Battle of Baecula
The Battle of Baecula was a major field battle in Iberia during the Second Punic War. Roman Republican and Spanish auxiliary forces under the command of Scipio Africanus routed the Carthaginian army of Hasdrubal Barca. According to Polybius after Scipio’s surprise attack and capture of Carthago Nova, the three Carthaginian armies in Iberia remained separated, their generals at odds with each other, thus giving the Romans a chance to deal with them one by one. Early in 208 BC, with 30,000 Roman and Italian troops and 10,000 Spanish auxiliaries, moved against Hasdrubal Barca, whose 30,000-strong force had wintered at Baecula, on the upper reaches of the river Baetis. On learning of the Roman approach, Hasdrubal shifted his camp to a strong defensive position — a high and deep plateau south of Baecula, protected by ravines on the flanks and the river to the front and rear. Moreover, the plateau was formed into two steps, on which Hasdrubal posted his light troops on the lower one and his main camp behind.
After his arrival, Scipio was at first uncertain as to how to attack such a formidable position, but concerned that the other two Carthaginian armies might take advantage of his inaction and join with Hasdrubal, he took action on the third day. Before his main attack, Scipio sent one detachment to block the entrance to the valley separating the two armies and one to the road leading north to Baecula, thus providing security to his main force, while harassing any Carthaginian attempt to retreat. After these preliminary deployments were done, the Roman light troops advanced against their Carthaginian counterparts on the first step. Despite the steep slope, under a shower of missile attack, the Romans had little difficulty driving back the Carthaginian light troops once they got into hand-to-hand combat. After reinforcing his leading force, Scipio derived a pincer attack on the flanks of the Carthaginian main camp by ordering Gaius Laelius to lead half of the remaining heavy foot to the right of the enemy position, he himself scaling the left.
Hasdrubal, was under the impression that the Roman attack was only a skirmish and failed to properly deploy his main force, thus his ill-prepared army was caught on three sides by the Romans. Despite being trapped, Hasdrubal was able to retreat unmolested with his elephants, main baggage train, some of his Carthaginian troops, it appeared that his main losses in the battle were the majority of his light troops and Iberian allies. This was due to the legionnaires' choice to plunder the Carthaginian camp rather than pursue Hasdrubal with any earnestness. After the battle, Hasdrubal led his depleted army over the western passes of the Pyrenees into Gaul, subsequently into Italy in an attempt to join his brother Hannibal. Scipio's failure to stop Hasdrubal's march to Italy was criticized by the Roman Senate. Scipio did not exploit his victory at Baecula to drive out the Carthaginians from Spain, instead choosing to withdraw to his base at Tarraco, he secured alliances with many of the Spanish tribes, who switched sides after the Roman successes at Carthago Nova and Baecula.
Carthaginian reinforcements landed in Iberia in 207 BC, would soon launch a final attempt to recover their losses at the Battle of Ilipa in 206 BC. Polybius. Ian Scott-Kilvert. Mastering the West: Rome and Carthage at War. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-986010-4. Nigel Bagnall. Antonia Nevill. H. Liddell Hart.
The Roman Republic was the era of classical Roman civilization beginning with the overthrow of the Roman Kingdom, traditionally dated to 509 BC, ending in 27 BC with the establishment of the Roman Empire. It was during this period that Rome's control expanded from the city's immediate surroundings to hegemony over the entire Mediterranean world. Roman society under the Republic was a cultural mix of Latin and Greek elements, visible in the Roman Pantheon, its political organisation was influenced by the Greek city states of Magna Graecia, with collective and annual magistracies, overseen by a senate. The top magistrates were the two consuls, who had an extensive range of executive, judicial and religious powers. Whilst there were elections each year, the Republic was not a democracy, but an oligarchy, as a small number of large families monopolised the main magistracies. Roman institutions underwent considerable changes throughout the Republic to adapt to the difficulties it faced, such as the creation of promagistracies to rule its conquered provinces, or the composition of the senate.
Unlike the Pax Romana of the Roman Empire, the Republic was in a state of quasi-perpetual war throughout its existence. Its first enemies were its Latin and Etruscan neighbours as well as the Gauls, who sacked the city in 387 BC; the Republic nonetheless demonstrated extreme resilience and always managed to overcome its losses, however catastrophic. After the Gallic Sack, Rome indeed conquered the whole Italian peninsula in a century, which turned the Republic into a major power in the Mediterranean; the Republic's greatest enemy was doubtless Carthage, against. The Punic general Hannibal famously invaded Italy by crossing the Alps and inflicted on Rome two devastating defeats at the Lake Trasimene and Cannae, but the Republic once again recovered and won the war thanks to Scipio Africanus at the Battle of Zama in 202 BC. With Carthage defeated, Rome became the dominant power of the ancient Mediterranean world, it embarked in a long series of difficult conquests, after having notably defeated Philip V and Perseus of Macedon, Antiochus III of the Seleucid Empire, the Lusitanian Viriathis, the Numidian Jugurtha, the great Pontic king Mithridates VI, the Gaul Vercingetorix, the Egyptian queen Cleopatra.
At home, the Republic experienced a long streak of social and political crises, which ended in several violent civil wars. At first, the Conflict of the Orders opposed the patricians, the closed oligarchic elite, to the far more numerous plebs, who achieved political equality in several steps during the 4th century BC; the vast conquests of the Republic disrupted its society, as the immense influx of slaves they brought enriched the aristocracy, but ruined the peasantry and urban workers. In order to solve this issue, several social reformers, known as the Populares, tried to pass agrarian laws, but the Gracchi brothers, Saturninus, or Clodius Pulcher were all murdered by their opponents, the Optimates, keepers of the traditional aristocratic order. Mass slavery caused three Servile Wars. In this context, the last decades of the Republic were marked by the rise of great generals, who exploited their military conquests and the factional situation in Rome to gain control of the political system.
Marius Sulla dominated in turn the Republic. These multiple tensions lead to a series of civil wars. Despite his victory and appointment as dictator for life, Caesar was murdered in 44 BC. Caesar's heir Octavian and lieutenant Mark Antony defeated Caesar's assassins Brutus and Cassius in 42 BC, but turned against each other; the final defeat of Mark Antony and his ally Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, the Senate's grant of extraordinary powers to Octavian as Augustus in 27 BC – which made him the first Roman emperor – thus ended the Republic. Since the foundation of Rome, its rulers had been monarchs, elected for life by the patrician noblemen who made up the Roman Senate; the last Roman king was Lucius Tarquinius Superbus. In the traditional histories, Tarquin was expelled in 509 because his son Sextus Tarquinius had raped the noblewoman Lucretia, who afterwards took her own life. Lucretia's father, her husband Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus, Tarquin's nephew Lucius Junius Brutus mustered support from the Senate and army, forced Tarquin into exile in Etruria.
The Senate agreed to abolish kingship. Most of the king's former functions were transferred to two consuls, who were elected to office for a term of one year; each consul had the capacity to act as a check on his colleague, if necessary through the same power of veto that the kings had held. If a consul abused his powers in office, he could be prosecuted. Brutus and Collatinus became Republican Rome's first consuls. Despite Collatinus' role in the creation of the Republic, he belonged to the same family as the former king, was forced to abdicate his office and leave Rome, he was replaced as co-consul by Publius Valerius Publicola. Most modern scholarship describes these events as the quasi-mythological detailing of an aristocratic coup within Tarquin's own family, not a popular revolution, they fit a narrative of a personal vengeance against a tyrant leading to his overthrow, common among Greek cities and theorised by Aristotle
Battle of Ager Falernus
The Battle of Ager Falernus was a skirmish during the Second Punic War between the armies of Rome and Carthage. After winning the Battle of Lake Trasimene in Italy in 217 BC, the army commanded by Hannibal marched south and reached Campania; the Carthaginians moved into the district of Falernum, a fertile river valley surrounded by mountains. Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus, elected Roman dictator and commander of the Roman field forces after the disastrous defeat at Lake Trasimene, had dogged Hannibal and stuck to a strategy to fight only under favourable conditions, he now occupied all the river crossings and mountain passes leading out of the valley, thus blocking the Carthaginians inside. After stripping the area of grain and other supplies, Hannibal displayed brilliant tactics to provoke the Roman guard to leave one of the passes. Despite the protests of his staff officers Fabius, camped near the pass with his main forces, refused to attack the Carthaginian army and it escaped the trap unscathed.
The Carthaginian victory in the Battle of Lake Trasimene had removed the Roman consular army which had prevented the Carthaginians from marching on Rome. The second Roman consular army in Northern Italy, under Gnaeus Servilius Geminus, was on the other side of the Apennine Mountains, near Ariminum, it was in no position to hinder Hannibal from marching south; this force had lost most of its reconnaissance capabilities as its cavalry of 4,000 men had been destroyed in an ambush by Hannibal's lieutenant Maharbal near Assisi after the battle of Lake Trasimene. The Roman army retreated back to Ariminum after this debacle, was busy checking the Gallic raids taking place near the Po valley; the initiative now rested with Hannibal, the Romans had temporarily lost the ability to defend their Italian socii allies until a new army could be raised. Hannibal chose not to march on Rome after the victory at Trasimene; the Carthaginian army instead marched south-east into Umbria, through Perugia, although Livy refers to a failed siege of Spoletum, a Latin colony, Polybius does not mention it, it is that only Carthaginian raiders troubled the Latin colony.
Hannibal ordered his men to kill all military-aged males they came across as they marched through Picenum towards the Adriatic coast, reaching Herita 10 days after leaving Lake Trasimene. Here Hannibal rested his army, suffering from scurvy, refitted the Libyan/African troops with captured Roman equipment and retrained them, by using low grade local wine as an ointment, brought the cavalry horses back to health. With no Roman army situated near him, Hannibal was free to choose his next course of action unhindered. There was panic and disorder in Rome when rumors about Trasimene spread among the city population, which were confirmed when the praetor Marcus Pomponius curtly announced in the Forum "We have been defeated in a great battle"; the Senate met in continual session to debate the next course of action until three days the news of the defeat of the Roman cavalry by Maharbal arrived in Rome. The Roman senate and the people, realizing the gravity of the situation, decided to elect a dictator to direct the war effort.
As one of the elected consuls was dead and the other one away with his army, the dictator was elected by the senate instead of being nominated by one of the consuls. Quintus Fabius Maximus, a member of the patrician Fabii, who had suggested that an election should be held, was elected into office by the assembled centuries of the people, his term in office being set for the next six months. Fabius, 58 years of age, 28 years older than Hannibal, at that time carried the nickname "Verrucosus" or "Spotty" because of a wart on his face, his past political record was anything but spotty. A dictator chose his own deputy, the Master of Horse, but Fabius received as his Master of Horse Marcus Minucius Rufus, in an unusual political gesture, it was suggested that the post of Fabius was that of a pro-dictator, but it seems Fabius enjoyed all the powers of a dictator during his term. The Romans needed to prepare a proper reception should Hannibal decided to show up outside Rome with his army. Fabius first set about restoring the morale of the Roman people and tackled the task of preparing the defences of Rome after receiving his post.
He took meticulous care in observing all the religious procedures attached to state affairs and all the civil procedures related to state administration to boost the morale of the city population, after having blamed the Trasimene disaster on the lack of proper religious observations by the dead consul Flaminius. The senate consulted the Sibylline Books at the suggestion of Fabius and a praetor was assigned to appease the Roman gods through generous sacrifices. Divine duties taken care of, Fabius next went about preparing for Hannibal's anticipated visit to Latium, being ignorant of his location and intention at that time; the city walls were repaired. The unwalled towns in Latium were ordered to be abandoned, their inhabitants were moved into walled towns. Certain bridges were torn down to deny the Carthaginians easy passage through Latium. Once it was clear that Hannibal was not marching towards Rome, Fabius ordered the army of Servilius into Latium. Fabius left Rome and took over command of the army of Ser
Battle of Beneventum (212 BC)
The Battle of Beneventum was fought between Carthage and Roman republic in 212 BC. During this conflict Hanno the Elder was defeated by Quintus Fulvius Flaccus. Livy gives a short account of this battle at 25.13-14
Battle of Ebro River
The Battle of Ebro River was a naval battle fought near the mouth of Ebro River in the spring of 217 BC between a Carthaginian fleet of 27 quinqueremes, under the command of Himilco, a Roman fleet of 55 ships, under Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus. Hasdrubal Barca, the Carthaginian commander in Iberia, had launched a joint expedition to destroy the Roman base north of the Ebro River; the Carthaginian naval contingent was defeated after a surprise attack by the Roman ships, losing 29 ships and the control of seas around Iberia. The reputation of the Romans was further enhanced in Iberia after this victory, causing rebellion among some of the Iberian tribes under Carthaginian control. After Hanno's defeat in the Battle of Cissa in the winter of 218 BC, Gnaeus Scipio had spent his time consolidating his hold on the Iberian regions north of the Ebro and raiding the Iberian territory of Carthage south of the Ebro from his base at Tarraco, he had received no major reinforcements from Rome to augment his forces.
Meanwhile, Hasdrubal Barca, the Carthaginian commander in Iberia, had raised a number of Iberian levies to expand his army substantially. The Punic naval contingent in Iberia contained 32 quinqueremes and 5 triremes in 218 BC when Hannibal had departed from Iberia. During the winter of 218 BC, Hasdrubal had added a further 10 quinqueremes to this fleet and trained additional crews to man them. In the Spring of 217 BC, Hasdrubal mounted a joint expedition towards the Roman territory north of the Ebro. Hasdrubal himself commanded the army, the exact number of, unknown, his deputy Himilco led the fleet; the expedition followed the coastline, with the ships beaching beside the army at night. Gnaeus Scipio, fearing that the Carthaginian army outnumbered his own, resolved to fight a naval battle. Although he could only man 35 quinqueremes, the allied Greek city of Massilia had provided 20 ships for his fleet. After reaching the Ebro River, the Carthaginian fleet anchored near the estuary; the sailors and crew left their ships for foraging, as the fleet lacked transports carrying provisions.
Although Hasdrubal had posted scouts to detect the activities of the Romans, Himilco had no ships out at sea scouting for Roman ships. A pair of Massalian ships located the Punic fleet as it lay at anchor, slipped away undetected to warn Gnaeus of the Carthaginian presence; the Roman fleet sailed from Tarraco and was positioned only 10 miles to the north of the Carthaginian position when the warnings reached Gnaeus Scipio. Gnaeus manned his ships with picked legionaries, now sailed down to attack the Punic fleet. Hasdrubal's army scouts detected the approaching Roman fleet before the Punic navy and warned their fleet of the coming danger through fire signals. Most of the crews had been foraging, they hastily had to man their ships and sail out in a disorderly manner. There was little coordination and some ships were undermanned because of the surprise achieved by the Romans; as Himilco sailed out, Hasdrubal drew up his army on the shore to give encouragement to his fleet. Not only did the Romans have the advantage of total surprise and numbers, but the combat effectiveness of the Carthaginians is not reflected in the number of ships as one-quarter of their fleet had newly trained crew.
The Romans formed 2 lines with the 35 Roman ships in front and the 20 Massalian ships behind them, with the formation and the naval skill of the Massalians nullifying the superior manoeuvrability of the Carthaginian fleet. The Romans engaged the Carthaginian ships as they came out of the river and sinking four of them and boarding and capturing two more; the Carthaginian crews lost heart, beached their ships and sought safety among the army. The Romans hauled away 23 of the beached ships; the defeat proved to be decisive in the long run. Hasdrubal was obliged to march back to Cartagena, fearing seaborne attacks on Carthaginian territories. With the Iberian contingent of the Carthaginian navy shattered, Hasdrubal was forced to either call Carthage for reinforcements or build new ships, he did neither. The performance of the Iberian crews had been poor in the battle, their dismissal would spark a rebellion in the Turdetani tribe, forcing Carthage to send 4,000 infantry and 500 cavalry to Hasdrubal.
Hasdrubal would spend all of 216 BC subduing the rebels. In 217 BC, the main Carthaginian fleet captured. Publius Cornelius Scipio arrived in Iberia with 8,000 soldiers in the fall of that year with instructions from the Roman Senate to prevent any help from reaching Hannibal in Italy from Iberia; this is the only reinforcement the Roman Republic would send to Iberia before 211 BC. The Scipio brothers would raid Carthaginian Iberia, meet Hasdrubal at the Battle of Dertosa in 215 BC. Gnaeus Scipio had ensured that Roman seaborne supplies would not be intercepted by Carthaginian ships based in Iberia, that the Roman fleet in Iberia could raid the Carthaginian domain at will; the only major naval expedition against the Romans from Iberia would be that of Mago Barca to Italy in 204 BC. Bagnall, Nigel; the Punic Wars. ISBN 0-312-34214-4. Cottrell, Leonard. Hannibal: Enemy of Rome. Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-80498-0. Lazenby, John Francis. Hannibal's War. Aris & Phillips. ISBN 0-85668-080-X. Goldsworthy, Adrian.
The Fall of Carthage. Cassel Military Paperbacks. ISBN 0-304-36642-0. Peddie, John. Hannibal's War. Sutton Publishing Limited. ISBN 0-7509-3797-1. Lancel, Serge. Hannibal. Blackwell Publishers. ISBN 0-631-21848-3. Baker, G. P.. Ha
Battle of Nola (214 BC)
The Third Battle of Nola was fought in 214 BC between Hannibal and a Roman army led by Marcus Claudius Marcellus. It was Hannibal's third attempt to take the town of Nola. Once again, Marcellus prevented the town's capture. Upon Hannibal's descent from the alps he had for 3 years won an impressive string of victories against Rome The battle of Ticinus, Trebia and Cannae were some of the more notable victories that he'd won These had been disastrous defeats for the Romans the latter battle; this victory brought the Romans to the brink of despair. The Senate had issued a decree. Mourning was legislatively circumscribed to 30 days, women were not permitted to cry in the public venues. In spite of these and other like measures, there was much despair in the city and there were a number of young Romans of high birth who proposed desertion to all in the army and to establish a new colony elsewhere; this proposed defection was put down and all thoughts of surrender were circumscribed. However, in spite of the tremendous blow to the cause of Rome, Hannibal could not take the city itself - he did not think he had the resources that a siege of the city itself would have required- and as a result did not attempt it.
There were two reasons. Not a single member of the Italian Confederacy broke its treaty with Rome, the roots of Roman power in the peninsula were sown deep, based upon time and the mutual benefit that both Rome and her subordinate allies had received from the alliance. To be sure, there were colonies, detached from the Confederacy in Cisalpine Gaul, but no demoralizing blow had been struck at the Symmachy. So after Cannae, Hannibal set about just this task, it was indeed upon the basis of his being able to detach the confederates of Rome, that Hannibal had calculated upon a lasting victory. Without them, nothing serious could be brought about. So after the battle itself, Hannibal started to conduct diplomacy to this effect. Phillip of Macedon promised a navy and an army to descend on Italy - it was in this way that he hoped to strike a blow at Rome herself while regaining Epirus to his kingdom. In addition to this, Hiero II of Syracuse passed, his successor concluded a treaty with Hannibal. With the end of detaching more confederates from the Roman Symmachy, after the battle Hannibal released all soldiers, enlisted under the banners as a result of their cities treaty with Rome without request for ransom.
However, in spite of the seeming ascendancy of Hannibal over Rome, his cause was in reality anything but that. His military chest was stretched to its limit, to this effect he sent a deputation to Rome that requested money in return for hostages; this deputation was forbidden to enter the city, the Senate forbid anyone from purchasing hostages from the Carthaginians on an individual basis - deeming the enrichment of Hannibal through the wealth of Rome and its citizens to be unacceptable. What happened at this point, was a number of Roman Allies - although no Latin confederate - were detached. Capua, the second city of all Italy and in a commanding position on the crucial plain of Campania was detached; this city had been much oppressed by the Romans, faced discriminatory treatment by the Senate and the chief magistrates of the Republic. This city was said to be able to furnish 4,000 cavalry; this was a major blow to the Symmachy, was in and of itself as demoralizing as the defeat at Cannae had been.
Following the example of Capua was. Hannibal had won over all of southern Italy. From the mouth of the Vulturnus river to the peninsula of Mons Garganus and south nothing could be found except a string of Roman forts holding out and adherents of Hannibal. Dodge, Theodore. Hannibal. Mechanicsburg, PA: Greenhill Books. ISBN 9781853671791. Reprint of 1891 work