Military Review

The great Hannibal: well, what is the magnitude?

"not all gods give one person ..."

The name of the Carthaginian commander and statesman of antiquity Hannibal is known very widely. His victories and the famous “Hannibal's oath” brought him deserved fame. It would seem that with respect to this person everything is clear - a great commander, and what questions might there be? However, there are questions. Just want to emphasize that the purpose of this article is not at all the “exposing” the commander of antiquity. In the end, with his actions he earned himself deserved fame. The purpose of this article is to criticize contemporary authors who overly praise Hannibal and are not critical of primary sources. I also consider it necessary to note an important nuance - we did not receive any Carthaginian information about Hannibal. All that we know about him is the fruit of the creativity of the ancient Greeks and Romans. So, in order.

In the textbook stories For the 5 class of the ancient world, only four commanders of antiquity are mentioned: Alexander the Great, Pierre, Hannibal and Guy Julius Caesar. Dear readers, I can argue: "Well, what do you want from the textbook for the 5 class?" But if we open the 1-th volume of the History of Military Art Colonel, Professor A. A. Strokov, on the history of military affairs of ancient and medieval societies, we will see almost the same picture. Of the commanders of the time gap between Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar, only Hannibal is mentioned. Although a respected colonel and professor did not write his fundamental work for children. And again, readers may object to me: A. A. Strokov lived and worked during the years of the totalitarian political regime, he was simply obliged to write in a rigid ideological framework. And since the classic of Marxism and the retired Prussian cavalry officer Friedrich Engels enthusiastically wrote about Hannibal, A. A. Strokov should have done the same.

Well, well, let's say, Russia is not lucky with freedom of opinion, and we are opening a modern independent Internet resource, namely Wikipedia. And what do we see there? And we see there, at least, the same, if not even more enthusiastic apologetics. Here is a quote:
Hannibal is considered one of the greatest military strategists in the history of Europe, as well as one of the greatest military leaders of antiquity, along with Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Scipio and Pyrrhus of Epirus. The military historian Theodore Iroh Dodge even called Hannibal “the father of strategy,” since his enemies, the Romans, borrowed from him some elements of his strategy. This assessment has created him a high reputation in the modern world, he is considered a great strategist, along with Napoleon Bonaparte.

Here I would like to draw the attention of readers to the way information is presented in our time. A brief assessment is given, but by whom and on the basis of what facts it was made, it is not explained. I, for example, do not know who this very Theodore Iro Dodge is. His book was not translated into Russian and was not published in Russia. Therefore, I cannot say anything bad about the author and his work, but also good. It is sad only because Wikipedia tells us only the title that Mr. Dodge honored Hannibal, but is silent about what elements of the strategy the Romans borrowed from him? And are these elements so important that upon their borrowing they give Hannibal such a loud title?

And the second quote from the same Wikipedia:
Roman historians have described the personality of Hannibal biased and biased. Recognizing his military talent, they rush to emphasize his shortcomings. In the Roman historiography certain stereotypes of the description of Hannibal developed, which are clearly visible in the description of Titus Libya. Roman historiography, starting with Libya, abandoned the critical understanding of the image that had formed, with the result that the image of Hannibal acquired the caricature of the "war criminal"
Here Wikipedia refers to a secondary source - the book of Lancel S. Hannibal. - M .: Young Guard, 2002. - 356 with. - (Life of great people). Unfortunately, Wikipedia has not indicated the circulation of this publication. Of course, one could find it and read it, but the above quotation says that the author of this book himself was not critical of the ancient historians and made rather incorrect conclusions.

Since the chronology of the Second Punic War is detailed in the same Wikipedia, and respected visitors to the site can easily read it, I will not quote it, but go straight to analyzing the campaigns and battles of Hannibal and their estimates by ancient authors, first of all Titus Livy. Why him? Yes, because it was Titus Livius who had the greatest number of documents relating to the very time of the war, which have not reached us. Although Polybius will often have to remember.

So, the initial period of the Second and the transition through the Alps. Narrating about the military forces of the Roman Republic before the beginning of the war, Polybius writes about the amazing courage of Hannibal. By itself, the courage of Hannibal does not cause doubts, the other is more interesting - no other opponent of Rome received such praise. Although the power of the Roman Republic grew, none of its enemies after Hannibal were the people of amazing courage even Polybius called. The reasons for the enthusiastic attitude of Polybius will be discussed below, and now we will analyze the result of the transition of the Hannibal army, through the Alps.

Titus Livius, referring to Lucius Zinzia Aliment, a man "who, by his own admission, was captured by Hannibal," writes that according to Hannibal himself, he had lost 36 thousand people when crossing the Alps. Polybius informs us that Hannibal went on a campaign, with ninety thousand infantry and twelve thousand cavalry. He singled out ten thousand infantry and one thousand cavalry to Gannon, and released as many more to their homes with the aim of having supporters in Spain being abandoned. With the rest of the army, which Polybius counts 50 thousand infantry and 9 thousand cavalry, Hannibal moved to Rodan (modern Ron). Here, Polybius has a discrepancy: if you take away from 92 thousands of 22 thousands, you get 70 thousands, not 59 thousands. Where 11 thousands of warriors were lost, Polybius does not report. From the crossing of Rodan, Hannibal, according to Polybius, went to the Alps, having already 38 thousand infantrymen and 8 thousand horsemen. Where 22 is still missing thousands of warriors, Polybius is silent. According to Polybius, he brought all 20 thousand infantry and 6 thousand cavalry to Italy, thus losing thousands of soldiers when crossing the 22 Alps. The figure is rather big, but given the fact that in the presentation of Polybius, Hannibal lost as much as 33 thousands of soldiers in an unknown way, we can assume that Polybius, wanting to glorify Hannibal, in this way, underestimated his losses during the transition through the Alps. Therefore, as I believe, the figure quoted by Livy deserves more confidence.

So, the 36 of thousands of warriors were lost: is it a lot or a little? And let's compare this figure with the losses of the parties defeated in the biggest battles of that time. So: 1) the Battle of Raffia - from 68 of the thousandth army of Antiochus III, 10 thousand soldiers died and another 4 thousand were captured; 2) Battle of Cannes - from 86-87 thousandth Roman troops killed 48 200 people in Libya (Polybius writes about almost 70 thousands, but most likely it is dramatization.); 3) Battle of Kinoskephal - from 25 of the thousandth army of Philip V killed 5000; 4) the battle of Pydna - from almost 40-thousandth army of Perseus 25 thousands of soldiers were killed. Thus, the transition of Hannibal over the Alps in its consequences is equal to the defeat in a big battle.

In our time, the military leader who allowed such high losses, even if he was not given to the tribunal, would have been removed for sure. And one more important point: neither the ancient authors, nor the modern researchers clearly explain - from what considerations did Hannibal choose such a dangerous path? Titus Livy informs only that: “he wanted to give them (the Romans) a battle not earlier, as after arriving in Italy.” Strange desire. If he wanted to appear in Italy suddenly, then does the suddenness of 50-60% justify the death of the troops? If he wanted to prevent the unification of consular armies with such a maneuver, is the same question justified by such a maneuver? But personally, I have a different opinion: Hannibal misjudged the mood of the Gallic allobrogi who inhabited the Alps. Apparently, he hoped that alllobrogs would let him through their territory unhindered. But this did not happen, the allobrogs gave battle. Miscalculation and very serious Hannibal there. Indirectly, Polybius testifies to this, who in his description of the crossing of the Alps begins with the criticism of unnamed historians who, according to Polybius, described the Alnys as excessively impassable, deserted and deserted. However, he admits that Hannibal subjected his army to the "greatest" dangers and even had a moment when it was on the verge of total annihilation.

Now let's analyze the first battle of Hannibal in Italy - the battle of Tycine. Despite the fact that the army of Hannibal suffered huge losses during the crossing of the Alps, it quantitatively surpassed the army of the Roman consul Publius Cornelius Scipio. Here truth is one nuance: the ancient authors do not tell us anything about the number of parties. About the Carthaginian army can only be said that it consisted of at least 20 thousand infantry and 6 thousand cavalry, since, according to Titus Libya, this is the minimum estimate of the number of soldiers that Hannibal had after crossing the Alps. The Roman army was standard: 2 of the Roman legion itself (9 thousand), allied ala - its number could be equal to the number of legionaries, and twice as large as it (the latter, however, began to be practiced by the end of the Second Punic War and after it) and 2200 Gauls. In Wikipedia, with reference to the modern historian R. A. Gabriel, the following figures are given: "Scipio had an army of 15 thousands of infantrymen (who participated in this battle only partially), 600 Roman horsemen, 900 allied horsemen and about 2 thousand Gallic horsemen ". In general, it would be possible to agree with these figures, BUT there is one important nuance: neither Polybius, nor Titus Livius say anything about that all the Gallic warriors were horsemen. On the contrary, both Polybius and Titus Livius tell us that after the battle of the 2, thousands of Gallic infantrymen and a little less 200 horsemen went over to the Carthaginians. Therefore, it is not clear where Gabriel took the figure in 2 thousand Gallic horsemen?

The following picture emerges: the Roman consul, taking with him 300 Roman riders (standard of the Roman legion), 900 riders of the allies and 200 (maybe a few more) Gallic riders, as well as an unknown number of velites (lightly armed dart-throwers) went on reconnaissance. The number of velites was no less than 2400, but hardly more than 4800. In intelligence, Scipio collided with the cavalry of Hannibal, which, if it was inferior to the total number of the Romans, was negligible. But the Carthaginian cavalry was qualitatively substantially superior to the Roman one. If the number of Carthaginians was more than indicates Polybius (according to Livy, Hannibal went on a campaign with 18 thousand riders)? We take away the 2 thousand left in Spain, we believe that the main part of the losses during the transition fell on the infantry, it turns out that Hannibal should have no less than 12 thousand cavalry), then the balance of forces in their favor increases even more significantly. With such a balance of power, the Roman army was simply doomed to defeat. It is indicative that neither Titus Livius, nor Polybius say anything about the commanding art of Hannibal. Livy only states the fact of superiority of the Carthaginian cavalry over the Roman. Friedrich Engels in his work "Cavalry" also notes that the Romans did not have the slightest chance of success. To win with such a balance of power, it was not at all necessary to be Hannibal - any other commander of antiquity who did not deserve so many enthusiastic epithets would have achieved this.

Now about the Battle of Trebbia

The great Hannibal: well, what is the magnitude?

The unconditional manifestation of the leadership talent of Hannibal is nothing to discuss here. I would only like to draw the attention of dear readers that the style of the military art of Hannibal - the laying of ambushes - begins to take shape from this battle.

It also makes no sense to analyze the Battle of Lake Trasimene in detail, everything has been described and analyzed for a long time, I will only note that after this battle Hannibal is increasingly beginning to succumb to his main opponent in the middle stage of the Second Punic War, the Roman dictator Quintus Fabius Maxim Cunctator. Not daring to make an attempt to begin the siege of Rome, Hannibal allowed the Romans to use their most important resource - a much larger mobilization reserve, in modern terms.

And finally we reached the Battle of Cannes

What I would like to note, speaking of this battle in the context of this topic. Although ancient authors describe the course of the battle in the same way, there are some differences in their assessments. Rereading Polybius, I noted an interesting detail. In describing the course of the battle, Polybius 2 mentioned the name of Hannibal and 3 several times. The name of the commander of the left flank cavalry Hasdrubal (according to Titus, Libya Hasdrubal commanded the right flank). Even more interesting is the conclusion made by Polybius:
"Both this time and earlier, the Carthaginian victory was most helped by the multiplicity of cavalry. This was taught to future generations that it is more advantageous for a war to have half the amount of infantry compared with the enemy and decisively surpass the enemy in cavalry, rather than join the battle with forces completely equal adversary. "

Anyone more or less familiar with military affairs and a reasonable person it is clear that at the end of one battle such far-reaching conclusions are not drawn. And I think Polybius understood this perfectly well. But Polybius put his conclusion at the end of the description of the battle. Why did he do it? I think, then, that he would like to hide one nuance of the battle. What exactly is the nuance? In this we will try to understand when it comes to Polybius.

Titus Livius outlined his attitude towards the Battle of Cannes in two ways: with a hidden hint and an open opinion. He only mentions Hasdrubal once, Hannibal mentions only in connection with the phrase he allegedly said, but describes in detail the death of the Roman consul Lucius Emilia Paul. Refer to its text:
“Gnei Lentul, a military tribune passing by on horseback, saw the consul: he was sitting on a stone full of blood.” Lucius Aemilius, ”Lentul addressed him,“ you alone are innocent of today's defeat and the gods should regret you: while you still have there are strengths, I will mount you on a horse and go, covering, near. Do not darken this day by the death of the consul; and so there will be enough tears and grief. ”“ Praise to your valor, Gnea Cornelius, ”the consul replied,“ do not waste your time, lamenting: it’s so little — hurry, escape from enemy hands. Go away, declare publicly to the senators: let, while the enemy-winner has not yet approached, they will strengthen them and strengthen their guards; Tell Quintu Fabius, Lucius Aemilius remembered his advice, while he lived, he remembers and now, dying. Leave me to die among my fallen soldiers: I don’t want to be accused a second time from the consul and don’t want to become my colleague’s prosecutor to defend my innocence. ”Behind this conversation, they were first caught by a crowd of fleeing citizens, and then by enemies: not knowing that the consul was in front of them, they showered him with darts; Lentula removed the horse from the rework. "

I think everyone understands that in a battle, conversations in such an elegant style do not lead. But Titus Livy inserted this dialogue into his essay. Readers may ask me: why? The answer is: in this way, Livy expressed his opinion about who exactly is the culprit for the defeat of the Romans. The words of the military tribune of innocence, Emilia Paul, and the words of the consul about his unwillingness to be the accuser of a colleague, tell us that Livy considered the second consul to be the culprit for the defeat of the Romans - military warrant incompetent Guy Terentia Varro. And in the conclusion of the XXII book of his work Livy already directly writes:
"so high at that very time was the spirit of the people that all classes came out to meet the consul, the main culprit of the terrible defeat, and thanked him for not despairing of the state; if he was the leader of the Carthaginians, he would not be avoided a terrible execution."
That is, according to Libya, not so much Hannibal showed his commanding talent as Varro showed his complete incompetence. Therefore, the overall assessment of the battle of Libya is very remarkable:
"Such was the battle of Cannes, as famous for the sad outcome as the battle of Alia, however, the consequences of the disaster were less severe because the enemy hesitated, but in terms of casualties - and harder and shameful."
Not the fact of defeat, but its shameful character, due to the incompetence of the commander, Livy considered the main result of the battle of Cannes.

The battle of Cannes was the pinnacle of Hannibal’s impressive, but very short, successful military career. Immediately after the battle between Hannibal and his hipparch Magarbal, a disagreement occurred during which Magarbal dropped Hannibal with a rebuke, which can be considered a moral verdict to Hannibal as commander. Titus Livius tells about it this way:
"Everyone around the winner, Hannibal, congratulated him and advised after such a battle to devote the rest of the day and the following night to rest for himself and tired soldiers; only Magarbal, the cavalry commander, thought it was impossible to delay so much." Understand, "he said, - what this battle means: in five days you will feast on the capitol. Go ahead, I will gallop forward with the cavalry, let the Romans know that you came before they heard that you were going. "This thought seemed too tempting and too great for Hannibal to immediately grasp her mind. He replied that he praised his zeal Magarbala, but it takes time to weigh everything. "Yes, of course," said Magarbal, "not all give gods to one person: to win, Hannibal, you can, but you don't know how to use victory." Everyone is sure that one-day delay saved and the city and the whole country. "

Refusing to go to Rome and begin a siege, Hannibal did not just make a mistake. By his decision, he crossed out all his victories and, figuratively speaking, with his own hands gave the strategic initiative to the enemy. Without attempting to siege and take Rome, the very invasion of Italy lost all meaning. It is unlikely that Hannibal did not know about the war of Pyrrhus in Italy, sources claim that he knew. And without a doubt he knew about the battles of his father, Hamilcar Barka, with the Romans. Did he really think that two defeats, even very cruel ones, would make the Roman Senate sign a surrender? Did he seriously think that when he heard about the defeats of the Romans, the Italians would rush headlong to sign up for his army? Indeed, after the battle of Cannes, many Italic tribes were deposited from Rome. But, as subsequent events showed, they did this with the goal of regaining their status before the establishment of Roman rule in Italy, and not at all to shed their blood for the Carthaginians.

From the moment of the battle of Cannes to the departure of Hannibal from Italy, 13 years passed. Exactly the same number of rules Macedonia, Alexander the Great. But Alexander in the 13 years of his reign conquered the territories of modern: Bulgaria, Greece, most of Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Pakistan. Perhaps part of the conquest was too hasty, but the overall scale is impressive. In 312 BC Seleucus with 1 thousand soldiers returned to the capital of his satrapy - Babylon. After 11 years, he already controlled most of the Macedonian conquests in Asia, had an army, one of the strongest among the armies of the Diadochi and the most numerous elephantery, which ensured him victory in the battle of Ips and the honorary title of the Winner. Antioch III, a contemporary of Hannibal and a very mediocre warlord, was defeated in the battle of Rafia in the year 217, but over the years 15 managed to strengthen his kingdom and take revenge. Guy Julius Caesar conquered Gaul in a little less than 14 years and brought the Roman Republic to its knees. Since Wikipedia compares Hannibal with Napoleon, you can say a little about the latter. For all the time of his reign, which is almost equal to the duration of the Second Punic War, Bonaparte established control over most of the European continent, and in 1812, he even reached Moscow.

Now let's see how Hannibal used such a long time? And here we are waiting for disappointment. Nothing great and brilliant for these 13 years, Hannibal did not commit. In 211, he approached Rome with his army, but again did not dare to begin the siege. All the military activities of Hannibal has been reduced to numerous, but insignificant clashes with the Romans, waiting for reinforcements from their brothers. And his enemy, meanwhile, wasted no time. At first they brought Sicily under control, then they began to invade Spain and 206 BC. er expelled the Carthaginians from it. The conquests of the father of Hannibal, Hamilcar Barca were lost. In 207 year BC. er the brothers Hannibal, Hasdrubal and Magon were defeated by the Roman consuls Marc Livius Salinator and Guy Claudius Nero in the battle of Metaurus. The strategy of Hannibal suffered a complete collapse, there is no hope for victory. In 204 year BC. er the Romans landed in Africa. The most important ally of Carthage, the king of Massinissus of Numidia, came to their side. Carthage Gerus sent an order to Hannibal to return home.

Here we come to the final battle of the Second Punic War - the battle of Zama

First, I will express my opinion, and then I will quote Polybius and Titus Livia a little. In the battle of Zama, Hannibal showed himself not at all the “father of strategy,” this isn’t even the case. He showed himself more like a “stepchild of tactics,” putting battle elephants against the front of the Roman infantry. But by that time it was already known that war elephants are most effective against cavalry and chariots. In the battle of Ips, Seleucus Nicator, throwing his elephants against Demetrius's cavalry, cut her off from the phalanx of Antigone, which allowed the coalition army to surround and defeat her. In the "battle of the elephants," the son of Seleucus, Antiochus I Soter, and his adviser, the Rodian Theodot, whom no great commanders consider any, also won a victory over the numerically superior Galatians by putting the elephants against cavalry. Hannibal also acted in the battle of Zama in the spirit of his opponent in the battle of Cannes - Guy Terentius Varro. He tried to break through the center of the Roman army, but left the flanks and rear uncovered. He put the elephants in the rear of his infantry, the enemy cavalry was more difficult to make his attack.

In Wikipedia, in the article on the Battle of Zama there is an original passage, which I will quote:
“If Scipio didn’t have numerous Numidian cavalry, Hannibal could use his war elephants against the cavalry of the enemy, and probably would have won the battle. But the Numidian horses were accustomed to the appearance of elephants, and the horsemen themselves sometimes participated in their fishing. In addition, this light cavalry led only a throwing battle and would hardly have suffered serious losses from the attack of huge mammals. "(
I do not know who the author of this opus is, but the nonsense is written complete. First, even if the horses of the Numidians were not afraid of the elephants, the Numidian cavalry would hardly have been able to attack the rear of the Carthaginian infantry covered by the elephants; and secondly, the Numidians were armed with swords, as evidenced by an episode from the description of the Battle of Cannes by Titus Livius. It was the Numidian cavalry that the Romans subsequently widely used to pursue a defeated enemy.

Well, how did the ancient authors evaluate the actions of Hannibal? And here we are faced with an interesting phenomenon. There are at least as many apologetics, if not more than when they assessed the battle of Cannes. Here is Polybius:
“Still, Hannibal was able to take calculated measures with incomparable insight in a timely manner against all their devices. So, from the very beginning, he stocked up a large number of elephants and then put them in front of the battle line in order to upset and tear the ranks of the enemies. For elephants, he placed first of all, mercenaries, and then the Carthaginians, in order to exhaust the forces of the enemy in a preliminary and long struggle, as well as to force the Carthaginians in the middle to remain on the ground during the battle ... about courage and bravery, he put the troops in some distance from other things, so that they would watch the course of the battle from afar and, preserving their strength, could serve their valor in a decisive moment. And if Hannibal, who is still invincible, has been smitten now, regardless that you have done everything possible to achieve victory, you cannot strictly condemn it. Sometimes, fate opposes the intentions of valiant men, and sometimes, as the proverb says, "the worthy meets the worthy in the other." It can be said, and then happened to Hannibal. "

When you read these lines, two thoughts involuntarily come to mind: 1) if Hannibal is the "father of strategy", the greatest military leader, then who is his winner Publius Cornelius African Scipio? 2) Oh, and the slow-witted man was Hannibal! And why did he, in Ephesus, say that the long-dead Alexander the Great was the greatest commander? I would say that the greatest commander was Roman Guy Terentius Varro, and the fact that he suffered a defeat at Cannes was the evil fate and envy of the gods. And Scipio would have nothing to say.

Consider now the estimate of Titus Libya:
"Both Scipio himself and all military experts paid tribute to him for the exceptional skill with which he built his army that day: ahead of him he set up elephants so that the sudden attack of these overwhelmingly strong animals would upset the battle order of the Roman army, which was most expected the Romans; he put auxiliary troops ahead of the Carthaginians, so that this mixed tribe, these mercenaries, who knew no loyalty, held alone by their greed, were deprived of the opportunity to flee; they had to take on the first frantic nat the suit of the Romans to tire them and at least dull them weapon about your bodies; then the Carthaginians and Africans were put on - Hannibal had placed all hope in them; having entered the battle with fresh forces, they could win up over an adversary of equal strength but already tired and wounded; after them the Italians stood at some distance, moved as far away as possible by Hannibal - was it unknown whether they were friends or enemies? Such was the last model of the military art of Hannibal. "

As we can see, the estimates of Polybius and Titus Libya are almost the same, except for one detail. Greek Polybius allegedly assesses the actions of Hannibal on his own, and Livy explicitly points out that this is an estimate of Scipio African and his entourage. It is possible that this assessment was contained in the report of Scipio to the senate. If so, then there is nothing surprising in praising Hannibal Scipio. After all, praising Hannibal, he, thereby glorifying himself.

The last years of Hannibal’s life look strange to a great commander. He wandered from one courtyard of the Middle Eastern dynasty to another, never lingering anywhere and not receiving recognition worthy of his fame. If he was given instructions, they didn’t correspond to the reputation of a well-known commander, - the deputy navarkha, the head of the construction works. It is not known why he left a distant and relatively safe Armenia and moved to closer to Rome, and, therefore, more dangerous Bithynia? It is not known, did the Romans themselves find him there, or did the King of Vitha decide to extradite him? Answers to these questions, we most likely will never get. What is important is another, the star of Hannibal faded away, and, it would seem, you could forget about him. But he was not forgotten. And the merit of this is the Greco-Roman historians, above all Polybius and Titus Libya. Both that and the other had their own reasons for glorifying Hannibal, even when the facts did not oblige them to do so.

Polybius was a Greek, but he lived in Rome for many years and was close to Publius Cornelius Scipio Emilian of Africa (Junior) Numanti and was part of the last literary and philosophical circle organized by him. Scipio Emilian himself was the grandson of Lucius Emilia Paul, the consul of Publius Konelia Scipio, who died in the battle of Cannes, and the adopted son of Publius Konelia Scipio, son of Scipio the African Elder and the Roman historian who wrote the history of Rome that did not reach us in Greek. It is very likely that Polybius used this work extensively when writing his "Universal History". The proximity of Polybius to Scipio Emilian explains the reason for the historian’s apologetic attitude towards Hannibal. Glorifying Hannibal, Polybius, thereby, glorified the name of his patron.

As for Titus Livia, his motive was different. Early life Libya passed during the brutal civil war between Pompeyans and Caesarians. The Roman Republic, whose patriot was Titus Livius, was coming to an end. There was less news about the victories of the Roman legions over the enemies of Rome, but more and more often there was news of the victories of the Romans over the Romans. Livy condemned this state of affairs. He saw the ideal in those times when the Republic was in a state of unity and was not torn by rifts. And the era of the Second Punic War was such a time. Therefore, praising Hannibal, Titus Livius praised not only the valor of the ancestors who had won the "conqueror", but also gently expressed his critical attitude towards modernity.

So, we conclude: Hannibal, undoubtedly, was an outstanding, very talented commander. But he was not more talented and brilliant than Seleucus I Nicator, Antigonus I Monophthalmus, Demetrius I Poliorket, his father, Hamilcar Barca, Scipio Africanus, Guy Marius and Lucius Cornelius Sulla, therefore adorning the epithets, like "father of strategy", " the greatest "seem inappropriate. As well as mentioning only his name in the relevant sections of textbooks on the history of military art.

The editorial board of Voenniy Obozreniye urgently needs a proofreader. Requirements: impeccable knowledge of the Russian language, diligence, discipline. Contact: [email protected]

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  1. Aleksandr72
    Aleksandr72 5 December 2015 07: 37 New
    To call Hannibal the "father of strategy" is at least somewhat reckless. The highest form of martial art cannot have one father. For each historical epoch and the wars waged at this time, there is its own strategy of warfare, except that the goal at all times for the military of different countries was the same - the crushing defeat of the enemy with the minimum possible losses.
    However, these lines of the article and the comparison somewhat warped:
    So, for example, Alexander the Great:
    13 years have passed from the moment of the Battle of Cannes to the departure of Hannibal from Italy. Exactly as many rules were ruled by Macedonia Alexander the Great. But Alexander over 13 years of his reign conquered the territory of modern: Bulgaria, Greece, most of Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Pakistan.

    Now the hero of the article is Hannibal:
    Now let's see how Hannibal managed such a long time? And here we are waiting for disappointment. Hannibal did nothing great and brilliant over these 13 years.

    I consider it somewhat reckless and unethical to compare Alexander the Great, the king and military leader, independent of almost anyone’s opinion and authority, who was supported in all endeavors by his mother, who practically ruled Macedonia in his absence, who fought as he considered necessary with a weakened enemy who lost his will and desire to resistance, which also had numerous problems and squabbles in their own camp (this is me about Darius) and Hannibal, who was just one of the commanders of the merchant oligarchic republic (which de facto was Carthage), in all matters of warfare depended on the point of view of the senate of Carthage (for which the golden calf was the measure of everything). The Senate of Carthage was very jealous of the successes of Hannibal, not wanting the rise of the Barkids. No military genius can successfully fight if the leadership of his own country knits it in the legs and hands. Confirmations of this can easily be found in ancient authors.
    To refer to the notes of Titus Livius as an indisputable historical source is like using Wikipedia as a source - the degree of reliability is about the same. Titus Livy was primarily a Roman, and Hannibal was one of the most successful and therefore most hated enemies of Rome. From the author, who belongs to the camp of the old enemy, one can expect admiration for the adversary's general talents, but one should hardly expect objectivity from him. It is like using the Notes of Guy Julius Caesar on the Gallic War as a reliable historical source. Caesar's talent as a commander is obvious and I do not dispute at all. But his Notes ... it is something very similar to the "truthful" stories of Baron Munchausen, with the same degree of confidence in them.
    The article is very interesting, although it can be argued and polemized with many things, but the conclusions regarding Hannibal that he should not be considered the "father of strategy" and "the greatest" are correct. Undoubtedly to the author. +
    I have the honor.
    PS And I read Strokov's books in my youth. This author is worthy of respect.
    1. Spnsr
      Spnsr 5 December 2015 10: 26 New
      an important nuance - any Carthaginian information about Hannibal did not reach us. All we know about him is the fruit of the work of the ancient Greeks and Romans.
      - and talk about military art! ???
      1. Vikings
        Vikings 5 December 2015 16: 10 New
        Paying tribute to the Author, in his attempt to give an analysis, the action
        Hannibal, the author himself made a number of inaccuracies. For example
        in the days of the late Republic, the number of legion fluctuated
        from 4 to 6 thousand cohorts ranged from 1,5-2000.
        Manipulations within 350-500 people.
    2. svp67
      svp67 5 December 2015 10: 51 New
      Quote: Aleksandr72
      The father of the strategy "to call Hannibal is at least somewhat rash

      It's hard to judge those events, in fact, having only ONE point of view, and even the winners. Whether or not Hannibal was the "father of strategy", he certainly wasn't. But at least something is known about him, but about other, maybe more talented "data" ...
      1. Walking
        Walking 5 December 2015 12: 56 New
        I am confused by the number of soldiers in the Hannibal army, I think there were hardly more than 10 soldiers there. It was beneficial for the Romans to present their enemy as numerous and to justify their defeat.
  2. Snail N9
    Snail N9 5 December 2015 08: 16 New
    Well, yes, here the author had to start his article with the following words: "Hannibal, like all the Carthaginians, were Semites, and they fought against the Aryan-Romans ..." well, and then in the text, then there would be no need write so much ... wink
    1. svp67
      svp67 5 December 2015 11: 53 New
      Quote: Snail N9
      "Hannibal, like all the Carthaginians, were Semites, and they fought against the Aryan-Romans ..."

      Well, actually, he, according to the information that came to us, the Phoenician, but means a descendant of the Atlanteans.
  3. Mantykora
    Mantykora 5 December 2015 11: 13 New
    Hannibal is a capable commander, but far from a genius.

    1. In general, the very decision to go through the Alps is very strange. No, I understand that the Roman fleet controlled the western Mediterranean after the first war with Carthage, and it was necessary to somehow be on the territory of the Republic.
    the most important thing in the war is the established supply lines. And what kind of supply did Hannibal’s army have in Italy without any connection with Iberia? And it turns out that the Carthaginians most of the time were looking for what to eat, and not to find a fight with the enemy.

    And the losses from crossing the Alps Hannibal lost 22-36 thousand soldiers (from the article), and in battles with the Romans with 217-216 BC about 12,5 thousand - under Titsin (insignificant), under Requirement (4000-5000), at Trazimen Lake (1500), at Cannes (5700). Losses in battles in TWO and more times less! Of course, Hannibal partially restored the size of his army due to the joining Gauls, but in the Alps he lost his best staff, which had been fighting for more than one year in Iberia, and all the elephants. The exchange is unequal.

    2. FLEET! The Romans destroyed the fleet of Carthage in Spain, which the Carthaginians only restored after the First Punic War, and throughout the Second Punic War, the Romans controlled the sea, which made it possible to concentrate, quickly transfer forces and supply them, destroy or distract reinforcements intended for Hannibal.

    This is how the campaigns through the Alps ended: In 209 BC. e. Publius Cornelius Scipio took command in Spain and captured New Carthage. But Hannibal’s brother, Hasdrubal, dropping Scipio away, brought in 208 BC. e. large forces from Spain to Gaul and began preparations for the invasion of the Apennine Peninsula. Crossing the Alps was relatively easy and in the next, 207 BC. e. he entered Italy. However, the consul Gaius Claudius Nero, having learned from the intercepted letter the plans of the Carthaginians, made a march to the north with part of his army and joined with the army of the consul Mark Livius Salinator. The combined forces of the Romans completely defeated the troops of Hasdrubal at the Metavr River, and Hasdrubal himself fell in battle.

    3. Thanks to the fleet, the Romans defeated the remaining army of Hannibal in Iberia, depriving Carthage of the resources necessary to continue the war. And when Syracuse and Macedonia joined the Carthaginians in the war against Rome, then Syracuse was taken with the help of the fleet (it was then that Archimedes died), and the actions of the Macedonians in Illyria were unsuccessful, again thanks to the Roman fleet.

    As a result: the Romans, while maintaining some control in Italy, distracted Hannibal by "locking him in", captured Iberia, destroyed the forces of Carthage in parts. And it turns out that Hannibal did not have a strategic plan for a protracted war, although it was he who started it. I wanted to win quickly, although the First Punic War had been going on for 23 years, and all wars were "fast" only not on paper. Hannibal is a genius of tactics and psychology, but there is no strategist or politician from him. And as his brother Maharbal correctly noted: "Hannibal knew how to achieve victory, but did not know how to use it." And at that time, any major commander should have been a politician. As an example: Caesar, Alexander.
  4. Kim Klimov
    Kim Klimov 5 December 2015 11: 23 New
    With all the nuances - Hannibal the great commander.
  5. Mantykora
    Mantykora 5 December 2015 11: 48 New
    Quote: Kim Klimov
    With all the nuances - Hannibal the great commander.

    What is great? I'm not talking about the number of enemies killed - everything is clear here, this is a war, but how many of your soldiers did you destroy in vain? Carthage’s mobilization resources were even more modest than those of the Romans, and the territories in need of protection were more extended, and Hannibal, with his swoop into Italy, even more fragmented his forces. Mercenaries fought for the First Punic for Carthage, and when the money ran out, the war ended. Therefore, Hannibal's father and uncle conquered Iberia - for the sake of a mobilization resource and silver mines.

    Hannibal is not a cold-blooded and calculating commander, but an adventurer, "hurray-patriot," as they say now, who did not prepare a plan for a protracted and long war, and finally ruined his country for the sake of revenge, never fulfilling the oath given to his father. No army can feed on enemy lands for a long time, without supplies and reinforcements from the metropolis. And at the very least, it was necessary to start the war with an attempt to defeat the Roman fleet and seize supremacy at sea, especially since Carthage lived off trade. And squeezing the Romans from Sicily, defending Iberia, gradually transfer the war to the territory of the enemy.

    And so in conclusion: in the Rome 2 game, Hannibal was at the gates, fought for Carthage, two strong flotillas, defeating the fleet of Rome, quite successfully plundered the coastal cities of Italy, while Hannibal fought in Iberia. He supported the Gallic tribes in northern Italy with money. I did not go through the Alps, it turned out to be easier and shorter through Sicily and Syracuse. In the end, it only remained to finish off the economically exhausted enemy. Finale: "Rome must be destroyed"
    1. gladcu2
      gladcu2 6 December 2015 02: 45 New

      It may be ironic, but Moses, he drove 40 years. And Ganibal 16.

      That fed the army, due to the constant movement and foreign territories.
  6. xtur
    xtur 5 December 2015 13: 04 New
    For me, as for an Armenian, the greatness of Ganibal is confirmed by the fact that it was his advice that was decisive when choosing a place to build one of the capitals of Armenia - we are talking about the city of Artashat. Artashat, by the way, still exists;

    That is, the attitude of the Romans towards Ganibal itself is the best proof of its greatness

    And I consider all attempts to get into events having such prescription ... a loss of time. It is not enough to get acquainted with all the available information, you still need to understand the way of life of the peoples of those times, and add to this an analysis of the circumstances of the policy that were relevant at the time the materials appeared.

    All this makes it simply impossible to correctly account for all circumstances.

    My instinct tells me that there are two types of wrestlers with history - liberals and novokhronolozhet.
  7. Pomeranian
    Pomeranian 5 December 2015 13: 22 New
    The author has a very interesting point of view. Konstantin is right in many ways, but he misses a few important points. 1. Hannibal operated in enemy territory with an absolutely disloyal population and a lack of communication with the metropolis. I don't remember what happened there, but help from Lilibey never came to him. The money promised by Carthage did not come either. As a military organizer in this case, Hannibal proved to be excellent. 2.When crossing the Alps, most of Hannibal's army consisted of mercenaries and volunteers. The troops that could hardly be considered regular are the Libyan infantry and the Numidian cavalry. Various Iberians and other Gauls could freely send Hannibal to hell and go - even home, even into robbery. The same is with the Greek mercenaries (the basis of Carthaginian power, in fact), the commander does not pay, I will send him to .. Therefore, the word "lost" is most likely worth changing to the word "lost".
  8. Mantykora
    Mantykora 5 December 2015 13: 49 New
    Quote: xtur
    The second factor is the persecution of Hannibal by Rome until his death around the world.

    Quote: anodonta
    Why, then, the Roman authors did not exaggerate the strength of Philip V, Antiochus the Great and Perseus?

    The victories of Hannibal put Roman civilization on the brink of complete annihilation, which no one else could in the Ancient World. At least in the perception of the Romans. They completely destroyed Carthage, and sold all the inhabitants into slavery. The "civilized" people ... Perhaps Hannibal did not want to destroy Rome completely, only to return the honor to Carthage after the last defeat, to force Rome to recognize himself defeated, but we no longer recognize this ... The Carthaginians were no less civilized than the Romans, even committed sea traveling along the western shores of Africa, this is propaganda and the history of the Romans made them animals, "Guggs" - rats.

    Hannibal for Rome was the number one enemy, therefore he was persecuted all over the world. Methods of a superpower. And the exaltation of the defeated enemy, especially the already dead, makes the victory over him steeper, contributes to the education of the young generation. The Romans were not idiots, they learned quickly. Hannibal learned to fight Scipio Africanus from the same, and defeated him by his methods under Zame, the first Punic Romans, using the Carthaginian tritema washed ashore, learned how to quickly assemble ships and defeated the Carthage fleet, for the first time in history, using boarding in naval battle. The Carthaginians also studied with the Romans, but more slowly. For example, Hannibal in Italy after the Battle of Lake Trasimen, re-equipped his Libyan phalanx in the manner of the Roman legions.

    Quote: xtur
    we must also understand the way of life of the peoples of those times, and add to this an analysis of the circumstances of the policy that were relevant at the time the materials

    - the way of life of peoples affects the composition and armament of the army;
    - the circumstances of the policy should be taken into account in advance in the upcoming conflict,
    but I talked about a long-term strategy for victory in the war, at least plan B, which Hannibal did not have.
    1. xtur
      xtur 5 December 2015 14: 47 New
      > -the way of life of peoples affects the composition and armament of the army;

      it affects everything - the goals of their life, what they fight for, what they say, how they say, what they say ...

      It is impossible to analyze the sources in any realistic way without taking into account these details. And 90% of the specified is simply ignored, as a rule
    2. tlauicol
      tlauicol 5 December 2015 15: 44 New
      Plan B envisioned the collapse of the alliance of the Italic tribes with Rome and the help of Carthage. But he stumbled over the slavish devotion of the majority of Italians to their enslavers and the betrayal of the ruling elite of the New City - and in such conditions this "small" man fought for 16 years far from home. How much, for example, did Suvorov (not the last man among the generals, right?) Put out in a similar situation?
  9. tomket
    tomket 5 December 2015 15: 00 New
    another subvert to our head ....
  10. tlauicol
    tlauicol 5 December 2015 15: 12 New
    How many people - so many opinions. The article is interesting. But I would put Pune above Alexander as a commander! Just look with whom, and by what means both had to fight!
  11. Glot
    Glot 5 December 2015 15: 24 New
    So, we conclude: Hannibal, undoubtedly, was an outstanding, very talented commander. But he was not more talented and brilliant than Seleucus I Nicator, Antigonus I Monophthalmus, Demetrius I Poliorket, his father, Hamilcar Barca, Scipio Africanus, Guy Marius and Lucius Cornelius Sulla, therefore adorning the epithets, like "father of strategy", " the greatest "seem inappropriate. As well as mentioning only his name in the relevant sections of textbooks on the history of military art.

    I absolutely agree! Of course, Hannibal is a person, but not the "father of strategy".
    However, the aforementioned Alexander the Great, too, if you look in more detail, will not be so Great ... smile

    Thanks to the author for the article and a big plus! good
  12. unknown
    unknown 5 December 2015 15: 55 New
    Alexander the Great, Pir, Ganibal, Guy Julius Caesar.

    Caesar can be ruled out right away. Well, Scaliger wanted to write in his Jewish (European) centric historical mythology the father of his own. Entered.

    The death of Pir is very similar to the death of one of the commanders of the time of the Albigensian wars. And this is the Middle Ages.

    The prototype of Great Alexander was Suleiman the Magnificent. Again Medium. And in the West, already New time.

    Ganibal remains. He fought with mythical Rome. Where did you fight? Where was his Carthage? Or maybe Cartagena?
    Again Medium. And who served as the real prototype of this mythical hero?

    In traditional history, everything is upside down. Real heroes turn out to be fictional. And invented?

    The myth of Hercules. There was such a commander in Byzantium. His name was Heraclius.

    Christopher Columbus, translated as Crusader Colonist, sailed from Portugal.
    Porto - Porta, Galia - radiant, radiant. Where did he sail from the Shining Port, from the Ottoman Empire?
    1. Glot
      Glot 5 December 2015 16: 04 New
      .............. Christopher Columbus, translated as crusader-colonist, sailed from Portugal.
      Porto - Porta, Galia - radiant, radiant. Where did he sail from the Shining Port, from the Ottoman Empire?

      Oh, another stupid new-chronologist drew himself. laughing
      Yes, indeed, Russia has two troubles ... laughing
      "Radiant Porta" yopt ... laughing
      1. Poplar505
        Poplar505 5 December 2015 19: 53 New
        And Glot is right there, vigilantly guarding the Scaligerian chronology. And hardly anyone will say anything against, is not shy in the epithets and insults of dissidents. A well-known method to appease a decent person. Swim finely, Glot.
        You yourself are daring people from yourself. Defending your dissertations and bicentennial bookish delusions of some "famous" world historians?
    2. SkiF_RnD
      SkiF_RnD 5 December 2015 19: 51 New
      The death of Pir is very similar to the death of one of the commanders of the time of the Albigensian wars. And this is the Middle Ages.
      That is, the tyrant of Epirus lived when Epirus was gone?

      Ganibal remains. He fought with mythical Rome. Where did you fight? Where was his Carthage? Or maybe Cartagena?
      Again Medium.

      And what is Cartagena? This is "map" (Russian) + "hyena" (fena, alternation of sounds), in fact. "Hair dryer card". This means that Russians lived in Spain (the word karta is Russian), and they already had electricity, otherwise why did they need a hairdryer? Although there is a question, perhaps we are talking about drugs ... Although no, some kind of nonsense. Where did the Slavs get drugs?

      The myth of Hercules. There was such a commander in Byzantium. His name was Heraclius.
      It was there, but Heraclius was not alone, right? There was, for example, an emperor like that. So is that him? Or not, that other?

      Christopher Columbus, translated as Crusader Colonist, sailed from Portugal.
      Porto - Porta, Galia - radiant, radiant. Where did he sail from the Shining Port, from the Ottoman Empire?
      It is a masterpiece. You are the best. And I want to support you. Let's shout in chorus that only fools believe that there was such a country "Portugal". Only I still want to argue with you in order to end my comment with "European humor". "Gaul" is not "shining", but the country of Gauls, that is, "roosters", from Latin. That is, this Columbus was that, you know. But still not a Turk, but, of course, a Frenchman. hi
      1. Glot
        Glot 5 December 2015 20: 13 New
        And what is Cartagena? This is "map" (Russian) + "hyena" (fena, alternation of sounds), in fact. "Hair dryer card". This means that Russians lived in Spain (the word karta is Russian), and they already had electricity, otherwise why did they need a hairdryer? Although there is a question, perhaps we are talking about drugs ... Although no, some kind of nonsense. Where did the Slavs get drugs?

        With a hairdryer, it's five.
        Maybe the author meant by the "hair dryer card" instructions for this very hair dryer, but always in Russian. laughing

        A good answer to the next ignoramus. hi
  13. V.ic
    V.ic 5 December 2015 16: 18 New
    Great or not great? In terms of the scale of the problems created by the Roman Republic, most likely great. The Roman ethnos was still passionate and was still on the ascending branch of ethnogenesis, as LN Gumilev would probably say on the eve of the "akmatic" phase, the era of civil wars and the grandiose uprising of Spartacus was still ahead. The Romans were stronger in terms of financial and mobilization. It is clear that fighting behind enemy lines, being cut off from supply and financing bases, is incredibly difficult. Hannibal's attempt to "force" the Romans to peace with a dashing cavalry swoop failed. The further expansion of Rome after the destruction of Carthage led to the reforms of Gaius Mary to create a professional army, the main instrument for carrying out the foreign and domestic policy of the Roman state. S.P.Q.R forever ...
  14. Glot
    Glot 5 December 2015 17: 26 New
    Quote: anodonta
    Quote: Glot

    However, the aforementioned Alexander the Great, too, if you look in more detail, will not be so Great ... smile

    I agree! Alexander also made mistakes. Of these, I consider the most fatal the ill-conceived rejection of the second peace proposal of Darius. The result was a quick, spectacular, but too hasty conquest of territories that were impossible to hold.

    I think he could not agree to any agreements. In principle, I could not then.
    Since all the policies of Macedonia of that period are predatory. And her entire army, the best military machine at that time, was aimed exclusively at capture. The predator does not enter into negotiations, it destroys.
    But there were many mistakes, both small tactical and larger political.
    Probably it was not worth diluting the army with the natives, adopting their customs and the like. But on the other hand, Macedonia is a small northern country. Nepassesya warriors then. smile
    In general, A.M. This is a separate topic. Big one. And we are not talking about him now, about Hannibal. smile
  15. Resistance
    Resistance 5 December 2015 18: 49 New
    and novokhronolozhets - this type A. Fomenko and company? Not the worst option for a concept of the past. And the fact that traitors (surrenders) I.Kh. right there they pounced, speaks only in their favor
  16. Glot
    Glot 5 December 2015 20: 08 New
    Quote: Poplar505
    And Glot is right there, vigilantly guarding the Scaligerian chronology. And hardly anyone will say anything against, is not shy in the epithets and insults of dissidents. A well-known method to appease a decent person. Swim finely, Glot.
    You yourself are daring people from yourself. Defending your dissertations and bicentennial bookish delusions of some "famous" world historians?

    I'm not on guard at all. There are scientists for this.
    And so I like to ignore the ignoramus on the nose. It gives me this pleasure. laughing
    Yes, I do not have dissertations and cannot be in principle. Since I am not a scientist, and not a historian. Just an educated person and no more.
    And by the way, for information, NONE OF THOSE who have ever tried or are trying to refute HISTORICAL FACTS have never tried to prove them, to prove how they say eye to eye scientists.
    Do you know why?
    Because all this - theories that have not been confirmed by anything, or even worse - is delirious fever. And to buy this nonsense can only completely goofy, who knows absolutely nothing, does not understand and will not be able to understand.
    Are you one of those?
    Then write your vision of the History of the Ancient World. Read. laughing