This battle marked the downfall of Hannibal2), one of history's most famous and daring generals. For more than 60 years, the Carthaginians and the Romans fought for world power. For 16 of those years Hannibal, the Carthaginian leader, was able to hold off the Romans—until the battle of Zama. Though the Carthaginians had 15,000 fewer warriors, Hannibal thought he had solved the problem. He had 80 elephants, which he would use to send the Roman army fleeing3) in terror and confusion. But when Hannibal set the elephants free in the Roman ranks, the animals took the easier route and ran the other way! Hannibal and his army lost 11 elephants, the battle, and the war.
The battle of Marathon is famous, not only because the underdog4) won, but also because of a legend of courage and sacrifice. Darius I5), the leader of Persia, Egypt, Babylon, and India, decided to become the ruler of Greece as well. But the Greeks, armed only with javelins6) and swords, defeated the much larger and better armed Persian army. What we remember today is the story of the messenger who brought the good news to Athens, the capital of Greece. Upon completing his 26-mile run, legend says he delivered his message, collapsed, and died. Today, the word marathon means a footrace of exactly 26 miles, 385 yards.
This battle resulted in the Norman conquest of England. Edward the Confessor7), the king of England, had no sons and promised that when he died his throne would go to his cousin William, duke of Normandy. On his deathbed, however, the king chose Harold, the powerful earl8) of Wessex, as king. An enraged9) William rushed into battle to claim the English throne. At the battle's height, the Normans pretended to flee. When the English ran after them, the Normans turned and attacked them again. Harold was shot in the face with an arrow and died on the battlefield, leaving the throne to William. To this day, the English royal family can be traced back to William the Conqueror.
This was the opening battle of the American Revolution. British troops led by General Thomas Gage were moving from Boston toward Lexington and Concord to capture the rebel10) leaders Samuel Adams and John Hancock and destroy their military supplies. The colonists were warned when Paul Revere made his famous midnight ride, shouting, "The British are coming!" At Lexington and Concord, armed colonists, called Minutemen, resisted the British. Ralph Waldo Emerson later wrote a poem describing this conflict as "the shot heard round the world". The fighting ended almost a year later, when the British evacuated11) Boston. On July 4, 1776, representatives from the 13 colonies signed The Declaration of Independence to gain their freedom from Great Britain.
This battle ended not only Napoleon's Hundred Days' War but also 23 years of almost constant war between France and the rest of Europe. France and England had been enemies for hundreds of years. The battle of Waterloo was fought by the English forces and their allies, some 68,000 men under Arthur Wellesley (later the duke of Wellington), with 45,000 Prussians under Gebhard von Blücher against the French emperor Napoleon, with almost 72,000 men. Casualties12) of 25,000 men destroyed the French army. Soon after this crushing defeat, Napoleon was exiled13) on the island of Saint Helena, where he died six years later. Waterloo has since come to mean a disastrous defeat of any nature.
The greatest battle of the American Civil War, Gettysburg marked the northernmost advance of the Confederate forces and is considered the war's turning point. Three bloody days of fighting ended in the failure of the Confederate army, led by General Robert E. Lee, to invade the North. Though his army outnumbered the Union forces under Major General George G. Meade, the North expected the Confederates to charge16) and try to break the center of its line. Cut down by enemy fire, the Confederates were quickly overwhelmed; only 150 out of 15,000 Southerners reached the Union lines. This decisive17) victory for the North was the beginning of the end of the Confederacy.
1. Carthage [5kB:WIdV] n. 迦太基(古代北非一奴隶制国家,在今突尼斯境内)
2. Hannibal [5hAnIbEl] n. 汉尼拔(247~183或182BC),迦太基统帅,率大军远征意大利,从而发动第二次布匿战争。曾三次重创罗马军队,终因缺乏后援而撤离意大利,后被罗马军多次击败,服毒自杀。
3. flee [fli:] vi. 逃走,逃掉
4. underdog [5QndEdC^] n. (在竞争或斗争中)失败的人(或一方);处于劣势的人(或一方)
5. Darius I: 大流士一世(550?~486BC),波斯帝国国王,在位期间为帝国最盛时期,加强中央集权统治,铸统一金币大流克,发展交通,鼓励贸易,对外推行扩张政策,入侵希腊,败于马拉松。
6. javelin [5dVAvElIn] n. (打猎或作战用的)投枪
7. Edward the Confessor: (忏悔者)爱德华(1003~1066),英格兰国王,因笃信宗教,获“忏悔者”称号,兴建伦敦威斯敏斯特教堂,放逐权贵戈德温,重用异族宠臣,后因戈德温兴兵叛乱而被迫恢复其权势。
8. earl [\:l] n. (英国的)伯爵
9. enrage [In5reIdV] vt. 激怒;使狂怒
10. rebel [5rebEl] n. 反叛分子,造反者;反抗者,反对者
11. evacuate [I5vAkjueIt] vt. 撤离,撤出
12. casualty [5kAVjuEltI] n. [常作复数] (军队的)伤亡人员(包括伤、亡、病、失踪、被俘等)
13. exile [5eksaIl, 5e^z-] vt. 流放,放逐;使流亡
14. Union [5ju:njEn] n. (美国南北战争期间)支持联邦政府的北部各州
15. Confederacy [kEn5fedErEsI] n. (1860~1861年南北战争时南部11州的)南部邦联
16. charge [tFB:dV] vi. 冲锋,向前冲
17. decisive [dI5saIsIv] adj. 决定性的