Siege of Saguntum
The Siege of Saguntum was a battle which took place in 219 BC between the Carthaginians and the Saguntines at the town of Saguntum, near the modern town of Sagunto in the province of Valencia, Spain. The battle is remembered today because it triggered one of the most important wars of antiquity, the Second Punic War. After Hannibal was made supreme commander of Iberia at the age of 26, he spent two years refining his plans and completing his preparations to secure power in the Mediterranean; the Romans did nothing against him. The Romans went so far as turning their attention to the Illyrians who had begun to revolt; because of this, the Romans did not react when news reached them that Hannibal was besieging Saguntum. The capture of Saguntum was essential to Hannibal's plan; the city was one of the most fortified in the area and it would have been a poor move to leave such a stronghold in the hands of the enemy. Hannibal was looking for plunder to pay his mercenaries, who were from Africa and the Iberian Peninsula.
The money could be spent on dealing with his political opponents in Carthage. Some historians doubt whether Hannibal attacked Saguntum deliberately or whether he was provoked by the Saguntines, who had Rome's support. Since most of the remaining ancient sources covering this period are pro-Roman, one cannot rule out the possibility that Rome encouraged Saguntum to defy Hannibal. However, Rome failed to support their ally during the siege of Saguntum; this might be due to the fact that Rome's legions were occupied elsewhere or might have been a calculated move to have a casus belli against Carthage. Hannibal's alleged hatred of Rome and all Romans might have been an idea of Roman propaganda to justify the second and the third Punic war. During Hannibal's assault on Saguntum, he suffered some losses due to the extensive fortifications and the tenacity of the defending Saguntines, but his troops stormed and destroyed the city's defenses one at a time. Hannibal was severely wounded by a javelin, fighting was stopped for a few weeks whilst he recovered.
The Saguntines turned to Rome for aid. In 218 BC, after enduring eight months of siege, the Saguntines' last defenses were overrun. Hannibal offered to spare the population on condition that they were "willing to depart from Saguntum, each with two garments"; when they declined the offer and began to sabotage the town's wealth and possessions, every adult was put to death. This marked the beginning of the Second Punic War. Hannibal now had a base of operations from which he could supply his forces with food and extra troops. After the siege, Hannibal attempted to gain the support of the Carthaginian Senate; the Senate did not agree with Hannibal's aggressive means of warfare, never gave complete and unconditional support to him when he was on the verge of absolute victory only five miles from Rome. In this episode, Hannibal was able to gain limited support which permitted him to move to New Carthage where he gathered his men and informed them of his ambitious intentions. Hannibal undertook a religious pilgrimage before beginning his march toward the Pyrenees, the Alps, Rome itself.
The next phase of the war was marked by extraordinary Carthaginian victories at Trebia, Lake Trasimene, the Battle of Cannae. At the end of the 1st century AD the siege of Saguntum was described in much detail by the Latin author Silius Italicus in his epic poem Punica. In his verses several Saguntine leaders and heroes stand out, as well as a Libyan warrior princess fighting for Carthage, but few historians give the tale any credit as a historical source. In 1727 the English dramatist Philip Frowde wrote a tragedy entitled The Fall of Saguntum, based on Silius' poem; the band Ex Deo has a song called Hispania On their album “The Immortal Wars”, about the siege. Alorcus
Battle of Ticinus
The Battle of Ticinus was a battle of the Second Punic War fought between the Carthaginian forces of Hannibal and the Romans under Publius Cornelius Scipio in late November 218 BC. The battle took place in the flat country of Pavia county on the right bank of the Ticino River, not far north from its confluence with the Po River; the battle is named from the river, not the nearby contemporaneous settlement of Ticinum. Although the precise location is not known, it is accepted that a settlement known today as Vigevano is mentioned in Livy's text and that Scipio's camp was to the south at Gambolo, whose coordinates are given on the map; the conflict would have been west of there. It was the first battle of the war against the Romans, fought on Italian soil and the first battle of the war to employ legion-sized forces, its loss by the Romans, the temporary disablement of Scipio's command, set the stage for the Roman disaster at the Battle of the Trebia in December. This battle was a cavalry engagement.
It was so fast-moving that the javelin-throwers deployed by the Romans had no chance of throwing a single volley and milled around on the field, a major cause of the Roman defeat. Scipio was wounded and escaped with his life, he was in fact rescued on the field by his 18-year-old son, the Scipio Africanus. The two main sources on the battle are the History of Rome by Histories of Polybius. Polybius makes it clear in his account that he visited the places and monuments and looked at documents; the two vary in some of the details. After crossing the Alps, Hannibal arrived in northern Italy with 12,000 African infantry, 8,000 Iberian infantry and 4,000 cavalry. Few of the elephants had survived. Polybius is sure of these numbers because, he reports, he read them in an inscription on a column erected by Hannibal himself at Lacinium. Polybius says that they had begun the Alpine venture with 8,000 cavalry; the survivors were emaciated and without supplies, having lost most of them in the mountains. Obtaining supplies wherever he could, Hannibal rested his men.
The northern tribes, being bound to Rome by treaty, knew that sooner or they would be required to answer to Rome for their behavior regarding the hostility of the Boii and the Insubres. Intending to march on Rome, Hannibal knew, he had entered Italy between the Insubres and a Ligurian tribe called the Taurini, after whom the Romans were to name their colony of Turin. The two tribes were at war; the Taurini were not friendly to Carthage. After the army's recovery, Hannibal offered them peace by formal alliance; when it was refused, he surrounded their chief settlement, levelled it and executed all his opponents as an object lesson to the other tribes in the north. This act of terror was effective for the time being in securing a nominal alliance with the other Gauls, but it caused the immediate announcement of his presence throughout Italy, rendering further surprise impossible. Hannibal looked. Livy adds that he believes the ranks of the Carthaginians were expanded by contingents of Ligurians and Gauls to reach 80,000 infantry and 10,000 cavalry.
Receiving news of the massacre, Publius was incredulous that Hannibal should have crossed the Alps and be in Italy so soon. Decamping, he marched upstream on the left bank looking for him. Receiving intelligence of Publius' impending arrival, Hannibal was incredulous that he should have made the difficult voyage from Marseille and now be at hand with an army; the most astounded of all at the news that both Hannibal and Publius were in Italy, when they were believed to be in Spain, were the Roman Senate and People. They sent orders posthaste to the second consul, Tiberius Sempronius Longus, conducting leisurely operations in Sicily, that he was to abandon his current project and proceed to the assistance of Publius. Sending his fleet in advance, Tiberius determined that individuals could travel more swiftly than armies, he released his men from service, having exacted an oath that they would present themselves at Ariminum south of the mouth of the Po on a certain day. However, despite these measures, events moved too swiftly for Tiberius to be of any assistance to Publius in the coming battle.
Livy and Polybius both give accounts of the battle, which agree on the main events, but differ in some of the details. On the day before the battle, Scipio was encamped in the base at Piacenza, where the colonists had planned to build; this settlement being in a loop on the right bank of the Po river, he had to construct a bridge to access it from the left bank, confused in Livy with the bridge constructed over the Ticinus some miles away. Polybius makes it clear that there were two bridges, one from the right to the left bank of the Po at Piacenza and one from the left to the right bank of the Ticinus, location unknown, but the best crossing is at Pavia, founded by Roman colonists as Ticinum at the site of the fortifications Publius threw up to protect his new bridge. A fine permanent bridge stands there today; the ground on the right bank of the Ticinus north of there was swampy, no place for an army to become bogged down. After building the bridge over the Ticinus and crossing it, Scipio entered the level plain and camped five miles from Victumulae, in the country of the Insubres, believed to be Vigevano now.
There is a town to the south of Vigevano, between Pavia and it, Gambolò, which still has some of the features of a large Roman camp, such as t
Italy the Italian Republic, is a country in Southern Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Austria and the enclaved microstates San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 and has a temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous EU member state and the most populous country in Southern Europe. Due to its central geographic location in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, Italy has been home to a myriad of peoples and cultures. In addition to the various ancient peoples dispersed throughout modern-day Italy, the most famous of which being the Indo-European Italics who gave the peninsula its name, beginning from the classical era and Carthaginians founded colonies in insular Italy and Genoa, Greeks established settlements in the so-called Magna Graecia, while Etruscans and Celts inhabited central and northern Italy respectively; the Italic tribe known as the Latins formed the Roman Kingdom in the 8th century BC, which became a republic with a government of the Senate and the People.
The Roman Republic conquered and assimilated its neighbours on the peninsula, in some cases through the establishment of federations, the Republic expanded and conquered parts of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. By the first century BC, the Roman Empire emerged as the dominant power in the Mediterranean Basin and became the leading cultural and religious centre of Western civilisation, inaugurating the Pax Romana, a period of more than 200 years during which Italy's technology, economy and literature flourished. Italy remained the metropole of the Roman Empire; the legacy of the Roman Empire endured its fall and can be observed in the global distribution of culture, governments and the Latin script. During the Early Middle Ages, Italy endured sociopolitical collapse and barbarian invasions, but by the 11th century, numerous rival city-states and maritime republics in the northern and central regions of Italy, rose to great prosperity through shipping and banking, laying the groundwork for modern capitalism.
These independent statelets served as Europe's main trading hubs with Asia and the Near East enjoying a greater degree of democracy than the larger feudal monarchies that were consolidating throughout Europe. The Renaissance began in Italy and spread to the rest of Europe, bringing a renewed interest in humanism, science and art. Italian culture flourished, producing famous scholars and polymaths such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Machiavelli. During the Middle Ages, Italian explorers such as Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, John Cabot and Giovanni da Verrazzano discovered new routes to the Far East and the New World, helping to usher in the European Age of Discovery. Italy's commercial and political power waned with the opening of trade routes that bypassed the Mediterranean. Centuries of infighting between the Italian city-states, such as the Italian Wars of the 15th and 16th centuries, left the region fragmented, it was subsequently conquered and further divided by European powers such as France and Austria.
By the mid-19th century, rising Italian nationalism and calls for independence from foreign control led to a period of revolutionary political upheaval. After centuries of foreign domination and political division, Italy was entirely unified in 1871, establishing the Kingdom of Italy as a great power. From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, Italy industrialised, namely in the north, acquired a colonial empire, while the south remained impoverished and excluded from industrialisation, fuelling a large and influential diaspora. Despite being one of the main victors in World War I, Italy entered a period of economic crisis and social turmoil, leading to the rise of a fascist dictatorship in 1922. Participation in World War II on the Axis side ended in military defeat, economic destruction and the Italian Civil War. Following the liberation of Italy and the rise of the resistance, the country abolished the monarchy, reinstated democracy, enjoyed a prolonged economic boom and, despite periods of sociopolitical turmoil became a developed country.
Today, Italy is considered to be one of the world's most culturally and economically advanced countries, with the sixth-largest worldwide national wealth. Its advanced economy ranks eighth-largest in the world and third in the Eurozone by nominal GDP. Italy owns the third-largest central bank gold reserve, it has a high level of human development, it stands among the top countries for life expectancy. The country plays a prominent role in regional and global economic, military and diplomatic affairs. Italy is a founding and leading member of the European Union and a member of numerous international institutions, including the UN, NATO, the OECD, the OSCE, the WTO, the G7, the G20, the Union for the Mediterranean, the Council of Europe, Uniting for Consensus, the Schengen Area and many more; as a reflection
Hannibal Barca was a general and statesman from Ancient Carthage, considered one of the greatest military commanders in history. His father, Hamilcar Barca, was a leading Carthaginian commander during the First Punic War, his younger brothers were Mago and Hasdrubal, he was brother-in-law to Hasdrubal the Fair, all commanded Carthaginian armies. Hannibal lived during a period of great tension in the western Mediterranean Basin, triggered by the emergence of the Roman Republic as a great power after it had established its supremacy over Italy. Although Rome had won the First Punic War, revanchism prevailed in Carthage, symbolised by the alleged pledge that Hannibal made to his father to never be a friend of Rome; the Second Punic War broke out in 218 after Hannibal's attack on Saguntum, an ally of Rome in Hispania. He made his famous military exploit of carrying war to Italy by crossing the Alps with his African elephants. In his first few years in Italy, he won a succession of dramatic victories at the Trebia, Lake Trasimene, Cannae.
He distinguished himself for his ability to determine his and his opponent's respective strengths and weaknesses, to plan battles accordingly. Hannibal's well-planned strategies allowed him to conquer. Hannibal occupied most of southern Italy for 15 years, but could not win a decisive victory, as the Romans led by Fabius Maximus avoided confrontation with him, instead waging a war of attrition. A counter-invasion of North Africa led by Scipio Africanus forced him to return to Carthage. Scipio had studied Hannibal's tactics and brilliantly devised some of his own, he defeated Rome's nemesis at the Battle of Zama, having driven Hannibal's brother Hasdrubal out of the Iberian Peninsula. After the war, Hannibal ran for the office of sufet, he enacted political and financial reforms to enable the payment of the war indemnity imposed by Rome. During this time, he lived at the Seleucid court, where he acted as military advisor to Antiochus III the Great in his war against Rome. Antiochus met defeat at the Battle of Magnesia and was forced to accept Rome's terms, Hannibal fled again, making a stop in the Kingdom of Armenia.
His flight ended in the court of Bithynia, where he achieved an outstanding naval victory against a fleet from Pergamon. He was afterwards betrayed to the committed suicide by poisoning himself. Hannibal is regarded as one of the greatest military strategists in history and one of the greatest generals of Mediterranean antiquity, together with Philip of Macedon, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Scipio Africanus. Plutarch states that Scipio asked Hannibal "who the greatest general was", to which Hannibal replied "either Alexander or Pyrrhus himself" Military historian Theodore Ayrault Dodge called Hannibal the "father of strategy", because Roman armies adopted elements of his military tactics into its own strategic arsenal. Hannibal has been cited by various subsequent military leaders, such as Napoleon Bonaparte, as an inspiration and the greatest strategist of all time; the English form of the name is derived from the Latin. Greek historians rendered the name as Anníbas Bárkas. Hannibal was a common Carthaginian masculine given name.
The name was recorded in Carthaginian sources as ḤNBʿL. It is a combination of the common Carthaginian masculine given name Hanno with the Northwest Semitic Canaanite deity Baal, its precise vocalization remains a matter of debate. Suggested readings include Ḥannobaʿal, Ḥannibaʿl, or Ḥannibaʿal, meaning "Baʿal/The Lord is Gracious", "Baʿal Has Been Gracious", or "The Grace of Baʿal". Barca was the Semitic surname of his aristocratic family, meaning "shining" or "lightning", it is thus the Phoenician equivalent to the Arabic name Barq or the Hebrew name Barak or the ancient Greek epithet Keraunos, given to military commanders in the Hellenistic period. In English, his clan are sometimes collectively known as the Barcids; as with Greek and Roman practice, patronymics were a common part of Carthaginian nomenclature, so that Hannibal would have been known as "Hannibal son of Hamilcar". Hannibal was one of the sons of a Carthaginian leader, he was born in what is present day northern Tunisia, one of many Mediterranean regions colonised by the Canaanites from their homelands in Phoenicia.
He had several sisters and two brothers and Mago. His brothers-in-law were the Numidian king Naravas, he was still a child when his sisters married, his brothers-in-law were close associates during his father's struggles in the Mercenary War and the Punic conquest of the Iberian Peninsula. In light of Hamilcar Barca's cognomen, historians refer to Hamilcar's family as the Barcids. However, there is debate as to whether the cognomen Barca was applied to Hamilcar alone or was hereditary within his family. If the latter Hannibal and his brothers bore the name "Barca". After Carthage's defeat in the First Punic War, Hamilcar set out to improve his family's and Carthage's fortunes. With that in mind and supported by Gades, Hamilcar began the subjugation of the tribes of the Iberian Peninsula. Carthage at the time was in such a poor state. According to Polybius, Hannibal much said that when he came upon his father and begged to go with him, Hamilcar agreed and dem
Battle of Herdonia (210 BC)
The second battle of Herdonia took place in 210 BC during the Second Punic War. Hannibal, leader of the Carthaginians, who had invaded Italy eight years earlier and destroyed a Roman army, operating against his allies in Apulia; the heavy defeat increased the war's burden on Rome and, piled on previous military disasters, aggravated the relations with her exhausted Italian allies. For Hannibal the battle did not halt for long the Roman advance. Within the next three years the Romans reconquered most of the territories and cities lost at the beginning of the war and pushed the Carthaginian general to the southwestern end of the Apennine peninsula; the battle was the last Carthaginian victory of the war. There is a controversy among modern historians arising from the narrative of Titus Livius, the major source of this event, who describes two battles taking place in the span of two years at the same place between Hannibal and Roman commanders with similar names; some state that there was just one battle in fact.
Following his incursion into southern Italy in 217 BC, Hannibal defeated the Roman forces in the battle of Cannae. This victory brought him a host of new allies from Campania, Apulia, Lucania and Magna Graecia, who revolted from Rome enticed by his narrative of Roman oppression. One of these allies was the city of Herdonia in northern Apulia, it was the site of a general engagement between Hannibal and the Romans in 212 BC, because despite the severe defeats on the battlefield Rome still managed to preserve intact the core of its system of alliances in Italy and continued to mount a slow but steady counter-offensive. The first battle of Herdonia ended with the total annihilation of the troops led by the praetor Gnaeus Fulvius Flaccus; however Flaccus' army was just a fraction of the forces fielded by Rome. The siege of Capua, which had begun years before, ended in 211 BC with the fall of the largest city that had taken the side of Hannibal after Cannae; the Carthaginian's inability to defend Capua reversed the mood among many of his allies and Hannibal's position began to weaken.
The Roman advance in southern Italy continued in 210 BC. Two armies stood against Hannibal in Apulia; the one was under the consul Marcus Claudius Marcellus. The proconsul Gnaeus Fulvius Centumalus commanded the other, their overall strength was four Roman legions plus an equal allied contingent. Since they operated not far from each other Hannibal did not dare to challenge them; this allowed Marcellus to capture the city of Salapia, betrayed to him by a fraction of its citizens, to destroy the Carthaginian garrison. Following this setback Hannibal retreated and a rumour was spread that he was going away to Bruttium. Upon learning this Marcellus moved to Samnium and reduced two more towns that served as Carthaginian bases in this region. Meanwhile, Hannibal returned to northern Apulia with forced marches and managed to catch Centumalus off-guard when the latter was besieging Herdonia. Despite the Carthaginian numerical superiority the proconsul did not decline the battle, he clashed with the Carthaginian infantry.
Hannibal waited until the Romans and their allies were engaged and sent his Numidian cavalry to surround them. Part of the Numidians attacked the Roman camp, insufficiently protected; the others dispersed it. The same happened to the Romans fighting in the front line. Centumalus, eleven military tribunes and 7,000–13,000 soldiers were slain; the rest were scattered and some escaped to Marcellus in Samnium. The victory did not bring strategic advantages to Hannibal. Judging that in the long run he could not retain Herdonia, the Carthaginian general decided to resettle its population in Metapontum and Thurii to the south and destroy the city itself. Before that he set an example to other eventual traitors by executing some of the distinguished citizens who had conspired to betray Herdonia to Centumalus. For the rest of the summer he was forced to fight off the second Roman army; the next battle with Marcellus at Numistro was inconclusive and Hannibal was unable to regain the positions lost at the beginning of the campaign.
The second defeat at Herdonia did not make the Roman Senate change its warlike stance. Once again, as in the aftermath of Cannae, the senators resorted to punitive actions against the remnants of the defeated army. 4,344 men were rounded up and sent to Sicily where they joined the survivors of Cannae and were sentenced to serve on the island until the end of the war. This had undesired repercussions; the deportation of the soldiers, most of whom were of Latin origin, caused considerable discontent among the Latin colonies, drained by ten years of continuous warfare on Italian soil. Amidst great want of additional manpower and financial resources twelve out of thirty colonies refused to send any more levies and money to Rome; this crisis put severe strain on the Roman war effort. First Battle of Herdonia Note: All links to online sources were active on October 26, 2007 Appian, Roman History, The Hannibalic War, Livius Articles on Ancient History Eutropius, Abridgement of Roman History, Book III, available on Corpus Scriptorum Latinorum - A Digital Library of Latin Literature Livius, The History of Rome, Vol. IV, University of Virginia
Battle of Lake Trasimene
The Battle of Lake Trasimene was a major battle in the Second Punic War. The Carthaginians under Hannibal defeated the Romans under the consul Gaius Flaminius. Hannibal's victory over the Roman army at Lake Trasimene remains, in terms of the number of men involved, the largest ambush in military history. In the prelude to the battle, Hannibal achieved the earliest known example of a strategic turning movement; the Romans alarmed and dismayed by Tiberius Sempronius Longus’ defeat at Trebia made plans to counter the new threat from the north. Sempronius returned to Rome and the Roman Senate resolved to elect new consuls the following year in 217 BC; the new consuls were Gaius Flaminius. The latter was under threat of recall from the Senate for leaving Rome without carrying out the proper rituals after being elected consul; the Senate commissioned Servilius to replace Publius Cornelius Scipio and take command of his army, while Flaminius was appointed to lead what remained of Sempronius’s army. Since both armies had been weakened by the defeat at Trebia, four new legions were raised.
These new forces, together with the remains of the former army, were divided between the two consuls. After the battles of Ticinus and Trebia, Flaminius' army turned south to prepare a defence near Rome itself. Hannibal followed, but marched faster and soon passed the Roman army. Flaminius was forced to increase the speed of his march in order to bring Hannibal to battle before reaching the city. Another force under Servilius was due to join Flaminius. Before this could happen, Hannibal lured Gaius Flaminius' force into a pitched battle, by devastating the area Flaminius had been sent to protect. Polybius wrote that Hannibal calculated that he could draw out Flaminius into battle and that "no sooner had he left the neighbourhood of Faesulae, advancing a short way beyond the Roman camp, made a raid upon the neighbouring country Flaminius became excited, enraged at the idea that he was despised by the enemy: and as the devastation of the country went on, he saw from the smoke that rose in every direction that the work of destruction was proceeding, he could not patiently endure the sight."
At the same time, Hannibal tried to sever the allegiance of Rome's allies, by proving that the Republic was powerless to protect them. Flaminius remained passively encamped at Arretium. Unable to goad Flaminius into battle, Hannibal marched boldly around his opponent's left flank and cut Flaminius off from Rome, providing the earliest record of a deliberate turning movement in military history. Military historian Theodore Ayrault Dodge describes the significance of this maneuver and its intended effects on the campaign: We are told nothing about it by the ancient authors, whose knowledge of war confined them to the description of battles, but it is apparent enough to us By this handsome march Hannibal cut Flaminius off from Rome... as he was apt to move by the flank past the Roman camp to taunt the Roman general. Here is shown...the clear conception of the enemy’s strategic flank, with all its advantages Nor by his maneuver had Hannibal recklessly cut himself loose from his base, though he was living on the country and independent of it, as it were.
A more perfect case of cutting the enemy from his communications can scarcely be conceived.... If he fought, it must be materially worse conditions than if his line was open. Still, Flaminius stubbornly kept his army in camp. Hannibal decided to march on Apulia, hoping that Flaminius might follow him to a battlefield of his own choosing. Flaminius, eager to exact revenge for the devastation of the countryside, facing increasing political criticism from Rome marched against Hannibal. Flaminius, like Sempronius, was impetuous and lacking in self-control, his advisors suggested that he send only a cavalry detachment to harass the Carthaginians and prevent them from laying waste to any more of the country, while reserving his main force until the other consul, arrived with his army. It proved impossible to argue with the rash Flaminius. Livy wrote that "Though every other person in the council advised safe rather than showy measures, urging that he should wait for his colleague, in order that joining their armies, they might carry on the war with united courage and counsels...
Flaminius, in a fury... gave out the signal for marching for battle." As Hannibal passed Lake Trasimene, he came to a place suitable for an ambush, hearing that Flaminius had broken camp and was pursuing him, made preparations for the impending battle. To the north was a series of forested hills where the Malpasso Road passed along the north side of Lake Trasimene. Along the hill-bordered skirts of the lake, Hannibal camped where he was in full view of anyone entering the northern defile, spent the night arranging his troops for battle. Below the camp, he placed his heavy infantry upon a slight elevation. Here, they had ample ground from which they could charge down upon the head of the Roman column on the left flank, when it should reach the position, his cavalry and Gallic infantry were concealed in the hills in the depth of the wooded valley from which the Romans would first enter, so that they could sally out and close the entrance, blocking the Roman route of retreat. He posted his light troops at intervals along the heights overlooking the plain, with orders to keep well hidden in the woods until signalled to attack.
The night before
Second Punic War
The Second Punic War referred to as The Hannibalic War and by the Romans the War Against Hannibal, was the second of three wars between Carthage and the Roman Republic, with the participation of Greek polities and Numidian and Iberian forces on both sides. It was one of the deadliest human conflicts of ancient times. Fought across the entire Western Mediterranean region for 17 years and regarded by ancient historians as the greatest war in history, it was waged with unparalleled resources and hatred, it saw hundreds of thousands killed, some of the most lethal battles in military history, the destruction of cities, massacres and enslavements of civilian populations and prisoners of war by both sides. The war began with the Carthaginian general Hannibal's conquest of the pro-Roman Iberian city of Saguntum in 219 BC, prompting a Roman declaration of war on Carthage in the spring of 218. Hannibal surprised the Romans by marching his army overland from Iberia to cross the Alps and invade Roman Italy, followed by his reinforcement by Gallic allies and crushing victories over Roman armies at Trebia in 218 and on the shores of Lake Trasimene in 217.
Moving to southern Italy in 216, Hannibal at Cannae annihilated the largest army the Romans had assembled. After the death or imprisonment of 130,000 Roman troops in two years, 40% of Rome's Italian allies defected to Carthage, giving her control over most of southern Italy. Macedon and Syracuse joined the Carthaginian side after Cannae and the conflict spread to Greece and Sicily. From 215–210 the Carthaginian army and navy launched repeated amphibious assaults to capture Roman Sicily and Sardinia but were repulsed. Against Hannibal's skill on the battlefield, the Romans adopted the Fabian strategy – the avoidance of battle against Hannibal and defeating his allies and the other Carthaginian generals instead. Roman armies recaptured all of the great cities that had joined Carthage and defeated a Carthaginian attempt to reinforce Hannibal at Metaurus in 207. Southern Italy was devastated by the combatants, with hundreds of thousands of civilians killed or enslaved. In Iberia, which served as a major source of silver and manpower for the Carthaginian army, a Roman expeditionary force under Publius Cornelius Scipio captured Carthago Nova, Carthage's capital city in Iberia, in 209.
Scipio's destruction of a Carthaginian army at Ilipa in 206 permanently ended Carthaginian rule in Iberia. He invaded Carthaginian Africa in 204, inflicting two severe defeats on Carthage and her allies at Utica and the Great Plains that compelled the Carthaginian senate to recall Hannibal's army from Italy; the final engagement between Scipio and Hannibal took place at Zama in Africa in 202 and resulted in Hannibal's defeat and the imposition of harsh peace conditions on Carthage, which ceased to be a great power and became a Roman client state until its final destruction by the Romans in 146 BC during the Third Punic War. The Second Punic War overthrew the established balance of power of the ancient world and Rome rose to become the dominant power in the Mediterranean Basin for the next 600 years. Carthage's defeat in the First Punic War meant the loss of Carthaginian Sicily to Rome under the terms of the Roman-dictated 241 BC Treaty of Lutatius. Rome exploited Carthage's distraction during the Truceless War against rebellious mercenaries and Libyan subjects to break the peace treaty and annex Carthaginian Sardinia and Corsica to Rome in 238 BC.
Under the leadership of Hamilcar Barca and his family, Carthage defeated the rebels and began the Barcid conquest of Hispania from 237 BC onward. Control over Spain gave Carthage the silver mines, agricultural wealth, military facilities such as shipyards and territorial depth to stand up to future Roman demands with confidence; the Second Punic War was ignited by the dispute over the hegemony of Saguntum, a Hellenized Iberian coastal city with diplomatic contacts with Rome. After great tension within the city government, culminating in the assassination of the supporters of Carthage, Hannibal laid siege to the city of Saguntum in 219 BC; the city called for Roman aid. Following a prolonged siege of eight months and a bloody struggle, in which Hannibal himself was wounded, the Carthaginians took control of the city. Many of the Saguntians chose to commit suicide rather than face subjugation by the Carthaginians; the loss of Saguntum as a potential base of operations in Carthaginian Iberia was a serious setback to the main Roman strategic objective in Spain: the eviction of the Carthaginians from the peninsula.
The Roman Senate sent an embassy to the Carthaginian Senate that declared war on Carthage in early 218 BC over the attack on Rome's Saguntine ally. Before the war and Hasdrubal the Fair had made a treaty. Livy reports that it was agreed that the Iber should be the boundary between the two empires and that the liberty of the Saguntines should be preserved; the highest priority in Carthaginian strategy was to keep the war away from Carthage's agricultural heartland in Africa and protect the property of the wealthy Carthaginian landowners who controlled Carthaginian politics. Spanish mines and sources of manpower comprised the second pillar of the Carthaginian power base and their protection was essential to maintaining Carthage's status as an independent continental great power. Hannibal's invasion of Italy forced the Romans to abandon their intended invasion of Africa and de-prioritize the reinforcement of Roman armies in Spain. Most Roman troops during the war fought in Italy, which became the main theater of the war as a result of Hannibal's offensive.
Africa remained undisturbed by a Roman invasion army until 204 BC and the Roman military presence in Spain was confined to its northeastern corn