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JE Sarge
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PostPosted: Sat 13 Feb, 2010 1:58 am    Post subject: A question about the strategy of Hannibal Barca...         Reply with quote

Here is my question:

Why did Hannibal Barca lead his army so far north when crossing the Alps?

It appears that he could have taken any number of passes further to the south and risked less harm to his army. From what I understand, the Romans did not have a standing army in this area which could have prevented his crossing. It seems to me that a smaller confrontation with a random Roman force to the south would weigh better than losing so much of your army in transit to the north.

Any information or insight would be apperciated! Happy

J.E. Sarge
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"But lack of documentation, especially for such early times, is not to be considered as evidence of non-existance." - Ewart Oakeshott
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Jean Henri Chandler




Location: New Orleans
Joined: 20 Nov 2006

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PostPosted: Sat 13 Feb, 2010 9:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

To recruit gauls for his invasion of Italy
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Jonathan Atkin





Joined: 04 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Sat 13 Feb, 2010 2:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm fairly rusty on my roman history but wasn't there a roman army trying to head off hannibal but didn't think him crazy enough to cross the alps and by passed the army?
"If I must choose between righteousness and peace, I choose righteousness''. - Theodore Roosevelt
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JE Sarge
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PostPosted: Sat 13 Feb, 2010 8:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I know that a Roman force was trying to catch him by marching up the Rhone River valley from the sea, but I did not think this force was large enough to pose a serious threat to him.

As for recruting Gaul allies, he did gain some men; but he also ran into increasing conflict in trying to cross the Alps from the north. I figure this may have evened out.

Thanks for the input thus far... Happy

J.E. Sarge
Crusader Monk Sword Scabbards and Customizations
www.crusadermonk.com

"But lack of documentation, especially for such early times, is not to be considered as evidence of non-existance." - Ewart Oakeshott
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Maurizio D'Angelo




Location: Italy
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PostPosted: Sun 14 Feb, 2010 5:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hannibal came from Spain, hoping to rouse some Gallic tribes.
Is it possible, to cross the Alps with elephants?
Hannibal answered: we find a way. Or it will open a new one.
Was unexpected in that direction. In the end, only one elephant survived until the winter following. (Polibio)
In fact, it has won, not for this, but for having made good use of cavalry Numidia.
Rome has never forgiven the three defeats, gave chase to the end.

Ciao
Maurizio
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Michael Zalar




Location: St. Paul, MN
Joined: 08 Feb 2010

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PostPosted: Sun 14 Feb, 2010 8:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Had Hannibal elected to take the direct route to Italy he would have been opposed by a force, albeit smaller in number, which would have essentially had its choice of a strong defensive position. While he may have been able to overwhelm the Romans, it could have cost him dearly in men. At this point Hannibal did not want a battle of attrition.
The alternative was to flank the Romans and get into the open country of Northern Italy. Hence he took a chance and passed through the Alps.
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Jeff Kauffeldt




Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
Joined: 16 May 2005

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PostPosted: Sun 14 Feb, 2010 11:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Another thing to consider is that the Roman positions to the south were probably forts, since the Romans usually built them on there frontiers. It you look at his later campaign you will see that he just could not sustain a siege with the kind of army he had. If there were forts then he could vary possibly been stopped dead in is tracks. He had to go around them.
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