For those with an interest in Ancients.........


JC
 

The History Channel is starting a series on Barbarian opposition to Rome called "Barbarians Rising".   They cover a pair of Barbarian uprisings in each episode.   The one I saw featured Hannibal and then a resistance leader of the Lusitanians (modern Portugal) whom I had not heard of - Viriatus.  


I thought the part on Hannibal was pretty reasonable for a TV show.   It was a mixture of re-enactors and computer generated imagery together with active maps and interspersed commentary by various academics and military men.  Hannibal was featured as ethnically African - which I think is correct according to current historical views.   The computer generated imagery was used to give a satellite view of the battle of Cannae, which was the only one they covered in any detail.   Also there were close up of lines of Romans and Carthaginians rushing at each other in line of battle - which I presume was a small number of re-enactors on each side multiplied by the computer.   They showed Hannibal fighting in the front rank which I am not sure is correct?   Alexander apparently did that, but not sure about Hannibal.   (Incidentally in case you are wondering why Hannibal features in a series about barbarians, they are using the word "barbarian" in its original Greek meaning which just means non-Greek speaking - or essentially all foreigners - not as a description of the type of society these leaders arose from).  Obviously certain aspects were ignored or simplified such as the lack of siege equipment or supplies to sustain a siege of Rome and other causes of the eventual failure of Hannibal's Italian campaign.

Apparently Viriatus is a national hero in Portugal where there are several statues, etc. of him.    The program indicated Viriatus's campaign was one of the first ever documented guerrilla wars.   He led ambushes against the Romans in the heavily forested Portugal of the time.   Finally he staged a major ambush of a Roman column resulting in the deaths of 4,000 Roman soldiers.   The war lasted 8 years until the inevitable - one of the Roman generals bribed three of Viriatus' men to assassinate him.   With their leader gone the Lusitanian resistance folded in a year or so.

Tonight (Monday) the History Channel is repeating the Hannibal/Viriatus episode at 7 pm, and then showing a new episode featuring Spartacus and Arminius at 9 pm.   Other leaders to be featured in future episodes include Boadicea and Attila.

JC


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