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Total War: Shogun 2 Heaven » Forums » Total War History » The Alternate History Thread
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Topic Subject:The Alternate History Thread
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Awesome Eagle
Spear of Mars
(id: awesomated88)
posted 02-14-13 04:44 PM EDT (US)         
Ok, so i was thinking the other day about the many what-if? moments in history, and realised we dont have a thread for one. So to get the ball rolling, i will ask a question that is a popular one in alternate history.

What would have been the consequences of Rome not being sucked into the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, and maintaining a hold over Germany? Would the area have been Romanized after a time? Would it be impossible to hold the area? Could the Empire lasted longer or collapsed earlier?

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it- George Santayana
History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are- David C. McCullough
Wars not make one great- Yoda
AuthorReplies:
DominicusUltimus
Legate
posted 02-14-13 05:39 PM EDT (US)     1 / 142       
I think Germania could've been Romanized over time, but the actual defense of the province would've been more difficult since the Rhine was a natural and easier border to defend than the vast forests of Germania. Because of that, I think it would've been a considerable drain on the empire's resources and proven to be more trouble than it was worth. As a consequence of the increased financial and military burden, the Romans would've done a strategic withdrawal behind the Rhine much like what they did in Britain when they abandoned the far northern Antonine Wall and fell back to the more easily held wall of Hadrian.

"Life is more fun when you are insane. Just let go occasionally".- yakcamkir 12:14
"It is not numbers, but vision that wins wars." - Antiochus VII Sidetes
"My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel Grayhair
Angel of Total War: Rome II Heaven and the Total War: Attila Forums
Awesome Eagle
Spear of Mars
(id: awesomated88)
posted 02-14-13 05:48 PM EDT (US)     2 / 142       
As you say, it may have been adabndoned either way, but what if the conquest of Germania was completed up to the Elbe, that is another very defensible river that is also quite long. Would this have assisted? Could it have been kept then?

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it- George Santayana
History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are- David C. McCullough
Wars not make one great- Yoda
DominicusUltimus
Legate
posted 02-14-13 06:16 PM EDT (US)     3 / 142       
I think it only would only added to the difficulty since the legion were already stretched pretty thing. They would've had to protect a lot more territory across a border even farther away from proper support and reinforcement from the capital than the Rhine was and if a revolt did happen in the province the men on the frontier would've been completely cutoff from any reinforcement.

"Life is more fun when you are insane. Just let go occasionally".- yakcamkir 12:14
"It is not numbers, but vision that wins wars." - Antiochus VII Sidetes
"My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel Grayhair
Angel of Total War: Rome II Heaven and the Total War: Attila Forums
Awesome Eagle
Spear of Mars
(id: awesomated88)
posted 02-14-13 07:20 PM EDT (US)     4 / 142       
I might ask Terikel to weigh in on this, since he is better versed in Germania than me, but i think he might agree with you DU. A another question for you DU, How would the landscape of the Ancient world have changed if the Selucids didnt collaspe when they did, and survived for 200-300 more years to come into contact with rome?

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it- George Santayana
History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are- David C. McCullough
Wars not make one great- Yoda
DominicusUltimus
Legate
posted 02-14-13 08:33 PM EDT (US)     5 / 142       
A another question for you DU, How would the landscape of the Ancient world have changed if the Selucids didnt collaspe when they did, and survived for 200-300 more years to come into contact with rome?
Ah you broached my favorite subject AE

If the Seleucid Empire hadn't collapsed the balance of power in the Near East would've been very different. At the time of Antiochus the Great's war with Rome (190 - 188 b.c.) the Seleucid Empire was undoubtedly the dominant power in the eastern Mediterranean.Thanks to Antiochus' campaigns in the Upper Satrapies the Armenians, Parthians and the Bactrians had all been defeated into subservience and were once again vassals of the empire. After these campaigns Antiochus once again went to war with his family's age-old rival the Ptolemaic Empire, and once he was done the Ptolemies had lost not only southern Anatolia but also the entire Levant to the Seleucids after the Battle of Panium in 200 b.c. With Egypt reduced to impotence and the rebellious vassals brought to heel once again, it looked like nothing could stop the Seleucids from achieving the coveted title of rightful successor to Alexander the Great. Unfortunately, all of Antiochus' successes were undone when he arrogantly went to war with Rome and met with the disastrous defeat at the Battle of Magnesia.

Had this not occured, I believe the Seleucids rather than the Parthians would've served as the rivals of the Romans for many centuries. If Antiochus exercised more restraint than he did and decided to focus on consolidation instead of European expansion, I believe he could've come to a peaceful agreement with the Roman Republic and conceded Europe to Roman domination while he focused on the Near East where it would've only been a matter of time before the lesser powers were absorbed by the Seleucid Empire. The military power of Ptolemaic Egypt was broken, Armenia, Parthia and Bactria were defeated and enthralled, and Pontus and Bithynia were terrified into unofficial servitude. The only real enemy the Seleucids had left was the Kingdom of Pergamum and the resilient men of the Attalid dynasty, but if the Seleucids attacked in-force they would've stood no chance.

"Life is more fun when you are insane. Just let go occasionally".- yakcamkir 12:14
"It is not numbers, but vision that wins wars." - Antiochus VII Sidetes
"My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel Grayhair
Angel of Total War: Rome II Heaven and the Total War: Attila Forums
Awesome Eagle
Spear of Mars
(id: awesomated88)
posted 02-15-13 04:52 AM EDT (US)     6 / 142       
Ah, a nice overview of the history. It is a good point you make about that then the Seleucids would have replaced Parthia as the arch rival of Rome in the near east. If the Romans didn't take it as well, they would have been cut off from the major suppler of finance for the later empire. Would this have made Rome collapse quicker? Or would they have looked into more expansion in other places, such as Gaul, then Germania?

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it- George Santayana
History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are- David C. McCullough
Wars not make one great- Yoda
DominicusUltimus
Legate
posted 02-15-13 06:27 AM EDT (US)     7 / 142       
If the Romans didn't take it as well, they would have been cut off from the major suppler of finance for the later empire. Would this have made Rome collapse quicker? Or would they have looked into more expansion in other places, such as Gaul, then Germania?
It definitely would've had an adverse effect on the Roman Empire, so much that there might never have been an 'Western' and 'Eastern' division of the empire as it happened historically. Not only would the Romans have been deprived of the riches provided by the great cities of the East, but they also would not have had access to Egypt, one of the great "bread baskets" that Rome historically relied on to feed its massive population. With the East denied to them, I can imagine the Romans expanding into Gaul, Germania and even Britain decades before they actually did but there would've been little plunder to be had there compared to the loot and revenue they gained from defeating the Seleucids, Pontics, Armenians and Parthians.

Actually, because massive amounts of wealth would not suddenly be injected into the Roman economy or into the pockets of the consuls there might never have been a collapse of the republican system of Rome in the first place. The East was a double-edged sword as while it gave the republic incredible amounts of revenue and manpower, it also led to an increase of corruption and infighting for positions in the eastern provinces where governors freely lined their pockets with a part of their province's income.

"Life is more fun when you are insane. Just let go occasionally".- yakcamkir 12:14
"It is not numbers, but vision that wins wars." - Antiochus VII Sidetes
"My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel Grayhair
Angel of Total War: Rome II Heaven and the Total War: Attila Forums
Alex_the_Bold
Ashigaru
posted 02-15-13 06:50 AM EDT (US)     8 / 142       
Well, I believe that even then the Romans could have conquered the Seleucids, as most of Antiochus' III successors weren't competent enough. Also, domestic strife was pretty frequent in the Hellenistic kingdoms...

Invincibility lies in defence, while the possibility of victory in the attack -Sun Tzu
Akouson me, pataxon de (hit me, but first listen to me)-Themistocles to Euribiadis prior to the battle of Salamis.
DominicusUltimus
Legate
posted 02-15-13 07:39 AM EDT (US)     9 / 142       
Well, I believe that even then the Romans could have conquered the Seleucids, as most of Antiochus' III successors weren't competent enough. Also, domestic strife was pretty frequent in the Hellenistic kingdoms...
A common misconception. The many of the kings who immediately followed Antiochus III were very competent generals and statesmen.

Seleucus IV Philopator wisely followed a strategy of recovery and consolidation after the defeat at Magnesia and by the time of his death in 175 b.c. the war indemnity to Rome had been fully paid off.

Antiochus IV Epiphanes was a capable and energetic ruler, though he had a penchant for extravagant excess and he's more infamously known for persecuting the Jews and setting the Maccabean Revolt in motion. He was in the middle of a successful campaign against the Parthians when he suddenly died in 162 b.c.

Demetrius I Soter was a sharp statesmen and a capable general in his own right. After escaping from Rome in 161 b.c. he took the throne from his nephew Antiochus V before executing him and his regent Lysias. After this he defeated the Maccabeans and killed Judas Maccabaeus himself at the Battle of Elasa (though most historians agree that it was his general Bacchides who led the Seleucid forces to victory). However, in 160 b.c. Demetrius personally defeated and killed the usurper Timarchus of Media earning him the title 'Soter' (Savior) for liberating his Babylonian subjects from Timarchus' tyranny. He also dethroned Ariarathes V of Cappadocia and by 159 b.c. the heartlands of the Seleucid Empire had been fully restored. However, a usurper named Alexander Balas eventually rose to challenge him and with the support of Rome, Egypt and the Jews Alexander defeated and killed Demetrius in a great battle in 150 b.c.

Antiochus VII Sidetes took the throne following the disastrous reigns of Alexander Balas and Demetrius II Nicator, and he would go on to prove that the Seleucid dynasty had one more conqueror to show the world before fading into obscurity. Antiochus VII rebuilt defeated the usurper Diodotus Tryphon and eventually secured the loyalty of the Hasmonean dynasty of Judea before rebuilding the Seleucid army. With an army of 80,000 men he reconquered Mesopotamia, Media and western Persia from the Parthians who had seized these vital territories during the reigns of Alexander Balas and Demetrius II Nicator. Unfortunately, he made the mistake of billeting his army in hostile territory where he was ambushed and killed by the Parthian king Phraates II and the main Parthian army.

The period of dynastic strife was set in motion when Antiochus IV took the throne while Seleucus IV's true successor Demetrius I was held captive in Rome. Unlike the more ruthless Ptolemies, most of the Seleucid kings abhorred the idea of killing their relatives just to secure the throne and unfortunately their sense of honor guaranteed their eventual demise by civil war and familial strife.

"Life is more fun when you are insane. Just let go occasionally".- yakcamkir 12:14
"It is not numbers, but vision that wins wars." - Antiochus VII Sidetes
"My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel Grayhair
Angel of Total War: Rome II Heaven and the Total War: Attila Forums

[This message has been edited by DominicusUltimus (edited 02-15-2013 @ 08:19 AM).]

Alex_the_Bold
Ashigaru
posted 02-15-13 01:56 PM EDT (US)     10 / 142       
Your point is true, Dom (even though I have some objections on Seleucus IV). I wonder though, what would have happened had Antigonus Monophthalmus not been defeated in the battle of Ipsus. Would he have the ability to unite Alexander's empire?

Invincibility lies in defence, while the possibility of victory in the attack -Sun Tzu
Akouson me, pataxon de (hit me, but first listen to me)-Themistocles to Euribiadis prior to the battle of Salamis.
DominicusUltimus
Legate
posted 02-15-13 02:37 PM EDT (US)     11 / 142       
Your point is true, Dom (even though I have some objections on Seleucus IV). I wonder though, what would have happened had Antigonus Monophthalmus not been defeated in the battle of Ipsus. Would he have the ability to unite Alexander's empire?
Is it because Seleucus IV didn't conduct any campaigns of expansion? The empire had just suffered a major defeat and lost a capable ruler within a very small time frame, as well has having to pay a huge war indemnity of 15,000 talents (5,000 more than Carthage and 14,000 more than Macedon). To conduct a military campaign under such conditions would've been insane and costly enough to bankrupt the kingdom, so Seleucus IV did the only thing he could do and quietly pay the war debt while keeping on good terms with all of his neighbors. Perhaps he would've gone on a campaign to reconquer the eastern satrapies as his father did once the indemnity had been paid, but we'll never no for sure since he was betrayed and murdered by his minister Heliodorus.

Out of all the successors, I believe only Seleucus and Antigonus had the will and strength of character to possibly reunite and rule Alexander's empire. Unfortunately, Antigonus made the mistake of making enemies out of all of his neighbors (much like what happened to Jetkill in the map game) and being forced to face them all at once instead of one at a time. Seleucus proved himself to be the most successful of the original Diadochi since he managed to claim almost all of Alexander's empire except for Egypt, Macedonia and Greece, but he made the mistake of keeping a disinherited boy in his camp and he was assassinated by Ptolemy Ceraunus as soon as he stepped foot on European soil.

"Life is more fun when you are insane. Just let go occasionally".- yakcamkir 12:14
"It is not numbers, but vision that wins wars." - Antiochus VII Sidetes
"My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel Grayhair
Angel of Total War: Rome II Heaven and the Total War: Attila Forums
Alex_the_Bold
Ashigaru
posted 02-15-13 03:11 PM EDT (US)     12 / 142       
...and then came the Gauls and ruined everything in mainland Greece. However, could Antigonus ever conquer Seleucus' I kingdom? I highly doubt it.

BTW, 1000th post...

Invincibility lies in defence, while the possibility of victory in the attack -Sun Tzu
Akouson me, pataxon de (hit me, but first listen to me)-Themistocles to Euribiadis prior to the battle of Salamis.

[This message has been edited by Alex_the_Bold (edited 02-15-2013 @ 03:13 PM).]

DominicusUltimus
Legate
posted 02-15-13 07:40 PM EDT (US)     13 / 142       
Actually, Antigonus did try to stop Seleucus in a conflict known as the Babylonian War. In this grossly overlooked conflict, Seleucus not only managed to defeat many of Antigonus' generals but also outmaneuver and best Demetrius Poliorcertes and Antigonus himself all while being constantly outnumbered. If that doesn't solidify Seleucus' position as one of the greatest generals of Antiquity, then I don't know what does.

Edit - A belated congratulations on your 1,000th post Alex

"Life is more fun when you are insane. Just let go occasionally".- yakcamkir 12:14
"It is not numbers, but vision that wins wars." - Antiochus VII Sidetes
"My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel Grayhair
Angel of Total War: Rome II Heaven and the Total War: Attila Forums

[This message has been edited by DominicusUltimus (edited 02-15-2013 @ 07:47 PM).]

Awesome Eagle
Spear of Mars
(id: awesomated88)
posted 02-19-13 05:38 PM EDT (US)     14 / 142       
Ok, i have another popular one.

What if Alexander turned West instead of east, or begun his Western campaign after hist stay in Babylonia in which he died?

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it- George Santayana
History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are- David C. McCullough
Wars not make one great- Yoda
ShieldWall
Ashigaru
posted 02-20-13 04:06 AM EDT (US)     15 / 142       
Alexander going west instead of east? Well for one thing I doubt he would have gone native in Gaul to the same extent that he did in Persia! And if he wanted to find the ends of the earth, it would have come a lot sooner in the west.

Didn't the Romans, or possibly just Arrian, consider the question of what would happen if Alexander had attacked them? The brief conclusion was that they would have beaten him in the end, but I doubt that. In the Macedonian Wars the Romans won without any serious difficulty, but the armies they faced were very different from those which Alexander led. His heavy infantry were capable of doing far more than sitting still in a phalanx, and he had a by far more numerous cavalry contingent. The Romans had no cavalry that was worth speaking of. Alexander won set piece battles on the hammer and anvil principle - fix the enemy in place with infantry and then break him line with a devastating cavalry charge. The early Roman army would struggle to contain that, as they always did when faced with large numbers of heavy cavalry, as they were designed for a straight infantry slog. But they never had to face it in the Macedonian Wars as the abundance of cavalry had gone and now the Macedonian infantry were expected to win battles on their own, something which they were never designed to do.

So although Rome would have posed a more difficult opponent than Alexander found in Persia, I can't see them resisting him on the battlefield level other than through ambush and quick attacks before his phalanx was properly formed. Even that would be difficult as this was an army and a nation at the peak of its powers. It believed in itself, and that counts for a lot. And on a campaign level they could expect no mercy. If Alexander won a battle he wouldn't hang around and allow the Romans to recover, he'd go straight for the jugular and put Rome under siege.
DominicusUltimus
Legate
posted 02-20-13 07:57 AM EDT (US)     16 / 142       
The question of what may have happened if Alexander had gone West instead of East is one that I have not answered in a long time.

Realistically, Alexander had no reason to Westwards and into Europe proper. With the exception of the colonies and cities established by the Carthaginian Republic, most of Europe was unexplored and unknown to "civilized" people so there was no telling whether it was worth the trouble of conquering or not. In contrast the incredible wealth, prosperity and immense scale of the Achaemenid Persian Empire and the lands of the East was well-known to the Greeks and Macedonians. For any aspiring conqueror, such as Alexander, they were presented the choice of going west and facing unknown enemies while conquering territory that might have held considerable wealth and untapped resources, or going eastwards against a well-known and established enemy but being all but guaranteed immense riches and dominion of near-legendary lands if he defeated them. For Alexander, and indeed for almost any other man, the choice was easy and because of that we have the legend of Alexander the Great to study and reflect upon.

Now supposing he did march westwards he undoubtedly would've come into contact with Rome, which wasn't anywhere near the martial powerhouse it would be during the Punic Wars or even the Pyrrhic War several decades later. At that time the Roman Republic consisted of Rome and most of central Italy, and thus it did not yet possess the considerable reserves of manpower it would use to grind down his cousin Pyrrhus of Epirus. However, I'm fairly confident that the Romans would've made a decent fight out of it and for a time they would've bogged Alexander down in a slogging match though I believe Alexander would've won for three chief reasons:

  • His men were more experienced, well-trained and employed combined arms tactics whereas the Romans were still almost entirely reliant on the heavy infantry of their legions. Alexander would therefore have the ability to create innovative and decisive tactics using the various troop types at his disposal and it's doubtful that the Romans could've kept pace and adapted before these took their toll on their soldiers.

  • Alexander was much closer to his power base in Macedon and would therefore have far more reserves of manpower than Pyrrhus. He'd be more than able to take whatever losses he suffered against the Romans and carry the war to it inevitable and blood conclusion.

  • As ShieldWall pointed out, Alexander possessed a far different mindset than Pyrrhus or even Hannibal. He was very skilled and innovative when it came to siege warfare, and once he had the Romans on the ropes and driven back into Rome he wouldn't simply try to overawe them with his army or his victories. He would've besieged the city and eventually assaulted it and had the Romans killed or enslaved to the last man, woman and child.

    As much as the Romans, and modern Romanophiles, would like to say otherwise Alexander probably would've crushed them and barely given a second thought to the Roman people. After this, he either would've continued conquering Italy before marching into Gaul or he would've gone to Sicily and come into conflict with Carthage and Syracuse. Either way the World, as we know it, would be a very different place today since so much of American and European culture was drawn from the model established by the Romans.

  • "Life is more fun when you are insane. Just let go occasionally".- yakcamkir 12:14
    "It is not numbers, but vision that wins wars." - Antiochus VII Sidetes
    "My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel Grayhair
    Angel of Total War: Rome II Heaven and the Total War: Attila Forums
    Pitt
    Daimyo
    posted 02-21-13 07:30 AM EDT (US)     17 / 142       
    Plutarch says that, during the Pyrrhic war, Appius Claudius reminded the Roman Senators of their claim that if Alexander the Great had turned west, they would have defeated him.

    Whether they had said any such thing at the time is completely uncertain, though they may have after the conquest of Macedonia.

    Given the difficulties they faced against Pyrrhus, there's more than a little doubt that Rome could have prevailed against a determined Alexander with his full army. Pyrrhus may have had elephants and been considered a great general (though lacking in strategic sense), but he didn't have the determination, or quite possibly the military capacity, to press any advantages he gained after his hard-won victories.

    "Into the face of the young man who sat on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique at Cannes there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty, hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to talk French." - P.G. Wodehouse, The Luck of the Bodkins
    Alex_the_Bold
    Ashigaru
    posted 02-21-13 03:30 PM EDT (US)     18 / 142       
    Actually, Alexander of Epirus, Alexander the Great's uncle, crossed to Italy and was very successful. Had he not died in battle, he could have united the Greek colonies and possibly defeated Rome.

    Just a point, DU.
    Alexander was much closer to his power base in Macedon and would therefore have far more reserves of manpower than Pyrrhus. He'd be more than able to take whatever losses he suffered against the Romans.
    Actually, Epirus is closer to Italy than Macedon...

    Invincibility lies in defence, while the possibility of victory in the attack -Sun Tzu
    Akouson me, pataxon de (hit me, but first listen to me)-Themistocles to Euribiadis prior to the battle of Salamis.
    DominicusUltimus
    Legate
    posted 02-21-13 03:40 PM EDT (US)     19 / 142       
    Actually, Epirus is closer to Italy than Macedon...
    Haha I know Alex, I tend to get a little fired up when I talk about Alexander so I made a bit of a mistake when I typed that. Still, you cannot deny Alexander would've had a much larger pool of manpower than Pyrrhus if he fought the Romans.
    Actually, Alexander of Epirus, Alexander the Great's uncle, crossed to Italy and was very successful. Had he not died in battle, he could have united the Greek colonies and possibly defeated Rome.
    I remember reading a bit about Alexander of Epirus in Manfredi's Alexander Trilogy and how he wrote that Alexander and his uncle swore a pact with one conquering the East and the other conquering the West. A work of fiction, but still a beautiful scene. Also, Alexander of Epirus was married to Alexander Megas' sister Cleopatra who became something of a coveted trophy wife between the Successors before one of them (Antigonus or Cassander I think) had her poisoned.

    "Life is more fun when you are insane. Just let go occasionally".- yakcamkir 12:14
    "It is not numbers, but vision that wins wars." - Antiochus VII Sidetes
    "My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel Grayhair
    Angel of Total War: Rome II Heaven and the Total War: Attila Forums
    Alex_the_Bold
    Ashigaru
    posted 02-21-13 03:55 PM EDT (US)     20 / 142       
    It was probably Antigonus...

    Invincibility lies in defence, while the possibility of victory in the attack -Sun Tzu
    Akouson me, pataxon de (hit me, but first listen to me)-Themistocles to Euribiadis prior to the battle of Salamis.
    Terikel Grayhair
    Imperator
    (id: Terikel706)
    posted 02-22-13 03:14 AM EDT (US)     21 / 142       
    I think Alexander would have wiped the floor with the Romans, personally. No matter how hard that hurts to say.

    The legion at that point was the phalanx legion. Remember, this is before the manipular legion came into effect. The Roman army would have been a phalanx- and by Greek standards, a small one- that fought in the same manner as the Etruscan and Greek hoplites. It was also a single block- they did not have the syntagmae of the Macedonians, which meant their one block was pretty much unmaneuverable. And cavalry? Ha!

    A hundred years later, we see a huge difference between the two armies, with the flexible Roman manipular legion giving Pyrrhus his famous victories. Fifty years on, the Romans were defeating the phalanxes regularly and decisively. Fifty years after that, with Marius and Sulla, the legions reign supreme.

    Alexander could have taken Italia and Rome, and probably easily. His successors, however, missed the boat and paid for that with their realms.

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    [This message has been edited by Terikel Grayhair (edited 02-22-2013 @ 03:19 AM).]

    DominicusUltimus
    Legate
    posted 02-22-13 09:29 AM EDT (US)     22 / 142       
    To be honest, I think a lot of people like to cite the Battles of Cynoscephalae, Magnesia and Pydna as clear exampled of the legion being superior to the phalanx only to cease investigating these incidents further and discovering the phalanx actually held its own against the legion pretty well.

    At Cynoscephalae, the right wing of Philip V's phalanx manage to not only withstand the legionnaires' attack but also push them back and repel them until an unknown tribune took a chance and led a charge into their exposed flanks instead of chasing the routers on the broken Macedonian left.

    At Magnesia, Antiochus the Great led a cavalry charge that broke the Roman left and routed the Roman and allied legions stationed there (an event that Livy suspiciously omits in his account of the battle) but instead of wheeling about and charging into the flanks and rear of the Roman and Pergamene army he chased the routing legionnaires back all the way to their camp. Meanwhile, Eumenes II managed to defeat and rout the Seleucid left wing leaving the Seleucid phalanx exposed to attack. The Seleucid phalangites then reformed into a square with the elephants and light infantry in the center, and began making an orderly withdrawal from the field. The legionnaires refused to attack this formidable formation and only did so after several of the elephants panicked under the sniping of the Roman velites and shattered the square of the phalangites, which combined with the assault of the Romans led to a chaotic rout.

    Pydna was a battle that initially favored the Macedonians as Perseus' more heavily armored phalangites withstood the pilum and other missiles used by the Romans and once again pushed the legionnaires back. However, Perseus failed to capitalize on this success by holding back the Macedonian cavalry and allowing his phalanx to pursue the Romans into broken and uneven terrain. The legionnaires then took advantage of several gaps formed in the pike-wall and without making any attempt to aid his men or charge his cavalry into the exposed flanks of the legion Perseus fled the field.

    In my opinion the Successors, especially the original generation, could've defeated the Romans if they'd exerted more control of their forces and possessed a more heightened sense of tactical awareness but since they blindly believed their soldiers and tactics could overcome any threat they left themselves open to the defeats that eventually led to their extinction.

    "Life is more fun when you are insane. Just let go occasionally".- yakcamkir 12:14
    "It is not numbers, but vision that wins wars." - Antiochus VII Sidetes
    "My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel Grayhair
    Angel of Total War: Rome II Heaven and the Total War: Attila Forums
    Alex_the_Bold
    Ashigaru
    posted 02-22-13 12:59 PM EDT (US)     23 / 142       
    ...had they not been to occupied with facing each other over Alexander's empire...

    Invincibility lies in defence, while the possibility of victory in the attack -Sun Tzu
    Akouson me, pataxon de (hit me, but first listen to me)-Themistocles to Euribiadis prior to the battle of Salamis.
    Pitt
    Daimyo
    posted 02-25-13 10:50 AM EDT (US)     24 / 142       
    The manipular system facilitated, and depended on, commanders of relatively small units demonstrating initiative and aggressiveness. By forming the legions into smaller sub-units they became more adaptable; a large phalanx, by contrast, was less able to react quickly to seize opportunities or remedy reverses.

    Commanders could ameliorate this lack of flexibility by forming phalangites into smaller blocks, interspersed with light troops, and by incorporating a bewildering array of specialised or exotic troop types.

    In a head-on clash on a flat plain a phalanx could beat a legion. In other terrain or circumstances, it was potentially quite vulnerable.

    Saying 'legion beats phalanx' based on a simplified reading of Cynoscephalae and Pydna is, for lack of a better word, simplistic. But it does illustrate the weaknesses in the phalanx when faced by a more flexible enemy commanded by men with some tactical ability.

    "Into the face of the young man who sat on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique at Cannes there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty, hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to talk French." - P.G. Wodehouse, The Luck of the Bodkins
    Alex_the_Bold
    Ashigaru
    posted 02-25-13 12:09 PM EDT (US)     25 / 142       
    ...As was also shown from Iphicrates victory against a Spartan mora using peltasts and the Athenian victory in Sphacteria using peltasts and marines. In general, mobility and flexibility proved to be crucial factors in deciding battles, as in Cannae, Andrianople, Zama, Carrhae and Alexander's battles, even more than numbers (even though Andrianople was won with a lot of luck)...

    Invincibility lies in defence, while the possibility of victory in the attack -Sun Tzu
    Akouson me, pataxon de (hit me, but first listen to me)-Themistocles to Euribiadis prior to the battle of Salamis.
    Awesome Eagle
    Spear of Mars
    (id: awesomated88)
    posted 02-28-13 04:17 PM EDT (US)     26 / 142       
    Alright, here is another one. What might have happened had Julius Ceaser not crossed the Rubicon? What if he laid down his arms and accepted his punishment of banishment. Would the republic have survived longer? would someones else do another 'Ceaser'?

    Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it- George Santayana
    History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are- David C. McCullough
    Wars not make one great- Yoda
    Punic Hebil
    Centurion
    (id: Punic Hoplite)
    posted 02-28-13 11:25 PM EDT (US)     27 / 142       
    I do think someone else would have taken over, the method might have been different. The actions of Sulla and Marius had already been done, and I think someone else would have eventually gone the extra mile.

    I am the Carthaginian who became an angel, and surrendered his wings for a life on the sea of battle.

    My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel the Deflowerer
    Pitt
    Daimyo
    posted 02-28-13 11:40 PM EDT (US)     28 / 142       
    The Republic survived Caesar, but it didn't survive his death and Octavian's rise.

    It's sometimes disputed how dysfunctional the Republic had become, but it should be noted that there had been a succession of civil wars and communal violence in the 1st century BC.

    Whether someone else could have emulated Caesar, at least in the degree of his success, is doubtful. They would have had to have gathered a sizeable army, have had a command long enough to gain glory and popularity with the people, and been close enough to Italy to have a chance of seizing Rome.

    It's unlikely that anyone would have been permitted to achieve such a position again.

    Pompey was the only other person in Caesar's time who could have achieved this (note that he was governor of the Spains, and so commander of the legions stationed there). But he didn't need to, because the anti-Caesarian Senators were sucking up to him to get him to counter-balance Caesar.

    What is probable is that if anyone else had done it, it would have been far bloodier than Caesar's. When governing Italy in Caesar's absence, for example, Antony unleashed legionaries on the mob in Rome, the first man to do so since Sulla. Sulla, and Antony and Octavian, also proscribed their enemies. It seems likely that Pompey would have done the wame to Caesarians had he won.

    "Into the face of the young man who sat on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique at Cannes there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty, hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to talk French." - P.G. Wodehouse, The Luck of the Bodkins
    Awesome Eagle
    Spear of Mars
    (id: awesomated88)
    posted 03-09-13 05:55 AM EDT (US)     29 / 142       
    NEXT TOPIC:

    What if Ceasar wasnt assassinated? How would his planned expedition against the Parthians have gone? Would he have had another Crassus like disaster on his hands? Would he have taken Octavian with him? Could the conspirators revolted whilst he was in the east?

    Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it- George Santayana
    History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are- David C. McCullough
    Wars not make one great- Yoda
    DominicusUltimus
    Legate
    posted 03-09-13 10:29 AM EDT (US)     30 / 142       
    I think Caesar would've held his own against the Parthians and done a far better job than Crassus. He was a far more audacious and flexible commander than Crassus ever was, and he wouldn't have dismissed the capabilities of the Parthians out of an inflated sense of pride especially since Crassus' own defeat would serve as a reminder of such folly. I could see him going as far as to conquer Mesopotamia, but any further would've dangerously exposed his supply lines. He would've had to spend a considerable amount of time in Seleucia-on-the-Tigris (one of the three most prominent cities in the East) convincing the populace to side with Rome and to quell any pockets of resistance or other trouble spots before going any further eastwards.

    I doubt he would've taken Octavian with him, but it's likely he would've left Mark Antony in Rome to uphold the peace and keep the Senate in line. The conspirators might then go as far as to shift their sights on Antony, which would cause a power struggle similar to the Liberator's Civil War with the historic positions of Brutus and Cassius reversed and Caesar forced to holed up in the East.

    "Life is more fun when you are insane. Just let go occasionally".- yakcamkir 12:14
    "It is not numbers, but vision that wins wars." - Antiochus VII Sidetes
    "My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel Grayhair
    Angel of Total War: Rome II Heaven and the Total War: Attila Forums
    Punic Hebil
    Centurion
    (id: Punic Hoplite)
    posted 03-09-13 12:44 PM EDT (US)     31 / 142       
    Didn't Caesar plan an invasion of Dacia as well?

    I am the Carthaginian who became an angel, and surrendered his wings for a life on the sea of battle.

    My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel the Deflowerer
    Awesome Eagle
    Spear of Mars
    (id: awesomated88)
    posted 03-10-13 05:12 AM EDT (US)     32 / 142       
    It appears so Punic. Apparently, the plan was to March into Dacia before the invasion of Pathia to eliminate their powerful King and hopefully break up his kingdom. This was apparently due to the King's siding with Pompey in the Civil war.

    Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it- George Santayana
    History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are- David C. McCullough
    Wars not make one great- Yoda

    [This message has been edited by Awesome Eagle (edited 03-10-2013 @ 05:13 AM).]

    Pitt
    Daimyo
    posted 03-11-13 01:47 AM EDT (US)     33 / 142       
    It seems likely that Caesar intended to take Octavius with him on the Parthian expedition. Suetonius refers to Caesar's plans of invading Dacia and Parthia, and then says Caesar sent Octavius ahead of him (Caesar, that is) to Appolonia in Illyria.

    Hearing of the murder of his uncle, Octavian returned to Italy.

    "Into the face of the young man who sat on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique at Cannes there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty, hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to talk French." - P.G. Wodehouse, The Luck of the Bodkins
    Awesome Eagle
    Spear of Mars
    (id: awesomated88)
    posted 03-11-13 02:13 AM EDT (US)     34 / 142       
    It would have been an ideal time to give Octavian some tutoring in War and politics. A many day journey, alot of Ceaser's knowledge could have been passed to Octavian. Also, The military experience would have done Octavian very good, as we can later see his reliance on Agrippa to win his battles for him. But if this went ahead, whose to say Octavian would have needed Agrippa to win any battles. Ceaser's continued living would have changed a great many thing in Rome and roman politics. But in his later months, Ceaser's pride seemed to be getting the better of him and he insulted the senate once too often.

    Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it- George Santayana
    History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are- David C. McCullough
    Wars not make one great- Yoda
    Alex_the_Bold
    Ashigaru
    posted 03-11-13 07:59 AM EDT (US)     35 / 142       
    One major mistake Caesar made was declaring himself dictator perpetuus. The memory of Sulla's dictatorship was still alive. Of course, he had no option since he had too many enemies in the Senate to be handed all the offices, as happened with Octavian.

    Invincibility lies in defence, while the possibility of victory in the attack -Sun Tzu
    Akouson me, pataxon de (hit me, but first listen to me)-Themistocles to Euribiadis prior to the battle of Salamis.
    Pitt
    Daimyo
    posted 03-11-13 10:55 AM EDT (US)     36 / 142       
    The Senate declared Caesar dictator for life, not Caesar himself. He was already dictator for ten years. With the example of Sulla before him, it probably made sense to stay on long enough to entrench his laws. Practically all of Sulla's changes were overthrown in a few years.

    Caesar seems to have become a bit annoyed by senatorial sycophants loading him with unasked-for honours.

    Shakespeare, Julius Caesar II.1:

    Decius: ... But when I tell him he hates flatterers, he says he does, being then most flattered.


    Shakespeare's cynical twist was an echoing of the ancient historians.

    Augustus himself didn't hold all the offices, but he was granted tribunician power (without actually being a tribune of the plebs) and the power of enacting laws. He often held the consulship though.

    "Into the face of the young man who sat on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique at Cannes there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty, hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to talk French." - P.G. Wodehouse, The Luck of the Bodkins

    [This message has been edited by Pitt (edited 03-11-2013 @ 10:55 AM).]

    Vasta
    Ashigaru
    posted 03-11-13 08:05 PM EDT (US)     37 / 142       
    It would be naive to think that Caesar's extended and perpetual dictatorships, though officially from the Senate, were not entirely concordant with Caesar's wishes.

    I don't think Sulla's dictatorship was the particular specter that prompted the assassination - remember, many of the Republican side in the civil war were Sulla's men, and Sulla's reforms were supposed to be conservative in nature.

    For more on how Sulla's laws lasted/were revoked, check out Flower's Roman Republics (2010) about how the "Republic" was actually a series of republics with collapses and re-establishments. Very cool short read that will change thought processes on 2nd-1st c. BCE.
    Pitt
    Daimyo
    posted 03-12-13 08:53 AM EDT (US)     38 / 142       
    Caesar does seem to have been more interested in the realities of power than the panoply, hence his apparent disregard for the honours heaped on him by fawning (or fearing? Or felonious?) senators.

    I would tend to agree that his being appointed dictator perpetuus is what may have tipped at least some of the conspirators over the edge, and in that sense it was a mistake. We have no way of knowing whether Caesar seriously intended to remain dictator until death or whether he would lay down the reins after a number of years. He seems to have been a good administrator, and few objected at the time or after his death to his measures to improve administration of the empire.

    His dismissal of his lictors suggests he was either fatalistic or genuinely believed nobody would actually try to kill him.

    "Into the face of the young man who sat on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique at Cannes there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty, hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to talk French." - P.G. Wodehouse, The Luck of the Bodkins
    Punic Hebil
    Centurion
    (id: Punic Hoplite)
    posted 03-17-13 11:55 AM EDT (US)     39 / 142       
    Here's a 'what if' for ya.

    What if Napoleon had stayed and campaigned in Spain? I'm of the belief Napoleon would have done better in Russia if he had experience with the Spanish Ulcer. He would have had to think of a way to deal with a hostile populace, limited local supplies, and possibly checked Wellington in battle, what with having his natural strategic skills and overwhelming numbers. He could have pinned Wellington somewhere while his not-as-bright-but-still-capable Marshals dealt with issues elsewhere.

    I am the Carthaginian who became an angel, and surrendered his wings for a life on the sea of battle.

    My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel the Deflowerer
    Pitt
    Daimyo
    posted 03-17-13 01:01 PM EDT (US)     40 / 142       
    Wellington (or Sir Arthur Wellesley, as he still was at this time), had already been recalled to Britain, along with his two superior officers.

    Wellesley had defeated the French in open battle twice, most recently at Vimeiro, when his seniors stepped in and arranged a truce, under which the French would be permitted to depart Portugal.

    A furious British Parliament demanded answers, and Wellesley's career could well have been ruined.

    In the meantime, Sir John Moore took over the army, and he was in command when Napoleon arrived in Spain. Ultimately, Moore was forced to withdraw, fighting a battle at Coruna to cover the withdrawal of his army by the Royal Navy.



    With Moore's death (he was struck by a cannonball during the battle), there was a great deal of debate as to whether there was any point in sending an army back to the peninsula. Wellesley argued forcefully that it was worthwhile, and the government ultimately agreed with him. By that stage, Napoleon had well and truly left Spain.

    Napoleon's personal intervention in Spain was at the head of a quarter of a million Frenchmen, at a time when the disunited Spanish were trying to field regular armies to face the French in open battle. With active resistance crushed and the British forced to withdraw, there was little point in Napoleon himself remaining in Spain. Especially since the Austrians were bestirring themselves (the battles of Aspern-Essling and Wagram occurred not long after).

    "Into the face of the young man who sat on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique at Cannes there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty, hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to talk French." - P.G. Wodehouse, The Luck of the Bodkins
    Alex_the_Bold
    Ashigaru
    posted 03-18-13 01:39 PM EDT (US)     41 / 142       
    I have another one. What if the battle of Actium in 31BC was won by Antonius and not Augustus? Would Antony prove politically able to face the Senate without a bloodbath? I highly doubt it, as he acted brutally against Cicero, mutiliating and the exposing parts of his body in the Rostra. I suspect that the civil wars would have been prolonged for another decade or so, unless Antony managed to face Octavian's supporters immediately.

    Invincibility lies in defence, while the possibility of victory in the attack -Sun Tzu
    Akouson me, pataxon de (hit me, but first listen to me)-Themistocles to Euribiadis prior to the battle of Salamis.
    Awesome Eagle
    Spear of Mars
    (id: awesomated88)
    posted 04-03-13 02:20 AM EDT (US)     42 / 142       
    Nice one Alex, sorry i didnt notice it before. Honestly, i dont see a victory for Antony as a good thing at all for the Romans. Antony by this time (this is from memory so may not be accurate) irrational and 'gone tropo'. I am sorry i cant give a very good answer, but hopefully this bump will provide you with someone who will...

    BUMP

    Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it- George Santayana
    History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are- David C. McCullough
    Wars not make one great- Yoda
    ShieldWall
    Ashigaru
    posted 04-04-13 03:38 AM EDT (US)     43 / 142       
    I don't think the consequences of defeat were as great for Octavian as they were for Antony, because he had the backing of the senate to remove Antony from the equation and go to war with Egypt. Antony had to win or he would be decisively on the back foot and in danger of losing everything. If Octavian was defeated, perhaps he could have lost some of his power as a result, but politically his position was somewhat more solid so I'd imagine it would just be a question of building another fleet and going at it again until they won. But if by some stroke of fortune Antony prevailed and became the only uncontested ruler of Rome, I doubt it would have been long before someone bumped him off. Octavian had the political skill to hold it all together, Antony had many qualities but he was no politician.
    Awesome Eagle
    Spear of Mars
    (id: awesomated88)
    posted 04-12-13 06:02 PM EDT (US)     44 / 142       
    Ok, i have got another one;

    What if Scipio Africanus was not allowed to undertake an Invasion of Africa? How would this change the Punic wars and their outcomes?

    Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it- George Santayana
    History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are- David C. McCullough
    Wars not make one great- Yoda
    DominicusUltimus
    Legate
    posted 04-12-13 08:57 PM EDT (US)     45 / 142       
    What if Scipio Africanus was not allowed to undertake an Invasion of Africa? How would this change the Punic wars and their outcomes?
    The Senate actually did oppose his proposal to invade Africa, but he ended up doing it regardless of whether he had permission or not. The biggest difference being that he would've received military and financial support for the campaign, instead of only relying on the troops he'd personally gathered and trained in Sicily.

    However, if he'd never invaded Africa at all I can imagine the Second Punic War lasting much longer than it did as the loss of Spain and threat of invasion might've been enough to convince the fickle senate of Carthage to send proper supplies and reinforcements to Hannibal in Italy. With a revitalized army, Hannibal would've been able to take the fight to the Romans instead of relying on the raids, ambushes and hit-and-run tactics that he'd been using in the years following the Battle of Cannae. Faced with a restored Hannibal, the Roman Senate would've most likely recalled Scipio and his forces back to Italy where he would've fought his first, and perhaps only, duel against his legendary teacher.

    If Hannibal had been victorious in this "alternative duel", then I'd like to believe that he would not repeat the mistake he made after Cannae and instead lay siege to Rome itself.

    That's my take on the question, but I believe our resident expert in Punic culture will reveal a far superior answer than my own.

    "Life is more fun when you are insane. Just let go occasionally".- yakcamkir 12:14
    "It is not numbers, but vision that wins wars." - Antiochus VII Sidetes
    "My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel Grayhair
    Angel of Total War: Rome II Heaven and the Total War: Attila Forums
    Punic Hebil
    Centurion
    (id: Punic Hoplite)
    posted 04-13-13 00:25 AM EDT (US)     46 / 142       
    I'll piggy back off of your scenario, of a replenished Hannibal in Italy.


    So let's say Hannibal gets reinforcements that give his army a number of 50,000, which isn't as unreasonable as it seems. I distinctly remember compiling a number of between 35-50K troops Carthage sent to various places, Sardinia, Spain, amongst others, instead of to Hannibal. Hannibal, having campaigned on the ground he would have undoubtedly would have faced Scipio on, would have the local advantage. Scipio on the other hand might have been handicapped if he lost his Iberian army, which would be reasonable to assume so as to keep a Roman presence in Iberia to check any Carthaginian resurgence in the area.

    Scipio's biggest advantage when he faced the Carthaginians in Africa is that he planned on his terms, and drilled his men to a new standard that the other Romans didn't meet. That is why he was able to pull of the brilliant victory at Illipa in the fashion he did. Take away his men, he probably would not have fared very well against Hannibal, indeed I am of the opinion he would have lost, Hannibal having the local knowledge of the terrain, cavalry advantage (Scipio wouldn't have Masinissa's Numidians), as well as troops on par with Romans in the area of arms and armor, depending on how long after Hannibal received his reinforcements and how soon Scipio attacked. The real debate in this case would be how Scipio would deal with a defeat. He wouldn't be a clumsy or rash commander as the other Romans Hannibal had faced, so the defeat wouldn't be devastating, but if Scipio decided to give battle to Hannibal, he would have a good idea in his mind that the odds were equal, or in his favor, and thus it would be major. The fact he broke his string of victories might have shaken any support he had at the Senate, and possibly even his own troops. The greatest of Roman commanders himself loses to Hannibal? How can we face this guy?? Scipio would be hard pressed to get another army to face him with, and would most likely revert to the Fabian strategy of denying him more victories and area. Thus the great Scipio would go down in history as the Roman who took Iberia, and that's it.

    I don't believe this would change the outcome of the war. I do believe Rome would emerge victorious, though at a much greater cost. They dedicated too much to the war to have it merely be a status quo result. I do think Carthage would have been better off though. The Numidians wouldn't get the Roman support they needed to infringe upon Carthaginian territory, and Carthage would've been forced to increase its hold on Africa even more after the war, meaning I believe Hanno would get his way in taking more of Africa. The Barcids and Hannoids might have allied themselves politically, and I can't see any reason why this would be bad for Carthage aside from perhaps making Rome nervous as Carthage would extremely prosperous (Hanno was in favor of agriculture and mercantilism based off of it), knowledgeably in warfare (Hannibal would no doubt have influenced any army that remained, arming its soldiers in the Roman fashion if it armed its men) and not crippled from a pesky Roman backed Numidian threat.


    All of that could probably be formatted and stated better, but meh, I'll leave it as is.

    I am the Carthaginian who became an angel, and surrendered his wings for a life on the sea of battle.

    My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel the Deflowerer
    Alex_the_Bold
    Ashigaru
    posted 04-13-13 04:26 PM EDT (US)     47 / 142       
    Well, even if reinforcements were sent to Hannibal, I don't believe he could have won the war. Hannibal's army was comprised primarily from mercenaries, the upkeep cost of which would be tremendously high, even for the rich Carthaginians. On the other hand, the Roman army consisted of levied citizens and allies who were much cheaper to maintain.

    Another factor that should be taken into account is the sheer size of the Roman military. I mean, even after the loss of about 111,000 men in the battles of Trebia, Trasimene and Cannae, the Romans fielded between 214 and 210 BC 48,000 men in Scipio's Hisapanic campaign, 20,000 men in tbe siege of Syracuse, while successfully keeping Hannibal at bay at Nola and Beneventum and fighting the First Macedonian war. It is highly possible that the Romans would rather lose Hispania than have a reinforced Hannibal wandering in the Italian pensinular.

    In addition, even if Hannibal was supplied by the Southern Italian cities, his lines of communication were considerably longer. My opinion is that while Hannibal would win in the battlefield, he would be strategically defeated...

    Invincibility lies in defence, while the possibility of victory in the attack -Sun Tzu
    Akouson me, pataxon de (hit me, but first listen to me)-Themistocles to Euribiadis prior to the battle of Salamis.
    DominicusUltimus
    Legate
    posted 04-13-13 05:03 PM EDT (US)     48 / 142       
    Well, even if reinforcements were sent to Hannibal, I don't believe he could have won the war.
    I'm inclined to agree. In my opinion, Hannibal missed his chance to win the war when he failed to follow up on his victory at Cannae by marching on Rome. While he may not have been able to take the city itself, the news that Rome herself was besieged might've been enough to convince many of Rome's allies to switch sides and send troops to reinforce Hannibal's army. Surrounded by Hannibal's men and abandoned by their closest allies, Rome could've very well surrendered and allowed history to play out very differently.
    Hannibal's army was comprised primarily from mercenaries, the upkeep cost of which would be tremendously high, even for the rich Carthaginians.
    While this was certainly true during the First Punic War, it is my understanding that Hannibal's men were personally bound to him and thus unquestioningly loyal to him. This is evidenced by the fact that he never faced a revolt or mutiny during his entire campaign in Italy. Not even Alexander or Caesar managed to end their careers with such a spotless record of devotion.

    Also, I believe Hamilcar Barca had instituted military reforms that put an end to Carthage's reliance on mercenaries and instead created an army that was bound to Carthage through diplomacy, political dealings and marriages to their subject peoples, and oaths of personal loyalty. However, I may be misinformed and once again leave it to Punic to correct my misunderstandings and any mistakes on my part.
    Another factor that should be taken into account is the sheer size of the Roman military. I mean, even after the loss of about 111,000 men in the battles of Trebia, Trasimene and Cannae, the Romans fielded between 214 and 210 BC 48,000 men in Scipio's Hisapanic campaign, 20,000 men in tbe siege of Syracuse, while successfully keeping Hannibal at bay at Nola and Beneventum and fighting the First Macedonian war.
    If we're using an aborted Roman invasion of Africa as the point of divergence, then it means that the Carthaginian defeats at Utica, Great Plains, Cirta, the Po Valley and Zama are nullified as well. I'm not familiar enough to no the exact total of all the Carthaginian soldiers who participated in these battles, but I estimate this would leave Carthage with somewhere between 60-80,000 soldiers, cavalry and elephants to reinforce Hannibal in Italy. This would put him on equal, if not superior, footing with whatever forces Scipio could command with the key factor being that Scipio would not have any Numidian cavalry since Syphax would still be King of Numidia and Masinissa would never have come to power (as Punic pointed out earlier).

    I'd like to elaborate more, but I have to meet up with someone so hopefully Punic will intervene once again and offer a counter-argument of his own.

    "Life is more fun when you are insane. Just let go occasionally".- yakcamkir 12:14
    "It is not numbers, but vision that wins wars." - Antiochus VII Sidetes
    "My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel Grayhair
    Angel of Total War: Rome II Heaven and the Total War: Attila Forums

    [This message has been edited by DominicusUltimus (edited 04-13-2013 @ 05:03 PM).]

    Punic Hebil
    Centurion
    (id: Punic Hoplite)
    posted 04-13-13 05:53 PM EDT (US)     49 / 142       
    Gladly
    While he may not have been able to take the city itself, the news that Rome herself was besieged might've been enough to convince many of Rome's allies to switch sides and send troops to reinforce Hannibal's army. Surrounded by Hannibal's men and abandoned by their closest allies, Rome could've very well surrendered and allowed history to play out very differently.
    See, I don't think Rome or her allies would have buckled, nor would Hannibal have gained anything in the attempt. Rome still had I believe 2 legions out and about in Italy, the minute they heard of Rome's plight, they would have come running. Being pinned between a city and a legion isn't where anyone wants to fight, especially one who has had his army reduced to somewhere around 22,000 and was battered and bruised. So while Hannibal would undoubtedly gained massive fear points, he couldn't gain anything tactically or strategically from it. Rome didn't show any signs of ultimate surrender to anyone in this time period, and I don't think Hannibal would have started a trend.

    As for Hamilcar's military reforms, they weren't really reforms. Carthage's military was reliant on mercenaries, but the term can be, and should be, taken loosely. Those troops who were given to Carthage by allies can be called mercenaries, as they weren't of Punic origin and were being paid to fight. A large number of Iberians were in the Punic armies in the first war, and when Hamilcar dropped by to conquer the place, part of the treaties he made with the local tribes was an annual allotment of troops for his army. Still technically mercenaries, but the way they were acquired changed.

    Now the Iberians had the connection to Hamilcar/Barcids instead of Carthage and the money it had. It is always easier to be loyal to a person you can physically see, trust and uphold rather than a political entity that is distant. This is the bond that made the troops loyal. When Hasdrubal died, as the story goes, the troops saw in Hannibal a Hamilcar reborn. Hannibal's style of leadership also strengthened that bond, leading towards the front instead of from the rear, and was able to do this because he campaigned so much in Iberia, and was able to trust his other commanders to accomplish his grand plan in the battle. As a side note to the lack of mutinies and revolts Hannibal had, it should be noted that when he reached the Pyrenees he sent home a large number of his original army, which would most likely consist of any troublesome elements in his army, those with questionable loyalty and such. Add in the fact that when they get into Italy, there really is no turning back. The Romans will kill you in battle, and you can't desert because there is no way in Baals Fire you can get to Iberia or friendly territory again.

    As for the paying of the mercenaries, Hannibal did it just fine for years in Italy with barely any support from Carthage. I think he could manage if he got reinforcements, as he would be able to enlarge the area he was contained in, if the Romans would be able to contain him at all.

    I am the Carthaginian who became an angel, and surrendered his wings for a life on the sea of battle.

    My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel the Deflowerer
    DominicusUltimus
    Legate
    posted 04-13-13 10:40 PM EDT (US)     50 / 142       
    See, I don't think Rome or her allies would have buckled, nor would Hannibal have gained anything in the attempt. Rome still had I believe 2 legions out and about in Italy, the minute they heard of Rome's plight, they would have come running. Being pinned between a city and a legion isn't where anyone wants to fight, especially one who has had his army reduced to somewhere around 22,000 and was battered and bruised. So while Hannibal would undoubtedly gained massive fear points, he couldn't gain anything tactically or strategically from it. Rome didn't show any signs of ultimate surrender to anyone in this time period, and I don't think Hannibal would have started a trend.
    I used to think that as well, but I recently read 'Masters of Command: Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar and the Genius of Leadership' by Barry Strauss and became convinced by his argument that the mere act of laying siege to Rome might've been enough of a psychological blow to either convince a disheartened Roman (such as Lucius Caecilius Metellus) to throw open the gates, scare Rome's allies in Central Italy to follow the lead of their cousins in the south and join Hannibal or impress the Carthaginian Senate enough to send him real supplies and reinforcements.

    While Rome may have had other forces outside of the city (such as the survivors of Cannae) these men would've either been too demoralized from their defeat or too terrified by news of the massacre at Cannae to successfully oppose Hannibal. Not every Roman general had the tenacity or resolve of the Scipios and I doubt there were many legionnaires who were willing to face a Carthaginian army that had annihilated a double-consular army that outnumbered them by as much as three-to-one.

    However, I will not press the matter further and simply end it with the conclusion that we shall agree to disagree
    Being pinned between a city and a legion isn't where anyone wants to fight, especially one who has had his army reduced to somewhere around 22,000 and was battered and bruised.
    Strange, I was under the impression that Hannibal had at least 30,000 combat-capable men after Cannae although they would certainly be exhausted after so much fighting.

    "Life is more fun when you are insane. Just let go occasionally".- yakcamkir 12:14
    "It is not numbers, but vision that wins wars." - Antiochus VII Sidetes
    "My magic screen is constantly bombarded with nubile young things eager to please these old eyes. This truly is a wonderful period in which to exist! - Terikel Grayhair
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