Cannae (Fields of Battle) by Adrian Goldsworthy

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By Adrian Goldsworthy

On 2 August 216BC, Hannibal gained his maximum victory within the simple north of the small, hilltop city of Cannae in southern Italy. by means of the top of the day his outnumbered mercenaries had enveloped and massacred the better a part of the biggest military Rome had ever fielded, turning this into one of many bloodiest battles ever fought, rivalling even the industrialised slaughter of the 20th century advert. For the Romans Cannae grew to become the yardstick through which different defeats have been measured, by no means exceeded and just once or two times equalled within the subsequent six centuries. Cannae continues to be some of the most well-known battles ever fought, often alluded to in smooth army writing, and Hannibal's strategies are nonetheless taught within the army academies the place modern-day officials are knowledgeable. This quantity is a new examine the conflict, and explains essentially and concisely precisely the way it used to be that Hannibal completed his ancient victory.

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The claim that Varro established a reputation in the courts by winning cases on be ha lf of du biou s clien ts is agai n a fairly conventional accusation to level at a rival politician. Livy's Varro, like his Flaminius and Minucius, conforms to a theme running throughout his History which held rabble-rousing politicians responsible for most of the ills to befall the Republic, bu t even his own account of the election in 216 BC suggests that things were much more complicated than this. ' Livy says that when the first ballot was held only Yarro was elected.

Almost the freedom to cause such havoc suggested their own military weakness. entire army was Flaminius urged his army on to pursue ever more closely, telling his men that massacred or the enemy's reluctance to face them was the result of fear. taken prisoner later in the day. On the shores of Lake Trasimene, the route ran through a narrow plain between the shore and a line of hills. Hannibal's army marched along this with the Romans just within sight, but in the night it doubled back to take up CARTHAGE, ROME AND THE PUNIC WARS ambush positions parallel to the road.

Flaminius' defeat was blamed upon his failure to observe the proper religious rites and Fabius ordered that these now be most scrupulously performed. Hannibal had moved east after Trasimene, crossing the Apennines again and marching into the coastal plain of Picenum, where he rested the army, for its health had still not fully recovered from the exertions of the last twelve mo nth s. For the first time since leaving Spain, Hannibal was able to send a message to Carthage reporting his achievements and requesting support.

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