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 Crotona
The battle or, more the battles of Croton in 204 and 203 BC were, as well as the raid in Cisalpine Gaul, the last larger scale engagements between the Romans and the Carthaginians in Italy during the Second Punic War. After Hannibal’s retreat to Bruttium due to the Metaurus debacle, the Romans continuously tried to block his forces from gaining access to the Ionian Sea and cut his eventual escape to Carthage by capturing Croton; the Carthaginian commander struggled to retain his hold on the last efficient port which had remained in his hands after years of fighting and was successful. The last exploits of Hannibal in Italy are recorded by Titus Livius in his Ab urbe condita; the other comparatively detailed account belongs to Appian, who dedicated a special part of his Roman History to the Hannibal's invasion. Some additional sketches provides another "Roman History", written by Cassius Dio. By 204 BC, the Romans were winning the war. Three years earlier, they had destroyed the army of Hasdrubal Barca, who had marched from Iberia through the Alps into Italy to help his brother Hannibal.
Publius Cornelius Scipio had taken advantage of Hasdrubal's departure and broke the Carthaginian power on the Iberian peninsula as a result of the battle at Ilipa. The final victory was just a matter of time. Following the battle of the Metaurus river, Hannibal decided to concentrate all his remaining forces and supporters in Bruttium, “the remotest corner of Italy”, he relinquished his other possessions in Lucania and Magna Graecia because they lost their strategical importance and he deemed them indefensible against Rome's superior forces. Furthermore, having lost many troops in cities taken by the Romans in the previous years, he wanted to diminish his losses. A mountainous region entirely surrounded by the sea, Bruttium provided Hannibal with a perfect base to check the Roman advance and force the Senate to keep a large standing army against him, thus he resorted to the same tactics his father Hamilcar Barca used for seven years during the First Punic war in Sicily. According to the military historian Hans Delbrück, the strategic goal behind these tactics was to induce Rome to an acceptable peace treaty in return for relinquishing the Punic base in Italy.
Livy describes the character of the ensuing warfare in this way: “The struggle in Bruttium had assumed the character of brigandage much more than that of regular warfare. The Numidians had commenced the practice, the Bruttians followed their example, not so much because of their alliance with the Carthaginians as because it was their traditional and natural method of carrying on war. At last the Romans were infected by the passion for plunder and, as far as their generals allowed them, used to make predatory incursions on the enemy's fields.”At this point, Rome had to decide how to proceed. After much debating in the Senate, elected consul for 205 BC, was authorized to invade Africa. Scipio's point was that only by this invasion would he induce Carthage to recall Hannibal and Mago, who had set up another Carthaginian stronghold in Italy by landing in Liguria, he was not given sufficient resources though and had to spend a year in preparations for the expedition from Sicily. With time, Scipio's assessment proved correct.
For four years the main Roman forces were entangled in Bruttium and some were diverted to Etruria and Cisalpine Gaul to face Mago. In 206 BC, Bruttium was assigned to both of the consuls. Cassius Dio explains their inaction: “Hannibal for a time was keeping quiet, satisfied if he might only retain such advantages as were his, and the consuls, believing that his power would waste away without a battle waited.” Appian states. This did not come, for a large convoy of 100 ships with soldiers and supplies was driven off its course by high winds and routed by the Roman fleet at Sardinia. Hannibal had to collect more resources by confiscations; these measures undermined his popularity among the local population and were the cause for several cases of defection. The deportation of unreliable citizens from strategic fortresses, referred by Appian, produced more security for Hannibal but not in the case of Locri. In 205 BC, a Roman detachment, sent from Rhegium by Scipio, managed to capture a part of the town by a sudden assault.
Hannibal moved to expel the enemy “and the Romans would not have held out had not the population, embittered by the tyranny and rapacity of the Carthaginians, taken their side.”Pressed by the loss of the strategic port, Hannibal set his base “at Croton, which he found to be well situated for his operations and where he established his magazines and his headquarters against the other towns”. As in the previous year, he was confronted by two armies of two legions each, one commanded by the consul Publius Licinius Crassus, the other by the proconsul Q. Caecilius. According to Appian, Crassus managed to detach from Hannibal seven towns in Bruttium, Consentia among them, it is open to debate whether he did this by persuasion. It is debatable whether Crassus accomplished anything, for Livy narrates that Consentia surrendered after the battles at Croton in the following year. For Livy, the most memorable event in Bruttium in 205 BC was a pestilence that “attacked the Romans and the Carthaginians and was fatal to both, but in addition to the epidemic, the Carthaginians were suffering from scarcity of food”.
This occurred toward the year's end. The disease was so serious that Crassus could not return to Rome for conducting the elections of the next consuls and recommended to the Senate to disband one of the armies in Bruttium, so as to preserve the soldiers’ lives; the Senate let Crassus
Siege of Syracuse (213–212 BC)
The Siege of Syracuse by the Roman Republic took place in 213–212 BC, at the end of which the Magna Graecia Hellenistic city of Syracuse, located on the east coast of Sicily, fell. The Romans stormed the city after a protracted siege giving them control of the entire island of Sicily. During the siege, the city was protected by weapons developed by Archimedes. Archimedes, the great inventor and polymath, was slain at the conclusion of the siege by a Roman soldier, in contravention of the Roman proconsul Marcellus' instructions to spare his life. Sicily, wrested from Carthaginian control during the First Punic War, was the first province of the Roman Republic not directly part of Italy; the Kingdom of Syracuse was an allied independent region in the south east of the island and a close ally of Rome during the long reign of King Hiero II. In 215 BC, Hiero's grandson, came to the throne on his grandfather's death and Syracuse fell under the influence of an anti-Roman faction, including two of his uncles, amongst the Syracusan elite.
Despite the assassination of Hieronymus and the removal of the pro-Carthaginian leaders, Rome's threatening reaction to the danger of a Syracusian alliance with Carthage would force the new republican leaders of Syracuse to prepare for war. Despite diplomatic attempts, war broke out between the Roman Republic and the Kingdom of Syracuse in 214 BC, while the Romans were still busy battling with Carthage at the height of the Second Punic War. A Roman force led by the proconsul Marcus Claudius Marcellus laid siege to the port city by sea and land in 213 BC; the city of Syracuse, located on the eastern coast of Sicily was renowned for its significant fortifications, great walls that protected the city from attack. Among the Syracuse defenders was the scientist Archimedes; the city was fiercely defended for many months against all the measures the Romans could bring to bear. Realizing how difficult the siege would be, the Romans brought their own unique devices and inventions to aid their assault.
These included the sambuca, a floating siege tower with grappling hooks, as well as ship-mounted scaling ladders that were lowered with pulleys onto the city walls. Despite these novel inventions, Archimedes devised defensive devices to counter the Roman efforts including a huge crane operated hook – the Claw of Archimedes –, used to lift the enemy ships out of the sea before dropping them to their doom. Legend has it that he created a giant mirror, used to deflect the powerful Mediterranean sun onto the ships' sails, setting fire to them; these measures, along with the fire from ballistas and onagers mounted on the city walls, frustrated the Romans and forced them to attempt costly direct assaults. The siege bogged down to a stalemate with the Romans unable to force their way into the city or keep their blockade tight enough to stop supplies reaching the defenders, the Syracusians unable to force the Romans to withdraw; the Carthaginians realised the potential hindrance a continuing Syracusian defense could cause to the Roman war effort and attempted to relieve the city from the besiegers but were driven back.
Though they planned another attempt, they could not afford the necessary troops and ships with the ongoing war against the Romans in Hispania, the Syracusians were on their own. The successes of the Syracusians in repelling the Roman siege had made them overconfident. In 212 BC, the Romans received information that the city's inhabitants were to participate in the annual festival to their goddess Artemis. A small party of Roman soldiers approached the city under the cover of night and managed to scale the walls to get into the outer city and with reinforcements soon took control, but the main fortress remained firm. Marcus Claudius Marcellus had ordered that Archimedes, the well-known mathematician – and equally well-known to Marcellus as the inventor of the mechanical devices that had so dominated the siege – should not be killed. Archimedes, now around 78 years of age, continued his studies after the breach by the Romans and while at home, his work was disturbed by a Roman soldier. Archimedes coarsely told the soldier to leave.
The Romans now controlled the outer city but the remainder of the population of Syracuse had fallen back to the fortified inner citadel, offering continued resistance. The Romans now put siege to the citadel and were successful in cutting off supplies to this reduced area. After a lengthy eight-month siege which brought great hardship onto the defenders through hunger, with parleys in progress, an Iberian captain named Moeriscus, one of the three prefects of Achradina, decided to save his own life by letting the Romans in near the Fountains of Arethusa. On the agreed signal, during a diversionary attack, he opened the gate. After setting guards on the houses of the pro-Roman faction, Marcellus gave Syracuse to plunder. Frustrated and angered after the lengthy and costly siege, the Romans rampaged through the citadel and slaughtered many of the Syracusians where they stood and enslaved most of the rest; the city was thoroughly looted and sacked. The city of Syracuse was now under the influence of Rome again, which united the whole of Sicily as a Roman province.
The taking of Syracuse ensured that the Carthaginians could not get a foothold in Sicily, which could have led to them giving support to Hannibal's Italian campaign, this allowed the Romans to concentrate on waging the war in Spain and Italy. The island was used as a vital gathering point for the final victorious ca
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
Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus known as Scipio Africanus-Major, Scipio Africanus the Elder and Scipio the Great, was a Roman general and consul, regarded as one of the greatest military commanders and strategists of all time. His main achievements were during the Second Punic War where he is best known for defeating Hannibal at the final battle of Zama in 202 BC, one of the feats that earned him the agnomen Africanus. Prior to this battle Scipio conquered Carthaginian Iberia, culminating in the Battle of Ilipa in 206 BC against Hannibal's brother Mago Barca. Although considered a hero by the general Roman populace for his contributions in the struggle against the Carthaginians, Scipio was reviled by other patricians of his day. In his years, he was tried for bribery and treason, unfounded charges that were only meant to discredit him before the public. Disillusioned by the ingratitude of his peers, Scipio withdrew from public life. Publius Cornelius Scipio was born by Caesarean section into the Scipio branch of the gens Cornelia.
His birth year is calculated from statements made by ancient historians of how old he was when certain events in his life occurred and must have been 235/6 BC stated as circa 236 BC. The Cornelii were one of six major patrician families, along with the gentes Manlia, Aemilia, the Claudia, Valeria, with a record of successful public service in the highest offices extending back at least to the early Roman Republic. Scipio's great-grandfather, Lucius Cornelius Scipio Barbatus, grandfather Lucius Cornelius Scipio, had both been consuls and censors, he was the eldest son of the consul Publius Cornelius Scipio by his wife Pomponia, daughter of plebeian consul Manius Pomponius Matho. Scipio joined the Roman struggle against Carthage in the first year of Second Punic War when his father was consul. During the Battle of Ticinus, he saved his father's life by "charging the encircling force alone with reckless daring."He survived the disaster at the Battle of Cannae, where his would-be father-in-law, the consul Lucius Aemilius Paullus, was killed.
After the battle, with the other consul surviving elsewhere and Appius Claudius Pulcher, as military tribunes, took charge of some 10,000 survivors. On hearing that Lucius Caecilius Metellus and other young nobles were planning to go overseas to serve some king, Scipio stormed into the meeting, at sword-point, forced all present to swear that they would not abandon Rome. Scipio offered himself as a candidate for aedilis curulis in 213 BC alongside his cousin Marcus Cornelius Cethegus; the Tribunate of the Plebs objected to his candidacy, saying that he could not be allowed to stand because he had not yet reached the legal age. Scipio known for his bravery and patriotism, was elected unanimously and the Tribunes abandoned their opposition, his cousin won the election. In 211 BC, both Scipio's father, Publius Scipio, uncle, Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus, were killed at the Battle of the Upper Baetis in Spain against Hannibal's brother, Hasdrubal Barca. At the election of a new proconsul for the command of the new army which the Romans resolved to send to Hispania, Scipio was the only man brave enough to ask for this position, no other candidates wanting the responsibility, considering it a death sentence.
In spite of his youth, his noble demeanour and enthusiastic language had made so great an impression that he was unanimously elected. In the year of Scipio's arrival, all of Hispania south of the Ebro river was under Carthaginian control. Hannibal's brothers Hasdrubal and Mago, Hasdrubal Gisco were the generals of the Carthaginian forces in Hispania, Rome was aided by the inability of these three figures to act in concert; the Carthaginians were preoccupied with revolts in Africa. Scipio landed at the mouth of the Ebro and was able to surprise and capture Carthago Nova, the headquarters of the Carthaginian power in Hispania, he obtained an excellent harbour and base of operations. Scipio's humanitarian conduct toward prisoners and hostages in Hispania helped in portraying the Romans as liberators as opposed to conquerors. Livy tells the story of his troops capturing a beautiful woman, whom they offered to Scipio as a prize of war. Scipio was astonished by her beauty but discovered that the woman was betrothed to a Celtiberian chieftain named Allucius.
He returned the woman to her fiancé, along with the money, offered by her parents to ransom her. This humanitarian act encouraged local chieftains to both reinforce Scipio's small army; the woman's fiancé, who soon married her, responded by bringing over his tribe to support the Roman armies. In 209 BC, Scipio fought his first set piece battle, driving back Hasdrubal Barca from his position at Baecula on the upper Guadalquivir. Scipio surround his small army. Scipio's objective was, therefore, to eliminate one of the armies to give him the luxury of dealing with the other two piecemeal; the battle was decided by a determined Roman infantry charge up the centre of the Carthaginian position. Roman losses are uncertain but may have been considerable in light of an effort by the infantry to scale an elevation defended by Carthaginian light infantry. Scipio orchestrated a frontal attack by the rest of his infantry to draw out the remainder of the Carthaginian forces. Hasdrubal had not noticed Scipio's hidden reserves of cavalry moving behind enemy lines, a Roman cavalry charge created a double envelopment on either flank led by cavalry commander Gaius Laelius and Scipio himsel
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
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