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The Hannibalian War Continued

What profit is it to our readers to describe wars and battles, the storming of cities and the enslavement of their inhabitants, if they are to know nothing of the causes which conduce to success and failure? The results of such operations merely touch the fancy: it is the tracing of the designs of the actors in such scenes that is really instructive; and above all it is the following in detail of each step that can educate the ideas of the student.

Ability of Hannibal. See Livy, 28, 12

Who could refrain from speaking in terms of admiration of

B.C. 218-202.
this great man's strategic skill, courage, and ability, when one looks to the length of time during which he displayed those qualities; and realises to one's self the pitched battles, the skirmishes and sieges, the revolutions and counter-revolutions of states, the vicissitudes of fortune, and in fact the course of his design and its execution in its entirety? For sixteen continuous years Hannibal maintained the war with Rome in Italy, without once releasing his army from service in the field, but keeping those vast numbers under control, like a good pilot, without any sign of disaffection towards himself or towards each other, though he had troops in his service who, so far from being of the same tribe, were not even of the same race. He had Libyans, Iberians, Ligurians, Celts, Phoenicians, Italians, Greeks, who had naturally nothing in common with each other, neither laws, nor customs, nor language. Yet the skill of the commander was such, that these differences, so manifold and so wide, did not disturb the obedience to one word of command and to a single will. And yet circumstances were not by any means unvarying: for though the breeze of fortune often set strongly in his favour, it as often also blew in exactly the opposite direction. There is therefore good ground for admiring Hannibal's display of ability in campaign; and there can be no fear in saying that, if he had reserved his attack upon the Romans until he had first subdued other parts of the world, there is not one of his projects which would have eluded his grasp. As it was, he began with those whom he should have attacked last, and accordingly began and ended his career with them. . . .

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