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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

DensleyBlair

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What's with the imperial "our"! :p

Perfunctory Britishness? :p

I used it as I was speaking on behalf of the readership as a whole – and, by extension, your good self, whom I see as together having a sort of "ownership" over the historian. I often use "we" (and therefore "our") when speaking about linguistic devices and the effects they have on the reader in essays and such, so I guess it's just a hangover from GCSE English. :)
 
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volksmarschall

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Perfunctory Britishness? :p

I used it as I was speaking on behalf of the readership as a whole – and, by extension, your good self, whom I see as together having a sort of "ownership" over the historian. I often use "we" (and therefore "our") when speaking about linguistic devices and the effects they have on the reader in essays and such, so I guess it's just a hangover from GCSE English. :)

Well Densley, when I get out of the research business and actually obtain a PhD., I will make sure you and Enewald get a free copy of one of my books! :p

I like to speak about myself in the third person so, I guess we all have our quirks. Naturally, I envision all young British students like yourself as being like me when I was younger, or maybe I thought of myself as being part of the British prep system so I've always envisioned British students lining the streets in those stellar suits and ties and uniforms you all seemingly like to wear! I remember of years gone past, "Why do you always dress so nice?" My response, "Because I can!" :D
 

volksmarschall

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Chapter I: Classical Civilizations

The Rise of Carthage

By the sixth century B.C.E., Carthage had eclipsed its Phoenician motherland as the jewel of the Mediterranean. In many ways, the rise of Carthage mirrors that of Aragon. Initially, Carthage was the lesser of the Phoenician lands, just as Aragon had been the lesser of the Spanish lands, which was originally dominated by the Kingdom of Castile. Over time however, Carthage grew wealthier from her vast trading network that dotted the western Mediterranean. The Carthaginian navy was the most powerful fleet of classical Antiquity, and Carthaginian ships could be found at every corner of the Mediterranean Sea.

In comparison, the principle reason why Carthage came to outshine her patrimonial motherland was the wealth and domination of Mediterranean trade - as it was situated at the center of the Mediterranean World where modern Tunis lay. Although there was room for agriculture, the principle means of wealth that had made Carthage was through trade. The same can be said of the Kingdom of Aragon. The lands of Aragon were situated well for agriculture, but the real ticket to the wealth the Crown of Aragon would amass was in trade. Just as Carthage dominated the Western Mediterranean basin, Aragonese trade dominated the very same trading routes that had made Carthage the envy of the known world! As Carthaginian ships sailed from her magnificence harbor in her namesake city, Aragonese ships spread out across the sea at the center of the world. Carthaginian lands included the Eastern Iberian coastline, North Africa, Sardinia, and Sicily. Aragonese crownlands included the eastern Iberian coastline, her ships gave her a hegemonic presence in North Africa, and Sardinia and Sicily had all come under her domain. In many ways, the Crown of Aragon possessed many of the same lands that Carthage had a little less than 2000 years ago upon the ascendency of King Charles.

Carthage’s navy secured her trading empire, and the sight of Carthaginian ships meant two things: Carthage was here to do business (trade) or Carthage was here to do business (protect its trade, which meant you would soon feel the wrath of Carthaginian power). The Crown of Aragon, although it was initially outmatched by the navies of Venice and Genoa, who also dotted the Mediterranean, even into the Black Sea, eventually surpassed its Italian rivals and came to have the largest and most powerful fleet of any kingdom in the Mediterranean - before the birth of Charles. The sight of Aragonese ships often meant similar things for those unfortunate enough to see the banners of Aragon entering their harbor. As Carthage held its trading empire with an iron fist of ship and sails - the empire that Aragon had carved out in the Western Mediterranean, and her domination of the trade routes at that crossed at Gibraltar, Genoa, and Tunis was maintained by her magnificent navy. Indeed, if wasn’t for her navy, the very empire that stretched across the Western Mediterranean would have never come to be; the very truth of Carthage’s trading empire was that her navy ensured her rise to power. Just as Carthage would send her mighty navy to do her bidding, in 1543, the Great Mediterranean War broke out between Spain and her allies and the Ottoman Empire and her allies – the casus belli, an Ottoman embargo on Spanish trade in the eastern Mediterranean. To protect Spanish trade, which was already seeing a drastic decline as other European powers started to join the colonial race, Charles declared war to protect his fading monopolies and much of the war was fought between the world’s two greatest naval forces.

Throughout human history, the prestige and power of empires could be found in one’s navy. When Lord Acton declared, “The British Army should be a projectile fired by the British Navy,” he was not praising the British Army, but was praising the British Navy. The great powers of the world have always possessed grand naval fleets - for one’s fleet is the true epitome of the height and power of empire. Often, the decline of the navy indicates the decline of imperial power and prestige. Thus, when Spain possessed one of the greatest and largest fleets in the world, with her ships found as far away from the Mediterranean as the Caribbean Sea, Indian Ocean, and even the Pacific, the reputation and sight of Spanish ships was unrivaled in the world. However, Spain's principle rival in the Mediterranean - the Ottomans, possessed the largest fleet when Charles became King and all of her ships were concentrated in the Mediterranean whereas about 1/3 of the Spanish fleet was overseas in her colonial holdings. Despite this, Spain's navy was the most feared in Mediterranean, just as the Carthaginian navy was the most feared almost two millennia ago!




A Trireme, a ship design first pioneered by the Phoenicians and made famous by the Carthaginians. The Romans and Greeks would later adopt their ship designs from those of Carthage. The Spanish navy during the reign of Charles, before the Mediterranean War, was second largest fleet in the world behind the Ottomans - but the Spanish fleet had fully modernized itself by 1530 and therefore possessed no antiquated ships during the outbreak of the war. Spain's navy was the pride of Charles' empire. Nearly 1/4 of the Spanish fleet was comprised of galleys.

Thus, it should come as no surprise that Carthage, then the world’s pre-eminent naval power in Mediterranean, lo, the entire world – was the most potent power in the Mediterranean world. The vast wealth acquired by Carthage through her trading empire also had far reaching political ramifications. Carthage had been, since its founding – an monarchy, a common and ancient form of authority-derived governance in which a single individual, usually a King or Queen, held the political power of the state as it was their divine right to rule over the people (or for some, like the Persians had theorized – the entire world). The transition to more representative forms of government often the result of increased wealth. As a people become wealthier, they realize they have more autonomous power and demand more rights. In 308 B.C.E., the longstanding monarchy had been done away with in favor of a primitive republic.

The politics of Carthage, transformed by her great wealth, resulted in the establishment of one of the first elected legislative assemblies in the world. Although, one shouldn’t confuse this legislature as having the interest of the people, but rather – the middle classes and other merchant oligarchs who had benefited from the vast trade that Carthage had dominated. Even so, trade unions also sprang up to protect the Carthaginian underclasses – namely the farmers and poor merchants and craftsmen in the city and solicited the ears of the elected assemblies. The practice of townhall meetings are not creations of the English congregational churches, as often mythologized, but first had their roots in the primitive townhall meetings of Ancient Carthage. In fact, one could say that the people of Carthage had more power in their politics than those of Rome, the Republic of Carthage was more a republic than her chief rival in Italy!

This liberalized political reformation was predicated on the wealth of Carthage. Today, the wealthiest societies of the world are overwhelmingly democratic and liberal – a reflection of the truth that wealth begets liberalism and in turn, helps created democratic-republican forms of government. In this sense, it made sense that the Crown of Aragon, which had amassed a vast trading network in the western Mediterranean basin, almost identical to Carthage – followed Carthage not in a total reformation of the Kingdom and dissolution of monarchism, but allowed for early European trade unions and popular political movements to form when King Martin II allowed for the formation of the Sindicat Remenca in the lands of Aragon proper – a collection of trade unions of sort that had the interests of the common laborers moreover than the feudal lords who dominated over them.


The decision of King Martin II of Aragon to liberalize the state through the formation of the Sindicat Remenca parallels the transition from monarchy to republic by Carthage. The great trading wealth amassed by Aragon, like with Carthage, caused the underclasses to clamor for reform in the newly found wealth and power of their country.

The rise of Carthage and the rise of Aragon parallel one another on so many levels. Indeed, some might suggest that the Kingdom of Aragon, before it transformed itself into Spain under the leadership of King Charles I, was the “New” Carthage. Unlike Rome – who sent colonies to displace previous cultures and cement the superiority of Roman culture and society, the empire Carthage carved out was one moved by trade. The empire Aragon carved out in the Mediterranean was one not to see the expansion of Catalan culture, but to ensure the safety and protection of the wealthy trade routes of the Mediterranean Sea that Phoenicia, Greece, Carthage, and Rome all squabbled over with various other powers at one point or another.

In military history – both empires witnessed a remarkable moment in war, both of which occurred in Italy. The great Carthaginian general and statesmen – Hannibal, famously during one of the episodes of the Punic Wars, crossed the Alps into Italy and rocked the Roman world with his accomplishment of maneuvering an army of men, horse, and even elephants over the mountainous Alps and into Italy! The accomplishment of Hannibal is among the greatest feats in the history of war – indeed, the Romans scoffed at the idea that Hannibal could lead a Carthaginian army over the Alps and invade Italy from the north. Most had expected that Hannibal would invade from Sicily and cross into the toe of Italy and drive on Rome to the South.

In 1528, the first major political test for the young Charles I of Spain, just 23 years old at the time, had become embroiled in the Third Italian War which pitted the Empire of Spain and her allies Genoa and the dependency of Naples against the mighty Holy Roman Empire – whose power was housed in the Habsburg Archduke of Austria, who were often the emperors of the ancient empire of Charlemagne. While Charles himself was met with great success in his Italian Campaign, which included – like with the Battle of Cannae in which Hannibal dealt a crushing blow to the Romans and cast dark clouds over the fate of the republic, among the darkest hours of the Holy Roman Empire came with their near obliteration at the Battle of Pisa in which the Austrian armies suffered five times as many losses as the Spanish under the leadership of Charles!

Yet, in the glorious military history of Spain, as well as the Mediterranean – the greatest episode of tragedy, triumph, and romanticism came with the Spanish campaign that tracked across the same path of the great Hannibal some 1700 years ago. Just as Hannibal crossed the Alps to stun his enemies, Charles was in a precarious position despite the success of his campaign in Tuscany. The vast Spanish armies were spread from Sicily to Mexico, although Charles himself commanded the very best outfit in the Spanish military – the Army of Sicily, a loyal general of his, Francisco de Paula Fadrique Duke of Toledo commanded the largest army in the Spanish military, and had been stuck in the Iberian Peninsula. The reformed armies of the Holy Roman Empire pressed their advantage in the Spring of 1529 when an army of Naples was defeated and Charles I was in risk of being isolated by an Austrian army twice his size.

Duke Francisco, who had been busy defending Northern Spain from minor armies within the Holy Roman Empire embarked to save the isolated Charles and trekked the same footsteps as Hannibal. On June 27, he crushed an army of the Bishopric of Cologne that was invading through Roussillon. Upon securing this great victory – Duke Francisco marched through southern France and crossed the Alps – just like Hannibal. Thundering out of the Alps, Duke Francisco reunited with Charles in Genoa and prevented the capture of Charles. After the incredible “March across the Alps,” Europe gazed with marvel at the armies of Charles and the accomplishment of the Spanish soldiers. One Italian observer remarked, “Hannibal has been reborn.” Of all the great accomplishments of Carthaginian Army that preceded the Army of Charles – Carthage’s immortality lives on in Hannibal’s crossing of the Alps (even though, in a way, Carthage’s great days of power and prestige had since been eclipsed). In the same fashion today, although the prestige and might of Spain has long since vanished, the March across the Alps by the Spanish Army under Duke Francisco remains one of the most celebrated and memorialized moments in human history!


Above, this map outlines Hannibal's path of invasion during the Second Punic War, including his crossing of the Alps. Superimposed in yellow outline is the path that Duke Francisco took during his Crossing of the Alps coming to the rescue of King Charles at Genoa during the Third Italian War (1528-1530).


Francisco de Paula Fadrique de Toledo's victory at the Battle of Roussillon marked his dangerous and incredible march across the Alps where he stormed into Italy through the old Alpine passes, coming to the salvation of King Charles and bringing about a Spanish victory in the Third Italian War. At right, Duke Francisco is painted as Hannibal leading the armies across the Alps into Italy! Since Charles was a patron of the arts, artists from all over Europe during the late Renaissance period often depicted Spanish triumphs in the same manner as the triumphs of the classical period which had become fixated upon the European imagination.

While one might think that Duke Francisco's crossing is not something to marvel at since it occurred more than 1700 years after Hannibal had accomplished it, in a era when roads through the Alps were scare, and most armies often bypassed the dangerous journey through the Alps in favor of the few mountain passes (which meant one risked being ambushed or halted in the few normalized roads leading into Italy), the accomplishment of the Spanish army during this crossing equally rivaled that of Hannibal. The logistics, discipline, and morale, let alone organization needed to accomplish such a task would have necessarily been akin to Hannibal to make such a successful journey. The arrival of an additional 30,000 Spanish soldiers in Italy broke the back of the armies of the Holy Roman Empire during the Third Italian War, soon after, a pro-Spanish peace was concluded early the next year.
 

Nathan Madien

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Nothing less from volksmarschall. :cool:

Thus, it should come as no surprise that Carthage, then the world’s pre-eminent naval power in Mediterranean, lo, the entire world – was the most potent power in the Mediterranean world.

"Lo"? I never heard that before. :blink:

Carthage’s navy secured her trading empire, and the sight of Carthaginian ships meant two things: Carthage was here to do business (trade) or Carthage was here to do business (protect its trade, which meant you would soon feel the wrath of Carthaginian power).

Well, it's kinda hard to argue with a harbor full of enemy ships. Just ask George Washington during the New York City campaign of 1776.
 
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tnick0225

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"Lo"? I never heard that before. :blink:

Its a word that isn't used very often anymore. I dare say its most commonly used when people say, "lo, and behold".

It's usually just used to call attention to something, but it was way more common a few hundred years ago (at least in the states anyway).
 

Nathan Madien

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Its a word that isn't used very often anymore. I dare say its most commonly used when people say, "lo, and behold".

It's usually just used to call attention to something, but it was way more common a few hundred years ago (at least in the states anyway).

I guess I shouldn't be too surprised volksmarschall is using that terminology.
 

GreatUberGeek

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Gah, volksmarschall! Just making AARs behind my back...:D great AAR otherwise! Reminds me of 'the Mediterranean' by Ferdinand Braudel.
 

tnick0225

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Great update once again, do have to admit I am looking forward to future ones especially with the way you have it laid out in the table of contents. In a way parts of it almost seem like Herodotus with the different Culture sections.
 

volksmarschall

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Nothing less from volksmarschall. :cool:

I'm still waiting for that in my professional work! ;)

Well, it's kinda hard to argue with a harbor full of enemy ships. Just ask George Washington during the New York City campaign of 1776.

The disastrous New York/Long Island Campaign... not one of the better moments in his Revolutionary Campaign if I remember correctly. I am more interested in the political and social dichotomies of the Revolution more than the war itself. Lexington and Concord, Bunker Hill, Saratoga, Valley Forge, Monmouth, Yorktown, just got to remember the big names and that's it...revolutionary philosophy is much more interesting! :cool:

Its a word that isn't used very often anymore. I dare say its most commonly used when people say, "lo, and behold".

It's usually just used to call attention to something, but it was way more common a few hundred years ago (at least in the states anyway).

I use to many archaic words just because I can. :(

I guess I shouldn't be too surprised volksmarschall is using that terminology.

Gah, volksmarschall! Just making AARs behind my back...:D great AAR otherwise! Reminds me of 'the Mediterranean' by Ferdinand Braudel.

I went under the assumption that you would find it anyways! ;)

Great update once again, do have to admit I am looking forward to future ones especially with the way you have it laid out in the table of contents. In a way parts of it almost seem like Herodotus with the different Culture sections.

I have such a love-hate relationship with Herodotus for obvious reasons of empirical methodology for doing history... but, he is the "Father of History" so, I have to like him for that reason and that reason only! :p
 

volksmarschall

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Chapter I: Classical Civilizations

The Fall of Carthage​


The Fall of Carthage is a long and somewhat tragic story that begins long before her greatest accomplishment that has survived into our folklore with Hannibal’s Crossing of the Alps and the victory won at Cannae which cast dark clouds over the very future of the Roman Republic at that time. The slow decline of Carthage begins with the Punic Wars when Rome and Carthage met headlong in a sort of championship boxing match between the current title holder – Carthage, and the rising young contender – Rome. Although Carthage would sustain itself for about 150 more years following the beginning of this brutal series of wars, ending in 146 B.C.E. with the Roman destruction of Carthage; the first Punic War (b. 264 B.C.E.) can be accepted as the beginning of Carthaginian decline despite her great and immortalized success at the beginning of the Second Punic War after the Battle of Cannae in 216 B.C.E. even though the second Punic War ended with Carthage’s defeat at the hands of Rome.


The death of General Aemilius Paulus at the Battle of Cannae, and the subsequent Roman defeat at the hands of Hannibal, was among the darkest hours of the Roman Republic.

Hannibal knew how to gain a victory, but didn’t know how to use it.* This plagued Carthage throughout her conflict with Rome. But of all the battles, the most brutal to Carthage’s power and prestige was not her devastating defeat at Zama, but her crushing defeat at the Battle of Cape Ecnomus (256 B.C.E.) in which the upstart Roman navy scored a decisive victory over the polished Carthaginians during the First Punic War. This began the long decline of the Carthaginian navy even though she still retained the world’s largest fleet even after the battle and possessed a still powerful and feared naval arm even as this battle is a major turning point in the shifting seas of the Mediterranean to favor Rome. The defeat at Cape Ecnomus would give rise to the Roman navy, the slow dwindling of Carthaginian control over Mediterranean trade, and ultimately proved important for the Romans would not have been able to attack and destroy Carthage if it wasn’t for their eventual domination of the Mediterranean Sea!

Carthage had considered herself the great Mediterranean naval power, even though Rome was quickly rising on the horizon and posed a major threat to direct Carthaginian power and hegemony. Likewise, the Ottoman Empire was on her amazing path to domination over the East. The borders of the Ottoman Empire, when war broke out, stretched from Serbia in the Balkans, south to Mecca and Medina in the Arabian Peninsula, the whole of the Levant, and much of Mesopotamia. The Ottoman Empire controlled nearly the entire Balkan Peninsula, almost the whole of the Middle East, and with her hegemonic influence over Tripoli, controlled half of North Africa if one sees Tripoli (an ally and protectorate of the Ottomans) as an extension of the empire. While, since the days of the reign of King John II, the kings of Aragon had kept a careful eye over the Ottoman, Charles I entered the war with a high confidence and near deadly hubris. Since the Spanish victory at Toledo over the French in 1508 when Charles’ father defeated the French, marking the beginning of the “Spanish Century,” the Spanish navy was always at the center of the sixteenth century both in the Mediterranean and overseas. The fleet of Charles, the second largest in the world, possessed the most modern ships in any European naval arsenal. In addition, his admirals and explorers (who sometimes came to the command of squadrons and fleets in war) were of high caliber, class, and ability. Charles expected a quick victory of the Ottomans and reassert Spanish commercial dominance over the Mediterranean Sea. Carthage, when her fleet set sail to do battle with the Romans at Cape Ecnomus, also expected a quick victory over the Romans – the truth was anything but.

In fact, Carthaginian naval power had been severely checked earlier at the Battle of Mylae, thus the Carthaginians should have thought higher of their Roman counterparts, but instead, over confidence led to a bloody defeat which would lead to the eclipse of the Carthaginian Navy and give rise to the Mediterranean as a Roman Lake! After a small string of easy victories over the small and unimpressive naval force of the dependency of Tripoli, and the capture of an Ottoman Merchant Squadron off the coast of Crete, Admiral Diego Orellana, commanding the Home Fleet, moved north to the Greek island of Zakynthos to harbor the might Spanish fleet, which included 9 of her newest Carracks, the pride of the fleet being the newly commissioned Trastámara, named after the ruling family itself!

After two quick and easy victories, Orellana expected a single and decisive battle against the Ottomans, much like how the Carthaginians heading into Cape Ecnomus would lead to Carthage reasserting her dominance over an upstart Rome, would bring a conclusion to the war. Instead, much like the Carthaginian catastrophe against the Romans, the Ottoman Egyptian Squadron under Suleiman Serder ambushed Orellana while half of his ships were still tied down off the island from the previous night. The Battle off Zakynthos proved to be a disaster for the Spanish fleet. 8 of her 9 Carracks were lost, only the San Martin escaped, an additional 6 galleys and 1 caravel were destroyed by the Ottoman fleet during the battle. Although the Ottomans themselves took casualties, the majority was smaller galleys and her massive heavy-ship arm was largely unscathed from the battle. Orellana fled back to Malta to shelter the fleet as news of the defeat caused outrage and panic back in Madrid.


The Battle of Cape Ecnomus was a crushing defeat for the Carthaginians and prompted the rise of the Roman navy at the expense of Carthage. This battle is the true event that gave rise to Rome and marked the slow decline of Carthage.


The Battle off Zakynthos in the Ionian Sea was a devastating blow to the prestige of the Spanish Navy. 8 of 9 heavy carracks were sunk in the battle, leaving only 3 heavy ships left in the entire Spanish naval arsenal (two of which were stationed in the Caribbean). The battle prompted a review of the Spanish Navy in the crisis of the Mediterranean War in the middle of the sixteenth century during the height of Charles' reign.

After the Carthaginian defeat, the Romans would slowly gain naval dominance over her principle rival. While the rest of the Mediterranean War was yet to be played out, the Spanish defeat off the isle of Zakynthos prompted an emergency naval program to be adopted to rebuild the lost ships of the Spanish navy. The rest of the war would see major naval battles in the central Mediterranean as the Spanish defeat prompted Ottoman aggression and expansion into the central Mediterranean. The war itself would be decided off the coast of Malta, which I will cover in greater detail later in my work.

It would be however, wrong to see the Spanish defeat as the eclipse of Spanish naval power. A little less than a year later, a re-armed Spanish fleet under the command of Gaspar Galvez and Ignacio Orellana (the older brother to Diego and a famous explorer) would have a climactic showdown against the Ottoman fleet. However, the Mediterranean War would be the pinnacle of Spanish naval dominance. By the end of the sixteenth century, the navies of France and England composed themselves as the newfound wealth of colonialism they brought to their coffers allotted for both kingdoms to begin intruding on Spanish trade and naval monopolies around the globe! Furthermore, the navies of these two powers in particular, began to erode the super power status afforded to the Spanish navy, even as the Spanish fleet itself remained the largest in the world for some time after the death of Charles.

Even after Hannibal’s great accomplishments in Italy – he was unable to capitalize on his victories and Rome was able to rebuild her armies and threaten the very heart of Carthage. Scipio Africanus, the newly appointed Roman consul and general of the Republican armies, staged a daring invasion of Carthage itself which resulted in the Battle of Zama. The Romans, having learned from their defeats at the hands of the great Hannibal and his elephants, prepared marvelously for the battle – almost as if Scipio had been at the war council and knew exactly what Hannibal had planned. When Hannibal unleashed his elephants against the Romans, the Roman light infantry scattered and opened the floodgates of the elephants to become isolated. Roman trumpeters blew their horns to a screeching level, frightening the war elephants. Isolated from the rest of the Carthaginian army – the elephants were defeated and no longer posed a threat to the Romans, whose soldiers took the fight to Hannibal and ultimately defeated the great Carthaginian general. Some of the elephants were so terrified they turned back against Hannibal and as the elephants were uncontrollable, the Roman and Numidian cavalry (who were allies with the Romans) charged the Carthaginian flanks bringing an end to the battle and an ultimate end to the great and mighty Carthage! After this defeat, Carthage would cease to being a premier power in the world.

In some ways, the fall of Carthage mirrors the fall of Spain after the great reign of Charles, rather than during. The Spanish Empire, which stretched from Italy, to Spain, to Central America, to South America, to South Africa and the Gold Coast, to India and beyond – ultimately meant she had armies scattered all over the world and powerful foes right next door. France, who joined the colonial race almost 100 years after the first Aragonese colonists landed in Brazil, was becoming a major rival to Spain’s claim as the global superpower in the world. With an active anti-Spanish coalition with Spain’s longtime rivals the Ottomans, France and Spain would go to war against one another in the middle of the seventeenth century! Seeking revenge for its defeat at Toledo almost 150 years ago, which began 150 years of Spanish military dominance, the two major foes marched to war and at the Battle of Nîmes France undid a century and a half of Spanish military dominance in a single day of battle and brought a crashing and devastating end to the Spanish Century that had begun with the creation of Spain under Charles! While the Spanish defeat at Nîmes happened long after the reign of Charles I, the battle nonetheless marked the end of Spanish global and military hegemony, and Spain’s great prestige and power was returned from Heaven to Earth where she would be forced to realize her position as a great power among many, not the sole global superpower that Charles helped to establish.


The Roman victory at Zama spelled doom for Carthage. After this defeat, Carthage would never again be able to pose a major threat to the Roman Republic.


The French victory at the Battle of Nîmes in 1639 brought about the end of the Spanish Century. Spain was no longer the world's global superpower, and became one of many European Great powers, contending with France and Great Britain - in particular, for influence, power, and prestige. This defeat was the first major Spanish loss since the Franco-Aragonese War of 1507-1508. The defeat can be attributed to Spanish overconfidence, which was born during the age of Charles.

Yet, despite the defeat, Spain would remain a major power – just one among many on the European continent. Although Carthage could not recover from her loss in the Second Punic War, the famed Phoenician colony that had become the envy of the Mediterranean world lingered on for a little over 50 years before Carthage was pillaged and destroyed by the Romans once and for all during the Third Punic War in 146 B.C.E.


*Quote from Livy attributed to Maharbal in Livy’s History of Rome. Personally, I have a very hard time believing this quote is true, since Livy wasn’t with the Carthaginians… To be completely honest, most quotes attributed to famous leaders and people in Antiquity, like Caesar “The Die is cast,” are later “inventions” written into secondary historical accounts. For example, Livy’s History of Rome is written 200 years after the Second Punic Wars, and Seutonius’ Twelve Caesars is written 150 years after the Civil Wars of Caesar (where the famous phrase, “The die is cast” comes from). But most popular history comes from secondary accounts.
 

volksmarschall

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Well, seeing that I will be away at conferences in the coming weeks, through Easter, I doubt you will be seeing my extended presence here for some time for the time being. Probably just an occasional opening every now and again!

Cheers!
 
Last edited:

GreatUberGeek

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:(
Anyways, this update seems very...historical. Wars with France, defeats in the war, wars against Turks, defeats in that war...:D
 

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What an update! Romans, Carthagians, Spaniards, Turks and the French, this had it all! Sorry to hear that real life has intervened - I more than understand the difficulty of juggling commitments. Will be looking forward to your return.
 

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Interesting. I like your approach... subscribed!
 

volksmarschall

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:(
Anyways, this update seems very...historical. Wars with France, defeats in the war, wars against Turks, defeats in that war...:D

Who said anything about being defeated in the war? More or less perhaps just a battle or two... ;)

What an update! Romans, Carthagians, Spaniards, Turks and the French, this had it all! Sorry to hear that real life has intervened - I more than understand the difficulty of juggling commitments. Will be looking forward to your return.

The life of a researcher and a lecturer! :crazy:

Interesting. I like your approach... subscribed!

Well, I'm glad you like it and find it interesting - I find it very labor intensive myself... :p

Bad day to be a Carthaginian (or Spanish for that matter).

A tough day for the EU4 battle dice really... :rofl:
 

volksmarschall

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Chapter I: Classical Civilizations

Rome

Of all the civilizations and empires that have graced the Mediterranean throughout human history, the most mythologized, romanticized, envied, and arguably the most influential was the Roman civilization that stretched through early Antiquity and Late Antiquity (with the heirs of the Roman tradition in Constantinople). The Roman civilization has humble beginnings as nothing more than a city among many cities on the Italian Peninsula.

Like with the founding of Carthage by Queen Dido, the power of myth is seen in Rome’s two classical mythological expositions of her founding, both written by the time Rome had envisioned herself as becoming a great power (Romulus and Remus) or after Rome had become the dominant power in the Mediterranean (Virgil’s The Aeneid). The tale of two brothers, Romulus and Remus, being nursed by a wolf in their infancy then Romulus murdering Remus and founding Rome which then explains the Roman rivalry with the Sabines and the rise of Rome as a great power during Romulus’ life. Of course, all of this would have happened soon after the foundation of Rome in the middle eighth century, and this of course, never happened. The Roman Kingdom was one of many kingdoms positioned in the peninsula, and is of little note during the reign of the seven kings until the foundation of the proto-republic in 509 B.C.E. Even after the republic had been founded, the city itself was not the great city that it would become, the eternal city of the world and the residency of the Vicar of Christ himself!

It wasn’t until after the republic’s victory over the Etruscan Kingdom in the early fourth century B.C.E. that gave rise to Roman power and prestige. It was sometime after the war with the Etruscans that the myth of Romulus and Remus was born, for the city of Rome itself was likely founded as an Etruscan settlement – the Etruscans had a penchant for building cities on hills for the natural defense it provided. During the time of the Roman Republic, even before Rome’s war with the Etruscans, there was a large Etruscan population living in the “Etruscan Quarter.” Following Rome’s rise to power after the Latin War and achieving political domination in central Italy after defeating her Etruscan foes, it is likely the myth of Romulus and Remus was created to ward off the city’s Etruscan heritage. It was also common for the Sabines to be equated with the Etruscans whom Rome had just defeated, echoing Romulus’ victory of the Sabines in the traditional story.


The intervention of the Sabine women during an episode of conflict between the Sabines and Romans during the days of the Roman Kingdom when Rome was throwing off its ancient Etruscan roots to form a new identity and path.

The other traditional story of Rome comes from Virgil’s epic poem The Aeneid , which dates the founding of Rome sometime in the eleventh century B.C.E., and recalls the heroic tale of Aeneas, one of the few survivors of the Siege of Troy, and his flight across the Mediterranean and landing in Italy to come and found Rome. During this story, Aeneas lands in Carthage where he meets Queen Dido, the fabled founder of Rome’s major Mediterranean rival. Aeneas comes to fall in love with Dido but is shepherded away from her by the god Mercury who promises the rich lands of Italy if he leaves. He does, and Queen Dido falls into depression cursing Aeneas and promising revenge which explains the Roman-Punic rivalry that would come. In additional, Virgil’s writing occurs during the transition from republic to empire, and is an attempt to legitimize the reign of Augustus Caesar, who is supposed to be a descendant of Aeneas. In this vein also, Virgil’s provides background for Rome’s great naval tradition – the Trojan fleet was one of the most powerful in the ancient world of primarily Greek city states and Aeneas accomplishments his journey and founding of Rome primarily on the deck of a ship!

In many ways, the inability to rid oneself of a past that one might seem as being a burden is commonplace. The Kingdom of Aragon’s first capital was the Spanish city of Zaragoza, which was a principle city of the Moorish kingdoms of Spain through various differing dynasties and caliphates before the city fell to the Christians. When the Moors had conquered the city, which was originally a Roman settlement – the Moors named the city Saraqusta, to which the modern name Zaragoza takes it etymological roots from. Much like how Rome was an Etruscan city, Zaragoza, which was a capital of the Kingdom of Aragon before being moved to Valencia,* and due to Aragon’s coming to power in Spain and formation of the Spanish Empire, Zaragoza was one of the earliest capitals of the Spanish empire from a linear timeline – the Moors, long the rivals to the Spanish, had an impactful and important role in the foundation of the earliest capital of the Kings of Aragon who would eventually become the Kings of Spain.

Rome’s rise to power is one in which a strong and stable government, strong institutions, and the necessity to resolve conflict by the sword accommodated Rome’s rise to Mediterranean dominance. Likewise, Aragon’s rise to become the principle Spanish leader and final transformation into Spain under Charles was a result of a strong and stable government, strong political institutions, and conquest born of war. Rome itself was a city and society forged by the blade, and the Romans often prided themselves in being good warriors with a rich military tradition.

The kings of Aragon before Charles had to fight for every inch of land they came to own, with almost all of the future Crown of Aragon being part of the Moorish kingdoms at one time or another since the advent of the Umayyads in Spain in the early Eighth century. As it was common in the ancient world for myth to creating new national legacies and cultural histories for societies, the people of the late Medieval and early Renaissance age often went about new ways of cementing their new dominance over a land. It was common in the age of the Moors to build mosques overtop old churches, not only as a sign of dominance, but also as a sign of veneration. Indeed, this was actually common practice for Islamic civilizations going as far back as the early conquests of the “Rightly Guided Caliphs” sometimes, inaccurately referred to as the Rashidun Caliphate.

This tradition of the Muslims passed to the Christians of the proto-Spanish, who often took very serious measures to build (or rebuild) Christian cathedrals that had fallen into decay over the centuries. The new building and rebuilding of Churches swiped away Spain’s Islamic past, it gave the symbolism and the cultural feeling that Spain had always been a Christian peninsula – the sight of large cathedrals and monasteries glistening over the horizon sent the singular message that Catholic Spain was not only on the ascendency, but that it was the dominant culture and religion of the landscape!


The inner architecture of the Great Cathedral and Mosque of Cordoba. The Mosque was initially built over a Pagan religious temple, as was common practice in Islam (and Rome). The Moors had originally allowed for shared using of the religious site with Christians during their reign. When the Spanish came to seize it, it was reverted to a Catholic Cathedral in the age old tradition of rebuilding, dominance, and veneration that goes as far back as at least the Muslims, and probably as far back as the Romans.

Islamic or Roman tradition of Rebuilding and Dominance?​

I had just stated that the tradition of rebuilding new religious shrines and other sites of worship to send the dual message of dominance and veneration was an Islamic tradition – at least when it comes to the Abrahamic religious tradition. It is unknown whether this tradition in Islam was unique to Islam or inherited from the Romans, who would have passed this on to the Arabs from the Byzantines when the Arab conquests swiftly moved across the southern Byzantine lands principally centered in the Levant.

One of the strengths of Roman cultural hegemony was in their veneration of other religious sites – Romans rarely enforced “forced” conversions and were rather tolerant of other religions as long as they were not seen as threats to the stability of the Roman state. Indeed, Romans also practiced the rebuilding and veneration of older religious sites – which became more commonplace during the reign of Augustus Caesar. Roman temples of the Imperial cult were often built over older religious sites of the conquered populace to send the message of domination, but also one of veneration – it symbolized Roman authority but was also a gesture of Roman gratitude – “We venerate this sight just as you had.”

In one of the last decisions of King John II of Aragon – he decided to rebuild the Monastery of Santa Maria de Sigena – a mountaintop monastery that had once been a great and majestic sight for Christian dominance in the Iberian Peninsula after the reign of the Moors, and it was also a sight for Christian pilgrims in the region. The purpose of this decision was strategic in nature, and it served as a reminder of Christian dominance in the region to the Muslim population still left over from the Moorish kingdoms – upwards of 30% of the population in the Kingdom of Aragon proper were Muslims. It also served as a means to mythologize Aragon’s past – to erase its Islamic history and entrench its Christian history. The foundation of Aragon, which begets Spain, follows that same story as the foundation of Rome in terms of its mythological foundation to create a new sense of cultural and societal unity – the Romans, who had grown distant from their original Etruscan settlers, came into conflict with the Etruscans, then had to mythologize their past to erase Rome’s history of being an Etruscan settlement. The proto-Spaniards of Aragon and Castile and Navarre would soon to become united under the banner of the Kings of Aragon to become a unified Spain and Spanish people!


The rebuilding of Cathedrals and Christians sites was commonplace during Aragon's rise to power to convey a message of authority, splendor, and wealth! A subtle reminder to all who was in charge of the local territories now, disregarding what had happened in the past.

*Technically speaking, the Crown of Aragon (all the lands outside the Kingdom of Aragon but under Aragonese authority) never had a specified capital. In-game, the capital of Aragon is placed in Valenica, but the capital of the Kingdom of Aragon proper was Zaragoza. To reflect the fact that the in-game capital is Valenica, before moving to Madrid – I make this statement.
 

Nathan Madien

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(with the heirs of the Roman tradition in Constantinople).

Plugging your other AAR are we? ;)

The tale of two brothers, Romulus and Remus, being nursed by a wolf in their infancy...

Do wolves actually nurse human babies? I have always found that idea hard to believe.


The intervention of the Sabine women during an episode of conflict between the Sabines and Romans during the days of the Roman Kingdom when Rome was throwing off its ancient Etruscan roots to form a new identity and path.

Please tell me that these naked fighting men are based on fact, volksmarschall. Otherwise, this might be the most ridiculous painting I've ever seen.
 

DensleyBlair

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I found reading about Rome and Carthage in tandem most fitting, I must say, having (shamefully) not taken advantage of your prior absence and catching up then. Both updates proved very interesting reads indeed. Your style continues to intrigue and inform in equal measure. The hints given about Spain's current situation serve as a wonderful aperitif for the main event – to which I am greatly looking forward. :)
 

volksmarschall

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It may seem somewhat awkward that while I am in Chicago for a conference that I am posting this. But doing to the fact that I will not have any particular free time until early May; I would not want to keep expectations up for things that I have already decided.

BTW, Nathan - that painting is not at all accurate, it was painted in 1799 by Jacques-Louis David, and more or less represents the spirit of the French Revolution at the time more than it represents the mythic stories of ancient Roman mythology.

With a rather small readership, coupled with the significant amount of time that it takes to write an update (since I am writing heavily with actual history interspersed with what's going on with Spain and that takes a lot of time from my end), in addition to my ongoing heavy devotion to Decline and Fall, the opportunity cost in continuing this from my perspective is nonexistent. So I am not moved to do any work on this, probably ad infinitum.

Sorry tnick, looks like you're going to have to slog through Decline and Fall in place of this if you so wish! :p

Cheers!