Posted by Julie Ponzi
J.R. Dunn cautions America’s foes against drawing unfair and over-wrought comparisons between America and Rome . . . lest their cries of "foul" become self-fulfilling prophecies. A thoughtful and engaging piece.
You Americans lack the martial virtues of my time, of my people. You are presently unworthy of being compared to the glories of my Rome. Rome was a byword for responsibility. Your America is a byword for self-indulgence.
You are weak, and getting weaker. You are soft, and wallow in your corpulence. You have enemies, but lack the nerve to give them a taste of "Roman steel."
You arent worthy of being compared to me.
Scipio Africanus was a genuis according to Cicero and that is good enough for me.
Scipio Africanus WAS a genius, for it took one to beat Hannibal at his own game, envelopments and double envelopments.
Zama was another of our glorious triumphs, which men even at your latter date in history, gaze at in wonder and awe.
That should read "double envelopments, not double envelopments." You must pardon me, I find it difficult writing in this language of the savage Angle, instead of the noble Roman.
Ive had the understanding that by the time Hannibal and Scipio met, most of the elite and battle-hardened troops of Hannibal had been killed in Italy, leaving Scipio to face a fatigued and weak foe. Plus, Hannibal had a severe disadvantage of cavalry.
If this is the case, it doesnt seem like a victory for the ages. Any competent commander could have beaten third-rate Carthaginian troops with a first-rate Roman army.
Possibly, but commanders are part of why a given army is first rate.
Ah, Hannibal isnt given enough credit. I mean, he marched elephants over the Alps and scared all the Romans. Scared Romans... At that time, thats saying something.
Anyways, very interesting article.
Interested, I can set you straight, as straight as one of our famous Roman roads on that issue.
Scipio Africanus, through cagey diplomacy maneuvered the famed Numidian light cavalry away from Hannibal, forcing him to offer battle without relying upon their scouting and screening capacities. But Hannibal, resolute, poised, famed, properly famed, victor in a hundred skirmishes, would not abide Roman legions laying siege to his Carthage. So he offered battle.
Yes, Hannibals best troops were still in Italy. But it should be recalled that Hannibal ALWAYS fought us with a polyglot host, barbaric Gauls, barbaric Spaniards, swarthy, skinned Numidians, mercenaries from lands to the east. With such as these he had destroyed over A HUNDRED THOUSAND Romans. And he did so in a single year, beginning when he crossed the Alps in Spring, to the late Summer heat at Cannae.
Hannibal was Hannibal, with veterans seasoned, or men new to the field. And Scipio respected him, and thats why Scipio refused to allow Hannibal to flank him on either side. When Hannibal extended his flanks, Scipio followed suit. And when Hannibal further thinned his line to enable him to flank us, Scipio did likewise. ALL ALONG the line we fought it out, and at the end of the day, we emerged victorious!
I was there, over 2,000 years ago, I was there when Carthage fell like lightening. Carthago Delinda Est!
Could any competent commander have defeated Hannibal? You forget, that we had NO other commander other than Scipio with confidence to face Hannibal. For almost two decades we AVOIDED direct confrontation with Hannibal. Not a home in Rome escaped a visitation from death when Hannibal crossed the Alps. NEVER BEFORE had we amassed such a force as that we sent to destroy Hannibal. 80,000 Legionnaires. 80,000 ROMANS! None but Hannibal would have considered accepting battle, none but Hannibal would not have quailed before the slow, but steady advance of our shields, our javelins, our Roman steel.
Only Scipio advanced the strategy of moving the campaign from Italy, to Africa, to the outskirts of Carthage. Scipio FORCED that mighty strategist to accommodate him, to accept battle where and when Scipio offered it. The great Commanders DICTATE the pace and place of battle. Such was Scipio. When Hannibal tried his double envelopment at Zama, I must confess I trembled inside, and only the confidence of Scipio prevented a collapse.
The dust, the confusion, the fear, ingredients for countless victories for the Carthaginian, but Rome had one man who peered through the fog of battle, peered into the mind of that genius of war, and countered him, and then defeated him.
You slight Scipio when you recall the battle in some antiseptic fashion. Hannibal dwelt in the minds and souls of every Roman, and did so for centuries after he crossed the Alps. Before Scipio took the field against Hannibal, he had to first banish the fear of Hannibal within him. War, especially battle, is as much about spirit and will as it is about strategy and numerical preponderance.
The mighty Carthaginian was our MOST lethal enemy, the greatest danger EVER to confront Rome.
Other than ourselves that is, other than our thralldom to luxus, luxury, softness. When we mocked what we were, when we scorned, as we did, what we had become, when we lost sight of what Rome offered, compared to what the barbarian promised, and after our fall, delivered, THEN we fell. And in our fall a new Dark Age commenced.
Americans, notice what befell us Romans. No outside force destroyed us. That worm Attila and his mangy horde was AS NOTHING compared to the mighty Carthaginian. And history accords him the laurels of victory for supposedly defeating us. What folly! We Romans, though it shames me to say it, we became soft, in mind, in spirit, in our soul. We started to pay others to do our fighting for us. We deemed it better to pay off pesky instead of paying them off in Roman steel. We never considered what we paid the Huns, and others, tribute. We saw it as simple business, a transaction, something we could afford. We deemed it better than upsetting the status quo.
What do you Americans do? You pay Egyptians, you pay Jordanians, and now, through "economic incentives" you will pay the Iranian. Ponder well these things Americans.
For you, as for us, the Eagle soars. Our Eagles cast themselves down upon our enemies in a thousand battles, and always, at the end, our Eagles glutted themselves on victory. You too, know the taste and savour of victory.
Do not allow yourself the acquired taste of tribute. Tribute, though in different name, is the same. Historys verdict is that Rome paid tribute to the savage Huns. What historys verdict be of your payments to Cairo, and now to Tehran?
You know what historys verdict will be, you know it.
I Drusus, son of Quintus, have spoken, and have done so to honour the memory of THE SENATE, AND THE PEOPLE OF ROME!
Ashbrook Center at Ashland University | 401 College Avenue | Ashland, Ohio 44805 | (419) 289-5411 | (877) 289-5411 (Toll Free)