The Punic Wars were waged between the military confederation of Rome and the trading empire of Carthage during the years 264-242 BC, 218-201 BC and 149-8 BC, and left Rome's population radically depleted and Carthage razed from the map. Nigel Bagnall's experience enables him to bring a professional eye to his analysis of the Wars and to show how relevant they are to contemporary world. He marshals authorities such as Livy, Polybius and Dioderus to plot the campaigns in Spain, Africa, Sicily and the Pelopponese, and Hannibal's daring but unsuccessful strike into the heart of Italy. Bagnall discusses the force structures and politics of the two powers, and their conduct of battle at strategic, operational and tactical levels to show how they are governed by military principles that remain constant. His thought-provoking final chapter relates the lessons of the Punic Wars to modern times in an impressive argument for adapting the experience of the past to the needs of our future.
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Sir Nigel Bagnall was born in India in 1927. He joined the British Army in 1945 and served in Palestine, Malaya, Borneo, the Canal Zone, Cyprus, Singapore, and Germany. He ended his distinguished military career as Chief of the General Staff in London and went on to become an Honorary Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford. He died in 2000.
The Punic Wars, which lasted from 264 to 146 B.C., transformed Rome from a small, loosely aligned federation into a Mediterranean superpower. It's a story worth retelling, but because the wars unfolded often simultaneously and across such a vast region-from the Balkans to North Africa, from Spain to the Peloponnese-it is also a story difficult to tell. By treating each campaign separately, rather than in strict chronological order, the book offers a clear and well-organized military history. Bagnall, a former British Army Chief of the General Staff, is an expert on Rome's military innovations, such as their changes to the Greek phalanx and the introduction of the corvus (a naval boarding bridge). He excels in analyzing the spectacular military victories of Hannibal and Scipio Africanus, but the book fails to rise to the epic grandeur of its subject. Hannibal's crossing of the Alps is conveyed swiftly in workmanlike prose, and the battle scenes lack the vivid details necessary to give a visceral feel for the events described. Scant attention is paid to the leading personalities of the story, which is unfortunate because they include some of the most fascinating of ancients, including Xanthippus, the Spartan general whose ragtag army repulsed a Roman invasion of North Africa, and Archimedes, the great mathematician who died designing Syracuse's defense system. Only Cato, the venomous Roman Senator who demanded Carthage's annihilation, is accorded more than a passing description. Military history buffs may overlook these shortcomings and find this work of great value, but readers in search of a full narrative history should look elsewhere. Seven maps.
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Book Description Random House UK, 1990. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 91744210