Without going into too much detail on the matter, there is a terrible amount of inspiration for traders in studying Hannibal's victory at Cannae, his march of 100,000 infantry, cavalry and African elephants from Spain, up through the Italian Alps (!), down the Lombard plain and spine of Italy to Cannae. Hannibal's marching and battlefield tactics are replete with examples of tenacity, perseverance, deception, offensive and defensive psychology, adaptability, everything required of today's trader. In short, Robert L. O'Connell's Ghosts of Cannae is a profoundly interesting and entertaining read.

Peter Grieve comments: 

The Romans' steadfast response to Cannae and their eventual victory through Fabian tactics are worth thinking about also. And note how much gratitude "The Delayer" Quintus Fabius Maximus received for saving Rome.

Stefan Jovanovich writes: 

I think traders would find more useful information in a study of Fabius Maximus (from whom we get the term "Fabian" strategy - which the NY Times and others persist in attributing to the Fabian Society ) and a reading of Dexter Hoyos' book. Hannibal's Dynasty: Power and Politics in the Western Mediterranean, 247-183 BC is a expensive ($30 for even the Kindle edition) but it will give SpecLististers the back story– how the Barca family's rise to power affected Carthage's own choices and how, even as they won all the battles, the Barcas lost all in the Second Punic War.

P.S. Denis Feney's comparison with Stalingrad is another of Times' wonderful bits of nonsense. Professor Feney has the comparison absolutely backwards. Paulus' surrender was a defeat but it was hardly a destruction of the Wehrmacht. It was the Red Army that had already suffered 3 successive Cannaes (Minsk, Smolensk and Kiev) even before Paulus' army reached the Volga. The lessons of history are useless if you insist on only reading its book back to front.

And - I hope Jay would agree - the context has to include an understanding of how much the Roman's collective arrogance was fueled by the tension between the presumed aristocrats and the nouveaus; even the "hooray for our side" accounts make it clear that Varro and Paullus were spending far more time worrying about which one of them would wear the victor's wreath than they were spending in thought about what the stupid barbarians were up to.


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