The Layman’s Historian
Episode 41 - Cannae: Rome’s Darkest Day

Episode 41 - Cannae: Rome’s Darkest Day

January 30, 2021

Fabius the Delayer may have saved Minucius from disaster at Geronium, but he would not always be there to protect his impetuous colleagues from rushing into trouble. Following Fabius's relinquishment of the dictatorship, one of the newly-elected consuls, Gaius Terentius Varro, accused Fabius and the patricians of intentionally prolonging the war. Instead of continuing to follow Fabius’s delaying tactics, Varro urged the Romans to immediately engage Hannibal to obtain decisive victory. Despite the protests of his fellow consul, Lucius Aemilius Paullus, Varro's counsel won out. The Senate raised four new legions in addition to the four which typically served. Fielding the greatest army she had ever raised - 87,000 men total - Rome challenged Hannibal for the third time at the small Apulian town of Cannae.

Link to the Episode 41 page on the Layman's Historian website which includes pictures and diagrams of the Battle of Cannae

Recommended further reading:

The Histories by Polybius

Hannibal's War by Titus Livius

A Companion to the Punic Wars (Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World) Edited by Dexter Hoyos

Hannibal's Dynasty by Dexter Hoyos

Carthage Must Be Destroyed by Richard Miles

Implacable Enemies: The Barcid Armies at War by Karwansary Publishers

Clash of the Colossi: The First Punic War by Karwansary Publishers

Subscribe or leave a review on iTunes or Spotify

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Episode 40 - The Delayer: Part II

Episode 40 - The Delayer: Part II

November 15, 2020

Following Hannibal's daring escape from Campania, Fabius's reputation in Rome lay in shambles. Subsequent victories by the Scipios in Spain and the fierce rhetoric of Fabius's lieutenant Minucius at last succeeded in having Minucius appointed as co-equal commander of the Roman army. Undeterred by this humiliation, Fabius continued in his single-minded determination to preserve Rome's army. That selflessness would save Rome from another near disaster when Minucius predictably fell into Hannibal's cunning trap.

Recommended further reading:

The Histories by Polybius

Hannibal's War by Titus Livius

A Companion to the Punic Wars (Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World) Edited by Dexter Hoyos

Hannibal's Dynasty by Dexter Hoyos

Carthage Must Be Destroyed by Richard Miles

Implacable Enemies: The Barcid Armies at War by Karwansary Publishers

Clash of the Colossi: The First Punic War by Karwansary Publishers

Link to the Episode 40 page on the Layman's Historian website

Subscribe or leave a review on iTunes or Spotify

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Episode 39 - The Delayer: Part I

Episode 39 - The Delayer: Part I

September 26, 2020

 

Following the disaster at Lake Trasimene, the Roman Senate took the drastic step of appointing a dictator - a single man with full military powers - to meet the crisis. The man chosen - Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus - differed greatly from the typical Roman aristocrat of his day. Cool-headed and steady handed, Fabius implemented a strategy of delay and harassment against Hannibal, hoping to whittle down the Carthaginian forces without risking another devastating defeat in open battle. Although effective at stabilizing Roman morale, the dictator's strategy proved extremely unpopular among soldiers in his own camp. His second-in-command, Marcus Minucius Rufus, soon became the ringleader of a growing band of dissidents, and the tension between the dictator and his lieutenant would lead to an open breach which Hannibal would be quick to exploit.

Recommended further reading:

The Histories by Polybius

Hannibal's War by Titus Livius

A Companion to the Punic Wars (Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World) Edited by Dexter Hoyos

Hannibal's Dynasty by Dexter Hoyos

Carthage Must Be Destroyed by Richard Miles

Implacable Enemies: The Barcid Armies at War by Karwansary Publishers

Clash of the Colossi: The First Punic War by Karwansary Publishers

Link to the Episode 39 page on the Layman's Historian website

Subscribe or leave a review on iTunes

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Episode 38 - The Dark Waters of Trasimene

Episode 38 - The Dark Waters of Trasimene

August 15, 2020

Following the Battle of the River Trebia, Hannibal descended upon the rich province of Etruria in his advance into Italy. The new Roman consul, Gaius Flaminius, set out to confront the invaders with a mixture of fresh recruits as well as the survivors from Trebia. Arrogant, brash, and reckless, Flaminius led his legionaries in hot pursuit of the marauding Carthaginians - just as Hannibal intended. Flaminius finally caught up with Hannibal near the shores of Lake Trasimene, a name which would soon be rendered hateful to Roman ears…

Recommended further reading:

The Histories by Polybius

Hannibal's War by Titus Livius

A Companion to the Punic Wars (Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World) Edited by Dexter Hoyos

Hannibal's Dynasty by Dexter Hoyos

Carthage Must Be Destroyed by Richard Miles

Implacable Enemies: The Barcid Armies at War by Karwansary Publishers

Clash of the Colossi: The First Punic War by Karwansary Publishers

Link to the Episode 38 page on the Layman's Historian website

Subscribe or leave a review on iTunes

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Episode 37 - First Blood

Episode 37 - First Blood

July 12, 2020

Having narrowly skirted disaster in the Alps, Hannibal and his army regrouped in the Po Valley of northern Italy while the Roman Consuls, Scipio and Sempronious, scrambled to intercept him. After thrashing the Romans under Scipio at the River Ticinus, Hannibal pursued Scipio’s retreating legions to the River Trebia. Here, Sempronious - proud, headstrong, and impetuous - would seek to meet the Carthaginians in decisive battle. In the December, 218 BC, the two armies would clash at the Battle of the River Trebia - the first major battle between Hannibal and the Roman legions.

Recommended further reading:

The Histories by Polybius

Hannibal's War by Titus Livius

A Companion to the Punic Wars (Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World) Edited by Dexter Hoyos

Hannibal's Dynasty by Dexter Hoyos

Carthage Must Be Destroyed by Richard Miles

Implacable Enemies: The Barcid Armies at War by Karwansary Publishers

Clash of the Colossi: The First Punic War by Karwansary Publishers

Link to the Episode 37 page on the Layman's Historian website

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Episode 36 - Making a Way

Episode 36 - Making a Way

May 30, 2020

In early October 218 BC, Hannibal performed his most famous - and controversial - feat: the crossing of the Alps. Fighting hostile tribes, freezing cold, blinding snow, treacherous paths, and even the solid rock which barred his way, Hannibal forged a path across Europe’s tallest mountain range, elephants in tow. When he emerged into Italy, his forces had been drastically reduced, but the men who remained formed the nucleus of what would become the Roman's worst nightmare.

Recommended further reading:

The Histories by Polybius

Hannibal's War by Titus Livius

A Companion to the Punic Wars (Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World) Edited by Dexter Hoyos

Hannibal's Dynasty by Dexter Hoyos

Carthage Must Be Destroyed by Richard Miles

Implacable Enemies: The Barcid Armies at War by Karwansary Publishers

Clash of the Colossi: The First Punic War by Karwansary Publishers

Link to the Episode 36 page on the Layman's Historian website

Subscribe or leave a review on iTunes

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Episode 35 - Into Gaul

Episode 35 - Into Gaul

April 18, 2020

After he learned news of Rome's dramatic declaration of war, Hannibal departed New Carthage in May 218 BC to bring the war to Rome's heartland. Following a harrowing march through the Pyrenees, hostile Gallic tribes, and a major contested crossing of the Rhone River, Hannibal reached the fabled Alps where legend holds he declared: "I will find a way, or I will make one."

Recommended further reading:

The Histories by Polybius

Hannibal's War by Titus Livius

A Companion to the Punic Wars (Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World) Edited by Dexter Hoyos

Hannibal's Dynasty by Dexter Hoyos

Carthage Must Be Destroyed by Richard Miles

Implacable Enemies: The Barcid Armies at War by Karwansary Publishers

Clash of the Colossi: The First Punic War by Karwansary Publishers

Link to the Episode 35 page on the Layman's Historian website

Subscribe or leave a review on iTunes

Leave a like or comment on the Facebook page

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Episode 34 - The Die is Cast

Episode 34 - The Die is Cast

March 14, 2020

Hasdrubal's sudden assassination catapulted Hamilcar's eldest son, the twenty-five-year-old Hannibal Barca, to power as Carthage's supreme general in Spain. Raised to be a soldier by his father and trained in both the theoretical and practical arts of warfare, Hannibal quickly subdued most Spanish tribes southeast of the Ebro. Only Saguntum, an ostensible Roman ally, doggedly resisted Carthaginian sway. Ignoring Roman warnings to leave Saguntum alone, Hannibal besieged the city in 219 BC, a choice which would put Rome and Carthage on a collision course culminating in the Second Punic War.

Recommended further reading:

A Companion to the Punic Wars (Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World) Edited by Dexter Hoyos

Carthage Must Be Destroyed by Richard Miles

Implacable Enemies: The Barcid Armies at War by Karwansary Publishers

Clash of the Colossi: The First Punic War by Karwansary Publishers

Link to the Episode 34 page on the Layman's Historian website

Subscribe or leave a review on iTunes

Leave a like or comment on the Facebook page

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Contact me directly through email

 

Episode 33 - The Lion’s Brood

Episode 33 - The Lion’s Brood

February 15, 2020

Returning to the narrative, Hamilcar Barca, continuing his campaigns into the Spanish interior, died suddenly battling against hostile tribes in 228 BC. With Hamilcar's eldest son, the famous Hannibal, still in his teens, Hamilcar's son-in-law, Hasdrubal the Fair, succeeded the great Barcid leader in Spain. Charming, sophisticated, and diplomatic, Hasdrubal consolidated Hamilcar's foothold in southern Spain by a series of treaties, guest-friendships, and political marriages along with occasional judicious campaigns. His newly-established capital, New Carthage, quickly grew to be one of the greatest cities of the burgeoning Carthaginian empire due to its natural harbor and ready access to the markets of Spain and North Africa. By the time of Hasdrubal's own death in 221 BC, the Carthaginian army and cities in Spain had been forged into a formidable power base which would serve the young Hannibal well in the trials to come.

Recommended further reading:

A Companion to the Punic Wars (Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World) Edited by Dexter Hoyos

Carthage Must Be Destroyed by Richard Miles

Implacable Enemies: The Barcid Armies at War by Karwansary Publishers

Clash of the Colossi: The First Punic War by Karwansary Publishers

Link to the Episode 33 page on the Layman's Historian website

Subscribe or leave a review on iTunes

Leave a like or comment on the Facebook page

Follow on Twitter.

Contact me directly through email

Episode 32 - All the Nations of the Earth: The Carthaginian Army under Hannibal

Episode 32 - All the Nations of the Earth: The Carthaginian Army under Hannibal

December 29, 2019

Ever since the disastrous Battle of the Crimissus in 339 BC, Carthage proved reluctant to send her own citizens to war, preferring instead to pay others to do her fighting for her. Thus, her recruiters scoured the earth in search of the best mercenaries money could buy to supplement her native North African contingents of Libyans and Numidians. Although on paper, Carthage's polyglot armies appeared inferior to Rome's more homogenous organization, in practice, if well-equipped and well-led, Carthaginian soldiers could, and did, prove themselves the equals of their legionary opponents. Under Hannibal, Carthage's mercenary soldiers reached their zenith of effectiveness, maintaining their ethnic fighting styles while being unified by the iron will of their commander, forming a flexible, stubborn fighting force which would be a nightmare to Rome for years to come.

Can't quite picture what a Numidian cavalryman or Gallic warrior looked like? Click here to see an example with 28mm miniatures!

Recommended further reading:

A Companion to the Punic Wars (Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World) Edited by Dexter Hoyos

Carthage Must Be Destroyed by Richard Miles

Implacable Enemies: The Barcid Armies at War by Karwansary Publishers

Clash of the Colossi: The First Punic War by Karwansary Publishers

Link to my Map of the Mediterranean World Circa 300 BC

Link to the Episode 32 page on the Layman's Historian website

Subscribe or leave a review on iTunes

Leave a like or comment on the Facebook page

Follow on Twitter.

Contact me directly through email

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