Sunday, May 15, 2005

This Week in History - 15 May

The annuals of naval history are full of great adventures and epic battles between men and ships. From the discovery of new lands, to the destruction of the Spanish Armada in the English Channel, through the sinking of the Bismarck by the British, to the heroic battles of Midway, both the men, and the ships they call home, from both sides of the conflicts have repeatedly shown themselves to be filled with strong senses of honor, duty, and national pride.

History books tell of the exploits, deeds, and courage of men such as Eric the Red, John Paul Jones, Christopher Columbus, Chester Nimitz, Sir Francis Drake, Ferdinand Magellen, Sirs John & James Ross and countless others. But none was braver, more resourceful, more daring, or more willing to risk it all for the needs of his country than an unnamed 2nd century BC ships captain.

Our unnamed seaman most likely commanded a small fleet of merchant triremes operating out of any one of many small coastal cities, near present day Tunis, on the North African Coast.

When approached by his King and General of the Army, this Captain readily agreed to make his fleet available and thereby entered into history as one of it's most daring, courageous, self sacrificing, and least known adventurers.

Most history books tell the tale of Hannibal's crossing of the Alps to invade Rome. But seldom documented are the great sacrifices, and trials (not to mention the mess) endured by a sea captain who agreed to transport Hannibal's elephants across the Mediterranean Sea in preparation for his historic venture.

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