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War pigs

War elephants were a powerful and intimidating part of armies for centuries, most famously used by the aforementioned Carthaginian general Hannibal when he crossed the Alps using African elephants. However, it wasn’t just Hannibal who utilized elephants in warfare, many armies through out antiquity used them to charge the enemy, breaking their ranks and instilling terror.

As with any military tactic or weapon introduced to the battlefield, counter measures are developed minimize their effect. War elephants were reportedly terrified of the squealing and charging of pigs, so both the Romans and Alexander the Great made use of them in campaigns against enemies that fielded elephants.

Once this counter measure was discovered, there was always going to be an army who would take it to the next level, and that army would belong to the Greek town of Megara when Macedonian ruler Antigonus II Gonata had the town under siege in 266 BC.

As recorded by the Macedonian military writer Polyaenus and Roman author Aelian, Antigonus II Gonatas’ siege of Megara in 266 BC was broken when the Megarians doused some pigs with combustible pitch, crude oil or resin, set them alight, and drove them towards the enemy’s massed war elephants.

The elephants bolted in terror from the flaming, squealing pigs, often killing great numbers of their own soldiers by trampling them to death. The Megarians not only saved their town from the Macedonians but most likely invented bacon as well.

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