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Thread: Successor State + Carthage 'What If?' Question

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    Default Successor State + Carthage 'What If?' Question

    Was there even the remotest possibility that by the start date of EB, any of the successor states (Macedonia, Seleucids, Ptolemies) could have conquered the other diadochi and reformed Alexander's Empire. If so, when and how, and if not, could they still have carved out strong(er) kingdoms/empires through the many wars (Chremoidian War, Syrian Wars, Macedonian Wars, and the numerous struggles in the Seleucid east). For example, could the Ptolemies have absolutely dominated the Seleucids in their wars or could the Macedonians have invaded Italy to aid Hannibal if planned, along with other scenarios like that.

    Also, could Carthage have won the first Punic War and if so, how would this have impacted future relations with Rome?

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    Default Re: Successor State + Carthage 'What If?' Question

    I think that in the 3rd Syrian War Ptolemy actually managed to conquer Babylon.
    But the Macedonians were taking their Aegean territories and Ptolemy had to withdrew when a Seleukid army approached from Anatolia. I think that the Ptolemies did walk away with Antioch, though.

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    Default Re: Successor State + Carthage 'What If?' Question

    I know Hannibal could have won the battle of Zama, near the 2nd Punic wars end, if the Sacred Band cavalry hadn't been denied to him (taught to me by Eb) or if he had maybe advanced on Rome after Cannae, the Romans could have been beaten.
    Plus if the Seleucids had defeated the Romans at Magnesia, then during thier later push to Egypt wouldn't have turned back due to Rome's threatened interventiion. Though i can;t remember if Magnesia came before or after that now i think of it...

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    Default Re: Successor State + Carthage 'What If?' Question

    But how would the second Punic War had turned out assuming Carthage won the first? There certainly wouldn't be a need to go over the alps, or there may not have even been a second Punic War, or it could have just been a rehash of the first. Think of it as an opinion/speculative history question in reference to the OP.
    Last edited by icydawgfish; 12-27-2008 at 01:02.

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    Default Re: Successor State + Carthage 'What If?' Question

    You can't live in a world of If's for everything. For instance, what if Alexander of Epiros had managed to conquer every land up to the Pillars of Hercules, as he and Alexander the Great had supposedly composed to do? Then everything from the edge of Africa and Spain to India would have belonged to Greece. The Romans would have been wiped out or subjigated at their infant stage, and we may never have had a Roman Empire. Scary stuff isnt it
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    Default Re: Successor State + Carthage 'What If?' Question

    Isn't EB itself a giant What If?

    Why shouldn't we be allowed to imagine alternatives to historical reality? How dull would we be then?

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    Default Re: Successor State + Carthage 'What If?' Question

    Quote Originally Posted by KozaK13 View Post
    I know Hannibal could have won the battle of Zama, near the 2nd Punic wars end, if the Sacred Band cavalry hadn't been denied to him (taught to me by Eb) or if he had maybe advanced on Rome after Cannae, the Romans could have been beaten.
    Plus if the Seleucids had defeated the Romans at Magnesia, then during thier later push to Egypt wouldn't have turned back due to Rome's threatened interventiion. Though i can;t remember if Magnesia came before or after that now i think of it...
    I doubt the sacred band would have made any difference. Hannibals own elepants ran amok through his own lines and routed his own troops.

    Sorry, i was mistaken. Not sure what i was thinking but this isn't the reason the battle of Zama was lost.

    I do recall reading somewhere that at the time of Zama, even if Hannibal were granted the sacred band cavalry, there would only be 1,000 of them. If that's the case, Hannibals cavalry would still be outnumbered by the Romans, 5,500 to 8,500, 4000 of which were hannibals previously very well experienced Numidians, so that could have gone either way.

    Unless, i'm mistaken again! haha.
    Last edited by Dayve; 12-27-2008 at 03:00.

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    Satalextos Basileus Seron Member satalexton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Successor State + Carthage 'What If?' Question

    you forgot, the roman cavalry suck, they're nothing more than hillbillies on ponies armed with cattleprods.




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    Default Re: Successor State + Carthage 'What If?' Question

    Quote Originally Posted by desert View Post
    Isn't EB itself a giant What If?

    Why shouldn't we be allowed to imagine alternatives to historical reality? How dull would we be then?
    Theres no point to discuss as there are way too many possibilities. Questioning what ifs are fine. But you can't really expect a answer for it.


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    Default Re: Successor State + Carthage 'What If?' Question

    Speculating on too many "what ifs" is indeed fruitless, but some special moments in history can be described as "turning points" which had great influence on the events afterward. I think what I'm going to say now will be highly controversial, but in my opinion, 2-nd Punic War was such a turning point for the history of the Mediterranean.

    2nd Punic war could actually go either way, and Carthage had a good chance of winning it, had Hannibal received enough support from home and he himself could be more decisive in landing another blow to Romans after the battle of Cannae. But Rome was fully committed to the war, while Carthage was not. After the war was over, Carthage was in no position to threaten Roman hegemony again. 3rd Punic war and its outcome were inevitable. After 3rd war Rome was an undisputed Mediterranean superpower.

    The Roman achievements that followed were natural. Rome was filling a huge power vacuum in the Eastern Mediterranean and waging colonial wars against divided Celts. I'm not trying to diminish Roman achievements which are indeed incredible, but I think their achievements were not of military nature, but of administrative. After all they've created a superpower that successfully (more or less) governed a huge ethnically diverse area for nearly 400 years, although from military point of view, after Carthage they didn't face an equal enemy that could threaten their very existence until the barbarian invasions of the late 3-rd century and onwards.

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    Default Re: Successor State + Carthage 'What If?' Question

    Quote Originally Posted by satalexton View Post
    you forgot, the roman cavalry suck, they're nothing more than hillbillies on ponies armed with cattleprods.
    Not the experienced Numidians that they enticed over to their side from Hannibal. They were far from hillbillies on ponies with cattleprods, and there were 4,000 of them.

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    Default Re: Successor State + Carthage 'What If?' Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus Ulpius View Post
    , although from military point of view, after Carthage they didn't face an equal enemy that could threaten their very existence until the barbarian invasions of the late 3-rd century and onwards.
    that is untrue, you are forgetting the parthians, the sassanids, the dacians and the ptolies were all very strong powers, at their peek during roman expansion, though i'm not shure about the ptolies.


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    Default Re: Successor State + Carthage 'What If?' Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus Ulpius View Post
    Speculating on too many "what ifs" is indeed fruitless, but some
    The Roman achievements that followed were natural. Rome was filling a huge power vacuum in the Eastern Mediterranean and waging colonial wars against divided Celts. I'm not trying to diminish Roman achievements which are indeed incredible, but I think their achievements were not of military nature, but of administrative. After all they've created a superpower that successfully (more or less) governed a huge ethnically diverse area for nearly 400 years, although from military point of view, after Carthage they didn't face an equal enemy that could threaten their very existence until the barbarian invasions of the late 3-rd century and onwards.
    IMHO at least this would be true in mediterenean coz Ptolies or Parthia never thrust westward too much to threaten Roman's hegemony there. Moreover, an effective administration is the key to hold the empire together not a military might only.
    Last edited by Gatalos de Sauromatae; 12-27-2008 at 15:25.
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    Default Re: Successor State + Carthage 'What If?' Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyrus View Post
    that is untrue, you are forgetting the parthians, the sassanids, the dacians and the ptolies were all very strong powers, at their peek during roman expansion, though i'm not shure about the ptolies.
    Well, the Ptolies were not very strong during Roman expansion. Ptolies were even seeking Roman help against Seleucids and after providing such help Romans made sure that the Ptolies would not be able to threaten Roman positions in the region.

    At their peak Parthians were not defeated by Romans. Krassus expedition ended in utter failure. Trajan did defeat the Parthians and even conquered their capital, but when Sassanids took place of the Parthians both powers were stuck in a deadlock actually till the Arab conquest. Besides that neither Parthians nor Sassanids had far reaching Western ambitions. It looks Antioch was the limit of their plans of westward expansion. We also should remember that although Ktesiphon was conquered by Trajan, it was abandoned by his immediate successor Hadrian when the overall strategy of the Romans was changed from expanding to defending. It is an open question whether Hadrian thought that Rome can't conquer any new land or he thought there was nothing left that was worth attention of Roman armies?

    If you're talking about Dacians, I would also add Mithridates of Pontus, but I think both lacked manpower and resources to pose real threat to Rome.

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    Default Re: Successor State + Carthage 'What If?' Question

    Did the Romans even have to fight any major battles for Egypt?
    Did Parthia not conquer Antioch, Judea and parts of Egypt and Anatolia? Before being pushed back later on.Plus Rome had to fight the Palmyran and Gallic empires..though those could be seen more as civil wars.
    It is a pity the Dacians didn't have the man power to stop Trajan despite some good victories...could have stopped the utter genocide of thier people and culture had they been more populus.

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    Default Re: Successor State + Carthage 'What If?' Question

    Quote Originally Posted by KozaK13 View Post
    Did the Romans even have to fight any major battles for Egypt?
    Besides Actium?

    Quote Originally Posted by KozaK13
    if he had maybe advanced on Rome after Cannae
    Well on his defense, maybe he did it right, just take a look at these
    [LIST][*]Saguntum took 8 months to fall (with a small garrison)
    -In saguntum they already had many artillery pieces brought from Carthage [*]Hannibal didn't had any siege equipment after Cannae, by the time he built everything needed, the romans would have recalled the 2 legions from spain and several more soldiers from all italy. [*]Rome could levie (sp?) at least 2 legions form its citizens (about 10,000 men)[*]Rome was huge, compared to Saguntum.


    Several other turning points of the 2nd punic war, would be the Battle of Ilipa, the battle of Metaurus, the fall of Capua and Tarentum.

    If Hannibal had received more reinforcements...
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    Lightbulb Re: Successor State + Carthage 'What If?' Question

    Quote Originally Posted by ||Lz3|| View Post
    Well on his defense, maybe he did it right, just take a look at these
    • Saguntum took 8 months to fall (with a small garrison)
    • In saguntum they already had many artillery pieces brought from Carthage
    • Hannibal didn't had any siege equipment after Cannae, by the time he built everything needed, the romans would have recalled the 2 legions from spain and several more soldiers from all italy.
    • Rome could levie (sp?) at least 2 legions form its citizens (about 10,000 men)
    • Rome was huge, compared to Saguntum.
    Added to that was that there were still about 20.000 Roman survivors of the battle of Cannae and another 20.000 or so campaigning in northern Italy (although they would be annihilated pretty soon by rebelling Gauls). And Rome was in the middle of hostile territory, so Hannibal's supply lines would be uncertain (especially with 40.000 Romans in his rear) and he did not have the manpower to properly invest Rome.

    The Romans panicked after Cannae, and though that Hannibal's march on the city was imminent. Later Roman historians echoed these fears, but they were unfounded. Barring a miracle, it is unlikely Hannibal could have taken Rome directly after Cannae.
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    Default Re: Successor State + Carthage 'What If?' Question

    Well, if Rome's various enemies had supported Hannibal as they had promised he would have been in a very strong position. But believing they would have simply replaced the Roman Empire with a Carthaginian one the stayed at home. In hindsight we can all see this was the wrong choice as Rome quickly conquered the lot of them after Carthage sued for peace.

    The thing with "what if" questions is where do they end? You have limitless possibilities almost by definition, so my answer to the original question is yes. A new Alexander could have re-united his predecessor's empire. A new Pyrrhus could have burnt Rome to the ground and Carthage too.

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    Default Re: Successor State + Carthage 'What If?' Question

    I'm going to slim this down as it appears to have expanded beyond my intentions.

    1. By the start date, was there any possibility of either the Ptolemies, the Maks, or the Seleucids gaining the thrones of the other two and reforming Alexander's empire. If so, what would they key points have been.

    2. Could Carthage have won the first Punic War, and if so, how would this have affected Rome's fate and Carthage's expansionist policy.
    Last edited by icydawgfish; 12-28-2008 at 06:03.

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    Default Re: Successor State + Carthage 'What If?' Question

    If any of these "alternate History" happned, we will never be here. Maybe we are now living in age without internet, because there was no Roman empire, no Barbarian Invasion, no Medieval Kingdoms, no Industrial Revolution, and most of us are still peasants live under the yoke of tyrant Emperors..

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    Default Re: Successor State + Carthage 'What If?' Question

    That's... quite a stretch. Especially as the Migrations had preciously little to do with whether the Roman Empire existed or not, save that it now happened to occupy the western ass-end of Eurasia where the domino effect pushed a fair few groups into.
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    Default Re: Successor State + Carthage 'What If?' Question

    All the Romance languages would probably have been replaced with variants of Punic, save Romanian, which would probably be a variant of Dacian/Magyar/Slavic.
    More importantly, would Christianity have arisen? It's debatable as to whether the Carthaginians would have crucified Jesus (If we presume he existed of course), or even if they would have reached Judea. Also, Christianity may not have taken off in the same way that it did with the Romans, and considering Islam is a direct reaction to the deviation of Christianity from Jewish monotheism, in that the Trinity was designed to appeal to Roman Pagans, we would probably all be sacrificing babies OR praying to Ahura Mazda every Sunday.

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    Default Re: Successor State + Carthage 'What If?' Question

    1. By the start date, was there any possibility of either the Ptolemies, the Maks, or the Seleucids gaining the thrones of the other two and reforming Alexander's empire. If so, what would they key points have been.
    1) I don't think the Ptolemies could have done such a thing. They were constantly plagued with rebellions in Egypt and were thus unable to subjugate other lands.

    Makedonia is another question, and I'm unsure on that.

    I think that the Seleucid Empire may just have been able to do such a thing. Magnesia was a turning point here. If Antiochos III was able to defeat the Romans at Magnesia, he would have most likely subjugated Hellas afterwards. Then, should he have died (and Antiochus IV would come to the throne), he would have subjugated Egypt, there was nobody to draw any funny circles around him and then they would have been very, very close to reconquering Alexandros' realm.

    Maybe abou can tell you more.
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    Default Re: Successor State + Carthage 'What If?' Question

    I think the other big "what if" question was if Hero of Alexandria's steam engine, or "Aeolipile", had been noticed, and it's practicality been put into practice 1700 years before the Industrial Revolution. The difference in human history it would have made makes my mouth water; a steam powered Roman Empire...
    But of course, as Cambyses said, these are merely diversions from real history, but bloody interesting diversions at that.

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    Default Re: Successor State + Carthage 'What If?' Question

    Another, what if Alexander hadn't died so young?
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    Default Re: Successor State + Carthage 'What If?' Question

    It would not have been very likely. People seem to forget that the concept of 'machine-made, mass produced goods/ware' predates the Industrial Revolution and that the major factors which propelled what became known as the "Industrial revolution" do not seem to have been in existance way back then. I mean both the [British] Agricultural and the Scientific Revolution and their direct consequences.
    Last edited by Tellos Athenaios; 12-28-2008 at 19:51.
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    Default Re: Successor State + Carthage 'What If?' Question

    Unless the steam engine accelerated by the development of those concepts, and the wealth of Egypt could easily have fuelled such developments. Coupled with Archimede's steam-powered gun, a steampunk Romani Empire wouldn't have been impossible, and might have repelled the German migrations...
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    Default Re: Successor State + Carthage 'What If?' Question

    The usual period solution to a demand to increase production seems to have been to throw more workers at it, though. Easy access to lots of slaves (or just cheap labour) tends to do that.

    Plus, there's the question of fuel. Teh energy issue. Steam engine is worth its weight in scrap metal if you don't have something to burn in it, in practice meaning wood and coal. Neither of which the Mediterranean region was all that blessed with, AFAIK...
    Have fun making primitive steam power cost-efficient (which is something of an absolute precondition for it becoming a factor in the economy rather than mere curiosity) in that situation. Heck, I doubt if period metallurgy was up to the task either - do recall that by the time Europeans started dabbling in proto-industrial production techniques around the Late Middle Ages or so (using water power), they had some rather massively more advanced metalworking know-how to "build the tools to build the tools" with.
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    Default Re: Successor State + Carthage 'What If?' Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Watchman View Post
    The usual period solution to a demand to increase production seems to have been to throw more workers at it, though. Easy access to lots of slaves (or just cheap labour) tends to do that.
    But there was a limit to the amount of slaves that could be employed, as they required food, they were expensive, and most importantly, they needed guarding. With a steam engine, you don't have that third problem, something which ancient nobles might have seen.

    Quote Originally Posted by Watchman View Post
    Plus, there's the question of fuel. Teh energy issue. Steam engine is worth its weight in scrap metal if you don't have something to burn in it, in practice meaning wood and coal. Neither of which the Mediterranean region was all that blessed with, AFAIK...
    Indeed, but Gaul had forests, Britannia had coal, and Germania had lots of forest.

    Quote Originally Posted by Watchman View Post
    Have fun making primitive steam power cost-efficient (which is something of an absolute precondition for it becoming a factor in the economy rather than mere curiosity) in that situation.
    It depends on the location. Arabia? Of course not. Germania? You're surrounded by fuel.

    Quote Originally Posted by Watchman View Post
    Heck, I doubt if period metallurgy was up to the task either - do recall that by the time Europeans started dabbling in proto-industrial production techniques around the Late Middle Ages or so (using water power), they had some rather massively more advanced metalworking know-how to "build the tools to build the tools" with.
    I've been thinking about it, and I think that would have proved to be the biggest obstacle. It depends on the nature of the engine, but I don't we'd have seen massive Romani liners/steam tanks in the first century or two. However, if people had realised the potential behind steam power, they might have been inspired to experiment with metallurgy techniques, and certainly, had the Empire as a whole realised that, then I think technology could have advanced quite quickly.

  30. #30

    Default Re: Successor State + Carthage 'What If?' Question

    Yeah, by the time the Industrial Revolution really took off -- 2nd-3rd quarter of the 19th century onwards and mind you: in Brittain it started 3rd-4th quarter of the 18th century, that's a heck of a lot earlier than say most areas without significant coal mines which tended not to follow suit until roughly one century later -- there was a lot more indepth theoretical, practical and applied knowledge of Physics too. Plus, in order to make reasonably powerful steam engines you required a high grade steel which in turn requires the use of cokes. 'Natural' cokes (very high quality coal) is relatively rare (lower quality being more common).

    Think Newton and Boyle.

    Unless the steam engine accelerated by the development of those concepts,
    Ehrm: exactly what part of:
    (a) The increased knowledge in Science in general and Physics in particular;
    (b) The fact that a large number of people were reduced to such straits they readily accepted jobs in what can only be described as some of the worst workplace environments ever to be created ... ?

    and the wealth of Egypt could easily have fuelled such developments. Coupled with Archimede's steam-powered gun, a steampunk Romani Empire wouldn't have been impossible, and might have repelled the German migrations...
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