The Punic Wars review ✓ eBook or Kindle ePUB

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En Rome and Carthage encompassed the First 264 241 BC and Second 149 146 BC Punic Wars; both sides suffered casualties exceeding that of any war fought before the modern era Its outcome had far reaching conseuences for the Western world too as it led to the a. The Punic Wars by Adrian Goldsworthy is a fantastic look at the Punic Wars three wars between the City States turned Empires from the mid 200 BC to the mid 100's BC This conflict was fought between the states of Carthage and Rome two powerful states in this period Carthage was a maritime states in modern Tunisia that controlled large portions of the North African coast and had colonies in Spain Sicily and Sardinia Rome was a land based power at the time that had conuered or subordinated most of mainland Italy The two powers first clashed over Sicily due to a conflict between mercenary groups in the independent despot of Syracuse Rome and Carthage sided with opposing groups although the conflict swiftly became a conflagration of shifting alliances as Carthage's original ally Syracuse switched sides due to long term mutual hostility Carthage had been extending its control over Sicily's Greek city states much to the resentment of Syracuse the local power Rome as a new actor on the island was seen as trustworthy at the time This war saw overwhelming Punic naval superiority at the beginning of the conflict ensuring Rome built up a large navy at great expense eventually turning the tide Rome defeated Carthage in this war seizing Punic possessions in Sicily Further after the end of the First Punic War the Carthaginian state entered a period of internal turmoil due to a rebellion from recently returned mercenary armies This Mercenary War occupied Carthage and allowed Rome to take advantage of a similar rebellion in Sardinia to seize the island breaking the spirit of the peace agreement The differences between the two sides are marked Carthage utilized large contingents of mercenaries from Celtic and Gaulic tribes who shared a mutual hostility with Rome They also made use of soldiers from their colonies and subordinate possessions Numidian cavalry Libyan foot soldiers Balearic slingers and tribal forces made up the bulk of Carthaginian forces Carthaginian citizens rarely participated in battle in the first two wars except as ready soldiers when Carthage or the homeland in North Africa was threatened The first war was also fought mainly outside both Roman and Carthaginian home territory except for a brief invasion attempt into North Africa by a consular army from Rome which was decisively defeated This war was largely a confrontation between two relatively eual colonial powers looking to expand their dominion over of the Mediterranean The Second Punic war is the most famous of the two It contains the two legendary generals Hannibal and Scipio Africanus who led massive campaigns and innovated warfare in the ancient world Hannibal was a fantastic general; skilled at logistics pitched battle maneuvers crafty strategy and long campaigns His victorious army made up mostly of Spanish Libyan Gaul and Numidian soldiers from Carthaginian colonies was undefeated in Italy His strategy was bold; raise a large army from his base in Spain and travel over two mountain ranges to reach the Italian heartland Hannibal believed that only by defeating Rome at home and ensuring its alliance system in Italy fell apart would Carthage be able to force a peace Hannibal's strategy was largely successful for many years He defeated multiple armies in pitched battles depleting the ranks of Roman senators and elites by such a huge margin that the political traditions of Rome had to be altered to ensure political positions were filled He sacked many cities and burned the Italian countryside especially in the south embarrassing Rome and showing her allies that Rome could not always guarantee their protection Many Roman allies including Syracuse in Sicily and Capua in Italy would defect Even by remaining undefeated in Italy and running a campaign that lasted over a decade and created a veteran and skilled fighting force Hannibal could not succeed The manpower determination and traditions of Rome were successful enough to ensure a war of attrition benefited the RomansRome held its own for a few reasons The first Goldsworthy posits was from its relatively mobile social traditions for the time Rome had both powerful aristocrats and novus homo new men who often stepped in when the ranks were thinned In Rome during the war no faction emerged that pushed for detente or capitulation as all were invested in the survival of the Roman state Even Roman allies although many defected remained staunchly loyal Cities like Naples Marseilles and never wavered in their alliance Rome at this time also had naval superiority over Carthage ensuring that Hannibal's forces in Italy were difficult to resupply and had to rely on foraging and mobility for survival Rome's military organization was also superior in a few ways It used citizen soldiers to fill the ranks and steadily lowered the reuirements to join after the repeated defeats at Cannae and the like This helped solidify a veteran and professional standing army with common cultural and political identity something the varying nationalities in the Punic armies lacked Rome backed into a corner kept fighting for a decade and even after horrifying losses Carthage on the other hand lacked the solid identity that Rome had and its citizens did not participate directly in the war until Scipio's soldiers were at the gates of Carthage The war ended after Roman forces had taken Carthage's colonies in Spain and landed soldiers in Africa defeating Hannibal's hastily returned army his only loss in the war Carthage capitulated and gave up its provinces in Spain Rome also defeated Carthage's ally of convenience Macedonia during this war Carthage lost its Imperial status and became a subordinate ally to Rome a situation that would last in some form for 50 years until 150 BC when the Roman Senate decided to finish them off in the Third Punic War Although a tough slog this war was not the large conflict that the Second had been Rome ended up defeating Carthage and annexing its remaining African territory Similar events happened to the Macedonian Kingdom which after four wars in this period was finally turned into Roman provinces The Punic Wars were a major event that turned Rome from a regional into a world power and was the beginning of its eventual conuest of much of Europe North Africa and the Middle East If Rome had lost these wars much would be different Many of the worlds languages are Latin based our Western law codes are based on Roman law and our philosophy often of the Greco Roman traditionGoldsworthy has written an excellent bite sized history of the Punic Wars Well researched and considering multiple sources as well as discounting bias from both ancient and modern scholars Goldsworthy maintains as one of my favourite Roman historians of the modern world This book is interesting easy to read and comprehend and contains a wealth of information on the subject from military formation and strategy to the politics historiography social and economic aspects of the conflict Goldsworthy does a great job avoiding using modern logic to try and determine the motivations of many of the players in this conflict; even our ancient sources that were contemporary have clear bias and the logic of why tings were done should be taken with a grain of salt The important bits are the results of events and the impact they had on the world at the time A fascinating book and very enjoyable read Easily recommended for those looking for a solid read on the Romans

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The Punic WarsScendancy of Rome In grand narrative style follow the fighting on land and sea; the terrible pitched battles; and such generals as Hannibal Fabius Maximus and Scipio Aemilianus who finally drove Carthage into the ground A Main Selection of the History Book Cl. I had the urge to learn about Carthage and its enmity with rome and as a couple of people had recommended Adrian Goldsworthy to me thought this would be a good place to start I have to say that I was disappointedGoldsworthy says in the preface that he is a military historian and it is largely this focus that failed for me; the author focuses on the battles themselves and within them on the minutiae of tactics and technologies that made the opposing sides feel like miniatures on a gameboard I got no real sense of the generals involved although he does mention them and their supposed attributes this is not done in a way that brings them to life at all I read thoroughly through the introduction and the first section about the combatants and then on into the chapters on the First Punic War hoping that this was leading to analysis and depth but soon I found that my eyes were glazing and I was skim reading forcing myself to remain interestedIt is not that the history of a conflict cannot be written interestingly giving a thorough idea of the way the battles themselves were fought whilst bringing to life the cultures and even the characters involved take for instance Persian Fire about the attempted invasion of the Greek peninsula by mighty Persia including the battles of Thermopylae and Marathon And perhaps this is the main difference; I didn’t think Goldsworthy a very good writer Aside from being peppered with dry academicisms “In this chapter we shall see” the writing itself is often clumsy the word “began” used three times in two consecutive sentences and I’m afraid just not engaging The big disappointment though is that I was left feeling I learnt little about the cultures fighting this conflict which would set one up to be amongst the greatest powers the world has ever seen and utterly destroy the other

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The Punic Wars review ✓ eBook or Kindle ePUB ê An impressive new historian of Roman warfare highly praised by John Keegan has written a thoroughly engrossing account of the greatest conflict of antiuity It will grab the attention of military buffs and general readers alike The struggle for supremacy between Rome and Carthage encompaAn impressive new historian of Roman warfare highly praised by John Keegan has written a thoroughly engrossing account of the greatest conflict of antiuity It will grab the attention of military buffs and general readers alike The struggle for supremacy betwe. The Fall of Carthage is a very readable account of the three Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage The Second War takes up most of the narrative as it was the most dramatic and bloody episode but the other episodes are also given their due according to their relevance Sources are limited of course and all from the Roman or sometimes Greek perspective but overall this is a very accessible book on the conflict for supremacy in the ancient Western Mediterranean The Punic Wars and Ancient History in general are not well known by the general public these days but even those with only a slight interest will immediately mention Hannibal crossing the Alps with elephants though someone in my personal circle keeps thinking Hannibal crossed the Bosporus – I assume it’s a false association he just can’t shake There is something legendary and almost mythical about history that old and events on such a scale There is spectacle and the rise of Rome as the main power of the Mediterranean – something which was not a given at the time although it may seem only natural to us There is lots and lots of blood and some anecdotes which were to become the staple for histories of the ancient world like Appius Claudius throwing the ‘holy chickens’ in the sea to drink since they refused to eat the grain reserved for the ritual to ascertain divine favour for the coming battle a battle which was of course lost the Roman ambassador giving Carthage a choice of letting slip either war or peace from the folds of his toga Hannibal managing to pass Fabius Maximus’ army in the passes of the Apennines by stampeding a herd of oxen at night and following up on them the Carthaginian senate showered with golden senators’ rings taken from the dead of Cannae Rome refusing to treat with Hannibal after said tremendous defeat Cato with his ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam and dropping ‘Carthaginian’ figs from his toga again the toga and Scipio Aemilianus crying at the destruction of CarthageGoldsworthy analyzes and discusses the reasons for the conflict the sources and the events that took place to shape the narrative The author is well known for his books on the Roman army so he’s right at home here He has a strong grasp of the sources and takes the time to point out why X or Y is to be preferred without bogging the narrative down in academic detail One does note however that although Goldsworthy warns us that Livius as a traditionalist and moral critic and especially Polybius in favouring the Scipiones and Aemiliani because he was a member of Scipio Aemilianus’ inner circle are not always reliable he still paints a very rosy picture of Scipio Aemilianus in the Third War Perhaps he just wanted to finish or he simply chose to go with the sources we have as there are no Punic sources left and nothing to replace the unreliable ones with Maybe a minor fault but it made the part about the Third War read a bit like a cheap novel Alternatively Scipio Aemilianus could have been a Roman Superman – he certainly was a better politician that Scipio Africanus who had trouble getting by in the Roman senate after his successes as a generalSectioning in the book in three parts one for each installment of the war makes sense because the three wars were very different The First War was centered around the fight for Sicily with only a few battles on land including a short and unsuccessful Roman excursion into Northern Africa and a number of naval battles Control of Sicily was all that was at stake The Second War was a war for control of the Western Mediterranean with battlegrounds in Spain Italy Africa and even Greece and the Balkans This was a war for dominance and for survival The Third War however was the result of Roman unease about an enemy not meek enough and plain opportunityGoldsworthy does a good job of pointing out how we should interpret what actually happened and gives a strong analysis of especially the Roman strengths and weaknesses the Punic ones are far harder to grasp again because Carthage was utterly destroyed and there are no Punic sources left Where there are gaps in our sources or narrative Goldsworthy tells us what he thinks is most likely to be what happened giving his reasons for us to consider for ourselves He also keeps from imagining about the prosaic or romantic aspects that earlier historians have inserted and warns us when all we have is Roman propaganda All in all I think this is a great read both for those unfamiliar with the subject who want to learn and those who are familiar and want a good modern approach of a monumental topic of the Ancient world