What Were Hannibal’s Mistakes?

Some people believe Hannibal’s biggest mistake was in failing to march on Rome and besiege it after the devastating battle of Cannae, in which some 55,000 Romans and their allies were slain. I doubt that such a siege would have been successful. Hannibal had no siege equipment and it would have been difficult to maintain […]

If a Roman General Ordered Decimation, What Would Have Happened if the Legionaries Refused to Comply?

If a legion ordered to perform decimation refused to comply, the other legions under the commander would be brought into action. It is quite possible that the entire mutinous legion would be killed. The Romans took mutiny very seriously. In 206 B.C. Publius Cornelius Scipio faced a mutiny among the soldiers at his base at […]

Quora Qestion: Why did Carthage do so Well in Their War Against Rome

If you are referring to the Second Punic War, Carthaginian success was entirely due to one military genius, Hannibal. Hannibal introduced a style of warfare that the Romans had never before experienced and were unprepared for. In the two years after Hannibal crossed the Alps into Italy, Hannibal won four battles, three of them major. […]

Quora Question: What did Hannibal Think of the Romans

Hannibal was indoctrinated by his father, Hamilcar Barca, to hate the Romans. There is a story that, before taking Hannibal with him to Spain, Hamilcar took him to the Temple of Elissa at Carthage and made him swear an oath: “When I come to age, I shall pursue the Romans with fire and sword and […]

Quora Question: Is the Roman Republic Similar to the Modern American Republic

No. It is a very dicey proposition to compare any modern republic to the pre-industrial society of Rome. The founding fathers of the U.S. had some admiration for Roman political forms and took some of the ideas of the Greek historian Polybius in account in establishing the political institutions of the new republic. Polybius pointed […]

What Ancient Rome owed to Greece.

This was a Quora question that I responded to. How does the phrase “the conqueror became the conquered one” relate to Rome’s imperial expansion into the Hellenistic world? Robin Levin, works at Writers and Authors (2012-present)   This was the sentiment of Quintus Horatius Flaccus, commonly known as Horace, who lived from 65 B.C. to […]

Did the Romans Salt the Earth Around Carthage After They Destroyed It?

Did the Romans Salt the Earth Around Carthage after the Third Punic War? The notion that the Romans salted the earth around Carthage is a bit like the story of Washington cutting down the cherry tree. It is something every school child knows, and is also something that, in all likelihood has no basis in […]

Book Review: Iron and Rust by Harry Sidebottom

“Enrich the soldiers and ignore everyone else.” This was the maxim of Emperor Maximinus’ mentor, the Emperor Caracalla. It seemed like good advice as an emperor generally attained and maintained power at the behest of his troops. Unfortunately, Emperor Maximinus, who came to power in the coup that assassinated the Emperor Alexander Severus and his […]

A Tale of Two Republics

A Tale of Two Republics. Rome, during the early and middle Republican periods actually had a better system for choosing their leaders than we do in the modern United States. Anyone who aspired to the highest political position had to go through the Cursus Honorum. An ambitious young Roman, usually of patrician or equestrian background, […]

Why Did the Romans Destroy Carthage?

The Punic wars were a pivotal point in Roman history. Rome emerged from them literally ready and able to conquer the world.      After the Second Punic War, Carthage was subdued. They were devoid of warships, war elephants and sources of mercenary soldiers. They could not even effectively defend themselves against their Numidian neighbors who […]