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 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
Carthage was the center or capital city of the ancient Carthaginian civilization, on the eastern side of the Lake of Tunis in what is now the Tunis Governorate in Tunisia. The city developed from a Phoenician colony into the capital of a Punic empire dominating the Mediterranean during the first millennium BC; the legendary Queen Dido is regarded as the founder of the city, though her historicity has been questioned. According to accounts by Timaeus of Tauromenium, she purchased from a local tribe the amount of land that could be covered by an oxhide. Cutting the skin into strips, she laid out her claim and founded an empire that would become, through the Punic Wars, the only existential threat to Rome until the coming of the Vandals several centuries later; the ancient city was destroyed by the Roman Republic in the Third Punic War in 146 BC and re-developed as Roman Carthage, which became the major city of the Roman Empire in the province of Africa. The city was sacked and destroyed in the Muslim conquest of the Maghreb in 698.
The site remained uninhabited, the regional power shifting to the Medina of Tunis in the medieval period, until the early 20th century, when it began to develop into a coastal suburb of Tunis, incorporated as Carthage municipality in 1919. The archaeological site was first surveyed by Danish consul Christian Tuxen Falbe. Excavations were performed in the second half of the 19th century by Charles Ernest Beulé and by Alfred Louis Delattre; the Carthage National Museum was founded in 1875 by Cardinal Charles Lavigerie. Excavations performed by French archaeologists in the 1920s first attracted an extraordinary amount of attention because of the evidence they produced for child sacrifice. There has been considerable disagreement among scholars concerning whether or not child sacrifice was practiced by ancient Carthage; the open-air Carthage Paleo-Christian Museum has exhibits excavated under the auspices of UNESCO from 1975 to 1984. The name Carthage /ˈkarθɪdʒ/ is the Early Modern anglicisation of French Carthage /kaʁ.taʒ/, from Latin Carthāgō and Karthāgō from the Punic qrt-ḥdšt "new city", implying it was a "new Tyre".
The Latin adjective pūnicus, meaning "Phoenician", is reflected in English in some borrowings from Latin—notably the Punic Wars and the Punic language. The Modern Standard Arabic form قرطاج is an adoption of French Carthage, replacing an older local toponym reported as Cartagenna that directly continued the Latin name. Carthage was built on a promontory with sea inlets to the south; the city's location made it master of the Mediterranean's maritime trade. All ships crossing the sea had to pass between Sicily and the coast of Tunisia, where Carthage was built, affording it great power and influence. Two large, artificial harbors were built within the city, one for harboring the city's massive navy of 220 warships and the other for mercantile trade. A walled tower overlooked both harbors; the city had 37 km in length, longer than the walls of comparable cities. Most of the walls were located on the shore, thus could be less impressive, as Carthaginian control of the sea made attack from that direction difficult.
The 4.0 to 4.8 km of wall on the isthmus to the west were massive and were never penetrated. The city had a huge necropolis or burial ground, religious area, market places, council house, a theater, was divided into four sized residential areas with the same layout. In the middle of the city stood a high citadel called the Byrsa. Carthage was one of the largest cities of the Hellenistic period and was among the largest cities in preindustrial history. Whereas by AD 14, Rome had at least 750,000 inhabitants and in the following century may have reached 1 million, the cities of Alexandria and Antioch numbered only a few hundred thousand or less. According to the not always reliable history of Herodian, Carthage rivaled Alexandria for second place in the Roman empire. On top of Byrsa hill, the location of the Roman Forum, a residential area from the last century of existence of the Punic city was excavated by the French archaeologist Serge Lancel; the neighborhood, with its houses and private spaces, is significant for what it reveals about daily life there over 2100 years ago.
The remains have been preserved under embankments, the substructures of the Roman forum, whose foundation piles dot the district. The housing blocks are separated by a grid of straight streets about 6 m wide, with a roadway consisting of clay. Construction of this type presupposes organization and political will, has inspired the name of the neighborhood, "Hannibal district", referring to the legendary Punic general or sufet at the beginning of the second century BCE; the habitat is typical stereotypical. The street was used as a storefront/shopfront. In some places, the ground is covered with mosaics called punica pavement, sometimes using a characteristic red mortar; the merchant harbor at Carthage was developed, after settlement of the nearby Punic town of Utica. The surrounding countryside was brought into the orbit of the Punic urban centers, first commercially politically. Direct management over cultivation of neighbouring lands by Punic owners followed. A 28-volume work on agriculture written in Punic by Mago, a retired army general, was trans
Siege of Capua (211 BC)
The Siege of Capua was fought in 211 BC, when the Romans besieged Capua. It is described by Polybius at 9.4-7, by Livy at 26.4-6. Capua had defected to Hannibal after the Battle of Cannae in 216 BC. Hannibal had made Capua his winter quarter in 215 BC and had conducted his campaigns against Nola and Casilinum from there; the Romans had attempted to march on Capua several times since its defection but were thwarted by the return of Hannibal's army rushing to its defence. By 211 BC, Hannibal was busy in the south of Italia and the Romans were ready to try again, banking on taking it before Hannibal's army could return to Capua. Hannibal feared that if he approached Capua, the Romans would withdraw, as they had done on other occasions, only to return to lay siege again once he had left, he thus tried to break the siege by marching on Rome itself, hoping that that threat would force the Roman army to break off the siege and march back to Rome to defend it. Once the Roman army was in the open, he would turn to engage it in a pitched battle and defeat them once again, freeing Capua from the threat.
However, Hannibal found the defences of Rome too formidable for an assault and as he had only planned this movement as a feint, he lacked both the supplies and equipment for a siege. The Roman besiegers of Capua, knowing this, ignored his march on Rome and refused to break off their siege, his feint having failed, Hannibal was forced to retreat south and Capua unrelieved fell to the Romans shortly afterwards. Polybius - The Rise of the Roman Empire, pp 387–394
Battle of Tarentum (212 BC)
The Battle of Tarentum in March 212 BC was a military engagement in the Second Punic War. The Romans had been waiting for a chance to strike at Capua, the capital of Campania in southern Italy, after it revolted against them following their defeat by the Carthaginian Hannibal at Cannae in 216 BC. Hannibal had made the city his winter headquarters, his proximity deterred the Romans. In 212 BC, Hannibal was called south to Tarentum, giving the Romans a chance to strike. Hannibal hoped for a success big enough to risk the loss of Capua, his eyes had long been set on the city of the richest in the whole of southern Italy. Hannibal had been in communication with a party of Tarentine citizens who were unhappy with Roman rule. A previous attempt had been made by the people of Tarentum to rid themselves of the Romans. However, it was thwarted by the precautions, he took effectual means for the defence of the city and sent some of the possible malcontents to Rome to serve as hostages for the good behaviour of the rest of the population.
These hostages were caught trying to escape, several of whom were convicted by the quaestores parricidii and sentenced to be flung from the Tarpeian Rock. This act infuriated the people of Tarentum. Marcus Livius, the governor of the city, was a good soldier but is said to be a man of indolent and luxurious habits. On the night appointed by Hannibal for the attack he was feasting with friends and retired to rest, heavy with food and wine. In the middle of the night he was awakened when the conspirators blew the alarm on some Roman trumpets and found Hannibal and 10,000 of his soldiers within the city. Many of the Roman soldiers were asleep or drunk and were cut down by the Carthaginians as they stumbled out into the streets. Hannibal kept control of his troops to the extent. Committed to respecting Tarentine freedom, Hannibal asked the Tarentines to mark houses where Tarentines lived. Only those houses not so marked and thus belonging to Romans were looted. Marcus Livius managed to bring his surviving troops to the citadel where they held off the Carthaginians for the duration of the war.
However, the city was lost. All the Greek towns in Southern Italy with the exception of Rhegium were now under Hannibal's control. Southern Italy provided Hannibal with a powerful foothold on the peninsula. However, when he heard news that the Romans were besieging Capua he turned his army around and only days after capturing Tarentum he was outside Capua. In the First Battle of Capua the besieging armies were temporarily driven off. At this point in history Hannibal looked invincible, having allies in southern Gaul, owning Southern Italy and Iberia. Cities in Sicily such as Syracuse had revolted as well. Hannibal was promised the support of the powerful army of King Philip V of Macedon across the Adriatic. However, Hannibal's successes were not enduring; the Romans soon re-established their siege of Capua, took the city following the Second Battle of Capua the next year. In 209 BC, Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus recaptured Tarentum through treachery. In the following years, Scipio Africanus rose to prominence in Rome's military campaigns, by copying Hannibal's tactics gained victory over Carthage.
The Punic Wars Later Campaigns
Marseille is the second-largest city of France. The main city of the historical province of Provence, it nowadays is the prefecture of the department of Bouches-du-Rhône and region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, it is located on French Riviera coast near the mouth of the Rhône. The city covers an area of 241 km2 and had a population of 852,516 in 2012, its metropolitan area, which extends over 3,173 km2 is the third-largest in France after Paris and Lyon, with a population of 1,831,500 as of 2010. Known to the ancient Greeks and Romans as Massalia, Marseille was an important European trading centre and remains the main commercial port of the French Republic. Marseille is now France's largest city on the Mediterranean coast and the largest port for commerce and cruise ships; the city was European Capital of Culture in 2013 and European Capital of Sport in 2017. It is home to Aix-Marseille University. Marseille is the second-largest city in France after Paris and the centre of the third-largest metropolitan area in France after Paris and Lyon.
To the east, starting in the small fishing village of Callelongue on the outskirts of Marseille and stretching as far as Cassis, are the Calanques, a rugged coastal area interspersed with small fjord-like inlets. Farther east still are the city of Toulon and the French Riviera. To the north of Marseille, beyond the low Garlaban and Etoile mountain ranges, is the 1,011 m Mont Sainte Victoire. To the west of Marseille is the former artists' colony of l'Estaque; the airport lies to the north west of the city at Marignane on the Étang de Berre. The city's main thoroughfare stretches eastward from the Old Port to the Réformés quarter. Two large forts flank the entrance to the Old Port—Fort Saint-Nicolas on the south side and Fort Saint-Jean on the north. Farther out in the Bay of Marseille is the Frioul archipelago which comprises four islands, one of which, If, is the location of Château d'If, made famous by the Dumas novel The Count of Monte Cristo; the main commercial centre of the city intersects with the Canebière at Rue St Ferréol and the Centre Bourse.
The centre of Marseille has several pedestrianised zones, most notably Rue St Ferréol, Cours Julien near the Music Conservatory, the Cours Honoré-d'Estienne-d'Orves off the Old Port and the area around the Hôtel de Ville. To the south east of central Marseille in the 6th arrondissement are the Prefecture and the monumental fountain of Place Castellane, an important bus and metro interchange. To the south west are the hills of the 7th and 8th arrondissements, dominated by the basilica of Notre-Dame de la Garde. Marseille's main railway station—Gare de Marseille Saint-Charles—is north of the Centre Bourse in the 1st arrondissement; the city has a hot-summer mediterranean climate with mild, humid winters and warm to hot dry summers. December and February are the coldest months, averaging temperatures of around 12 °C during the day and 4 °C at night. July and August are the hottest months, averaging temperatures of around 28–30 °C during the day and 19 °C at night in the Marignane airport but in the city near the sea the average high temperature is 27 °C in July.
Marseille is the sunniest major city in France with over 2,900 hours of sunshine while the average sunshine in country. It is the driest major city with only 512 mm of precipitation annually thanks to the Mistral, a cold, dry wind originating in the Rhône Valley that occurs in winter and spring and which brings clear skies and sunny weather to the region. Less frequent is the Sirocco, a hot, sand-bearing wind, coming from the Sahara Desert. Snowfalls are infrequent; the hottest temperature was 40.6 °C on 26 July 1983 during a great heat wave, the lowest temperature was −14.3 °C on 13 February 1929 during a strong cold wave. Marseille was founded circa 600 BC as the Greek colony of Massalia and populated by settlers from Phocaea, it became the preeminent Greek polis in the Hellenized region of southern Gaul. The city-state sided with the Roman Republic against Carthage during the Second Punic War, retaining its independence and commercial empire throughout the western Mediterranean as Rome expanded into Western Europe and North Africa.
However, the city lost its independence following the Roman Siege of Massilia in 49 BC, during Caesar's Civil War, in which Massalia sided with the exiled faction at war with Julius Caesar. Marseille continued to prosper as a Roman city, becoming an early center of Christianity during the Western Roman Empire; the city maintained its position as a premier maritime trading hub after its capture by the Visigoths in the 5th century AD, although the city went into decline following the sack of 739 AD by the forces of Charles Martel. It became part of the County of Provence during the 10th century, although its renewed prosperity was curtailed by the Black Death of the 14th century and sack of the city by the Crown of Aragon in 1423; the city's fortunes rebounded with the ambitious building projects of René of Anjou, Count of Proven
Battle of Cannae
The Battle of Cannae was a major battle of the Second Punic War that took place on 2 August 216 BC in Apulia, in southeast Italy. The army of Carthage, under Hannibal and decisively defeated a larger army of the Roman Republic under the consuls Lucius Aemilius Paullus and Gaius Terentius Varro, it is regarded both as one of the greatest tactical feats in military history and as one of the worst defeats in Roman history. Having recovered from their losses at Trebia and Lake Trasimene, the Romans decided to engage Hannibal at Cannae, with 86,000 Roman and allied troops, they massed their heavy infantry in a deeper formation than usual, while Hannibal used the double-envelopment tactic and surrounded his enemy, trapping the majority of the Roman army, who were slaughtered. The loss of life on the Roman side was one of the most lethal single day. Only about 15,000 Romans, most of whom were from the garrisons of the camps and had not taken part in the battle, escaped death. Following the defeat and several other Italian city-states defected from the Roman Republic to Carthage.
As news of this defeat reached Rome, the city was gripped in panic. Authorities resorted to extraordinary measures, which included consulting the Sibylline Oracles, dispatching a delegation led by Quintus Fabius Pictor to consult the Delphic oracle in Greece, burying four people alive as a sacrifice to their Gods. To raise two new legions, the authorities lowered the draft age and enlisted criminals and slaves. Despite the extreme loss of men and equipment, a second massive defeat that same year at Silva Litana, the Romans refused to surrender to Hannibal, his offer to ransom survivors was brusquely refused. With grim determination the Romans fought for 14 more years until they achieved victory at the Battle of Zama. Although for most of the following decades the battle was seen as a major Roman disaster, by modern times Cannae acquired a mythic quality, is used as an example of the perfect defeat of an enemy army, it was studied by German strategists prior to World War II, General Norman Schwartzkopf claimed to have drawn inspiration from Hannibal's success for his devastatingly effective land offensive in the First Gulf War.
Shortly after the start of the Second Punic War, Hannibal crossed into Italy by traversing the Pyrenees and the Alps during the summer and early autumn of 218 BC. He won major victories over the Romans at Trebia and at Lake Trasimene. After these losses, the Romans appointed Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus as dictator to deal with the threat. Fabius used attrition warfare against Hannibal, cutting off his supply lines and avoiding pitched battles; these tactics proved unpopular with the Romans who, as they recovered from the shock of Hannibal's victories, began to question the wisdom of the Fabian strategy, which had given the Carthaginian army a chance to regroup. The majority of Romans were eager to see a quick conclusion to the war, it was feared that, if Hannibal continued plundering Italy unopposed, Rome's allies might defect to the Carthaginian side for self-preservation. Therefore, when Fabius came to the end of his term, the Senate did not renew his dictatorial powers and command was given to consuls Gnaeus Servilius Geminus and Marcus Atilius Regulus.
In 216 BC, when elections resumed, Gaius Terentius Varro and Lucius Aemilius Paullus were elected as consuls, placed in command of a newly raised army of unprecedented size and directed to engage Hannibal. Polybius wrote: The Senate determined to bring eight legions into the field, which had never been done at Rome before, each legion consisting of five thousand men besides allies.... Most of their wars are decided with their quota of allies, but on this occasion, so great was the alarm and terror of what would happen, they resolved to bring not only four but eight legions into the field. Rome employed four legions each year, each consisting of 4,000 foot soldiers and 200 cavalry. Perceiving the Carthaginian army as a real threat, for the first time the Senate introduced eight legions, each consisting of 5,000 foot soldiers and 300 cavalry, with allied troops numbering the same amount of foot soldiers but 900 cavalry per legion—more than triple the legion numbers. Eight legions—some 40,000 Roman soldiers and an estimated 2,400 cavalry—formed the core of this massive new army.
Livy quotes one source stating the Romans added only 10,000 men to their usual army. While no definitive number of Roman troops exists, all sources agree that the Carthaginians faced a larger foe. Consuls were each assigned two of the four legions to command employing all four legions at once to the same assignment. However, the Senate feared a real threat and not only deployed all four legions to the field but all eight, including allies. Ordinarily, each of the two consuls would command his own portion of the army, but since the two armies were combined into one, Roman law required them to alternate their command on a daily basis; the traditional account puts Varro in command on the day of the battle, much of the blame for the defeat has been laid on his shoulders. However, his low origins seem to be exaggerated in the sources, Varro may have been made a scapegoat by the aristocratic establishment, he lacked the powerful descendants that Paullus had, descendants who were willing and able to protect his reputation—most notably, Paullus was the grandfather of Scipio Aemilianus, the patron of Polybius.
In the sp