Battle of Lade, 201 BC
The battle of Lade was the second of two naval battles fought by Philip V of Macedonia during 201 BC. Philip had begun to construct a war fleet during the First Macedonian War against Rome, but the fleet was not completed until after the end of the war in 205 BC. Once the fleet was ready, in 202 BC, Philip went onto the offensive, attacking a series of independent cities around the Aegean. Rhodes and Attalus of Pergamum were both directly threatened by Philip’s actions, and were soon drawn into a war against him.
The exact order of events during 201 is unclear. Philip was active in Asia Minor, at some point attacking the city of Pergamum. One of his targets during this period was the island of Chios, sixty miles to the south west of Pergamum. A large naval battle followed (battle of Chios) in which the Rhodians were successful, but Attalus was defeated, leaving Philip free to complete the conquest of Chios. In the aftermath of this battle Attalus returned to Pergamum, while the Rhodian fleet moved south, taking up a new position at Lade, off Miletus.
Philip followed the Rhodians, and attacked them at Lade. The losses he had suffered at Chios meant that the Macedonian fleet was not powerful enough to inflict a crushing defeat on the Rhodian fleet, but he still won a victory. The Rhodian fleet then retreated further south, while Philip returned to his campaign in Asia Minor.
The Battle of Lade was a naval battle during the Ionian Revolt. The Ionian cities had allied together with the Lesbians in order to revolt against the Persian Empire of Darius the Great. The Greek cities of Asia Minor were angry over the tyrants that had been appointed by Persia. The tyrant of Miletus in 499 BCE was Artaphernes who decided to go on a mission to conquer Naxos in an attempt to curry favor in Miletus. The attempt was a failure and instead of being removed from Miletus he decided to incite the Ionian people into rebellion.
The rebellion quickly spread and Persian forces spent three years fighting in Asia Minor but were never able to get the decisive victory they needed to put down the rebellion. In 494 BCE the Persian army and navy were sent straight to Miletus, where the rebellion had begun. The Ionian fleet gathered at Lade, an island off the coast of Miletus. The land defense of Miletus was left to the Milesians as the Ionians focused their attention to the sea.
The Persians were not sure they could defeat the Ionians outright and therefore tried to get some of the forces to defect. They were unsuccessful at first but once the fighting began, the Samian fleet accepted the Persian offer. When the Persian and Ionian fleet met, the Samians sailed off to the join the Persians which collapsed the Ionian battle line. 11 Samian ships did stay behind refusing to abandon the Ionians. The Chian navy and a number of other ships also stayed behind and faced huge casualties. Eventually the Chian ships could remain no longer and sailed back to Chios which ended the battle.
The defeat of the Ionian fleet spelled the end of the revolt as well. Miletus suffered greatly with most of the men killed and the women and children enslaved by the Persians. Many Samians were furious with the actions of their generals and decided to settle on the coast of Sicily with the people of Zancle. Milesians that were able to escape also settled there. Darius also sought to punish Athens and Eretria for supporting the revolt and invaded Greece the following year.
History and Significance of the Battle of Marathon
The Battle of Marathon took place in 490 BCE (or Ol.72.3 on the Attic Calendar), during the first Persian invasion of Greece. It was fought between the citizens of Athens, aided by Plataea, and a Persian force commanded by Datis and Artaphernes. The battle was the culmination of the first attempt by Persia, under King Darius I, to subjugate Greece. The Greek army decisively defeated the more numerous Persians, marking a turning point in the Greco-Persian Wars.
The first Persian invasion was a response to Athenian involvement in the Ionian Revolt, when Athens and Eretria had sent a force to support the cities of Ionia in their attempt to overthrow Persian rule. The Athenians and Eretrians had succeeded in capturing and burning Sardis, but they were then forced to retreat with heavy losses. In response to this raid, Darius swore to burn down Athens and Eretria. According to Herodotus, Darius charged one of his servants to say “Master, remember the Athenians” three times before dinner each day.
At the time of the battle, Sparta and Athens were the two largest city-states in Greece. Once the Ionian revolt was finally crushed by the Persian victory at the Battle of Lade in 494 BCE, Darius began plans to subjugate Greece. In 490 BCE, he sent a naval task force under Datis and Artaphernes across the Aegean, to subjugate the Cyclades, and then to make punitive attacks on Athens and Eretria. Reaching Euboea in mid-summer after a successful campaign in the Aegean, the Persians proceeded to besiege and capture Eretria. The Persian force then sailed for Attica, landing in the bay near the town of Marathon.
“Helmet of Miltiades”. The helmet was given as an offering to the temple of Zeus at Olympia by Miltiades. Inscription on the helmet: MILTIAΔES. Archaeological Museum of Olympia. His helmet read Miltiades dedicates this helmet to Zeus.
Under the guidance of Miltiades, the Athenian general with the greatest experience of fighting the Persians, the Athenian army marched quickly to block the two exits from the plain of Marathon, and prevent the Persians moving inland. At the same time, Athens’s greatest runner, Pheidippides had been sent to Sparta to request that the Spartan army march to the aid of Athens. Pheidippides arrived during the festival of Carneia, a sacrosanct period of peace, and was informed that the Spartan army could not march to war until the full moon rose Athens could not expect reinforcement for at least ten days. The Athenians would have to hold out at Marathon for the time being, although they were reinforced by the full muster of 1,000 hoplites from the small city of Plataea a gesture which did much to steady the nerves of the Athenians, and won unending Athenian gratitude to Plataea.
For approximately five days the armies therefore confronted each other across the plain of Marathon in stalemate. Since every day brought the arrival of the Spartans closer, the delay worked in favor of the Athenians. There were ten Athenian strategoi (generals) at Marathon, elected by each of the ten tribes that the Athenians were divided into Miltiades was one of these. In addition, in overall charge, was the War-Archon, Callimachus, who had been elected by the whole citizen body. Herodotus suggests that command rotated between the strategoi, each taking in turn a day to command the army. He further suggests that each strategos, on his day in command, instead deferred to Miltiades. In Herodotus’s account, Miltiades is keen to attack the Persians despite knowing that the Spartans are coming to aid the Athenians, but strangely chooses to wait until his actual day of command to attack.
From a strategic point of view, the Athenians had some disadvantages at Marathon. In order to face the Persians in battle, the Athenians had to summon all available hoplites and even then they were still probably outnumbered at least 2 to 1. Furthermore, raising such a large army had denuded Athens of defenders, and thus any secondary attack in the Athenian rear would cut the army off from the city and any direct attack on the city could not be defended against. Still further, defeat at Marathon would mean the complete defeat of Athens, since no other Athenian army existed.
The Persian strategy, on the other hand, was probably principally determined by tactical considerations. The Persian infantry was lightly armored, and no match for hoplites in a head-on confrontation. Since the Athenians seem to have taken up a strong defensive position at Marathon, the Persian hesitance was probably a reluctance to attack the Athenians head-on.
The distance between the two armies at the point of battle had narrowed to “a distance not less than 8 stadia” or about 1,500 meters. Miltiades ordered the two tribes forming the center of the Greek formation, the Leontis tribe led by Themistocles and the Antiochis tribe led by Aristides, to be arranged in the depth of four ranks while the rest of the tribes at their flanks were in ranks of eight. Some modern commentators have suggested this was a deliberate ploy to encourage a double envelopment of the Persian center. This arrangement was made, perhaps at the last moment, so that the Athenian line was as long as the Persian line, and would not therefore be outflanked.
Contemporary depiction of the Battle of Marathon in the Stoa Poikile
When the Athenian line was ready, the simple signal to advance was given by Miltiades: “At them”. Herodotus implies the Athenians ran the whole distance to the Persian lines, a feat under the weight of hoplite armory generally thought to be physically impossible. Herodotus suggests that this was the first time a Greek army ran into battle in this way this was probably because it was the first time that a Greek army had faced an enemy composed primarily of missile troops. All this was much to the surprise of the Persians “… in their minds they charged the Athenians with madness which must be fatal, seeing that they were few and yet were pressing forwards at a run, having neither cavalry nor archers”.
Passing through the hail of arrows launched by the Persian army, protected for the most part by their armor, the Greek line finally made contact with the enemy army. The Athenian wings quickly routed the inferior Persian levies on the flanks, before turning inwards to surround the Persian center, which had been more successful against the thin Greek center.
The battle was a quick and overwhelming victory for the Greeks ended when the Persian center then broke in panic towards their ships, pursued by the Greeks. Some, unaware of the local terrain, ran towards the swamps where unknown numbers drowned. The Athenians pursued the Persians back to their ships, and managed to capture seven ships, though the majority were able to launch successfully.
Herodotus records that 6,400 Persian bodies were counted on the battlefield, and it is unknown how many more perished in the swamps. He also reported that the Athenians lost 192 men and the Plataeans 11. Among the dead were the war archon Callimachus and the general Stesilaos.
In the immediate aftermath of the battle, Herodotus says that the Persian fleet sailed around Cape Sounion to attack Athens directly. The Athenians realized that their city was still under threat, and ran as quickly as possible back to Athens. The Athenians arrived in time to prevent the Persians from securing a landing, and seeing that the opportunity was lost, the Persians turned about and returned to Asia.
The Athenian and Plataean dead of Marathon were buried on the battlefield in two tumuli. On the tomb of the Athenians this epigram composed by Simonides was written:
Ἑλλήνων προμαχοῦντες Ἀθηναῖοι Μαραθῶνι
χρυσοφόρων Μήδων ἐστόρεσαν δύναμιν
Fighting at the forefront of the Greeks, the Athenians at Marathon
laid low the army of the gilded Medes.
Mound (soros) in which the Athenian dead were buried after the Battle of Marathon.
The defeat at Marathon barely touched the vast resources of the Persian Empire, yet for the Greeks it was an enormously significant victory. It was the first time the Greeks had beaten the Persians, proving that the Persians were not invincible, and that resistance, rather than subjugation, was possible.
The battle was a defining moment for the young Athenian democracy, showing what might be achieved through unity and self-belief indeed, the battle effectively marks the start of a “golden age” for Athens. This was also applicable to Greece as a whole “their victory endowed the Greeks with a faith in their destiny that was to endure for three centuries, during which western culture was born”. It seems that the Athenian playwright Aeschylus considered his participation at Marathon to be his greatest achievement in life rather than his plays.
The most famous legend associated with Marathon is that of the runner Pheidippides bringing news to Athens of the battle. According to Herodotus, the Athenian runner was sent to run from Athens to Sparta to ask for assistance before the battle. He ran a distance of over 225 kilometers (140 miles), arriving in Sparta the day after he left. Then, following the battle, the Athenian army marched the 40 kilometers (25 miles) or so back to Athens at a very high pace (considering the quantity of armor, and the fatigue after the battle), in order to head off the Persian force sailing around Cape Sounion. They arrived back in the late afternoon, in time to see the Persian ships turn away from Athens, thus completing the Athenian victory.
Later, in popular imagination, these two events were conflated, leading to a legendary but inaccurate version of events. This myth has Pheidippides running from Marathon to Athens after the battle, to announce the Greek victory with the word “nenikēkamen!” (Attic: νενικήκαμεν we’ve won!), whereupon he promptly died of exhaustion. Most accounts incorrectly attribute this story to Herodotus actually, the story first appears in Plutarch’s On the Glory of Athens in the 1st century CE, who quotes from Heracleides of Pontus’s lost work, giving the runner’s name as either Thersipus of Erchius or Eucles.
When the idea of a modern Olympics became a reality at the end of the 19th century, the initiators and organizers were looking for a great popularizing event, recalling the ancient glory of Greece. The idea of organizing a “marathon race” came from Michel Bréal, who wanted the event to feature in the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 in Athens. This idea was heavily supported by Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympics, as well as the Greeks. This would echo the legendary version of events, with the competitors running from Marathon to Athens. So popular was this event that it quickly caught on, becoming a fixture at the Olympic Games, with major cities staging their own annual events. The distance eventually became fixed at 26 miles 385 yards, or 42.195 km, though for the first years it was variable, being around 25 miles (40 km), the approximate distance from Marathon to Athens.
In only six months I too will run in the footsteps of the victorious Athenian hoplites of 2,509 years ago.
The Battle of Nesjar
Two famous helmets from central Europe commonly associated with the Viking period are the ‘Olmürz’ helmet. displayed in Vienna, and the ‘St Wenceslas’ helmet from the Treasury of Prague Cathedral. The dome of each is a one-piece forging. While there is no evidence that this technique was used by Norse armourers, the daring of these items and the diverse nature of the equipment used by the Vikings suggests helmets of this type may have been in use. Olaf the Saint is said to have deployed a unit of 100 picked men at the battle of Nesjar armed in coats of mail and ‘foreign’ helmets.
The battle of Nesjar in 1016, between the Viking King Olav Haraldsson and the Earl of Lade, Svein Håkonsson, would come to be seen as the biggest and most decisive sea battle in Norwegian history. During the 11 or 12 years following his victory, King Olav worked to strengthen the king’s power at the expense of the local chieftains and – most important for his subsequent reputation – establish Christianity as the only permitted religion in the country.
Olav directed the battle from his own longship, Karlhode, named for the carving of a king’s head that adorned the bow-stem. According to Snorre, Olav’s tactic was to hold his fleet in tight formation and let the enemy attack first. When the enemy had cast their spears and other missiles against the king’s men’s shields, his men would attack more or less independently wherever they saw the possibility of capturing an enemy ship.
Earl Svein had a significantly bigger army than Olav, and his personal guard possibly numbered up to 200 heavily armed warriors. Olav had 100 men in chainmail on his ship, and he had hand-picked the troops to stand in the front ranks of the leading ships. Olav’s men were battle-hardened by their experience of wars in England, and they easily captured Svein’s ships, whose crews were mostly inexperienced in warfare. Olav’s own ship headed straight for the earl’s ship, and his men held it fast with grappling hooks. Svein responded by having the whole of his ship’s stem cut off, enabling him to flee.
A runestone in Sweden memorializes the man Geirbjörn, who had been killed in a fight: “Norwegians killed him on Asbjörn’s ship.” It is tempting to think that Asbjörn was a Viking chieftain and that Geirbjörn died during a sea battle, but perhaps the ship was a merchant vessel and Geirbjörn was killed during a quarrel among merchants, or when a cargo ship was attacked by raiders.
Be that as it may, Vikings certainly knew how to fight at sea, although they did not at first have to do it much when they attacked their victims on raids in Europe, for the kings there did not have navies that could meet the Vikings on equal terms. The Europeans eventually learned to challenge the Vikings in their own element, on the water, as when, in 882, “King Alfred went out with ships and fought against four ship-loads of Danish men and took two of the ships, and killed the men and two surrendered to him, and the men were badly knocked about and wounded before they surrendered.” Still, European navies never became very effective in defending against the Vikings, and the kings preferred to “fight fire with fire,” that is, to rely on Viking mercenaries to defend territory against other Vikings.
In Scandinavia itself, ambitious chieftains and kings often fought one another in great sea battles. The skalds liked to describe such heroic occasions in some detail, so we are happily able to learn much about how Vikings fought on ships. Later saga literature, such as the Heimskringla, tells with great verve exciting stories about sea battles, but they represent simply later authors imaginatively weaving narratives that have very little value as historical sources.
Before the actual sea battle began, the chieftain exhorted his warriors to fight bravely. Before he battled the Danish king in 1062, King Harald Hardruler of Norway, for example, “told the troops of warriors to shoot and strike,” and “the famous ruler said each of us must fall crosswise on top of one another rather than yield.” Ten the ship would be rowed to an enemy ship, preferably the leader’s: it would “lie alongside the ship.” When the warriors “join[ed] together the stems of the longships,” they created a platform on which they could fight.
Then the battle started. As one poet expressed it, with typical northern understatement, “it was not as if a maiden was bringing a man leek or ale”: in other words, it was a horrid experience. “The bold lord cut down warriors he walked enraged across the warship.” “We [warriors] went enraged onto the ships under the banners,” the warrior poet Sigvat recounted after fighting under Olav Haraldsson in the battle of Nesjar in 1016. Different poets celebrating different battles fill in the details. Warriors and, especially, their leaders were supposed to be “angry” during the fight- the word shows up repeatedly in the poetry. Their enemies suffered their anger there was blood everywhere: “Dark blood splashed on the pliant row of nails [= ship], gore spurted on the shield-rail, the deck-plank was sprinkled with blood.” “The army fell on the deck” so that “the slain lay tightly packed on the boards,” unless they “went wounded overboard.” In the end, “the prince won the victory” and could take over the ships of those he had defeated. If they were still in a repairable state, ships were extremely valuable war booty, not surprising considering the amount of work that went into constructing the great longships.
Afterward, the bodies of the dead washed up on the beaches. With their characteristic fascination with gore, skalds like Arnorr jarlaskald did not hesitate to describe the grisly scene, where carrion eaters like eagles and wolves had been given a feast: Sandy corpses of [the loser] Sveinn’s men are cast from the south onto the beaches far and wide people see where bodies float off Jutland. The wolf drags a heap of slain from the water Olav’s son [= King Magnus Olavsson of Norway] made fasting forbidden for the eagle the wolf tears a corpse in the bays.
Sea battles often had momentous effects, with the lives and reputations, not only of warriors, but also of entire kingdoms, hanging in the balance. Many a Scandinavian king and chieftain met his end in battle, like the Norwegian king Olav Tryggvason, who fell in the battle of Svöldr in 1000, fighting a coalition of the Danish and Swedish kings as well as a Norwegian chieftain. His namesake Olav Haraldsson won Norwegian kingship at the battle of Nesjar in 1016. Olav’s half-brother Harald Hardruler tried to conquer Denmark from his rival, King Svein Estridsson, in the battle of Nissan River in 1062, but although the Norwegians were victorious in the battle, Harald did not gain Denmark. The battle was inconclusive since King Svein and some of his warriors managed to escape Harald’s clutches by ignominiously rowing ashore in a small boat. Great sea battles were often the decisive events when Scandinavian rulers fought wars with one another, and the skalds of the victorious ruler would make sure that his lord’s exploits became famous. In the historical sagas of high-medieval Iceland, battle narratives often allow for the most impressive and rousing prose. The Saga of Olav Trygvason from the early thirteenth century ends, for example, with a climactic retelling of the battle of Svöldr. The story has fascinated generations of Scandinavian schoolchildren, and it continues to impress modern readers.
Battle of Hjorungavagr
In 975 AD, Haakon Sigurdsson, the de facto ruler of Norway, rebelled against King Harald Bluetooth of Denmark after Harald attempted to force Christianity upon him. Haakon succeeded in achieving Norwegian independence from Denmark while Harald was occupied with fighting against the Holy Roman Empire, so Harald responded by hiring the famed Jomsvikings to reconquer Norway. A fleet of 60 ships, led by Sigvaldi Strut-Haraldsson and Vagn Akesson, met the larger 180-ship Norwegian fleet under Haakon and his sons off Sunnmore, Norway.
Ep. 032 – The Letdown at Lade
If Episode 031 covered the heady, opening stages of the Ionian Revolt, then today's episode covers the denouement and rather anticlimactic conclusion of the revolt. At the start of the episode we follow Aristagoras as he goes on a recruiting trip to Sparta and Athens, using a world map to try and sway the Spartan king into joining the revolt. Athenian ships join the revolt, but after some early success in Ionia, Athens quickly withdraws. She has gained the attention of the Persian king by briefly aiding Ionia, but before Darius repays Athenian meddling he resubjugates Ionia and the surrounding regions. The end of the Ionian Revolt and Darius' campaign to retake Ionia centers on Miletus, naturally. The conclusion of our episode focuses on the naval battle that brought an end to the revolt, a letdown of a naval encounter off the island of Lade. Herodotus gives us some great detail about the training of the Ionian navy and the events of the battle itself, so today's episode takes us all over the ancient Greek world.The location of the events relevant to the Heraldless War. The locations of Miletus, Myus, and Lade Island at the mouth of the Meander River, including the silt buildup over recorded history. An artist’s rendition of the triremes at the Battle of Lade.
Reign [ edit | edit source ]
Battle between Haakon Jarl and brothers of Harald Greyhide
Christian Krogh (1899)
Haakon Jarl commands the clergymen to return ashore
Christian Krogh (1899)
Haakon became earl after his father was killed by King Harald Greyhide's men in 961. He warred with King Harald for some time, until he was forced to flee to Denmark and Harald Bluetooth. In Denmark he conspired with Harald Bluetooth against Harald Greyhide.
Haakon Jarl arranged the death of Harald Greyhide around 971 with the connivance of Harald Bluetooth, who had invited his foster-son to Denmark to be invested with new Danish fiefs. Civil war broke out between Haakon Jarl and the surviving brothers of Harald Greyhide, but Haakon proved victorious. Α] After this, Haakon Jarl ruled Norway as a vassal of Harald Bluetooth, but he was in reality an independent ruler. For Harald, he attacked Götaland and killed its ruler Jarl Ottar. When Haakon was in Denmark, Harald Bluetooth forced him to accept baptism and assigned him clergymen to take to Norway to spread Christianity. When a favourable wind came for Haakon to leave, he commanded the clergymen to return ashore. Β] Around 973-974, he went to Denmark to help Harald Bluetooth of Denmark in his defense against the Holy Roman Emperor Otto II. Otto's forces successfully opposed an attempt by Harald to throw off the German yoke. After that Haakon paid no taxes to Denmark. Haakon was a strong believer in the old Norse gods, and when Harald Bluetooth attempted to force Christianity upon him around 975, Haakon broke his allegiance to Denmark. In 977 Vladimir I of Kiev fled to him, collecting as many of the Viking warriors as he could to assist him to recover Novgorod, and on his return the next year marched against Yaropolk I of Kiev. In 986, a Danish invasion fleet led by the fabled Jomsvikings was defeated at the Battle of Hjörungavágr.
In 995, a quarrel broke out between Haakon and the Trønders just as Olaf Tryggvason, a descendant of Harald Fairhair arrived. Haakon quickly lost all support, and was killed by his own slave and friend, Tormod Kark, while hiding in the pig sty in the farm Rimul in Melhus. Jarlshola is the location in Melhus thought to have been the hiding place of Haakon Jarl and Tormod Kark on their last night before the infamous murder at Rimul. After his death, Haakon Jarl's two sons Eirik Håkonson and Sveinn Hákonarson, fled for protection to the king of Sweden, Olof Skötkonung.
A number of (textually related) sources also recount Earl Haakon's predilection for raping women, whether the daughters of nobles or of commoners. Γ]
Hannibal vs. Rome: Why the Battle of Cannae Is One of the Most Important in History
One of the most pivotal battles in Western history, the Battle of Cannae, was fought 2,232 years ago to the year. The Battle of Cannae occurred on August 2, 216 BCE in southeast Italy between Carthaginian forces led by Hannibal Barca and Roman forces led by Lucius Aemilius Paullus and Gaius Terentius Varro. Both forces also included various allied soldiers. The battle, which ended in a major Roman defeat, is considered to be of great importance because of its tactical lessons for posterity, as well as the fact that it was the closest the Roman state had come to destruction in its history up to that point.
Of course, the Battle of Cannae did not spell the end of the Roman Republic it not only survived the disaster, but ended up beating and eventually annexing the Carthaginians. Eventually, the Roman Republic became an empire whose cultural, political and legal legacy to the world is incalculable. But Rome might have never learned the lessons of toughness that made it so great had it not faced the existential crisis brought on by Hannibal’s invasion of Italy.
After the Roman Republic beat Carthage in the First Punic War (264-241 BCE), the Carthaginians looked for ways to strengthen themselves militarily and economically. As a result of the war, the Romans became the dominant naval power in the Mediterranean. One way in which this was achieved was the colonization of Iberia, then a mineral-rich region inhabited by various tribes. This effort was spearheaded by a Carthaginian general, Hamilcar Barca. Eventually, by 218 BCE, Hamilcar’s son Hannibal commanded Carthaginian forces in Iberia while using its resources to build up a significant force. That year, the Second Punic War began when Hannibal attacked the cited of Saguntum in Iberia, which had allied with the Romans despite being in the Carthaginian sphere of influence. Hannibal then took the initiative and invaded the Roman heartland of Italy through the Alps with about 38 thousand infantry, eight thousand cavalry and 37 elephants.
Once in Italy, Hannibal had the upper hand, and many tribes that had been conquered by the Romans either failed to assist the Romans or aided Hannibal. Direct confrontations between Roman and Carthaginian forces led to Roman defeats at Trebia (218) and Lake Trasimene (217), the latter of which is often described as the largest ambush in history. The Romans, by then desperate, appointed a dictator, Fabius Maximus, who adapted a non-confrontational strategy, avoiding open battles and engaging in guerilla warfare. However, as Hannibal marched to southern Italy, where he aimed to persuade many Greek and Italian allies of Rome to switch sides, hotter heads prevailed, and Paullus and Varro were elected Consuls. They raised an army of forty thousand Roman legionaries, forty thousand allied infantry, and 2,500 cavalry to confront Hannibal, who awaited them at Cannae.
From the start, even before the battle began, Hannibal demonstrated the strategic genius for which he is remembered for today. For example, he chose to camp his army in Cannae because it was a food magazine for the Romans, and was located in a region where Rome acquired much of its grain supply. These facts put much pressure on the Roman army. After the Romans arrived, Hannibal sent his cavalry to prevent the Romans from accessing water from the only river in the area, thus provoking a fight on his terms.
On the third day, Varro, who had decided to confront Hannibal’s forces, maneuvered him against the river so that Hannibal’s forces would be arranged in a thin line. Meanwhile, the Roman infantry was arranged in depth. The battle that followed was a classical example of a successful flanking maneuver. As the Roman infantry advanced forward, it became increasingly closely-packed and disorganized. Parts of the Carthaginian infantry swung up to the sides of the advancing Romans, attacking their flanks and further disturbing their organization. While this was occurring, the Carthaginian cavalry defeated the Roman cavalry on the edges of the battle and then attacked the Romans from the rear. Surrounded in a hot and packed space, the Romans were decisively defeated. The slaughter continued until the end of the day, when some survivors cut their way out and escaped. Varro survived, but his co-consul Paullus was killed. More soldiers died at Cannae than on the first day of the Battle of the Somme on the Western Front in 1916.
It is a testament to the great luck and tenacity of the Romans that they survived this battle. Although their allied city-states in southern Italy and Greece switched sides after Cannae, Hannibal lacked the strength and supplies to take Rome, which refused peace. A long, drawn out war resulted in a Roman army eventually attacking the Carthaginian homeland itself. Hannibal was recalled from Italy to Carthage, where he was defeated at the Battle of Zama in 202 BCE by one Scipio Africanus.
Cannae has had a lasting legacy. In the short term, it forced the Romans to develop a greater level of tactical flexibility for their infantry to prevent their army from getting flanked again. In the longer term, it has provided numerous lessons to military commanders throughout the ages. Cannae illustrates both the need for caution and the usefulness of avoiding battle if the situation so warrants it, as well as the desirability for a total battle of annihilation if that can be had. Many commanders throughout Western history have sought to replicate Cannae because of its total tactical decisiveness. As then General Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “every ground commander seeks the battle of annihilation so far as conditions permit, he tries to duplicate the classical example of Cannae.”
Akhilesh Pillalamarri is an international relations analyst, editor and writer, who contributes to the Diplomat and the National Interest. He received his Master of Arts in Security Studies from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, where he concentrated in international security. You can follow him at his Twitter handle @akhipill.
Image: Hannibal Crossing the Alps detail from a fresco ca 1510. Wikimedia Commons/Creative Commons/José Luiz Bernardes Ribeiro
In the battle the flagship of Philip V of Macedon, a class "10", accidentally rammed one of her own ships when it strayed across her path, and giving her a powerful blow in the middle of the oarbox, well above the waterline, stuck fast, since the helmsman had been unable in time to check or reverse the ship's momentum. Trapped, the flagship was put out of action by two enemy ships, which rammed her below the waterline on each side.
The Macedonian navy outnumbered the allied fleet, but lacked experience for Philip had raised it just a few years prior to the battle. This was a crucial deciding factor.
The battle seemed to be going against Philip, but then Attalus attempted to prevent one of his ships from being sunk, and was driven onto the shore. Philip captured Attalus’s ship, and towed it back through the battle, convincing the rest of the Pergamene fleet that the king was dead. The Pergamene fleets then withdrew. The Macedonians took advantage of this lull to escape from the victorious Rhodians.
The LADE - Líneas Aéreas del Estado fleet consists of the following aircraft (as of June 2012):
Those aircraft are for regular flights.
The air force cargo fleet is leased by LADE, consisting on:
The two surviving Lockheed Martin C-130B Hercules were retired by the air force in September and December 2011 respectively, while the sole Lockheed Martin L-100-30 Hercules has been inoperative since early-2010.
There is a Presidential Fleet which is normally not assigned to LADE:
- 1 Boeing 757-200 Callsign Tango 01
- 1 Fokker F28 Mk4000 Callsign Tango 02,
- 1 Fokker F28 Mk1000 Callsign Tango 03,
The rest of the fleet is inoperative:
As of June 2012, the LADE schedules show that nearly all flights are operated by Saab 340 aircraft, with the Fokker F28 fleet flying exclusively for the air force. Fokker F27s were withdrawn from the LADE schedules in April 2009, although have since been known to sporadically operate LADE flights now and again.