On the utility of Carthaginian war elephants.

“Needs more duct tape.*”

There’s no particular reason for me to quote this passage:

…Carthage developed its own use of war elephants and deployed them extensively during the First Punic War. The results were not inspiring. At Adyss in 255 BCE, the Carthaginian elephants were ineffective due to the terrain, whilst at the battle of Panormus in 251 BCE the Romans were able to terrify the Carthaginian elephants, which fled from the field. During the Second Punic War, Hannibal famously led an army of war elephants across the Alps – although unfortunately most of them perished in the harsh conditions. The Romans had developed effective anti-elephant tactics, leading to Hannibal’s defeat at his final battle of Zama in 202 BCE; his elephant charge was ineffective because the disciplined Roman maniples simply made way for them to pass.

…except that I came across it while looking up something for my wife** and it amused me.  Wikipedia takes enough heat for its operating paradigm that I felt that it should be noted when one of their authors writes something that I like.  I liked this passage.  It’s informative and entertaining, and the mental image in the last clause makes me laugh.

That’s it.

Moe Lane

*Today is apparently Obscure Geek Reference Day.

**She was trying to remember the battle where one side’s general sent out elephants and horse cavalry, only the horse cavalry freaked out at the elephants, which freaked out the elephants, which caused them both to scatter, which caused the general to lose the battle.  The problem is, as [I noted to her, that this was not precisely an unique event in ancient history.]


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