Cover image for Cannae
Goldsworthy, Adrian Keith.
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Publication Information:
London : Cassell Military, [2001]

Physical Description:
200 pages : color illustrations, color maps ; 23 cm.
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Publisher description
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DG247.3 .G65 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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On 2 August 216BC, Hannibal won his greatest victory in the plain north of the small, hilltop town of Cannae in southern Italy. By the end of the day his outnumbered mercenaries had enveloped and massacred the greater part of the largest army Rome had ever fielded, turning this into one of the bloodiest battles ever fought, rivalling even the industrialised slaughter of the twentieth century AD. For the Romans Cannae became the yardstick by which other defeats were measured, never surpassed and only once or twice equalled in the next six centuries. Cannae remains one of the most famous battles ever fought, frequently alluded to in modern military writing, and Hannibal's tactics are still taught in the military academies where today¿s officers are trained.
This volume is a brand new look at the battle, and explains clearly and concisely exactly how it was that Hannibal achieved his historic victory.

Author Notes

Adrian Goldsworthy has a doctorate from Oxford University. His first book, THE ROMAN ARMY AT WAR was recognised by John Keegan, the general Editor of The History of Warfare series, as an exceptionally impressive work, original in treatment and impressive in style. His other books include THE PUNIC WARS, and the volume on Roman Warfare in John Keegan's Cassell History of Warfare series.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Goldsworthy's contribution to "Cassell's Fields of Battle" series constitutes an excellent addition to scholarship on the Second Punic War and complements his own The Punic Wars (CH, May'00) and Gregory Daly's Cannae (2002). After a brief discussion of Roman and Carthaginian armies, their commanders, and events leading up to the battle, Goldsworthy devotes most of the book to the battle itself. He calls on ancient literary sources (mainly Livy and Polybius) and topographical surveys and explains the tactics employed by each side. Drawing on additional comparative archaeological material and employing an approach similar to that of John Keegan (The Face of Battle, CH, Mar'77), the author gives the battle narration a sense of urgency as he describes, with reasoned imagination, what the individual Roman soldier probably experienced. Goldsworthy argues against received opinion, ancient and modern, by asserting that Roman commanders were not at odds with each other, nor was Roman defeat preordained; the Carthaginian army was better trained, more experienced, and better led. Lavishly illustrated, engagingly written, and supplied with footnotes, two appendixes, glossary, and index, the book will appeal to readers at all levels. R. I. Curtis University of Georgia

Table of Contents

Richard Holmes
Acknowledgementsp. 7
Forewordp. 9
Introductionp. 13
1 Carthage, Rome and the Punic Warsp. 17
The Second Punic Warp. 22
Hannibal Barcap. 24
Invasion, 218-217 BCp. 28
'The Delayer', Summer to Autumn 217 BCp. 37
2 Rival Armiesp. 41
The Roman Military Systemp. 41
The Carthaginian Military System and Hannibal's Armyp. 50
3 The Campaign of 216 BCp. 59
The Leadersp. 60
The Ledp. 64
The Planp. 70
The Campaignp. 74
4 The Battle of Cannae, 2 August 216 BCp. 83
Locating the Battlefieldp. 86
Initial Deploymentp. 95
The Battle
Opening Movesp. 113
The Cavalry Clash on the Wingsp. 118
The Roman Centre Advancesp. 127
The Charge to Contactp. 132
Encirclementp. 143
Annihilationp. 150
5 The Aftermathp. 157
Mopping Upp. 157
How to Use a Victoryp. 160
The Long Struggle, 216-201 BCp. 168
Cannae in Historyp. 176
Notesp. 180
Appendix 1 Numbersp. 188
Appendix 2 Casualtiesp. 192
Glossaryp. 195