2500 years ago, the most powerful man in the world, Persian great king Xerxes I, had set out to add another country to his vast domains – small, mountainous Greece. In the previous post we’ve seen what prompted this invasion and how initially things were going well for the Persian invasion force – they broke through the Greek defenses at Thermopylae and thus central and southern Greece lay open to them. This time, we’ll finish the account of the Persian invasion of 480/479 BCE, look at Greco-Persian relations in the following one and a half centuries, and look at how the Greco-Persian Wars were remembered among the ancient Greeks and until today – of course, with board games!Continue reading
Big anniversaries of historical events are often the occasion for me to write something for this blog. 100 years ago, this happened. 500 years ago, that happened. Yet never have I gone as far back with that as I will today: 2500 years ago, in the summer of 480 BCE (keep in mind that there has been no “Year Zero”), a storm was brewing in the eastern Mediterranean. The most powerful man in the world, Persian great king Xerxes I, had set out to make Greece part of his domain. In this post, you’ll find out why he did that, and how his enterprise initially went. The next post (coming in September) will pick up the story from there and tell the rest of the tale of these Greco-Persian Wars and their repercussions until today. As always, there are plenty of board games on the way.Continue reading
Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears! Welcome back to our story of Hannibal and Scipio! In the first part of this account, we’ve covered their upbringing as spawns of the noblest families of their respective cities and the first part of the war that would define both of their lives. We’ve seen how Hannibal defeated Roman armies in Italy time and again, but could not force the Romans into surrender. When Rome adapted her strategy and avoided battle with Hannibal, his forward momentum stalled. After a disastrous defeat of the Roman expeditionary army in Spain, the senate sent young Scipio with there to avenge the death of his father and uncle. Continue reading
Two of the greatest commanders of antiquity died in 183 BCE, 2200 years ago. Their names are Hannibal Barca and Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus – but Hannibal and Scipio will do to refer to them. Their lives have many parallels – long absences from home, an adult life dominated by war in the first and politics in the second part, and finally the experience of being an individual too big to fit into one’s small community. We’ll look at their youth and their fortunes in the war when they were in Carthage’s favor in this article. A second part will cover the second part of the war when Rome struck back and Hannibal’s and Scipio’s years after the war that defined both their lives.
There are many board games which deal with the dramatic events of the second war been Rome and Carthage which I will discuss here. The most prominent one (and the one I will draw upon the most) is Mark Simonitch’s Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage (Valley Games). I took the pictures of the new edition Hannibal & Hamilcar (Mark Simonitch/Jaro Andruszkiewiecz, Phalanx Games).