Moors in Roman military service were stationed in Britain, France, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Poland and Romania, many of them rose to high rank. Lusius Quietus one of Rome's greatest generals was named by Roman Emperor Trajan (98-117 C.E.) as his successor. Quietus is described as a "man of Moorish race and considered the ablest soldier in the Roman army." By the end of the second century of the Christian Era more than one third of all of the members of the Roman Senate were born in Moorish lands and Moors were dominant in Rome's intellectual life. The Black Roman writer Publius Terentius Afer (190-159 B.C.E.). known as Terence penned the immortal words, "I am a man and nothing human is alien to me."
Martyrdom, Sainthood and Theology
The Moorish presence in early Rome includes saints, theologians and martyrs like Tertullian, Cyprian and Augustine. Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullian was the first of the church writers to make Latin the language of Christianity. Tertullian was born into a wealthy Carthaginian family in 170 C.E. He wrote Greek and Latin fluently and was "well trained in the school of rhetoric where Apuleius (also a Moor), had been a pupil a generation before." Tertullian's wife was Christian, he himself a convert. A man of fiery temperament and evangelical spirit, Tertullian is said to have lived to an advanced age. In 197 C.E., during the reign of Septimius Severus, Tertullian's Apologia was published.
St.Cyprian is called the "greatest of the Bishops of Carthage", his reputation was such that the Churches of Gaul and Spain appealed to him as an arbiter. Like Tertullian before him, Cyprian was born of a prosperous family in Carthage in 200 C.E. He eventually held a chair in rhetoric at Carthage. After reading the works of Tertullian, he converted to Christianity. Following his conversion Cyprian distributed most of his fortune to the poor. As an orator he was such that only three years after becoming a Christian he was elected Bishop of Carthage. Sixty of Cyprian's letters have survived as testament to his great intellectual gifts. On September 14, 258 C.E., St. Cyprian, after paying his executioner twenty-five gold pieces and surrounded by a large crowd of Christians, was beheaded.
St. Augustine, born in 354 C.E. in Thagaste, North Africa, was the son of St. Monica and largely because of her desires he converted to Christianity in 386 C.E. In 395 C.E. he became Bishop of Hippo, North Africa. His teaching on free will, original sin and the operation of God's grace has been illuminated in numerous publications, particularly in his City of God, published in 397 C.E. St. Augustine died in August 430 C.E. during the Vandal siege of Hippo.
The Sable Faced Popes.
There were at least three black Popes at Rome. St. Victor I became the first known African Bishop of Rome in 189 C.E. and reigned until 199 C.E. Victor I, the first pope to write in Latin and the first Pope known to have had dealings with the imperial household, is described as "the most forceful of the 2nd-century Popes." Although nothing is known of the circumstances of his death he is venerated as a martyr, and his feast is kept on July the 28th. Today, in the history of the Roman Church he is remembered, not only for his ruling that Easter should be celebrated on Sunday, but he has also been named in the Canon of the Ambrosian Mass, and he is said by Saint Jerome to have been the first in Rome to celebrate the Holy Mysteries in Latin."
St. Miltiades, a black Priest, was elected the thirty second Pope after St. Peter in 311 C.E. Under Miltiades, after the issuance of an edict of tolerance signed by the Emperors Galerius, Licinius and Constantine, the great persecution of the Christians came to an end and they were allowed to practice their religion in peace. St. Miltiades is regarded as a Christian martyr and died in early January 314 C.E.
The third of the black Popes and the forty ninth Pope overall was St. Gelasius I. Born in Rome, governed from 492 to 496 C.E. He is described as "famous all over the world for his learning and holiness" and "more a servant than a sovereign." He died on November 19, 496 C.E. and like St. Victor I and St. Miltiades, St. Gelasius I was canonized. As a Saint, his Feast-day is held on the 21st of November.
ANCIENT ROME: THE SEVERAN DYNASTY
Alexander Severus and a bust of Septimius Severus, and statues of Septimius' two sons Geta and Caracalla, are depicted negroid. This dynasty, known to historians as the Severan Dynasty, began with Septimius Severus in 193 C.E. Septimius shared the throne for two years with Pesennius Niger. Could Pesennius Niger, another of Rome's outstanding military commanders, himself have been a Moor? His name certainly indicates that possibility. Records state that Septimius was born in Leptis Magna on the North African coast (modern day Libya) on April 11 in either 145 or 146 C.E. Septimius was not just born in North Africa, numerous paintings, busts and statues show him phenotypically negroid. A wood panel of Septimius Severus and his family, done around 200 C.E., show him copper colored (deep burnished brown).
Young Septimius, coming from a Romanized family, received an education rooted in Roman literature and quickly learned to speak Latin. After his formal education was completed he adopted an official career and became a civil magistrate. Later, he became a military commander, and this took him to Rome where he proved himself an able, popular and conscious military leader. Around 199 C.E., six years after becoming emperor, Septimius journeyed to Egypt. Around 203 C.E. Septimius had an arch constructed in the Imperial Forum. This monument is one of Italy's most important triumphal arches. He is even said to have built a marble tomb for Hannibal Barca early Rome's black Carthaginian nemesis. Because of his own North African origins, Septimius has been referred to as "Hannibal's revenge."
After a distinguished career characterized by administration reorganization, exploits on the battlefield and the intensification of Christian persecution, Septimius died conducting yet another military campaign, this one in York, Britain on February 4, 211 C.E. he was sixty five years old. His reign was seventeen years, eight months and three days and he was the last Roman emperor to die of natural causes for almost a hundred years.
Septimius Severus was succeeded in 211 C.E. by his sons Lucius Septimius Geta (211-212 C.E.) and Marcus Aurelius Antoninus aka Caracalla (211-217 C.E.). These brothers are said to have constantly plotted against one another and Caracalla finally had Geta murdered in 212 C.E. It was under Caracalla in 212 C.E. that Roman citizenship was granted to all freeborn inhabitants of the Empire. Caracalla was also responsible for refurbishing roads and the construction of a triumphal arch in Algeria, as well as enormous public baths. Caracalla was himself murdered by the military in 217 C.E.
Geta and Caracalla were followed by the Mauritanian born Marcus Opellius Macrinus (217-218 C.E.), the Praetorian Prefect and the first non senator to become emperor. Heliogabalus (218-222 C.E.), said to be either the son or nephew of Caracalla and a man of dubious character, followed Macrinus, and then came Severus Alexander (222-235 C.E.), who restored the Roman Coliseum to its ancient status and with whose thirteen year reign the era of Severan domination of Rome came to an end.
This line is known as the Severan Dynasty and the National Roman Museum busts, statues and sculptures of the representatives of this dynasty strongly testify to their identity. They are powerful images, the noses are missing on all of them save one of Septimius' son Caracalla.
Moors in Manhattan./Juan "Jan" Rodrigues.
Juan "Jan" Rodrigues, a free-man, born in Santo Domingo, was the first man of African descent to live in what would become New York City, spending the winter, without the support of anchored ship, at a Dutch fur trading post on Lower Manhattan that had been set up by Christiaan Hendricksen in 1613.
This small settlement, and others, along the North River were part of a private enterprise. It was not until 1621 that the Dutch Republic firmly established its claim to New Netherland and offered a patent for a trade monopoly in the region. In 1624, a group of settlers established a small colony on Governors Island. Together with a contingent of colonizers coming from the Netherlands that same year joined the traders established in the tiny 11 year old settlement of New Amsterdam.
In the early spring of 1613, fur trader Adriaan Block complained bitterly that a competitor, Thijs Volckenz Mossel, commander of the Jonge Tobias, had tried to “spoil the trade” by offering three times more for a beaver than Block did. In his report against Mossel, which he submitted to the Amsterdam Notary upon his return to Holland, Block topped off his list of accusations against Mossel with his outrage that crew man Rodrigues had become a permanent fixture in the Manhattan frontier, trading and living alone among the natives. When the said Mossel sailed away from the river with his ship, [Rodrigues] born in Santo Domingo, who had arrived there with the ship of said Mossel, stayed ashore at the same place. They had given [Rodrigues] eighty hatchets, some knives, a musket and a sword.
According to Block, Mossel denied that Rodrigues was working on his behalf. Rodrigues had taken it upon himself to gain friendship with the natives, set up a trading post, and live comfortably on Manhattan Island. [Mossel] declared that this Black Spaniard (Moor) [Rodrigues] had run away from the ship and gone ashore against his intent and will and that he had given him the said goods in payment of his wages and therefore had nothing more to do with him.
Block closed his report by writing that he knew of no other crew man who stayed behind but Rodrigues. This means that a native of Santo Domingo, now the Dominican Republic, was the first documented non Native American to remain on Manhattan without the support of a ship in the harbor. The natives, who preferred the goods and ironware sold by Rodrigues over their own, seem to have accepted him as the island’s first merchant.
By the autumn of 1613, three Dutch ships had arrived: De Tijer, captained by Block, the Fortuyn, captained by Hendrick Christiaensen, and the Nachtegaal, captained by Mossel. This time it was Christiaensen who wrote about Rodrigues. His log states that Rodrigues came aboard the Nachtegaal, presented himself as a freeman, and offered to work for Christiaensen trading furs. Despite the short, exciting narrative, the historical record leaves us with few details about the remainder of the life of Juan “Jan” Rodrigues. What does remain is an intriguing episode of early New York City history.
The real founder of New York City is Jan Rodrigues having established himself in Manhattan in late 1612 (being this the real year of settlement of the city by non natives). Nowadays a plaque stands in Riverside Park in recognition of Jan Rodrigues, whom history records as the first merchant and non Native American inhabitant of Manhattan.
From the Seaport New York’s History Magazine.March 3, 1753
In the winter of 1741 in New York City, three Moorish crew members of a captured Spanish ship were sold into bondage and protested their condition, swearing revenge. After several fires flared across town during March and April of 1742, hysterical residents feared that a slave revolt was imminent and suspected that the Spanish Negroes "Moors" were deeply concerned and active in the protest. The episode ended with the public executions of twenty-three people and the exile of seventy one others.
From Carologue a publication of the South Carolina Historical Society 93 Muslim Slaves, Abducted Moors, African Jews, Misnamed Turks by James Hagy.
Muslims from North Africa, appear in the records of South Carolina. In the South Carolina Council Journal, No. 21, Pt. 1, pp. 298-299. Two men by the name Abel Conder and Mahamut (Mahomet) petitioned the South Carolina royal authorities in Arabic for their freedom. They came from Asilah (Sali) on the Barbary Coast of Morroco. Their story is that they were in a battle in 1736, with the Portuguese when they lost the battle and was captured. An officer named Captain Henry Daubrib, asked them would they be willing to serve him for five years in Carolina. When they arrived in South Carolina they were transferred to Daniel LaRoche, who then enslaved them for fifteen years until 1753.
In 1786 two Muslim men appeared in Charleston, SC "dressed in the Moorish habit" and aroused a great deal of suspicion by their strange ways. An officer of the law attempted to question them and found they were Moors who did not speak English. They were taken to an interpreter who found out they came from Algeria and sailed to Virginia were they had been arrested. Then they traveled overland to South Carolina.
Zwarte Peiten or Black Pete.
The Dutch tradition of "Sinterklaas" is interesting. Sinter Klaas,(Santa Claus)in the middle of November (who is from Spain), comes into the different ports, or places where boats are docked. He arrives with a boat full of presents for all the children of Holland. Children and their parents go to the ports to meet Sinter Klaas. He brings his white horse with him, and his partner, "Zwarte Peiten or Black Pete". After Sinter Klaas arrives, there is a big parade that goes through the town. Black Pete is Sinter Klaas's helper, he is a Moor also from Spain and wears traditional Moorish clothing. Besides helping Sinter Klaas deliver the presents, he keeps records of all the presents that are going to be given to each child, and he keeps a record of how each boy and girl in Holland have behaved through the year. Black Pete keeps track of all of this in a big book.
The "Barbary Wars" (Philadelphia)
Either as the result of invasions in Eastern Europe or fleets of Barbary corsairs from North Africa journeying northwards into the Atlantic, attacks and enslavement were a frequent fear of communities, as well as ship crews and would be colonists to the New World. Between 1609 & 1616 alone, some 466 British vessels and their passengers were captured on the high seas and enslaved in the North African 'Barbary States' of Morocco, Tripoli (today's Libya), Algiers & Tunisia, creating a demand for what is referred to as 'White Gold,' or European slaves.
Not until the Presidencies of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams & James Madison, would the threat to American ships and shipping finally be dealt with and resolved, during the 'Barbary Wars' of the early 19th century. Prior to these events, literally thousands of individuals would rot, starve, die or experience years of servitude in North Africa, such as the crew of the Philadelphia ship, Dauphin, taken captive west of Lisbon, on the 30th of July, 1785.
The master of the Dauphin, Richard O'Brien (1758-1824), would be in bondage to the Muslims for some ten years, after which he would return as Consul-General to Algiers. An outbreak of the bubonic plague alone, would bring about the demise of 200 Caucasian slaves, from January to May of 1787, including crew members of the Dauphin. O'Brien's correspondence and journal written while a captive in North Africa, is both informative and essential in understanding those trying times in American history. He would eventually return to Philadelphia, serve in the state legislature and die in Pennsylvania in 1824.
While a prisoner in Algiers, O'Brien wrote the following entry in his journal, for February 19, 1790:
"Picture to yourself your Brother Citizens or Unfortunate Countrymen in the Algerian State Prisons or Damned Castile, and starved 2/3rd's and Naked. ..The Chains on their Legs, and under the Lash...Beat in such a Manner as to shock humanity...No Prospects of ever being Redeemed or Restored to their native land and never to see their wives and families...Viewing and considering of their approaching Exit, where 6 of their Dear Country men are buried with thousands of other Christian Slaves of all nations...Once a Citizen of the United States of America, but at present the Most Miserable Slave in Algiers."
O'Brien's, Remarks & Observations in Algiers: 1799
Just a few days prior to the seizure of the Dauphin, the Boston ship, "the Maria", was also taken by Algierian pirates off the Cape of St.Vincent on July 25, 1785. On board this vessel was James Leander Cathcart (1767-1843), who would be enslaved in Algiers for eleven years, but would eventually become a clerk for the Dey, an important Islamic official, by which he was enabled to serve as a mediator along with Colonel David Humphreys, America's Minister to Portugal, thus creating the Treaty of Algiers in 1796, which would temporarily halt hostilities between the United States and that Moorish nation. After being freed, James L. Cathcart would come to Philadelphia in 1796, along with twelve survivors of the crew of the Maria. He would marry Philadelphia resident, Jane B. Woodside in 1798, while their daughter, J. B. Newkirk, would write an account of her father's captivity entitled, The Captives, Eleven Years a Prisoner in Algiers.
On June 5, 1798, the Philadelphia brig Mary, with its cargo and crew were captured by Algierian pirates, causing Richard O'Brien to write from Algiers and "forewarn all citizens of the United States of the danger they run in rescuing their liberty, vessels, and property..." (The Philadelphia True American & Commercial Advertiser, January 18, 1799).
Present day Bainbridge Street in Philadelphia, is named after Commodore William Bainbridge (1774-1833), who ran aground the brig Philadelphia off Tripoli in 1803, after which he and his crew were held captive for 19 months. Long after his captivity he would die in Philadelphia of pneumonia, and was buried in Christ Church within the city limits. Eventually the famed naval hero and officer, Stephen Decatur (1779-1820), would also be intregally involved in the Tripolitian War with the Barbary Pirates and is buried in St. Peter's churchyard in Philadelphia.
The Barbary States of Tripoli, Algiers, Morocco, and Tunisia would cease their hostilities with the United States temporarily, with the assault on the Tripolitian city of Derna, taken by U.S. marines in 1805, since appeasement, ransom, tribute, and diplomacy had failed to stop the conflict. Not till 1815, during the Presidency of James Madison, would the 'Barbary Pirates' and their 'acts of terror' against Americans finally come to end. But this did not transpire until some estimated one million Europeans and citizens of the United States, would endure abuse, incarceration, enslavement and death within North Africa. The Historical Society of Pennsylvania has a large collection of both primary and secondary correspondence, publications, as well as graphic materials, pertaining to the 'Barbary Wars' against the West on the high seas.
"White Gold" (Enslaved Europeans).
Moorish pirates abducted and enslaved more than 1 million Europeans between 1530 and 1780 in a series of raids which depopulated coastal towns from Sicily to Cornwall. Thousands of white slaves were seized every year to work as galley slaves, labourers and concubines for Moorish overlords in what is today Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Libya. Scholars have long known of the slave raids on Europe. But American historian Robert Davis has calculated that the total number captured was far higher than previously recognised. His book, Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast, and Italy, 1500-1800, concluded that 1 million to 1.25 million ended up in bondage. Prof Davis's unorthodox methodology split historians over whether his estimates were plausible but they welcomed any attempt to fill a gap in the little known story of Moors of the Barbary Coast subjugating Europeans.
By collating different sources of information from Europe over three centuries, the University of Ohio professor has painted a picture of a continent at the mercy of pirates from the Barbary Coast, known as corsairs, who sailed in lateen rigged xebecs and oared galleys. Villages and towns on the coast of Italy, Spain, Portugal and France were hardest hit but the raiders also seized people in Britain, Ireland and Iceland. According to one account they even captured 130 American seamen from ships that they boarded in the Atlantic and Mediterranean between 1785 and 1793.
In the absence of detailed written records such as customs forms Prof Davis decided to extrapolate from the best records available indicating how many slaves were at a particular location at a single time and calculate how many new slaves were needed to replace those who died, escaped or were freed. To keep the slave population stable, around one quarter had to be replaced each year, which for the period 1580 to 1680 meant around 8,500 new slaves per annum, totalling 850,000. The same methodology would suggest 475,000 were abducted in the previous and following centuries. "Most accounts only look at slavery in one place, or only for a short period of time. But when you take a broader, longer view, the massive scope of this slavery and its powerful impact become clear."
Prof Davis conceded his methodology was not ideal but Ian Blanchard, professor of economic history at the University of Edinburgh and an authority on trade in North Africa, said yesterday that the numbers appeared to add up. "We are talking about statistics which are not real, all the figures are estimates. But I don't find that absolute figure of 1 million at all surprising. It makes total sense."
David Earle, author of The Corsairs of Malta and Barbary and The Pirate Wars, said that Prof Davis may have erred in extrapolating from 1580-1680 because that was the most intense slaving period: Dr.Earle also cautioned that the picture was clouded by the fact the Corsairs also seized Caucasians from eastern Europe. According to one estimate, 7,000 English people were abducted between 1622-1644, many of them ship crews and passengers.The corsairs also landed on unguarded beaches, often at night, to snatch the unwary. Almost all the inhabitants of the village of Baltimore, in Ireland, were captured in 1631, and there were other raids in Devon and Cornwall.
Reverend Devereux Spratt recorded being captured by "Algerines" while crossing the Irish sea from Cork to England in April 1641 and in 1661 Samuel Pepys wrote about two men, Captain Mootham and Mr Dawes, who were also abducted. One of the richest treasure wrecks found off the coast of Devon was a 16th-century Barbary ship en route to catch English slaves.
"One of the things that both the public and many scholars have tended to take as given is that slavery was always racial in nature, that only blacks have been slaves is not true,". White slavery has been minimised and ignored because academics prefer to treat Europeans as evil colonialists rather than as victims. European slaves were put to work in quarries, building sites and galleys and endured malnutrition, disease and maltreatment. Ruling Pashas, entitled to an eighth of all captured slaves, housed them in overcrowded baths known as baños and used them for public works such as building harbours and cutting trees. They were given loaves of black bread and water. The Pasha's female captives were more likely to be regarded as hostages to be bargained for ransom but many worked as attendants in the palace harem while awaiting payment and freedom, which in some cases never came. Some slaves bought by private individuals were well treated and became companions, others were overworked and beaten. The most unlucky ended up stuck and forgotten out in the desert, in some sleepy town such as Suez, or in the Sultan's galleys, where some slaves rowed for decades without ever setting foot on shore.
Hannibal Barca "Enemy of Rome" (Depicted on an ancient coin with corn-row style braided hair and phenotypically negroid facial features).
Carthage Before Hannibal Carthage, one of the most famous cities of antiquity, was founded on the north coast of Africa by the Phoenicians of Tyre (sur) in 814 B.C. The foundation of Carthage was closely followed by the establishment of other Phoenician cities in the west Mediterranean over which Carthage gradually gained control. From then on, Carthaginian power expanded into Spain, Sicily and numerous other places in the northern Mediterranean. This brought them into direct conflict with the empires in Rome and Greece. At the start of the 3rd cen~ury B.C.. Carthage was supreme in the western Mediterranean, enjoying the security of sea power and trading with her stations in Sicily, Sardinia, and Spain as well as with the shores of Africa. Rome was painfully struggling to obtain the mastery of central and southern Italy, where she had absorbed the power and culture of the Etruscans and gradually forged a fed- eration of small states. It must havc already become clear that there was not going to be room in the Mediterranean for both Rome and Carthage. The clash came over Sicily in the First Punic War (264-241 B.C), at the end of which Carthage lost Sicily. sea-power, and security. The Roman victorv in Sicily induced Rome to cross the narrow straits to Africa and attack Carthage directly. Fortunately for Carthage, a strong and honest man appeared in the person of Hamilcar Barca, a commander who had evacuated his forces undefeated from Sicily in the best tradition of Dunkirk. Hamilcar was able to put down a mutiny in the Carthagian army and restore order to it. The political situation at that time had a strangely modern flavour. Rome pursued a policy of cold war during which annexed Sardinia and Corsica, increased the reparations which Carthage was obliged to pay, and declared the Roman sphere of interest in Spain to extend from the North down to the river Ebro. In Carthage, a peace treaty was in power, commercially minded, ready to play the quisling. Hamilcar Barca, on the other hand, had popular support and the command of the armed forces. With these he proceeded to develop the Carthaginian hold on Spain, os- tensibly to enable Carthage to pay repatriation to Rome, but in fact, because he saw in Spain a source of manpower and supplies and a base from which to attack Rome. With his son-in-law Hasdrubal and his four sons Hannibal, Hasdrubal, Hanno, and Mago, the 'lion's brood' as he cafled them. Hamilcar barca soon succeeded in turning southern Spain into a sort of empire where new Carthage or Carthagena was founded. In 228 B.C. he fell in battle and was succeeded by hasdrubal his son-in- law who, in his turn was murdered seven years later in 221 B.C.
The Rise of Hannibal.
The army thereupon unanimously chose Hannibal to be their general in spite of his youth, "because of the shrewdness and courage which he had shown in their service." Hannibal was then 26 years old. This strange man, whose name means "Joy of Baal", had accompanied his father on his campaign in Spain. at the tender age of nine. Hamilcar Barca had agreed to take him on his campaign on one condition, that before the sacrifice which he was then making to the gods, Hannibal should swear eternal enmity to Rome. No man ever kept a promise more faithfully. Hannibal's first military success was in Saguntum, which precipitated the Second Punic War. It is quite clear that Hannibal carried out a carefully prepared plan which he had inherited from his father. His object was nothing less than the destruction of the power of Rome before Rome destroyed Carthage, and Rome's most vulnerable spot was in Italy itself where the Roman federation of states was still loose and the Celtic tribes of Gauls in the North were in revolt. But since Carthage had lost command of the sea to Rome, how was Hannibal to get to Italy with his troops? The Romans never imagined for one moment that he could or would make thejourney of 1500 miles overland from Spain, across the Pyrenees, the south of France, and the Alps; but that was exactly what Hannibal had decided to do. Having decided on his strat-egy and selected his theatre of operations? Hannibal followed two principles which have grown no less important since his day: the seizure of the initiative, and the maintenance of the element of surprise. 218 B. C. may seem a long time ago. but the manner in which Hannibal set about his task is identical with that which a competent commander would follow today. Hannibal first secured his bases at Carthage and Carthagena. Next he collected detailed information about the countries and peoples through which he proposed to pass. For this purpose he sent for messengers (liaison-officers) from the Gaulish tribes and asked for detailed accounts of the terrain and the fertility of the country at the foot of the Alps, in the midst of the Alps, and in the plain of the river Po. Today, this aspect of Hannibal's planning would come under the heading of logistics. He also wanted to know the number of the inhabitants of the various populations, their capacity for war, and particularly whether their enmity against the Romans was main- tained. This would be called political intelligence. He was particularly anx-ious to win over the Gauls on both sides of the Alps as he would only be able to operate in Italy against the Romans if the Gauls cooperated with him. He therefore planned a campaign of psychological warfare, to raise and maintain the morale of his supporters and to undermine the en-emy's will and power to resist. The operations began in great secrecy in the spring of 218 B.C. after Hannibal delivered a morale boosting speech to his troops. Moved by the emotions of indignation and lust for conquest, his men then leapt to their feet and shouted their readiness to follow Hannibal. He praised them for their valour and fixed the date of D-day, which was about the end of May. In this episode Hannibal's actions were paralleled two thousand years later by another young general of about his age, like him about to cross the Alps, and again like Hannibal, to make his initial reputation thereby: Napoleon Bonaparte. From Carthagena Hannibal marched his army to the Ebro and then to Ampurias, through the Pyrenees and along the shore of the Mediterranean through the South of France, fighting much of the way. As far as the Rhone, there is little doubt about the route which Hannibal's army followed: but from the Rhone over the Alps into Italy, Hannibal's route has been a bone of contention for two thousand years.
Crossing of the Alps.
Hannibal left Spain for Italy in the spring of 218 B.C. with about 35,000 seasoned troops. His force included a squadron of Elephants. The Romans planned to intercept him near Massilia (Marseille) and, after dealing with him, to invade Spain. Publius Cornelius Scipio was in charge of this operation, while Tiberius Sempronius led another army in Sicily, destined for Africa. However, Scipio had to sent his legions to deal with a Gallic revolt, and by the time he reached Massilia by sea, he learned that he had missed Hannibal by only a few days. Thereupon, Scipio returned to northern Italy and awaited Hannibal's arrival. In the meantime, Scipio had sent his brother Gnaue to Spain with an army to cut Hannibal off from his brother Hasdrubal. It appears that Hannibal crossed the Alps somewhere between the Little St Bernard and Montgenevre passes. He did not begin to cross until early fall, which meant that he encountered winter- like conditions in the Alpine region. His force suffered greatly from the elements and the hostility of local tribesmen. He lost most of his elephants, and by the time he reached northern Italy, his army was reduced to about 26,000 men, 6,000 of whom were Cavalry. However, the number was quickly raised to about 40,000 by the addition of Gauls.
Invasion of Italy.
In the first engagement with Roman troops, Hannibal's cavalry won a minor victory over Scipio's forces near the Ticinus River. This was followed by a decisive victory at the Trebia River in December 218 B.C. over Roman legions led by Scipio and Sempronius, who was recalled from Sicily when Hannibal invaded Italy. Hannibal's superior numbers in cavalry and his ski in the combined use of cavalry and infantry were key factors in his success at the Trebia, as in later victories. Hannibal had a decided ad-vantage in northern Italy. where the Gauls were friendly to his causc and where his cavalry could operate in the broad plains. The Romans therefore decided to withdraw to central Italy and await Hannibal who began to cross the Apennines in the spring of 217. The mountains again proved costly both to his army and personally to Hannibal, who lost the sight of one eye from an infection. The Roman consuls for 217, Gaius Flaminius and Servilius Geminus, had stationed themselves at Arretium and Ariminum to guard both possible routs, west and east, by which Hannibal might cross the Apennines. Hannibal selected Flaminius' western routs, but the consul refused to give battle alone. Allowing Hannibal to pass, Flaminius followed, harassing the Carthaginian army and hoping to meet Geminus farther south, where they wouldjointly give battle. However, Hannibal ambushed Flaminius in a narrow pass near Lake Trasimene and destroyed almost his entire army of 25.000. At Rome, Quintius Fabius Maximus was elected dictator by the centuriate assembly. Rather than join battle with Hannibal, who had marched south into Apulia, he decided on a policy of caution and harassment that would keep Hannibal moving and gradually wear him down. Hannibal moved from Apulia into Campania, followed and watched by Fabius, who finally bottled him up in an area unfavourable to cavalry and decided to give battle. At night, however, Hannibal sent oxen toward Fabius' army with burning sticks tied to their horns; while the Romans investigated what they considered an attack, he escaped with his army to ADulia, where he wintered.
The Battle of Cannae.
When Fabuis' tenure as dictator expired, the consuls for 216, Lueius Paullus and Gaius Varro, took charge of the war against Hannibal. On learning that Hannibal had captured the Roman depot at Cannae, in Apulia, the consuls deeided to give battle, and Hannibal now faced two formidable armies. However, at Cannae he again seleeted ground favourable to his taectics and strong cavalry. while the Romans reliedon their superior num-bers and their fighting skill. Hamlibal's plan called for his cavalry, positioned on the flanks of a creseent shaped line, to defeat the Roman horsemen quickly and to attack the Roman infantry from the rear as it pressed upon a weakened centre of Spaniards and Gauls: his superior African troops, at the crucial moment. were to press from the flanks and complete the encirclement. The plan succccded and the Romans suffered 25.000 dead and l0,000 captured.
Hannibal's Political Strategy
The ancient were fond of debating why Hannibal did not immediately march on Rome following his victory at Cannae, but clearly he could not have taken the city having taken part in numerous battles across Italy. His main objective was not the total de-struction of Rome but a settlement that would free Carthage from Roman intervention. Hannibal had hoped that his victories would bring about the wholesale defection of Italian cities from the Roman confederacy. However, the only major defection from Rome was Capua. When it was obvious to Hannibal that he could not effectively surround Rome with a ring of hostile ltalian states, he broadened the conflict to draw off Roman's manpower and to spread its resources thin. In 215 he made an alliance with Philip V of Macedon; doubtless he did not want Philip to invade Italy but merely to drain Roman strength by waging war in Greece. The alliance came to naught because Hamlibal could not supply Philip with a navy and because Rome checked Philip with its own navy and Aetolian allies (first Macedonian War, 214-205). Hannibal also brought Syracuse into the war against Rome. Hiero, ruler of Syracuse and long an ally of Rome, died in 215. His grandson, Hieronymous took control of the city and made an alliance with Hannibal. Hieronymous was soon killed in a revolt, but Punic agents gained control of Syracuse. However, Roman control of Sicily was generally restored by 211, when Syracuse fell.
First Reverses Following the defeat at Cannae, the Romans resorted back to Fabius' tactics of harassing Hannibal while avoiding formal engagements. This seemed to have rendered Hannibal's tactical skill and superior cavalry ineffective. Consequently, the Romans were able to retake Capua although their resources were heavily stretched by Hannibal 's international diplomacy. However, the real blow to Hannibal came from without. In 209, the Romans took Carthagena and forced Hasdrubal out of Spain. This cut his main supply route off. When Romans discovered that Hasdrubal had crossed the Alps to link up with Hannibal they left a small force to watch Hannibal and marched quickly with their main force to the Metaurus River, where they defeated Hasdrubal. Hannibal learned of the defeat when Hasdrubal's head was thrown into his camp. Hannibal knew that he was without hope of reinforcement. For the rest of the Italian campaign he was generally restricted to Bruttium. Hannibal had no supporting navy and appeared indifferent to that Roman naval supremacy which in the first place was able to cut off reinforcements and in the second to bring about unimpeded the invasion of Carthage. Although his tactics in the field, as attested even by Scipio, were brilliants, and he himself by his personal appearances and quick marches up and down Italy dazzled the Ro-mans and complicated their strategy, he was at a decided disadvantage as regards reinforcements and provisions. In 204, the Italian general Scipio landed in Carthage and was so successful that the following year Carthage sued for peace, terms were agreed upon, and Hannibal was recalled. The sight of Hannibal reinforced the Carthaginian will to resist, however, and hostilities were renewed. The two armies met at Zama in 202, in a battle that decided the outcome of the war. This time Hannibal met his match; he was outnumbered by a superior cavalry and was let down by the commercially minded rulers of Carthage. Hannibal, his army destroyed, escaped. Peace was made the next year. Rome severely restricted the Carthaginian navy and demanded a heavy indemnity. Carthage was forbidden to make war outside its African domain, and could fight within Africa only with Roman permission. Since failure to accept the peace terms would have meant the destruction of Carthage, Hannibal worked for their acceptance and retired to private life in 200. In 196 Hannibal attacked the position, power, and corruption of the aristocrats so vigorously that they told the Romans he was scheming with Antiochus III of Syria and planning another war with Rome. A Roman investigation commission was sent to Carthage on a pretext, but Hannibal knew it was aimed at him, and he eventually made his way to Antiochus. The charge that Hannibal had plotted with Antiochus is unsup-ported, but after he became a member of the Syrian court he certainly ad-vised the King to attack the Romans. After Antiochus defeat, Hannibal went to Prussia in 183 B.C., but the Romans, by what means it is unknown, put themselves in a position to demand his surrender. Unable this time to escape arrest, Hannibal took his own life rather than suffer further humiliation.
Rei Prorsum (S.O.S)
Societas Orbis et Sceptrum