Sunday 1 September 2013

First Roman War- Part 2

By now it was clear to the Romans that they were gaining the upper hand in this war.  Now the time had come to invade Phut and sack Qart-Hadasht itself.  A strong fleet of ships under the consuls Marcus Atilius Regulus and Lucius Manlius Vulso Longus was sent out from Italy.  In Qart-Hadasht, the Addirim hastily assembled by the barracks on the Bozrah citadel in order to prepare a strong navy to meet them.  Two generals (or admirals) were elected to lead them into battle.  These men were Abd-Melqart and a nobleman called Hanno.  Hanno was a proud noble, and like many in Qart-Hadasht could trace his ancestry back for many generations.  He was directly descended from King Hanno IV, who in ancient times had heroically led a fleet of 200 ships into battle against the Greeks off the coast of Shekelesh, and as a result of his victory preventing King Dionysios I of Syracuse from attacking Lilibu.  Being descended from a king made him proud, and he bore the same name as his royal ancestor.  A fleet of 350 ships set out from the military port of Qart-Hadasht, with Abd-Melqart commanding those ships on the middle, and Hanno commanding those on the right flank.  They met the Romans off the coast of Shekelesh.  Abd-Melqart turned his ships as if to retreat, and the Romans followed him, leaving some of their own ships behind as they went.  It was then that Hanno swung his ships from the right flank straight into the Roman ships, destroying them.  Meanwhile, the other Roman ships had caught up with Abd-Melqart's ships and rammed straight into them.  Many of their ships were lost, and Abd-Melqart was forced to retreat. 

Roman ships charge against those of Qart-Hadasht, while the Canaanite mariners board the enemy vessels and attack the Roman soldiers on board
The Romans then turned and rushed back to deal with Hanno's ships, and a great many of his ships were sunk or captured.  Defeated, Hanno turned and fled.  The Romans landed on Shekelesh and sent the prows of the ships of the Qart-Hadashtim back in triumph to Rome, where they adorned the Forum.

Marcus Atilius Regulus did not stop at Shekelesh though, and continued onward with his ships, landing on Phut and ravaging the countryside around Qart-Hadasht and her allies.  Entire Canaanite villages were burned to the ground, and the earth was scorched.  The land around the Canaanite cities was rich and fertile, blessed by the great god Dagon.  Vines and olives grew there, as did fruit trees and marsh plants.  Farmers worked in the fields, harvesting grains and pulses.  Cattle and sheep grazed on the hillsides, tended by shepherds and cattle-herders.  Slaves too, worked on the land, but were often treated fairly by their masters to ensure that they didn't run away.  Beekeepers kept bees who created sweet honey, and milk and honey was sent to the big capital cities to supply them with food.  Wine was created and grapes and fine wine were sold on trading ships all around the Mediterranean.  The countryside was beautiful and green, but was quickly becoming ravaged by the Romans who set fire to the hills around Qart-Hadasht.  Whole villages and small unwalled towns lay in ruins, their inhabitants enslaved.  The Romans' first major attack upon a city happened to the south of Qart-Hadasht, by the city of Kelibiya.  The Romans besieged the city, building a trench and palisade to defend their ships from attack by the city's defenders.  The Canaanites of Kelibiya were defeated, and the city had a Roman garrison installed there.  Rome sent messengers back telling Vulso to return to Rome with the 20, 000 captured inhabitants of Kelibiya as slaves, as well as the herds of cattle plundered from the countryside, and with most of the Roman fleet.  Regulus, on the other hand, was to remain with 15, 000 infantry and 500 cavalry.  Regulus remained in Kelibiya for a while, and then advanced onward to capture more cities.

By now, the Addirim had recalled the defeated general Abd-Melqart, who had fought alongside the nobleman Hanno to try and prevent the Roman fleet from landing in Phut, back to Qart-Hadasht with his 5000 infantry and 500 cavalry.  Here he was joined by two more generals elected by the Addirim, named Hasdrubaal and Bodashtart.  An army was assembled of some citizen soldiers and cavalry.

Citizen militia from Qart-Hadasht and its Canaanite allies (mishteret izrahim).  These came from the noble families of the Canaanite cities
Citizen cavalry from the Canaanite cities (ezrahim parashim)
The cavalry lancers were always good and useful, and their horses were a fine breed.  The citizen infantry was mostly spear militia, and it became apparent to the Addirim that the Canaanite citizen soldiers were clearly not enough to face the Romans.  The Canaanites were, after all, a mercantile people and not a warrior people.  There was little incentive for merchants to fight in wars.  However, this was never a problem for Qart-Hadasht, as there were many Phutite tribes and kingdoms who were her allies, and many Phutites worked the land in the surrounding countryside for the Canaanites who dwelled in the cities and larger towns.  These people were mostly light infantry.  Many of them were called upon by the Addirim in large numbers to join the armies of the three generals.

Phutite light infantry (aanatim Phutim)
On top of all of these, a number of elephants were also given by the Addirim to the generals.  Moving swiftly, they set off from Qart-Hadasht and moved south in the direction that the Romans under Regulus were heading.  A call for help was sent to them from the nearby city of Adis, which was now being attacked by the Romans.  The Qart-Hadashtim moved their army to a hill outside of the city of Adis, where they took up position.  Overlooking the plain and the city on it below, the generals were confident that this would guarantee them victory.  They set up camp and rested for a while, offering sacrifices to the gods in the sacred tent which was carried around as a temporary sacred space and tabernacle, containing the images of the gods who marched with the army into war.  Unknown to the Qart-Hadashtim above, the Romans sent their soldiers to surround them on two sides under the cover of darkness.  At dawn, the Romans led a surprise attack from both sides.  This caught the Qart-Hadashtim off guard, causing many losses.  On top of this, the land surrounding the hill consisted of ravines and rugged outcrops, and so it was extremely difficult for the cavalry and elephants to mobilize.  In addition to this, the three generals had difficulty keeping the army under control with their conflicting orders.  Still, Abd-Melqart, Hasdrubaal, and Bodashtart managed to hold back a Roman legion, allowing the cavalry and elephants to escape.  Eventually though, it became apparent that the Qart-Hadashtim could not hold the hill, and so fled the plain of Adis entirely.  The Romans captured the camp and plundered it before continuing their advance.

The plain of Adis, where the great city once stood.  This here is the Roman cisterns of Adis, which obviously weren't built yet at the time of this war.  It was here that Abd-Melqart, Hasdrubaal, and Bodashtart were defeated by the Romans
There was great turmoil in Qart-Hadasht.  The Romans now had the cities of Kelibiya and Adis under their control, and the rest of the cities feared attack.  The armies of Qart-Hadasht had been utterly beaten, and there was no hope for victory now.  The people from the outlying countryside, from the villages and unwalled towns, fled into the capital cities of their own city-states, including Qart-Hadasht, Atiqa, and Ippone.  The Numidians rose up against their Canaanite overlords and refused to send tribute to them.  The cities became overpopulated and the streets were filled with people who had taken refuge there and were left without homes.  Disease spread.  There were great famines and food shortages due to a ravaged countryside and nobody left to work the fields.  Infants were being cremated and their ashes buried in urns in the Tophet, near the sanctuary of the mother goddess Tanit overlooking the docks and the sea, almost everyday.  People stood in the courtyard outside of the temple of Baal Hammon wailing and gnashing their teeth in the hopes that their merciful heavenly father would hear them and make their city great again, save them from their suffering, and drive away those accursed Romans. 

The Tophet sanctuary of Qart-Hadasht
The Addirim met atop the Bozrah hill, in the great ziggurat-like temple of Eshmun, which the astrologers used by night to study the stars in heaven.  What was to be done?  It was late winter, coming on to the month of Nisan and the beginning of spring.  The results of this disastrous battle left Qart-Hadasht in a dire state.  As was custom in late winter, people took to ships and braved the windswept coasts of Phut to sail across from the city of Qart-Hadasht to Jebel Bu Kornein, the 'Two-Horned Hill' across the bay.  This was the great mountain sanctuary dedicated to the worship of the god.  The people gathered there in ritual to chase away old Hammon's rains which were released from the firmament over winter.  The priests of Baal Hammon led the ritual, and the people danced around, beating the floor whenever the god's name was mentioned aloud.  While the festivities were ongoing, the Addirim hoped that it would take the peoples' minds away from the mess they were in.  When they were over though, their thoughts would quickly return to the terrible situation they were in.

A view of Qart-Hadasht from the Bozrah hill, overlooking the bay.  The mountain sanctuary of Jebel Bu Kornein can clearly be seen across the water
But, unknown to the Qart-Hadashtim in their great city, things were no going much better for Regulus and his two legions either.  He had seen the walls of Qart-Hadasht, and they were 50 feet tall.  There was no way that he could scale them, and so a siege would be impossible.  His consulship would soon be over, and he needed to end the war fast.  At last he agreed to send messengers to Qart-Hadasht with negotiations of peace to end the fighting.  His messengers entered the governing palace of the city, and stood before the Addirim with the following demands: that Qart-Hadasht grant all of her lands and colonies in Shekelesh, Shardana, and Korsim to the Romans; that Qart-Hadasht pay a tribute to Rome; that Qart-Hadasht must renounce her navy and lose her ships; and that Qart-Hadasht must sign a treaty making her a vassal of Rome.  The Addirim were horrified by these demands, and so refused them.  The fighting was to continue.

The Addirim needed to hire a new general who could lead the army into battle and win great victories.  They turned their attention to the Spartans, the warrior state of Greece.  A great Spartan warrior was Xanthippus, who was willing to fight for Qart-Hadasht if they paid him enough.  The Addirim looked into the treasury and produced enough shekels to keep Xanthippus happy, and he was appointed general by them at once.  Xanthippus trained the men in the barracks, and decided to use the following formation in battle: cavalry split into two wings, mercenary infantry on their right, a phalanx of citizen warriors in the middle, and a line of elephants in front of them.

Xanthippus the Spartan leads the Qart-Hadashtim into battle against the Romans near the Numidian city of Tunis
Xanthippus led his men to the open plain by the Numidian city of Tunis.  He forced the Romans to fight him on open ground, so that he could use the cavalry and the elephants.  The elephants charged first, smashing into the Roman infantry.  The Roman cavalry was quickly outnumbered and defeated by the cavalry of the Qart-Hadashtim.  The mercenaries fighting for Qart-Hadasht made an attack against the Romans, but were defeated by 2000 Roman troops on the left flank.  In the middle, only a few Romans made it past the elephant attack, and were quickly destroyed by the phalanx of citizen infantry.  Then the cavalry charged from both sides and destroyed the remaining Roman troops.  Only the 2000 Romans who had defeated the mercenaries escaped back to the ships.  Regulus himself was taken prisoner by Xanthippus.  This was a great victory for Qart-Hadasht.  Meanwhile, the Roman fleet managed to destroy the fleet of the Qart-Hadashtim and escape from Phut, but a storm at sea wrecked the entire fleet, and over 90, 000 men were possibly killed.  This ended any hope the Romans could have of taking Qart-Hadasht.  The Qart-Hadashtim sent forces into Shekelesh and sacked Agraginta, burning the city to the ground before leaving and returning home.

Back in Qart-Hadasht there was great celebration because of the recent victories.  Xanthippus was richly rewarded, before he left the city by ship searching for new lands to fight for.  He would later land in Egypt and fight for the Ptolemaic Empire in their war against the Seleukid Empire.  He would be made a general by King Ptolemaios III Euergetes of Egypt, and command the Ptolemies in their invasion of Babylon.  Xanthippus personally would capture part of Babylon and offer sacrifices in the great temples of Marduk which stood within the city.

As for the Qart-Hadashtim, their moment of celebration in victory would be short-lived.  More conflicts would come.

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