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The battle of Cannae, 216 BC

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The battle of Cannae, 216 BC

Post by parthianbow » Fri November 2nd, 2012, 6:23 pm

I'm in Italy at the moment, doing research for my latest book. Here's a short piece about one of the bloodiest one-day battles in all of history, Cannae.

View it here.
Ben Kane
Bestselling author of Roman military fiction.
Spartacus - UK release 19 Jan. 2012. US release June 2012.

Twitter: @benkaneauthor

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Justin Swanton
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Location: Durban, South Africa

Post by Justin Swanton » Fri November 2nd, 2012, 7:55 pm

Interesting, Ben. It's the first time I've actually seen a panoramic view of the battlefield.

One thing about Cannae that I find intriguing - how exactly did the bow shape in the Carthaginian centre slow the Roman advance down, as it was undoubtedly intended to do? I've heard several theories on the subject without ever coming across one that is entirely convincing. To the best of my knowledge it is the first and last time in history such a tactic was tried.

My own (provisional) theory is that the Roman line relief system required that the Roman legion keep in straight, or fairly straight, lines. Disposing his centre in a bow meant that Hannibal's troops came into contact with the Romans only gradually - the apex of the bow first and then, as it was pushed back, the rest of the central line. This delayed the time the central troops would crack under the pressure, giving the cavalry and the veterans time to gift wrap the Roman infantry.

Just a theory.
Nunquam minus solus quam cum solus.

Author of Centurion's Daughter

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Post by annis » Mon November 5th, 2012, 5:09 am

Thanks to both of you for the video and the article- very interesting.

I've just been reading about the Battle of Arausio, where the Romans were trounced by the Germanic Cimbri, with losses of about 80,000 soldiers and possibly up to another 20,00 associated camp followers. It seems clear that the problem here was that the Romans used no strategy at all to speak of- the whole thing was a total shambles, compounded by culpable arrogance on the part of one Roman commander and the complete inexperience of the other.

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