History, Reference, Research, and GrogTalk > References and Research

Analyzing, modeling and simulating the will of military units to fight


Very interesting read.


Thanks, Jarhead, this is a subject that is often ignored, although gamers try to quantify it by morale ratings.

We had an argument once about how troopers can sense the odds before an engagement.  I think the Battle of Drepana, during the Second Punic War, is a good example:
Meanwhile, on the flagship, some sources state that Pulcher, as the senior magistrate in command, took the auspices before battle, according to Roman religious requirements. The prescribed method was observing the feeding behaviour of the sacred chickens, on board for that purpose. If the chickens accepted the offered grain, then the Roman gods would be favourable to the battle. However, on that particular morning of 249 BC, the chickens refused to eat a horrific omen. Confronted with the unexpected and having to deal with the superstitious and now terrified crews, Pulcher quickly devised an alternative interpretation. He threw the sacred chickens overboard, saying, "If they won't eat, let them drink!" (Latin "Bibant, quoniam esse nolunt!)[3][2]

Now some would say the Jupiter may have lost a game of dice with Baal, and the wager was on the battle's outcome.  The Sacred Chickens were trying to warn the Romans that they would lose.
But I think, a hard headed old sailor knew they would lose to the better Carthaginian fleet.  Secretly he fed the Sacred Chickens so that they would not eat during the auspices.


[0] Message Index

Go to full version