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Thread: Who was the better general - Alexander or Caesar?

  1. #1
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    Default Who was the better general - Alexander or Caesar?

    Caesar was apalled that Alexander had achieved so much at such a young age, and he, Caesar, in his fifties had, yet, so much to do to match him. Was Caesar mistaken in his understating his own achievements and did he better Alexander? Which do you think the better general and leader?

    Consider, both Alexander and Caesar sought everlasting glory.
    Last edited by 32Bravo; 12-20-2007 at 05:26 PM.


    "Although God cannot alter the past, Historians can"


    Samuel Butler


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    Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar - Some Online Resources

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    Alexander the Great (July 20, 356 BC – June 10, 323 BC)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_the_Great
    also known as Alexander III, was an ancient Greek king (basileus) of Macedon (336–323 BC). He was one of the most successful military commanders in history, and was undefeated in battle. By the time of his death, he had conquered most of the world known to the ancient Greeks.

    Marble portrait of Alexander the Great - Youthful image of the conqueror king -
    Hellenistic Greek, 2nd-1st century BC - Said to be from Alexandria, Egypt
    http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore...+great&x=8&y=8


    Reconstruction by Greg Matenkoski
    http://www.1stmuse.com

    Empire of Alexander the Great

    http://www.1stmuse.com


    ALSO:

    Alexander the Great: the 'good' sources
    http://www.livius.org/aj-al/alexande...ander_z1b.html

    Alexander the Great
    http://www.thegreatalexander.com/

    Plutarch: Life of Alexander
    http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/...der*/home.html

    Alexander the Great on the Web
    http://www.isidore-of-seville.com/Alexanderama.html

    All about Alexander the Great
    http://www.pothos.org/content/

    Alexander III "the Great" [356 - 323 BCE]
    http://virtualreligion.net/iho/alexander.html

    ALEXANDER THE GREAT
    http://www.1stmuse.com/frames/

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    Julius Caesar (July 12 or July 13, 100 BC or 102 BC – March 15, 44 BC),
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julius_caesar
    was a Roman military and political leader and one of the most influential men in world history. He played a critical role in the transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire.

    The Bust of Gaius Julius Caesar in the National Archaeological Museum, Napoli (Naples), Italy.


    http://www.vroma.org/~bmcmanus/caesar.html

    ALSO:

    Gaius Julius Caesar
    http://www.livius.org/caa-can/caesar/caesar00.html

    Julius Caesar
    An Annotated Guide to Online Resources
    http://virgil.org/caesar/

    GAIUS IULIUS CAESAR
    http://digilander.libero.it/jackdani...e/english.html

    JULIUS CAESAR: HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
    http://www.vroma.org/~bmcmanus/caesar.html

    Julius Caesar: An alternative view of his motives
    http://www.caius-ebook.com/RomanPolitics.htm

    The Heart of Change: Julius Caesar and the End of the Roman Republic
    http://www.michaellorenzen.com/caesar.html

    Julius Caesar (100BC - 44BC) BBC History
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/histori...r_julius.shtml

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  3. #3
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    Thank you, George. perhas the question should have been which of them contributed the most to civilization?

    I get the impression that Alexander was more of a tactican in the way he fought his battles, whereas Ceasar was a strategist.


    "Although God cannot alter the past, Historians can"


    Samuel Butler


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    I think it's difficult to compare the King of Macedonia who could command all the resources of the state with a former member of the Roman triumvirate several centuries later limited to a few legions in Gaul, or in the civil war, with no individual political power even remotely comparable to Alexander's.

    A separate aspect is that my recollection of reading Caesar's Commentaries a long, long time ago is that they were like a cliffhanger novel. Every time something seemed about to happen, Caesar went into winter quarters. Given the different climates in Caesar's north western European thrust compared with Alexandar's more or less south eastern / eastern thrust, the climate probably gave Alexander more campaigning time, although he went into winter quarters at times too.

    I'd be inclined to think that Alexander faced better organised troops in Persia etc, given the long history of organised warfare in such places, than Caesar faced in Gaul and Britain.

    Were there any significant developments in weapons and comparative weapons with enemies, and tactics and logistics, between Alexander and Caesar that demonstrate that one was better than the other in using what he had?

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    Hi guys

    You're welcome 32Bravo and thanks for the insight from you and Rising Sun.

    Sorry for not replying sooner. I have been very busy today and will be for the rest of the evening, but would like to get back to this tomorrow.


    All the Best,

    George

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    Quote Originally Posted by George Eller View Post
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    Hi guys

    You're welcome 32Bravo and thanks for the insight from you and Rising Sun.

    Sorry for not replying sooner. I have been very busy today and will be for the rest of the evening, but would like to get back to this tomorrow.


    All the Best,

    George

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    Hi George,

    about to go off for a walk along the South Devon Coast path, but will catch up when I return home in a couple of days.

    RS, some excellent points you brought out. My chum and I will be discussing them as we trek to the pub from Wembury to the pub at Heybrook Bay.

    check these out:

    http://www.francisfrith.com/search/e...ybrook+bay.htm


    http://www.bbc.co.uk/devon/content/a..._feature.shtml


    "Although God cannot alter the past, Historians can"


    Samuel Butler


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    The persian Army which Alexander found himself confronting was mainly made up of irregulars somewhat akin to militias. The Greeks had previously defeated the Persians at Marathon and Platae, as well as putting up a heck of a fight at Thermoplyae. The professionals amongst the Persians were the Immortals. These numbered ten thousand, and were so named as they were all similar in dress and accoutrements, height and build etc. When one was killed in battle, another would step forward to take his place. Arguably, the best troops on the Persian side were Greek mercenaries, of which there were many, and they fought in the traditional Greek phalanx
    (On previous occasion, Xenophon had led ten thousand Greek mercenaries in the internal wars of Persia, but when his sponsor was KIA'd he had to fight his way back to Greece, which he succeeded in doing.).
    However, both Alexander and Philip, his father, had defeated the Greek states and so these had nothing new to offer.

    Caesar not only defeated the warrior tribes of Britain, Gaul and Germany, but he also defeated the legions of Pompey the Great, who was considered the greatest Roman general of his time.

    When the Romans fought against the Armies of Macedonia, they were afraid of being anihilated, such was the reputation of the Macedonians. However, the Roman war machine had become so well developed that they found they were able to defeat the Phalanx simply by flanking it. This same Roman war machine was later to be commanded by Caesar and there was no stopping him.

    By the way, it is my understanding that Czar and Kaisar are both names which mean Ceasar. Interesting combination if we have a Czar Alexander?
    Last edited by 32Bravo; 12-28-2007 at 04:05 PM.


    "Although God cannot alter the past, Historians can"


    Samuel Butler


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    Quote Originally Posted by 32Bravo View Post
    The persian Army which Alexander found himself confronting was mainly made up of irregulars somewhat akin to militias. The Greeks had previously defeated the Persians at Marathon and Platae, as well as putting up a heck of a fight at Thermoplyae.The professionals amongst the Persians were the Immortals. These numbered ten thousand, and were so named as they were all similar in dress and accoutrements, height and build etc. When one was killed in battle, another would step forward to take his place. Arguably, the best troops on the Persian side were Greek mercenaries, of which there were many, and they fought in the traditional Greek phalanx
    (On previous occasion, Xenophon had led ten thousand Greek mercenaries in the internal wars of Persia, but when his sponsor was KIA'd he had to fight his way back to Greece, which he succeeded in doing.).
    However, both Alexander and Philip, his father, had defeated the Greek states and so these had nothing new to offer.

    Caesar not only defeated the warrior tribes of Britain, Gaul and Germany, but he also defeated the legions of Pompey the Great, who was considered the greatest Roman general of his time.

    When the Romans fought against the Armies of Macedonia, they were afraid of being anihilated, such was the reputation of the Macedonians. However, the Roman war machine had become so well developed that they found they were able to defeat the Phalanx simply by flanking it. This same Roman war machine was later to be commanded by Caesar and there was no stopping him.

    By the way, it is my understanding that Czar and Kaisar are both names which mean Ceasar. Interesting combination if we have a Czar Alexander?
    Thanks for that.

    Contradicts my 'off the top of the head' thoughts about the Persians. I was assuming that the Persians who gave the Greeks a bit of a flogging about a century and a half before Alexander had retained their military skill.

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    Of the major historic battles, the Persians only defeated the Greeks at Thermopylae, which became a rallying call to the Greeks, much the same as the 'Alamo' was to the Texicans.

    The Persians were initially hammered at Marathon by the Athenians, and then about ten years later at Salamis and Platae. Of course, the Persians meddled with Greek internal politics during the Pellopenessian War (Athens V Sparta), much as is happening today with Iran meddling in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Philip II developed the tactics of the Greek Phalanx by introducing the Sarissa, which outreached the Greek spears. Cavalry tactics were developed to protect the flanks of the Phalanx, but Alexander, with his Companion Cavalry, developed this arm of his army much further as a spearhead force for the assault.


    "Although God cannot alter the past, Historians can"


    Samuel Butler


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    Quote Originally Posted by 32Bravo View Post
    Of the major historic battles, the Persians only defeated the Greeks at Thermopylae, which became a rallying call to the Greeks, much the same as the 'Alamo' was to the Texicans.
    This if off the top of my rusty old head, which has difficulty remembering what I had today the for thing where you eat after you wake up which is called something like fakebreast, but after Thermopylae didn't Xerxes men burn the Acropolis?

    IIRC the Persians lost that campaign at sea and on logisitical grounds, rather than any overwhelming military feats by the Greeks. Or Macedonians. Or ancient citizens of FYROM, to avoid upsetting anyone of that persuasion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    This if off the top of my rusty old head, which has difficulty remembering what I had today the for thing where you eat after you wake up which is called something like fakebreast, but after Thermopylae didn't Xerxes men burn the Acropolis?
    The Athenians (apart from those that misread the message from the Oracle), withdrew to the island of Salammis, so the Persians simply marched into Athens unopposed.

    The Oracle had predicted that the Persians would be defeated by Athens' wooden walls. Themistocles, decided and convinced almost everyone that the wall of wood which would defeat the Persians was the Athenian fleet.

    Some die-hard Athenians believed that the walls of wood were those of the Acropolis, made their stand there, and perished in said fire.

    IIRC the Persians lost that campaign at sea and on logisitical grounds, rather than any overwhelming military feats by the Greeks. Or Macedonians. Or ancient citizens of FYROM, to avoid upsetting anyone of that persuasion.
    The Persians lost the Battle of Salammis because of the brilliant generalship of Themistocles.

    The clincher:
    The Greek Navy, which comprised of a combined fleet of the Greek, City States; argued among themselves (as was their way), many losing their bottle and wanting to leave. Themistocles sent a messenger/agent to Xerxes warning him that the Greeks were going to slip away at dawn. Thus (as Themistocles had anticipated) causing the Persians to go for a pre-emtive strike in order to foil their escape. In effect, Themistocles had lured the Persians into a trap as they were drawn into the narrow Straights of Salammis (which lie between Athens, on the mainland, and the island of Salammis), where there larger Persian fleet (in numbers and size of craft - about 400 against 200) had difficulty in maneouvering. The smaller and more maneouverable, Greek Tri-remes made fire wood of them.

    Xerxes decided to go home. He left behind a huge land force to finish off the Greeks, but they were anihilated by the Greeks the following year at the Battle of Platae.

    That's my take on it.

    http://www.herodotuswebsite.co.uk/salamis.htm

    http://www.herodotuswebsite.co.uk/pl...20of%20Plataea

    p.s. At the risk of displaying my ignorance - what is IIRC and FYROM?
    Last edited by 32Bravo; 12-29-2007 at 12:45 PM.


    "Although God cannot alter the past, Historians can"


    Samuel Butler


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    Quote Originally Posted by 32Bravo View Post
    p.s. At the risk of displaying my ignorance - what is IIRC and FYROM?
    IIRC = If I recall correctly. Shorthand for "I'm buggered if I know, but there's a bit of a thought floating around in the back of my mind about something I think I once read / heard / saw."

    FYROM = Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. You don't have a lot of Greeks where you are, do you? I live in what is variously reported as the second or third largest Greek city outside Athens. We're also chockers with Yugoslavs and Balkanese of various other sorts. Makes for fun times, including the idiot who tried to blow up the Turkish consulate many moons ago with a car bomb, as part of the activities of the curious alliances in the Greek Bulgarian Armenian Front http://www.tkb.org/Group.jsp?groupID=4036 . It detonated prematurely as he was driving down a slope into the car park under the consulate, due to said now deceased idiot forgetting that he'd rigged up a mercury switch to fire it, which of course was triggered when the mercury moved on the slope. Anyway, back to the FYROM rubbish, here's a few links http://truth.macedonia.gr/fyrom.html http://www.hri.org/docs/fyrom/
    http://forums.greekcity.com.au/lofiv...hp/t15062.html
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfPzOeQQ4Ng
    Last one doesn't make any sense, does it? Welcome to the madness of FYROM politics.
    Last edited by Rising Sun*; 12-29-2007 at 04:58 PM.

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    I think the ancient Helenics looked down their noses, somewhat, at the Macedons. In the recent film about Alexander, the Macedonians are all portrayed with Irish accents and the Greeks with accents of English Toffs.

    http://www.apple.com/trailers/wb/alexander/trailer2/

    Modern Greeks claim Alexander to be one of them, but then they would, wouldn't they?

    We do have a Kebab place on the high street, but I think it might be Turkish?..it's all Greek to me.


    "Although God cannot alter the past, Historians can"


    Samuel Butler


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    Quote Originally Posted by 32Bravo View Post
    I think the ancient Helenics looked down their noses, somewhat, at the Macedons. In the recent film about Alexander, the Macedonians are all portrayed with Irish accents and the Greeks with accents of English Toffs.
    That'd be about right. Bunch of Macedonian ruffians were the Balkan equivalent of the Irish, causing trouble to this very minute.

    We do have a Kebab place on the high street, but I think it might be Turkish?..it's all Greek to me.
    Kebab is Turkish. Gyros is Greek. And they're exactly the same, unless you happen to be Turkish or Greek, in which case you invented it and the other lot didn't.

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    I knew it had to be Turkish!

    Been at the poridge, have we?


    "Although God cannot alter the past, Historians can"


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