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Tag Archives: Gandalf

The Lord of the Rings as an unnecessarily detailed metaphor for World War II

13 Sep

It’s only fair to begin this article with a disclaimer that the ideas listed below were thought up by a few Sherman Ave writers who decided to spend a Wednesday night drinking heavily and watching Lord of the Rings. We’re not sure if that’s more of a discredit to our ideas or merely ourselves, but it only feels proper to acknowledge that these ideas were the result of a long, loud, and quite inebriated conversation, which – regrettably – drowned out the cinematic masterpiece playing on the shitty 19″ television before us.  And for all you Tolkien fanatics out there, we’re well aware of the fact that he adamantly rebukes all claims that his books have allegory for the world wars.  But if high school English teachers get to make up symbolism and shove it down your throat, then by God, we’re going to as well.

Mordor or Germany? Bet you can’t even tell.

Mordor as Nazi Germany

This one should be fairly self-explanatory. Mordor is a highly industrialized powerhouse which seems to have turned evil under the lordship of one pretty huge taint. After having lost a previous war (the one in the beginning of the Fellowship of the Ring, in which Sauron’s ring is taken by Isildur), Mordor is humiliated by their crushing defeat, and seeks not only to avenge their dignity but also to regain their status as a viable power in Middle-Earth. This means that Adolf Hitler is Sauron – a mindless and power-tripping despot who brings evil to the world. The Nazgul represent the S.S., being the ones who carry out Hitler’s bidding on more important tasks. That would probably make Heinrich Himmler represent the Witch-King of Angmar, which is obviously reasonable. Erwin Rommel is represented by Gothmog, the incredibly heinous-looking Orc general with the fucked up eye who leads the river crossing at Osgiliath. The Mouth of Sauron represents Joseph Goebbels and the Eye of Sauron represents Hitler’s mustache, seeing as it is Sauron’s most memorable feature.

“One does not simply cooperate with Patton’s Third Army.”

Gondor as Britain

Gondor is clearly one of Mordor’s primary targets, and Gondor knows that the rising power of Mordor means they will have to sustain vicious attacks, given their proximity. Gondor also is a storied Western monarchy that was once powerful but has since weakened, much like the British Empire. This means that Denethor is Neville Chamberlain, being a leader who once had potential but has become such a useless sack of shit that he needs to be replaced during the war. It must be, then, that Aragorn is Winston Churchill – the replacement for Denethor who comes to the rescue and rallies Gondor. (Side note: We’d go so far to say that Aragorn’s horse, Brego, represents whiskey, and that his sword, Narsil, represents cigars, seeing as those appear to be the two things that most aided Churchill in his life.) Continuing with Gondor as Britain, we’d say that Boromir is Field Marshal Montgomery, since he’s a pretty effective soldier who happens to be an asshole. Lastly, Faramir represents King George VI – a noble man who has lived his whole life in his older brother’s shadow. Lamentably, Faramir doesn’t have a debilitating speech impediment. By this model, Minas Tirith is London, the Siege of Minas Tirith is the Battle of Britain, and Osgiliath is Dunkirk.

Josef Stalin and Winston Churchill, preparing to ride horses into an army of Axis forces

Rohan as the Soviet Union

Of the forces fighting against Mordor, Rohan probably suffers the greatest losses. They are also initially hesitant to be involved in this epic war, thinking they can avoid it, just as the USSR maintained a Nonaggression Pact with Germany at the outset of the war. Eventually, though, Rohan comes to the aid of Gondor, and at the end of the day, one could certainly argue that Rohan was the most influential nation in Mordor’s demise. From this, we can assume that Grima Wormtongue represents Vyacheslav Molotov, the Soviet foreign minister who engineered a pact with the Nazi forces in the same way Wormtongue forged a similar alliance. King Theoden is Josef Stalin – a fairly disagreeable politician who seems to love power-tripping, but is ultimately instrumental in the war effort. This leads us to believe that Eomer is Georgi Zhukov, partially because Zhukov was a fantastic Soviet general, but mostly because we can’t really fit Eomer anywhere else. We would assume then that The Battle of Helm’s Deep is The Battle of Stalingrad, since it was a ruthless siege which occurred in unfavorable weather conditions but ultimately served as somewhat of a turning point in the war.

You’re a wizard, Benito!

Isengard as Italy

A militaristic nation ruled by a cult-of-personality dictator, Isengard initially seems to be quite a formidable power in the war, and its allegiance to Mordor a massive setback. However, they end up being knocked out of the war much earlier than any other power, and their leader killed in a very gruesome and public manner. Needless to say, this means Saruman is Benito Mussolini – a very dickish leader who serves mostly as Sauron’s/Hitler’s puppet.

“RRREEEETTTTRRRRREEEEAAAATTTTT!!!!!!”

Elves as France

The Elves seem perfectly content to observe complacently as their world is taken over by evil dickbags. Even though they have a “history of courageous militarism,” they are way too pussy to actually participate in the war. Only a small group of Elves (representing, of course, the French resistance movement) is actually willing to stand up to Mordor and fight alongside their allies. Presumably, this means Legolas is Charles de Gaulle, seeing as he is the most involved elf in the war. Accordingly, Elrond is Field Marshal Philippe Pétain, the leader of the elves whose passiveness facilitated the spread of evil to the point at which he’s basically a traitor.

THEY’RE DEFINITELY JAPANESE, OKAY?

Easterlings as Japan

First of all, since we’re all thinking it: They totally look Japanese with their eye make-up and all that. But besides that, the Easterlings are a people puppeted by Mordor to fight for his cause. They don’t appear to have any obvious connection with Mordor other than their manipulation by the forces of evil. That’s all we’ve got for Japan…

Hobbits as Jews

Constantly being hunted by Mordor, the Hobbits only want to live peacefully in society and avoid conflict. Throughout the story, it’s clear that “the halflings” are Sauron’s main priority. Assuming that all Hobbits are Jews, we could then claim that the four most important Hobbits are the four most important Jews. Frodo and Sam are Albert Einstein and Robert Oppenheimer, carrying a very powerful weapon which Sauron wants (read: The Ring of Power is the Atomic Bomb).

“I am become Death, destroyer of worlds.”

This, of course, implies that Mount Doom is Hiroshima, the culmination of the omnipotent weapon which summarily ends the war. As long as Hobbits are Jews, we’ll go ahead and declare that Lembas bread is bagels. Since we need other important Jews to fill the roles of other important Hobbits, we’ll say that Pippin is Anne Frank (remember when he hid from the Orcs at the end of Fellowship of the Ring?) and Merry is Oskar Schindler (yes, he was Catholic, but he’s close enough). Thus, Kristallnacht is Weathertop, indicating Hitler’s first attack against the Jews. The Shire is Israel, since they’re both places that the Hobbits/Jews can only really dream of during the war. And lastly, The Tower of Cirith Ungol is Auschwitz and Shelob is a train to Auschwitz.

Anne Frank and Oskar Schindler observe the ruins of North Africa whilst on the back of Haile Selassie

Fangorn Forest as Africa

Leading up to the war, Saruman had been meddling malevolently in the Fangorn Forest, much like Italy dicked around in Ethiopia in the 1930s. Furthermore, it was a series of events in Fangorn Forest that led to the fall of Isengard, just as Operation Torch and ultimately the Battle of El Alamein lead to the Allies being positioned to invade Italy. We’re going to go ahead and assume that this means Ents are Ethiopians, meaning that Treebeard is Haile Selassie, serving as the leader who called out Saruman/Mussolini on his inappropriate actions.

Did you ever notice that he’s only pictured from the waist up?

The Army of the Dead as the United States of America

You’ve probably been waiting for the good ol’ U-S-of-A to get its honorable mention, and now you’re probably crestfallen by their seemingly sad counterpart. Well…sorry. The Army of the Dead originally had no intention of joining the war, but were eventually coaxed into it to honor an ancient but very strong allegiance. Aragorn, as Churchill, is obviously the only person who could have garnered their support. The Battle of Pelennor Fields, representing D-Day, probably could not have been won without the help of the Army of the Dead. (The King of the Dead is Franklin Delano Roosevelt, especially after April 1945.) Speaking of the Battle of Pelennor Fields, you know those catapults that the orcs load with heads and launch at Minas Tirith? V-2 ROCKETS.

George C. Scott is…SHADOWFAX

Gandalf as General Eisenhower

Gandalf is the only character in the story truly capable of uniting Elves, Men, Dead, and Gimli, just as Eisenhower effectively led French, British, American, and Canadian forces in Europe. This probably means that Shadowfax is General Patton. General Patton was an Olympic athlete in his younger days, so he was fit and fast like Shadowfax. Patton also responded to strangle whistles, and Shadowfax was reportedly killed in a car accident after the war. Honestly kind of an eerie connection. All this taken into consideration, it’s probably fair to say that The Battle at the Black Gate represents The Battle of the Bulge, as it was the last stand made by Mordor before being righteously defeated.

Yes, this is a picture of Dwight Eisenhower riding Harry Truman. No, you shouldn’t Google that.

The Eagles as President Harry Truman

Through the whole story, one can’t help but wonder – why the hell don’t they just use the Eagles to get to Mordor instead of putting Frodo and Sam on this painstakingly long journey? Similarly, looking back at World War II, one can’t help but wonder – why the hell couldn’t FDR die earlier so Truman could end the war sooner? Truman clearly knew how to end a damn war, because he had the cajones to mercilessly massacre 250,000 people. The Eagles swoop into save the day at the end in much the same way Truman swooped into end the war.

“Nobody toshesh a peripherally relevant bilingual democrashy!”

Gimli as Canada

Gimli maintains an odd subservience to Legolas and Aragorn, much in the same way that France is a large cultural influence in Canada and Britain is a moderate political influence. More importantly, though, we must acknowledge that Gimli and Canada were both really just involved in the war to provide comedic relief.

Oliphants as Bulgaria

The involvement of oliphants in the war certainly aided Mordor’s cause, but realistically, Mordor would have been perfectly fine without their help.

King Theoden, chuckling heartily at the misfortunes he caused the Ukrainians by his failed New Economic Policy

That Orc who says “We haven’t had anything but maggoty bread for three stinkin’ days!” as Ukraine

It would be wholly improper to write an article about World War II without making at least one joke about Ukraine producing most of the Soviet Union’s wheat but still starving because of Stalin’s unsuccessful implementation of a redistributive economic system.

Eleanor Roosevelt ponders her latent lesbianism. Or maybe the death of her father, Josef Stalin. Hmm.

Eowyn as Eleanor Roosevelt

Admittedly, this one doesn’t entirely work because Eowyn was in no way married to the King of the Dead. That being said, we would readily believe that Eleanor Roosevelt had a crush on Winston Churchill in the same way that Eowyn was tryna with Aragorn, and she probably would have gotten with King George VI the same way she got with Faramir.

Galadriel as Rosie the Riveter

Galadriel really only serves a symbolic role in the story, encouraging Frodo, Sam, and the others to continue their fight for good. If that’s the case, we suppose The Light of Elendil is Freedom, maybe? Too much? Too much of a stretch? This is almost done, we promise.

Gollum as Congresswoman Jeannette Rankin

Jeannette Rankin was the only congresswoman who voted against the American declaration of war in December 1941. Not only did she perpetrate one of the most pronounced bitchmoves in American history, but the real reason she voted against it is because she knew that the war would mean the use of the atomic bomb, and as a typical greed-driven female politician, she wanted the atomic bomb for herself. Hers. Her own. Her precious.

Congresswoman Rankin unceremoniously feasting upon a live fish from the reflecting pool.

Interestingly enough, she also loved beating live fish against rocks and eating them in a grotesque manner. She also wore a loincloth and had Split Personality disorder. She also bit off Albert Einstein’s ring finger in Hiroshima.

*Note: You may have noticed that we didn’t include Arwen. That’s because Arwen is a stupid bitch character who only gets mentioned twice in the books and deserves no fucking place in this vaunted story.

-Contributions from Brother Jürgen Taintsdorf, Commandant Leo Sextoi, and Sad Bones Malone

For more painfully unnecessary and exhaustive World War II metaphors and other things, like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter!  Then seek therapy immediately.

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Badasses in History: Audie Murphy

4 Dec

Audie, en route to fucking some shit up

Let’s start this week’s historical badass with a riddle. What’s black and blue and red all over? Answer: Chuck Norris after trying to fuck with Audie Murphy.

“That’s impossible!” you say.

Well, shut the fuck up and sit down and maybe you’ll see what I’m talking about.

You see our story begins in 1924 when Audie was born the sixth of twelve children to Emmett and Josie Murphy in Kingston, Texas. Things were hard for Audie, as he was and would remain very small, something looked poorly upon in Texas, “where everything is bigger.”

Riiiiiiight.

Anyway, Audie and his siblings worked on the family farm as children, at least until his father abandoned the family in 1936, presumably saying, “How the fuck did we end up with this many kids?” His mother died five years later, leaving the Murphy children to fend for themselves, with only the oldest sibling, Elizabeth, at age 31 to care for them.

Audie, rightfully realizing his life was going up shit-creek faster than a prairie dog in a wheelbarrow race, decided the best thing to do would be for him to join the army. So, Audie put his three youngest siblings in an orphanage (he would later reclaim them after coming back from the war), and attempted to enlist.

See, I say “attempted” for a reason.

Thing is, Audie tried to enlist right after Pearl Harbor, at age 17, but was turned away for being too young. Reputedly, Audie hulked the fuck out on the recruiter, but matters would stand this way for some time. Shortly after, Audie tried to enlist once again, but was declined by the Marines, the Air Force, and the Navy.

Why? Well, he was 5’5’’ and 110 pounds. Yeah, he kind of looked like one of those starving kids Sally Struthers is always bitching about. Luckily for Audie however, the United States Army was always on the lookout for meatshields…I mean corpses…I mean cannon fodder.

Damn it! I mean upstanding, brave specimens of American masculinity.

Yeah, that works.

So, long story short, Audie finally got to live out his dream of being a military man. At which point he promptly passed out during training and was ordered to be a cook instead. But, like short people everywhere, Audie wouldn’t shut the fuck up. He insisted on being a combat soldier for so long that finally his drill sergeant gave up and let him do it.

At this point Audie got sent overseas to North Africa, where he saw no action and presumably just fucked around playing stickball or something. After getting tossed over to Sicily however, Audie finally got to prove himself and was quickly promoted to sergeant.

So he was only like 18. He was Audie Motherfucking Murphy, so suck it.

That's more gold on his chest than Nelly has in his mouth

Now we get to the fun part, and by fun part, I mean we get to the part where Audie becomes the most decorated soldier in American history.

I didn’t mention that before? Really? I could have sworn…

Well no matter! Just listen up.

By the way, Audie contracted malaria during the Allied Invasion of Siciliy. So everything I’m about to explain? He did it with malaria. Yeah.

At one point, Audie mined a road where Axis tanks were known to be crossing. Asking his men to cover him, Audie stealthily snuck up on one such tank and tried to blow the thing up with a Molotov cocktail. When that didn’t work, Audie tried rifle grenades (all while getting shot at, and pulling Matrix style shit to avoid them). It worked. All by his lonesome, Audie managed to knock the tank off its treads, rendering it useless.

Yeah, Audie Murphy took out a tank, all by himself.

What the fuck? I can’t even do that shit in a videogame much less real life. And he was 5’5’’. There are NBA centers whose arms are longer than that. AND he was 110 lbs. That’s like what? How much my books weigh each quarter?

So we’ve established he was a badass, and that alone would be enough to ensure him a place of glory (it did win him a Bronze Star), but it’s not all.

The scene: It’s 1944, the Germans are being repelled and the Allies are pushing forward. BUT! The German forces are by no means down for the count. Enter a beachhead in Southern France.

Audie and his company were ordered to capture an enemy artillery position. In the course of the conflict, the Germans signaled their surrender, at which point Audie and his men went to take their position.

Of course, Nazi’s being total dickwads, they were faking and promptly shot and killed Audie’s BFFL.

This was really quite a poor decision on behalf of those Germans. I say “poor decision,” but what I really mean is “complete and utter catastrophe.” This is because Audie Murphy, on seeing his friend gunned down in front of his eyes, went Super Saiyan.

Legends say that he was doused with fire and emerged unscathed. That he shrugged off the strikes of lightning like they were so much trash. He endured a hail of bullets and his screams of rage flung them to the ground.

It may not be all true, but the reality is this: Within one hour, every single German was dead. Audie literally ran to the German position, amidst a storm of bullets, and took control of the nearest machine gun, slaughtering every Nazi within sight, and winning him the Distinguished Service Cross.

When another machine gun operator starting firing on Audie, he promptly picked up a mortar gun and gave that Kraut bastard what for. He then took out two more turrets and two sniper positions.

All by HIMSELF. This guy makes Rambo look like a pussy. Hell, he makes Seal Team 6 look like kindergarteners.

But even that doesn’t measure up to his actions in Holtzwihr Forest, which I’ll get to in a minute.

Before Holtzwihr Forest, however, Audie won the Purple Heart —for taking a mortar shell fragment to the hip, then immediately requesting to return to the front upon recovery — and two Silver Stars — the first for taking out two German positions using only a pair of hand grenades, saving the lives of numerous other soldiers; the second for reconnoitering near a German outpost and relaying its location to nearby artillery so it could be destroyed.

In case you aren’t keeping track at home, the tally is as follows: 1 Bronze Star, 1 Purple Heart, 1 Distinguished Service Cross, and 2 Silver Stars. Not bad for a 20-year-old right? He was also promoted to staff sergeant, then platoon sergeant, then platoon leader, AND THEN 2nd Lieutenant during this time.

Well it gets better.

On January 26th, 1945 (just one day after being named company commander, as well as suffering wounds from a mortar that exploded nearby that same fucking day), Audie and company became engaged in battle in the Holtzwihr Forest in France (I know, the name sounds German. Shut up).

During the course of the battle, Murphy’s 128-man company was reduced to 19 men, nearly all of them wounded. Realizing things might not turn out sunshine and daises, Audie decided to do something incredible: hold the Germans off by himself.

Yeah, he did that thing every movie hero does but that no one has the balls to pull of in real life. HE PULLED A FUCKING GANDALF AND SAID “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!”

Seriously though, he shot at the Germans until he ran out of ammunition, at which point he climbed aboard a flaming, abandoned M10 Tank Destroyer (yes, it fucking blows the shit up out of tanks). Remember, it was on fire while he did everything I’m about to tell you. And he still had malaria. And he was wounded from the mortar shell. Also, it was 14°F. Just so we’re clear.

Audie started using the .50 caliber machine gun on all Germans coming his way. He got shot in the leg, but kept going for nearly an hour, all single-handed. The only time he stopped fighting was to call in artillery fire using a nearby telephone line.

In the end, Murphy and his remaining men—who came back—staged a counterattack and drove the Germans back out of Holtzwihr Forest, winning the battle.

When asked why he had decided to seize a machine gun and attack an entire squad of German infantry, he uttered perhaps the most badass explanation ever given:

Nobody fucks with Audie's betches

“They were killing my friends.”

I stand in awe of this man. If he wanted to punch me in the face I would take it and be honored. For his actions in Holtzwihr, Audie was given the Legion of Merit and the Medal of Honor, America’s highest military award, as well as given a promotion to 1st Lieutenant.

Audie continued fighting in the war, amassing a staggering total of military awards. In fact, he won every single U.S. decoration for valor available to Army ground personnel at the time. Some of them more than once.

In total, Audie was credited with destroying 6 tanks, and personally killing 240 German soldiers. Audie would eventually be promoted to Major while serving in the Texas National Guard. After his retirement from the service, he became an action star in Hollywood, starring in a few Westerns and — get this — playing himself in a movie called To Hell and Back about his battle in Holtzwihr.

He was such a popular actor, in fact, that he got a star on the Walk of Fame.

How can you get more badass?

Oh, here’s a list of Audie’s medals. If you don’t feel like counting, the number is 33. He was, and is, the most decorated soldier in American history.

• Congressional Medal of Honor
• Distinguished Service Cross
• Two Silver Stars
• Legion of Merit
• Two Bronze Stars
• Three Purple Hearts
• U.S. Army Outstanding Civilian Service Medal
• Good Conduct Medal
• Two Presidential Unit Citations
• American Campaign Medal
• European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with One Silver Star,
Four Bronze Service Stars and one Bronze Arrowhead
• World War II Victory Medal
• Army of Occupation Medal
• Armed Forces Reserve Medal
• Combat Infantry Badge
• Marksman Badge with Rifle Bar
• Expert Badge with Bayonet Bar
• French Fourragere in Colors of the Croix de Guerre
• French Legion of Honor, Grade of Chevalier
• French Croix de Guerre With Silver Star
• French Croix de Guerre with Palm
• Medal of Liberated France
• Belgian Croix de Guerre 1940 Palm

Badasses in History: Hannibal Barca

11 Oct

One of my least favorite things about real life is that it totally doesn’t work like video games. Unlike Call of Duty or Halo—where I can beat the shit out of like a billion elites by just going all kamizake and then respawning—in real life it fucking sucks to be outnumbered. What it comes down to, in the real world, would be some guy in armor (Master Chief) getting beat to death by like 30 really pissed-off midgets (Grunts).

That’s the mathy explanation anyway. Today’s historical badass, however, not only shat all over my “normal” difficulty setting, cranking it all the way up to “Deicide”, but he did so against other people, not some dumbass AI.

His name was Hannibal Barca.

No. Not that Hannibal. The other one. The real one. The one that isn’t fucking Anthony Hopkins (who was, incidentally, totally as awesome as Hannibal Lector).

Anyway, this Hannibal was like Samuel L. Jackson if Samuel L. Jackson could go back in time and utterly bring the Roman Empire to its knees.

This Hannibal did something no other person in history was even remotely capable of. It’s like if Kobe played basketball against a team made up of genetically half-bred squirrel dolphins… the other side just doesn’t stand a chance.

To understand why Hannibal was such a BAMF, we have to go back to the third century BC to the civilization of Carthage.

His beard is rumored to be the inspiration for Morty's

Hannibal was born in 247 BC, son of Carthaginian leader Hamilcar Barca. Incidentally, “Barca” means “thunderbolt.” So yeah, Hannibal Thunderbolt. His motherfucking last name was THUNDERBOLT.

Sorry, I get carried away sometimes.

As I was saying, Carthage at the time was kind of like modern-day Detroit in that both had totally gotten fucked over and no one really gave a shit. To fix this, Hannibal’s dad, Hamilcar—being awesome (but not as awesome as Hannibal)—decided he’d get back at Rome for defeating Carthage in the First Punic War. Needless to say, they got owned by Rome’s far superior numbers and equipment, kind of like how in Lord of the Rings: Return of the King the good guys are FUCKED until the ghost army comes… except Hamilcar didn’t have a ghost army.

Or Gandalf. Gandalf would have totally helped.

Still, I feel like I’m forgetting something.

Oh, right, 8-year-old Hannibal went with his dad’s army.

Before you ask, this wasn’t his father’s order or anything; little Hannibal fucking asked to go. TO WAR. TO KILL PEOPLE.

Needless to say, no 8-year-old has ever been so ball-crushingly awesome.

Hamilcar, either the world’s best or worst father—I don’t think they make mugs for that—agreed to let Hannibal come if he did one tiny thing: swear an undying oath of vengeance to burn Rome to ashes and slaughter every Roman he could.

…………

Family issues a couple thousand years ago really make you think about the shit you complain about today.

Anyway, Hannibal, being the badass he was even at age eight, responded, “I swear so soon as age will permit…I will use fire and steel to arrest the destiny of Rome.” I think he also added, “time to PWN some fucking NOOBS!

Battles in those days were a lot like off-campus parties: nowhere to move, and no idea who's assaulting you

Regardless of little Hannibal’s presence, things didn’t go well, which is surprising since I would have thought an 8-year-old on a battlefield would have been a highly effective throwing weapon: you throw the kid and then hit the enemy in the face or something… maybe Lunchables are involved. Whatever.

Basically, the big thing was that Hamilcar died in battle after conquering much of what is Spain and its surrounding nations today. Hannibal, after getting down on his knees amidst thunder, lightning and rain, and screaming NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! to the heavens, decided that he would keep his promise and pull an American History X-style curbstomp on Rome.

So for the next twenty years Hannibal engaged in what can only be assumed to be history’s longest training montage, fighting off lions, killing soldiers, and generally fucking shit up. Then, in 221 BC, his brother Hasdrubal was assassinated, and as Hasdrubal was Carthage’s main general, this meant Hannibal suddenly had a rather powerful new job title.

Because of the assassination’s success, the Roman’s acted a bit like everyone did at the end of the every Disney movie ever. They chilled out and celebrated even though there were dozens of unanswered questions and unsolved problems.

Hannibal, not being a complete idiot, took advantage of this in every way possible by gathering an army and repeating his brother’s plan.

That takes mad balls.

And, funnily enough, the Romans were still taken by surprise. Seriously Rome? Too many pot brownies probably.

Putting the Dos Equis man to shame

Anyway, in the spring of 218 BC, Hannibal marched with his army to Gaul (now France and other countries) on the way to the Swiss Alps.

Which he proposed to cross. With about 50,000 men. And also 37 war elephants. Dude, how badass are war elephants? Like, at least as badass as 300.

This was totally not going to be easy. I mean, the Swiss Alps are 15,000 foot high mountains, and Hannibal had thousands of soldiers AND FUCKING ELEPHANTS to feed. It was probably the equivalent of trying to ride a skidoo in the middle of the Arizona desert. Under normal circumstances, it just shouldn’t be possible, like Dane Cook saying something funny.

But Hannibal did it. He lost about 25,000 of his men, and all but two of the elephants, but he fucking did it. From there, he went on to win every single battle he fought with Rome for the next decade—being outnumbered virtually every time, with no way to easily get continued supplies—including the Battle of Cannae, which to this day is still studied by military historians who sit and read about it and say, “How the fuck did he pull this off?” With about 15,000 men, Hannibal defeated a Roman army of 50,000-70,000. That’s easily a ratio of 4:1. Among the dead were about 80 Roman senators (25-30% of the entire Roman government).

Fuck yeah, Hannibal Barca.

Hey Rome, remember that one time I almost single-handedly brought your empire to its knees?

Sadly, however, the years kept weakening Hannibal’s army—but not Hannibal, the dude beat up Wolverines for his morning exercise. This eventually forced Hannibal to make a retreat with his remaining forces back to Carthage. He did manage to sack several cities during the retreat—kind of like a last second money shot at Rome—but on the whole he had won every battle but lost the war.

Eventually, Hannibal would go into voluntary exile from Carthage when Rome threatened it again while Hannibal was without troops, but even then he worked as a mercenary general, winning almost every battle he fought. In one victory, a naval one incidentally, his weapon of choice was a barrel of poisonous snakes, which he would toss onto enemy ships.

This caused Rome so many problems, even when Hannibal was just a mercenary, that they demanded his allies surrender him or be annihilated. His “allies” being whiny douchebags, they agreed.

But, Hannibal was too badass to let himself be killed by Romans, so he took poison and wrote a final “fuck-you” letter to the Romans to be found next to his body.

It said:

Let us relieve the Romans from the anxiety they have so long experienced, since they think it tries their patience too much to wait for an old man’s death.

Even beyond the grave, the dude managed to flip-off Rome.

Righteous.

Josh Kopel