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Could ancient humanity defeat the forerunners?

OP KH Foofoo14

Were it not for the flood, could have prehistoric humans with the help of the San'Shyuum have defeated the forerunners and assume the mantle of responsibility?
Hard to say really. But, based on my understanding of Ha-lore, I don't think they would have been able to totally defeat the Forerunners. They would have posed a challenge for sure. But, I think the Forerunners were much more technologically advanced. Keep in mind that Forerunners were able to de-evolve an entire species. I don't think ancient humans were capable of anything to that extent.
Ancient Humanity, because apparently this was something we needed, was able to fight both the Flood AND the Forerunners at the same time and nearly won. If the Floor hadn't been around, Ancient Humanity would have wiped the floor with the Forerunners.
I'd say ancient humanity would be an even match with the Forerunners, leading to a bit of a Cold War for the entire galaxy between two superpowers. But this hypothetical is kinda interesting since the very presence of the Flood was the reason the Forerunners started fighting the ancient humans in the first place. Without human fleets glassing Forerunners worlds to eradicate the Flood, the two species wouldn't have had a reason to go to war, at least for a while.
Without the Flood to divide Humanity's attention, I'm fairly certain the war would have dragged on another few centuries. But the Forerunners would have eventually prevailed in a grinding war of attrition simply due to their unmatched stellar engineering capabilities. Furthurmore, as shown during the siege of Charum Hakkor, the Forerunners had the massive advantage of blocking Himan slipspace channels almost at will. This would cripple any attempts by the Human/San Shyuum alliance to go on the offensive.
Unless humanity's empire was far larger before a chunk of their population, doubtful. Likely would play out like ww2 America vs Japan
Potentially they could have I think. But it would have depended on certain factors. The Flood not being involved would be the key factor in that. Despite that though, they did managed to fight the Forerunners and the Flood for 1000 years (I don't wanna hear the "they were hiding behind invincible Precursor structures" argument as the reason for it. That was only during the final 53 years on one planet) and they were fighting the Flood for longer than that. Also they had allies in the San'Shyuum.

The Ur-Didact himself admitted he wasn't sure how it would have gone had humanity had it's full strength and numbers and the intention of war from the start.

Ultimately we'll never know.
Well, the war kicked off with primarily civilian human vessels (as I understood it) bumping into a Forerunner fleet. The main forces were fighting the flood.
The problem with any potential Forerunner-Human War is the length of said war. The longer the war drags out between the Human-San Shyuum Alliance and the Forerunner Ecumene, the more power and wealth the Builders obtain. And the more power and wealth the Builders get, the more the Ecumene will want to wipe out humanity in its entirety for the Forerunner lives lost compared to how they were only spared because of the Flood "Cure" they believed exists. An Ecumene solely focused on smashing the Alliance is going to achieve its goal, it is only a question of time and just how much they are willing to throw at the Alliance seeing as how it was noted by the Didact.

During the war, the Builders built more weapons and ships then were necessary. Besides supplying the Warrior-Servants with arguably an endless supply chain. The Alliance would inevitably lose as its unlikely they could take Maethrillian. They'd have to first pass through the countless fleets just to get to the Ecumene's capital and quite possibly the Maginot Line. And in the event they get passed the weapons that basically snipe them in slipspace travel. Upon arriving at Maethrillian, they'd have to contend with the Capital Defense Fleet and the supporting fleets that would likely be minutes if not mere seconds away and the Alliance forces would be trapped.

I am a fan of Ancient Humanity and the San Shyuum just as much as the next hardcore expanded universe fan. However there is no conceivable way that they would win. The Ecumene puts out more then the Alliance probably can and we aren't even considering the Forerunners mastery over slipspace and astroengineering. The Halo Array is unlikely to be built in this scenario without the Flood, but seeing as how the Didact is a strong believer in Forerunner security. His plans for the Shield Worlds would be supported and with each fortress world made. That makes it one more planet the Alliance would have to worry about in Ecumene and formerly controlled Alliance space.
Hard to say considering they were fighting a double frontier