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Crossing the Alps with elephants

topic posted Tue, August 4, 2009 - 9:18 AM by  Unsubscribed
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and an army On foot
Hannibal Alexander even Napoleon
None of those crossings would have been possible if the Alps were then as they are today. Impassable ice and snow bound with snow so deep it would swallow elephants.

No the Warmers who think it's a big deal that ice sheets recede are short sighted idiots who are fooled by politically driven pseudo science.

Hey Warmers just like always it is all about the power and money.


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  • Re: Crossing the Alps with elephants

    Tue, August 4, 2009 - 9:33 AM
    Glad your posts are referenced in such nicely irrefutable facts.

    www.nytimes.com/2006/12/16...ustria.html

    -troy


    • Re: Crossing the Alps with elephants

      Tue, August 4, 2009 - 9:40 AM
      Is Global Warming Killing the Polar Bears?
      By JIM CARLTON
      Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
      December 14, 2005

      It may be the latest evidence of global warming: Polar bears are drowning.

      Scientists for the first time have documented multiple deaths of polar bears off Alaska, where they likely drowned after swimming long distances in the ocean amid the melting of the Arctic ice shelf. The bears spend most of their time hunting and raising their young on ice floes.

      In a quarter-century of aerial surveys of the Alaskan coastline before 2004, researchers from the U.S. Minerals Management Service said they typically spotted a lone polar bear swimming in the ocean far from ice about once every two years. Polar-bear drownings were so rare that they have never been documented in the surveys.

      But in September 2004, when the polar ice cap had retreated a record 160 miles north of the northern coast of Alaska, researchers counted 10 polar bears swimming as far as 60 miles offshore. Polar bears can swim long distances but have evolved to mainly swim between sheets of ice, scientists say.

      The researchers returned to the vicinity a few days after a fierce storm and found four dead bears floating in the water. "Extrapolation of survey data suggests that on the order of 40 bears may have been swimming and that many of those probably drowned as a result of rough seas caused by high winds," the researchers say in a report set to be released today.
      • Unsu...
         

        Re: Crossing the Alps with elephants

        Tue, August 4, 2009 - 9:46 AM
        ******************It may be the latest evidence of global warming: Polar bears are drowning.

        Scientists for the first time have documented multiple deaths of polar bears off Alaska, where they likely drowned after swimming long distances in the ocean amid the melting of the Arctic ice shelf. The bears spend most of their time hunting and raising their young on ice floes. ***********************
        \
        HA HA HA HA bear populations had been the highest in recorded history just recently. It is no shock that they would peak out and start a die off.

        More junk science brought to you by political hacks.
        • Re: Crossing the Alps with elephants

          Tue, August 4, 2009 - 9:48 AM
          Again, thanks for referencing your so-called facts Cliff.

          • Unsu...
             

            Re: Crossing the Alps with elephants

            Tue, August 4, 2009 - 9:54 AM
            ***********Again, thanks for referencing your so-called facts Cliff. ****************

            It's not my fault if you lack a basic education.

            It's all just stuff you'd have got in college or maybe even high school Brian..
            • Re: Crossing the Alps with elephants

              Tue, August 4, 2009 - 3:07 PM
              <It's not my fault if you lack a basic education.>

              And, this is what goes for 'debate' for conservatives.

              They believe it, so it's true. That's the beginning and end of that one. No information EVER that goes against his core beliefs will change his mind.
  • Re: Crossing the Alps with elephants

    Tue, August 4, 2009 - 9:39 AM
    I think you are confusing the Italian Alps with the Swiss alps.

    Take a look at the Rocky mountain chain. Crossing the rocky mountains in New Mexico would likely be easier than crossing them in British Columbia or the Yukon. It would be a mistake to confuse the Colorado Rocky mountains with the Canadian Rocky mountains.

    geography.howstuffworks.com/unit...E.htm

    Yes, it's true that the air is rarified on the peaks of all mountains, and it tends to be cold with snow on the mountain top. However, Hadrian would have been looking for a mountain =pass= over which to bring his war elephants. He also would have done this in the summer time. The Italians at the time also thought that the Alps made their city safe, a naturally impassable barrier. So of course Hadrian had the element of surprise when he brought his forces through the Italian Alps.

    It's interesting to note that Italian freedom fighters opposed to Mussolini's Fascist party also hid in the Italian Alps during the 1930's. So, while it is difficult terrain to traverse, it's not =impossible= to live there, or travel through the region.
    • Unsu...
       

      Re: Crossing the Alps with elephants

      Tue, August 4, 2009 - 9:47 AM
      **********Hadrian would have been looking for a mountain =pass= over which to bring his war elephants. **************

      Well sugar britches there are none such today.

      That's the point.
      • Re: Crossing the Alps with elephants

        Tue, August 4, 2009 - 9:53 AM
        <<Well sugar britches there are none such today.

        That's the point. >>

        There are always mountain passes. It's just a path you can take to get through the mountain. They can be man-made or natural.

        If Hadrian and his armies did not find such a pass, then he wouldn't have been able to bring his war elephants to Rome. If this had happened, we wouldn't have heard about him in the history books.

        There are certainly many more mountain passes through the Italian alps today than there would have been in Hadrian's time. Italy is densely populated, and explosives and modern engineering make it much easier to cut convenient holes through the mountains which you can put a road or railroad through.
        • Unsu...
           

          Re: Crossing the Alps with elephants

          Tue, August 4, 2009 - 9:59 AM
          *********There are always mountain passes. It's just a path you can take to get through the mountain. They can be man-made or natural.**************

          You mean like that insanely stupid myth of boiling Vinegar and pouring it on the rocks to cut a pass?

          Right. Given the technology they had and the inability to carry adequate food for the animals 14 - 15 days it stands to reason they weren't shopping too carfeully for secret never before known passes in the mountains.

          Maybe you haven't ever bushwhacked a way through a mountain range. I have and I am here to tell you there ain't nothing like a well worn trail. You ain't taking no elephants and no army over unknown passes.


          ******There are certainly many more mountain passes through the Italian alps today than there would have been in Hadrian's time. I*******

          Perzakly so and not one would allow such a passing. Not today, there's just so much more ice and snow.
      • Unsu...
         

        Re: Crossing the Alps with elephants

        Tue, August 4, 2009 - 10:01 AM
        ~Well sugar britches there are none such today.~

        Thats an absurd claim if I ever heard one... I like how you chose to ignore the fact that the alps don't have enough snow to swallow an elephant.
    • Unsu...
       

      Re: Crossing the Alps with elephants

      Tue, August 4, 2009 - 9:55 AM
      ***********think you are confusing the Italian Alps with the Swiss alps. **************

      Swedes Italians all them Euro Trashers look alike after closing time.
      • Re: Crossing the Alps with elephants

        Tue, August 4, 2009 - 10:02 AM
        And the Swedes don't have any Alps. I swear that is something you could have learned in College, or even High School.
        • Re: Crossing the Alps with elephants

          Tue, August 4, 2009 - 10:22 AM
          <<You mean like that insanely stupid myth of boiling Vinegar and pouring it on the rocks to cut a pass?>>

          Not at all. I am saying that a mountain pass is a path, which can exist naturally. Sometimes these passes are blocked with boulders, avalanches, etc. I don't know about boiling vinegar and pouring it on rocks to cut a pass. It almost sounds Biblical. I know the ancient quarries would use a chisel and mallet to place a wooden spike into the rock, and pour water on the wood. As the wood expanded, it cracked the rock. Incredibly labor intensive, but they had the slave labor in those days.

          <<Right. Given the technology they had and the inability to carry adequate food for the animals 14 - 15 days it stands to reason they weren't shopping too carfeully for secret never before known passes in the mountains.>>

          Well, i'm sure that Hadrian spies and engineers ahead of time as most armies do. Yes, of course they would have been shopping =very carefully= for the best possible route through the mountain. The whole preparation process might have taken years to prepare. Since elephants and horses are herbivores, they could be fed on bales of hay which could be strategically deposited at rest area locations ahead of time. This is also true of supplies for the men.

          <<Maybe you haven't ever bushwhacked a way through a mountain range. I have and I am here to tell you there ain't nothing like a well worn trail. You ain't taking no elephants and no army over unknown passes.>>

          Yes you're right. You wouldn't be taking elephants over unknown passes. You would have the whole thing meticulously planned, just as you would for =any= expedition through a mountain range. Yes it's true, there ain't nothing like a well worn trail. The locals in the area probably used such trails themselves, as trade routes through the mountains to their villages. It's not as though an Italian in the area would have anything to say about an army moving through the mountains. For one thing, not all Italians were Romans. Also, these are the days before mass communications such as radio or telephone, so there was no way to warn the Roman emperor that the Africans were invading.
          • Re: Crossing the Alps with elephants

            Tue, August 4, 2009 - 10:27 AM
            cliff.....Hanibal's army was 50'000 man strong with 40 Elephants when they entered the Alps.
            By the time they left the Alps the army was down to 20'000 foot soldiers 6000 horsman and 10 Elephants.
            • Unsu...
               

              Re: Crossing the Alps with elephants

              Tue, August 4, 2009 - 12:44 PM
              ************cliff.....Hanibal's army was 50'000 man strong with 40 Elephants when they entered the Alps.
              By the time they left the Alps the army was down to 20'000 foot soldiers 6000 horsman and 10 Elephants. ************

              So is that an argument that his planning was woefully inadequate
              That his forced march of 15 days was lethal on men and beasts
              That he thought in advance that he'd likely have a high attrition so he took plenty more

              What exactly do you imagine your statement says?

              None of them would have made the transit in the Alps of today.

          • Unsu...
             

            Re: Crossing the Alps with elephants

            Tue, August 4, 2009 - 11:33 AM
            ********Not at all.************
            I didn’t think so. It was rhetorical.

            ********I am saying that a mountain pass is a path, which can exist naturally.*******

            Back then most all did.

            ************Sometimes these passes are blocked with boulders, avalanches, etc. I don't know about boiling vinegar and pouring it on rocks to cut a pass. It almost sounds Biblical.*************

            It is massively insane presupposing that there was a magical supply of god only knows how many million gallons of vinegar, massive pots and fuel all on a trek across a vast mountain range. Then there’s the fact that vinegar ( boiled or otherwise) wont do squat. It can attack limestone – slowly - but that’s about it .

            *******I know the ancient quarries would use a chisel and mallet to place a wooden spike into the rock, and pour water on the wood. As the wood expanded, it cracked the rock. Incredibly labor intensive, but they had the slave labor in those days. *********

            Yah but that is not the stuff of a 15 day forced march across the alps.

            *********Well, i'm sure that Hadrian spies and engineers ahead of time as most armies do. Yes, of course they would have been shopping =very carefully= for the best possible route through the mountain. The whole preparation process might have taken years to prepare. Since elephants and horses are herbivores, they could be fed on bales of hay which could be strategically deposited at rest area locations ahead of time. This is also true of supplies for the men.************

            I’d agree to some limited degree. But it’s all wild speculation
            "Few historical problems have produced more unprofitable discussion than that of Hannibal's pass over the Alps," said the mid-20th-century historian F. W. Walbank.
            Or stated another way: To this day much of it is a mystery.
            news-service.stanford.edu/news/...7.html

            Storing supplies in an ancient world in the mountains is a very short term affair.
            They’d need substantial structures to keep it all dry. Horses and elephants (unlike cows) can’t eat moldy hay. And hay is a weak food compared to fresh grass, No one knows whether Hannibal’s elephants were Asian or African. Teams of engineers building roads in the Alps might have attracted some un wanted attention. Stealth was part of the power of the attack.


            ”Hunt's scientific tools have become of great use in his most recent analyses. Pollen records hint that the tree line may have been higher in Hannibal's time, indicating a warmer climate that would make it less likely that year-round snow would have been lower than at the Col de Clapier. Closely studying the geology at the Traversette further lends evidence that the pass may not even have been passable in Hannibal's time, Hunt says.”
            news-service.stanford.edu/news/...7.html



            ***********It's not as though an Italian in the area would have anything to say about an army moving through the mountains. For one thing, not all Italians were Romans. Also, these are the days before mass communications such as radio or telephone, so there was no way to warn the Roman emperor that the Africans were invading.************

            Rome was famous for it’s military capability and high speed communications.
            ( not like DSL but high speed compared to others at the time)


            “The next leg of his investigation is to look for hard evidence in the form of artifacts. "You have to assume that an army of 25,000 people plus elephants is going to leave a record of its passage," Hunt said. "But to date, not one Carthaginian coin has been found in the Alps proper."”
            news-service.stanford.edu/news/...7.html


            I found that one statement remarkable:
            No Elephant bones, no remains of the dead soldiers?
            Apparently so.


            “Beyond the how, Hunt also believes he may have insight into why Hannibal crossed the Alps. Hannibal's father, a leading Carthaginian military general, brought his son as a boy of 9 to the altar of the god Baal, placed his hand on a living sacrifice and made him swear eternal enmity to the Roman Empire. It was the Second Punic War, and Carthage and Rome were battling for empire over the Mediterranean. Years later, Hannibal made one of the boldest moves in military history as he sought to attack the Romans from where they least expected it. With Baal being the god of mountains and storms, Hannibal meaning "Baal's grace" and his clan name of Barca meaning "lightning," his childhood experience could have ingrained in his young mind a sense of privilege with the god, Hunt says.”
            news-service.stanford.edu/news/...7.html


            Given the turbulence of the times and the time frame within which Hannibal had to make his decision there was not a lot of “advance preparation” possible.
            • Re: Crossing the Alps with elephants

              Tue, August 4, 2009 - 2:17 PM
              <<It is massively insane presupposing that there was a magical supply of god only knows how many million gallons of vinegar, massive pots and fuel all on a trek across a vast mountain range. Then there’s the fact that vinegar ( boiled or otherwise) wont do squat. It can attack limestone – slowly - but that’s about it .>>

              I'm not sure about the 'magical supply' of vinegar, which is easy enough to manufacture. The question would be whether it would be worth it to bring all that vinegar into the mountains, since it is more useful as a preservative. Also, it's not as though the vinegar that was used (presumably) to cut a mountain pass would be used up. Certainly, boiling the vinegar would reduce the water content (and thus increase it's acidity level). However, it still would be ineffective at cutting through rock other than limestone.

              <<Yah but that is not the stuff of a 15 day forced march across the alps.>>

              The Carthaginians were rivals of the Ancient Romans on every level, engineering, military prowess, as an economic power as well as their brutality.

              In fact, when the argument for the destruction of Carthage was raised in the Roman senate, the deciding 'argument' was two huge dates which fell from Cicero's toga. These were Carthaginian dates, demonstrated to be much larger in size than any Roman date could be.

              This was especially true when it came to their Navy. The Carthaginians had a naval base which was a 'citadel'. This place was like a war ship-building factory. Even the ships of native born Carthaginian Captains and sailors that docked in the port of Carthage had to pass through a complex rotating system of channels, so that they would be unable to tell the enemy exactly where in the city the citadel was located. The penalty for the defeat of a Carthaginian ship in a naval battle was quite severe as well, crucifixion of the crew and Captain by the city of Carthage.


              *********Well, i'm sure that Hadrian spies and engineers ahead of time as most armies do. Yes, of course they would have been shopping =very carefully= for the best possible route through the mountain. The whole preparation process might have taken years to prepare. Since elephants and horses are herbivores, they could be fed on bales of hay which could be strategically deposited at rest area locations ahead of time. This is also true of supplies for the men.************

              <<I’d agree to some limited degree. But it’s all wild speculation

              Storing supplies in an ancient world in the mountains is a very short term affair.
              They’d need substantial structures to keep it all dry. Horses and elephants (unlike cows) can’t eat moldy hay. And hay is a weak food compared to fresh grass, No one knows whether Hannibal’s elephants were Asian or African. Teams of engineers building roads in the Alps might have attracted some un wanted attention. Stealth was part of the power of the attack.>>

              You are right, it is all wild speculation.

              The system I outlined above is basically a modern strategy which usually relies on aircraft. It is a lot easier to drop off supplies for a force march in 'stations' if you have something like a cargo plane or helicopter, which can deploy (airdrop) such supplies rapidly. Even something like a truck, or convoy of trucks would be less efficient, and would risk getting bogged down in the alps. Trucks would also leave tire tracks of course, and so would the 'trucks' of the Ancient world which would have been oxen teams and wooden carts.

              In that link you provided, there seems to be some evidence that there are patches of fresh grass growing in places in the Alps. Whether or not it would be enough to support 6000 horses and elephants is unlikely, not to mention that grazing takes time. Hay may provide weak food compared to fresh grass, but soldiers have been known to subsist on weak food such as 'hard tack' (flour and water) and the same would be true for the horses and elephants.

              Teams of engineers building roads in the Alps would likely be unnoticed by the Romans, since the Alps were not heavily populated during these times. Al Qedia could be building/ clearing paths through the mountains of Afghanistan and the U.S. Army stationed there would have little chance of detecting it, even with their modern equipment and techniques, and the fact that they are actively looking for such paths.

              However, the building of a road through the alps for the sole purpose of a fifteen day force march would be a little less likely. This is especially true since your enemy stands to benefit from the road you build to attack them. Bridges are feasible, since they can be built and destroyed fairly quickly. Also, a natural path can be found and cleared of obstacles.

              <<”Hunt's scientific tools have become of great use in his most recent analyses. Pollen records hint that the tree line may have been higher in Hannibal's time, indicating a warmer climate that would make it less likely that year-round snow would have been lower than at the Col de Clapier. Closely studying the geology at the Traversette further lends evidence that the pass may not even have been passable in Hannibal's time, Hunt says.”>>

              news-service.stanford.edu/news/...7.html

              That's an interesting link that you provided.

              ***********It's not as though an Italian in the area would have anything to say about an army moving through the mountains. For one thing, not all Italians were Romans. Also, these are the days before mass communications such as radio or telephone, so there was no way to warn the Roman emperor that the Africans were invading.************

              <<Rome was famous for it’s military capability and high speed communications.
              ( not like DSL but high speed compared to others at the time)>>

              Yes, but the emphasis is 'high speed compared to others at the time'. This was because the Romans had their very famous network of roads which allowed travel time to be cut by half. It allowed wealthy Romans to communicate with one another mostly through relay, which meant one very fast runner carrying a scroll and running as fast as he could to the next runner, who took the scroll and ran as fast as he could to the next guy, and so forth. These runners were slaves that were chosen not only because they were fast runners, but also because they were illiterate. This meant that there was less chance of the scroll being read or altered in transit.

              If you were a foreign invader and you saw someone running down the road with a scroll, probably the first thing you would want to do would be to intercept this guy and either destroy the message, or switch the message with a false one of your own.

              Horses were/ are much faster than humans, but so much more expensive to own and maintain. Even to own a horse meant you were a member of the nobility, and had better things to do with your time (and your horse) than deliver messages. There were no 'Paul Revere' types in the Ancient world.

              What I should emphasize here is that the method of communications in this time was restricted to the written word. So, to communicate with other Roman towns, you had to be able to read and write yourself. The vast majority of the population at this time was illiterate. Those that could read and write often made it their profession, and were called 'Scribes'. Those scribes which were Roman citizens not living in the city of Rome itself but in a Villa may or may not have any allegiance to the city-state itself, other than being forced to pay taxes.

              Also, not all Italians were Romans. The Romans were one tribe called the 'Latins', who used brutality and military strength to conquer the rest of Italy not to mention Europe, Africa and the Middle East and accept them as second class citizens. Any Italian living in the vicinity of the inaccessible Alps would most likely be a peasant, and possibly be from a tribe which hated the Romans. So not only would these people be illiterate, they would not have the money for a slave messenger, nor would they have any incentive to help out the Romans.

              “The next leg of his investigation is to look for hard evidence in the form of artifacts. "You have to assume that an army of 25,000 people plus elephants is going to leave a record of its passage," Hunt said. "But to date, not one Carthaginian coin has been found in the Alps proper."”
              news-service.stanford.edu/news/...7.html


              <<I found that one statement remarkable:
              No Elephant bones, no remains of the dead soldiers?
              Apparently so.>>

              That is a great mystery. Especially when one considers such things as elephant dung. Elephants produce mounds of the stuff, not to mention the horses and of course the men as well. Small groups such as tactical squads may be able to infiltrate an area while leaving a minimal trace, but a huge army? This is especially true when you consider that hardly anyone gave much thought to things such as 'covering your tracks' in the Ancient world. It would have made more sense to cover your tracks if the Romans were conducting regular patrols of the Italian alps, but they weren't.

              <<“Beyond the how, Hunt also believes he may have insight into why Hannibal crossed the Alps. Hannibal's father, a leading Carthaginian military general, brought his son as a boy of 9 to the altar of the god Baal, placed his hand on a living sacrifice and made him swear eternal enmity to the Roman Empire. It was the Second Punic War, and Carthage and Rome were battling for empire over the Mediterranean. Years later, Hannibal made one of the boldest moves in military history as he sought to attack the Romans from where they least expected it. With Baal being the god of mountains and storms, Hannibal meaning "Baal's grace" and his clan name of Barca meaning "lightning," his childhood experience could have ingrained in his young mind a sense of privilege with the god, Hunt says.”
              news-service.stanford.edu/news/...7.html


              Given the turbulence of the times and the time frame within which Hannibal had to make his decision there was not a lot of “advance preparation” possible.>>

              Well, the large figs dropping from Cicero's tunic would certainly be an indication of the short time frame Hannibal had to work with. Until they saw those figs, most Roman senators were against war with Carthage. Still, I think that Hannibal would have planned his attack in advance.
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                Re: Crossing the Alps with elephants

                Tue, August 4, 2009 - 3:00 PM
                ***********I'm not sure about the 'magical supply' of vinegar, which is easy enough to manufacture.*************

                By an army on a forced march?
                I am rather surprised that you would even make such a remark.

                **********The question would be whether it would be worth it to bring all that vinegar into the mountains, since it is more useful as a preservative.**************

                Weight weight weight. And value. It’s pretty worthless stuff beyond a few applications. You can’t consume a diet saturated in the stuff.


                ********* Also, it's not as though the vinegar that was used (presumably) to cut a mountain pass would be used up. Certainly, boiling the vinegar would reduce the water content (and thus increase it's acidity level). However, it still would be ineffective at cutting through rock other than limestone.************

                There’s only so much you can get out of acetic acid.

                *********The Carthaginians were rivals of the Ancient Romans on every level, engineering, military prowess, as an economic power as well as their brutality.*********

                Yes well even today it would be a ridiculous suggestion to ask a marching army to engage in chemical manufacturing on the go.




                You are right, it is all wild speculation.

                *********In that link you provided, there seems to be some evidence that there are patches of fresh grass growing in places in the Alps.***********

                Alpine grasses and flowers are meager fare indeed.
                You have hear the tune “Edelweiss.” It was a flower Teutonic soldiers would wear for luck. They had to go get it themselves and the mere fact of having a bit of the stuff was your proof your resume so to speak that you were familiar with enormous effort and privation.

                ********* Whether or not it would be enough to support 6000 horses and elephants is unlikely, not to mention that grazing takes time.********

                Not in this current climate as cold as it is.

                **********Hay may provide weak food compared to fresh grass, but soldiers have been known to subsist on weak food such as 'hard tack' (flour and water) and the same would be true for the horses and elephants.**********

                Flour will kill a horse. Hell, mown lawn clippings will kill a horse. They would have had to have been carrying bales of hay.

                ********Teams of engineers building roads in the Alps would likely be unnoticed by the Romans, since the Alps were not heavily populated during these times.**********

                I’d not sell the Romans so short. They were no slouches.
                And they’d know about mountain passes which might well be the reason for the forced march. No time to squander.

                *********. Al Qedia could be building/ clearing paths through the mountains of Afghanistan and the U.S. Army stationed there would have little chance of detecting it, *********
                Itty bitty single file mountain paths are not the things you take six digits of humans with elephants across. I rather suspect that the “path” was a route used by merchants and others. So it was already in place.



                ******However, the building of a road through the alps for the sole purpose of a fifteen day force march would be a little less likely**********
                \
                And there is no remnant of any road. Nothing at all remains to inform us. All we have is the historical record of Hannibal showing up with elephants and an army.
                To this day no one had figured out how all those elephants and men came across. No one has even sussed out the route. It’s all a mystery.


                ********Yes, but the emphasis is 'high speed compared to others at the time'.**********


                Roads and runners much like our Pony Express. Pass the satchel and the next person takes off. It was really very effective. There were out posts all over the place.


                *****If you were a foreign invader and you saw someone running down the road with a scroll, probably the first thing you would want to do would be to intercept this guy and either destroy the message, or switch the message with a false one of your own.**********


                Not to put too fine a point on it but: the runner in this instance wouldn’t be heading into Hannibal. He’d have a head start and be running ahead of them

                ***** What I should emphasize here is that the method of communications in this time was restricted to the written word.*********

                Memorization was frequently used. Especially by the military. Messengers could remember the message and relay it with precision.


                *******That is a great mystery. Especially when one considers such things as elephant dung. Elephants produce mounds of the stuff, not to mention the horses and of course the men as well. Small groups such as tactical squads may be able to infiltrate an area while leaving a minimal trace, but a huge army?**********

                Isn’t it? And yet Hannibal was there. With elephants~!!
                Had to freak the Romans right the hell out.

                This was a forced march Imagine crossing that distance in 15 or less days?
                There was no erasing tracks. They were moving at an incredible clip.

                I can put down maybe 17 miles a day in the mountains with a 50 pound pack. They would have flown by me.



                ********Well, the large figs dropping from Cicero's tunic would certainly be an indication of the short time frame Hannibal had to work with. Until they saw those figs, most Roman senators were against war with Carthage. Still, I think that Hannibal would have planned his attack in advance.*********

                Oh yeah but he had to pull it all together in a really short time frame.
                It is unknown whether the elephants were a pure fluke and he just happened to have them or if they have been acquired just for that purpose. nobody knows.
                • Unsu...
                   

                  Re: The Alps are Melting

                  Tue, August 4, 2009 - 5:35 PM
                  Sunday, 26 August, 2001, 07:41 GMT 08:41 UK
                  Warm-up in the Alps
                  news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/scien...1507646.stm

                  Skiers beware: Melting glaciers mean unpredictable hazards

                  By BBC News Online's environment correspondent Alex Kirby
                  If you are contemplating a trip to the Alps, best go sooner rather than later. The longer you leave it, the less likely you are to find much sign of the glaciers.

                  They have drawn generations of climbers and tourists to the Alps from Europe and beyond. But since 1850, western Europe's glacial area has shrunk by up to 40%, and the volume by more than 50%.

                  The melting is happening, and it appears to be gathering pace. Scientists from Zurich University have monitored two specific regions of the Swiss Alps, the Engadin and the Simplon, for approaching half a century.

                  This year they reported "a pronounced and dramatic shrinkage of both the extent and number of ice bodies".

                  "In the Engadin", they said, "24 of the investigated 54 ice patches have vanished since 1955. In the Simplon area, 10 of 31 ice bodies have melted away completely since 1967."

                  Sub-surface melting

                  Longer-term studies suggest that the Alpine glaciers have been retreating for the last 150 years, and some scientists believe they could disappear completely by 2050.



                  The melt is on across the Alps

                  Satellite studies carried out by the US Geological Survey's Glims project (Global Land Ice Measurement from Space) reported evidence in June 2001 of glacier shrinkage in the Pyrenees, between France and Spain.

                  The number of Spanish glaciers has fallen from 27 in 1980 to 13 today.

                  It is not only the glaciers themselves that are warming, but the rock and soil beneath the surface as well.

                  Scientists have discovered that Europe's permafrost, the frozen earth covering mountain areas like the Alps, is melting.

                  Underground temperatures have risen by nearly a degree in the past decade - three times faster than at any other time in the last century. Buildings and villages will be increasingly at risk.

                  Further afield, the rate of glacier retreat in Russia's Caucasus mountains is about the same as Switzerland's.

                  Sign of change

                  Beyond Europe, the ice fields on the summit of Kilimanjaro in east Africa could melt completely in the next 20 years if the Earth continues to warm at the rate many scientists expect, according to Professor Lonnie Thompson, of Ohio State University, US.

                  He said comparisons with previous mapping showed 33% of Kilimanjaro's ice had disappeared in the last two decades - 82% had gone since 1912.



                  Melting permafrost threatens installations

                  Professor Thompson said Quelccaya in Peru, the only true ice cap in the tropics, had retreated 32 times faster in the last two years (1998-2000) than during the 20 years from 1963 to 1983.

                  "As a result of recent global warming, many tropical glaciers around the globe may disappear completely by 2020. Apart from the dramatic impact this will have on local communities, it is also a potent sign that the Earth is undergoing enormous changes," he said.

                  Warmest yet

                  A global study of 160,000 mountain glaciers and ice caps shows that the volume of the world's glaciers is declining, and that the rate of ice loss is continuing to speed up.

                  It is the smaller glaciers at low latitudes that seem to be worst affected, though there is evidence of loss in mid-latitudes as well.

                  The glaciers of the Tien Shan mountains between Russia and China have lost 22% of their ice volume in the last 40 years, while ice cores from eastern Tibet show the last 50 years to have been the warmest yet.

                  Until recently, though, there seems to have been little change in high-latitude glaciers, especially in the Arctic.
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                  You can argue whether or not the warming is caused by man made Co2/carbon emissions or whether increased solar activity is having an effect... But to say that the planet isn't warming is idiotic... At the moment the Sun is at a solar minimum meaning not much solar flare activity.... Thsi wouldn't be the first time the earth has experienced warming. Warming is always followed by an ice age.

                  More links on the alps melting some over 10 yrs old....

                  Alps glacial melt down> ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/....html

                  Glaciers melting in the Alps> www.planetark.com/dailynews.../story.htm

                  The Alps are melting> www.abc.net.au/foreign/st...s416893.htm

                  The melting heart of the Alps> www.youtube.com/watch

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                  Global Warming Poses Threat to Ski Resorts in the Alps
                  Roland Schlager for The New York Times
                  Published: December 16, 2006

                  KITZBÜHEL, Austria, Dec. 15 — How balmy has it been in the Alps these last few months? At the bottom of the Hahnenkamm, the famously treacherous downhill course in this Austrian ski resort, the slope peters out into a grassy field. And it’s just 10 days before Christmas

                  A ski chairlift was idle in sunny Kitzbühel, Austria. A new study says the Alps are now the warmest they have been in 1,250 years.

                  Roland Schlager for The New York Times
                  Two skiers walking across a patch of grass at the foot of a Kitzbühel ski slope. Experts say the Alps are heating up twice as fast as elsewhere.

                  Snow cannons are showering clouds of white crystals over the slopes, but by midmorning each day, the machines have to be turned off because the mercury has risen too far for the fake snow to stick.

                  “Of course I’m nervous about the snow, but what am I supposed to do?” said Signe Kramheller-Reisch, as she walked in a field outside her family’s hotel, wearing suede shoes and a resigned expression. “We have classic winters and we have nonclassic winters.”

                  This season is certainly shaping up as a nonclassic, but it may be a milestone of another kind. The record warmth — in some places autumn temperatures were three degrees Celsius above average — has brought home the profound threat of climate change to Europe’s ski industry.

                  If venturing outdoors without a jacket is not enough evidence, there are two new studies — one that says the Alps are the warmest they have been in 1,250 years and another that predicts that an increase of a few more degrees would leave most Alpine resorts with too little snow to survive.

                  The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which sponsored the second study, stopped short of predicting ruin for Europe’s ski industry. But Bruno Abegg, a researcher at the University of Zurich who was involved in it, said low-lying resorts faced an insuperable problem. “Let’s put it this way,” he said. “I wouldn’t invest in Kitzbühel.”

                  People here have heard baleful predictions for years. Because Kitzbühel sits in a low Tyrolean valley, at an altitude of only 2,624 feet, it is viewed as particularly vulnerable to the effects of global warming. (Vail, by contrast, sits at 8,210 feet in the Colorado Rockies).

                  For Kitzbühel, a glamorous dowager among Alpine resorts, the only comfort in the warm spell is that it has afflicted rivals at all altitudes. Val d’Isère, in France, and St. Moritz, in Switzerland — which are twice as high — were forced to cancel recent World Cup races for lack of snow.

                  Among the hoteliers, bartenders and others who depend on the ski trade, the long wait for winter has summoned a stoicism that comes from long experience with the vagaries of Mother Nature.

                  “This just happens every few winters,” said Josef Brandstätter, the owner of a mountaintop hotel, as he nursed a beer at a bar in town. “We know the snow will come.”

                  A few guests have canceled bookings for Christmas week, according to the local tourism office. But most are holding on to see if the weather changes; snow is forecast for Sunday. If it does not snow by New Year’s Day, however, people here say the trickle of cancellations could turn into a flood.

                  As for the broader threat of global warming, townspeople react with a mixture of fatalism and mild skepticism to studies like the one coordinated by Austria’s Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics, which says the Alps have not been this warm since the eighth century.

                  Mrs. Kramheller-Reisch, whose great-grandfather introduced skiing to Kitzbühel in the 19th century, cited a letter her grandfather wrote in the 1920s, in which he said farmers could not haul wood from the mountains down to the village because there was no snow for their sleds.

                  While she does not dispute the inevitability of global warming, Mrs. Kramheller-Reisch, 51, said that for the ski industry in Austria, “This is not going to be a problem in our lifetimes.”

                  Climatologists, however, say the warming trend will become dramatic by 2020. The new studies are alarming, suggesting that the Alps are warming twice as fast as the average in the rest of the world. In 1980, 75 percent of Alpine glaciers were advancing; now, 90 percent are retreating.

                  Reinhard Böhm, a meteorologist who worked on the study of Alpine temperatures, said one explanation for the disparity was the region’s location in the middle of the European continent, far from any oceans, which react more moderately to global warming trends.

                  Temperatures in the Alps began heating up around 1980, Mr. Böhm said, after an uncommonly cool period that started in 1950. This coincided with the major development of the European ski industry.

                  Despite the evidence of rapid change, Mr. Böhm said there was little talk of how to prepare for global warming in the resorts. “Nobody in ski tourism plans out further than 10 years,” he said. “If you ask people whether they are interested in the climate in 50 years, they say no.”

                  The O.E.C.D. study may focus minds. In Austria today, it says, 83 percent of ski resorts are “snow-reliable,” meaning they have enough snow for 100 days a season. If temperatures increased one degree Celsius, only 67 percent would have enough; if they rose two degrees, only half would.

                  Like most resorts, Kitzbühel has focused on offering more alternatives to skiing. Most hotels now have saunas and steam rooms befitting the Romans. There is an elaborate town sports center, with curling, climbing and ice hockey. Mrs. Kramheller-Reisch has put in conference facilities.

                  Kitzbühel has invested heavily in snowmaking equipment, which will soon cover all the major slopes. The resort has a few advantages: Because farmers use the slopes to graze cattle and sheep in the summer, there are fewer rocks than at other resorts. That means Kitzbühel needs less snow cover.

                  Snowmaking, of course, is still hostage to the weather. Even with the machines running full tilt, Kitzbühel will be able to open only 6 or 7 of its 54 lifts this weekend. And snowmaking is extremely expensive, prompting a debate in town about who should pay the bill.

                  Climate change need not end in Kitzbühel’s extinction, said Georg Hechenberger, a director of the company that runs the resort’s cable cars and lifts. One theory, he noted, is that rising temperatures will disrupt the Gulf Stream, plunging northern Europe into a period of chillier weather.

                  “In that scenario,” he said, “low-lying ski resorts are in good shape. You’re not going to feel comfortable at high altitudes.”
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.

                    Re: The Alps are Melting

                    Tue, August 4, 2009 - 5:50 PM
                    Cliff, get yourself a top. . .you know, the kind that spins. Practice until you get it right so that it spins in perfect balance.

                    That is what we more or less have had. . .a balanced ecology that has worked for us, allowing stability.

                    Now watch the top. . .it begins to lose it's balance.

                    What we have right now is global wobble. The earth is a globe and it is spinning. The atmosphere, which is what we are talking about, flows in patterns over the surface of the globe. Because of the increased release of heat from specific locations, the atmospheric stream is being disrupted and the balance is being lost.

                    Keep finding examples, but they only show the pattern of the wobble, not the coming collapse.

                    Please don't just go along with the herd. . .use that exceptional brain of yours.
                • Re: Crossing the Alps with elephants

                  Tue, August 4, 2009 - 9:14 PM
                  <<By an army on a forced march?
                  I am rather surprised that you would even make such a remark.>>

                  No army in human history has ever manufactured something while on the march. That is, unless you consider noise and chaos, misery and pain to be manufactured goods. Hannibal's army wouldn't have been =manufacturing= the vinegar. Instead, they would be bringing it in with them, just like the arrows, boot laces, beans, and whatever else an army would need. Still, considering that vinegar is basically rotted wine it must be a fairly intensive product to make. For wine you need grapes, for grapes a vineyard, servants, water, etc.

                  <<Weight weight weight. And value. It’s pretty worthless stuff beyond a few applications. You can’t consume a diet saturated in the stuff.>>

                  I agree with you that vinegar is heavy stuff to carry. I disagree that it is worthless. Vinegar was the strongest acid known to humans in the ancient world, with a wide range of medicinal as well as manufacturing purposes. The discovery of stronger forms of acid was not made until the medieval period ('Aqua fortis' or nitric acid was discovered in 800 AD.)

                  You might not be able to consume a diet saturated in vinegar, but the ability to pickle food is of tremendous value in a society without refrigeration. The use of vinegar as an ingredient in sauce was universal. The 'ketchup' of the Ancient world was a kind of fish sauce, made from dissolving a little sardine type fish in vinegar. The closest equivalent we have today is Worcestershire sauce as well as soy sauce.

                  <<There’s only so much you can get out of acetic acid.>>

                  I'm not familiar with the whole story about Hannibal using boiled (or boiling) vinegar to cut a channel through a mountain pass. I would agree that it is preposterous. I can't even see this happening in modern times using modern equipment such as explosives and bulldozers. However, it wasn't unusual for Roman historians to just 'make stuff up' which seemed plausible to a credible society who was largely ignorant of science.

                  <<Yes well even today it would be a ridiculous suggestion to ask a marching army to engage in chemical manufacturing on the go.>>

                  I'm not suggesting that they were making their vinegar 'on the go'. However, making vinegar is not that complicated. Just get some wine and expose it to air, and you have vinegar. Yogurt is something else that an army could 'make' while they were 'on the go'. Just get some bags of milk, expose them to the =right= kinds of bacteria, and you have a kind of food which keeps for a long period of time.

                  The question is, wouldn't the wine itself be more valuable than the vinegar? In our society, wine is much more of a luxury item which is enjoyed on occasion with dinner. In the Ancient world, wine was more of a necessity. Not all water was safe to drink, so by adding wine to the water you could be assured of safe, pleasant tasting water with the added bonus of a mild euphoric feeling. There was no tea, there was no coffee.

                  <<Alpine grasses and flowers are meager fare indeed.
                  You have hear the tune “Edelweiss.” It was a flower Teutonic soldiers would wear for luck. They had to go get it themselves and the mere fact of having a bit of the stuff was your proof your resume so to speak that you were familiar with enormous effort and privation.>>

                  True, but the Teutonic soldiers themselves could not subsist on a diet of grass.

                  <<Not in this current climate as cold as it is.>>

                  I think that this is your point, perhaps? Global warming is a myth, since Hannibal's crossing of the alps could not have otherwise occurred? Still, you seem to be taking a limited geographical perspective on the whole thing. The Italian alps are much warmer than the Swiss alps, the crossing would have occurred in summer, and Hannibal wouldn't have gone over the snowy peaks of the mountains, but would have had to make his way through the foothills.

                  <<Flour will kill a horse. Hell, mown lawn clippings will kill a horse. They would have had to have been carrying bales of hay.>>

                  Perhaps. Or maybe barley or grains, which provide more sustenance with less bulk. You could feed the soldiers on barley as well. You'd have to boil the barley first in both instances.

                  What I am finding most puzzling though are the elephants, who must consume 660 pounds of vegetable matter in a day, as well as fifty gallons of water a day.

                  <<I’d not sell the Romans so short. They were no slouches.
                  And they’d know about mountain passes which might well be the reason for the forced march. No time to squander.>>

                  It's true that the Romans were no slouches. They were the undisputed masters of the Ancient world. However, with such a distinction comes hubris. They thought themselves so powerful, that no enemy would dare approach their city. Also, the Romans considered the Alpine mountains as a natural fortification which was impassable by any substantial army. They would have known about these passes, but may have considered them as inconsequential. If there was any military threat to the Romans, it would come from the Northern borders as it always had before. So, this is naturally where they would concentrate their defenses.

                  <<Itty bitty single file mountain paths are not the things you take six digits of humans with elephants across. I rather suspect that the “path” was a route used by merchants and others. So it was already in place.>>

                  I think this is true. The mountain pass Hannibal used was probably already being used by Merchants and such. My guess is that it was not heavily policed by the Roman army though.

                  <<Roads and runners much like our Pony Express. Pass the satchel and the next person takes off. It was really very effective. There were out posts all over the place.>>

                  It was more like 'pass the baton' such as in a modern day relay race than the Pony Express. Most of the runners were slaves, since sometimes the recipient of bad news would take his anger out on the messenger. This is where the expression 'Don't shoot the messenger' comes from.

                  <<Not to put too fine a point on it but: the runner in this instance wouldn’t be heading into Hannibal. He’d have a head start and be running ahead of them.>>

                  Granted. Also it would be a lot easier for one man trying hard not to be seen to get away than it would be for a huge army with elephants to remain invisible. I wonder though about the limitations of those mountain passes? Would it be like entering into a maze of uninhabited canyons? Also, would it be possible for one runner to make his way through say, the only possible mountain pass without being intercepted by scouts looking for such a thing?

                  <<Memorization was frequently used. Especially by the military. Messengers could remember the message and relay it with precision.>>

                  The disadvantage to this method was that captured messengers could be tortured until they revealed the information. The information is sensitive, and the messenger usually considered disposable. So, it's no surprise that messengers often turned into (or were considered to be) spies. Any memorized message was usually of a personal nature, such as "Your wife wishes you well, and has given you a healthy son."

                  Also, it's difficult and time consuming to pass on a memorized message from one runner in a relay to the next. Humans, horses, and other animals can only run at top speed for a limited amount of time and a limited distance. After this time, they need to rest while another runner/ horse takes up the scroll. The very fact that the memorized message was passed from one relay runner to another makes me doubt the whole 'precision' of the operation. There would definitely be the 'grapevine' distortion in effect. Most human memories are very imprecise things to begin with, not to mention human minds, creative interpretation, listening skills, etc. Now when you consider that the messenger is an owned slave who very well might end up being tortured to death when he delivers a message of bad news, the reliability of the human messenger system is far from precise.

                  <<Isn’t it? And yet Hannibal was there. With elephants~!!
                  Had to freak the Romans right the hell out.

                  This was a forced march Imagine crossing that distance in 15 or less days?
                  There was no erasing tracks. They were moving at an incredible clip.

                  I can put down maybe 17 miles a day in the mountains with a 50 pound pack. They would have flown by me.>>

                  17 miles a day with a 50 pound pack is impressive, even on level terrain under ideal conditions.

                  The average soldier in Hannibal's army would be carrying more weight than that, and with no comprehension of modern day padded ergonomic backpacks or hiking boots. The shields they carried were probably at least 20 pounds in themselves.

                  Yeah, I bet the Elephants really did freak the Romans out, especially if the Romans had never seen an elephant before. This is what War elephants do best, that and breaking down walls.

                  By nature, Elephants are gentle animals that would never willingly attack another creature. The only way to get Elephants to do what you want is to poke them with a really sharp stick, called a Mahmoud. This also happens to be the name of the Elephant trainer. Often, the abused Elephant will go insane and start attacking everything around it. This is fine when you want the Elephant to break your enemy's fortifications, but when the Elephants start attacking your own troops, the Mahmoud uses the sharp spike (the Mahmoud) and drives it through the Elephant's brain. It seems like a lot of effort, energy and expense to try and break down your enemy's fortifications, but if you can smash through the enemy's fortification and make them tan their trousers (or togas) it would be worth it.

                  <<Oh yeah but he had to pull it all together in a really short time frame.
                  It is unknown whether the elephants were a pure fluke and he just happened to have them or if they have been acquired just for that purpose. nobody knows.>>

                  I think that he would have had those (African) War elephants since birth, since they would have to be trained. I don't think it's any more of a 'fluke' that Hannibal had and used them than tanks would be considered a 'fluke' in modern armies. What I am trying to imagine are the stables, training facilities, and agricultural resources to keep that many Elephants, horses and men well fed. Also, getting all those heavy, high-strung Elephants and horses into the dark, dank, smelly holds of ships along with their food and water, then crossing the pirate infested Mediterranean without incidence. Then, unloading all those heavy horses and elephants from the ships, only to begin a fifteen day force march through the mountains. It certainly does stagger the imagination.

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