Page:Heresies of Sea Power (1906).djvu/19

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3
INTRODUCTION.

were separated by the length of Italy, and one was destroyed by the combined action of the Roman generals.'

Now it may equally well be advanced that the Carthaginians 1 selected their 'long march through Gaul' because Spain was the base they drew their best troops from and because they proposed extending their Spanish empire down into Italy. All through this Second Punic War Carthage was as able to use the sea as Rome, and Hannibal's brother Mago took his reinforcements to Spain by sea. He took them to Spain for military reasons, though they were destined for Italy direct, and the influence of Sea Power in the war was often trifling save in so far as both sides had full use of the sea as a highway whenever inclined.

Captain Mahan is at some considerable pains to answer this possible objection by a process of inferences 2 and the assumption that such over-sea expeditions as Carthage undertook were of the nature of those raids which no kind of Sea Power can entirely suppress. If this be granted, then of course the rest of his argument must be accepted; but can it be granted?

The deductions of Captain Mahan are that Sea Power saved Rome. It is to be urged that Rome was saved only by those political intrigues of party-ridden Carthage which kept Hannibal short of reinforce-


1 See Chapter on 'The Punic War.'

2 The Influence of Sea Power on History, p. 14 et seq.