Hannibal Barca - Part 1: Never be a friend to Rome

Suggested by derprandal

Long after the 2nd Punic War, at the age of 54, the exiled Hannibal Barca was at the court of Antiochus III the Great (King of the Seleucid Empire). There Hannibal would attempt to convince Antiochus III that he was no friend of Rome:

Bust of Antiochus III the Great from the Louvre

“-at the time when his father was about to start with his army on his expedition to Spain, he himself, then nine years of age, was standing by the altar, while Hamilcar was sacrificing to Zeus.

When, on the omens being favorable, Hamilcar had poured a libation to the gods and performed all the customary rites, he ordered the others who were attending the sacrifice to withdraw to a slight distance and calling Hannibal to him asked him kindly if he wished to accompany him on the expedition.

On his accepting with delight, and, like a boy, even begging to do it besides, his father took him by the hand, led him up to the altar, and bade him lay his hand on the victim and swear never to be the friend of the Romans.”
Polybius 3:11

“When I was a small boy, Antiochus, my father Hamilcar took me up to the altar whilst he was offering sacrifice and made me solemnly swear that I would never be a friend to Rome.”  - Livy 35:19

The latin word ‘amicus’, now usually translated to mean “friend”, also denoted someone who was inferior or under the thumb of another, a “subject, client”. This would show that Hannibal was not spurred by hatred and vengeance, which is how he’s usually depicted.

The Seleucid Empire in 200 BC (before expansion into Anatolia and Greece).

He respected and honored the Romans he defeated
After the Battle of Lake Trasimene:
[7] He then gave orders for the bodies of his own men to be picked out from the heaps of slain and buried; careful search was also made for the body of Flaminius that it might receive honorable interment but it was not found.”
- Livy 22:7

Here he sets the non-roman captives free.
“ - [3] and at the end of it distributed such of the prisoners as were Romans among his troops to keep guard over, and setting all the allies free, sent them to their homes, [4] adding, as on a previous occasion, that he was not come to fight with the Italians, but with the Romans for the freedom of Italy. [5] He now allowed his own troops to rest and paid the last honors to those of the highest rank among the fallen, about thirty in number, his whole loss having been about fifteen hundred, most of them Celts.” - Polybius, 85:4-5.

After the Battle of Cannae Hannibal sought an alliance with Philip V of Macedon, believing that his victory was at hand. The treaty shows the wish of keeping the Romans in check, preventing their expansion and liberating the Italians, Celts, Ligurians, Illyrians and Greeks (among others).

Didrachm of Philip V of Macedon

March 13, BC 215
[6] Let the Carthaginians, as supreme, Hannibal their chief general and those serving with him, all members of the Carthaginian dominion living under the same laws, as well as the people of Utica, and the cities and tribes subject to Carthage, and their soldiers and allies, and all cities and tribes in Italy, Celt-land, and Liguria, with whom we have a compact of friendship, and with whomsoever in this country we may hereafter form such compact, be supported by King Philip and the Macedonians, and all other Greeks in alliance with them.

[7] On their parts also King Philip and the Macedonians, and such other Greeks as are his allies, shall be supported and protected by the Carthaginians now in this army, and by the people of Utica, and by all cities and tribes subject to Carthage, both soldiers and allies, and by all allied cities and tribes in Italy, Celt-land, and Liguria, and by all others in Italy as shall hereafter become allies of the Carthaginians”

Blue - Antigonid dynasty of Macedon c.218 BC

[12] As soon as the gods have given us the victory in the war against the Romans and their allies, if the Romans ask us to come to terms of peace, we will make such a peace as will comprise you too, [13] and on the following conditions: that the Romans may never make war upon you; that the Romans shall no longer be masters of Corcyra, Apollonia, Epidamnus, Pharos, Dimale, Parthini, or Atitania: [14] and that they shall return to Demetrius of Pharos all his friends who are in the dominions of Rome.” - Polybius 9:6-7, 12-14

The Oath of Hannibal, 1770 (oil on canvas) by Benjamin West




A 7th century Swedish helmet.

Found in Vendel, Uppland, this stunning helmet once belonged to a man who presumably played an eminent role in Uppland’s political sphere during the 7th century. The bronze crest of this helmet is in the shape of a dragon or bird.

The owner of this helmet belonged to a long line of dynastic rulers, each of which were buried the same manner. This particular helmet was found within a boat burial, which also contained cooking utensils, tools, weapons, and three horses and dogs.

While his status is evident, we don’t know exactly who this man was. Some have suggested that this burial, and others like it, may relate to the kings of Icelandic sagas, such as Egil, Östen, Yngvar, Alrek and Erik. We will probably never know the exact identity of this man -but the pictured helmet stands as a testament to the power he once held, and the beautifully intricate craftsmanship of the era.

Courtesy of & can be viewed at The Swedish History Museum, Stockholm: 109204. Via their Flickr page.



Re-enactment groups, collectors, historians and serving soldiers helped photographer Thom Atkinson assemble the components for each shot. ‘It was hard to track down knowledgeable people with the correct equipment,’ he says. ‘The pictures are really the product of their knowledge and experience.’

  1. 1066 huscarl, Battle of Hastings
  2. 1244 mounted knight, Siege of Jerusalem
  3. 1415 fighting archer, Battle of Agincourt
  4. 1485 Yorkist man-at-arms, Battle of Boswort

(The photo shoot contains 13 kits total. Make sure to view them all here)


The M777 Ultra-Light Howitzer

Manufacturer: BAE Systems’ Global Combat Systems
Caliber: 155mm
Max Range: 24 km (15 mi) with standard M107 rounds
                    40 km (25 mi) with GPS guided Excalibur rounds
In service: since 2005
Used by: United States Marine Corps
               United States Army
               Royal Saudi Land Force
               Australian Army
               Canadian Army


Photo Credits, in descending order:

– U.S. Army soldiers from the 2nd Platoon, B battery 2-8 field artillery, fire an artillery piece at Seprwan Ghar forward fire base in Panjwai district, Kandahar, on June 12, 2011. (Reuters/Baz Ratner)

– A U.S. Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallions with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron (HMH) 361, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward), externally lifts M777 howitzers over Helmand province, Afghanistan, Dec. 29, 2012. HMH-361 provided aerial support by repositioning the howitzers to Camp Dwyer. (Sgt. Keonaona C. Paulo)

(Canadian Army)

(BAE Systems)

– An M-777 155mm howitzer fires at a low ballistic trajectory in Afghanistan. (U.S. Army)

(BAE Systems)

– An artillery round exits the barrel of an M777A2 155mm Howitzer during a live-fire exercise by 2nd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division at the National Training Center here Feb. 19. Soldiers from the 2-8th FA are training at the NTC during a month-long rotation in preparation for the 1-25th’s deployment to Afghanistan later this year. (Spc. Michael Blalack, 1-25th SBCT PAO)      


Scars of War:  Battlefield Landscapes from World War I, 100 years Ago 

Photographer Michael St Maur Sheil spent seven years on the project Fields of Battle - Lands of Peace 14-18, featuring powerful and atmospheric images that reveal the battlefields of the First World War as they look today, one century on. - from The Telegraph


> Top: The landscape of the Newfoundland Memorial Park, in Beaumont Hamel, France – Trenches, shell craters, and wire pickets remain much in evidence.  Beaumont-Hamel was situated near the northern end of the 45-kilometer front being assaulted by joint French and British forces. On July 1, 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, during an assault that lasted approximately 30 minutes the Newfoundland Regiment was all but wiped out, decimated by German machine guns and suffering 814 casualties. The 74-acre memorial site was purchased in 1921 by the people of Newfoundland; it is the largest battalion memorial on the Western Front, and the largest area of the Somme battlefield that has been preserved. Along with preserved trench lines, there are a number of memorials and cemeteries contained within the site.


> 2nd: The Lochnagar Crater, La Boisselle, Somme, France – The British Tunnelling Company Royal Engineers dug a tunnel 50 feet deep and extending for about 300 yards from the British lines to the German front line. There, under the German position, they laid a mine consisting of over 25 tons of Ammonal.  It was blown along with 16 others at 07:28 on the morning of July 1, 1916 as a two-minute precursor to the start of the Somme Offensive.  The resulting explosion blew almost half a million tons of chalk into the surrounding fields, sending debris over 4,000 feet into the air. It created a vast hole 300 feet across and 90 feet deep. Lochnagar remains the largest crater made in warfare to this day. The sound of the blast was considered the loudest man-made noise in history up to that point, with reports suggesting it was heard in London.

It has been privately owned by Richard Dunning since 1978, to save at least one of the original Somme craters from being filled in and built upon by local farmers. There are several memorials at the site, with an annual ceremony every July 1 at a wooden cross at the crater to commemorate the first day of the Somme Offensive.


> 3rd:  Butte de Vauquois – The original site of the village of Vauquois atop this hill was destroyed by mining during the period between February 1915 and February 1918.  This region of France is a series of ridges, with those of Vauquois and Mort Homme guarding the valley leading down towards Verdun.  For five months the French fought to get a foothold on the ridge where the Germans were dug in.  From the middle of 1915 onward, the war at Vauquois would be fought almost entirely beneath the ground. Pioneers from both nations tunneled and dug as they provided the shelters and galleries of trench warfare, along with setting dozens of mines.


> 4th:  Battlefield grave memorial in Champagne – This is probably the last soldiers battlefield burial site memorial on the Western Front left intact with the soldier’s equipment, including his rusty helmet atop a wooden cross.  There is a plaque that reads ‘Grave of Edouard Ivaldi, Cpl 7/RI killed 30 April 1917,’ which was placed there in 1919 by his father Jean.


> 5th:  The reconstructed gateway of the Chateau de Soupir – The Chateau served as a casualty clearing station, but was badly damaged during the war and subsequently demolished in 1917. The village of Soupir was largely destroyed during the Second Battle of the Aisne. Today, five national cemeteries are located in Soupir: two for France, and one each for Germany, the UK, and Italy.


> 6th:  Unexploded shells uncovered by plowing near Munich Trench Cemetery, Beaumont Hamel, await collection by the Bomb Squad.  More than one billion shells were fired in WWI, and as many as 30 percent did not explode. During building construction or after spring plowing on the former battlefields of France and Belgium, potentially lethal ammunition is still brought to the surface. Despite the dangers, there is illegal trade:  some “collectors” search for the shells, defuse them at home, and then sell them at collectors markets.  People are still being killed every year by unexploded ordnance.


> 7th:  The compass belonged to Second Lieutenant Eric Black, aged 24, who was an undergraduate at Keble College, Oxford and commissioned into the Lincolnshire Regiment. On May 9, 1915 they attacked a position known as Rouges Bancs, in conjunction with the battle of Aubers Ridge. Black was making his way back from the front line in the evening when he disappeared in the area of this field. The compass was found in 1992.

Caerphilly Castle is one of the great medieval castles of western Europe. Several factors give it this title: its immense size (1.2h), making it the largest in Britain after Windsor, its large-scale use of water for defense and the fact that it is the first truly concentric castle in Britain. Of the time of its building in the late 13th century, it was a revolutionary masterpiece of military planning.


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DARPA proudly presents the near Robocalypse

Elysium, Robocop, Kill Decision, Robocalypse, I Robot, Terminator… Pick your favorite future.

Warfighters in aircraft, on ships and in ground vehicles have benefited tremendously from technological advances in recent decades, with advanced capabilities ranging from real-time situational awareness to precision armaments. But many of these benefits depend on equipment with substantial size, weight and power requirements, and so have remained unavailable to dismounted infantry squads who must carry all their equipment themselves.

DARPA’s new Squad X Core Technologies (SXCT) program aims to address this challenge and ensure that dismounted infantry squads maintain uncontested tactical superiority over potential adversaries without being overburdened by cumbersome hardware. The goal is to speed the development of new, lightweight, integrated systems that provide infantry squads unprecedented awareness, adaptability and flexibility in complex environments, and enable dismounted Soldiers and Marines to more intuitively understand and control their complex mission environments.

SXCT plans to explore four key technical areas:

  1. Precision Engagement: Precisely engage threats out to 0.6 mile (1,000 meters), while maintaining compatibility with infantry weapon systems and without imposing weight or operational burdens that would negatively affect mission effectiveness

  2. Non-Kinetic Engagement: Disrupt enemy command and control, communications and use of unmanned assets at a squad-relevant operational pace (walking with occasional bursts of speed)

  3. Squad Sensing: Detect potential threats out to 0.6 mile (1,000 meters) at a squad-relevant operational pace

  4. Squad Autonomy: Increase squad members’ real-time knowledge of their own and teammates’ locations to less than 20 feet (6 meters) in GPS-denied environments through collaboration with embedded unmanned air and ground systems

[read more]

“Multiple reports and witnesses have confirmed that almost half of Gaza city is now covered with white phosphorus gas. Mainly Shaja’ya area. This is not the first time Israel uses this brutal and heartless war method which burns the body and produces toxic gases. Incase you didn’t know, white phosphorus gas is illegal in all international war laws, and UN laws. It is a war crime.”

Mohammed Zeyara