The name for the series of wars between Rome and Carthage in the third and
second centuries BC.
There are no primary sources left from the Carthaginian side. Only the
Greeks and victorious Romans left reports.
Plutarch - He has essays on Fabius and Marcellus,
two of the Roman generals who opposed Hannibal in Italy, but none on Scipio.
See Plutarch's Lives in Modern Library series, Random House,
Polybius - He was a Greek held hostage in Rome and
personal adviser to Scipio Aemilianus. Polybius accompanied Scipio to Carthage
and witnessed its destruction in the Third Punic War. Polybius covers the
history of the Second Punic was as well, relying on information available to
him in Roman records. But he mixes up a lot of his description of the structure
of the Roman army putting things that existed at widely different times
together as if they were part of the same structure. There are two convenient
editions. One is the Penguin Classics and it has the title The Rise of the
Roman Empire. The other is called The Histories, and is published
in the Great Histories Series by Twayne Publishers. Polybius is one of the most
important historians and his work should be read carefully in its own right as
an example of the historian's craft.
Livy - Titus Livy was born in 59 BC and served as
historian to the Caesars. But his long history of Rome is one of the best
sources we have. Books XXI to XXX of his history are available in paperback in
the Penguin Classics under the title The War with Hannibal. Livy is
also a most important historian to read. He was much read by many subsequent
historians and political scientists. Most important, Machiavelli based his most
important book on Livy - The Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus
Information on the Punic Wars from secondary sources may be found in
several types of books - Histories of Rome, Biographies of Hannibal or Scipio
Africanus, Books on military history, Books on Naval warfare, Encyclopedias of
military history, military biography, or general history. Articles in military
history journals on specific battles, tactics, leaders, military uniforms, etc.
Warmington. B. H. Carthage. Pelican
Book. 1958. This small book is convenient as a source written from the
Carthaginian view point. But as the author points out, he had to use the same
Greek and Roman sources other historians use, since these are the only ones
available. However, by attempting to present the story from the Carthaginian
side he does a good service and his work should be consulted.
Lancel, Serge, Carthage, This is a new
book for which the author has used the latest archaeological findings and
scholarship. It provides much new information and is a must reference for the
Carthaginian side of the Punic wars.
Rome - greatest historians:
Mommsen - Theodor Mommsen was of the greatest
of the German classical scholars who revolutionized the study of ancient times
and of history in general. Everyone who wants to know about history and
historians must read Mommsen. His most important work is The History of
Rome published in the 19th century in 5 volumes. I have the English
translation published in England in 1872. There was a greatly abridged version
published in the U.S. in the 1960's, but it is no substitute. The wonderful
account of the Punic Wars is in Book III, which is in the Second Volume. Try to
get it! Mark Twain's report of being present at a dinner at which he was able
to see Mommsen is itself a treasure, and it is repeated in the abridged
Delbruck - Hans Delbruck is another of the great
German scholars. He lived shortly after Mommsen and wrote a monumental
History of the Art of War in 4 volumes. Volume I is "Warfare in
Antiquity" and it contains essential reading on Delbruck's analysis of
parts of the Punic War. Delbruck did not write complete narrative history, but
wrote a series of case studies of particular battles or campaigns selected to
show various points or principles he wanted to stress. His forte was
demolishing the astounding numerical figures ancient sources gave for the size
Toynbee - Arnold Toynbee was a British historian
who took all the civilizations of the world as his special field. He was much
acclaimed for his magisterial, sweeping expositions on the rise and fall of
civilizations. One of his most impressive works is relatively little known.
This is a two volume, massive study titled Hannibal's Legacy subtitled
"The Hannibalic War's Effects on Roman Life". This was published by
Oxford Univ Press in 1965. Despite the title, the author starts with a
description of Rome prior to the First Punic War and concludes after the last
Biographies of Hannibal and Scipio:
These naturally only treat of the Second Punic War.
Dupuy, Trevor N. The Military Life of
Hannibal: Father of Strategy, Franklin Watts, New York, 1969. Dupuy
follows another famous historian, Theodore Dodge, whose biography of Hannibal
has just been reprinted by Greenhill Press. Has maps.
De Beer, Sir Gavin, Hannibal, Viking
Press, New York, 1969. Well illustrated. This is revisionist history. The
author attempts to take on various issues and controversies about Hannibal such
as his route of march over the Alps and subject them to analytic methods.
Connolly, Peter, Hannibal and the Enemies of
Rome, Macdonald Educational, London, 1978. Not really a biography. This is
a beautiful picture book containing a lot of data and information on all
aspects of warfare in Hannibal's time. The illustrations of the Celtic and
other elements in the Carthaginian army are exceptional. It is the story of the
army of Rome's enemies and is meant to accompany a companion book on the Roman
army (see below).
Lecke, Ross, Hannibal, Regnery Publishing,
Washington DC., 1997. A novel that captures a vivid picture of the brutality of
warfare and life in general during this period. The author adds a lot of
information about Hannibal's private life not found in historical sources to
make his story more interesting, but I didn't see anything that violates the
Lecke, Ross, Scipio Africanus, Regnery
Publishing, Washington DC., 1998. Unfortunately in this sequel to his
successful biography of Hannibal, Lecke has introduced a lot of dubious
information about such historical figures as Scipio's younger brother and Cato.
Some of the descriptions include gratutious bloody violence. The book appears
to be aimed at becoming a movie script.
Liddell Hart, B., Greater than Napoleon:
Scipio Africanus. Little, Brown, Boston, 1927. recently reprinted by
Greenhill in London. A tendentious study designed to show the value of Liddell
Hart's own theory of indirect war by imputing its use to Scipio. Liddell Hart
would have liked to show that Scipio actually learned this strategy from him,
but he could not go that far.
Scullard, H., Scipio Africanus: Soldier and
Politician, Cornell Univ. Press, New York, 1970. A much more scholarly and
judicious examination of the real greatness of the Roman leader.
Sloan, John F. "Scipio Africannus", in
International Military and Defense Encyclopedia, Brassey's, New York,
Sweetapple, Lee A. "Hannibal Barca", in
International Military and Defense Encyclopedia, Brassey's, New York,
There is also a biography of Hannibal by Harold Lamb.
Cornell, Tim, and John Matthews, The Roman
World, in The Cultural Atlas of the World Series, Stonehenge Press,
Alexandria Va. 1991. An excellent general reference.
Scullard, Howard. H. A History of the Roman
World 753-146 BC. Scullard is a very find historian and writer. This
general history has a good section on the Punic War. Scullard also wrote
articles about Scipio to counter the claims advanced by Liddell Hart. The
apendix discusses the historiographical issues related to Hannibal's campaign
Kagan Donald, ed, Problems in Ancient History,
Volume Two: The Roman World, The Macmillan Company, New York, 1966. Kagan
is one of the preeminent American classical scholars whose work on the
Peloponnesian War is highly acclaimed. The chapter on the causes of the Second
Punic War provides a range of views contained in excerpts from four ancient
historians and three modern ones, including H. Scullard.
Kagan, Donald, On the Origins of War,
Doubleday, New York, 1995. The author has an indispensable chapter in which he
analyzes the causes of the outbreak of the Second Punic War. Essential
Dudley, Donald R., The Romans 850 BC - 337
AD, Knopf, New York, 1970. This general history contains a brief summary
of the Punic Wars.
Boardman, John, The Oxford History of the
Classical World, Oxford Univ. Press, London, 1986. Well illustrated
general history that places the short section on the Punic Wars into the
The three indispensable sources for study on naval warfare in the Punic
Wars, which of course were very largely naval wars, despite all the interest in
Hannibal and Scipio.
Thiel, J. H. A History of Roman Sea-Power
Before the Second Punic War, North Holland Publishing, Amsterdam, 1954.
Thiel, J. H. Studies on the History of Roman
Sea-Power in Republican Times, North Holland Publishing, Amsterdam, 1946.
Rogers, William Ledyard, Greek and Roman Naval
Warfare, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis MD. 1937.
Dupuy, Trevor, The Encyclopedia of
Military History, Harper and Row, 1992. This is the best source for
concise data and facts. Dupuy has analysis of the strategy and tactics in use
at this time as well. I believe some aspects of Dupuy's description of the Zama
Campaign are based on erroneous sources.
Langer, William. An Encyclopedia of World
History, Certainly the best source for distilled information, dates and
names of leaders etc.
Koerper, Phillip E. "Punic Wars", in
Dupuy, Trevor, ed. International Military and Defense Encyclopedia,
Brassey's, New York, 1992. See articles on Hannibal and Scipio mentioned above.
General military studies:
Adcock, F. E. Roman Art of War under the
Republic, Heffer Series, Harvard Univ. Press, Cambridge, 1940. Still one
of the best studies of the internal structure of the Roman army.
Angilm, Simon, et al., Fighting Techniques of
the Ancient World 3000 BC - 500 AD, St Martin's Press, NY., 2002. The book
is organized topically such as "Role of Infantry, Mounted Warfare, Siege
Warfare". For unknown reason the battle of Cannae is discussed in the
section on mounted warfare. The batle map is wrong, The caption states that the
Carthaginian cavalry fought dismounted when it was the Roman cavalry that did
so.The book is highly illustrated with many battle maps.
Connolly, Peter, The Roman Army,
Macdonald Educational, London, 1975. This is a beautiful picture book, but the
illustrations are both highly effective and accurate. The sections on the army
of the Republic that fought the Punic Wars are useful in their own right and by
comparison with the sections on the army of Julius Caesar and of the Empire
enable to reader to appreciate the very real differences that existed between
Connolly, Peter, Greece and Rome at War,
Greenhill Books, London, 1998. A superior reference. This is a much expanded
follow on book to several of Connolly's previous publications.
Cornell. T. J. The Beginnings of Rome,
Routledge, London, 1995
Crawford, Michael, The Roman Republic,
Harvard Univ. Press. 1993, Actually the political struggle that so influenced
the course of Roman military affairs.
Creasy, Edward, The Fifteen Decisive Battles
of the World, A. L. Burt, New York, first published in 1851. It may be
somewhat surprising to the student that neither Scipio nor Hannibal
participated in the decisive battle of the Punic Wars. Creasy correctly selects
the Battle of the Metaurus in which the combined Roman armies of Caius Claudius
Nero and Marcus Livius defeated the Carthaginian relief army commanded by
Hasdrubal Barca, one of Hannibal's brothers. Creasy counts this not only as the
decisive battle of these wars, but also as one of the string of decisive
battles between the forces of Europe and of the Orient. This used to be
standard schoolboy fare and is still a great read.
Fagan, Barrett, Great Battles of the Ancient
World, Video lecture in The Great Courses series, The Teaching Company,
Verginia, 2005. An excellent analysis that judiciously disputes many accepted
Fuller, Major General J. F. C., A Military
History of the Western World. Funk and Wagnalls, New York, 1954. A basic
text on military history in three volumes. The author is much better as a
military historian and analyst than his more illustrious countryman. The
content consists of thorough descriptions and analysis of selected critical
battles, with transition sections discussing developments during the
intervening periods between them. Both the Metaurus and Zama are included, as
is Gaugamela. A few inadequate maps. Highly recommended.
Goldsworthy, Adrian Roman Warfare, Cassell,
London, 2000. Paperback edition. A small print version but complete discussion
of Roman army and its activities. Illustrations and maps suffer a bit from the
Goldsworthy, Adrian, Roman Warfare,
Cassell, London, 2000 A larger print and highly illustrated version. The book
contains a brief but clear description of the battles of the Punic War with
Goldsworthy, Adrian, The Complete Roman
Army, Thames and Hudson, London, 2003. An elaborately illustrated reference
book organized by subjet including the structural development of the Roman army
and the life of a Roman soldier, equipment and weapons, and battle tactics.
Goldsworthy, Adrian, The Punic Wars,
Cassell, London, 2000. The most authoritative study of the Punic Wars and the
Roman military and political policies
Hackett, Sir John, ed. Warfare in the Ancient
World, Facts on File, New York, 1989. The article by Peter Connolly on
"The Roman Army in the Age of Polybius" provides excellent
information not included in his picture books on the Roman army.
Head, Duncan, Armies of the Macedonian and
Punic Wars, War games Research Group, London, 1982. This specialty book
for the war gamer contains concise but complete information on the armies
including their organization, dress, weapons, tactics, leadership etc. It also
has descriptions of major campaigns and battles. Profusely illustrated.
Jones, Arthur, The Art of War in the Western
World, University of Illinois Press, Chicago, 1987. Dr Jones organizes his
treatment of ancient warfare topically rather than chronologically. Thus the
book serves as an excellent analytical study to complement standard historical
works. He shows the contrast between the new Roman system of warfare and the
Alexandrian system, which was essentially that which Hannibal was employing.
The two systems engaged again when the Romans invaded Macedonia itself, with
Keppie, Lawrence, The Making of the Roman
Army, Univ. of Oklahoma Press, 1984, Describes the evolution of the Roman
army chronologically through the centuries from early times to the early
empire, with emphasis on the latter.
Matyszak, Philip, Chronicle of the Roman
Republic: The Rulers of Ancient Rome from Romulus to Augustus, Thames and
Hundon, 2003 WEll illustrated history built around a chronology based on the
lives of the Roman rulers.
May, Elmer C., Gerald P. Stadler, and John F. Votaw,
Ancient and Medieval Warfare, Avery Publishing, Wayne New
Jersey, 1984. This is the standard course text for military history at the U.
S. Military Academy. Naturally, it is first rate. The maps are by far the best
to use to illustrate oral presentations. It has a full discussion of both Roman
and Carthaginian military systems.
Montagu, John Drogo, Greek and Roman Warfare:
Battles, Tactics and Trickery, Greenhill Books. London, 2006, The book
focuses on individual battles. Trevia,k Cannae, Baecula, Metarus, Ilipa, and
Zama are included. With the focus on trickery one would expect Hannibal and
Scipio would be well represented. Montagu notes that the Metarus was the
'turning point' of the 2nd Punic War.
Montagu, John Drogo, Battles of the Greek and
Roman Worlds, Greenhill Books, London, 2000, This is a chronologically
organized encyclopedia-type series of entries with brief descriptions of
hundreds of battles
Montgomery of Alamein, Field Marshal Viscount,
A History of Warfare, The World Publishing Company, New York, 1968. The
author begins his preface with the words, "I have not written this book to
glorify war." No doubt a true statement, but as to glorifying himself, the
author was never known to miss a chance. There is a brief but useful section on
the Punic Wars. The book is well illustrated and has battle maps. Montgomery
considered himself the better of Scipio, Hannibal, Alexander, Napoleon and all
the rest, so there are sections in which he tries to show how he would have
done things better.
Montross, Lynn, War Through the
Ages" Harper and Brothers, New York, 1960. As the title indicates,
this is a very broad, sweeping general history. It contains short chapters on
Alexander, the Romans, and Hannibal. Popular history, but now somewhat
difficult to find.
Nossov, Konstantin War Elephants, Osprey
New Vanguard, London, 2008. Includes use of elephants in war throughout Asia as
well as Africa - brief discussion of Roman and Carthagian use
Parker, Geoffrey, ed. Cambridge Illustrated
History Warfare, Cambridge University Press, New York, 1995. The book
contains a chapter by Victor Hanson, which has excellent illustrations of the
Roman legionary battle formation.
Peddie, John The Roman War Machine, Sutton,
London, 1994. Organized topically, such as "Roman Generalship",
"Comand and Control", "Siege Warfare", the book is mostly
about the Roman army at its height during the empire.
Scu.llard, H. H The Elephant in the Greek and
Roman World, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, 1974, The only book that
describes in detail the war elephant and its use by all the ancient armies. The
author presents a relatively favorable assessment on their use.
Sekunda, Nick, and Simon Northwood, Early
Roman Armies, Osprey Publishing, London, 1995. A highly illustrated study
of the Roman Army on the eve of the Punic Wars.
Spaulding, Oliver Lyman, Hoffman Nickerson, and John W.
Wright, Warfare - A Study of Military Methods From the Earliest
Times. The Infantry Journal, Washington D.C. 1937. A general survey like
the foregoing, but considerably more scholarly. There are chapters on Alexander
and on the Punic Wars. For many years this was the standard work. Very
difficult to find now, but I understand it is to be reprinted.
Watson, G. R. The Roman Soldier, Cornell
Univ. Press, Ithaca, 1969, Focused as the title indicates on the details of the
Roman soldier as an individual.
Consult the Guide to Periodic Literature. There are too many articles on
one or another aspect of the Punic wars to list. The most important journal
devoted to the study of ancient military affairs is "Slingshot",
published in England by the Society of Ancients.
Brief summary of some possible topics include the following: A comparison
of the Roman and Carthaginian methods of naval war; The Employment of the
Corvus; The Causes and Results of the First Punic War; The influence of
Greco-Macedonian art of war on Carthage; Development of Roman military art
during the First Punic War; The Role of Sicily and Spain in the struggle
between Rome and Carthage; Comparison of Roman and Carthaginian military
leadership as seen in the biographies of a number of leading commanders;
Analysis of the Question of Hannibal's route of march over the Alps; a study of
any of the many major battles analyzing the strategic and tactical situation
and methods of both sides; The conflict between Quintus Fabius and Publius
Cornelius Scipio and between their political and strategic outlooks or methods;
The Development of the Roman military system during the Second Punic War;
Comparison of P. C. Scipio and Hannibal as military commanders, leaders,
strategists etc.; Comparison of Carthaginian and Roman use of cavalry;
Relationship between Rome's wars with Carthage and Macedon; and Was the Third
Punic War Necessary?.
Obviously these are but a few of the possible topics that one might
investigate and report on.
Here is a list of the most important events.
The First Punic War
265 BC. Leaders in Messina, a city in Sicily, at
war with another city, Syracuse appealed to both Rome and Carthage for
assistance. The Carthaginians arrived first, seized the city, and were then
thrown out by the Romans.
264 BC. The Carthaginians allied with Syracuse
(ruler Hiero II) against Rome to regain Messina by siege and were defeated by
the Roman army of Appius Claudius Caudex whose subsequent siege of Syracuse was
263 BC. Roman victories in eastern Sicily forced
Hiero to switch sides and support the Roman invasion of Carthaginian
territories in western Sicily.
262 BC. Roman army successfully besieged the
Carthaginian fortress city at Agrigentum held by Hannibal Gisco and defeated a
relieving army led by Hanno.
260 BC. Carthaginian navy defeated a Roman naval
squadron at Lipara Islands.
260 BC. Roman fleet using new "secret
weapon" the Corvus (a boarding bridge) destroyed a Carthaginian fleet at
Mylae enabling the Romans to invade Corsica and Sardinia.
256 BC. A huge Roman fleet carrying an army to
invade Africa defeated a nearly-as-large Carthaginian fleet at the battle of
Cape Ecnomus off Sicily by using the Corvus again. The 20,000 strong Roman army
under Marcus Atillius Regulus landed near Tunis. The Romans won major battle at
Adys. When the Carthaginians asked for peace, the Romans made such excessive
demands the Carthaginians called in Greek mercenary support led by Xanthippus.
255 BC. Xanthippus reorganized and trained the
Carthaginian army enabling them to defeat and capture Regulus at the Battle of
Tunes. While evacuating the surviving troops a large Roman fleet was destroyed
in a storm, losing almost 100,000 of the best soldiers and sailors.
254 BC. With the threat in Africa gone Carthage
again managed to reenforce its garrisons in Sicily and recapture Agrigentum.
251 BC. Roman consul Lucius Caecilius Mettellus
defeated an equal strength Carthaginian army commanded by Hasdrubal at Cape
Panormus. The Carthaginians asked for peace, but the Romans again refused.
249 BC. The Carthaginian fleet of admiral Adherbal
destroyed a large Roman fleet commanded by P. Claudius Pulcher at the Battle of
Drepanum. The same year Hamilcar Barca defeated Roman land forces in Sicily.
Then the Romans suffered their fourth naval disaster in storms. By then they
had lost over 700 vessels.
247-243 BC. Hamilcar Barca defeated all Roman
offensives in Sicily but was unable to carry the war into Roman territory.
242 BC. The Romans completed rebuilding their navy
and launched successful ground and naval assaults against Carthaginian
fortresses at Lilybaeum and Drepanum in Sicily.
241 BC. The Roman navy commanded by L. Lutatius
Catulus decisively defeated the Carthaginian relief fleet sent to Sicily under
command of Hanno. Carthage surrendered, gave up all territories in Sicily, and
paid a huge indemnity. This officially ended the First Punic War.
238. Despite the peace, Rome invaded Sardinia on
the pretext of quelling a revolt of Carthaginian mercenary troops.
230-219 BC. The Romans were busy winning two small
wars in Illyria (Albania) and in fending off an invasion of Italy by Gauls
(Celts). The Illyrians were no match whatsoever. The Gauls were successful
initially, but were eventually driven back to the Po River Valley. They were
eager for revenge when a leader like Hannibal came to organize them.
The Second Punic War:
221 BC. The Romans began to support an
anti-Carthaginian group in Saguntum, a Greek city well within the recognized
Carthaginian area in Spain. This was clearly a provocation.
219 BC. Hannibal Barca (son of the assassinated
Hamilcar) took Saguntum by storm and Rome declared war.
218 BC. Leaving about 20,000 troops with his
brother, Hasdrubal, to fight in Spain, Hannibal left Spain ahead of the Roman
army he knew would be arriving, marched over the Pyrenees, eluded a Roman force
in southern Gaul (France), crossed the Rhone and then the Alps. At the same
time the Roman army commanded by Consul Publius Cornelius Scipio and his
brother Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio was moving from Italy to Spain. P.C. Scipio
allowed Hannibal to outwit him in Gaul and then foolishly sent his army on to
Spain while returning with a few troops to the Po River. Another Roman army led
by the Praetor Lucius Manlius was assembling to defend the Po against possible
Gaulish uprisings. The main Roman army commanded by the other Consul, Titus
Sempronius, was preparing in Sicily to invade Africa. Learning of Hannibal's
movements the Romans brought this army from Sicily by sea to the Po to join in
the defense against Hannibal. Hannibal astounded the Romans by debouching from
the Alps so quickly by October. In November he trounced the Roman army led by
P.C. Scipio and L. Manlius at the Ticinus River. Hannibal rapidly executed his
plan to recruit and train Gauls. In December T. Sempronius arrived. Hannibal
tricked Sempronius into attacking across the Trebia River, executed an ambush,
and nearly destroyed the Roman army.
217 BC. Hannibal recruited more Gauls and rested
his army early in the year. The Romans elected new consuls - Gaius Flaminius
and Gnaeus Servilius - to command two armies assembled in northern Italy. In
March Hannibal crossed the Apennines and moved his army behind the divided
Romans. In April Hannibal ambushed Flaminius, who was rushing south, at Lake
Trasimene. The Roman Senate then appointed Quintus Fabius Dictator. Fabius
instituted the delaying (attrition) strategy that came to bear his name
(Fabian). Meanwhile P. C. Scipio joined his brother in Spain where they slowly
drove Hannibal's brothers, Hasdrubal and Mago, back and retook Saguntum.
216 BC Hannibal won the greatest battle of his
career and provided succeeding generations of military students and commanders
with the epitome of a perfect tactical battle at Cannae. The indomitable Romans
declared full mobilization, elected M. Junius Pera dictator, and sent another
army south under command of the very experienced Marcus Claudius Marcellus.
215-213 BC. According to Hannibal's strategic
plan, King Philip of Macedon joined the war, but with their vast manpower
resources the Romans were able to dispatch armies against him in Greece.
Meanwhile the Roman armies in Spain continued their gradual success. Hannibal
was able to elude much larger Roman armies marching about southern Italy, but
could do little more.
213-211 BC. While Hannibal continued to defeat one
Roman general after another in southern Italy, M. Claudius Marcellus took a
large force to Sicily to besiege Syracuse. It was in this famous siege that
Archimedes distinguished himself be inventing numerous defensive engineering
apparatus before being killed by the victorious Romans.
211 BC. Hasdrubal finally defeated and killed the
Scipio brothers in Spain.
The consuls Publius Sulpicius Galba and Gnaeus Fulvius Centumalus invested
Hannibal's ally, Capua, with very large armies. Hannibal attempted to relieve
the city, but was driven off by superior forces. He then attempted a march
directly on Rome itself, but its massive fortifications and 50,000 man garrison
made any real attempt at a siege impossible. Capua eventually surrendered.
210 BC. Roman efforts to destroy Hannibal's
logistic bases in southern Italy rather than face him in open battle also
failed as he destroyed several more armies, killing G. F. Centumalus himself at
the Second Battle of Herdonia. Hannibal then defeated M. C. Marcellus again at
210-209 BC. The Roman Senate sent Publius C.
Scipio, son of the killed commander to take over the Roman armies in Spain. He
quickly executed a brilliant surprise advance against the Carthaginian capital
at New Carthage.
209-208 BC. Even though Quintus Fabius captured
Hannibal's base at Tarentum by treason of its garrison, Hannibal managed to
hold off vastly superior Roman armies, defeating M.C. Marcellus yet again, at
208 BC. P. C. Scipio managed a drawn battle with
Hasdrubal at Beccula, but allowed the latter to march away with a fresh army
toward Italy. Hasdrubal moved into Gaul to recruit a relief force as ordered by
207 BC. The Consul Caius Claudius Nero with a
superior force managed to check Hannibal's march north in Italy at Grumentum.
Then, as Hannibal encamped to await word from Hasdrubal, Nero intercepted the
messengers. Leaving part of the army to deceive Hannibal, Nero marched rapidly
and secretly north to join the other Roman Consul, M. Livius Salinator near the
Metaurus River. Realizing he was outnumbered by the combined Roman armies,
Hasdrubal attempted to withdraw across the river but was killed in battle as
his army was destroyed. This was the decisive battle of the war.
206 BC. Scipio continued to defeat the remaining
Carthaginian forces in Spain led by Hannibal's remaining brother, Mago, and
Hasdrubal Gisco. Hannibal continued his war of maneuver across southern Italy
but was gradually confined to the southernmost section in Bruttium.
205 BC. Having gained control of Spain, Scipio
journeyed to Africa to enlist local allies and then proceeded to Sicily to
train an invasion army using the exiled survivors of Cannae as cadre.
204 BC. Mago Barca led a small Carthaginian army
in an amphibious landing near Genoa in hopes of replacing Hasdrubal's threat to
Rome. Scipio landed in Africa with a fine, veteran army of 30,000 men to
besiege Utica. Another of Hannibal's brothers, Hanno, was killed in this
action. Hasdrubal Gisco and the Numidian king Syphax forced Scipio to give up
203 BC. Scipio destroyed the armies of Hasdrubal
Gisco and Syphax in a surprise attack on their separate camps. But the allies
soon brought up fresh armies, which Scipio again defeated at Bagbrades. At this
the Carthaginian Senate recalled Hannibal and Mago from Italy to defend the
city. Mago died from wounds en route, but Hannibal managed to elude the Roman
navy and bring a few thousand Italian veterans with him.
202 BC. Hannibal attempted to position himself
between Scipio's Romans and their Numidian allies, but failed to prevent the
junction of the two forces. Hannibal was forced into battle, although unready,
at Zama, where he attempted to repeat the basic tactical maneuver of Cannae.
Scipio was no Varro and his army was much better trained than the Roman levies
of 14 years previous. While Hannibal's force of new recruits was no match for
his original veteran army. The result was complete victory for the Romans,
after which Carthage finally surrendered and Hannibal fled to Asia Minor.
Scipio was given the honorific name, Africanus.
The Third Punic War:
This was very much an anticlimax. It was also an example of Roman brutality
and imperial ambition at its worst.
149 BC. Rome declared war on the pretext of
various incitements by its African (Numidian) allies. Surprisingly, the initial
naval and ground operations went in favor of Carthage.
147 BC. The invading Roman army in Africa received
a new commander -Publius Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus, the son of one great
Roman general (L. Aemilius Paulus who destroyed the Macedonians at Pynda) and
adopted grandson of another (Scipio Africanus).
146 BC. Scipio Aemilianus sacked Carthage but
wanted to spare the city further destruction. The Roman Senate decreed
otherwise, completely destroying the city and selling some 50,000 citizens as
slaves. The city became a quarry of available stone for generations, but no
copies of written literature survived.
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