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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/

Note: there are two new poems in category “poetry”

461.  Flaubert “Young man, you need to work harder…”(August 26, 2009)

 

462.  Love Passion Stories: Juliette & Rene; (August 26, 2009)

 

463.  Germaine & Benjamin: Love Passion Stories; (August 27, 2009)

 

464.  From Palm Sunday to the Last Supper: what happened? (August 27, 2009)

 

465.  “I was born a philosopher…” (August 28, 2009)

 

466.  “The International Court is politicized…” (August 29, 2009)

Note: you may select the category “list of articles” or go directly to category “finance/politics Today” for the newer posts.

456.  The Mitford sisters; (August 22, 2009)

 

457.  The priest, the warrior, and the peasant; (August 22, 2009)

 

458.  The ransacks of Rome, printing, Reform, and Renaissance; (August 24, 2009)

 

459.  War by the end of September; bi-weekly report #29; (August 25, 2009)

 

460.  Garbo or Dietrich? (August 25, 2009)

 

461.  Flaubert “Young man, you need to work harder…”(August 26, 2009)

 

462.  Love Passion Stories: Juliette & Rene; (August 26, 2009)

Modern Batch of Banned Manuscripts (April 20, 2009)

 

            Censuring of books was not the sole domain of the Vatican or other religious sacerdotal castes; the State governments, special associations “for preserving morals”, and other politically oriented organizations shared in restricting freedom of opinions.  Private court cases are preponderant at this age for extorting royalty fees or any other excuses such as safeguarding privacy.

 

            Gustave Flaubert published “Madame Bovary” in 1856 and the novel was deemed the worst scandal in that half of century. The French government realized that the novel represented the end of romanticism and the advent of reality of life in the provinces. Emma was no longer satisfied with her quaint life and wanted to experiment with her passions. The French State prosecutor banned “Madame Bovary”, “Les Fleurs du Mal” by Baudelaire, and “Mysteres du People” by Eugene Sue.  In 2007, a poll survey of the Anglo-Americans showed that “Madame Bovary” came second after “Anna Karenina” by Tolstoy.

            In 1863, the theologian Ernest Renan published “Life of Jesus”; it reconstructed the life of Jesus devoid of divine nature. It was an instant scandal and the manuscript was re-published 24 times before the end of 1864.  Renan was excommunicated after his death!

James Joyce published in 1918 “Ulysses”; it was an epic poem that recounts the peregrination of an Irish man, Leopold Bloom, in Dublin between 8 a.m. and 3 a.m.  One episode “Nausicaa” brought hell fire of censure from every corner.  Leopold courted a girl swimming nude during fire work and their orgasm coincided with the explosion of the “bouquet” of the fire work. The book “Ulysses” was persecuted by successive court orders for over ten years.

“Lady Chatterley’s Lover” by David H. Lawrence was published in 1928.  It disturbed the social order of class structure because an aristocratic lady deigned to become in love of her employee.  Even thirty-two years later, Britain would prosecute an Italian version.

“Tropics of Cancer” by Henry Miller was published in 1934 in Paris. It is about the personal sexual adventures of the author in minute details. For over 30 years no US publishers would dare touch this manuscript for “obscenity”. Miller’s “Sexus” was even banned in France between the years 1950 to 1964.

Louis-Ferdinand Celine published “Bagatelles pour un massacre”in 1937.  It was labeled hostile to Jews.  It enjoyed many editions during Nazi occupation of France but was never re-edited after 1945 on the ground that his widowed, Lucette Destouches, the sole owner of rights, wanted to respect the author’s wishes!  Celine had published the famous “Voyage au bout de la nuit”.

Nikos Kazantzakis published in Athens “The Last Temptation of Christ” in 1954. It relates a dream that Christ had while crucified of how it would have been his life among his wife and children. Christ would wake up from the dream and then He shouted “Everything is accomplished”.  It was 34 years later when projected as a movie by Martin Scorsese that all hell broke loose; movie theaters were attacked and burned; 14 of movie watchers were injured.

Christian Bourgois was declined by 13 editors before his first novel “L’Epi Monstre” is published in 1961; Christian has 21 years of age and that wrote the manuscript in 10 days. Christian was a nurse with the French army during the Algerian Revolution.  The story is about a communist widower who had incestuous relations with his two girls; one commits suicide and the other is killed by her father. The ban will be lifted in 2002.  Bougois published “Jeanne la Pudeur” and was also banned

Vassili Grossman (1905-1964) wrote “Life and Destiny”; he was a reporter for the Bolshevik daily “The Red Star” during the Second World War and witnessed the horrors of the war and detention centers. Vassili took precautions to leaving two microfilms of his manuscript with Andrei Sakharov and Vladimir Dimitrijevic.  The KGB had confiscated the manuscript, the carbon copy, and the typewriter ribbons.  “Life and Destiny” was published in 1980; it is in the genre of “War and Peace” of 800 pages that uncovers the resemblance of totalitarianism, the rejection of to all kinds of submissions, and the communication with “little people”.  It demonstrates the tyranny of the “Good” and how it can become an epidemic worst than “Evil”

“The Archipelago of Gulag” by Alexander Soljenitsyne was published in 1973 in Paris; it is a vast essay of literary investigation into concentration camps and testimonies of 227 detainees (zeks).  Soljenitsyne was expulsed from the Soviet Union and he wrote the next two volumes in the USA; he received the Nobel Prize of Literature in 1970 and then was received with full honor in Russia in 1994.  The manuscript was published in Russia in 1989.

During Nazi Germany occupation of France 714,000 books were burned in Paris.  The list of banned manuscripts started with 1060 and it kept climbing as Germany invaded Russia and then the US entered war.

Vladimir Nabokov published “Lolita” in 1955 in Paris for fear of being banned in the USA.  The manuscript had to wait until 1958 to be allowed to circulate in libraries. The story did not contain any pornographic descriptions and was recounted in Oxfordian exactitude about the love of a professor to his adoptive child after murdering her mother.

Before the latest wave of outcries for child molesting Tony Duvert published “Paysage de Fantaisie” in 1973 about his experience and inclinations for young boys and received the Medicis Prize for it.  Olivier Petre-Grenouilleau published “Traites Negrieres” where he claims that the Moslem’s Slave trades in Africa far outnumbered the European trade; he did the unpardonable commentary when he discriminated the suffering of the Jews during Nazi Germany and the suffering of the slaves.  In 2008, Sylvain Gouguenheim published “Aristote au mont Saint-Michel” where his researched led him to clarify that Aristotle’s philosophy was accepted in Europe as the Arab translated it; 56 philosophers and historians signed a petition proclaiming that the manuscript is not scientific.

Famous Manuscripts Banned by the Vatican: (Part 2, April 19, 2009)

Thousands of literary works were indexed by the Vatican from around 1200 to 1966.

Virtually no author was spared indexing. Pascal, Descartes, Locke, Spinoza, Rousseau, Kant, Diderot, Stendhal, Lamartine, Hugo, Flaubert, Balzac, Saint-Simon, Proudhon, Zola, Sartre, and even Gide were indexed for part of their work. 

Voltaire was the most indexed: each of his manuscripts was automatically indexed before reading it. Voltaire would occasionally sign Ecralinf meaning (Let us crush the despicable infamous Church of Rome)

Ironically, Darwin, Karl Marx, and Hitler were spared INDEXING.

The Defender of Peace” by Marsile of Padua (Rector of the University of Paris) is published in 1324 and banned by the Church. The manuscript said that the function of governance does not suit the Bishop of Rome (the Pope) because this urge for domination of the Church is the bane of all discords.  Communities should be governed by their own councils.

Baruch Spinoza published “Treaty on Theological-Politics” in 1670.  He is excommunicated (herem) by the Jewish Wise Men of the synagogue of Amsterdam and later indexed by the Vatican. Spinoza claimed that the Torah is false, that soul dies with the body, and that God exist only philosophically.  Religions instituted a God with 7 main characteristics so that their logical scaffold can hold: God should be One, Unique, Omnipresent, has absolute authority and rights over everything, that obeisance to God consist in justice and charity, that Heaven and Hell are the consequences of our behaviors, and finally that God is forgiving because everyone is a sinner. Faith does not dwell on whether God is fire, spirit, light, or thought.

Pierre-Augustin de Beaumarchais published “The Wedding of Figaro” in 1781. This manuscript said of the aristocrats “You were given the pain of being born, and nothing else”; and thus was blamed for disturbing the social construct.  Beaumarchais published also “The Barber of Seville”

“Praise of Folly” (L’Eloge de la Folie) by Erasmus of Rotterdam was indexed in 1511.  Under the mask of irony, Erasmus creates a Foul dominating the World and supported by ignorant idiots with humongous Ego; he attacks the theologians and scholastic specialties whom thrive in adding subtlety over subtlety in order to obscure any kind of comprehension.  In just the same century, the manuscript is re-edited 600 times.

“The Prince” of Nicolas Machiavelli is published in 1513 in Florence.  The book explains how a Prince should behave to acquire and then retain power and would be one of the founders of modern political thinking.

“The Third Book” of Francois Rabelais was published in 1532.  The previous publications “Pantagruel” and “Gargantua” were not spared indexing too.  The art of mockery far exceed that of Erasmus and his farces scorch all the princes.  Moliere would rely on Rabelais’ works for his comedies.

The Essays” of about 107 of essays by Michel Montaigne are published as of 1580 and was censured by the Church Inquisition.  The Church didn’t like the offhandedness of mixing sacred topics with profane subjects and the manuscript was judged morally too permissive.

“The new Stories” succeeds the famous fables of Jean de la Fontaine and are published as of 1674 and mocks the clerics and was indexed for “corrupting the moral and inspiring libertine behaviors”.  Before he dies, his confessor forced him to recant, and he did so that he may die in peace of that pest of cleric.

“The Spirit of Laws” by Charles-Louis of Montesquieu was published in Switzerland in 1748 to avoid censuring.  The author demanded that the three branches of executive, legislative, and justice enjoy independent powers for check and balance in governance.

“Therese the Philosopher” by Jean-Baptiste Boyer was published in 1748, in the same year that “Fanny Hill” of John Cleland was published.  This manuscript described in details the bacchant sacrilegious ceremonies that a Pope relished. The Marquis of Sade would imitate that genre of pornography.  It is rumored that these kinds of books influenced the French Revolution more than any other manuscripts.  The French National Library cataloged this book under “Hell” section.

“Emile” by Jean-Jacques Rousseau was published in 1762.  Rousseau offered a new educational system for kids so that the natural kindness of humankind is preserved; that kids enjoy their lives as kids and refrain from reading before the age of 12; that they wear loose garments to play leisurely.  The manuscript was indexed and publicly burned in Paris for inciting man to follow his instincts.  Rousseau will publish “The Social Contract” in 1766 and Geneva Council banished it.  In reaction, Rousseau abandoned his Switzerland nationality.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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