With the world melting down and the Bard semester heating up, I’ve fallen behind in my grand strategy posts; apologies to all and I hope to catch up with a post next week (during Bard’s spring break) on Machiavelli. But today’s business is still the Second Punic War, the conflict between Carthage and Rome that engulfed most of the Mediterranean world in what would prove to be the most important war in the history of what would, thanks to Rome’s victory, one day become western civilization.
In the last post I wrote about how Rome had a grand strategy that was bigger and deeper than tactical questions like where you put your cavalry and your Balearic slingers in the battle. It was a strategy of state construction and institution building. Carthage could defeat Roman armies in Italy, Gaul and Spain, massacring troops, capturing standards and killing consuls. But Rome could always produce more — even coming up with a third Scipio after two successful generals of that family were killed in Spain.(more…)