poison in order not to be made prisoner by the Romans.  The all time gentleman soldier.

It was never reported that Hannibal’s army burned villages or massacred civilians. If he did then, even once, the population would have rallied behind him in fear and apprehension; he would have won the war instead of playing the gentleman soldier.  The greatest feat of Hannibal is that during these 15 years of wandering with a mercenary infantry, far away from home base, his army never experienced any mutinies.

Only another military warrior emulated Hannibal geo-political strategy:  Tamerlane or  Timorlenk in the 14th century.  Tamerlane defeated every major empire at the time (even the most powerful Ottoman army) but never lingered in one place to establishing an empire.  The difference is that Hannibal never terrorized civilian populations, never harassed, killed, or maimed innocent civilians; he never piled up high skulls in pyramid shape; he never made civilian prisoners to shipping to Carthage or Spain.  Hannibal the enemy of superpowers and the all-time gentleman soldier. Hannibal, the unchallenged all time gentleman soldier, reporting to “duty”, defending the weakest party against bullies.

Note:  There are detailed accounts of Hamilcar Barca war against the mercenaries in Carthage (the famous French author Flaubert described it in “Salambo”).  Why there are no accounts of Hannibal peregrinations in Italy? Surely the Roman kept tabs on Hannibal’s whereabout with minute details; then, did the Romans decided that these pieces of intelligence are State secrets until Carthage is physically annihilated in the third Punic war?  Carthage and Hannibal should be erased from the Roman memory?  Physically yes, but never in history.  For 2,300 years Hannibal’s war tactics have been emulated as the most effective war engagements. 

Hannibal: All time gentleman soldier?

It is recorded that Alissa of Tyr (an ancient City-State in Lebanon), fleeing her brother, established Carthage in current Tunisia.  The emerging Roman Empire clashed with Carthage in the first Punic war (Punic for Phoenician since this first war was mainly maritime).  The war ended with a peace treaty against the will of Carthage commander-in-chief Hamilcar Barca (father of Hannibal).  Thus, Hamilcar was practically exiled.

In the meantime, Carthage had over 20,000 mercenaries on hand and didn’t feel paying them their full dues.  The mercenaries were in the city of Carthage and could have occupied it if they had a leader.  Carthage paid a portion of the salaries with promises to pay the remaining sum if they vacate the city, which the mercenaries did.

Carthage ordered Hamilcar back to subjugate the mercenary army. Hamilcar waged war against the mercenaries for 40 months before finishing the job.  By then, Carthage was exhausted with empty treasury.

Hannibal was 9 years old when his father died and he spent the next 16 years in the military.  By the age of 25, Hannibal was commanding the troops in Spain and had occupied most of Spain.  Rome then declared war on the ground that Hannibal broke the treaty. This is the second Punic war.

Hannibal marched quickly with 50,000 in infantry and 9,000 in cavalry, and a few elephants and crossed the Rhone River in France before the Roman army could intercept him.  Hannibal climbed the Alps mountain peaks as snow was falling.  This is considered the boldest and craziest endeavor in history.  By the time Hannibal reached the Po River in Northern Italy his army was reduced by half.

Even with this tired and much reduced army, Hannibal crushed two Roman armies in two encounters (each Roman army at least double Hannibal’s.  The route to Rome was wide open but Hannibal refused to march on Rome.  One of Hannibal cavalry commanders asked Hannibal permission to advancing to Rome saying: “Rome is five days away.  By the time your infantry arrives I will offer you Rome.”  This cavalry commander was beside himself as Hannibal declined the offer and he replied: “Hannibal, you are an excellent tactician but a very lousy strategist.”

The first question is:

1. “Why Hannibal had to cross the Alps Mountain range when Carthage had a capable navy?  There are many reasons, most of them interconnected.  First, Carthage was inclined not to accept the war: it already had a bad experience with hiring mercenaries.  Second, the aristocracy in Carthage feared that this young and hot-blooded commander might use the navy to enter Carthage and then resume the war according to his plans.  Third, Hannibal wanted to occupy all the lands leading to Italy to safeguard his rears and rob Rome of any future wealth and supplies in men and horses.  If Carthage was agreeable to waging war then Hannibal could have occupied the lands and then board the navy to Italy.

2. The second question is: “Why Hannibal failed to march on Rome?”  The one who dared to cross the Alps with elephants could logically dare to attempt to march on Rome and negotiate an advantageous deal even without putting a serious siege on Rome; assuming that Hannibal had no siege equipments.

Some say that Hannibal wanted to enter Rome with the least casualties by occupying the country side and depriving Rome from any supplies.  This reasoning might be valid but I have another alternative option.  Hannibal wanted to emulate Alexander by winning the heart and mind of the Romans. Hannibal was a military man and admired the Roman military spirit and would have rather be a commander in Rome than a commander in this rotten mercantile State of Carthage that feared him and refused him aids, even when he was about to defeat Rome completely.

Hannibal marched on to the Adriatic Sea and then south and captured many Roman territories.

In 216 BC, Rome had assembled a fresh army of 80,000 infantry and 8,500 cavalry and advanced to Canna.  Hannibal had barely 23,000 infantry and 10,000 o veteran cavalry.

Hannibal cavalry destroyed the young Roman cavalry within an hour and then encircled the Roman infantry on all sides.  Only 4,000 Roman soldiers escaped this massacre; most Romans died trampled.  Rome learned to care better for its cavalry; that is what it did in the battle of Zama 13 years later.  Again, Rome was wide open for the take; Hannibal declined to march on Rome and he wandered for another 12 years in Italy.

Apparently, Hannibal loved and roamed in Italy; he enjoyed being his own boss; a wandering king with no fixed palaces; no stuffy ceremonials; no mean political maneuvering.

Hannibal was now only 28 years old; he is young and having a blast and had all the time ahead of him before taking on boring responsibilities.  Hannibal was the ultimate Corporal: first in battle and last to quit the battle field.

By then, the Roman General, Scipio the Younger, had advanced in Spain and defeated the army of Carthage sent to relieve Hannibal.  Scipio marched on to Carthage.

Hannibal was summoned to Carthage; how could Hannibal and his army reach Carthage unless by sea?  When the oligarchy in Carthage need something, the navy is ready to dispatch the army of Hannibal.

Hannibal was defeated at the battle of Zama and was exiled.

Hannibal stayed at the Greek/Syrian Seleucid King and they fought the Roman again and were not lucky.  Hannibal fled up north and then committed suicide by poison in order not to be made prisoner by the Romans.

The all time gentleman soldier.

The Romans kept detailed intelligence on Hannibal activities, and it was never reported that Hannibal’s army burned villages or massacred civilians. If he did, he would have won the war instead of playing the gentleman soldier.  The greatest feat of Hannibal is that during these 15 years of wandering with a mercenary infantry, far away from home base, his army never experienced any mutinies.

Note 1:  There are detailed accounts of Hamilcar Barca war against the mercenaries in Carthage (the famous French author Flaubert described it in “Salombo”) then, why there are no accounts of Hannibal peregrinations in Italy? Surely the Roman kept tabs on Hannibal’s whereabouts with minute details; then, did the Romans decided that these intelligence are State secrets until Carthage is physically annihilated in the third Punic war?

Carthage and Hannibal should be erased from the Roman memory?  Physically yes, but never in history.

For 2,300 years Hannibal’s war tactics have been emulated as the most effective war engagements.  Hannibal, the all time gentleman soldier, reporting to “duty”.

Note: 2 Hannibal used his invincible army to weakening the strongest military superpower at each period.  He refrained entering Rome at several occasions simply so that Carthage would not return as the sole superpower in the Mediterranean Sea.  I re-edited this article for further development of this idea https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2010/09/29/wisest-general-all-time-hannibal/


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