Sunday, September 05, 2010

Today's Factoid: Cannae

Hannibal'a Carthaginians  confronted the Romans in the Battle of Cannae on August 2, 216 B.C.
The battle is unparalleled for its carnage, with more men from a single army killed on that one day ... than on any other day on any other European battlefield: something like 50,000 Romans died, two and a half times the number of British soldiers who fell on the first day of the Somme. ... "[O]ther than those who succumbed to the heat, each of the men who died had to be individually punctured, slashed or battered into oblivion.”
That's Dennis Feeney in the NYT book review this morning, reviewing and quoting from Robert L. O'Connelll, The Ghosts of Cannae.   And yet the Romans won the war.  I've heard it said--by whom?--that the Romans had a way of losing every battle except the last one.

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