Hannibal vs Scipio Africanus

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Hannibal vs Scipio Africanus

Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Thu Jul 22, 2004 10:39 pm

Salvete

Since it seems that Vin Diesel will playing Hannibal Barca in the upcoming movie about Hannibal, I have noticed that there is some debate about the character of Hannibal. What strikes me is that Hannibal as the Carthaginians (by some) are being compared to Osama Bin Laden and Al Quaida, that Hannibal is accused of cannibalism, murdering of innocent civilians, infantcide, etc... What strikes me is that Scipio is being portrayed as the hero while he did also some bad things.
One thing that really amazes me is how stupid or ignorant people can be when they compare modern warfare and conduct during wartime to that of the ancient world. Since Locatus has written an extensive essay on Hannibal Barca (more on the 2nd Punic War), it would be nice to clear some things up. I know Hannibal wasn't the real good guy throughout the 2nd Punic war, but I'm sure that Scipio wasn't a good guy either in this.
So my question is, did the Carthaginian army under Hannibal practiced cannibalism while crossing the alps?
I assume that the infantcide is referred to the human sacrifices of Carthaginian children or the slaughter of an entire Roman town including women and children. I don't know but comparing Al Quaeda with Carthage and Osama Bin Laden with Hannibal is pure exageration and demonizing one empire and person. I thought that this might be a good topic for people who might come her looking for info on Hannibal when the movie comes out. I think that it is important to atleast tell both sides of the story, even though we can't possibly know everything tha went on during these Punic Wars, only what was recorded and handed down.
Maye we should do something similar for Alexander the Great. I don't know, it is a suggestion.
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Postby Anonymous on Thu Jul 22, 2004 11:00 pm

Perhaps people are getting their Hannibals confused and think of Hannibal Lecter !

Ok, now I fancy some Chianti :oops:

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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Fri Jul 23, 2004 1:06 am

Salve Romule,

Most of the time in warfare, the "good guys" are those writing history. If we'd had a surviving Celtic history from Caesar's time, no doubt Caesar would be portrayed as an evil conqueror. In the Roman version of the story, it is stressed that he brought peace to Gallia ("Gallia pacata est").

I'm not sure if I should believe these stories about infanticide. I'm not a religion expert so I can't tell. However, human sacrifice was an atrocity the Romans accused many opponents of. Didn't the late Ronald Reagan call the USSR the "Evil Empire" too? Of course, in some cases, as outrageous as stories may be, they are true. The modern Taliban, for instance, clearly practised an insane, extremist theocracy. But usually extremist regimes don't have many competent leaders, let alone military leaders. So I'm inclined to take these cannibalist stories about Carthago with a grain of salt, until I hear more about it.

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Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Fri Jul 23, 2004 9:56 am

Salve Draco

I guess the same can be said of the US president Bush who like to call himself the peace president. Anyway the Carthaginians as the Phoenicians did practice human sacrifice, but like in most cases this only happens in extrem situations; defeat of armies, when the Romans were about the destroy Carthage and kill about 2/3 of the population. I have read somewhere that the Roman senate outlawed human sacrifices very early during the Republic, but that these practices still were done but with poppets.
I think most people see Caesar as more than someone who brought peace to Gallia. I think most history classes will teach people than Caesar was as bad as most conquerors. When I heard of these stories about cannibalism, I took it with a grain of salt like you did, but if a large army had to cross the alps with supplies running low, it could very wel be possible that they eat their dead. It wouldn't be the first time humans have done this to stay alive. But Carthage itself didn't practied cannibalism. I think these stories are more about demonizing one culture in favorit of another culture.
vale

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Postby Aulus Dionysius Mencius on Sun Jul 25, 2004 11:18 am

Salve Gnae et alii

Regarding the infanticide, I once read that Carthago worshipped Baal/ Moloch, and that they, indeed, brought human sacrifices to the god. Mostly young boys.

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Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Sun Jul 25, 2004 12:09 pm

Salve Mence

Well these kind of sacrifices were only brought in time of great disstress to avert doom. In Carthaginian and Phoenician religion human sacrifices were only done on special occasions like to avert the destruction of Carthage by the Roman legions, etc... I think it is more Molech than Moloch and both Baal and Molech werenot likely regarded as the same deity. Well these practices received alot of attention because of the nature of these sacrifice. Modern humans find human sacrifices repulsive and most of all sacrifices involving children age 2-4. These so called victims were chosen from noble families, aristocratic families. That does not mean that the ordinary citizens of carthage didn't do it either. There are evidences of the lower classes performing the same sacrifices but not on tophets. These type of sacrifices were probably the reason why Phoenician/ Canaanite and Carthaginian religion were demonized more or less by the Romans and later the Christians.
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Postby Horatius Piscinus on Sun Jul 25, 2004 3:28 pm

Salvete

Rome outlawed human sacrifice during the Middle Republic, in 193 BCE if I recall.

The Romans accused Carthage of the practice and Diodorus Siculus gave a description of the practice, neither of which can be taken at face value. Polybius is a more credible source, and was with Aemilius Scipio in 146 when Carthage was destroyed. Polybius makes no mention of child sacrifices. In one article I read, in Archaeology Odyssey Nov/Dec 2000 issue, M'Hamad Hassine Fantar argued against the common view that accepts child sacrifice by Carthaginians. There was found at Carthage a cemetary for children. I think I would have to agree with Fantar that we should not assume it was meant for sacrificial victims. Infant mortality being rather high, the Carthaginians may have simply had a separate cemetary for infants and small children. In itself the cemetary does not offer any proof of infant sacrifice, and from what I gather about the remains they too do not indicate child sacrifice, certainly not like Diodorus described. Ignoring the word of their enemies, the other evidence that is offered, based on Biblical passages, is doubtful.

In times of stress, Romans and Greeks practiced human sacrifice and infant sacrifice. If a plague came on the city that was especially hard on infants, then people tended to sacrifice a few infants to appease the gods in hope of saving the rest. I think that was probably the case with the Carthaginians as well. Some infant sacrifices, but not a regular practice as the exaggerations of their enemies would like us to believe.

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Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Sun Jul 25, 2004 3:40 pm

Salve Piscine

I thought I read somewhere that the Roman Senate outlawed human sacrifices around 493 B.C.? I think it was in a book called the history of Rome to the Second Punic War.
Anyway in almost all books/ texts I have read on Phoenician and Carthaginian religion, human infant sacrifice is only used in special situations and was not a regularly practice.
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Postby Anonymous on Thu Oct 07, 2004 3:43 pm

Cannibalizm and human sacrifications had place from an epoch of appearens the first man. It is not wonderfull, that it could had place in some countries in the variety degree in acient world ( intellect of community was low, instincts defined behavious), wonderfull that Romans raised so high also in the branch humanism upon others nations in dark and wild world. They have gave lows to society. All Westen Civilization constracted upon legasy of Romans.
What about modern history, we have examples to use in the exteem situations someone similar to sacrifications: a barrage groops of special warrios ,that shot without mercy in a back of every soldiers, that left his position in the defence. So was near Moscow in 1941, and near Berlin in 1945.
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Postby Anonymous on Wed Oct 20, 2004 5:07 pm

Salvette
In Zama 202 B.C., if Hannibal it was more improved quality men (in oppose your peasants) in your infantry the things maybe has been different. Hannibal it would have broken the sharp front line of Roman Legion, and ours loved Cipivs it would leave certainly (or almost) defeated



I flee that pardon my bad english...
My love for the Roman Empire it compensates this




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Postby Anonymous on Wed Oct 27, 2004 7:01 am

Con someone suggest a biography of Hannibal Barca, or a book centered in the Carthaginian Civilization?
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Postby Anonymous on Wed Oct 27, 2004 7:04 am

Recently, i acquired a book of Giovanni Brizzi, "O Guerreiro, o Soldado e o Legionário" (something like "The Warrior, the Hoplite and the Legionaire".
Its very good, a little book that describes the evolution of the ancient armies and describes the key battles.
According to him, the battle of Zama shows a very inferiorized Hannibal, that nearly won over Scipio.
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Postby Anonymous on Wed Oct 27, 2004 7:06 am

Marcus Arminius Maior wrote:Recently, i acquired a book of Giovanni Brizzi, "O Guerreiro, o Soldado e o Legionário" (something like "The Warrior, the Hoplite and the Legionaire".


I believe that it is the italian edition:
http://www.pbmstoria.it/leggere.php?ID=1351
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