Ancient Warfare III.4, June/July 2009
Theme: Implacable enemies - the Barcids at War
Introduction: Yozan D.Mosig, 'Historical introduction'.
Illustrated by Carlos de la Rocha
The Source: Jona Lendering, 'The rise of a hyperpower. Polybius, Rome, Carthage,
and capricious Fortune'
Carthage opens Polybius' World History, and Carthage brings it to its close. Of
the thirty-nine books, the first one deals with the First Punic War, according
to the author 'the longest and most severely contested war in history', while
the final books deal with the Third Punic War, culminating in the sack of
Carthage in 146 BC. Yet, Polybius presents these two conflicts in completely
Theme: Alberto Perez and Paul McDonnell-Staff, 'Forging a professional army. The armies of the Barcids'.
Illustrated by Johnny Shumate.
The extraordinary careers of the Barcid family as generals and colonial rulers,
ostensibly in the service of Ca rthage, between 247 BCin the First Punic War,
when Hamilcar Barca was appointed commander in Sicily and 202 BC in the Second
Punic War when his son Hannibal was finally defeated at Zama, were made possible
by the quality of their armies. This article will describe those constantly
evolving armies, and see if some of the factors in their almost fifty years of
success can be identified.
Theme: Duncan B.Campbell, 'Hannibal at the Gates. Carthaginian siegecraft in perspective'.
Illustrated by Carlos de la Rocha
Two centuries after Hannibal's invasion of the Italian peninsula, Romans
continued to whisper his name with dread. But why did the thought of Hannibal
ad portas ('Hannibal at the gates') strike terror into faint hearts? Certainly,
the Carthaginians were wellversed in the techniques of Hellenistic siege warfare
and quite capable of building functional war machines. But did Hannibal's
siegecraft ever really pose a threat to the city of Rome?
Theme: Raffaele D'Amato, 'Hannibal's Masterpiece. The battle of Cannae'.
Illustrated by Carlos de la Rocha, Igor Dzis and Giorgio Albertini
When Hannibal arrived in the southern Italian region of Apulia in 216 BC, the
30-year old general had already defeated Rome three times. An insignificant
village by the name of Cannae was about to become the theatre of the fourth
serious blow. It was the scene of the greatest disaster in Roman military
history in which more than 60,000 men were slaughtered.
Theme: Paul McDonnell-Staff, 'The other invader over the Alps. Watershed of the Second Punic War'.
Illustrated by Carlos de la Rocha.
Almost everyone has heard of Hannibal and his epic march over the Alps, and how
he even brought elephants with him. Few are aware that during the course of the
same war, Italy was invaded a second time by a Ca rthaginian general bringing
an army across the Alps. This is the story of that 'other invader'.
Special: Bridget McDermott, 'Bowmen in the Delta. Archery in Ancient Egypt'.
The rich source of information that we derive from the tombs, temples and burial
sites of ancient Egypt clearly defines the developments made in the manufacture
of arms during three thousand years of military history. The bow, the subject of
this study, was the earliest long range weapon adopted by the ancient Egyptian
The weapon: Philip Matyszak, 'Forging the legionary sword. Anatomy of the gladius'.
'The gladius hispaniensis is better adapted for close combat fighting ...
turning the point of his blade upwards, he gave two rapid thrusts in succession
and stabbed the Gaul in the belly and the groin' (Livy 7.10). This article will
consider the Roman infantry sword from two different points of view; the
requirements of the swordsmith who made it, and those of the legionary who
Be a general: Murray Dahm, 'The Strategikon of Maurice'.
Illustrated by Andrew Brozyna.
The 7th century Byzantine military treatise, the Strategikon, widely attributed
to the emperor Maurice (reigned 584-602), is the most important Byzantine
military text. Not only are its twelve books the inheritor of a long tradition
of didactic military literature, they also show the lessons of contemporary
warfare. This text distils these lessons and describes in intricate detail the
army of the period and how it should be drawn up against various foes.
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