View Full Version : Carthago Invicta (v. 1.25)
10-21-2010, 04:45 AM
For the most part, I suppose this version is nearly the same as the last one (hence the "1.25") but I felt that there were enough smaller edits and story changes needed, and it bugged me, so I changed a few things here and there, like the maps, and that now there's an Umbrian nation, stuff like that. I'm starting to get back to writing after a long off period and writer's block, I'm feeling ready to go.
Oh, and here's the link for the old one, if anyone's interested: http://www.counter-factual.net/upload/showthread.php?t=8373
Carthago Invicta, v 1.25
POD: No Battle of Metaurus, 207 BCE
Excerpt from “A History of Carthage”, by Hanno Abonibaal
Hasdrubal Barca, in nearly the same fashion as his brother years before him, had crossed the Alps with an army equipped with the necessary weapons to defeat the Juggernaut that had fought his brother to a stalemate over what was now nearly a decade. To boost his men’s morale after the long march over the Alps, and to rest them, he decided to siege the Roman colony of Placentia. Once his army reached the colony, he sent six messengers, two Numidians and four Gauls, out to seek Hannibal, who was thought to be somewhere near Tarentum at this time, and tell him of Hasdrubal’s plans, his location, and where he planned to meet him at. Around half of the way there, a Samnite woman told the messengers that Hannibal was nowhere near Tarentum, and that her husband was with him in Bruttium. This message was received by Hannibal a couple weeks later, by which time Hasdrubal’s siege had failed – the defenders were stronger then Hasdrubal had anticipated, but this had absolutely no impact on the war. The important part is that now Hannibal had all the information he needed to reach the necessary materials to end his war against the Romans, and now, Hannibal was marching out of his recent encampment in Bruttium to Southern Umbria. Both of the brothers had to evade or defeat two large armies under both of the Roman consuls, Nero defending against Hannibal, and Salinator against Hasdrubal. It is Hasdrubal’s march that I shall recount to you first, and then afterwards, Hannibal’s march and the Battle of Grumentum.
Hasdrubal’s March to Umbria
Hasdrubal’s army left Placentia towards the middle of Maius that year, which was the 607th after the founding of the New City. His army was around 35,000 strong, the majority of which were infantry, and the majority of those being Gallic recruits from his recent expedition through the Alps. Unlike at the beginning of Hannibal’s campaign into the peninsula where the Gauls openly attacked Barcid, the tribes now feared and respected Punic might, and with their usual urge for warfare made them decide to join Hasdrubal - for a small fee. Not that Hasdrubal was complaining of course – he was there at Cannae with his brothers, he knew how many men Rome could field. Every man was needed for this expedition.
Hasdrubal’s army made good time, having had their major rest stop at Placentia; most of the army was ready to march on and meet Hannibal. By the end of Iunius, they had reached the Metaurus River, where the army camped for a couple days, and then made the final push from the Alps to Southern Umbria. Hasdrubal was openly astonished with his luck that they hadn’t met a major Roman army whilst on their march… they had of course met Fabian’s foxes, as Hasdrubal called the small Roman bands that would attack Punic foragers, but the northern consular army was nowhere to be seen. Hasdrubal saw this as a sign that Ba’al approved of the Barcid plan, and his army made it safely to Umbria towards the middle of July that year.
Marcus Livius Salinator, the consul of the Roman Legions in Northern Italy, was about a week behind Hasdrubal’s army, because Hasdrubal was much faster down the Alps than Rome had anticipated. Salinator had rightly assumed that Hasdrubal had successfully contacted Hannibal, and thus was afraid to trail Hasdrubal’s army too closely, knowing that it would be very tough to catch up to Hasdrubal, and, even if he did, it would likely be close enough to Hannibal’s army for both of them to simply crush his. He could not retreat ahead of Hasdrubal either, because he did not know exactly know where he was going; he only knew whom he would meet once he got there. Salinator did not fear either in a pitched combat, but both at once with a tired army that’s been force marched to catch up to an army that’s also being force marched was, in his eyes, suicide. He instead chose to contact Gaius Terentius Varro and the praetor Licinius, demanding them to merge their armies and advance south towards Praeneste, where they could restock their legions and alae, possibly raise another, and prepare for an army of approximately sixty thousand men with an army of thirty to thirty-six thousand when restocked. He also contacted his fellow consul, Gaius Claudius Nero, informing him of Hannibal’s intentions and plans, and of his plan to merge Rome’s Italian armies at the hilly city of Praeneste, preparing in good position for the renewed Punic advance. If they linked up, they could have an army of nearly seventy thousand men, which made Salinator very confident in Rome’s abilities to defeat Hannibal Barca, as they would outnumber him and have excellent ground, and Rome’s legions were no longer the pushovers that they were at Cannae, having enough experience to nearly be counted as full professionals.
This plan is one of the most hotly contested what-ifs of the war. Most modern scholars agree with Salinator that fighting outside the city of Rome was probably the best choice for Rome’s future. However, many ancient Roman/Latin/Etruscan/Piceni scholars strongly disagree with this plan, instead pointing out Hannibal’s weak sieges during his Italian campaign. If Salinator made his army a strong garrison inside the city, then Hannibal would find it impossible to siege Rome. He could not wait Rome out, because Rome still held naval superiority, and Rome’s near equivalent to infinite supply of water would be very difficult to cut off. The city could wait indefinitely, meaning that Hannibal’s only option would be to storm the city. With that large of a garrison, this would be close to impossible, as Hannibal was outnumbered, and, in that situation, you want an army that at least outnumbers the enemy garrison two to one, rather than being outnumbered seven to six. Rome could wait for Scipio and other commanders to return from their outposts in Sicily, Hispania, and other regions, to fight Hannibal, and outnumber the already large Punic force by at least two to one. This would destroy Hannibal’s army, and the war would be won. So, basically, the Roman theory, bluntly, was that Hannibal would be screwed going either direction with a Roman siege.
Salinator seriously considered this idea, but he instead chose to wait and fight Hannibal at Praeneste. Why? Because Rome had learned never to underestimate Hannibal Barca, that’s why. Who could’ve seen Trebia, Trasimene, or Cannae coming? It was unpredictable, what miracles Hannibal could perform. If anyone could defeat a garrison larger than the invading force, it’d be Hannibal. And, the odds of Rome being destroyed in an urban environment would be permanently damaging to the city, and the city might even be burned down in the process. If Rome were to be destroyed, how could they expect to negotiate as winners? How could they expect to keep hold of their exposed fragile group of vassalized allies on their side? How could they expect to hold on to more territory after the war, without a city? They’d have to force Carthage to pay tens of thousands of talents in tribute after the war, which Carthage would obviously refuse, and the Carthaginians would be able to crush Rome like Surus, the greatest of Hannibal’s great elephants, would crush a young Roman Hastati. Salinator thought about these things, and decided that outnumbering the enemy in a great position was a much safer option, and was the better option for Rome’s future. The odds of victory were lower, but the odds of survival were exponentially higher, and so a Roman chose the cautious plan that a Punic general might have chosen, and Salinator advanced to Praeneste with a combined army of just under thirty thousand men.
Hannibal’s March to Umbria and the Battle of Grumentum
Hannibal now knew of Hasdrubal’s plans, and promptly began to reorganize his army for another march. At this point, Hannibal’s army numbered around twenty-five thousand, the majority of those being the toughest of his men from his Iberian campaigns, the Gallic mercenaries that he had picked up when he had crossed the Alps. The remainder of his men were Italians and cavalry, the majority of the Italians being Bruttians. Hannibal knew that the Romans knew what Hasdrubal’s intentions were, they were blatantly obvious. After all, what else could a large Punic army traveling from the Alps mean? He also knew that they didn’t know exactly where Hasdrubal was headed; the only way they would have known is if they had intercepted that letter, which, luckily for Hannibal, they didn’t. Thus, Hannibal guessed that Nero’s army would likely be called up from the southern portion of the peninsula to fight alongside Salinator’s army, probably in Rome or in a strong defensive position near it. Thus, Hannibal decided that he needed to seek a battle with Nero so as to destroy half of the possible army that could destroy his and his brother’s armies.
Hannibal promptly adopted this plan, and then marched his army at a furious pace to reach Nero’s army. Nero had not yet received Salinator’s bid for assistance, all he knew was that Hannibal was now aggressive once more.
Correctly assuming that Hasdrubal Barca had made his way to the peninsula, Nero decided that he had to use his army stop Hannibal from reaching Hasdrubal. He outnumbered Hannibal, and felt that he had a good chance of victory.
He camped near the town of Grumentum, which lies in Lucania, beginning on the evening of the twentieth of Iunius. Hannibal did the same a Roman mile away the next evening. Both sides rested their armies for another day, and, the day after, battle commenced.
The battlefield was a large plain, there were few trees in sight, and the ground was level. The wind was coming from the south-east blowing at a leisurely pace. Hannibal, positioned with his back to the wind, placed eight thousand Spanish infantry on his right flank, whilst the same number of Gallic infantry was located on the left. Hannibal placed the remaining infantry (a mixed group of Italians, Carthaginians, Gauls, and Spaniards) in the middle, where he himself was located, and he had his five thousand cavalry evenly split, guarding both flanks. Nero set up his thirty thousand man army in the typical Roman fashion, except for one part: he grouped nearly all of his cavalry onto his right flank, while he himself was on the other flank with a small contingent of allied horse.
The battle started as most battles during the time period did with skirmishers, and little damage was done to either side after both sides retreated back to their own lines. Nero then did a very bold, and a widely recognized foolish move shortly after this took place. He took his small group of horsemen out in front of the Roman lines, hoping to entice a rash Carthaginian charge towards him. However this did not happen; instead, several of the Balearic slingers who still had ammo from the skirmishing round turned around and whipped a few rocks out towards the trotting cavalry, and nearly all of them missed. Nearly. One of them hit Caius Claudius Nero’s head, which was protected by a helmet, very hard, and gave him a concussion, causing him to fall off his horse and being knocked out.
To be fair to Nero, he assumed that his men were too far away for javelins and slingers to reach, not recognizing the Balearic Slingers’ skill. He thought it was a clever and bold ploy that might make Hannibal make a big mistake, and boost his men’s morale at the sight of their brave commander. But, even if Hannibal was about to act on a sudden burst of aggressiveness to kill the Roman consul, I doubt he would’ve acted on it. Hannibal was methodical, and stuck to his strategy, which always served him well. He wouldn’t have risked anything on such an unlikely endeavor. And it certainly did not improve the Nero’s men’s morale by watching their commander get knocked out by a rock.
After Nero had been knocked out, the twenty or so cavalry that accompanied him out into the open plane hurried to grab their leader, fearing that Hannibal would be completely merciless with, what they thought, was their leader’s dead body. Hannibal marched his infantry forward at a rapid pace, and his both of his cavalry contingents charged, one for the Roman horse, and the other for the Romans’ left flank. The Roman equites charged bravely for Hannibal’s men, apparently shouting “For Nero!” However, once it was obvious the Numidians were going to outlast Nero’s men, they fled, fulfilling their own stereotype on barbarians and their lack of discipline.
Nero and his bodyguard had managed to escape this onslaught, and they went to the middle of the formation. The bodyguards then checked to see that Nero was still alive, and, seeing that he was, arranged for the back legion to fight solely around his body and to protect it with their lives. Nero’s praetors would take over the battle until Nero awoke, which they decided would probably be very quickly – who could stay unconscious during an important battle?
However, Nero did not wake up in time to see Hannibal’s cavalry secure the edges against his horse and alae, or to see his infantry be met with Hannibal’s barbarian mercenaries. Hannibal’s Numidians rained javelins down on to the middle legions during the fight, taunting them to come within their range for their pila to strike.
This was unsuccessful, and the Numidians charged, leaving the Iberians behind, which Hannibal planned to keep in abundance for the final charge for the last two legions. Hannibal’s Iberians fought the left two legions, and his Gauls fought the right two, with his center infantry fighting on both sides. The Numidians charged the legions outer flanks, and they (the legions) tired easy after losing their commander, and routed. However, most of them did not escape. Hannibal had minimal casualties after the first bout of fighting.
Hannibal regrouped his men, and reinstated discipline upon them. He knew that the final third of the Roman forces remaining would be tougher than the first two thirds. Again he lined his men, except this time he split his remaining Africans on the far edges, hoping that they would keep the Spanish and Gauls in check, both in the same place as they were at the beginning. Once they were adequately rested, he sent his men out, himself again in the center block of infantry.
Once his infantry were just out of pila range, he sent his remaining cavalry at the weak center of the Roman line. Nero’s bodyguard was nearly destroyed in the subsequent clash. Hannibal then pulled back his cavalry, not wanting them to take too heavy of losses, and sent forwards his infantry. Gaul, Spaniard, Libyan, Carthaginian, and even Italian alike fought very hard against the legions, who were desperately trying to stay alive at this point.
It is here that Nero reawakes, and, with a burst of energy at seeing their consul still alive, a huge burst of energy came from the legions. However this spark cost them a great amount of energy, and, with the next infantry charge, the Romans fled, primarily out of exhaustion. Nero also tried to escape, but, having just been knocked out, and still having a concussion, he was slow, and he was captured by Hannibal. He gave him a choice: Do you want to be a humiliated prisoner, or do you wish to commit suicide? Hannibal had no reason to really keep him alive, he already had far more Roman prisoners then they had Punic, doubted he’d get much extra for him, and he didn’t think he’d get any information out of him that he didn’t already know. So, he gave him the honorable chance of suicide over capture, and Nero graciously took suicide. He promptly killed himself the next morning.
The Punic army lost approximately three thousand men in the battle, whilst the Romans lost around fifteen thousand. The remainder of the army regrouped a ways in the distance, where a letter from Salinator reached them, telling Nero to come straight to Praeneste for a final battle with Hannibal. The remainder of Nero’s army proceeded to march there.
This battle is often referred to as “a gift for Hannibal” because the battle went so extraordinarily perfect for him. Many of his detractors state that it took little skill for anyone to win this battle, and state that two of his great victories were ambushes and one was utter luck. Indeed, most see it as by far the weakest victory of Hannibal’s great five, however, it was not his fault that the Roman consul had been so foolishly brave and unlucky, and so I tend to appreciate the fact that Carthage killed or captured five times more of the enemy then they lost themselves, and Hannibal showed that he could still slaughter legions with ease. However, this battle is often overlooked compared to the Battle of Praeneste and the Battle of Cannae, and this is rightly so, both of those battles showcased Hannibal’s ability far more than Grumentum did, but one cannot fault Hannibal for a lucky victory. He took advantage of the situation in front of him, which is what all great generals do.
After this, Hannibal’s march to Umbria went very well, and he made decent time. His army reached towards the end of July. From there, Hannibal and Hasdrubal devised a route to Rome, and planned on trying to siege the city if no army crossed them on their route. If an army did block them from Rome, they would highly consider bidding for peace with Rome, assuming they win a subsequent battle, as their numbers would likely be too depleted to attempt a siege on such a large and imposing city. If Rome was stupid enough to refuse, they would pay dearly.
10-21-2010, 04:47 AM
The brothers’ army now held a little over sixty thousand men, and they had engineers to build the all important siege equipment that scared Rome so. They marched from Umbria (no one knows exactly where they met, but there are a few ideas floating about) starting the first of August.
The route that Hannibal and Hasdrubal decided to take was around the Apennines instead of through them. The reason for this was because Hannibal knew he could not really reinforce his army in the Apennines – in the Alps there were brutish Gallic warriors who were eager for a chance to kill some Romans, here, there just wasn’t that kind of response. He did, however, whilst marching through Samnium, pick up a couple thousand Samnite recruits, and he had a little under a thousand Umbrians from his time there. The Samnites, being the most recent Italian Roman conquest outside of Magna Graecium, were also probably the most rebellious of Rome’s new allies, and so, once called upon by Hannibal those couple thousand gladly swelled the ranks of Hannibal’s new grand army.
Taking the long way cost Hannibal’s army a couple of weeks, and by the time they had made it to the other side of the Apennines, the end of August was nearing. By the first of September, he was camping alongside the River Volturnus. He allowed his men a couple days of rest, and sent out a scouting party to find where the Romans encampment. They soon found them near Praeneste, and so he now knew that Rome planned to make a fight of it outside of the city. However, he learned this too late, and knew he would not be able to avoid the Romans; obviously, he favored a quick siege of Rome whilst it was garrison-less before Salinator’s army could stop him.
The pace was rapid, and by the tenth of September, Hannibal and Hasdrubal’s men reached Praeneste. The two armies camped alongside one another for several days, with several small skirmishes breaking out between both sides’ reconnaissance parties.
The area between the camps where battle was destined to take place was hilly, with the height advantage tremendously favoring the Romans. On the hills scattered about were trees, but they weren’t in great quantity. The miniature valley below these hills was for the most part grassy, with the occasional large rock scattered here and there, almost like a few large sprinkles. There were more trees down in this “valley”, and this is where most of the eventual battle was to take place.
Hannibal and Salinator by this point were both getting anxious for a battle; it had been eight days of skirmishing and staring at the enemy from a distance. After the eighth day, there seemed to be an unspoken agreement that the ninth day had to be the day of battle – it was beginning to crush both sides’ spirits and was becoming increasingly difficult to feed their large armies in such a small space. In the later evening, these suspicions were confirmed when a Roman messenger told Hannibal that Marcus Livius Salinator was ready to do battle with him on September the nineteenth. Hannibal told the messenger that this would be acceptable, and so, both sides had some time to prepare for what would be the final battle of the war.
After the messenger came to Hannibal, he called a war council amongst himself and his officers. Hannibal and Hasdrubal dominated this conversation, and their consensus was this: their elephants, numbering around ten, would begin the battle by charging at the legions. During this chaos, the Numidians were to rush up, and strike at the Roman horse, which would be easier to break with the elephants wreaking havoc. Half of the Numidians would make sure that the cavalry ran away, whilst the other half would tempt the infantry to come forward, lowering the height difference. Once this was lowered to a satisfactory degree, Hannibal would lead the infantry into a quick charge at the legions, and Hasdrubal would do the same with the Spanish cavalry. Outnumbered and trapped, the Romans would run, and Hannibal will have won the war. The other officers did not oppose this plan, and so this was the strategy that Hannibal had in mind the next day.
Marcus Livius Salinator had approximately ten legions and alae to his disposal, meaning he had around fifty thousand men. Of these fifty thousand men, around thirty thousand of these were the Hastatii, Principes, and Triarii which formed the backbone of the Roman heavy infantry goliath. Fifteen thousand were infantry from the various other Italian ethnicities. The other five thousand Romans were cavalry, which was about half the number of Carthage’s. Though the difference was small, this was the first battle where the Romans were to be outnumbered in Italy, and Salinator knew it. However, this did not deter him. Hannibal had defeated Nero by Nero’s own rash stupidity, and the legions in the early battles of the war were not even close to the par that his nearly professional legions were now. He’d have the ground, and it’d be difficult to flank him. He felt confident in his ability to triumph over the Carthaginians. He placed Varro in charge of his right flank and Licinius in charge of the left, while he manned the middle, riding behind and making sure that his men would not crack.
The Battle of Praeneste began a little after midday on the nineteenth of September, having taken the entire morning to satisfactorily deploy. Hannibal’s army had the elephants in the front and center, a group mainly consisting of Iberians, Samnites, and Umbrians on the left flank, Libyans, Gauls, and other Italian soldiers on the right flank, and the few Carthaginian citizens that were in Hannibal’s army were placed in the center. Cavalry flanked both sides of the army. Both sides gave their respective battle cries for a long time, clashing their weapons and shields, and shouting, so as to frighten the enemy into submission without fighting. This ceased after a great African Bull elephant gave its own cry, and the battle itself began.
Hannibal immediately sent out his elephants and Numidians. The riders were told that if the elephants showed any sort of behavior that might jeopardize Hannibal’s plan, they were to kill them with their chisel.
Salinator had prepared for an immediate elephant strike, and the few Roman archers there sent flaming arrows towards their large Punic foes. Only one elephant in several volleys had to be killed out of ten; things were going good so far for Hannibal. Once the elephants smacked into the legions, chaos spread amongst these opening legions, only made worse once the Numidians came and pelted the Roman horse. The Roman cavalry, never having seen elephants, let alone train to fight them, were forced into fighting the Numidians by their riders once the Numidians charged the flanks, and the Roman cavalry was easily routed. However, the legions recovered well after the Numidians ran off, and Rome did manage to kill the elephants with much less damage than Hannibal had expected, using the gaps between legions to their great advantage.
More skirmishing took place, and the few archers that Rome did have were targeted by the far more numerous Balearic slingers. These archers were routed just like their horse-riding counterparts.
The Numidians returned after a short chase of the routing Romans, and promptly began to taunt the legions just outside of pila range. This did not work, and once it was obvious that Rome’s legions were not going to budge, Maharbal’s Numidians returned to the main line.
Hannibal’s infantry had been marching at a rapid pace for most of the battlefield up to this point. Rome’s armies had stood stout on the high ground, so Hannibal’s advantage in manpower and cavalry needed to be used well, for oftentimes an overwhelming ground advantage can neutralize the affects of being outnumbered.
A great cry of “charge!” filled the air, and Gaul, Libyan, Carthaginian, and Spaniard alike all fought against Roman [and ally]. The Romans were fighting for everything, and, so in some respects was Hannibal’s army. After all, if the Punic army were to lose, they would be stuck on the losing end of a great war, stuck in a foreign and hostile land. They would have to all wait for a large enough crew to get them out of Italy, and many of the mercenaries might be stuck in Africa for the rest of their lives, which was certainly not their intention by joining this war.
On the right flank, the multi-national force quickly disposed of the first two legions, with help from the remaining Numidians. This however cost Hannibal nearly all of his Numidian cavalry, and Maharbal only just escaped with his life. Hannibal ordered him to leave the fight until told so directly by him. The Iberians on the other side also did well against the first two legions, due to help from the Spanish cavalry. Once both flanks reached the third legion deep the ground shifted even more to the Romans advantage. Much of the remainder of Hannibal’s Spanish cavalry was destroyed in the fight against the third legion, and, after a few charges, the fifth and sixth legions were disposed of. Now, there were only four more to go.
Hannibal still had probably fifty thousand infantry, compared to Rome’s twenty thousand – all of them heavy - the velites had run off a long time before. Salinator sent his rear legions up to fight with the upper legions, abandoning Rome’s checkerboard style formation, as a great, desperate fight was coming.
It was nearly evening by the time the last push came. Both Hannibal and Salinator gave one more rousing speech, and, with the sound of a horn, Hannibal sent all of his infantry at his Roman enemy. Each Roman seemingly became some sort of Germanic berserker it. All of them fought with extraordinary strength, courage, and testicular fortitude that before this, had never and would never be matched by humans. Each Roman it seemed killed two for every one Punic soldier, and even Salinator, Varro, and Licinius themselves got caught up in the fight – even the crazed Germanics only had a few berserkers that would do this, not their entire force. But the Punic army kept coming, and eventually, a Gallic soldier snuck up behind Marcus Livius Salinator during the fight, and stabbed him in the back. With this, the Romans fled, having lost far more men than they would’ve normally taken before routing. Some Romans stayed behind and fought for Salinator’s body, but each and every one of them was slaughtered. Rome’s defeat had finally come. Hannibal Barca won the Battle of Praeneste. The war was over.
This certainly was certainly a “Pyrrhic Victory” for Hannibal, in fact, maybe it should be called a “Hannibalic Victory”, after all Pyrrhus never won to the cost that Hannibal did. While Hannibal managed to use his advantage well, he still lost around 4,000 cavalry and 12,000 infantry – a little over a fifth of his army. Rome’s losses were far greater. They lost 2,500 cavalry, and 30,000 infantry. While not as bad as Cannae, Rome’s citizens were equally mortified at the disaster, knowing that Hannibal ante portas! – Hannibal was now at the gates, coupled with the fact that most everyone knew someone in the disaster, much like the other major Roman defeats excepting Grumentum.
For Caius Terentius Varro, this must have been an extreme case of déjà vu. He, like after Cannae, rounded up the routed men, and took them several miles away from Hannibal’s army, and camped there. He then sent a messenger to the Senate, to tell them of their great defeat and the grave danger the city was in after Salinator’s failure. After a long debate, for the first time Rome had accepted that she needed to negotiate a peace that wasn’t completely lopsided in her favor, and sue for peace with Hannibal before he destroyed the city. They sent the runner back, and he gave Varro instructions to meet with Hannibal and negotiate a truce, as the majority of the SPQR trusted him. Varro obliged, and he met Hannibal the next day, when Hannibal had come within a two day march from the city. Hannibal was pleased at the sight of Varro, realizing what he was coming for, and he ordered his army to halt, and the two men met inside a nearby Latin farmhouse. Hannibal was very insistent on this, and, while he never told Varro why, I think it was because he wanted a symbol right in Varro’s face that the various cultures Rome had forced into subservice over the years would be freed – though I’m not sure that this is right either, as he didn’t have the Latins freed from Rome.
Varro and Hannibal negotiated a peace for several hours, and eventually agreed on the one that follows:
1. Rome shall cede all of its territory outside of the Italian peninsula to Carthage. This includes all of Sicily, as Rome had taken control of Syracuse five years previously.
2. Rome shall vacate their claims in Illyria to Macedonia
3. Rome shall give up much of its southern and eastern Italian territory. These possessions now form seven new nations: Bruttium, Lucania, Apulia, Campania, Samnium, Umbria, and Tarentum.
4. Rome shall pay 3000 talents to Carthage for forty years. Massilia is also to pay an indemnity, but with only 1500 talents for the same amount of time.
5. Rome must pay for their prisoners, but Carthage receives theirs back for free
The last two pitched battles that Hannibal fought against the Romans may have lacked the flair of the first three dominated by ambushes and encirclements, but they got the job done. Hannibal really couldn’t do any of those things at Praeneste, because of the hills – basically Rome had learned not to be stupid enough to get them trapped. But still Hannibal always prevailed, and that is what makes it official, to me at least, that Hannibal is truly the greatest captain in history. Hannibal’s war against the Romans certainly changed the progression of warfare in the following centuries. From now on, cavalry was placed at a higher importance, and most began making many different kinds of infantry to counter the enemy’s infantry, as Hannibal did with his mercenaries.
And, with that, the Second Roman War ended.
Comments, criticisms, greatly appreciated.
10-21-2010, 04:48 AM
Italy and surrounding area, immediately following end of the Second Punic War:
10-21-2010, 08:58 AM
Description of the Italian States
Hannibal Barca returned to Carthage several months after his great victory over the Romans. After negotiating the treaty with Rome, he had spent his time in Italy since negotiating and creating the new Italian governments with a committee of men sent from Carthage and various important leaders within the new communities.
Each [of these new states] was created as a vassal of the Carthaginian Empire, all paying a large tribute to Carthage each year in return for military protection from the inevitable Roman attempts at conquest. Each had identical governments, all formed to pump out the maximum amount of coins to fork over to the Oligarchy. However, while they each had the same government, they each took different paths. Umbria, who was the least impressed with independence, sought good relations with the Romans and the Carthaginians, hoping to be able to remain as neutral as possible. As a result, the military of the Umbrians was small and ill prepared, as the Umbrians preferred to become rich. As they had no rich trade routes in their realm, the Umbrians decided to create one, and created a large “Roman” style road, that they had learned from their former overlords. It was called the Via Umbria, though it spread out of its home region. Beginning in the capital, Perusia, the road connected the Adriatic side of the peninsula, stretching across the home region, and eventually being added on to by the other Carthaginian vassals in Italy. This was encouraged by Carthage, as it would help them make more money. This increased the value of the territory held by Umbrians. Many Umbrians spoke Latin, and it soon outgrew the other more traditional Umbrian tongue, though it did influence Umbrian Latin significantly. What little there was for the Umbrian military was based off of their Roman conquerors; they would have manipular style legion armies, and Umbrian politicians would command these armies. However, these legions were almost a liability due to their poor training, and, in truth, the Umbrian army was more of a Carthaginian style setup of hiring mercenaries.
The Samnites were Umbria’s neighbor to the south, and they were a much more militaristic people. The Romans that had settled there after its conquest of Samnium were purged by the new government, and were the only ones to do so. Samnites feared more than anything Rome’s fury when the inevitable attempt of reconquest came, and the Samnite army was thus huge – proportionately to its population size. According to ancients, the Samnites practiced war in a similar method to the Gauls and other barbarians, being eager to fight and quick to retreat, and often ambushed their civilized enemies. The Samnite army was the largest of the vassals, and was not based off of hoplite nor legion based warfare, instead more or less being a mass mob of bloodthirsty over-energized things with swords. They were an intimidating sight, but, as already stated, they were quick to tire and lose morale, and they usually were not a problem for the Romans or any other civilized people. Because of their large military, Samnium had little money, and had to spend the majority of the remainder on further building of the Via Umbria, so as to make (hopefully) more money to spend on the army. Samnites had very high taxes, and revolts frequently broke out, but with Punic backing the Samnite government always prevailed. Because of their poverty, Samnium’s capital of Bovianum was not a magnificent sight, and could be compared to many Roman villages when describing its grandness. Samnium was very pro-Carthaginian, though their ideologies did not always parallel. This was a common theme for Samnium, as, unlike most of the other Italian states, the majority of her citizens lived rurally.
Campania was located to the west of Samnium, and it was a small state, dominated by its major city, Capua. As recently mentioned, a large percentage of Campanians lived in the capital city of Capua, whilst many of the others took Cumae. Campania was a beautiful country, and many rich Carthaginians (as well as Romans, but they were less frequent due to Carthage’s new role in Italian politics) often travelled there for fine summer homes. Campania was an ancient Roman conquest, and thus had many similarities with their northern neighbors. Like the Umbrians, they strived to be neutral, and be good friends with both the sons of Dido and Aeneas. The Campanians were a rich people, and they had a sizeable army, though not as large as their impoverished western Samnite neighbors. The army that they had was roughly based off of Rome’s, though with a few changes. As with Rome, politicians would lead these armies. Campanians spoke Latin. And, a further Roman-Campanian similarity was their equal loving of the gladiatorial games, which became the great sport in both the city of Rome and the city of Capua. Campanians welcomed escaped Latins from Samnium, and Capua became a sort of immigrant town.
To the south was Lucania and they were a culture equally influenced by their barbaric past, the Hellenes to both the southeast and southwest, the Romans to the north, and the Carthaginians. Lucanians valued independence from Rome, and were loyal allies to their Punic overlords. Their capital was Heraclea. Heraclea was remade shortly after the war, modeled off of Carthage. The Lucanians had a moderately sized army, navy, and economy, and balanced their coffers well. The Lucanian military was a hoplite based one with a few traditional influences merged in. Lucanians felt that it was suicide to put political leaders in charge of armies, and instead had only aristocrats whom were not in the senate to run Lucanian armies. Lucanians spoke a mixture of Oscan, Latin, Punic, and Hellenic.
Even further south was the western peninsula on a peninsula, the nation of Bruttium. The Bruttians were not friends of Rome, and gladly supported their liberation from the Romans by the Carthaginians. While they did not have the strongest military tradition, they provided troops to Hannibal whenever he asked them for men, and Hannibal never forgot. The Bruttians were a rather peaceful culture, something very rare amongst ancient nations. As they would be a difficult conquest for Rome, being a third of the peninsula and two nations away from the Romans, as well as being right next to Punic Sicily, they had a very small military, and preferred instead to be a strong trading nation. Trade was centered on the Bruttian capital of Croton, and Croton soon became one of the wealthiest cities west of the Hellas. What little military the Bruttians had was a citizen levy, and was phalanx-based. Bruttium had a lot of Hellenic and Punic influence on its culture, and the Bruttians spoke the same sort of mixture that the Lucanians spoke, albeit a different dialect. Its primary influence was from Hellas, primarily from its time as part of Magna Graecia.
On the eastern peninsula on a peninsula was the Tarentine Republic, entirely based off of Tarentum, the mind, heart, and soul of the whole nation. Tarentum was a Spartan colony, and thus was a very Hellenic nation. Tarentines spoke Hellenic with a twinge of Latin thrown in. The city was rich, vibrant, and was a beautiful city. As the Macedonians conquered Hellas, many Hellenes flocked to Tarentum, being the only major Hellenic city to be safe from barbarians. The Tarentine Republic was primarily trade based, and sought excellent relations with Hellas, and paid more attention to affairs there than with its overlords in Carthage. As to be expected with so much influence from the mother country, the Tarentines’ military was phalanx based, and these were citizen levies whenever Tarentum was in any sort of trouble, which wasn’t very often. The Tarentines, unlike the Samnites, were not mortally afraid of the Romans, as they were the farthest from Rome itself. The Tarentine navy, however, was an impressive group, and was a premier Mediterranean force, as it needed to be to protect its riches from Cretan pirates and other menaces. The Tarentines and the Campanians were the premier states in Carthage’s harem of underlings. Also, like Campania, the majority of Tarentines were urbanized, unlike their primarily barbaric colleagues.
Finally, north of the Tarentines is the state of Apulia. The Apulians were very similar to their direct western neighbors in Lucania, and were a great mix of Punic, Hellenic, Oscan, and Roman. The Apulian capital was Barium, and it was a fine city, though rather poor compared to great cities such as Rome, Tarentum, and Capua. As the Via Umbria travelled its way south through Umbria and Samnium, Apulia decided that it too wanted to expand its trade via that road, and expanded it through Apulian territory, and the road ended in the capital. This helped expand Apulia’s economy. Apulia’s armies were based on the Hellenic version of the east like the majority of the world, though, like Tarentum, the Apulian fleet was the primary concern. After a few years, Carthage’s underlings each had navies near the size of the Roman fleet, and this shows how dedicated many of them were to trade. The majority of Apulians lived in rural communities, though as the years passed, the numbers began to reverse in favor of a more urban setting, but this would take well over a couple centuries.
Hannibal in Politics and the Hellenic Revolt of 608-609 AF
Upon his return to Carthage, Hannibal was promptly elected as Suffete alongside his brother Hasdrubal for the year of 608 AF, primarily due to bribery, as the majority of the Oligarchs, rather than being overjoyed of his victory, were afraid of their power. Mago Barca was made commander of Carthage’s armies for the year.
Hannibal began his time as Suffete by trying to pass sweeping changes over the oligarchy, namely to purge the state of corruption, and to give the Assembly of the People more power in Carthaginian politics. Both were met by extreme opposition by the Council of 104. Hanno, the great Barcid rival, was chief amongst the anti-Hannibal faction, claiming that he only wanted reformation of the state to achieve his (Hannibal’s) own political aspirations.
Hannibal and Hanno both made several rousing speeches to the other senators claiming that they were right, and that the other was trying to destroy Carthage for his own ambitions. In the end, Hannibal’s attempts at reconstruction were failures, and he faced much opposition from the Council. But still, Hannibal persisted that if his fellow senators gave up some of their personal wealth, Carthage could expand herself into Iberia, and make much more money than what Hannibal wanted to do this. This was twisted by Hanno into making portraying Hannibal as a power hungry and greedy tyrant, claiming that Hannibal only wished to expand Carthaginian interests in Iberia for his own personal power. The same theory was applied when Hannibal proposed that the Assembly of the People should gain some powers, Hanno again stating that Hannibal only wished to strengthen the commoners to expand his own power. Hanno’s speeches against Hannibal had far more influence (and, for once, not completely because of bribery) on the senators, and most were convinced that Hannibal was a great enemy to the republic, perhaps even greater than the one he had just supposedly extinguished in the Roman Republic.
Towards the end of the 608th year after the founding of Carthage, there was a major revolt in Syracuse. Obviously, most of the citizens were very much Hellenic, and they opposed their formerly large and powerful city-state under rule of their longtime Punic rivals. The rebels were helped along by Messina and other Sicilian Romans. The leader of this revolt was a certain self-christened Achilles, who after defeating what little the Carthaginians had in Sicily, proved himself to be a decent military commander. His army numbered around 12,000, nearly all of them infantry.
The Council of 104 did not want a Barcid to put down the revolt, and so, instead they sent a young man named Himilco with an army of 15,000 men, (some of which were veterans from Hannibal’s Italian campaigns) to Sicily. This army was mostly made up of rashly conscripted Libyans with little training, and Numidians, who were skilled but also mostly untrained. Himilco did have four elephants to use on his campaign.
Unfortunately for Hanno and his fellow senators, this army was poor, and its’ commander was quite possibly worse. Upon landing in Lilybaeum, Himilco’s army was swiftly defeated by the rebellion. With Sicily in peril, and the people of Carthage threatening revolt, the Oligarchy reluctantly sent Hannibal Barca to Sicily to defeat the rebellion, which of whom was now done with his term as Suffete.
Achilles’ army was now around Messina, gaining recruits from the disgruntled Mamertine and Roman populace. His army numbered nearly 15,000 now. Once Hannibal learned this, he headed out for Messina. Achilles, eager and bold, was convinced in his own abilities to defeat the great Barcid, and sought battle after bolstering his ranks with extra Roman and Mamertine recruits.
The following battle ensued near the Alcantara River, and is thus known as the Battle of the River Alcantara. The rebels under Achilles had no men in reserve, and very little horse. All of the phalangites looked menacing to the Carthaginian army, and as Achilles’ army marched forth, some of the newer recruits began to panic – oftentimes an army man’s greatest fear was to see a phalanx march slowly towards your army.
But these phalangites weren’t well trained, nor were they very experienced. A combination of the Numidians outflanking the phalangites, the sole elephant from Himilco’s command, and Hannibal’s mere presence won the day, managing to inflict enough quick casualties to rout the Hellenic army. Hannibal literally lost a handful of men, whilst Achilles lost approximately 200. Achilles was soon captured, and after Hannibal ordered so, executed via crucifixion.
But Hannibal was a generous man to the defeated rebellion, and Hannibal promised the Hellenes of Syracuse that he would fight in the senate to expand citizenship to other “civilized” peoples, which included the Hellenes. With this, Hannibal again returned to Carthage after a successful campaign.
After Hannibal’s Sicilian Campaign
By the time Hannibal had returned from his Syracuse campaign, the election for Suffete had already passed, and, in a way, the oligarchy had gotten what it wanted: no Hannibal in charge. However, this came at a terrible cost, for now Hannibal was even more popular, and there was great popular demand to instate Hannibal as Suffete anyways. The Councils of 104 and of 30 both shot this down and Hannibal was to stay a humble senator amongst the 104 for the next year.
Hannibal was easily the most recognizable Senator in the Council of 104, and he used his influence to attempt to maintain his promises to the Hellenes of Sicily. The Carthaginian senate refused Hannibal’s pleas, ignoring his warnings that the Hellenics may rise up again in greater force if the senate rejected their citizenship. “Only Carthaginians can be citizens of Carthage!” was the reply from Hanno, Hannibal’s longtime rival and Suffete.
Hanno (the Fool, as he would be christened by later Carthaginians) was one of the two that was elected Suffete that year, and he devised a plan to destroy Barcid power, which in his mind was the only way to save the Oligarchy. (Or that’s probably how he portrayed portraying it to others in his mind; he of course wanted the Oligarchy saved so that he could maintain his greedy ways in exploiting Carthage’s system) He decided there was only one choice – assassination.
He hired a rather large Libyan man to do the trick, and sent him off to Hannibal’s home, instructing him to kill him – no matter what it takes.
Unfortunately for Hanno, a local man who remains unnamed had decided to take a midnight walk, and stumbled upon their conversation without being heard. Being the Hannibal supporter that he was, he was naturally very worried that Carthage’s hero would be put down by an assassin, and so he ran off to Hannibal’s home (everyone knew where it was at – it was probably the largest house in the city) and stormed in, blurting out the conversation that he had just heard. Hannibal immediately fled from his home, and to the great circular harbor that dominated the Punic landscape, where he stole a small fishing boat and set off for Lilybaeum.
He reached Lilybaeum after a five day voyage, and there he managed to convince a crew to take him to Spain, where he would decide what to do next. Naturally, being that it was Hannibal, he easily persuaded a small crew and set off for Carthago Nova.
Hasdrubal, whom lived in the same home as Hannibal, was arrested alongside his wife by the furious assassin. The assassin had to travel back to find Hanno, still at the earlier deserted Carthaginian street, and told him of his luck. Naturally Hanno had been prepared for such a failure, being the cautious man that most Carthaginians tend to be, and promptly decided to stab the Libyan man several times once his back was turned.
The next day, it was widely known fact that Hasdrubal Barca was arrested by the Oligarchy, and, naturally most of the pro-Barcid citizens wanted to know why the great Hannibal’s brother was locked up. Hanno explained by stating that the senate had evidence that Hannibal was plotting to overthrow the Oligarchy in a coup, and that his brothers Mago and Hasdrubal were accomplices. He then proceeded to place a price on Hannibal and Mago’s heads, stating that “the man who captures Hannibal gains 500 talents if he is a citizen and citizenship if he is not.” Mago’s price was considerably lower, but still significant – 150 talents. This prompted many people – few of them avid Hannibal supporters - to begin looking for him, and once word reached out to Sicily and Spain, people began looking for him there too. Hanno then asked the Oligarchy to raise an army of 25,000 men to crush any army that Hannibal might use to fight back, and, Hanno thought satisfactorily that Hannibal would be finished within a couple weeks.
Hannibal’s Civil War and What Happened Afterwards
Hannibal finally made it to Carthago Nova after a three week long journey at sea. When there, he immediately had to fight off a team of people looking to capture him – fortunately, his crew was loyal to him. He soon learned of the immense price that was on his head, and so he had to watch his every step. But the people of Iberia were overwhelmingly sympathetic to Hannibal as they were to no other man, and several people told Hannibal that he should try and overthrow the government, to clear his name, his family’s, to pass his legislation, etc. Hannibal was easily persuaded not to hide and instead to fight, and so when he approached several tribes to ask them for some men to defeat the oligarchy, they decided to ally with Hannibal over the government.
What little government forces there were near Carthago Nova, Hannibal soon defeated, and Punic Iberia became a strongly pro-Hannibal stronghold. When Hannibal’s army reached 15,000 men after a few months of campaigning for men with the locals and finding some of his old veterans, he decided that he had to find some mercenaries, as he would be greatly outnumbered by the Oligarchy’s army, as it was rumored that Hanno had prepared a force of around 25,000, which included elephants. He hired a thousand Balearic Slingers, and with that, Hannibal made his way back into Africa.
His army landed near Tingi late in the fall of 609 AF. When they caught sight of Hannibal’s magnificent army the locals cheered, and some rushed up to join Hannibal. This was the case at many towns alongside the coast that Hannibal marched around. After a couple hundred miles of this, Hannibal had his army veer southwards to pick up some Numidians. When there he found his old friend from the Roman war Maharbal, (for some reason the Government did not choose Maharbal to lead the Numidians, instead choosing a rather ambitious and rash King named Massinissa) and, of course, Maharbal and a couple thousand Numidians rushed to join Hannibal’s army.
His army then steered themselves northwards, towards Cartennae. Now his army numbered nearly 20,000, which was plenty, Hannibal was confident, to crush the oligarchy’s army and to restore order to the nation.
Near the city of Cartennae the two armies met – one commanded by a legendary general, the other commanded by his greatest foe. Hanno had been determined to take command of the army to defeat Hannibal, and so became the first Suffete in many, many years to lead an army. (This, ironically, is one of the things he was most afraid of Hannibal doing) Hanno was a rash general, but he was not completely incompetent, though he did not listen to more qualified military advisors, who pleaded that he get in better position to fight Hannibal and rest his men – his army had been forced to march the several hundred miles from Carthage in order to meet Hannibal here. Hanno assumed that as Hannibal was in the same plight, (which he was right about) so he figured that it did not matter, and he wanted battle as quick as possible with the great Roman-killer.
Hanno deployed his infantry in a straight line all around, and his strategy was to pound through Hannibal’s center seeming as he had more troops than the Barcid. He planned on using his elephants to first smash, and then quickly follow it up with infantry – not a bad plan, but one that could’ve been better. Had Hannibal been in charge of Hanno’s army, there would’ve been some major differences, but all in all not bad for a first time commander. Hannibal planned to do what he did at Cannae, and he purposefully made his center weaker, hoping to prompt the overexcited Carthaginian loyalist opposite of him into making the same foolish mistake that Varro and Paullus had a little over a decade ago. He also decided he had to get the elephants out of the way, and so he planned to have the Numidians prompt the elephants into chasing something they couldn’t catch, and his Spaniards were to provide cover against Massinissa’s Numidians.
The battle went how Hannibal had planned, and soon Hanno found himself in a desperate hole, with his army encircled and trapped. What few loyalist forces that had escaped were lucky, because for the most part they were the only ones who lived. Hanno himself, too cowardly to take his own life, was captured by one of Hannibal’s Iberians, and he was taken to Hannibal himself after the fight. Hannibal ordered his execution, and he chose crucifixion, just like the rebel leader Achilles. Hanno died on the cross rather quickly; he only made it for around seven hours – Achilles had lasted for over a day.
After that, there was no doubt that Hannibal was the undisputed leader of the land, and when he reached Carthage, a great cheer arose from the crowd. He was promptly declared King of the Carthaginians. Hannibal had no qualms with this plan, and so he became King of Carthage, and celebrating went for days on end in the New City.
Hannibal and a group of advisors created a new government. The position of King was to be an elected position, which the Assembly of the People was to elect. The Council of Thirty elders was maintained in its’ advisory role, but didn’t have much power. The Council of 104 was completely abolished, its numbers being added to the Assembly of the People, so the Council of the People was split between the aristocracy and the average (wealthy) citizen.
Hannibal passed his earlier desired legislation with ease, making the Hellenics citizens, purging corruption, and making the people more powerful.
Towards the end of 610 AF, he married a young Spanish woman, with which he had four children – three girls, and one boy. The boy he named Hamilcar, after his father. He would later become King of Carthage, just like his father.
Publius Cornelius Scipio, the successful Roman commander in Spain who had been gaining considerable momentum by the time the war ended, failed as a political figure in Rome, and became the chief diplomat for Rome’s Carthaginian embassy. Scipio is said to have wanted this job just so he could have a word with Hannibal Barca. He got this word one evening, and he promptly began the discussion with “I could’ve defeated you.” This made Hannibal scoff, and Scipio was taken aback. When Scipio asked why this was so ludicrous, Hannibal replied, “That’s what Longus, Flaminius, Paullus, Varro, Nero, and Salinator all thought. Now, all of them but Varro are dead. What makes you different?” Scipio then said, “I wanted to fight you in Africa, but I didn’t have enough time in Spain to fully conquer it. I would’ve struck near Carthage, and your senate would’ve collapsed far easier then my own did.” To this, Hannibal was impressed, and the two became acquaintances over the years, and this symbolizes more than anything the end of Punic and Roman hostilities and the relations that the two would have for many years. Scipio’s stay in Carthage did not last long however, because he was needed to fight a band of marauding Gauls in Rome. Scipio departed, but he often found himself as diplomat to Carthage whenever his political career went south or when there was no need for his military skills.
Criticisms and other comments are welcome, as always.
I'll read through it in more detail when I have time, but good work so far!
10-21-2010, 05:45 PM
Excerpt from “A History of the Republic – Book VI” by Ovidius
Reaction to Defeat in Rome
After the month of Sextilis in the year of the consuls Salinator and Nero, the Roman state officially began its long road to full recovery from the horrible war that had plagued the Roman people for eleven years. Much of the land was destroyed; pillaged by the monstrum magnum, the Basileus of Carthage, the Scourge of the Gods, otherwise known as Hannibal Barca. The people of Rome were tormented at the very thought of giving in to the monstrum magna, and assumed that they had unintentionally violated Divine Laws, and prayers, sacrifices, and other offerings were sent to the Gods, in the hope that they would end the somehow deserved suffering that the SPQR had received for over a decade. On occasion, for one of the few times in Roman history, several desperate families sacrificed their fellow man, hoping that somehow that would make the Gods happy, and so as to prevent further Divine purges on Roman society.
The Senate had decreed a month of time of mourning for the immense amount of dead from the war, and many senators joined their families for the month, joining them in their sorrow. Eventually though, they had to be dragged back to the Senate – you cannot rebuild if you spend all of your time feeling sorry for yourself. Recollection began with the election of Consul Suffectus, for the men to replace Nero and Salinator for the remainder of the consular year, which would end in Martius. The two elected were the patrician Quintus Fabius Maximus Cunctator, who had gotten rid of the name Verrucosus, as that was a demeaning title to the nation’s greatest war hero, and the plebeian Gaius Terentius Varro, who was the same man who had fought at Cannae and Praeneste, and was another great Roman war hero, being the man who embodied Roman fighting spirit. These two were allowed to be elected even though they had been elected less than a decade ago as consul, because the Senate decided that it didn’t need to enforce the rule to men who had served as consul during the Second Punic War, even if it had been less than a decade. The war with Carthage had been very costly to the people of Rome, and, given Rome’s political system, the war had also been crippling to the Senate. As the year was almost over, the Senate also made another exception, allowing Maximus and Varro to run once more for consul for the following year, and they won again, the Roman public finding no reason in those three months not to let those two war heroes be consul once more.
Both of the consuls felt that, in order to pay the large indemnity to Carthage, Rome needed to expand, just as Hannibal and his family had done in Iberia. As the Romans could not expand south, into Carthage and her vassals, or overseas, for they weren’t powerful enough to conquer any of the Diadochi states, the only viable option was chosen, and that was to expand north, into Gallic Cisalpine Gaul. While it was a barbarian land, it was still bound to be a richening excursion and Varro and Cunctator both agreed that Rome needed to expand here. The Senate though felt that it would be in the best interests of the state if Rome went against her martial instincts, and waited for a few years, when the horrific losses that were made during Hannibal’s war would begin to wear off.
While both Maximus and Varro were good politicians and were seen as some of the only highlights of the long Second Punic War, and while both agreed on several major reforms, the two men did not like each other, likely stemming from Varro’s part in ignoring Maximus’ advice in the time before Cannae. The two bickered often, and as their year nearly ended, both opposed each other on almost any issue, just for the sake of disagreeing. However, all of the normal people of Rome, and most of the Senate, did not know of their quarrels.
While Varro and Fabius were still on good terms, they enacted several social and economic reforms that benefited the Republic over the year, and both were seen as good leaders by the people. After the consular year was over, Fabius retired from politics, and Varro ran and won the election for censor, and two new consuls were elected.
The two consuls for the next year were Publius Sulpicious Galba Maximus and Quintus Caecilius Metullus, the former being in charge of the Roman war against the Macedonians in the Bello Monstrum Magnum, as well as being an admiral, also in the war, and the latter being a survivor of both the Battle of Grumentum and the Battle of Praeneste, which many Romans saw as Divine Favor towards him. Both continued on the same path of reformation that their predecessors had started the year earlier and they did not hate each other, making this process easier and more effective. For the most part, the year was bland, as they worked on making Roman merchants a regularity in markets around the sea. While the indemnity was large, Rome was able to make it seem smaller and smaller with each year due to cunning reforms.
The War of Two Ambushes
The beginning of the year of Galba and Metullus had gone well, but towards the end, a crisis emerged. Several Gallic and Ligurian tribes (Afterwards referred to as just Gauls, for convenience. Just remember that some of the partaking men are actually Ligurians.) in the north began attacking Roman colonies in Cisalpine Gaul, demanding that Rome leave their tribes’ territory. When Roman ambassadors came to discuss terms with the Gauls; they did not wish to fight more wars after so much of Rome’s male population had just died, combined with their loss of their southern “Friends and Allies”. Rome simply could not whip up fifty thousand men in a moment, and the Gauls sensed this weakness. The Gallic leaders overtook the Roman ambassadors and beheaded them, and sent their heads back to Rome. War had come once more to the Roman people.
Judocus and Drest were the leaders of the Gallic invaders, co-commanders of an army numbering approximately 50,000 men. Both of them were Gallic chiefs, and both had served under Hannibal in the Second Punic War. Each was very similar to each other – tall, muscular, and completely drunk with self-confidence, as well as with alcohol. It is this connection, along with more obvious reasons, why many people think that Hannibal was behind all of this, having Punic ambassadors prompt the Gauls into wanting more living space. This has never been proven, but I tend to think that it is true. After all, now Fabius and Varro weren’t consuls, now were two less known commodities.
One of the chief strategies for the Gallic warlords was to get the Etruscans to defect, as Hannibal had done with Rome’s other allies. Both were quite fond of Hannibal, but neither could compare to Hannibal’s genius in any way on the battlefield. Fortunately for Rome, the Etruscans would never revolt. This is the only part of Judocus and Drest’s campaign strategy that is known to us historians other than what actually happened.
This was immediately recognized as a major crisis in the ager Romanus, and so once more a dictator presided over Rome. The consuls nominated a man named Gaius Servilius Pulex Geminus as their dictator. Geminus then called up Publius Cornelius Scipio from his ambassador duty in Carthage to be his Magister Equitum, his “Master of Horse”. The two began their term in Martius, the beginning of the Roman consular year.
Scipio, though just Geminus’ second, dominated their six months, and it was Scipio’s plan of action that the Romans would use to defeat the Gauls. Both armies – equally sized at five legions apiece (as odd numbers were lucky), would march out towards Cortona. There, the two armies would split up, and encircle the Gauls, who were marching around Faesculae and Arretium. The two armies would then trap the Gauls, and slaughter would ensue. This plan commenced in Maius. Most of the men who made up the approximately 50,000 man army were still veterans from Cannae, which had taken place twelve years previously. The Senate was to raise and train two more legions to place near Rome itself in case the Gauls slipped past Scipio and Geminus, and this army was to be commanded by the former consuls Galba and Metullus, each taking one legion.
And so, the Roman armies commenced on the plan of Scipio, and accordingly split up at Cortona once they had reached it. Scipio then took the inland route to Arretium, while Geminus took the army towards the coast and to Faesculae; in other words, Scipio went northeast while Geminus went northwest.
The Gauls preyed upon this opportunity, realizing that this was a great chance to defeat the Romans while they were split up. They could both defeat half of the Roman army with relative ease and, with that victory, perhaps convince the stubborn Etruscans to defect towards the Gallic cause – or at least abandon the Romans. Judocus and Drest had to choose which army to surround first, and chose Geminus’ army, believing him to be the greater threat, as he was dictator. Once their Gallic spies informed them of the Romans precise movements, they lined their army alongside the major roadway – the Via Flaminia, with thick forest cover, and waited for the Romans to march along the path.
Geminus fell for the trap, and his army marched straight into the ambush on the fifth of Iunius. Without going into gruesome detail, I can tell you that the Gauls completely obliterated the Roman army in the ambush, with yet another Roman commander going down at the hands of a Gaul, just as Salinator had done three years previously. Geminus and another fifteen thousand Romans were dead or captured by the day’s end, and Rome had lost yet another horrifying defeat. The Gauls lost a mere two thousand men of their fifty thousand warrior army, a very acceptable total. Judocus and Drest’s narcissism skyrocketed after the battle, which Scipio would later take advantage of. However, even with their confident attitude and significant military presence, the Gauls still could not make most of the Etruscans defect from the Romans. Drest took a few thousand men in anger and burned down several undefended Etruscan villages in anger. The battle was later dubbed The Battle of the Via Flaminia, and was the first of the two ambushes in the War.
Scipio and his men learned of the catastrophe a week later and they held a quick mourning for their comrades, and then continued. Scipio was now alone in fighting a large Gallic horde with only half the amount of men that his enemy had. Scipio cursed, and then devised an ingenious plan, one that the Gauls and their devious Punic allies might have come up with. He ordered his army to march towards the Gauls.
Late at night on one tenth of Sextilis, while Judocus and Drest’s army were encamped near a small coastal Etruscan town named Pisana while on their march to Rome, a light wandered off in the distance. Thinking it was a farmer, the Gallic commanders ignored the light, but then there were two, then three, then six, and soon it may as well have been daylight out in that small valley. Everyone in the Gallic camp knew what it was: it was Scipio’s army.
In actuality, Scipio had borrowed a trick that he had learned from his nation’s greatest foe, Hannibal, during their couple months of friendship. (Something [his friendship with Hannibal] that I think led to Scipio’s ultimate political demise, and lost him a great amount of respect) He convinced several local farmers to lend him his cattle, and he had torches tied to the cows, and set them off in the dark. The cows had helped Hannibal’s escape years previously, and now they would help Publius Cornelius Scipio defeat a Gallic army twice the size of his own.
Judocus and Drest roused up their tired men, and had the entire army sprint towards the lights, the two captains in front of the charge. The cows were frightened with this large chase, and the lights began to move faster and faster away from Judocus and Drest, which only made the Gauls more aggressive. Then Scipio let his army give chase, and the Romans enclosed on the Gauls when the barbarians least expected it. One by one, Ligurian was slain by his Roman master, and early in the fight, both commanders went down to the Roman gladius. Hours of honest warfare later left a great, bloody, heap of dead, rotting barbarians below triumphant Roman steel. Scipio had won the night battle, and Rome was saved from destruction once more from the Ligurian horde.
While I personally disagree with Scipio on many accounts, and I especially disapprove his alliance with Hannibal, no one can say that Scipio did not win the day (or in this case, night) that fateful tenth of Sextilis. The Battle of the Cattle, as it would later be jokingly christened, was truly a high for the Roman people, and Rome had good news coming through its’ gates once more. Scipio was allowed to serve the rest of the month as dictator, and then was consul for the rest of the year with a man named Lucius Veturius Philo, even though this was technically an illegal move – Scipio was only thirty-one. Scipio spent much of his time as consul campaigning against the Cisalpine Gauls while Philo took care of more of the political stuff, having convinced the Senate that it was in Rome’s best interests to have her frontier secured from the barbarians.
While he may have saved the Romans, according to senators of his time he still was never anywhere close to being an influential senator, and this is mainly due to opposition rather than his own skill, which I tend to think is better than what is let on. Senators one hundred years ago saw Scipio as an arrogant, self-deified man who wanted increasingly more power. As a result, Scipio spent most of his time on campaign or as an ambassador rather than in Rome as a major political figure. While he was in Rome, however, he usually managed to get himself elected for whatever he wanted, as he was still a popular figure amongst the Roman mob, holding several gladiatorial games in his family’s honor, which did not help his stature amongst his peers but boosted the mob’s love of him. He was elected consul again in eleven years once he could run again, and was a Pontifex Maximus one year, and a censor two others. After he was elected consul for the second time he retired from politics, and moved far away from Rome, to Arretium in the north. He is said that though he loved his country, he hated its preeminent city. While there, he wrote an influential book on the art of war, and he wrote his memoirs during one of his stints as an ambassador to Carthage. Both of these literary works were read by many of the literate in the civilized world. He was an unhappy man, and, while nobody knows exactly how Scipio died, the prime thought is that he committed suicide twenty-five years after the end of the Second Punic War.
The Years after the Invasion and the Rise of the Boni
Scipio’s work in Cisalpine Gaul significantly raised Roman power in the region, and it was able to be called fully annexed and pacified twenty-five years after Geminus’ dictatorship. The conquered Gauls, however, were not given the luxuries of Roman rule at all and many barbarian warriors were enslaved by Roman aristocrats. This sudden change in policy was unlike Rome, and this is due to the rise of the Boni faction in Roman politics after the last Gallic war.
You couldn’t say that the Boni were ideologically bound to their faction, but all the same, the typical Boni in the Senate was usually a patrician man, who was opposed to foreign influences and opposed extending citizenship to non-Romans, Latins, Piceni, and Etruscans. They also were typically for expanding the power of the Senate. There are many theories that explain why the Boni so rapidly rose into Roman politics, and their natural enemy, the Renasceres to rise up so quickly too, but I think that the reason is because of Rome’s defeat in the Second Punic War. Rome had lost all of its allies when Hannibal had come through outside the Latins and Etruscans and the Piceni. They [non-Romans] couldn’t be trusted. Extending citizenship just to watch them traitorously switch sides whenever you were down was not an option for Rome to go forward after the defeat. Thus, the Boni gained a lot of popularity; it explained why Rome had lost admirably. Notable early Boni include Quintus Fabius Maximus’ son of the same name, a man who was just a Quaestor at this time but later grew quite powerful, Marcus Porcius Cato, Lucius Valerius Flaccus, and Publius Licinius Crassus Dives. Later, the Florus family and the Cato family would become the premier Boni. Their subsequent families along with the Brutus family and Flaminius family were the core Boni.
Cato is perhaps the most shocking on that list, being a novus homo, but he was aggressively for the Boni, and was perhaps the most influential of the above group. He was also perhaps the most radical of the early Boni. He was a persuasive speaker, charming, and was almost a little mad. For five years after Rome’s fall he served in armies fighting the Gauls, and he grew to hate Barbarians as much as Samnites and Carthaginians. He rose to the highest office quickly, and became a consul just five years after Geminus’ dictatorship, alongside his good friend Flaccus. That year was certainly seen as the beginning of the rise of the Boni.
While consul, he purged those who weren’t fit to be Roman in the army and in the senate, and managed to persuade the Senate that some laws didn’t need to be repealed from the war like the one that still restricts Roman women from spending a certain amount on luxury items. Cato and his followers gained a lot of support that has lasted until modern times, and is a chief reason why I think that we haven’t been Hellenized like the Carthaginians and Parthians have. For this, we can be proud that we Romans haven’t adjusted our lifestyle and beliefs to make the Macedonians happy. Instead we choose to “Romanize” the Gauls, Etruscans, Piceni, and other Latins, and that is an achievement to be proud of.
Around a decade after Cato and Flaccus’ consulship, the chief rivals of the Boni arose, and they were named the Renascere, which means the Reborn, as they wanted Rome to become “reborn”. They opposed the Boni in many aspects, but also wished to improve the power of the senate. One of their major ideals was bumping the Latins, Piceni, and Etruscans up for citizenship benefits, making the Latins full Cives Romani, and the Etruscans and Piceni the same rights that the Latins had, claiming that they had proven themselves worthy of increasing their status, and they needed more manpower after much of their recent non-Etruscan conquests. As other groups got conquered (or they assumed, as they figured that Rome would merely expand north), the Renascere felt that they could be given Socii status until they had proven their loyalty to the Romans. Most Plebeians considered themselves Renascere, and probably the most influential Renascere family was the Paullus family. Varro was also a supporter of the Renasceres until his own death. But the Renascere in their early days were not very strong, only just recently gaining significant power in the Senate – mostly due to the Paullus family, the Salinator family, the Gracchus family, and more recently, the Julius family, and the more political members of the Scipio family. Typically the Comitia Tributa was where the Boni were most powerful, the Concilium Plebis was where the Renascere were dominant, and the Comitia Centuriata was split, usually in favor of the Boni.
There were a few influential Senators that came to some power that weren’t considered a part of either faction, but they were few and far between. Aquila Septimus Cinna was probably the most famous of these independents, being a two-time consul and regularly was a Praetor, Aedile, or Censor.
The year after Scipio and Philo was the year of Publius Sempronius Tuditanus and Marcus Cornelius Cethegus, the latter being a relative of Scipio. The Scipio family never really became Boni, instead most leaned towards the Renascere, and was one of the few patrician families to do so. Still, the family’s power and prestige was something to be reckoned with still to this day, and we see many Scipios elected consul after P.C. Scipio’s immediate family. Cethegus and Tiditanus’ consulship went well, and Rome was gradually recovering from its war against the monstrum magnum. In fact, a population boom hit the city, and lasted for nearly a half century. During this time the population rose in Rome by fifty thousand. The army could field an increasing number of men every year, and around twenty years after the dictatorship of Geminus, Rome could be considered the second greatest power in the western Mediterranean again, though obviously still lagging behind the now Carthaginian Kingdom.
Paullus’ Social Reformation to Solve the “Alae Problem”
Before the defeat of Rome in the Second Punic War, Roman armies were constructed in Legions, groups of approximately 5000 men and 300 cavalry. The infantry were divided into three groups: Hastatii, Principes, and Triarii. The Hastatii were the front line of the legion, and were the least experienced. Principes were more experienced soldiers, and they formed the second line, and the Triarii were the backbone and final line of the Roman legion, the most senior part of the infantry. Everyone was equipped with pila, which were basically throwing spears which the infantry would throw at their opponent before a charge, and oftentimes the primary weapon of choice was the Spanish gladius, which was a short, one handed sword that allowed them to hold up their heavy shield. Each of these groups were divided into ten maniples, consisting of for Hastatii and Principes at least 120 men, though sometimes up to 160 men, and for Triarii, the number was always 60, no matter how large the legion became. The equites were the elite of Roman society, and they provided the legion with horsemen. Their numbers were always 300, and were broken into ten groups of thirty. The velites were skirmisher infantrymen in the Roman army whom were too young to be Hastatii, and they pelted foes with javelins. They were well known for wearing headdresses made from wolf skin. Their numbers were usually around a thousand per legion. One of the keys to Roman military successes was in the number of officers that the Republic employed in every army. There were the centurions, tribunes, decurions, signifiers, optios, and the consul himself commanding every Roman army, and this made orders follow through very efficiently. The alae were made up from Rome’s allies on the peninsula, and protected the flanks. The number of men in an alae was about the same as the number of men in a legion, though their quality was not as high as the Legions.
After the Second Punic War, there were far less Socii to have in the alae, and there became a need for reformation. Lucius Aemilius Paullus came up with a plan to reform the army during his consular year the year after Marcellus and Spurinus. He felt that the best way to remedy the problem was to side with the Renascere, and to improve citizenship. His plan was to give Gallic warriors who serve in Roman armies the chance to gain Socii status instead of Provinciale status, which would make the Gauls of Cisalpine Gaul more willing to fight with instead of against Rome, as it would lessen discrimination against them. As this would make the Gauls on the same status as the Etruscans and Piceni, Paullus also proposed increasing their status to what the Latins currently enjoyed, and the Latins up to full citizenship. The Gauls were numerous, and Rome could still use the Etruscans and Piceni to fight in the alae. The Renascere applauded this move, but more powerful Boni rejected it. This was a huge debate that took almost a year to pass, but finally, Paullus got his wish, (mainly due to no counter Boni plan to replenish Rome’s armies) and the reforms made it. After his reforms the Boni took revenge, and Paullus was murdered. He was a capable and good man, and a significant loss to the republic. His reforms helped solve “The Alae Problem.”
Roman Pacification of Cisalpine Gaul and Western Aspirations
After Scipio’s campaigns three years after the Monstrum Magnum left, Rome began a long term conquest of Cisalpine Gaul. This conquest was long term because only around two legions and two alae were usually committed at a time under one consul, and because the Gauls there fought a guerilla war of ambushes, small scale skirmishes, and other related activities. The first major gains were made several years after Scipio, in the year of Longus and Varro. Both military men, both fought against the Gauls, and they managed to subdue a good three quarters of the area. Their gains were lost around the time of Pulcher and Glabrio. After them, Cunctator’s son of the same name fought the Gauls, and he quickly regained and built on Rome’s progress from Longus and Varro, defeating the Gauls in the Battle of the River Po. Brutus and Caesar nearly finished Maximus’ work, and Lucius Cornelius Scipio the year after completely finished the conquest and pacification of the Cisalpine Gallic tribes.
With Rome’s north secure, many Romans began to look west past the Alps. There, the Arverni Gallic tribe, with Punic assistance, was becoming a major force, and would be difficult to defeat. Still, Rome was eager to fight a foe of merit. After the embarrassment of the Second Punic War, Rome felt that it needed to redeem itself, and show that it was a major power. Their indemnity to the Carthaginians had been paid off at this point, and Rome had financially recovered from their defeats. Paullus had reorganized Rome to ensure that it could still supply vast amounts of manpower with little change to the system. With every year, Roman cockiness soared.
Cato was a main advocate for war, claiming that Rome was greater than Carthage and with Hannibal dead, the Carthaginians could not stop Rome from retaking her rightful possessions of Umbria, Campania, Lucania, Bruttium, Samnium, Apulia, and Tarentum, and from expanding past the Alps into Transalpine Gaul. When Massilia, a longtime Roman ally, begged the Romans to save them from an Arvernian horde that was invading Massilian territory and threatened the city-state’s existence, the Roman consuls Sextus Martialis Florus and Gaius Licinius Crassus and the senate wasted no time – this was something both Renascere and Boni agreed on – that war was necessary. Roman legions began to invade Transalpine Gaul forty-two years after the end of the Second Punic War, and this was the beginning of the third.
List of Consuls for between the Second and Third Punic Wars
Here is a list of consuls for the years between the Second and Third Wars:
• Quintus Fabius Maximus Cunctator (VI) Gaius Terentius Varro (II)
• Publius Sulpicious Galba Maximus (II) and Quintus Caecilius Metullus
• Publius Cornelius Scipio and Lucius Veturius Philo*
• Publius Sempronius Tuditanus and Marcus Cornelius Cethegus
• Marcus Valerius Laevinus and Gnaeus Servilius Caepio
• Titus Quinctius Crispinus and Gnaeus Cornelius Lentulus
• Gaius Aurelius Cotta and Lucius Cornelius Lentulus
• Lucius Valerius Flaccus and Marcus Porcius Cato
• Tiberius Claudius Nero and Publius Aelius Paetus
• Publius Licinius Crassus Dives and Gaius Cornelius Cethegus
• Quintus Fabius Maximus and Quintus Minucius Rufus
• Tiberius Sempronius Longus and Gaius Terentius Varro (III)
• Titus Quinctius Flaminius and Lucius Furius Purpureo
• Publius Cornelius Scipio (II) and Publius Villius Tappulus
• Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica and Sextus Aelius Paetus Catus
• Lucius Cornelius Scipio and Lucius Cornelius Merula
• Appius Claudius Pulcher and Marcus Fulvius Nobilior
• Gaius Livius Salinator and Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus
• Gnaeus Manlius Vulso and Marcus Porcius Cato (II)
• Lucius Valerius Flaccus (II) and Quintus Minucius Thermus
• Publius Licinius Crassus Dives (II) and Spurius Postumius Albinus
• Publius Claudius Pulcher and Manius Acilius Glabrio
• Quintus Fabius Maximus (II) and Aulus Postumius Luscus
• Marcus Iunius Brutus and Marcus Terentius Varro
• Quintus Fulvius Flaccus and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus
• Aulus Manlius Vulso and Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus
• Gaius Seneca Brutus and Lucius Julius Caesar
• Lucius Cornelius Scipio (II) and Marcus Valerius Messala
• Marcus Claudius Marcellus and Quintus Petillius Spurinus
• Gaius Livius Salinator (II) and Marcus Porcius Cato (III)
• Lucius Aemilianus Paullus and Aquila Septimus Cinna
• Gaius Claudius Pulcher and Publius Mucius Scaevola
• Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio and Lucius Postumius Albinus
• Nero Seneca Flaccus and Valerius Martialis Florus
• Marcus Iunius Brutus (II) and Hortensius Tertius Catalus
• Cloelius Octavius Ambustus and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus (II)
• Aulus Sextus Flaminius and Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus (II)
• Lucius Julius Caesar (II) and Valentinus Fabius Maximus
• Gaius Popillius Laenas and Publius Aelius Ligus
• Gaius Claudius Pulcher and Laurentinus Martialis Florus
• Spurius Camillius Vulso and Marcus Porcius Cato (IV)
• Marcus Decimus Serranus and Publius Furius Philus
• Gaius Licinius Crassus Dives and Sextus Martialis Florus
* Dictator was Geminus that year; Scipio served six months as Magister Equitum, while Philo filled in as Consul Suffectus after Geminus’ death at the Battle of the Via Flaminia.
Comments/Notes on Each Year’s Consuls after Tuditanus and Cethegus
• Laevinus and Caepio – Laevinus openly campaigned against the Gauls, defeating the Gauls in a major battle.
• Crispinus and Lentulus – Further campaigning.
• Cotta and Lentulus – This Lentulus is the brother of the previous year’s Lentulus.
• Flaccus and Cato – Considered the beginning of the rise of the Boni. Made reforms to make Rome “Roman again” and purged foreign influences. Gained many enemies and even more supporters
• Nero and Paetus – Nero is the son of the man who lost at Grumentum. Very similar to his father, but managed to downplay their likeness to win the consulship. Paetus was a strong supporter and good friend of the Scipio family.
• Crassus Dives and Cethegus – Crassus and his family are extraordinarily wealthy, and he dominated the consulship over his Scipio-supporting colleague. He was a Boni, though in practice he didn’t adhere to many Boni guidelines.
• Maximus and Rufus – Maximus was elected mainly because of his father Cunctator.
• Longus and Varro – Varro’s second time as consul. He was an early opponent to the Boni faction, mainly due to his quarrel with Fabius Maximus Cunctator’s family and his being a plebeian. Significant gains in Cisalpine Gaul made. Longus was related to the Longus who lost at Trebia.
• Flaminius and Purpureo – Flaminius was directly related to the man who lost at Trasimene, and was never liked much by the Roman people. However he also made gains in Cisalpine Gaul.
• Scipio and Tappulus – Scipio finished the job he started eleven years earlier, and Cisalpine Gaul was fully conquered, though not quite pacified. He dominated the consulship, even after a Boni assassination attempt. Heated enemy of Cato as Varro was to Fabius Maximus.
• Scipio Nasica and Paetus Catus – Widely seen as one of the most competent consulships Rome had seen in decades. Enacted reforms and pacified Gaul tremendously. Were loved, but neither was a Boni, and thus the Senate was typically quite against the consulship despite passing their reforms. Historically recognized as the time where Rome was truly back.
• Scipio and Merula – Third Scipio in a row and brother to Publius Cornelius. Also was a talented military man. Dominated the consulship as his brother did two years previously.
• Pulcher and Nobilior – Nothing much to report.
• Salinator and Ahenobarbus – Salinator was related to the man who lost at Praeneste, and wasn’t taken too kindly with the public, but still managed to get elected. Both opponents to the Boni faction. Ahenobarbus passed several pro-farmer legislations, and was assassinated shortly after his time of Consul.
• Vulso and Cato – Most of the previous decade was dominated (at least amongst consuls) by anti-Boni factions and this is where the Boni begin to dominate the Consulship. Cato continued what he started eleven years previously, and he became the most popular man in Rome. He had a man by the name of Horatius write his biography during this year. He dominated the consulship.
• Flaccus and Thermus – As Cato had done the year before, his good friend Flaccus dominated this consular year, and repealed some of the acts passed by the Scipios and Ahenobarbus’ pro-farmer acts.
• Crassus Dives and Albinus – Crassus mostly used the power that the consulship yielded to expand his own purse. Continued with the Boni legislation.
• Pulcher and Glabrio – Both were weak consuls and didn’t do much.
• Maximus and Luscus – Maximus also exploited the consulship for his own personal gain, fought a guerilla war against the rebellious Gauls in Liguria. Passed several anti-Gallic measures.
• Brutus and Varro – Varro fought hard against his Boni colleague and Senate, but ultimately failed to do much. Pro Boni laws still passed. Varro is the son of the three-time consul who fought at nearly every major Hannibalic battle. Much like his father.
• Flaccus and Lepidus – Continued Boni power surge. Lepidus was a powerful character, and was a popular consul.
• Vulso and Gracchus – Gracchus dominated his Boni colleague this time, instead of vice versa. Martial reform suggested, but rejected.
• Brutus and Caesar – Both were political opponents, and they often bickered. The former was a good commander in Cisalpine Gaul, and proposed an invasion of Transalpine Gaul, but was turned down because Liguria had still not been fully pacified by the Roman legions.
• Scipio and Messala – Lucius and Gracchus were the man opponents to the Boni in the early years of Boni power, and Scipio fought hard against certain legislations, but was defeated. Cisalpine Gaul was considered fully pacified by Scipio in Ianuarius of his consular year.
• Marcellus and Spurinus – Nothing much to report. Both pro-Boni.
• Salinator and Cato – The two were huge opponents, but Cato’s influence won out, and Boni dominance continued. The Salinator family’s reputation amongst the mob did not help him as it did the Scipio family. The Comitia Tributa became slightly more powerful than the other two as a result of Cato’s acts.
• Paullus and Cinna – Paullus created his famed civic/military reforms during this year that immensely helped the Roman Republic’s manpower issues and Cinna was one of the most popular non-Boni and non-Renascere consuls Rome had had to this point.
• Pulcher and Scaevola – Pro Boni Consuls, worked on tax reforms.
• Scipio and Albinus – Both won more due to their family’s credentials then for their own talent.
• Flaccus and Florus – Commissioned repairs for the Via Flaminia
• Brutus and Catalus – Brutus dominated pro-Boni surge. Slight increase in power for the Comitia Tributa once more.
• Ambustus and Lepidus – Lepidus dominated pro-Boni surge. Major Gallic revolt put down, questions as to how successful Paullus’ reforms were emerge.
• Flaminius and Gracchus – Gracchus again dominated his pro-Boni colleague, and counter-acted several of the laws passed by the last two consulships.
• Caesar and Maximus – Maximus adopted son of Cunctator’s son. Caesar attempts to continue his ally’s changes, but Maximus prevents many of them from even being discussed.
• Laenas and Ligus – Nothing much to report. Neither supported either of the two major senatorial factions.
• Pulcher and Florus – The Via Flora was built this year by Florus. He began to make the Martialis Florus gens a major plebeian Roman family. Pulcher made a few pro-Boni reforms. Florus younger brother of previous Florus.
• Vulso and Cato – Once again, another Cato led consulship. Cato leads small expedition to Illyria on request from Illyrian King in helping rid a pretender, briefly raising relations between the two nations.
• Serranus and Philus – Weak consulship. Not much accomplished.
• Crassus and Florus – Both pro-Boni and strong consuls. Third Punic War breaks out. Florus the youngest brother of the two previous Florus brothers.
Comments, criticisms, are always welcome.
10-21-2010, 05:51 PM
I'll read through it in more detail when I have time, but good work so far!
Thanks - did you read the first one?
10-21-2010, 05:54 PM
Intermediary Years between the Fourth and Fifth Syrian Wars
After Raphia fifteen years previously, it was well known to both the Kingdoms of Ptolemy and of Seleucus that war would come yet again to their empires in the hopes of further glory and the idea of conquest on the scale of the great Alexander a little over a century previously. The only question was when. That question was answered when Pharaoh, the fourth named Ptolemy, died, and left his minor son, also called Ptolemy, the throne. This rightly was seen as a moment of weakness by the Seleucid Kingdom and they acted with the intention of subduing the entire state at its greatest moment of weakness. The King of the Seleucids was a man called Antiochus, and he was the third to be called that. He had also arisen to the throne at a young age, but for him this age was eighteen while the new Pharaoh was five. Antiochus had recently begun to call himself “Basileus Megas”, as the great, terrible, Kings of Persia had done before Alexander’s conquests. This was the same Antiochus whom had thought the previous Ptolemy at Raphia, and was desperate for revenge against his southwestern neighbor. He was an ambitious man, and like many ambitious men, he acted with great greed when he saw that it could improve his legacy.
While Antiochus was an ambitious man, he was not a fool, and he negotiated an alliance with the other great successor state of Alexander, the Macedonians, several years before he was ready to act on the Ptolemaic Pharaoh’s death. The Macedonians were ruled by Philip V, who was also a very successful King. His state, while far smaller than the vast holdings of Seleucia, were just as powerful and perhaps even more, and Antiochus recognized his ally’s great power. He realized that Pharaoh’s navy was more powerful than his own, and Antiochus realized that he could not subdue the Egyptians totally unless he had a substantial navy, and he realized that the Macedonians could be enticed to do so. The general Seleucid thought was that Philip would join them – the risks were low and the land that could be conquered was great, and so Antiochus felt reasonably assured that Philip would ally with his Kingdom over neutrality.
So Antiochus had sent a great team of ambassador’s to the King of the Macedonians, and they gave a speech to them as follows:
“Great King of the Macedonians, we, the Kingdom of Seleucus, bid for an alliance with your nation. The reasons why we think you should accept our offer is as follows: First, we all know that the great Ptolemaic Kingdom will finally be down, and should you not rightly reap the rewards that your ancestor Alexander had wished. Should you not get a portion of the land that was conquered by your countrymen? The Kingdom of Ptolemy is a conquest long in the making, and we have realized over the years that Seleucid arms alone cannot make Egypt a total conquest for our own empire. We don’t have the navy that the Egyptians hold, and could our fleets together not defeat Ptolemy?
“Second, Ptolemy’s kingdom has allied with the rebellious smaller states of Hellas many times, notably around sixty years ago. Who is to say that Ptolemy could not again threaten your hold upon your own Kingdom? Who is to say that he could make Athens, Sparta, Corinth, and all the other states rise against you and defeat you? His navy is more powerful than your navy too. He can land troops anywhere and can blockade all of your ports. Is this realm not a menace to your Kingdom as well? However, both of our navies combined control a vast enough resource to which we believe can finally defeat Ptolemy’s large Kingdom.
“And, our last reason is one that ties in with our first, and it goes as follows: Are the risks greater than the rewards if you help us declare war on the Egyptians? We personally think no, the risks are not. The land you could conquer could vastly increase your own power in Hellas, and would be important for trade. The land in Anatolia we will also reassert your dominance in the Aegean, and Cyrene will pose new opportunities for new conquests, as well as giving you a considerable amount of cheap manpower in the Libyans that the Carthaginians have used with plenty of success. Would this not extend your own grasp of Hellas considerably? Could you not fulfill our requirements with ease to gain something that it would be far more difficult to do on your own? We must not wait to destroy Ptolemy while he is strong. Nor can we each overtake Ptolemy by ourselves. We can fight him to a stalemate, but neither of us can truly extinguish this threat. So why not join forces and destroy this threat to both of our great Kingdoms? For you, it is a safe and prosperous expedition. Make your own decision, but if you remember one thing from our speech today, remember that Ptolemy can and will intervene in the affairs of Hellas.”
This speech convinced Philip that he could and should conquer Ptolemy’s lands, and the two great kingdoms negotiated a secret alliance that would be activated once Ptolemy IV died.
Once news of this alliance reached Antiochus, he was greatly pleased, and continued to expand his power in Persia and in the west, which he did so successfully.
Ptolemy IV died twelve years after the Battle of Raphia, which was the same year as this alliance was negotiated. His reign was not very strong, and, while he did win Raphia, rebels fought his Kingdom many times, the most notable being Hugronaphor’s Kingdom in Upper Egypt. Possibly his greatest achievement after Raphia was building a tessarakonteres, which was to its most basic summary an enormous version of the Quinquireme and quinquireme. His son Ptolemy V ascended to the throne at the age of five, and was not ready, so a regent ruled in his stead until Ptolemy could reach a proper age.
Young Ptolemy must have experienced a great deal of trauma, for at such a young age his father died and his mother was murdered, and the military was constantly watching over the young man. It is thus reasonable that Ptolemy grew into a cold and distant child. He did not like his subjects for they openly revolted and collaborated with the enemy, and with the advice from his regents, was often very cruel to poor officers. This did not help when a great pro-Ptolemy uprising was needed to defeat Antiochus.
Yet war did not immediately begin with the death of the fourth Ptolemy, instead, three years extra were taken before war was declared by the Seleucids. The main reason for this is because Antiochus was busy making sure that the Seleucid Empire was in control of the frontier provinces in what was once the heart of Persia’s Achaemenid Empire. After he was done doing this, he then prepared for war, and finally, war was declared when Ptolemy the Fifth was a young child of eight years old.
An unforeseen bonus for the late declaration of war by Antiochus III was that there was a great deal of instability amongst the young Ptolemy’s regency council. After Agothocles and Sosibius, the leaders of the early regency council, had Ptolemy’s mother murdered, Agothocles held the regency for a while. Then, he was lynched by the mob of Alexandria, and quickly chaos and anarchy swept into Ptolemy’s Kingdom. One by one an advisor would come to dominate the regency, then killed, replaced, and repeated for several months. At the outbreak of the war a man named Aristomenes was in charge of the council. This instability made Antiochus’ decision to destroy the Egyptians even easier.
The Seleucid Empire held several key advantages over the Egyptians, as should already have been noted. First, they were invading a Kingdom ruled by a child, second they were invading a Kingdom in anarchy, third they were stronger on land, and fourth, they had a strong ally in Philip V’s Macedonia, which should give them the edge at sea. In nearly every aspect Antiochus was ahead of Egypt.
The Beginning of the War
Antiochus prepared a vast army for his war against Egypt. His army encompassed fifty thousand phalangites, ten thousand skirmisher infantry, twelve thousand cavalry (many of which were Cataphracts), and a hundred Indian elephants. This army was commanded directly by Antiochus III. His plan seems to be to lay as little devastation to the territory he most wanted, in Coele-Syria, and wait to siege bigger cities until his allied fleet proved Ptolemy’s better.
Antiochus gave the following speech before his army marched out to campaign.
“Men hailing originally from Hellas, Persia, Mesopotamia, or whatever combination of the like, I bid that you heed what I am about to state. Many of your fathers, and perhaps many of you, were on my last campaign into Egypt, and you will take note that this army is one that even Alexander might envy, for you are perhaps the greatest collection of men ever assembled. Our army is large, and it is near certain that Egypt will not be able to field such a large swath of manpower. You may think that our numbers by themselves will prove us overwhelmingly the favorite in this war, and this is good; confidence is never a bad thing in moderation. However, we must not get full of ourselves; our army is going against some of the best fighting men in the world. While we may outnumber them, they will be fighting for their honor, family, and dignity. We must fight for the same virtues, even though I know it will be harder far away from home to feel that your family is threatened. It is, trust me. The new Pharaoh could be the next Alexander, and he may conquer us with such a large field of Egyptians that even the Persians of old could take note of. Ptolemy’s Kingdom is not weak, by any stretch of the imagination.
“They also have the advantage at sea, which will trouble our sieges of the planned cities of conquest. We must hope that the Macedonians will field a large enough navy to make our expedition worthwhile.
“But do not think that we are doomed by an unconquerable foe. They have weaknesses, and this begins with their leaders. They are ruled by an unstable regent position, the cause of this being Ptolemy’s premature death. We are facing a child in conquest, not the man we faced at Raphia. At Raphia I was the boy, a mere child at twenty-four years old. True, Alexander was around the same age as I, but Alexander was a God, and I do not pretend to compare myself to the genius that he was. This child is far younger than I was even, being merely eight years old. What humiliation, it would be, to our families that we lost a war to an eight year old child.
“And there is this to consider; as previously stated, the Macedonians are on our side. What good does this do to us, you may ask? How can a nation miles and miles away help us defeat the nation of the Nile? They can distract the enemy in his territory in Anatolia, and in the Isles of Hellas. They can supply us the resources to conquer the enemy’s navy. And they can give us financial support. All of these things will help us in our war against the Egyptians.
“We can defeat our foe, but do not think this will be an easy expedition. Your father’s know this if you were not present for the last war, and, if you were, you know from firsthand experience that the Egyptians will not be suppressed from his lands with ease. What I ask of you is that you do not get overconfident, marching in such a large horde of men, for often an army with less men can surprise an army of men with larger quantities, the latter due to overconfidence, and the former due to his overwhelming desire to fight for his family and honor, to keep his nation from being conquered. Historically this is most evident in the case of Thermopylae, for, even though the Spartans under Leonidas lost the battle, they did it so spectacularly that it should and is counted as a victory to myself. There, Spartan showed Persian that numbers mean nothing in war. We now assume the role of Persian. Do not replicate their performance in your own arrogance.
“In essence, what I bid of you for this campaign is to respect your enemy and fight your hardest. Do not shame your great ancestors by losing battles due to arrogance. Think of the glory your family will have if you win. Be orderly, pay strict attention to security, fight hard, and, with enough courage thrown into the mix, we can win this campaign and we’ll be bathing in the Nile this time next year!”
This is exactly as Antiochus spoke his speech before marching towards Egypt, although afterwards he is said to have muttered to his officers, “Today the troubles of Egypt have magnified by ten times.” The march of the Seleucid King began according to the calendar of the ancient Egyptians, on the seventeenth day of Paopi the year following his declaration of war.
The regents in charge of Egypt raised a considerable amount of men as well, though as Antiochus had stated in his begin-of-campaign speech, not as many as the King of the Seleucids could. Egypt raised forty-five thousand heavy infantry, eight thousand cavalry, seven thousand skirmishers, and one hundred and ten African elephants, and the second army, which was to guard Egypt in case of the first’s destruction, contained ten thousand men. I myself was one of these men, being a minor infantry officer in the first army. I cannot say that I played any pivotal role in any battle, but I tried to lead my men honorably and with dignity. I do not blame the Seleucid Kingdom for invading us, for it is what I would have done in if I were Antiochus, and, I, being a native Egyptian, was not a true patriot for the Hellenic Pharaoh. This did not prevent me from trying my all, however I think it did to some other officers, whom of which will be anonymous. However, my reasons for animosity and for respect for both sides ultimately led to my neutrality in writing this history, so the Gods may have more of a hand in the destiny’s than I had thought.
Philip V personally went on campaign against the Egyptians with the army that follows: ten thousand heavy infantry, two thousand cavalry, three thousand skirmishers, and ten Indian elephants loaned from Antiochus.
The first objective for Philip’s army was to conquer Egyptian held the Cyclades off of the mainland, and, with Ptolemy’s navy distracted, the Macedonians managed to successfully siege the majority of the islands in the chain, with the others welcoming them as liberators. This operation only took a year, and Philip was pleased with his progress.
However, Macedonia’s growing Kingdom led to war with two smaller but very dangerous nations; the counties of Rhodes and Pergamon. This occupied much of Philip’s time, and he had to raise the size of his army for such operations.
A fleet of two hundred Macedonian ships engaged with one hundred and twenty allied ships from Pergamon and Rhodes soon into the war, and the Macedonian fleet defeated theirs after a day long battle. With the opposition’s fleet destroyed, Philip’s army was able to head to Rhodes.
The Siege of Rhodes was a long, difficult, and brutal siege that took a year and a half. The Macedonian King risked starving his own troops, for it was a small island that depended on imports to thrive. The Macedonians were able to gain reinforcements and supplies, although it was difficult, because the allied fleet was still very strong – especially when the Egyptians aided Pergamon and Rhodes. However, in the end Philip won, and the two sides came to terms with each other. Rhodes was not treated well, and was forcibly annexed by the Macedonian King.
Pergamon was a much more difficult conquest. They controlled much of northwest Anatolia, and were arguably the second most powerful state in the Aegean. Philip roughly doubled the size of his army, and then moved them into Pergamonian territory.
The Macedonians were met by approximately half of the Pergamonian army upon their landing (which was numbered at around fifteen thousand), and a quick battle was fought near the beaches. While the Macedonians were disorganized, they still managed to win the battle, and they fought off all resistance. The victory is seen as proof that the Macedonian warrior was greater than all of the other Hellenistic warriors.
The remainder of the Macedonian campaign into Pergamon was far more difficult, as siege after siege began to wear down on Philip’s army. They openly scavenged and burned the countryside, and more and more people were forced into the cities, where they would later be besieged by Philip. This had a crippling effect on Pergamonian morale, and a little over a year into the campaign Pergamon sued for peace. The Macedonian King accepted their bid, and heard them out. Pergamon was forced to pay a thousand talent tribute to Macedonia for twenty years, and they had to cede all of their Aegean isles to the Macedonians. With that, Macedonia was done defeating Ptolemy’s minor Aegean allies, and he could focus on Ptolemy’s holdings in Asia Minor and Africa.
Pharaoh’s possessions there were not well defended; the total garrison numbered around five thousand men. After a couple more years of sieges and small skirmishes, the Macedonian King could be satisfied that he had done his share of his alliance as far as diversions. But, as Antiochus was still fighting the Egyptians, he kept his navy at war and sent five thousand men and the surviving elephant back as reinforcements for Antiochus. He continued to increase his navy for the conflict, but Philip himself was done with his battles, because he needed to check up on the domestic affairs of his Kingdom. He entrusted his army to his son, Perseus. Perseus was not the military man that his father was, and he had difficulties in the beginning stages of the conquest of Cyrene. However, his overwhelming advantage over the thinly spread Egyptian soldiers (mostly mercenaries) was too great, and he defeated them. Afterwards he left the majority of the army there to harass Ptolemy, but he himself and around thirty percent of the soldiers went back home to Macedonia. While on the way home there were calls from Rhodes stating that the Rhodians were revolting, and the army marched in and increased the size of the garrison there. And that was the end of Macedonia’s campaign against Ptolemy’s Egyptians.
Antiochus and his army marched out in the late spring of that year, and quickly and efficiently began to conquer Coele-Syria. Much of the territory was subdued by the time that the Ptolemaic forces arrived, and battle soon commenced at Mt. Panium once the two forces were near. The whole operation had taken around a year and two months at this point.
The Egyptian forces were commanded by a man named Scopas of Aetolia, and he had fought for the Aetolians, as his name suggests, in the Hellenic theater of Hannibal’s crusade against the Romans. He was then brought over to Egypt, and then put in this position. I was an officer under him, and I can now safely say that I did not like him. He was incompetent, arrogant, and stunk like sewage. Thus, I fear that I will be biased against him, but perhaps not; the reader ultimately shall be the judge of that.
Mt. Panium was on the extreme right of the Egyptian line, and that is where half of Pharaoh’s cavalry was located. The other flank was guarded by cavalry also, and they were in a plain. The phalangites were lined in the middle of these two divisions of cavalry, and elephants and skirmishers were lined in front of the main phalanx line.
Antiochus crossed the river at daybreak, and he arranged his army as follows: he placed his phalangites in a line, with cavalry flanking both sides, and elephants and skirmishers covering the spaces in this large line.
The elephants were kept in reserve, while the skirmishers of each side marched forward, and projected javelins and stones and arrows and the like at the enemy. This went on for some time, being that both armies were quite large, and, eventually the skirmishers retreated back to let the real fighting ensue between both sides phalangites, cavalry, and elephants.
Both sides’ cavalry slammed into each other, the elephants attacked one another, and the infantry began to fight as well. In each of these theaters the Seleucids were stronger than Egypt. The first group to fall was Pharaoh’s cavalry, and the Seleucid cataphracts then charged the flanks of the infantry battle. The Indian elephants were larger and reeked to the African elephants, and so the African elephants retreated from battle and caused chaos amongst the ranks of Egyptian infantry. This combined with the greater numbers and the cataphract charge on the Egyptian flank completely destroyed the line, and Antiochus won as great of a battle as he had lost eighteen years previously.
After the great battle, the Ptolemaic army recovered some miles in the distance, and they sent a messenger to the Seleucids, suing for peace. The Seleucid King had completed his objective to conquer Coele-Syria, but he decided to continue on with the war. Perhaps he could even fulfill his speech promise of bathing in the Nile, though of course it’d be significantly later than a year.
Antiochus sent a messenger back to Antioch to tell the men he had left in charge to raise another army of around five thousand to invade Cyprus. This was done, and soon a force of five thousand invaded Cyprus. The army defeated Pharaoh’s army there, and soon control of the island was reached.
However, Ptolemy’s navy blockaded said island after the Seleucid army had already conquered it. The Seleucids, realizing that they couldn’t strand their army on the island, decided that this was the time to act against Ptolemy’s navy, which had been a menace south of the Aegean up to this point against Antiochus. The Macedonian fleet was finished with its battles with Rhodes and Pergamon, and thus the fleets merged to create a fleet of three hundred and twenty two Quinquiremes. The Ptolemaic fleet numbered three hundred and eleven.
Off the coast of Cyprus the naval battle was fought, and accordingly it is known as “The Naval Battle of Cyprus”, not to confuse it with the recent campaign.
The Seleucid part of the allied fleet was the most anxious to get the battle started, and thus started the battle. There was great fighting for the majority of the day, and, when neither side was successful in forcing the other to surrender, they licked their wounds and retired for the remainder of the day. Battle again commenced the next day, with both sides numbers now dwindling at approximately two hundred unscathed ships from the previous day. However, on this day a great fog hid the allied fleet. The Egyptian fleet could not find the Seleucid fleet, nor could the allies find Pharaoh’s fleet. Both sides again retired for the day.
That night, a great storm suddenly appeared. This storm was considerably more damaging to Ptolemy’s fleet, and the number of ships plummeted to one hundred for the Egyptians, while it just fell to one hundred and seventy-five for the allies. The allied fleet recognized their advantage when the morning arose, and cornered the Egyptian fleet. The battle was a great loss for Pharaoh.
Meanwhile, Antiochus had conquered much of Egypt’s Northern provinces, and stormed into Jerusalem a year after Panium. With these conquests set, he then took his army and marched towards Egypt itself. He laid waste to those who denied his army food along the way, for there was little food to go around until you reached the Nile. After this march, he could be reasonably sure that he had fully conquered those regions he had left behind.
Most of the rest of the war was composed of Seleucid sieges of various Egyptian cities, but there was one more open field battle to be fought between the Seleucids and the Egyptians, and this was the Battle of Yamit, which was near the small Jewish community of the same name.
At this stage, the young Pharaoh was now twelve years old and deemed himself ready to supervise the battle personally. He was accompanied with a large bodyguard some ways off in the distance. He encouraged the soldiers with a short, peppy speech - though it was completely awkward as a soldier, because it was obvious that the speech he used was not speech he was comfortable with, as the Hellenic pharaohs didn’t speak our native tongue.
Egypt’s army was lined up similar to how it was at Panium, and indeed how most Hellenistic battles were fought. The Seleucid army under Antiochus was lined up similarly. The Egyptians had sixty thousand men, and the Seleucids had roughly the same number, Pharaoh’s number rising due to conscription and reinforcement, and Antiochus’ number falling due to attrition and minor battle.
Ptolemy’s forces sent their elephants out first, and Antiochus did the same in response, and this time the African elephants held up for longer, though in the end, it was fruitless, and Antiochus’ Syrian Elephants were too much for Egypt’s African Elephants. The routing elephants were each killed before they could cause chaos on the front line, so now in the middle of the battlefield there were elephant corpses. Then, both sides’ front lines marched forwards, and they clashed in a great fight. The Ptolemaic army was actually winning for much of the beginning of the infantry skirmish, but numbers and Seleucid cavalry ended up destroying the flanks, and again, the day was lost for Egypt. The Egyptians suffered 11,000 casualties, while the Seleucids lost 4,000 men.
The Siege of Alexandria and the End of the Fifth Syrian War
This was the last major defense the Ptolemy could yield, and again a truce was sought, with Egypt just holding Egypt itself, giving up Cyrene and its other external territories to those who conquered it, but Antiochus denied him, smelling total victory ahead. He marched his army to Alexandria, and the navy cut off all food from the city. After a year long siege, Antiochus was able to march into the city as conqueror, and he let his army loot and pillage and rape the citizens, though he made sure that the two great wonders of Alexandria, the Library and the Lighthouse, were left unscathed.
A peace between representatives from both sides met in the Great Library. There, Ptolemy read a speech bidding for the chance to keep his kingdom, which was written by an advisor of his.
The speech goes as follows:
“Men of the Seleucid Kingdom: I bid of you that I may keep my Kingdom, and you should heed my warnings if you do not accept my preposition. If you annex the entire Kingdom, you inherit a great deal of rebellious subjects. My father lost Upper Egypt due to the Native Egyptians, and you will only lose the entire Kingdom. You are a Greco-Persian Kingdom. These Egyptians hate the Persians more then they hate anything else, and Alexander chased them out over a hundred years ago. Renewed Persian dominance will not last long over Egypt. You are also a Hellenic nation. My family and I are Hellenic rulers of an Egyptian realm, and our power is crumbling. The people are sick of foreigners. A mixture of the two last Kingdoms to rule over Egypt to now rule Egypt is asking for a great deal of unwanted trouble. Another reason why you should reconsider annexation is that you cannot afford to spend your time in Egypt. As already stated, Egypt will not accept a ruler that makes his capital in a foreign land, and speaks a foreign tongue. You will not be able to effectively rule all of these realms on your own without decentralizing your empire, and that will hinder your own ability to rule properly.
“If you do not heed my advice out of greed and glory, so be it, I cannot stop you. This war has proved that. But remember that you will not be able to deny independence to Persian, Egyptian, Jew, and Mesopotamian forever. You are beginning the end of your empire if you annex Egypt.
“Instead, let myself and my descendants continue to rule along the Nile, from Alexandria to Thebes. You may rule up to and past the Sinai Peninsula, and we will pay tribute to your Kingdom, for your Kingdom now is the stronger. But do not annex us, for the reasons I have already stated.”
And with that, Ptolemy sat down, and the Seleucid ambassadors and Antiochus discussed what he said. Some felt that the Egyptians had a point, but Antiochus in his greed refused to listen, for he wanted to be as great a conqueror as Alexander had been, and Egypt was a great prize; Coele-Syria, Palestine, Judea, Sinai, and Cyprus all combined still were not equal to Egypt. And so, Egypt was fully annexed by Antiochus. He styled himself as Pharaoh, and took an Egyptian wife, with which he had a daughter named Rhode. Antiochus spent much of the remainder of his life in Alexandria, where he rebuilt much of the city after his army’s rampage, and was generally a benevolent man to the Egyptian people. However, nonetheless he was hated, and many rebellions spread along the country, and many Egyptians flocked to Hugronaphor and later Ankhmakis’ Kingdom in Upper Egypt. Antiochus was too busy to deal with the threat, as he had to constantly be making sure his large empire was stable in Persia and Antioch and everywhere that his vast nation had control over.
Seleucid Loss of Egypt
This Upper Egyptian Nation created by Hugronaphor was succeeded by a man named Ankhmakis, who took over the year after the Battle of Panium. While Antiochus and Ptolemy did not like to admit it, their nation held far more power than what they would have liked, at times controlling up to eighty percent of what is considered Egypt. When Antiochus died ten years after the fall of Alexandria, Ankhmakis led a war against Seleucid controlled Egypt.
Seleucus IV was the new ruler of the Seleucid Empire, and he was not the man his father was. When he learned of the war that was brewing in his Egyptian territories, he naturally went down there, but he insisted on commanding the army himself, and he was a poor warrior. His insistence on commanding the army led to disaster, as his larger armies were constantly defeated by Ankhmakis’ forces, most notably outside of Memphis. After the native Egyptians had decimated his army, he called a truce, and gave the Egyptians back Egypt, though for the rest of his reign he constantly warred over the territory, neglecting Persia and his other provinces, which would prove disastrous for later Seleucid Kings.
Overall, Seleucus was not a poor ruler, and he helped make several domestic and economic reforms that benefitted his Kingdom substantially, but he is seen from history’s eyes as a failure.
Ankhmakis was widely seen as a great liberator of the Egyptian people, and he set his capital at Thebes like the rulers of old. He toyed with the idea of burning Alexandria and other Hellenic towns, but he ultimately decided not to do this, for Alexandria was a magnificent creation. Instead, he renamed it after himself, so it is now known today as “Ankhmakisia”, however the Hellenics and all other civilized people still refer to it as Alexandria, and he made several Egyptian style additions to the Hellenic city.
He destroyed all opposition to his throne, killing off Ptolemy V and his family, and, being convinced of their scheming, occasionally purging the aristocracy of any threats to his crown. This was never learned by the public. They considered him a great pharaoh, one who brought glory back to the Egyptian people, and a worthy god-king. When he died of natural causes 142 years after the death of Alexander the Great, the Egyptian people mourned for a month. His son, who was also called Ankhmakis, became the next Pharaoh of Egypt, and with him, his father, and Hugronaphor, the thirty-fifth Egyptian dynasty began.
Comments, criticisms, again are very welcome.
10-22-2010, 04:08 PM
Excerpt from “A List of Successor Kings to Alexander and their Accomplishments” by Pausanias of Rhodes
Macedonian Kings, 102 MTA – 171 MTA [221 – 152 BC]
Philip V Ischyrós (102 – 144 MTA) [221 – 179 BC]
Compared to men such as the Great Alexander, and nicknamed “The Darling of Hellas”, one can deduct that Philip V was a charismatic and militaristic man who dominated the Hellas, and each of these statements is completely correct. He was a handsome and charming man who had the courage to win on the battlefield and the ability to dominate diplomacy, and he was truly a great King. After his death, he was called “Philip V Ischyrós, which means “the Powerful.”
Philip was born in 85 MTA (Metá to thánato tou Alexandrou, or After Alexander’s Death) to the Macedonian King Demetrius II and his wife Chryseis. His father died when he was nine years old, but he was too young to rule Macedonia, and so his cousin, Antigonus Doson, was regent in his stead until he died eight years later. Philip then took over the throne at seventeen years old.
The Social War of 103 – 106 MTA [220 – 217 BC]
Philip V led an alliance known as the Hellenic League against the Aetolian League, Sparta, and Elis. Philip mainly used this as a war with which to stamp his own authority over the other Hellenics, and he had proven himself a wise and capable leader for someone who was only eighteen. This war expanded his and his Kingdom’s prestige. No major gains or losses were taken.
The First Roman War
Hannibal Barca, the very successful Punic commander who had crushed legion after legion of Romans, contacted Philip after his defeat of Rome at Cannae. This was primarily done to destroy Rome’s garrisons along the Hellenic side of the Adriatic, but Hannibal set his hopes higher and hoped that Macedonian troops would be flooding Italy, but that never happened. Most of the fighting for his troops was against Rome’s allies, the Aetolian League, though the occasional Roman legion would fight the occasional Macedonian phalanx.
Rome had also allied with Pergamon’s King Attalus I, and this did not help the Macedonian war effort, though they were able to handle him. After Rome’s defeat at Praeneste, Philip had gotten his wish of kicking Rome out of Illyria, and he was able to completely focus his attention to the Aetolian League and Pergamon. Attalus I withdrew from Hellas in 116 MTA, and thus Philip could focus completely on the Aetolian League. After a few Macedonian victories, they came to a peace that favored the Macedonians, forcing a 500 talent tribute and a couple of minor border towns.
The Fifth Syrian War
In 118 MTA, Philip and Antiochus III, King of the Seleucid Empire, negotiated an alliance to fight the Ptolemy’s Egyptian Kingdom once Ptolemy IV died. Philip was promised the whole of Egypt’s Aegean possessions (the Cyclades), all of its possessions in Anatolia, and Cyrene in return for a declaration of war with Antiochus and for lending some of the Macedonian fleet whenever the Seleucid navy needed it. Philip accepted Antiochus’ offer. This war was commenced in 121 MTA, and Philip did as planned, and he sailed his army around the Aegean, capturing the Cyclades, which was the Ptolemaic stronghold there. Philip then decided to fight the nations of Rhodes and Pergamon, so as to dominate the Aegean, and Philip, after securing Ptolemy’s Aegean possessions, sailed to Rhodes. He then besieged the colony for over a year, until he finally broke the Rhodian spirit, and he annexed the island nation.
After Rhodes, Philip sailed towards Pergamon, and campaigned there for a while. He won many small victories, and captured several cities, but ultimately he ended up leaving before he could win a total victory, satisfied with a large tribute. He then sailed off to conquer Ptolemy’s territory, and did so admirably, conquering all of agreed area that Antiochus had allotted to him. After the war, Macedonia had significantly increased the size of her Kingdom, and had near Hegemony over the Aegean, excepting for the states of Crete. Peace with Ptolemy came in 126 MTA.
The Cretan War
However, Philip was not satisfied with near Hegemony over the Aegean, and a war broke out between the Macedonians and the Cretans, and this occurred in 130 MTA. The Cretan states formed what is known as “The Cretan League” and the first act of this league was to try and get Pergamon in on the war. This was successful, as Philip was a mortal enemy of Attalus, and this enmity passed down to the new King of Pergamon, Eumenes II. Philip’s army and navy had quick victories, and the Macedonians conquered Crete within a year.
The war with Pergamon went on for four more years, but ultimately, Philip could not vanquish them, even though he won the majority of his battles against them. He was defeated in one major battle, the Battle of Abydos. With this defeat he withdrew to Macedonia, and cancelled the tribute he had forced upon Pergamon after the Fifth Syrian War.
The Social War of 136 – 142 MTA [187 BC – 181 BC]
Philip V had, according to the poet Alkaios of Messene, planned to march on Olympus once the land and sea were conquered by him. His thirst to be as great a conqueror as Alexander was extraordinary, and one most put him up there with the likes of, say, Pyrrhus. Obviously, Philip never would conquer the land, or the sea, but he did set his sights on conquering the whole of Hellas, and there were still powers in the Achaean League, the Aetolian League, and Epirus on the mainland to be conquered before Philip could be at least somewhat satisfied. Personally, I see him as almost the exact same character as Pyrrhus – neither was fully satisfied with a peace, both had to be at war to be happy. After his victory over the Cretans and his war with Pergamon, Philip decided to set his sights on the Aetolian League, which were the most barbaric of the Hellenes.
When it became obvious that the Macedonians were preparing for war against the Aetolians, the Aetolian League asked for an alliance with the Epirot League, Illyria, Pergamon, and Byzantium, and each accepted this alliance. Philip was not scared off by this alliance, and they themselves decided to ally with the Achaean League.
This Social War was a much larger war then the earlier one in 103 MTA, and its conflicts were on a larger scale. Philip himself commanded his armies in Hellas, while he sent his son, Perseus, to fight Pergamon. Philip had the larger force of 30,000 infantry, 4,000 skirmishers, and 6,000 cavalry, while Perseus had an army of 25,000 infantry, 4,000 skirmishers, and 5,000 cavalry.
Philip’s army began the war by invading Aetolia, and a battle was fought near Delphi, at Amphissa. The Battle of Amphissa featured a coalition army of Epirots and Aetolians, and this army roughly consisted of 32,000 infantry, 5,000 skirmishers, and 4,000 cavalry. This army was led by Eustorgias of Ambarcia. In the battle, Philip’s men won a complete victory, losing only 3,000 compared to the allied losses of 8,000. Philip was pressed on all sides however, both in the north, and in the south, and this slowed his campaigns a bit. After four years, Philip had conquered the Aetolian League, Epirus, and a little bit of Illyria, before he called his campaign off.
During that time, Perseus had unsuccessfully campaigned in Pergamon. His army was roughly equal to Pergamon’s but his skill was not. While he defeated them in one major siege (the Siege of Ilion) and the Battle of Lake Manyas, ultimately he was unsuccessful, and lost a large percentage of his army near Pergamon itself, and he had to return home unsuccessful. On the way home, he was captured by agents of Eumenes II, and held as hostage by the King. Philip paid 1200 talents for his release.
End of Philip’s Reign
Philip’s reign not only led to large conquests, but it led to a revival in the Macedonian economy. Philip’s Macedonia became the preeminent power in Europe, with his Seleucid allies leading the way in the near East. After the Social War of 136 – 142 MTA, Philip realized that he could not conquer anymore during his lifetime, he was feeling older, and towards the end of his campaign against Illyria, he did not feel as well as the man he used to be. He died in 144 MTA, and is considered a great Macedonian hero, and the greatest conqueror to rule the state since Alexander and Philip over a century before him. With his death the Kingdom passed to Philip’s son, Perseus I.
Perseus I Tacheίa (144 – 171 MTA) [179 – 152 BC]
While Perseus may not have been the conqueror that his father was, he was not an inept King, and he spent much of his time reforming the Macedonia domestically. He is described as a shrewd, ambitious, and intelligent man. Cruelty was not unknown to him, as would later show during the Macedonian Civil War of 145 – 148 MTA. He took a wife named Laodicea in 145 MTA, and she was the daughter of Seleucus IV of the Seleucid Empire. With her, he had one son, and he was named Alexander. He gave himself the epithet “Perseus I Tacheίa”, which means “the Swift”, for his self-recognized ability to make smart, calculated decisions quickly.
Macedonian Civil War of 145 – 148 MTA [178 – 175 BC]
Early into Perseus’ reign, his brother, Demetrius, rebelled, claiming that he was the true heir to Philip. Most of the Macedonians were loyalists to Perseus, but some of Philip V’s newer conquests decided to side with Demetrius. Perseus’ army numbered some 30,000, and Demetrius’ numbered around 25,000.
The brothers’ armies first met at Cynoscephalae. Demetrius had the higher ground, and so when battle commenced, the phalangites of Perseus began by tossing javelins at the enemy. Then, the Macedonians under Perseus charged at Demetrius’, and both sides lost roughly the same amount of men in the skirmish. However, Perseus’ army was routed prematurely, and Demetrius seemed to be the winner of the Civil War.
Perseus regrouped his army at Larissa, recruited some more followers, and showed that he was still not defeated. A second battle between the brothers came out two months later up north at Dion. There, Perseus won a spectacular victory, and Demetrius was forced to retreat to Illyria.
Rebellions emerged against Macedonian rule around the Kingdom during the Civil War, but all were put down by the King’s forces. Demetrius came up with a new army after his defeat at Dion, and was again defeated by Perseus, this time at Bouthrotos. There, the Usurper’s army lost a full quarter of his army to Perseus’, and Demetrius was captured. He was arrested, and then murdered in his imprisonment by agents of Perseus, so as not to allow another claimant to the throne. It is said that this was the reason he only had one child – to keep another dynastic crisis out of the way for Macedonia’s future. For the rest of his reign Perseus would be paranoid about rebellions.
The Remainder of Perseus’ Reign
The remainder of Perseus’ reign was dominated by tax reformations and other reforms. He first renovated the military system, increasing the army’s reliance on cavalry, as it had been relatively neglected in recent years since Alexander the Great. He also reformed the taxes of the empire, raking in more money for the state. He used this money to increase the size of the Macedonian navy to combat piracy, which was becoming common around Aetolia and Crete, and this obviously was losing the state money.
Trade during Perseus’ reign expanded, and the Macedonians began to actively trade with the states of the west, as well as the states of the east. Macedonia soon became the richest state in the Mediterranean. Perseus died in 171 MTA at the age of sixty.
Seleucid Kings, 100 – 153 MTA [223 – 170 BC]
Antiochus III Megas (100 – 136 MTA) [223 – 187 BC]
Antiochus III came to power in 100 MTA, and his empire was in a state of disunion. Bactria and Parthia had successfully seceded, and the Medes and Persis were revolting. Anatolia was also in a state of disunion.
Antiochus was merely eighteen years old when he became the King of the Seleucid Empire, and was greatly influenced in his early years by a man named Hermeias. He convinced Antiochus to stay west and fight the Jews, but after a couple years he sent his armies east to destroy the rebellions there, and to recapture Seleucia.
Antiochus was an ambitious man, and was easily the most successful Seleucid ruler since the founder Seleucus I, and perhaps even more so. During his reign was the zenith of Seleucid power.
Fourth Syrian War
Once Antiochus returned to the east, he campaigned around Lebanon and Syria, and this led to war with Ptolemy III of Egypt. He (Antiochus) was distracted on two fronts, in the east against rebellions, and in the south against the Egyptians. His campaign against Egypt hadn’t gone well, and he had lost a few battles to the Ptolemaic army under Theodotus of Aetolia. But luck shone upon him, and Ptolemy III died, allowing the much less respected Ptolemy IV to rule Egypt. With this, Theodotus decided to switch sides, and fight against Ptolemy because internal court issues with him. He didn’t play a large role later in the war, however.
During lulls in the war Antiochus would head east to fight Molon, his rebel enemy. Once Antiochus himself joined the fight there, the rebel army gave up an Molon committed suicide. Antiochus was free to fight in the east.
Ptolemy IV had created a new army, and had put the native Egyptians in arms for the first time in a century. This was a risky endeavor, for the Egyptians were not always friendly subjects to the Ptolemies. In the long run this can be traced as the beginning of the Native Egyptian movement that led to an Egyptian nation ruled by Egyptians for the first time since before the Persian Empire.
This army had around 70,000 men, while Antiochus’ army had around 60,000 men. They met at Raphia, on Iunius 22, 106 MTA. Both sides had great success on the right wing, but Antiochus had gotten too greedy in battle with his cavalry, and Ptolemy took advantage of this and crushed the Seleucid army.
Campaigns in the East
Eight years after the Battle of Raphia, Antiochus led a campaign to Bactria. This was successful, and he besieged the Bactrian capital of Bactra, and this was ultimately successful, with Antiochus gaining a bride in the peace with the King’s daughter.
Antiochus, though he never said he wanted to be considered as great as Alexander to his men, really did, and he invaded India soon after his peace with Bactria. This did not get far however, and he befriended an Indian King named Sophagasenus, and left him his army.
Four years after his Bactrian campaign, Antiochus led an army around the Persian Gulf. It is here where Antiochus begins to call himself “Basileus Megas” as the Persians referred to their own kings as.
Fifth Syrian War
In 118 MTA, Antiochus and Philip V of Macedonia created a secret pact to be activated upon Ptolemy IV’s death. They decided to invade Egypt once he died, and the Macedonians would receive Cyrene, the Cyclades, and Ptolemy’s territory in Anatolia, while the Seleucid King would take the rest of Egypt’s empire.
This operation began in 121 MTA, and Antiochus immediately began fighting in Coele-Syria. He was victorious in the primarily siege-dominated warfare against the Ptolemoids. He then won again in the Battle of Panium, and the Egyptians sued for peace, but he refused, and continued his campaign. In 124, he captured Jerusalem, and in 125, he fought Ptolemy in the Battle of Yamit. This was also a Seleucid success, and he marched straight to Alexandria, and successfully captured the city. This was the end of the Ptolemaic reign in Egypt, as Antiochus decided to annex the whole of Egypt.
After the Annexation of Egypt
After Antiochus annexed Egypt in 126 MTA, he decided to rebuild Alexandria, and he added several statues of both himself and of Alexander, and he had a biographer place his biography in the Great Library there. He decided to stay in Alexandria for a few years, and he fought several Egyptian rebellions there. He then returned to Antioch, and ruled most of the remainder of his life there. However, he did return to Alexandria in 136 MTA, and this is where he fell ill with malaria. He died in Alexandria soon after getting the disease, at the age of 54. Amongst Hellenes he is remembered as a great King, but amongst the minorities of Seleucid society, he is remembered as a tyrant, as many Seleucid Kings were.
Seleucus IV Philopater (136 – 153 MTA) [187 – 170 BC]
Seleucus was born in the year of the Battle of Raphia to Antiochus, and he became King of a realm spanning from Egypt to nearly India, and from Anatolia to the Persian Gulf. While he was not an incompetent King (at least outside of the military), he lost a great portion of his Kingdom when he lost his father’s conquest of Egypt, and he lost some territory in the east to the Parthians. He is remembered as “Philopater”, or “Father Lover.”
When Antiochus III Megas conquered Egypt, he had only really annexed around twenty percent of it. The rest was controlled by a rebellious native kingdom ruled by Ankhmakis, who was the successor of Hugronaphor. This state seceded from Ptolemy IV a couple years before his death, and eventually controlled a large expanse of Egypt. Many Native Egyptians flooded towards Upper Egypt (where this dynasty was centered around) and Ankhmakis’ Kingdom was steadily growing in power.
Seleucus’ father Antiochus had largely ignored the rebellious Egyptian dynasty, spending most of his time rebuilding Alexandria from his own army’s destruction of much of it. Ankhmakis largely kept to himself as well, knowing the military prowess that Antiochus was known for. He decided to wait for him to die, as he was younger, he could expect to outwait him. Ankhmakis got lucky, and Antiochus died of malaria prematurely, and he took advantage of it. Almost immediately he raised an army and invaded Seleucid Egypt.
Ankhmakis was very successful and very popular amongst the native population, and soon his army swelled to nearly fifty thousand men. This army was primarily hoplite based, but had a few native spins on the Hellenistic model, and there were far more skirmishers and such in his army, which would inevitably help him defeat the methodical phalanx. Seleucus had seventy thousand to his disposal – nearly all recently raised phalangites, and he marched to Alexandria. He then marched south. There, he met Ankhmakis’ army near Memphis, and he lost a gruesome battle. He lost twenty thousand, while only inflicting around six thousand on his adversary. Antiochus retreated, and called upon the Hellenes of Alexandria to support him, and his numbers rose up again, to around 55,000. Again he fought Ankhmakis, this time closer to Alexandria, but he lost yet again with devastating results to his army. Seleucus’ army threatened mutiny if the war continued, and advised him to give up and return to Antioch. Wisely, Seleucus accepted, and he made a peace with Ankhmakis, giving up his father’s recent annexed property.
Attempts of Reconquest
Seleucus was not happy with his loss, and naturally he spent most of the rest of his military career trying to conquer Egypt like his father. He raised an even larger army, and invaded once more in 150 MTA. This army had many initial successes, and had managed to recapture the Sinai Peninsula by the next year. However, once he reached Egypt itself, he was overwhelmed by massive Egyptian volunteer armies, and he retreated from Egypt once more, defeated. This did not endear him to the people.
Domestic Part of Reign
Seleucus made several economic reforms during his reign to help pay for his and his father’s extensive campaigns, and this improved the economy. Seleucus sent an expedition to “the ends of the world”, and the expedition eventually met the Chinese Han Dynasty, and they established relations. Their story was transformed into a great Seleucid Epic, and was one of the great stories during the empire.
Seleucus IV was murdered by his brother Antiochus IV in 153 MTA, and Antiochus took over the Seleucid throne. While Seleucus’ reign was seen as the beginning of the end of Seleucid power, Antiochus’ reign was the catalyst whose reign led to civil war, and weakened it for the Parthian invasions that were to take place towards the end of his reign.
Questions, comments, concerns, and the like are all very appreciated.
10-22-2010, 04:10 PM
Excerpt from “A Brief Biography of Alexander VI Megaloprepίs” by Pausanias of Rhodes
Alexander VI was born to Perseus I and his wife Laodicea in the year 147 MTA, and he was the eldest child of the Macedonian Basileus. He also had two twin sisters, named Chrysanthe and Zoe, and they were born three years after him. As a young man, he was very much inspired by the tales of Achilles and Hercules and Alexander III, and he aspired to be remembered to be as great as any of them when he got onto the throne. He was trained by the finest tutors in the Kingdom, and he became a very well educated man, and he had a high regard for learning. He planned his reign before he got onto the throne, and when his father died when he was twenty-four, he was prepared to rule and rule effectively.
Almost immediately Alexander VI called for a military campaign, and this was greeted with enthusiasm. Alexander wished to conquer the state of Pergamon, which he felt would be a good first step in realizing his dreams of being as great as his idols.
His army totaled forty-three thousand, and of these, thirty thousand were infantry, eight thousand were cavalry, and the rest were skirmishers – the majority of which were Cretan Archers and Rhodian Slingers. His fleet was also very large, as there were three hundred and seventy-six Quinquiremes in it. He crossed the Aegean from Aerus, which was a city in the far east of the Macedonian realm.
This fleet was successful, and they went unopposed from the enemy fleet. Only a hundred hoplites went down in the small storm during their trip, and so Alexander was pleased. Soon after landing, they reached the city of Lampsacus. The city surrendered as soon as it saw Alexander’s awesome force, and the city became his base. From there, he sent his fleet to blockade the nation, and this was achieved after a victory at the Battle of Lesbos, where the Macedonian fleet crushed the much smaller Pergamonian fleet.
After securing Lampsacus, the Macedonian army successfully conquered all of the area near the city, and then he marched straight for Pergamon itself.
The King of Pergamon was Attalus II, and he was a militaristic man himself. He had fought for his brother Eumenes and for his father Attalus I in several wars with the Macedonians, and he was confident that he could defeat the likes of Alexander VI. His army was totaled at around fifty thousand, nearly all of which were heavy infantry phalangites. He would command from the front in battle, like other Hellenic Kings, especially those of old.
Alexander’s army met Attalus’ army on the banks of the Makestos River, and thus the battle that took place there was called the Battle of the River Makestos. Alexander deployed his infantry in a large line, his slingers in front of the infantry, and his archers behind the infantry line. He placed six thousand of his cavalry on his left flank and two thousand (including him) on the right. The river was behind his army. Attalus placed all of his cavalry (some four thousand) on the flank opposed by Alexander himself, feeling that he had spotted a great weakness.
This is just what Alexander wanted. Once both sides were fully deployed, he sent his group of cavalry out first, and pretended to charge at the enemy, making Attalus send all of his cavalry at the Macedonian squad. Then, all of the skirmishers in Alexander’s army began to shoot at the cavalry, as Alexander pulled his cavalry back and around the Phalanx line and with the other cavalry. This was done right on time, and the Pergamonian cavalry couldn’t pull back, and the entire force was decimated by Alexander’s hoplites, archers, slingers, and javelins. With the cavalry out of the way, Alexander’s cavalry sprinted towards the flank protected by King Attalus himself, and the cavalry charged the side of the phalanx. Attalus was killed within the first charge, and the Pergamonian infantry were routed nearly instantly. During the rout Alexander killed around forty percent of the Pergamonian army.
It was a disaster for Pergamon, and the army lost over half of the army, some twenty-eight thousand men. Alexander only lost two thousand and five hundred, and he was a hero to his army. After the battle, the army marched towards Pergamon, and successfully defeated the large city-state. He placed a Macedonian garrison of two thousand, and annexed the Kingdom that his Grandfather couldn’t conquer. With this, the Macedonians became the premier Kingdom in Anatolia.
After he conquered Pergamon, he was not yet completely satisfied with his Aegean campaign, and he decided to conquer the Hellenic city-state of Byzantium. Byzantium had supported Macedonia’s enemies in the past, and this was enough of a casus belli to have reason to conquer the city. So, he sent his army there, and, after a six month siege, defeated Byzantium, and annexed that land as well. By the time Macedonia had conquered the two city-states, it had only been two years into the reign of Alexander VI.
With this, he returned home to Macedonia, and to Pella. He spent three years in peace there, but was constantly planning his next campaign. He decided to next conquer the remainder of Hellas, and so he gave an ultimatum to the Achaean League, which was currently ruled by the Strategos Lycurgus of Corinth, telling the Strategos that if his league did not accept annexation by the Macedonians, then there would be war. A proud man, Lycurgus chose war.
The Macedonian King took the veterans from the Pergamonian and Byzantine Wars, raising very few new recruits. The Achaean League army was smaller, only around thirty-five thousand, and they were commanded by Lycurgus. He gave several speeches rallying his men to fight for “Liberty” and “Honor”, for they were the last of the Hellenic nations of Hellas and near Anatolia to be put under the Macedonian King’s thumb.
Alexander promptly took his army to Chalcis, and defeated the pro-Achaean forces there. He then marched to Athens, and took the city in a month with bribery. He now had Attica conquered, and now he focused on the major source of Achaean strength, which was the Peloponnese. Alexander conquered Corinth after a hundred and eight day siege, with help from the Macedonian navy.
One major naval battle broke out, and that was the Battle of Kythura. This battle was a tough Macedonian victory, who only won due to their numbers. After this, the Macedonian navy was in control of the Aegean and the Adriatic, making it easy to cut off supplies to nearly any city on the Peloponnese.
Alexander finally met Lycurgus’ main army at Orchomene, which was located in the center of the Peloponnese. This battle was a long and difficult battle, and it took most of the day, but ultimately, Alexander’s cavalry advantage again proved useful, and he defeated the Achaean army with a Pyrrhic victory. His army lost ten thousand, and the opposition lost twelve thousand. After this battle, there was little opposition, and Alexander became master of Boeotia, Attica, and the Peloponnese. Alexander VI had conquered the whole of Hellas at the age of thirty-one.
Over the next two years, there were several revolts spreading across the area that Alexander had conquered, the major ones being from Eumenes’ brother and another from a Spartan citizen who claimed to be a Eurypontid, one of the two royal Spartan lines. Both were defeated and executed, along with, in the Pergamonian case, the remainder of the royal family. Their bodies were publically shown as an example to not rebel against Alexander VI of Macedonia.
In the year 180 MTA there were a group of Getae tribes who raided Macedonian territory in the area, and Alexander decided to capitalize on the opportunity, and raised an army to fight the barbarians. This would be a five year long campaign against them, there were many long and gruesome battles fought between the two sides. In the end, Alexander was victorious, and he took enough land to connect Byzantium and Macedonia. While there, Alexander became acquainted with the barbaric alcoholic brew beer, and soon preferred beer over wine. He was a notorious alcoholic while on campaign, and wasn’t much better while in Hellas. This led to a solid temper, and while he was great amongst his men, learned intellectuals of Hellas thought that he had picked up a few too many barbaric habits. In the end though, this did not hinder his ability to be a great king.
In 188 MTA, Alexander began a large building campaign with the huge amounts of money he had made while plundering on his campaigns. He made the city of Pella a glorious city, one to rival the great Hellenic city of Athens. He first created a vast agora, which would cover a great portion of the city. This was pleasing to the people, and so he expanded on his building campaign, and created a large pantheon to the gods, specifically Ares, the God of War, which had helped him on his glorious conquests. He also expanded upon his palace, making it a great home for a great King. These works were created by the end of the decade, and made Pella shine in marble. Alexander had placed a large amount of his own wealth into the buildings, and this helped his reputation tremendously.
After this decade long building spree, he wanted to go on campaign again, and he decided to fight the Illyrians. He spent the next four years there, and he accomplished little over the numerous barbarians, though he did expand his kingdom a little. Afterwards, he invaded Bythinia so as to connect his northern Anatolian provinces, and he was successful, crushing Bythinian armies.
He used the booty won on the Illyrian and Bythinian campaign to make statues of every Macedonian King, which he lined around the palace. The collection even spanned earlier then Philip II and Alexander, going back all the way to the beginning of the Kingdom. Alexander the Great’s was the largest of the group, being that he was the greatest. His campaign booty was not quite enough to pay for this, so he upped taxes. This led to a revolt in Rhodes and in Crete, though once Alexander himself showed, the revolt vanished and the leaders committed suicide.
Alexander had married (when he was twenty-five) a beautiful Larissan woman named Theodora. The couple had five children; Eulalia (c. 172), Alexander (c. 173), Demetrius (c. 176), Ampelius (c. 180), and Ptolemy (c. 180). Two of Alexander’s three sons would succeed him on the throne, Alexander and Demetrius in what would be a very hectic succession.
Alexander VI was a known womanizer, and he had many concubines, with which he had many illegitimate children. This would be a recurring trend for several later Macedonian Kings.
The reign of Alexander VI ended in 214 MTA, and he left a powerful legacy behind him. His campaigns had dramatically increased the size of Macedonia, and his buildings left the capital clothed in marble. He was a smart, capable, man, who got along best with his soldiers, but got along well with the aristocracy. He was a likeable King, and, though he was violent when he needed to be, and drunk when he really shouldn’t, he was considered a great King, perhaps greater than his grandfather. He received the epithet “Magnificent, or Megaloprepίs”, because only Alexander could be known as “Megas” in Macedonian society, although some of his detractors referred to him as the “Barbarian”. He is remembered as both one of the greatest military men to rule Hellas, and one of the greatest domestic rulers, though he made few reforms, he made great buildings for the people, and occasionally for himself. His age was seen as the zenith of power for the early Antigonid Dynasty of Macedonia, and his style was replicated by later Macedonian monarchs.
10-22-2010, 04:15 PM
Map after Alexander VI's death:
10-23-2010, 12:47 PM
Excerpt from “Events in the Seleucid Empire, from 153 – 232 MTA” by Pausanias of Rhodes
Antiochus IV Epiphanes
Antiochus IV was not supposed to be King. He was the younger brother of Seleucus IV, who had been running the Kingdom with mixed success for the past fifteen years. Antiochus wanted power, and gradually made alliances with prominent generals and other important figures, and, when his brother’s popularity was low, he sent a small band of fifteen men to assassinate the King and his family. They were successful with killing the King himself, the queen, and their younger son who was also named Antiochus, but failed to capture the seventeen year old heir to the throne, Demetrius. Demetrius had escaped with the help of a loyal servant, and they rode together off to Cappadocia. There, the boy was treated well by the Cappadocian King, Ariarathes V. There, Demetrius and Ariarathes V negotiated an alliance to get Demetrius’ throne back, Demetrius receiving men from Ariarathes in return for a half the Kingship. Demetrius accepted.
Antiochus was initially welcomed onto the Seleucid throne, but his short lived popularity died as soon as he began to, as the saying goes, rule with an iron fist. He dramatically increased taxes amongst the majority of the empire, and raised them even higher on the Jews of Judea. He had also banned Jewish religious practices, which deeply resented Jews towards their Polytheistic Seleucid rulers. The Jews eventually revolted, and this revolt would later be known as the Maccabees revolt.
This revolt began in 155 MTA led by a Jewish priest named Mattathias along with his sons Judas, Eleazor, Simon, John, and Jonathon, against the Seleucid King. This revolt accidently coincided with the return of now nineteen year old Demetrius, who had invaded with a Cappadocian army in the Seleucid Empire’s northern Anatolian provinces. Mattathias sent John to meet Demetrius, and Demetrius promised Jewish independence in thanks for helping with his cause.
After Mattathias’ death in 157 MTA, Judas led the Jewish rebellion, and gained the epithet Maccabee, which meant “Hammer” in Aramaic. He was a brilliant commander, and led his forces to countless victories over larger Seleucid armies. Granted, Antiochus could only focus a small percentage of his troops on the Jews, and used effective ambushes, but nonetheless, the forces sent at Judas were always larger than his own.
Demetrius’ army against his uncle was composed of twelve thousand infantry, four thousand cavalry, two thousand horse archers, and a further two thousand javelins and other skirmishers. He raised a few volunteers in his Anatolian campaign, which bolstered this force up another two thousand. His uncle’s force was composed of thirty thousand infantry, three thousand cavalry, eighty elephants, and seven thousand skirmisher infantry.
The two relatives met at the Battle of Taurus. This battle was fought on the second day of Gorpiaios [August] on the Macedonian calendar in the 156th year since Alexander the Great’s death. The battle was long and difficult, but in the end Antiochus IV defeated his nephew, and captured him. Antiochus had Demetrius killed. The rebel army lost eight thousand, and Antiochus lost twelve thousand. After the battle and Demetrius’ death, Antiochus marched his army to Cappadocia, hoping to conquer the Kingdom that had supplied his nephew with weapons to oppose his rule. This was a major mistake in hindsight.
Mithridates I, the Arsacid King of Parthia, was planning an invasion of the Seleucid Empire, realizing that this would be the perfect time to strike at the Empire, while it was in chaos. Mithridates sent agents to the Medes and to Persia, striking a large rebellion in both places, and negotiated with the Jews, giving Judas assistance. Then, he launched a large military expedition, consisting of around twenty-five thousand men, almost forty-five percent of which were horsemen, and sixty percent of these were horse archers, while the other forty percent were cataphracts. The Parthian army quickly overran Persia and Media, which had a very small defending Seleucid army, and this boosted the numbers of the Parthian army up to close to thirty-thousand men.
When Antiochus heard about the Parthian invasion, he immediately left his army to a trusted general named Theodorus of Sidon, and he went back to Antioch to raise another army there. (A commonly noted mistake here by Antiochus is his failure to bring elephants against the Parthians. He used all of his trained elephants to invade Cappadocia, so he was unable to bring elephants against Mithridates) This army was quickly conscripted, and it consisted of around forty thousand, thirty thousand of which were hoplites and the other ten thousand cavalry and skirmishers. Because of the Parthian advance from the east, these hoplites were not well trained, as Antiochus needed to face the Parthians as quickly as possible. Rashly, he forced this army to march to Seleucia, which he reached in a little under a couple weeks of forced march. His men were exhausted when they reached the city, but the Parthian army had recently reached Mesopotamia as well, so battle would have to come at an inopportune time for the Seleucid army.
The Battle of the Tigris was a complete disaster for Antiochus IV’s army and Kingdom. Antiochus felt reasonably sure that he could defeat the Parthian army, as they had a great deal of cavalry, and he had a great deal of spearmen, and in the great “Rock, Paper, Scissors” game that is war, spearman beats horseman. He also outnumbered Mithridates’ army, though that advantage was of course neutralized by the exhaustion of his men.
The battle was basically one of slaughter. The Parthian horse archers tore up the Seleucid lines, with the exhausted phalangites unable to fight the swift cavalry. The Parthian cataphracts swiftly crushed the Seleucid horse, and Antiochus’ army was routed after an easy three hours of battle. Antiochus’ losses were tremendous, and he himself was wounded in the fight. When he tried to run, he was killed by Parthian forces.
After the Battle of the Tigris, the Parthians made a peace with the annihilated Seleucid Empire, taking almost all of its territory. Mithridates placed Antiochus’ nine year old son, also called Antiochus, on the throne with a puppet regent, who was supposed to manipulate the boy into a more peaceful resolve then his father. The Jews were granted independence, though at the cost of becoming a vassal of the Parthian Empire, so in a way they still were not free. They were ruled by Judas, who founded the Maccabeean dynasty of Judea.
Antiochus V Ikanés
Antiochus V Ikanés ruled the Seleucid Empire for seventy-three years, from age nine to age eighty-two. His epithet means “capable”, and capable he was. He kept the Parthians and the Cappadocians and the Macedonians from conquering his nation, and even expanded his own. He was similar to his father in many ways, but in other ways very different, combining some of his father’s best attributes with some of his grandfather’s. He married a woman named Aristomache, and with her he had one son, who would later become Antiochus VI. It is widely believed amongst historians that Antiochus V was a homosexual – or a male-preferring bisexual, based on his long struggle with having offspring, and his relationship with a man named Leontios.
The Parthian appointed regent Nikanor was a young man of around twenty-six when the First Parthian War ended in 159 MTA, and he tried very hard (mainly due to bribes) to hammer Persian customs and Parthian propaganda into Antiochus’ brain. For instance, Antiochus learned of the tale of Cyrus the Great of Persia before he learned of Hellenic heroes Achilles and Alexander. Antiochus would learn much from this, but he would use it against the Parthians rather than for them. Nikanor died of cancer when Antiochus was fourteen, and it is from this point that Antiochus began to rule the Kingdom, albeit with many advisors at first. Antiochus V was very confident in his ability to be King, and did not believe that Seleucid power was completely gone. Most of his subjects were now Hellenics, which helped keep revolts down a lot, and allowed him to tax more, which were pros to having a smaller kingdom, though obviously it still was not as great as having a large one.
Much of his first five years as King were confused ones, and he relied heavily on his advisors. However, when he turned eighteen, while on a hunt, he crossed paths with a great lion, and he killed it in a one-on-one confrontation with his hunting knife. From that point on, he would use the symbol of a lion in many ways, and liked to refer to himself as a great lion. This greatly bolstered his confidence tremendously.
After the lion episode, he decided to invade several Anatolian states, beginning with the Cappadocians. The Cappadocians were still ruled by King Ariarathes V, who had allied Antiochus’ cousin Demetrius years earlier. The Cappadocian army was composed of around twenty thousand men, a quarter of which were cavalry and the rest battled on foot. Antiochus raised an army of thirty thousand, and, for the first time, a Seleucid army had a large proportion of their army as cavalry, as he had learned from the Parthians. He also had twenty elephants.
Antiochus V defeated the Cappadocians in several battles, and annexed that state after capturing Ariarathes and dragging him to Antioch in chains, where he was killed via beheading. Antiochus was impressed by his Hellenism, as Ariarathes was educated in Athens, and was a great admirer of the city, but this did not deter his decision.
After the Cappadocian campaign, he built the largest agora in the world in Antioch, which greatly boosted his reputation amongst the plebs and around the nearby nations. He spent three years in Antioch, working on domestic reforms and building the larger agora. After this was finished, he planned a campaign of reconquest.
At the age of twenty-two, Antiochus decided to invade Parthia, beginning the Second Parthian War. This war lasted five years. Antiochus had many successes, and managed to bring his armies back to Seleucia, but was ultimately defeated at the Battle of Babylon, where he lost the majority of his army. He then struck a White Peace with the Persians, and went back to Antioch unsatisfied with his campaign.
Five years later, he decided to invade Judea. Judea was still ruled by Judas, and he called for help to his Parthian allies. The Parthians accepted, and they invaded Antiochus’ realm. Antiochus had two armies – an army of thirty thousand to protect against the Persians, and an army of ten thousand to fight the Jews. Ultimately, both armies were defeated, and again Antiochus had to go to back to Antioch unsatisfied with himself.
Antiochus spent the next thirteen years in Antioch, developing a military strategy to defeat the Parthians, and building a great monument to Zeus. While his monument to Zeus was nothing compared to the statue in Hellas, it was a great and splendid statue that helped his legacy. When he was thirty-four he finally had a child, Antiochus. This year was 184 MTA.
His time dwelling on the Seleucid military stagnation was successful, and he created an army of twenty thousand well trained phalangites, eight thousand cataphracts, five thousand horse archers, ten thousand skirmishers, and thirty-three elephants. Each was trained to work well with each other, and Antiochus spent a lot of time reading about the life of Alexander, and reading Pyrrhus of Epirus’ “Art of War.” His self-education made him the most versed military theoretician in the Kingdom. After he was sufficiently confident, he again invaded Parthia for the Fourth Parthian War. (His Judean campaign being counted as the third)
This attack was as successful as the Second Parthian War, and again he conquered up to Mesopotamia. He defeated many Parthian armies; some of which were larger than his own. His army was working very well, especially the elephants, who served their role in frightening the Parthian horse, leaving the much weaker Parthian infantry as the significant fighting force in the army. Gradually the Parthian King Phraates II realized that he had to incorporate elephants into his own army if he were to defeat the Seleucids.
Phraates was a cunning king, and he sent a messenger to the Anatolian nations that bordered Antiochus – Pontus and Galatia – to invade Seleucid territory. This diplomacy was successful, and Antiochus was forced to pull back with his army, and he only managed to gain a small tribute from his extensive military success.
In Anatolia, the majority of his battles were sieges, which did not allow him to use the strategy he had perfected against the Parthians. After six years of war, he came to a truce with the Pontics and the Galatians, who were not as easily conquered as the vast territories of Parthia or the weak Cappadocians.
After the end of this war, Antiochus was fifty-two years old, and the year was 202 MTA. Antiochus would rule for another thirty years, and nearly all of this time was spent in Antioch, where he built several marvelous buildings, expanded his navy, and reformed several laws. Gradually, he lost much of the territory he had won in Cappadocia to Pontus, which had begun to expand into a major Black Sea empire. Nervous of Pontic expansion, Antiochus fought his last war beginning in 221 MTA. He was now seventy-one, but was stubborn and didn’t listen to his generals who told him that he was getting too old to properly fight. He was fighting against the great Pontic commander Mithridates VI, who would later be known as the great. Mithridates had expanded his nation across the Black sea, and had conquered the rest of non-Macedonian Bythinia, northern Cappadocia, some of Galatia, and he had expanded into Armenia. None of those were as powerful as the Seleucid Empire, but the Seleucids were obviously not as strong as they once were. Mithridates decisively defeated Antiochus’ army in the Battle of the River Halys. After that battle, Antiochus gave up his military career. Peace with Pontus was struck in 224 MTA.
Antiochus V was to die eight years later in Antioch, and he was remembered as a great, cunning, and patriotic King. His seventy-three year rule was one of the longest ever served in history, and he forever changed the Seleucid Empire. His tactics would be those used by the Seleucids until their fall in 257 MTA, and the combined phalanx-horse archer scheme began to be used by the increasingly Hellenistic Parthians. His biography is one of those most frequently written by historians, for Antiochus V was a great character in the age of the successors.
Your thoughts are most welcome.
10-23-2010, 12:48 PM
Map isn't very good, but here's one anways. Eastern Med after Antiochus V's death:
10-24-2010, 03:58 PM
Excerpt from “A History of Carthage”, by Hanno Abonibaal
Nature of the Punic Monarchy
The new Punic Monarchy was based on the old kingdom, and also on new ideas originating in places like Hellas and Rome. The King was elected by the Council of the People, which were elected by the citizens of Carthage. While the position was an elective one, in nature the only family that was really elected King for centuries was Hannibal’s Barcid family, making the election more of a formality then anything. Punic Kings did not have the absolute power that the Diadochi Kings of the east had, though over time the King would gradually take more and more power for their own selfish interests.
The Carthaginian King was the supreme civil leader and also the chief priest as the Suffetes were, but usually (but not always) were not military commanders. Punic Kings, unless they were very confident in their martial abilities, usually preferred to be purely domestic, appointing generals to fight their wars. Exceptions to this rule are found in the first three Barcid Kings – Hannibal, his brother Hasdrubal, and Hannibal’s son Hamilcar, all of which fought the enemy at the head of the army. Appointed generals were always aristocrats; however, they would never be in the Council of the People, as Carthaginians did not support putting their political leaders in danger, a trait that was on the complete opposite side of the spectrum from their Roman counterparts.
Increase of Hellenistic Practices
During the reigns of both Hannibal Barca and his brother, Hasdrubal, practices from the eastern Hellenic states gradually began to influence the elite of Carthaginian society, and later on, this trickled down to even the poor of Carthaginian society. For instance, Hannibal had his son, Hamilcar, tutored by some of the finest Hellenes that he could get, and Hellenic architecture began to dominate several Punic cities. The Hellenic language too began to gradually become the language of the elite, and had its own influences on the Punic version of Phoenician. Hellenic practices also began to take hold in Carthaginian religion, with Ba’al sometimes being seen as the Punic name for Zeus, and other minor changes.
These influences each, while drastic from the earlier practices, very gradually took hold, instead of the rapidity that it may sound like I’m conveying. For instance, Carthaginians still went to the mother city Tyre every year for religious festivals, and child sacrifices continued for most of the century after the Second Roman War. The root of Carthaginian Hellenization is often taught as beginning with the Punic victory of the Romans in the Second Roman War, which granted them Syracuse, as the Romans had recently conquered that state.
Hannibal I Megas (609-639 AF) or (118-148 MTA)
Hannibal Barca would rule the new Kingdom of Carthage for thirty years – or from 609 AF to 639 AF, which is, in Hellenic Dating, 118 MTA to 148 MTA. His reign was one of peace, prosperity, and reformation for the Carthaginian people, and he would later be given the epithet “Megas” as Alexander would get.
Hannibal would begin his reign as King with his allowing the Hellenes Punic citizenship, which was a very bold move, as only the Romans had really trusted any other culture to work its way into the base culture’s elite. Nevertheless, the move was applauded by many, especially the Hellenes of Syracuse and the other Hellenes in the eastern portion of Sicily. After this change, Hannibal began to gain more confidence as a ruler.
Five years into his rule, Hannibal decided that he needed to expand Carthage’s markets, so as to make more money – as Thucydides stated, “War is a matter not so much of arms as of money”, and Hannibal, in line with Thucydides’ thoughts, felt that Carthage needed to expand her markets to ensure safety for its citizens. He also decided to renovate the great Carthaginian harbor.
After adding on to the Harbor and creating the largest agora in the ancient world, Hannibal built a triumphal column in the center of the city, telling the story of his success in the Second Roman War. This column would stand for centuries, and was known as “Hannibal’s Column”. All of these buildings, as well as further building in places such as Utica, Thapsus, Cirta, Carthago Nova, Lilybaeum, Panormus, and even Syracuse, made Hannibal an accomplished builder, and he became a fine architect by the time of his death.
Hannibal also, though in his later years, would help begin advancing Punic roads, to help quicken travel along the Kingdom’s large African expanse. This would lay the groundwork for future Carthaginian Kings to expand and make far more advanced roads, and would help Punic armies travel from Libya to Carthage to Numidia far faster.
Alliances and Spanish Campaigns
While Carthage was a very rich state, Hannibal had used much of the state’s money in order to advance Carthage this much, and this meant that he needed to either campaign to raise money or to raise taxes in order to refill the state’s coffers. Hannibal chose to campaign in Iberia, so as to expand Carthage’s Iberian mines which would increase the state’s annual income. Hannibal embarked on this journey in 620 AF.
While Hannibal had not marched with an army for over a decade, his skill was still far superior to that of any Iberian chief, and the majority of Hispania would easily fall to Carthage. Most of this was due to diplomatic moves rather than true military conquests, but all the same, Hannibal could be considered briefly the Hegemon of Iberia. The campaign would take six years in total. This hegemony would not last long past his death, as the primary reason for the ease of conquest was fear of Hannibal.
Hannibal also frequently negotiated with the Gallic tribes during his reign, with the Arverni tribe being his primary contact. The Arverni were the most powerful Gallic tribe (in fact, Arverni is Gallic for “Superior Ones”), and they were supposed to have control of the confederacy between the Pyrenees and the Rhine, however, with their growing power, they also had many enemies, namely in the Aedui tribe and their allies. These two alliances would constantly war over each other’s territories.
Hannibal’s wish was to make the Arverni tribe the strongest, and make them a powerful ally with Carthage, so as to keep Rome from advancing westwards, threatening Carthage yet again. He sent his younger brother Mago and an army of two thousand to assist the Arverni in their wars, and gave the Arverni chief presents, and taught their new Gallic allies how to do certain things. While full Arvernian hegemony over Gaul was decades upon decades away, the Arverni did gain enough power quickly to rule the majority of Southeastern Gaul, and completely dominated the area by Hasdrubal Barca’s death, which was the area that Hannibal most wished for a powerful Gallic tribe to rule. Hannibal made a marriage alliance with the Gallic chief Luernios, marrying his daughter to the chief’s son, further cementing the two’s relationship.
End of Hannibal’s Reign
After Hannibal’s Iberian campaign and time negotiating alliances in Gaul, the year was 628 AF, and Hannibal was now an older man of sixty-two years old. His campaigns had paid for his earlier building spree, and Hannibal spent the rest of his reign continuing to build, though at a less massive scale. This building mostly consisted of temples, the majority of which were to the main Carthaginian gods of Ba’al, Tanit, Melqart and the like. Hannibal after his time in the barbarian lands of Hispania and Gaul also expanded upon his earlier road network to improve communication along the empire.
Hannibal also wanted to build a great mausoleum for he and later Carthaginian Kings, and he decided to place this at Zama regia, which was an open plain. His hope was that his mausoleum would be even greater than the one at Halicarnassus. He hired the best architects in the Kingdom to build this building, and a year before Hannibal’s death, this was created. Whether or not its greatness outdid the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus is based on one’s taste, but Hannibal’s was truly grand. Certainly his was larger, as it was meant to hold many, many more people, but because of this, the aesthetics were probably inferior. It became known as the Mausoleum of Zama.
In addition to continuing to build a solid infrastructure and mausoleum, Hannibal decided to write his own “Art of War”, which would become a massively popular read for later Punic and foreign rulers. His, Pyrrhus’, and Alexander’s tactics would be the main trio of studies any young general would have to study in order to be adequately trained in that field. He also had his son’s favorite tutor, a man named Euthymius, to write Hannibal’s biography. This was also a major read for the literate of the ancient world, and was completed three years after Hannibal’s death.
Hannibal Barca had four children with his Iberian wife, Cartimandua, had four children between them. They were: Hamilcar (c. 610), Sophonisba (c. 612), Tamar (c. 616), and Shayna (c. 619). Of these, only Hamilcar would play any sort of major role in future Punic politics, Hannibal’s daughters usually being items of diplomacy with the Iberians and Gauls.
Hannibal would die at the age of seventy-three, 639 years after the founding of Carthage. After his death a hero cult would emerge, deifying Hannibal. There was some opposition of this, mainly amongst the aristocracy, but many of Carthage’s poor would worship Hannibal as a demigod. He was buried at the Juno Hill outside of the walls of Carthage, which was already a cemetery to many people. After Hannibal’s death however, it became the location for a grand mausoleum, in which all of Punic Royalty would be buried in. Hannibal’s casket was made of pure glass, and was as fine as any ever made in the history of the world.
Hasdrubal I Gennaíos (639-645 AF) or (148-154 MTA)
Hasdrubal I was the brother of Hannibal, and he was constantly overshadowed by his great sibling. However, while he was constantly overshadowed, he was easily elected the next King of Carthage by the Council of the People. His reign lasted for six years, and mostly consisted of his wars with the Iberians to uphold Punic Hegemony, and keeping the Syracusan Hellenes in line. He is remembered as “The Brave”, for his valor in battle, though his tactical brilliance was not as great as his predecessor.
Soon after Hannibal’s death, many Iberian tribes decided that their freedom was lost by agreeing to be underlings to the Carthaginians, and many of the western tribes – chiefly the Lusitanians and Vettones, rebelled against their recently established Punic overlords. Hasdrubal could not let this happen without a fight, and so he and an army of thirty thousand – primarily Libyans, Numidians, and Hellenic mercenaries – sailed for Carthago Nova. There, Hasdrubal recruited another ten thousand from local loyal tribes to the Barcid cause, and Hasdrubal marched north of the River Ebro, to crush the revolting tribes there and secure the Iberian Mediterranean coast. The premier Iberian tribes there were the Ilergetae and the Lacetani. Both surrendered after a year of small battles and important sieges, the most important of these being the Siege of Ilturo.
After the Northeast was secured, Hasdrubal then marched to the heart of Iberia, where the Celtiberi and the Vaccaei were located. This campaign took two years, and after a many hard battles, the Iberians surrendered to Hasdrubal. Hasdrubal had at this point lost nearly half of the men he had left Carthago Nova with, and he needed reinforcements. He retreated to Gadir after this last campaign, and rose up another eight thousand Iberians – primarily Turdetanians. However, before Hasdrubal could campaign against the Lusitanians, the Vettones, and the other western and northern Iberian tribes, word had reached him that the Syracusan were revolting once more in Sicily, and so Hasdrubal had to leave his campaign to his brother, Mago, while he took care of the Sicilians. Hamilcar, Hannibal’s son, had been regent while Hasdrubal was on campaign.
Mago continued the campaign for the next two years, and he fought well, but he died in the Battle of Scallabis. After this defeat, Mago’s chosen successor, Mattan Eugorid, negotiated a peace with the Iberian tribes, as he was not a Barcid, and because the army had taken massive casualties during Mago’s two years of command. This peace allowed the barbarians to keep their land and freedom, but it had come to a heavy price to them as well, as they had lost far more men, women, and children to the Carthaginians then the Punic army had lost. The Iberian tribes that had allowed themselves to be ruled by the Barcids meanwhile prospered under Punic rule, maintaining stability for the first time in their history, and they provided Punic armies great reserves of troops.
The Hellenic Revolt of 643-644 AF and the End of Hasdrubal’s Reign
While the Hellenes of Sicily were for the most part satisfied with their lot in life under Punic rule, many felt that as Hellenes they were superior to their masters, and, in Syracuse, a revolt began under the leadership of a certain Eustachus of Naxos. He commanded a rebel army of fifteen thousand. This group was mostly made of Romans who were very upset that they were inferior citizens in their new nation. Other represented groups include obviously the Hellenes, unsatisfied Carthaginians, and various pirates. Most Hellenes were waiting to see how successful Eustachus was before they committed to his cause. Eustachus defeated the small Punic army sent there once news spread to Carthage, and so the King Hasdrubal was told of the situation and was begged to come to Sicily, to which he accepted. He arrived in Lilybaeum with an army of twenty thousand Iberians, Gallic mercenaries, Numidians, and four elephants sent from Carthage to wait in Lilybaeum for the King.
Hasdrubal Barca quickly marched his army across the island, and the two armies met at Kapition. Hasdrubal won the battle with ease, and Eustachus committed suicide once he knew that his army had lost. Hasdrubal then commenced to capture the remainder of the island, and place a garrison in Syracuse, to prevent further revolts from that city.
Towards the end of the year, Hasdrubal grew ill, and was unable to go back to Iberia to fight the Lusitanians and Vettones. He went back to Carthage, and died early in the year 645. He died at the age of seventy-six, and was the oldest man to be elected King in Carthage’s history, being elected at seventy. Like Hannibal, he had a Spanish wife, but he only had one child, a girl, named Abdosir. She was married to a prominent Carthaginian senator. Hasdrubal is remembered as a good King of Carthage, but was, is, and always will be, overshadowed by his brother. He was buried next to Hannibal at the Mausoleum at Juno.
A really simple map of Punic Iberia, 169 BC. Green represents Gallic tribes, brown represents Iberian and Celt-Iberian tribes and whatever else, and gray is Carthage.
10-24-2010, 04:01 PM
By Alexis of Alaliē
The Third War of the Western Mediterranean
(As the Hellenes called it)
The Third War of the Western Mediterranean, or the Third Roman War, or the Third Punic War, depending on your nationality, began in the year 158 MTA. This seven-year long war began with Rome’s decision to back up her one-time ally, Massilia, as she was being invaded by [likely] Punic-encouraged Arverni warriors, whom were seeking to control the whole of Southeastern Gaul. Massilia first asked for the Carthaginians to aid them, as Massilia was incapable of defending themselves from a large Gallic horde after the tributes they had to pay to Carthage for its role in the second war – which were severe enough to cripple the Massilian economy. Carthage declined, as it had formed good bonds with the Arverni, and Massilia had a history of friendship with the Romans. Massilia, desperate, then contacted their second choice, and this was Rome.
The consuls of Rome at the time were patrician Gaius Licinius Crassus Dives and plebeian Sextus Martialis Florus, the youngest of the three Florus brothers who had come to become consul in the last decade. As Florus’ name might have implied, Florus was a rather shrewd military man who wished to expand the glory and power of Rome in his name, and thought of himself as a neo-Alexander, and he wished to expand his own reputation past at least that of his elder brothers whom had been consul before himself. Crassus, as his epithet implies, was one of the richest men in Rome, and was part of a very powerful and old patrician family. Both consuls typically aligned themselves with the Boni of post-second war Roman politics.
On the Roman calendar, the Massilian plea reached Rome on the sixth of Sextilis, which was the fourth month that the Consuls were in charge. Up to that point, little had been achieved by either, although plans were in the making for adding on to the Forum. When the Hellenic messenger arrived in the Senate, he immediately told of the plight that the Massilian people were in. Both consuls were convinced that war should ensue, as the Romans were a militaristic people, and Florus was perhaps even more so. Marcus Porcius Cato, four-time Consul and currently a Roman Praetor, and perhaps the most influential senator of his time, was also convinced that Rome should march her armies past the Alps and aid their allies. However, two-time Consul and current Pontifex Maximus Marcus Aemilius Lepidus warned Senators that war with the Arverni would mean war with Carthage once more, and heeded that Rome was not ready for a second clash with the African economic juggernaut. Perhaps fifteen percent of the Senate aligned their views with the aging high priest, but the majority ignored his views, feeling that Rome had recovered economically, had successfully renovated its military tactics to fit what was required to defeat Carthaginian armies while not conscripting their entire nation, and the, as many Romans referred to him as, Monstrum Magnum, or the great monster that was Hannibal Barca, was dead, and he was seen as the chief cause for Rome’s defeat, with good reason, being that the Romans had won every other theater of the last war other than Hannibal’s Italian theater. While Romans were rather superstitious about familial greatness, they didn’t find Hannibal’s son, Hamilcar, nearly as frightening as the old Punic King, and his brothers, Hasdrubal and Mago. War was declared by Senatus Populusque Romanus (SPQR) after three weeks of debate.
Hamilcar, son of Hannibal I Barca Megas, and of an Oretani Iberian woman named Cartimandua, was an intelligent, capable, ambitious, and was generally benevolent man, though, like his Uncle, Hasdrubal, felt constantly overshadowed by his father. At the outbreak of the next war with Rome, he had been Punic Basileus for four years, and had thus far ruled well. He had increased Punic income, finished Hannibal’s road network, increased Punic control over the Iberian tribes, and continued on his father and uncle’s foreign policy, aiding the Arverni with their wars with the Aedui and other barbarians of Gaul, and negotiating alliances with the various Iberian tribes. When he learned of Rome’s plans to expand her power past the Alps into Transalpine Gaul, Hamilcar was both infuriated and somewhat amused. He was infuriated that Rome was insolent enough to declare her support for Massilia, when her superiors in Carthage had denied it. He had believed that Rome wouldn’t dare to try and cross paths with Carthage after she had been soundly beaten over forty years previously by Hamilcar’s father, and Carthage had only expanded her power since 116 MTA. The part that was amusing to Hamilcar was that Rome still believed that it could defeat Carthage, even though Carthaginian power had only grown, and Roman power had severely declined. As mad as Hamilcar was with this though, there was a part of him, albeit very small, who was very happy with the turn of events. This would give Hamilcar the chance to prove that he was as good, if not better, than his father. Hamilcar ordered the fleet to blockade Rome’s territory, and an army to be raised consisting primarily of Iberians and Numidians, who were still servants to Carthage’s empire. Hamilcar sent ambassadors to Rome to warn the Romans that if they went through with war, Carthage would back up the Arvernian horde. This made several senators think twice about war, but the majority still was for it, and the Romans executed the ambassadors. War had come once more between the Carthaginians and the Romans, and Hamilcar Barca would lead Carthage’s main army himself.
Causes of the War
The obvious cause to Carthage’s third war with the Romans is Rome’s decision to back up the Massilia in her quest to repel the invading Gauls. But, as with many wars, there were deeper reasons for two civilized western powers to collide.
· Carthaginian Fear of Rome/Roman Militarism
o As little as any Punic man would like to admit, especially the King, Carthage came too close to losing the last war for comfort. They had Hannibal Barca on their side, arguably as great a genius as Alexander, and still they nearly lost the war. Outside of Hannibal, they had lost every theater and every conquest outside of the home continent from their entire centuries old history in the blink of an eye. Rome was too militaristic, too expansionist, for Carthaginian comfort. If Carthage was to rule the seas and trade routes peacefully, Rome could not be a power on this side of the Mediterranean. If Rome were allowed to survive in the west, then Carthage would face them again and again until Punic coin could not match Roman manpower, and Carthage’s power would be vanquished. Thus, Carthage was not afraid to act, as Rome was still relatively weak and reeling from the previous war.
· Roman Expansion into Cisalpine Gaul (Goes with first point)
o Part of Carthage’s fear of Rome was the fact that even under a massive tribute; Rome could still successfully expand her borders. After Rome’s conquest of the region, it threatened to expand into further Gallic territories, past the Alps into Transalpine Gaul, and Carthage could not let Rome advance past the Alps, or it would have the resources to make up for its loss of Southern Italy and Sicily.
· End of Tribute
o Without a tribute to pay Carthage, the Punic government suddenly had a smaller income, and Rome suddenly could fully explore its economic power, and Rome, being the militaristic society that they were, naturally were inclined to use it to expand further, and increase its revenue and setup further buffers to protect Rome from the northern barbarians.
· No Hannibal Barca
o Hannibal Barca was up until this point the only barbarian that Rome had ever truly feared. While his son was in charge, Rome was not nearly as frightened of the new Barcid, and felt inclined to take advantage of the opportunity.
Hamilcar’s plans for the war were not complex. First, he planned to exert Punic naval might over the Roman navy, by defeating whatever remained of Rome’s navy, and then blockading major Roman ports. The navy would allow Hamilcar to prepare three main armies for the war – two in Italy, and one in Gaul. Domestically, Hamilcar garrisoned several cities, but for the most part kept Carthage empty of a military presence, trusting his younger son, Hannibal, to run the nation and ensure that no major rebellions broke out during his father’s absence.
The commanders of the three main Punic armies were the Basileus, his son Hamilcar the Younger, and Agbal Chelbesid, his elder sister’s husband. Agbal was designated the task of dealing with the Gauls, and halting Roman armies there before they could fracture Arvernian power in Gaul. The Basileus and his son were to fight in Italy. The younger Hamilcar would fight in the north with an army of 20,000, where his task was to effectively shut down Roman reinforcements to Gaul, and to slowly take control over Etruria and Picenum until he was needed to make the final surge into Latium and to siege Rome. The elder Basileus Hamilcar would have his army in the south, and would basically coordinate the entire alliance’s moves in Southern Italy, leaving only his son and his brother-in-law’s armies’ relative autonomy. The Basileus’ army would be 40,000 strong, made up of some Hellenic mercenaries, some Libyans, and some Iberians, but mostly made of Italians. It is estimated he had 8,000 horse (mostly Italian, but some Numidian) as well. The Basileus also featured 31 elephants in his army. The other two main armies were each numbered around 25,000. Agbal’s, being the Punic army in Gaul, and it mostly being the army that had fought in Iberia over the past few decades, was primarily made of various Gallic and Iberian tribesmen, as well as a solid amount of Numidian Horsemen. Other represented ethnicities in Agbal’s army include various Libyans and Balearics. Hamilcar the Younger’s army was also primarily made up of Gauls and Iberians – however, there were more Libyans, Numidians, and other mercenaries in this army. Both of the other major armies also had twelve elephants.
After learning that war would come again with Carthage – which most of them had assumed anyway – Rome had to plan for another invasion on Italian soil, as well as be able to invade Transalpine Gaul, and aid their Massilian allies. Three armies were raise; each composed of three legions and two alae. The first army was under the current consul Martialis Florus, who was designated the task of fighting in Transalpine Gaul. His role as general of that army was a permanent role, given because of his valor in battles and because Gaul, not being Italy, would be too difficult to risk sending a new leader to. Florus would receive assistance from the Hellenic leader Pythagoras, who was named for the famed mathematician. The second army was under the control of Crassus. This army was to fight in Italy, along with the aid of a second Italian army. Both of these armies would be headed by the current consul, except for the first year. The general of the second army would be Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus. Rome also had several smaller armies (typically around 1000 apiece or so) as raiding parties and to assist the major armies quickly. No navy was bothered to be built for this war, as Rome knew that it would be unable to produce a large enough army to adequately fight Carthage if it split its strained financial resources on a navy that was going to be easily defeated by the much larger Punic fleet. Rome exhausted a lot of its manpower in its initial conscription – being up to 75,000 in its major armies alone – and thus the ideal war was a quick war that would be decided in one or two major battles that would cripple the Punic warring spirit.
First Year of War [164 BC]
While the war is named after the Carthaginians and Romans, as explained previously the war did not begin with those two nations. It began with Luernios, the famed Arvernian Verrix (King), and his decision to invade the Hellenic colonial city-state.
Luernios, a barbarian Verrix in all of its glory, had been the Arvernian “King” for many years up to this point – nearly fifty years. If any one period of any one Gallic Tribe were picked as a “golden age”, the reign of Luernios would have to be it for the Arvernian Gauls. He had led the Arverni people into the beginning of Gallic hegemony, and was the most famed Gaul alive in the world.
The Celt, after having battled his own kind for many a year before the Third War of the Mediterranean, had always prized the Hellenic city of Massilia to the south. It was this city, he believed, that would make the Arverni truly the best Gauls, and a nation worthy to be recognized by the Carthaginians, the Hellenes, and the Romans. While he had led his tribe to so much prosperity already, he still wished to be the Verrix to lead his tribe into a new and better age, and this was made possible by his alliance with Hamilcar.
The Barcid family and Luernios had allied out of Punic need to prevent Rome from rising to challenge Carthaginian dominance of the Western Mediterranean, and had looked to Luernios’ Arverni to do this. The Barcids reasoned that if they had a loyal allied power to block Rome’s advance past the Alps in the west, then Carthage had no power to fear, and could rule the waves and markets without having to worry about having their position usurped by a rogue Latin city-state. This did not bother Luernios, as he knew that he was far better off allied with such a great power, and he graciously took Punic aid in Arverni wars with the Aedui and other Celtic tribes. The Carthaginian King and the Arvernian Verrix had also intermarried their families, the Gaul sending his daughter to Hamilcar’s son, Hamilcar, which would help further cement the two’s relationship.
Thus, when Luernios decided to invade Massilia out of want for glory and national advancement, he assumed that Carthage would aid their cause, and wouldn’t help Massilia, who was certain to beg with the greatest local power to help their cause, and he raised an army of twenty thousand men, which was done quickly, as there was always great enthusiasm for war amongst the Celts at this time. The Druids did not oppose the war. Eighteen thousand of these were infantry, a thousand were cavalry, and another thousand were archers and other skirmishers. Many of these had fought on previous campaigns with Luernios, but a larger quantity then most raised Celtic armies then usual was green, and this somewhat worried Luernios, but he knew that his army would vastly outnumber that of Massilia, and he brushed this fear off. The invasion began on the first day of the Gallic calendar, the summer solstice.
The Massilian army was comprised of around fifteen thousand men, and this was placed under the command of Pythagoras. Pythagoras took the west to a strong defensive position near the Rhodanos River, and made camp there, preparing to intercept the Celtic invaders in the approximate area. Camp was made for the greater part of a month, until finally the Gauls trudged their way along towards Massilia in the expected fashion, and Pythagoras, who had drilled his men to be ready for battle almost immediately, ordered the nearly completely hoplite army to organize themselves into phalanx formation. The ensuing battle would be referred to as the “Battle of the Rhodanos”, though it would be one of several battles called that, and one of the least famous.
The location was a good one for the nearly complete hoplite army, as the left flank of the army was next to the river, and the right was flanked by trees. The entire Massilian army was on a hill, and so also had a height advantage. The remainder non-hoplite portion of the army were skirmishers – primarily peltasts, and were the front line, and the general took position on the far right with the most trained and experienced men, though almost the entire army had no experience and little training.
Luernios had no overly complicated plan, and mostly relied on brute force to win the day. His archers were to decimate the Hellenic peltasts and then fire at the hoplites until they ran out of arrows, at which point Luernios’ massive horde of infantry would be sent out, with the cavalry in reserve, and numbers would crush the Hellenic foe.
The battle went according to Luernios’ plan. His archers marched out, and completely obliterated the few Hellenic peltasts there were, and then they focused on the right flank of the Hellenic line. This was met with considerably less success, though many Hellenes were wounded, and some killed. With the archers finished with their duty, Luernios finally sent his over-enthused warriors out to fight the hoplites. Many Gauls were killed – far more then the enemy – but Luernios’ army won the day, and routed their Hellenic foe. Around two thousand Hellenes were killed, and another thousand were captured, and the Gauls lost around three thousand.
With the Hellenic army defeated, the Arverni could freely march to Massilia. Along the way, they sacked several smaller towns and villages to avoid having to fight these peoples later, and so as to raise the morale of Luernios’ men, and to gain gold that they wouldn’t have had before. By the time the Gauls made it to Massilia, almost the whole of Hellenic Gaul was looted and burned down, and Massilia was the last safe haven.
By this time, Luernios had just learned of Rome’s decision to aid Massilia, and Carthage’s decision to aid him. He sent an envoy to Salamantica, which was where the primary Punic army in Iberia was located, to ask the Carthaginians to blockade Massilia to ease their siege. The Punic force then sent a message to Hamilcar, and by the time that the Punic fleet had blockaded the Hellenic city, it had been two months, and the Romans had crossed the Alps under Florus. Fortunately, with the Punic fleet landed the Punic army which was to fight in Transalpine Gaul. That army numbered twelve thousand, and was under the command of Agbal, and it was this army that was to fight the invading Roman force, along with an additional eight thousand Celtic warriors to aid their cause, and four druids to aid the Punic/Celt force spiritually and to act as guides for Agbal.
As Hannibal did over fifty years previously, now the Romans had to do in reverse. As the Roman fleet was all but destroyed from the Second War, Rome could not sail to Massilia, as the Punic fleet would annihilate it before they reached the relatively close Hellenic colony. Florus’ army was three legions and three alae, which made the total size of the army around thirty thousand men. While it was a very small army compared to Hannibal’s force, this also meant that it was easier to prepare for them and easier to supply them on their march. Along the way, Florus sent a messenger to the Aedui tribe, asking for an alliance, and to the Helveti, both enemies of the Arverni tribe that had allied with Carthage. Both accepted, and around four thousand Helveti joined Florus’ legions. The Romans encountered some difficulties with other Gauls along the Alps, but generally, they left the Romans alone. The Legions made it past the Alps with eight thousand casualties along the way – mostly Etruscans and Piceni, and this was better than expected. The army’s total size after the Alps was around twenty-two thousand; thirteen thousand Romans, eight thousand allies, and a thousand Helveti. Florus himself nearly died along the way from disease, but had made a stunning recovery from a Gallic commander who had known a native remedy for the disease.
The Carthaginian/Arvernian army had scouts placed at each of the possible paths for Florus to take out of the Alps, and was ready to go to any of the locations quickly. This worked, and when the Romans came down the Pass of Tendos, Carthage was prepared. By the time Florus had left the pass, the Carthaginians were waiting for him. Both sides had exhausted themselves to be there, so three days of resting passed, and two days of skirmishing in hills and trees that marked the flanks of the Alpine battlefield.
Cavalry were nearly useless for both armies, and were kept as reserves rather than put on the flanks, as the flanks for both armies were protected by hill and forest cover. Agbal’s elephants were also kept in reserve. For Carthage, the Iberians were placed on the right side of the line, the Gauls in the center, and the Libyans on the left. Agbal was right behind the Gauls, hoping to keep them fighting for the duration of the battle. Rome was prepared as standard, with her legions in the center and allies on the flanks. The Helveti were made reserves with the cavalry. Florus was behind the right flank with a contingent of cavalry.
Both sides’ skirmishers skirmished for the beginning of the battle, and after they were finished, the real fighting commenced. Rome took the defensive, and Carthage was the aggressor. Agbal gave the signal for “charge”, and Carthage’s conscripted/mercenary armies once again clashed with the Roman legion.
Fighting was brutal, and went on for hours. Eventually, the Iberian right of the Punic line broke through Rome’s allies, and the Etruscans and Piceni there were routed. Florus quickly had to send his cavalry at the Iberians to prevent the Punic army from outflanking the Romans. Elsewhere, the Legions were slowly beginning to turn the tide against the Gauls, who had began stereotypically full of energy and had nearly broken through the Hastatii, but once the Hastatii had pulled back for the Principes, the Gauls in the center were pushed back. On the Punic left and Roman right, fighting had more or less stalemated between the Libyans and the Socii Gauls and other Roman allies.
It is here when both sides commit their full reserves, as waiting for a rout seemed fruitless. Agbal sent the majority of his cavalry to the Punic right to aid the Iberians against Rome’s equites, and the sent the elephants and the remainder of the cavalry to the center to aid the Gauls. Trusting his legions, Florus sent the Helveti to his right allied flank to finish off the Libyans, and the remaining equites to the left to fight the Iberians, while he and his small contingent kept the legions calmed against the Punic elephants and horse.
On the Roman left and Punic right, the majority of the Numidian reinforcements that the Iberians had received had not deterred the Punic force’s horrible position. The equites managed to destroy that flank, and briefly chased the routing enemy until the decurions managed to halt all of the turmae, and then aid the legions in the center.
The center was chaos, as the elephants briefly spread fear and confusion amongst the ranks of the legions. However, Florus shouted encouragements to his men, and they were calmed, and did as they were trained to do against elephants, enticing them into a trap of steel and pila. The elephants eventually were defeated, and the Punic-allied Gauls, though they had killed many Principes while they were distracted with Agbal’s elephants, bolted after the elephants were defeated, realizing it was a lost cause, and the Punic horse was routed too. Fearing for his own safety, Agbal recognized defeat, and called upon his forces to withdraw, which all that could did. However, most of the Libyans on the left were killed or captured by Florus’ army.
The Battle of Tendos, as it would be referred to for its close proximity to the pass and town, was a disaster for Carthage. It severely put in jeopardy the Arverni siege of Massilia, and Luernios was warned of Rome’s victory. Agbal had lost eight thousand men, and Florus had lost five thousand of his twenty-two thousand. While Rome outnumbered their enemy, they could not take advantage of it due to terrain, otherwise most believe that Rome would’ve completely crushed the Punic force. The victory allowed Florus to march unopposed out of the Alps, and, as the battle took place in late September, winter was coming to Gaul, and Florus wintered at Tendos. Agbal took his army to a friendly Arvernian village to recuperate, and he sent a message to Hamilcar to bid for reinforcements after his defeat. He wintered at that village.
Luernios was encouraged by Punic and Gallic advisors to hurry his siege so as to defeat the Hellenes before the Romans reached his army, and so that they didn’t have to continue the siege for the winter. Thus, he did it before the Gauls were truly ready, and when he broke down the walls and stormed the gates, the approximately three thousand Hellenic volunteers that guarded the city had delivered massive casualties on the Gallic army. Eventually, though, the Gauls broke through and crushed all Massilian resistance, and won the city. Luernios gave the Gauls a choice to either flee from the city or assimilate with the Gauls after three days of pillaging, looting, and the other horrible things that armies did when they won a city, and they were about split. Around a quarter of the survivors fled to Rome, whilst the minority of the fled Hellenes went back to Hellas itself under Macedonian rule, and the other half stayed in the colony, and was assimilated into Luernios’ territory. The Gaulish language and alphabet was largely influenced from the Hellenes who chose to stay behind under Arverni rule. Massilia would change hands three times during the course of the war, the first being this time.
In Rome, while the Hellenes of Massilia were allies and friends of Rome, they were not treated well by the Romans once they were in the city itself. Many people, especially those who considered themselves traditionalists and Boni, opposed the Hellenes, and many crimes were committed against these people in the wake of their mass exodus. The Senate, most of who were Optimates (another, less used word for Boni) didn’t support these crimes, but did little to stop them. They were initially given Socii citizenship, which was an insult to the Hellenes, as it put them on the same level as the Cisalpine Gauls, and below other Italian barbarians. Many migrated out of Rome and back to Hellas, but a quite a few still stayed, and influenced later Roman culture, despite the Romans’ bigotry towards them.
In Italy, by the time the armies were raised and readied for battle, it was September, and the campaign season was almost over. Gaius Licinius Crassus, the second consul, was placed in charge of this army until Martius came, although the army would be able to accomplish little during this time. He spent his time mostly training and conducting raids with small bands against various Punic allies, mainly Campania. After the consular year was over, Crassus was replaced by the next year’s consuls. The forty-five thousand man army soon became the best trained army that Rome in its history after the winter of raiding and of constant drilling, but that did not substitute for real combat experience.
Meanwhile, in Carthage, Basileus Hamilcar Barca was preparing for his and his son’s invasion of Italy. The elder Hamilcar was to land in Tarentum, where he would organize the allied effort, and begin preparations for Rome’s likely invasion of Southern Italy. The younger Barcid would arrive in the north, his transport fleet taking him to Corsica, and then to nearby Northern Italian coast. There, he was stop Rome from sending reinforcements to Sextus Martialis Florus, and to get Rome’s subordinates to rethink their allegiance. The elephants that were to join each army were to travel separately, being such a hassle.
After a two week journey, the Basileus landed in Tarentum. Once arrived, he immediately ordered the Suffete of Tarentum (a certain Ampelios Sokrates) to set up a garrison, and made clear that while the Suffete was their master, the Basileus of Carthage was their ‘deity’ during war-time. The same was done to the majority of the major allied cities before winter closed in as well. The Basileus’ army, as previously mentioned, numbered around 40,000 once the Italian levies were factored in. A little over half of his army was made of Italians – the most prominent ethnicity in this was the Samnites. There were also several smaller armies that were commanded by local aristocrats, but by far and away the main army in Southern Italy was under the command of the Punic Basileus.
Hamilcar the Younger’s (which we’ll call him from now on, so as no one gets confused) voyage to Italy took three weeks, the extra week taken due to it being farther and because of a couple day stop to resupply in Corsica. Once in Italy, winter was nearing, so he ordered the siege and surrender of a coastal Roman town, and this would be his winter quarters. While there, he conscripted around 250 townsmen, which he planned to use as fodder.
A blockade was ordered of the northern peninsula by Hamilcar, and this was initially done with great success. However, a large storm wiped out a large part of the Punic fleet in the Adriatic, and what little of a fleet Rome did have was sent out to take advantage of the moment. However, the Romans overestimated the devastation of the Punic fleet, and Carthage crushed the entirety of the Roman fleet at the Battle of Crespa. Afterwards, Carthage replenished the numbers lost at sea. This was the only major naval engagement of the war, as the Romans didn’t feel the need to raise fleets only to be destroyed, preferring to spend their gold on the land wars in Italy and in Gaul. However, Rome did not have as strong of an income as it did before, and the blockade hurt Rome more than the Romans had anticipated.
Second Year of War
Roman Plans of Sabotage
There was only one major piece of action that took place during the winter of 650 AF, and that was the beginning stages of Rome’s plans of espionage to attain victory in the war. The basic idea was to send Gnaeus Otho Casca, a respectable plebeian merchant legendary across Rome (the city) for his ability to persuade and talk, to Iberia to convince tribes under Carthaginian rule to revolt and fight their Punic masters. The thought was that, if it was as big of a revolt as the Senate dared hope for, that Carthage would have to send one of its armies back to quell the rebellions, thus giving Rome an opportunity to exploit Carthage while it was stretched. They gave him several hundred talents (to help “persuade” the Iberians, in case they were more stubborn than expected), and hired a Helveti guide to help Gnaeus reach Iberia as quickly and safely as possible by land.
They left on the first day of spring, and arrived two months later in Rhode, their first major stop. Methodically, Gnaeus marched from city to city, and soon after he visited a city, they would revolt. It was easy to convince the barbarians that their lives were better when they were free, that Rome would liberate their people, and with a couple coins here and there, the northern part of Hasdrubal’s earlier conquests were covered with various rebellious armies springing up, representing different tribes, and no longer accepting Carthaginian control. Once the deed was done, Gnaeus Casca left Iberia, and went back to his mercantile duties amongst the mob at Rome.
The War in Gaul
Sextus Martialis Florus now left from his camp at Tendos, hoping for a quick strike at Marseilles. Knowing that Agbal would be very cautious to fight another large battle, Florus moved his men confidently, and systematically went from tribal village to larger town, and successfully besieged all, and levied as many men as he could into his army from each conquest. In the course of three months, Florus had overrun much Gaul on the near side of the far side of the Alps, and had advanced a little past that point, his key victories being his one month siege of Nikaios (Nice) and his defeat of the garrison at Monoikos (Monaco), achieved due to bribery and intimidation. (These are both Hellenic cities, but leaders of the cities had collaborated with Luernios after Massilia’s defeat, therefore aligning themselves with the Punic/Arvernian alliance. Also, whenever given the chance to expand, Rome would take it.) His eventual plan for the year was to overtake Massilia, and hope that that was enough to bring the Arverni and Agbal to terms.
Florus’ opponent, Agbal Chelbesid, received five thousand reinforcements towards the end of Aprilis. This five thousand consisted mostly of recently conscripted Libyans, but also of some Numidian cavalry, which helped bolster the morale of his men with the addition of such a fine band of men. Soon after leaving winter quarters, he received an urgent message from the governor of Iltirkesen begging him to leave Gaul and help put down the revolts that were spreading like wildfire across the Iberian countryside. The letter also mentioned that the Basileus, Hamilcar, had ordered his withdrawal to preserve Punic Iberia. Though skeptical, Agbal left with his entire army to deal with the Iberian revolts. By the end of the year, Agbal had still made little progress with his Iberian campaigns against the native rebels.
In actuality, Hamilcar didn’t learn of the revolts until he learned that Agbal had left. The Governor had lied to ensure that his colony would be fully protected from the barbarians, and soon after learning this, Hamilcar would have him crucified.
With his allies gone in such a quick fashion, Luernios had to scramble to properly defend his people. His army was still sizeable, at approximately 15,000, but was not large enough to adequately defend from the pending Roman surge. Luckily, it took little convincing to convince many Celts to go to war, and a good two thousand joined before Florus could properly take advantage of Agbal’s absence. With the extra manpower, the 17,000 man Celtic army could march with some confidence, though they were outclassed in all ways by Rome’s army.
Eventually, in the beginning of Riurius (July-ish on the Gallic calendar), battle was about to come between the Romans and Luernios’ mixed Celtic force of various southern Gallic tribes. The ensuing battle would be referred to as “The Ambush at Antipolis”, due to the battle’s close proximity to the Hellenic colony.
Bold, brash, and overwhelmingly confident, the aging Luernios had set up an ambush near the city, as this was the most recent city for Sextus Martialis Florus to conquer.
The Romans marched in an enormous column, slowly moving, and clunking around with their large amounts of armor almost hampering their ability to move at an indoor voice. Only Florus amongst the entire staff was the least bit nervous of an Arvernian attack – the Romans hadn’t been in an even remotely difficult fight since the Carthaginians battled them at Tendos. Suddenly, a Roman tribune screamed, as he fell of his horse, with an arrow lodged into his leg. And then, just as suddenly, a mass of Gallic warriors hurled themselves at the Roman army from the darkness of the forest.
While the Romans were (for the most part) unprepared, they did well in repelling their Gallic foe. Within a half hour, the initial and most insane Gauls were killed, and the Romans were beginning to crush the Gallic spirit. After a further fifteen minutes, Luernios called a retreat, and the ambush failed.
The Ambush at Antipolis was important in that it displayed that without Punic assistance, the Romans could have their way with the Gauls – specifically the Arvernians. Whilst Luernios had most every advantage in his grasp, he could not secure victory. It also virtually gave Transalpine Gaul to Florus, as Luernios’ army was proven helpless without reinforcements. A thousand Romans died in the battle, and fifteen hundred Arvernian soldiers did.
After the ambush, Florus quickly took the initiative, and marched straight towards Massilia, the newly conquered possession of Luernios. His now eighteen thousand man army besieged the city for the rest of the summer, and for the first month of fall. Finally, once the proper weapons were built, the Romans stormed the city, and took it with relative ease. The few Celtic soldiers there were put up little fight, and Florus had conquered Massilia for Rome.
After the Siege of Massilia, Luernios was willing (albeit unwillingly) to come to terms with Florus, and the two negotiated a treaty favoring the Romans after a week of discussions. In essence, Luernios accepted Rome’s presence in Transalpine Gaul, and promised not to intervene further in the Punic-Roman war.
After the treaty with Luernios was composed, Florus decided to rest his men for the winter rather than begin a winter campaign, and he began to make plans for an invasion of Punic Iberia with his officers.
War in Italy
The Romans took the initiative in the war after the winter melted away, sending its newly created legions (really legions and alae, but for ease’s sake, just realize that when I refer to legions, the alae are included as well) mostly south.
In Martius, two new consuls were elected to replace Sextus Martialis Florus and Gaius Licinius Crassus Dives. The two chosen were Gnaeus Octavius and Aulus Manlius Torquatus. Both were effectively mediocre leaders – good enough to command an army, but neither capable enough to run the war, which is what the Senators wanted. Also, both were Boni. Octavius was to handle the army that had been under Crassus’ control, whilst Torquatus took Gracchus’ army, except Torquatus’ army had ceded five thousand allied soldiers to Octavius’ army.
The Roman plan for the Second year was to secure the nearby Punic vassals by taking their major cities – for instance, Rome’s plans of overtaking Campania completely centered on a Siege of Capua, its capital and the largest city in Italy outside of Rome itself.
Octavius’ twenty-five thousand man army was delegated the task of harassing the Carthaginian/Campanian forces, and so he marched southwards towards the heavily populated Punic underling.
Undoubtedly Torquatus had the easier task, being given essentially the same army, and having forgotten Roman sympathizer Umbria and her capital, Perusia, as his opponent. As he had the easier task, this is why he had given a unit of alae to his compatriot.
As expected, Torquatus’ campaign was easy. He had quickly overrun Umbria’s little defenses, and as soon as he marched on the capital, Perusia, the Umbrians surrendered, agreeing to rejoin Rome lest they murder them all. This whole operation took two and a half months, with the surrender occurring on the Summer Solstice. With Umbria secure, he began to march down the eastern coast of the peninsula, into Samnium.
Meanwhile, Octavius had difficulties in Campania. The Basileus Hamilcar I Barca had prepared for a Roman invasion of his territory there, and had throughout the winter ensured that he would be within a close proximity to Capua, to ensure that at a moment’s notice he could protect the most important city under his control in Italy. His army of forty thousand suddenly appeared after a week of marching for the Roman army under Octavius, who had expected that Barca would be less prepared for a Roman invasion of the territory. (A foolish thought, but maybe his mind was trying to mask unpleasantries in an attempt to invade Campania with an optimistic attitude to ensure his success.) He was surprised near the city of Sora, which was within a few days march of his target city, Capua, thus the battle was named the Battle of Sora.
The Battle took place in a large valley, a great meadow of plentiful grasses and trees. The town of Sora was easily within sight of the battlefield, and it served as an interesting backdrop to the bloody battle taking place so near. Men from the city volunteered for both armies en masse, and it makes an interesting secondary story that brother would fight against brother, father against son, in this battle.
Rome’s army was thirty thousand strong – three legions of full Roman citizens, and three alae of allied soldiers under Rome’s control. Infantry made up about 95% of the Roman army, having not expanded the number of equites per legion – which is seen as a major flaw of Paullus’ earlier reformations to maximize the effectiveness of Rome’s crumbling population and collapsing economy several years earlier. However, Octavius had to make due. He arranged his army in no particularly innovating order, placing them in the usual “checkerboard” arrangement typically used by Roman armies.
Hamilcar’s army was arranged as follows: his thirty elephants (one died on the voyage across – a small miracle that so few were lost) were placed in the front of the line, and, as usual, were to intimidate the foe with their overwhelming size and volume, as well as frighten Rome’s thousand equites’ horses. The Samnites and the Campanians, believing that they would be the fiercest warriors and take the most pride in the outcome of the battle, were placed on the flanks (of the infantry line) to help keep the center Libyans, Hellenes, and other ethnicities in line. Hamilcar would also be in the center, albeit of course behind the main line, and would conduct himself in much of the same manner as his late father did in his battles. The Numidian and Iberian horsemen were each placed on the flanks, mixed evenly and put under the command of trusted, obedient officers under the Basileus.
The elephants were sent out immediately, and fiercely charged the enemy. However, again, just like the Battle of Praeneste, Roman showed Carthaginian that Rome knew how to defend against her elephants, and quickly took advantage of its manipular system to trap the elephants and kill around twenty of the elephants, while losing perhaps five hundred soldiers. (Mostly Gauls) As Octavius had taken the defensive, Hamilcar ordered his men to charge the enemy.
The first clash was between the opposing sides’ cavalry, which was completely dominated by the Punic aligned horsemen. However, the Carthaginian horse was undisciplined, and they continued to chase the equites even after their routing.
The infantry was mostly a different story. There, the Roman legions (and alae) stood tall, and defended their spot well from the overwhelming barbarians. However, one by one, Roman would fall, and yet another Samnite or Libyan or whatever random ethnicity would fill the position of his dead comrade, and the Carthaginians under Hamilcar made good progress. After several Punic surges, the Romans collapsed, only to be chased down by the recollecting Punic horse.
Of the approximately seventy thousand participating soldiers, sixteen thousand of them died in the Battle of Sora. Seven of the thirteen thousand were Romans, and the remaining were Carthaginians. In Hamilcar Barca’s mind, this was a great victory that put him nearly on the same level as his father, and he would always be overconfident of his abilities (which were decent, but not spectacular) in future battles. Octavius, on the other hand, was shattered after the loss, and was not treated well back in Rome – he was assassinated two weeks after returning in ruins. His Consul Suffectus was the eccentric wannabe astronomer Gaius Sulpicious Gallus – who had made fame as a great scientist, but had also spent a lot of time with the armies, and knew as much if not more than Octavius on the intricacies of warfare. He was also considered blessed by the Gods with his celestial knowledge, so it was also a superstitious decision reached by the Senate.
After the Battle of Sora, action slowed in southern Italy – Rome was too strong for Hamilcar to yet invade Latium, and the vice versa applied for the SPQR. Torquatus had begun his invasion of Samnium around September, but had made little progress. Both Hamilcar’s and Rome’s armies needed time to resupply and replenish their tired warriors.
In the north, Hamilcar the Younger had begun blitzing through Etruria as soon as the snow from the winter melted. Rome sent the majority of its smaller armies there under Sextus Martialis Florus’ elder brother, Valerius, consolidated, and they harassed the Punic army. However, it did little, as Hamilcar basically left a trail of smoke and skeletons across the Etruscans’ lands. His key victory was his victorious siege of Arretium, which was perhaps one of the biggest cities north of Rome in the entire world. This was the only place he was remotely bogged down for, but it was worth conquering the immense city. After that siege, he learned of Umbria’s treachery, and, after securing the city with a large garrison, departed from Etruria and headed towards Umbria.
Once he reached Umbria, he destroyed the scattered small Roman armies and marched straight towards Perusia to reconquer that city. Once there, he easily defeated the garrison, and then fell into a sickening and deep rage at the treachery of the people there, and ordered the destruction of the entire city, encouraging his soldiers to rape, loot, and murder the citizens there.
It hasn’t been mentioned up until this point the temper that Hamilcar the Younger possessed. Nobody today knows exactly why he was such an angry person – attempts to explain have ranged from divine delusions to diseases – but all we know is that he was an incredibly furious young man. His father, being the Basileus, was mostly unaware of this trait in his son, and so really didn’t have much of an idea that his son could be so violent – he knew that he was a little rash, but that’s all the elder Hamilcar thought of the matter. His nanny was frightened of him when he was merely three, and had nearly killed a nobleman’s son in dual at the age of thirteen after losing in what was supposed to be a friendly game. He was easily riled, and when he was riled, he was as dangerous as any madman was.
The near complete destruction of Perusia took nearly a week, and this caused the full-fledged support of Rome amongst the Umbrian people. The entire nation revolted from Hamilcar the Younger, and he continued on his mad rampage for nearly a month. Finally, a mutiny occurred in the army, and after an inner battle between Hamilcar and a rebellious officer, Hamilcar was ousted from the army, and the Punic army under the rebellious officer (Mattan was his name) attempted to negotiate a settlement with the Umbrians – however, they murdered Mattan during talks. This led to further violence, which continued on until the Punic army decided to just leave Umbria to its insanity, and left to conquer a small town in which to winter in.
Whilst the Punic army was wasted away in Umbria, the garrison in Arretium was overthrown. In essence, no progress was made by Carthage in the north.
After Hamilcar the Younger was ousted from the army, he had little else, and was borderline unstable. He plotted ways to get back into the army, he thought about joining Rome, but in the end, he killed himself. An Etruscan farmer found the body, and eventually word reached Hamilcar’s father, the Basileus. Hamilcar grieved for many weeks, and could not think of much until Rome’s winter Samnite campaign.
10-25-2010, 01:11 PM
Still an interesting read - can't comment much more due to the lack of time, but it's developing nicely.
10-30-2010, 09:54 AM
Bump; anyone else have thoughts? (No offense to Alex, just seeing if others are interested)
Does the war seem fairly plausible to all of you?
11-12-2010, 06:59 PM
Not my best update, but hopefully I threw in enough cheesy references to make it decent.
Surprise Roman Winter Campaign
Gaius Sulpicious Gallus went before the Senate towards the end of the campaigning season, and delivered his risky plan – to invade and overrun Samnium over the winter – in hopes that they would support him with some extra men and supplies. Part of his appeal was his insistence that the Heavens have told him in his astronomical studies that he would be completely successful in his campaign, and that it would bring quick and wonderful glory to the Roman Republic. (While he himself didn’t believe it, he felt that in order to gain the Senate’s trust, he should play the ‘Supernatural card’) While there were a few senators that called him a fool that would freeze the army to its doom, most of the Senators agreed, and there was new optimism in Rome that perhaps this could be the beginning to Rome’s finishing, victorious touch to their Third Punic War. With such a majority, the Senate accepted the plea of Gallus, and granted him his requests by sending the majority of the next year’s new recruits with Gallus towards Samnium.
As he had wasted the first couple weeks of winter discussing this with the senate, it was nearly December by the time Gallus had began his march towards Bovianum, the least spectacular city in Italy. His army numbered around twenty-five thousand – approximately thirteen thousand Romans and Latins, ten thousand Picentes and Etruscans, and two thousand Gauls – and they were fairly confident in their ability to win the campaign. There may as well not have been an army in Samnium, it seemed to Gallus, as the majority of the military forces in Samnium were garrisons and small, levied, Samnite armies; rather than any major Punic based force.
Gallus’ plan worked extremely well in the early stages, and blitzed right through pre-Apennines Samnium with almost no real resistance. The only real challenges they met were in finding enough food to feed the army, which they confronted by raiding and ransacking Samnite farms and unprotected small villages that they had found before they would cross the Apennines. This did a mediocre job in feeding a moderately sized army, and so there were few casualties amongst the Romans during their march to the Samnite capital. Only approximately five hundred died of cold or starvation before the ascension.
Eventually, the Roman imperator had to go through the Apennines Mountains, as it would take far longer to go around the mountains, and would thus likely ruin the surprise of the maneuver. As the Roman army gradually crept its way through the mountains towards the heart of Samnium, Gallus noticed that the opposition began to wither away – that his men were facing far less attackers whilst foraging for whatever they could find, that there were few “armies” that were slowing the Romans down, and etc. However, he reasoned that there would of course be fewer people in the mountains, and less opposition. He continued with little worry.
What the Romans didn’t expect was that the Samnites were building a cleverly devised yet somewhat primitive trap.
Once news of the invasion reached Bovianum, the intelligent and influential senator Herius Pontius Pilatus had argued before his colleagues that in order to best defeat the Romans, they should withdraw their armies and consolidate them into one organized unit, which Pilate would command. They would also place agents into the enemy army to manipulate Gallus into erring in Pilate’s favor, by convincing him that the most direct path to Bovianum would be to travel through the Apennines. As from Rome this seemed reasonable, this wouldn’t be overly difficult for the Consul Suffectus to believe. What they wouldn’t realize is that there would be a large Samnite army waiting high in the mountain to come by, at which point Pilatus and his army of Samnites would come rushing down to slaughter the unsuspecting Romans. This army would be made up of approximately eighteen thousand men. As none of the Samnite senators had any qualms with this plan, and had no better ideas, Pilatus was allowed to do as he pleased.
Thus far, Pilatus’ plan had been working perfectly. His “guides” had successfully misled the astronomer Gallus and his band of Romans into his trap without any sort of suspicion, and they had set up the timing perfectly – it was cold, snowing, and miserable outside, and the Romans would be far more preoccupied with staying warm and healthy than scouting out potential surprise attackers. Pilatus had the advantage of knowledge of the terrain, and had surprise and height on his side. Thus, he felt perhaps a tad over reasonably confident that he would emerge victorious over the larger and greater Romans in the Apennines.
On December the twenty-fifth, the Samnite infiltrators began to lead the Roman’s through their last leg to destruction. There was a slight air of optimism in the Roman camp, as they were nearly out of the Apennines, and thus completing the most difficult part of their journey towards Bovianum.
Suddenly, without warning, the Samnite guides scattered on their horses, and a massive horde of barbarians roared down from far above. The Samnites looked fierce, unflinching, and most important of all, warm; compared to the Roman’s complete opposite in all listed phases.
Logs were rolled down the hills ahead of the warriors, so the first hit against the Roman’s was a nonliving foe. The Romans were dazed and frightened – while few died, it doesn’t help one’s morale to be smacked by logs. (Logs used were various dead trees in the higher elevation of the Apennines) This also trapped the Romans, having broken many legs and congesting traffic even more, helping close off escape. The Romans were perfect ‘sitting ducks’ for the Samnites.
Gallus tried to make the best of the situation, and, as Pilatus hadn’t surrounded the Romans with Samnites, he ordered his men to stand tall on the other side of the pass, without fear of being flanked. He inspired confidence as he spoke (partly – make that mostly – because of his ‘divine connection’), and he gave a short speech to the men, and that helped boost Roman courage. Around ten thousand of his men were with him – the rest were either stuck or scrambling to join the main army whilst the Samnites pounced onto the pass.
The battle was one of enormous chaos. Roman slaughter began nearly immediately, as soon as the Samnites descended upon the now lamed mass of bodies. Nearly all that were on the ground were either trampled or killed in some other fashion – however, this was only a small portion of the Roman army – only around five thousand of the twenty-three thousand-ish. The rest were methodically marching from the other side of the large trail, and were nearing the Samnite army. Pilatus almost called for a retreat, but felt confident in his army’s abilities after having watched them easily destroy over a fifth of the enemy.
And so, the battle continued further, with the Samnites desperately clinging to the momentum gathered during and after their rush down the mountain and subsequent slaughter of the unfortunate immobilized Romans. At this point in the battle, there were around 16,000 Romans and 17,500 Samnites. Ten thousand of the Romans were organized, whilst nearly none of the Samnites were under any sort of order.
Pilatus attempted to regroup the forces, and much like Gallus, had mixed success. The older, more experienced veteran troops slowed the advance, and went into a formation of sorts. The younger Samnites either didn’t hear of their commander’s commands, or felt the need to attempt to be the hero of the battle. Either way, only around twelve thousand of the Samnites actually regrouped and took the desired defensive position, while the other fifty-five hundred continued chasing down the declining amount of scattered Roman soldiers. These younger soldiers were successful at first, and took out perhaps another thousand Romans, but ultimately were mowed down by the Roman goliath that was marching towards them.
After seemingly eons, chaos was purged from the battle, and a normal battle ensued, as the remaining fifteen thousand Romans under the command of the distraught astronomer Gallus reached the similarly distraught, but seemingly calm, Samnite Pilatus and his army of fourteen thousand. The cavalry on both sides was negligible, as the Samnites had none, and the Romans had maybe fifty equites remaining after the beginning of the battle. As the Romans had used nearly all of their pila, the battle began immediately.
The Romans’ experience and discipline was cancelled by their exhaustion, compared to their relatively energetic and excited, but semi-disciplined and fairly inexperienced foes. The Samnites held the height and defensive advantages as well, but were outnumbered by a small margin.
Thus, an even fight emerged. Neither side could truly outmaneuver the other; both sides were killing the other side’s soldiers at the same rate. It was a stalemate for the first few clashes between the Romans and their Punic-allied barbarian counterparts. However, the difference came when Pilatus, still a young man, made the risky decision to go into the battle himself. He burrowed his way into the middle of the fight, and his men’s morale sharply increased at the sight of their brave and heroic commander. The balance tilted towards the favor of the Samnites, against all odds.
Finally, the Romans broke, and with far more energy then they may have realized, fled the battle. Gallus joined them in their retreat. The exhausted Samnites gave chase for a few minutes, then gave up, and rested for a week, before descending back down the mountains. The battle saw the demise of perhaps thirteen thousand Romans, and eight thousand Samnites. It was an extremely bloody, violent, and desperate battle for both sides – while helped by the fact that many of the men were extremely diseased from crossing the mountains during the winter, still many, many men died that fateful day.
The battle was celebrated once the surviving Samnites reached Bovianum and a parade not unsimilar to what the Romans may have performed in a similar situation was struck upon their arrival. Pilatus was honored beyond his dreams, and was later given command of all the allied armies in the south not under the Punic Basileus’ control. The battle became a celebrated date in Samnite history, celebrating Pilatus’ brave stand against the Roman invaders.
Gallus, meanwhile, was not given nearly the same kind of celebration upon his return. He was not killed, and continued his duty as consul, but after his term was practically exiled from Rome, and Gallus spent the remainder of his days in a nearby town continuing his obscure work, making no significant gains, but merely interesting himself. Remembered as the scientist-general, he died ten years later, and was remembered well by many historians, who did not blame him completely for the disaster in the Apennines.
The Ambush in the Apennines (Insidiae Appenninium in Latin), as it is most frequently called, was a crushing blow to Rome’s gathered momentum over the first two years in the war, and is often seen as the key turning point in the war, from Roman domination, to Carthaginian retaliation. While Rome recuperated and came back strong after its defeat here, the Romans never could quite regain the strength that it had before its defeat in the Apennines. Almost the entire central portion of the mountains would be perceived as evil by the Romans, and few from Rome dared to pass through its passes again, instead opting to go completely around the entire mountain range.
In Iberia, the Carthaginians were continuing their attempts at the reconquest of the northern Punic held territories in Iberia. During the last spring, Roman agents had stirred an uprising amongst the newly conquered Hispanic tribes in the region to give their commander Sextus Martialis Florus free reign over Arvernian Gaul. Florus had accomplished this during the summer of 651 AF, and now was expected to cause further problems for Carthage by aiding the rebels and invading Iberia.
Florus’ invasion of Iberia began as soon as the snow lifted, which was towards the middle of Aprilis. Before leaving, he put large garrisons in the major cities of Transalpine Gaul, with an exceptionally large garrison in Massilia. The men required to do all of this was around four thousand – but most were hired Gauls, so it didn’t hinder Florus’ army too much.
Meanwhile, over the last year, Agbal Chelbesid’s army had made some major strides in Iberia. They had defeated the Iberians in the battles of Rhode, Ieso, and Sesars, all in rapid succession, and had nearly defeated the revolution. Agbal didn’t keep up the campaign over winter, however, and this allowed Rome to capitalize, and further Roman agents continued to convince via bribery that revolution was the way to go.
The key Roman allied tribes were the Ilergetae, Iacetani, Ilercavones, and the Lacetani. Each were very interrelated tribes, and dominated the area just south of the Pyrenees. On the other hand, not all tribes in the area were pro-Roman, as tribes such as the Indiketes and the Turboletae were still pro-Barcid. In fact, the majority of the Iberian tribes were fine with being ruled by the Carthaginians, but, unfortunately for the Phoenicians, several of the larger tribes were less satisfied with the current arrangement.
Agbal had made some progress before the Roman general came from Gaul to attempt to destroy his progress in Iberia. Rhode being his base, Agbal successfully besieged the Hellenic city of Emporion, and secured much of the eastern Iberian coastline, thus easing the process of receiving reinforcements from the motherland.
After doing all of this, it was nearly Iunius, and Agbal spent much of the gold recently plundered on reinforcing his armies with Iberian recruits, and increased the size of his army by nearly forty percent, from a little under fifteen thousand to a little over twenty thousand men. These recruits mostly came from the Turboletae tribe.
It had taken slightly longer than expected for the Romans to reach Iberia, as they reached the town of Ore outside of the Pyrenees in the first week of Quintilis. They quickly besieged the surrounding area, overtook it, and bolstered the army with a few thousand recruits, thus engorging the Roman army’s size to around twenty-two thousand.
Agbal learned of Rome’s advance into the peninsula about a week after the fact had occurred. Upon hearing this information, he of course marched forwards with his recently engorged army from Iltirkesken (where he stopped his southward advance) north to the Romans at Ore. The Roman army was marching southwards at a similar rate.
They met late in the summer of 651, outside the town of Iltirta, a portly northern town between the two fairly large rivers. It was an Ilergetaean settlement, and thus the settlement was pro-Roman, and the populace of the town would cheer the Romans on during the fight.
Agbal had sent his elephants out immediately once again, and again it failed. This was followed up with a weak attempt to gain the flanks with his (Agbal's) cavalry, but it was beaten back, and the Romans went on to easily push Agbal's forces back against the river, flank them, and slaughter nearly all of them.
With cheers from the crowd, the Battle of Iltirta displayed Florus’ complete superiority as a commander over the Basileus’ relative. Florus’ army pinned the Carthaginians against River Segre, the eastern river of the two, and slaughtered the Carthaginians with ease. Agbal died in the fight, and was given an honorable burial by the Romans.
Afterwards, Rome had nearly complete control of Northern Iberia, but spent the remainder of the year bogged down fighting similar rebellions that the Carthaginians had had to fight. Carthage, on the other hand, needed to quickly create a new army to defend the remainder of Iberia from Roman domination – if the Romans did that, then they’d steal a large percentage of Punic manpower.
Thankfully for the Carthaginians, winter came early that year, and Roman operations came to a halt earlier than normal. Prinkipas (Prince) Hannibal Barca had extra time to send men, supplies, and money towards Carthago Nova, where the new army would base over winter. In the meantime, Hannibal had a small, loyal, mercenary army created in Iberia to defend in case the Romans decided to have another winter excursion. The new army would be captained by Hannibal’s cousin, the eighteen year old Boulomenes Barca, who had been deemed an incredibly gifted young man, and whom was on excellent terms with Hannibal. The third son of Mago Barca had impressed his tutors from a young age, was well versed on Punic and Hellenic classics, and was fierce in the mock battles that he would fight. This would be Boulomenes first real test to see exactly how great he was.
As with every new year, Rome had to elect two new consuls. This year, it was Gaius Claudius Marcellus (relative of the earlier Marcellus consul), and Valerius Martialis Florus (eldest brother of the Florus commander in Iberia, and former consul from eleven years previously). Florus would be the dominate consul of the year, and would take over the remnants of Gallus’ army, whilst Marcellus took the less shattered army of Torquatus.
Florus’ army was made of ten thousand before he received the same number in reinforcements for the year, upping his total to around twenty thousand men. In contrast, Marcellus’ army received under half of the reinforcements granted to Florus, and his army was nearly twenty-five thousand strong.
Rome had taken a great gamble with its invasion of Samnium, and was running out of manpower quickly. In the last great war with Carthage, the amount employed by Rome now would’ve been accomplished with ease, but here, it was very difficult. Rome didn’t control nearly as many souls as it once had, and thus couldn’t use them for the war effort. It couldn’t employ too many people into the war effort, or else the economy would collapse and drag everything down with her. And it needed to conscript a huge amount to keep up with the armies that Carthage and her allies could send at the Romans. Before the ambush, Rome could survive despite these factors, but afterwards, Rome was at her breaking point.
Carthage, on the other hand, had room to expand as far as their mobilized forces, with a larger income and quantity of men on which to call on to boost their army and navies’ sizes.
The third year in Italy was less frantic then the second and the winter that separated the two years. The year’s battles were centered around the Campanian city of Capua, which had many Roman sympathizers, which Rome had hoped to capitalize on. Florus was in charge of the expedition.
As Campania and Capua were so close to Latium and Rome, the Roman army made it to Capua very quickly, and surrounded the city with ease. They had hoped that Roman sympathizers within the city would open the gates to let the Roman army in to take over the city, which would in effect take over the entire nation, except for perhaps the smaller city of Cumae. It only took a week for this to happen. A Campanian aristocrat that goes unnamed opened the doors, and the Romans flooded in, and took the city with ease, crushing the large but undisciplined and inexperienced garrison. However, the victory didn’t last long for the Romans, as Hamilcar’s army had rushed up to stop the Romans from taking the most important city in the southern peninsula. Upon sight of Hamilcar’s army, Florus ordered a retreat, leaving behind a distraught city.
Afterwards, Hamilcar ordered Hannibal back at home to levy an army of ten thousand to send as a permanent defense of Campania, the most important land in Italy outside of Latium. This request was granted by Hannibal’s subsequent action, and the army landed towards the end of Sextilis.
Only one battle would emerge between the Punic Basileus and the Roman consul Florus during 651 AF, and that would be the Battle of Neapolis, named for the large city that it neared. This battle, however, would be more of a skirmish then a real fight, and featured few casualties on either side before yet another Roman withdrawal.
These Roman incursions were primarily done to keep Hamilcar’s army in check and in the south, and thus far they had worked. Hamilcar hadn’t been able to invade north yet because he had to keep defending all of his allies that were nearly helpless to defend themselves. Samnium had exhausted a lot in order to pull off its stunt in the Apennines. Most of their men were out fighting for Hamilcar, whether in his main army or in the smaller armies that would harass the Roman armies much as Rome was doing to him.
In order to replace his son in the north of the peninsula, Hamilcar sent his brightest officer to command the discombobulated army of the north. This officer was a man named Gisgo, and was great-nephew of the Hannibalic officer, whom shared the same name. Gisgo planned to take the war in the north southwards, as the lands there were much more important to the SPQR.
This thought eventually turned into the Battle of Narnia, which was located near the ruined town of Narnia, and was in nearly the center of the entire peninsula. Narnia was located near the Nera River and was hidden amongst many hills and forests, and was in the shadows of the Apennines. It was destroyed in 605 AF for refusing to help pay money to the Romans during their second war. The battle took place near the river, so it is just as frequently called the Battle of the Nera.
Gisgo won a great victory at Narnia against his opponent Marcellus, losing just under a thousand men compared to the Roman loss of nearly three thousand.
This was the signature engagement of the year in Italy, and whilst the two armies fought on numerous other occasions during the year, most were stalemates or slight Punic victories, and none had many implications on the outcome of the war.
Gisgo was ordered by the Basileus after the battle (this is around the end of Sextilis) to attempt to bring order to Umbria. This time, the Carthaginians were more successful, and after a few skirmishes and key bribes, that place began to become habitable. Gisgo went to extremes to seem favorable to the Umbrians, and helped rebuild their capital city before winter unexpectedly came, once which he camped in a nearby Umbrian town.
As in Iberia and Umbria, winter came early to the rest of Italy as well, and the year of campaigning was complete with few major battles, yet the war had clearly swung in favor of the Carthaginians. In hindsight, it may not appear like the third year was that important, as there were few huge battles, and little progress was made in spite of the one major battle’s key event (as in the Insidiae Appenninium). For instance, in Gaul, as news leaked (Luernios and Hamilcar still were in contact – Luernios of course hadn’t meant to keep his promise to Florus) about the happenings in Samnium and Narnia and Iberia, Luernios recreated his army with which he was to reconquer his territory, purge Roman influences, and either invade Iberia or Italia, whichever was most necessary for the Punic cause. Rebellions emerged towards the end of the year in places like Massilia and in Emporion. The momentum was now clearly in the favor of the Carthaginians.
Thoughts, good people? I'm going to try and not make there be so many ambushes too, by the way, and instead describe the "real" battles more. It seems like there's a lot of detailed ambushes and less on the big, fair clashes.
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