Revision and Reconstruction in the Punic Wars: Cannae Revisited
The history of the wars between Carthage and Rome was rewritten by two pro-Roman historians, Polybius and Titus Livius. The former, while usually more reliable, revised facts that would have shown his employers, the Scipionic family, in an unfavorable light, while the latter, a clear Roman patriotic propagandist, embellished history to suit his purposes. Accounts of the wars by Carthaginian historians seem to have been lost or been conveniently destroyed. Nevertheless, gaps and contradictions in the Roman accounts, together with a modern understanding of human motivation and environmental circumstances, allow for the reconstruction of the original events. A case in point is the battle of Cannae, in 216 B.C.E., where a modern analysis reveals the real reasons for Hannibal’s victory, the true strengths of the armies of Romans and Carthaginians, the identity of the actual commander of the Roman forces, correct casualty figures, and the likely reasons for Hannibal’s refusal to march on Rome following his great victory.
Keywords: Historical Revisionism, Hannibal, Punic Wars, Cannae, Polybius, Titus Livius, Historical Reconstruction
Prof. Yozan D. Mosig
Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychology,
Graduate Assistant, Department of English,