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Sunday, May 30, 2004
2ND PUNIC WAR
Having a bit more time on my hands this long weekend, I've picked up a classic I never got around to reading before, Livy's History of Rome (the books dealing with the 2nd Punic War). Lest it sound like I'm putting on intellectual airs, I might add that I was once a voracious reader, but like many of us, I have been seduced by the allure of cyberspace, and now make much less time for it than I should.
In any case, just reading the introduction, I saw an interesting analogy between Liviy and our own dedication of the WWII Memorial yesterday. Livy was writing at a time when Rome had begun it's long decline into excess and decadence. A true Roman patriot, Livy looked back at this war, fought a few centuries earlier, as the highpoint of Roman virtue. For him, the good guys and bad guys were obvious, and the citizenry joined together to make sacrifices that all felt were worth making. Like WWII; unlike the wars since..
The best site, overall, on the web dealing with Carthage, Hannibal, and the Punic Wars is this one. Many resources here.
A bit more on Carthage here, including a debate on whether they engaged in child sacrifice..
This site is devoted to Hannibal himself, and calls him the greatest military commander in history. Arguable, but even Livy can't hide his grudging admiration. At Cannae, Hannaibal executed THE classic double envelopment, the Holy Grail of strategists ever since. The Schlieffen Plan, blueprint for German strategy in WWI, hoped to replicate it. It was watered down before being put into effect, so we'll never know if it would have succeeded..
Most who know little else of this war will have heard something about Hannibal crossing the Alps with elephants..
OK, my day wasn't ALL serious. Found a few other things..
Spank Bush (not a political statement, I'd rather spank Kerry myself. But the site is cool!)
Ginsburg reading list - for a course he taught on the literary history of the Beat generation at the Naropa Institute
The Duncan YoYo Company maintains a nice site..
Finally, few people can equal punk rocker G.G.Allin for being a truly vile human being. His music sucked, he was a social deviant of the first order, racist, perverted, mean.. but he WAS authentic. Here's some pics..
In difficult and hopeless situations the boldest plans are the safest.