What if Hannibal Barca managed to force Rome to surrender to Carthage in the Second Punic War?

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What if Hannibal Barca managed to force Rome to surrender to Carthage in the Second Punic War?

Post by JunoSword on Sun Jul 09, 2017 1:46 am

I've always wondered about this scenario. Barca certainly could have done it, provided the Carthaginians sent him more supplies and reinforcements. I'm encouraging discussion about this topic. What would the map have looked like after the peace treaty? What would it have looked like in AD 1,000? What about today? What would culture be like around the world? Would there be massive global wars like in our timeline? What would religion be like? What would the Americas be like? Post your thoughts below! Razz
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Re: What if Hannibal Barca managed to force Rome to surrender to Carthage in the Second Punic War?

Post by rock_hound119 on Sun Jul 09, 2017 6:50 am

What is below is opinion so factual inaccuracies are highly possible:

I think the map would have had Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, Apulia, Basilicata/Lucania and Calabria all being seceded to Carthage, with perhaps parts of Northern Italy becoming independent and perhaps allied to the Carthaginians. I also do not think Rome would have become nearly as powerful as it did - causing many romance languages particularily Spanish to not exist. carthage however was less interested in creating a powerful militaristic empire and was heavily focused on commerce. I also think Greece would have remained independent, and Rome would have never achieved the size it had since it would always have the shadow of Carthage looming over it. Latin would not be of prominence and both Christianity and Islam would not exist, though counterparts of the religions would be highly possible. I think though that without a centralized empire to spread a religion like christianity, it's equivalent would remain regional at best, with the majority of Europe, and perhaps even Anatolia remaining pagan. "Europeans" would also have taken longer to form nation states(as large swathes of Roman territory such as in modern day France, Belgium and UK were tribal, and were forced to settle down by the Romans.

I also think the disaster that ended the Roman Empire, the migration/conquest by the Germanic tribes would have had less effect on the ancient world. I say this since there would have been less to push the tribes forward. This would have left many to settle on the best land they could find and keep, rather than keep going into the heart of the corrupt and rich corpse of the once mighty empire. I think Carthage itself would have become overtly corrupt and would have eventually broken into city-states much like the Greek city-states of the time, perhaps even with overarching treaties such as how Greeks who were travelling to and from the games were considered neutral in wars between city-states.

Regardless, needless to say the world would be a VERY different place, and it would need much analysis to give an appropriate answer. Also, the Roman Empire has nothing to do with global conflicts. That is just something that would eventually come to pass with or without Romans, as different nations created webs of alliances. Technological advancement would also have been highly different, since it is likely the Library of Alexandria would never have went up in flames(due to abrahamic religions playing a lesser role overall). That would also mean we would know more about Ancient History.

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Re: What if Hannibal Barca managed to force Rome to surrender to Carthage in the Second Punic War?

Post by JunoSword on Mon Jul 10, 2017 5:40 pm

That's pretty much all that needs to be said to be honest. You summed that up nicely. If there are any inaccuracies, I can't spot them. I'm a history buff, not a historian. Razz
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Re: What if Hannibal Barca managed to force Rome to surrender to Carthage in the Second Punic War?

Post by Joey_Shag on Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:34 pm

It would have been really hot if Hannibal won!
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Re: What if Hannibal Barca managed to force Rome to surrender to Carthage in the Second Punic War?

Post by Nishanth128 on Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:32 pm

Ahh, like the person above said, land would have been seceded to Carthage and, more importantly, naval power balance reshifted to Carthaginian favour. This would have been huge for Carthage. Not only does it help their trade empire, but Rome is halted. I mean, Hannibal's aim regarding Rome was demolition. Not in the way Carthage was destroyed after the 3rd war of course, but he wanted to, in a sense, burn it to the ground. Rome would be strangled under Carthage in a similar way to how Carthage was after the second war. The economic drain on Rome would help boost Carthage to get stronger.

But like it was already mentioned, Carthage was a trade empire, not a militaristic empire. So we would see more diversity on the European front because Rome tended to impose more of its ways on its people than Carthage. But that's just one side of the story. Just like our timeline, as the winner, Carthaginian ways would be seen as the cool way (They replace Rome). Roman allies are obviously suffering here since they laid their bets with the wrong side so the "Roman way" is being pressed to change. In the long run, I see most cultures get a mix of Carthaginian and their own cultures regarding writing, architecture, language, etc. This form of Europe would be fighting a lot more than in our timeline.

Christianity would not have existed. Carthage did not rely on soldiers, but mercenaries. It did not require a connected empire in the same way Rome did. This makes Christianity hard to spread. They would still be considered Jews even if they survived since the global network Christianity had under Rome would not exist. Even if it did, it'd be more focused in Africa than Europe. Islam? Well, less chance of this happening since Christianity had a role to play in influencing Islam. Might have still happened, but probably not. As rock_hound mentioned, an off shoot probably. I don't think Muhammad would have had the same influences without Christianity to convince him of his faith. It's a vacuum there.
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Re: What if Hannibal Barca managed to force Rome to surrender to Carthage in the Second Punic War?

Post by Thorfinn Karlsefni on Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:07 pm

I wanted to discuss this topic, so before posting my scenario, I checked down the list to see if anyone else had already done it. Yep! Very Happy Very Happy (this forum is brilliant!)

There would likely have remained the four traditional power centers of the Mediterranean region: Greece, Egypt, Northwestern Africa and Italy. Celtic, Scythian and Persian peoples would have continued to dominate the larger continental landmasses around these highly developed regions where city-states vied for dominance with one another. Sometimes an Alexander would emerge and lead his particular kingdom to dominance.

The question is, would there ever be an empire like Rome, that would so utterly crush all resistance that it could literally unite the Mediterranean world for many centuries and leave formerly barbarian peoples (Celts, Dacians, eventually even the Franks, Serbians, and Germans, and later still the Ottomans Turks) feeling themselves to have a "Roman" identity? - in this alternate timeline of course, that identity would not be a "Roman" one, but you get the idea.

I think a more warlike Carthage might have emerged from the struggles with Rome. Their efforts to politically restructure the northern Mediterranean kingdoms in order to prevent another Rome or perhaps Rome itself from pushing them to the brink would force them to think in terms of conquest and maintaining garrisons in distant lands. They were already doing this to an extent in Spain.

But would Carthage have become interventionist in Greek wars the way Rome did after Pyrrhus woke them to the threat a Greek imperialist might pose? Would they eventually have fallen afoul of Egypt? Would they have gone all the way back to the Levant (the Carthegenian's ancestral homeland) and vied with Persia for control of that region the way Rome did by the 1st Century BC?

It is just possible Carthage would have become what they despised. An Empire not so different from the Roman Empire might have emerged based on Carthage. But I highly doubt they would have viewed Greece and Egypt as objects of conquest, preferring lucrative trade deals. However, even lucrative trade deals can end up drawing great powers into wars of political intervention if new regimes come to power and put an end to the deal.

I see the most likely outcome, at least as far down the timeline as circa 1 AD, being a Carthage with imperial territories in Spain, Italy, North Africa from Cyrenica to Mauritania and out to the Canary Islands, and possibly Crete, Rhodes and Cyprus. They might have coastal trading stations along the Bay of Biscay and in Brittany, and almost certainly in Cornwall where they would want to control the ancient tin mines. They would maintain trade with Persia, the Celts, the Greeks and the Egyptians, and would attempt to limit costly and disruptive wars. An Adriatic power might well emerge between Greece and Italy as another trade partner, and Carthage would encourage this as it would counterbalance any lingering Roman rebelliousness.
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Re: What if Hannibal Barca managed to force Rome to surrender to Carthage in the Second Punic War?

Post by Thorfinn Karlsefni on Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:52 pm

Part 2: 1 AD Forward:

Here's where it gets interesting (at least in my postulated alternate timeline). In a Mediterranean world dominated by trade networks and trade-based alliances, one Greek city-state in particular is geographically positioned to benefit from the supra-regional flow of commerce: Byzantium.

That's right, our Constantinople/Istanbul. Good old Byzantium becomes rich and very populous through control of the X-marks-the-spot crossroads between land and sea based trade-routes. Would this arouse the jealousy of a warlike state? Would Byzantium be conquered and control of the strategic location be monopolized by Macedonia or Epirus or Corinth or Athens or Sparta or Syracuse, etc? Would the Parthians be tempted to make a move on it themselves and start another period of Greek unification against a new Persia? What role would Egypt play? Clearly, Carthage cannot stand by and watch their trade networks get cut off by a massive war!

The war almost certainly ensues, but how does lasting peace come about? Does Byzantium hire an army and defend itself? Do Carthage and Parthia come to blows over control of the Bosporus? Is the eastern Mediterranean world finally unified under a powerful empire that is essentially forced into seizing control of the region? Which Empire? What are the lasting impacts? Is the Mediterranean world permanently split east and west? Or does Carthage succeed to recreating what Rome did in our timeline? How long does the new empire hold together? Does it manage to fight off Persia? Does it absorb Egypt and the Levant? Does it eventually seek to control the politics of the Celtic tribes and not merely trade with them? Does Carthage finally take all the land up to the Rhine, the Danube and the Euphrates? Maybe history is less elastic than we think... Maybe the fate of the world was to turn out very like our own no matter the outcome of the Punic Wars.
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