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 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
Hannibal's crossing of the Alps
Hannibal's crossing of the Alps in 218 BC was one of the major events of the Second Punic War, one of the most celebrated achievements of any military force in ancient warfare. Bypassing Roman and allied land garrisons and Roman naval dominance, Hannibal managed to lead his Carthaginian army over the Alps and into Italy to take the war directly to the Roman Republic. After the final Carthaginian naval defeat at the Aegates Islands, the Carthaginians surrendered and accepted defeat in the First Punic War. Hamilcar Barca, a leading member of the patriotic Barcine party in Carthage and a general who operated with ability in the course of the First Punic War, sought to remedy the losses that Carthage had suffered in Sicily to the Romans. In addition to this, the Carthaginians were embittered by the loss of Sardinia. After the Carthaginians' loss of the war, the Romans imposed terms upon them that were designed to reduce Carthage to a tribute-paying city to Rome and strip it of its fleet. While the terms of the peace treaty were harsh, the Romans did not strip Carthage of her strength.
The Carthaginian Barcine party was interested in conquering Iberia, a land whose variety of natural resources would fill its coffers with sorely needed revenue and replace the riches of Sicily that, following the end of the First Punic War, were now flowing into Roman coffers. In addition, it was the ambition of the Barcas, one of the leading noble families of the patriotic party, to some day employ the Iberian peninsula as a base of operations for waging a war of revenge against the Roman military alliance; those two things went hand in hand, in spite of conservative opposition to his expedition, Hamilcar set out in 238 BC to begin his conquest of the Iberian peninsula with these objectives in mind. Marching west from Carthage towards the Pillars of Hercules, where his army crossed the strait and proceeded to subdue the peninsula, in the course of nine years Hamilcar conquered the south-eastern portion of the peninsula, his administration of the freshly conquered provinces led Cato the Elder to remark that "there was no king equal to Hamilcar Barca."In 228 BC, Hamilcar was killed, witnessed by Hannibal, during a campaign against the Celtic natives of the peninsula.
The commanding naval officer, both Hamilcar's son in law and a member of the Patriotic party – Hasdrubal "The Handsome" – was awarded the chief command by the officers of the Carthaginian Iberian army. There were a number of Grecian colonies along the eastern coast of the Iberian peninsula, the most notable being the trade emporium of Saguntum; these colonies expressed concern about the consolidation of Carthaginian power on the peninsula, which Hasdrubal's deft military leadership and diplomatic skill procured. For protection, Saguntum turned to Rome; the conclusion of the treaty and the embassy were sent to Hasdrubal's camp in 226 BC. In 221 BC, Hasdrubal was killed by an assassin, it was in that year that the officers of the Carthaginian army in Iberia expressed their high opinion of Hamilcar's 29-year-old son, Hannibal, by electing him to the chief command of the army. Having assumed the command of the army that his father had wielded through nine years of hard mountain fighting, Hannibal declared that he was going to finish his father's project of conquering the Iberian peninsula, the first objective in his father's plan to bring a war to Rome in Italy and defeat it there.
Hannibal spent the first two years of his command seeking to complete his father's ambition while putting down several potential revolts that resulted in part from the death of Hasdrubal, which menaced the Carthaginian possessions conquered thus far. He attacked the tribe captured their chief town of Althaea. A number of the neighbouring tribes were astonished at the vigour and rapacity of this attack, as a result of which they submitted to the Carthaginians, he received tribute from all of these subjugated tribes, marched his army back to Cartagena, where he rewarded his troops with gifts and promised more gifts in the future. During the next two years, Hannibal reduced all of Iberia south of the Ebro to subjection, excepting the city of Saguntum, under the aegis of Rome, was outside of his immediate plans. Catalonia and Saguntum were now the only areas of the peninsula not in Hannibal's possession. Hannibal was informed of Roman politics, saw that this was the opportune time to attack, he had Gallic spies in every corner of the Roman Republic within the inner circles of the Senate itself.
The Romans had spent the years since the end of the First Punic War tightening their grip on the peninsula by taking important geographical positions in the peninsula in addition to extending Rome's grip on Sicily and Sardinia. In addition to this, the Romans had been at war with the Padane Gauls off and on for more than a century; the Boii had waged war upon the Romans in 238 BC, a war that lasted until 236 BC. In 225 BC, the natives of northern Italy, seeing that Rome was again moving aggressively to colonize their territory, progressed to the attack, but were defeated; the Romans were determined to drive their borders right up to the Alps. In 224 BC, the Boii submitted to Roman hegemony, the next y
Battle of Beneventum (212 BC)
The Battle of Beneventum was fought between Carthage and Roman republic in 212 BC. During this conflict Hanno the Elder was defeated by Quintus Fulvius Flaccus. Livy gives a short account of this battle at 25.13-14
Battle of Lilybaeum
The Battle of Lilybaeum was the first naval clash between the navies of Carthage and Rome during the Second Punic War. The Carthaginians had sent 35 quinqueremes to raid Sicily, starting with Lilybaeum; the Romans, warned by Hiero of Syracuse of the coming raid, had time to intercept the Carthaginian contingent with a fleet of 20 quinqueremes and managed to capture several Carthaginian ships. Carthage and the Roman Republic had peaceful, if not friendly, relations since signing the first treaty in 509 BC, which had detailed the rights of each power. Treaties were signed in 348 and 306 BC that further established the spheres of influence of each state. Carthage and Rome cooperated against King Pyrrhus and signed a treaty of cooperation in 279 BC. However, Roman involvement in Messina in Sicily in 264 BC led to the First Punic War, which cost Carthage her Sicilian holdings, naval supremacy and a large indemnity; the Roman actions during the Mercenary War favoured Carthage, but they seized Sardinia and Corsica after that war concluded.
Carthage rebuilt her fortunes by conquering parts of Iberia under the leadership of Hamilcar and Hannibal during 237-218 BC. Rome, at the instigation of Massalia, signed a treaty with Hasdrubal the Fair in 226 BC, which established the Ebro as the limit of Carthaginian power in Iberia; the city of Saguntum, located south of the river, became an ally of Rome some time after 226 BC. When Iberian allies of Hannibal Barca came into conflict with Saguntum, Rome warned Hannibal not to intervene. Faced with the alternative of backing down and losing face, Hannibal opted to attack Saguntum; this was the start of the Second Punic War. The Roman Senate had declared war on Carthage after Hannibal Barca had attacked and taken the city of Saguntum in Iberia in 219 BC. Rome had declared Saguntum an ally but had done nothing to help the city during the eight-month-long siege. Once the siege was over, the combatants started to make ready for the coming struggle, to last 18 years; the Roman navy had been mobilized in 219 BC.
Publius Cornelius Scipio was to sail for Iberia escorted by 60 ships. However, Gauls of the Boii and Insubre tribes in northern Italy attacked the Roman colonies of Placentia and Cremona, causing the Romans to flee to Mutina, which the Gauls besieged. Praetor L. Manlius Vulso marched from Ariminium with two Roman legions, 600 Roman Horse, 10,000 allied infantry and 1,000 allied cavalry towards Cisalpine Gaul; this army was ambushed twice on the way. Although the siege of Mutina was raised, the army itself fell under a loose siege a few miles from Mutina; this event prompted the Roman Senate to send one of Scipio's legions and 5,000 allied troops to aid Vulso. Scipio had to raise troops to replace these and thus could not set out for Iberia until September 218 BC. Consul Tiberius Sempronius Longus received four legions and instructions to sail for Africa, escorted by 160 quinqueremes. Sempronius had set sail for Sicily. Hannibal had dismissed his army to winter quarters after the Siege of Saguntum.
In the summer of 218 BC, Hannibal stationed 15,000 soldiers and 21 elephants in Iberia under his brother Hasdrubal Barca, sent 20,000 soldiers in Africa with 4,000 garrisoning Carthage itself. The army that marched for Italy from Cartagena is supposed to have numbered 90,000 foot and 12,000 cavalry, 37 elephants. Hannibal divided his army into three columns before crossing the Ebro River, attacked the Iberian tribes of Ilergetes and Ausetani in Catalonia. In a two-month-long campaign, Hannibal subdued parts of Catalonia between the Ebro, the Pyrenees and the Sicoris river in a swift, if costly campaign; the Iberian contingent of the Punic navy, which numbered 50 quinqueremes and 5 triremes, remained in Iberian waters, having shadowed Hannibal's army for some way. Carthage mobilized at least 55 Quinqueremes for immediate raids on Italy; the Carthaginian navy struck the first blow of the war when a fleet of 20 quinqueremes, loaded with 1,000 soldiers, raided the Lipari Islands. Another group of eight ships attacked Vulcano island, but was blown off-course in a storm towards the Straits of Messina.
The Syracusan navy at Messina, managed to capture three of the ships, which surrendered without resistance. Learning from the captured crew that a Carthaginian fleet was to attack Lilybaeum, Hiero II, at Messina awaiting the arrival of Sempronius, warned the Roman praetor Marcus Amellius at Lilybaeum about the impending raid; the Carthaginian fleet was hampered by bad weather and had to wait before commencing their operation. Although the Romans only had 20 ships present at Lilybaeum, the praetor, after receiving the warning from Hiero, provisioned his ships for a long sail and put a proper contingent of Roman legionaries on board each ship before the Carthaginian fleet appeared, he posted lookouts along the coast to watch out for the Carthaginian ships, giving him early warning and minimizing the risk of surprise. The Carthaginians had broken their journey at the Aegates Islands, when they sailed for Lilybaeum on a moonlit night, they intended to make their approach coincide with the dawn.
The Roman lookouts spotted them well. As the Romans sallied forth, the Carthaginians lowered their sails for battle and moved to the open sea; the Carthaginians outnumbered the Romans, but their ships were undermanned and the Romans had the advantage of containing a larger number of soldiers aboard their ships
Carthage was a Phoenician state that included, during the 7th–3rd centuries BC, its wider sphere of influence known as the Carthaginian Empire. The empire extended over much of the coast of Northwest Africa as well as encompassing substantial parts of coastal Iberia and the islands of the western Mediterranean Sea. Phoenicians founded Carthage in 814 BC. A dependency of the Phoenician state of Tyre, Carthage gained independence around 650 BC and established its political hegemony over other Phoenician settlements throughout the western Mediterranean, this lasting until the end of the 3rd century BC. At the height of the city's prominence, it served as a major hub of trade, with trading stations extending throughout the region. For much of its history, Carthage was on hostile terms with the Greeks in Sicily and with the Roman Republic; the city had to deal with hostile Berbers, the indigenous inhabitants of the area where Carthage was built. In 146 BC, after the third and final Punic War, Roman forces destroyed Carthage redesigned and occupied the site of the city.
Nearly all of the other Phoenician city-states and former Carthaginian dependencies subsequently fell into Roman hands. According to Roman sources, Phoenician colonists from modern-day Lebanon, led by Dido, founded Carthage circa 814 BC. Queen Elissa was an exiled princess of the ancient Phoenician city of Tyre. At its peak, the metropolis she founded, came to be called the "shining city", ruling 300 other cities around the western Mediterranean Sea and leading the Phoenician world. Elissa's brother, Pygmalion of Tyre, had murdered the high priest. Elissa escaped the tyranny of her own country, founding the "new city" of Carthage and subsequently its dominions. Details of her life are sketchy and confusing, but the following can be deduced from various sources. According to Justin, Princess Elissa was the daughter of King Belus II of Tyre; when he died, the throne was jointly bequeathed to her brother and her. She married her uncle Acerbas known as Sychaeus, the High Priest of Melqart, a man with both authority and wealth comparable to the king.
This led to increased rivalry between the monarchy. Pygmalion was a tyrant, lover of both gold and intrigue, who desired the authority and fortune enjoyed by Acerbas. Pygmalion assassinated Acerbas in the temple and kept the misdeed concealed from his sister for a long time, deceiving her with lies about her husband's death. At the same time, the people of Tyre called for a single sovereign. In the Roman epic of Virgil, the Aeneid, Queen Dido, the Greek name for Elissa, is first introduced as a esteemed character. In just seven years, since their exodus from Tyre, the Carthaginians have rebuilt a successful kingdom under her rule, her subjects present her with a festival of praise. Her character is perceived by Virgil as more noble when she offers asylum to Aeneas and his men, who had escaped from Troy. A spirit in the form of the messenger god, sent by Jupiter, reminds Aeneas that his mission is not to stay in Carthage with his new-found love, but to sail to Italy to found Rome. Virgil ends his legend of Dido with the story that, when Aeneas tells Dido, her heart broken, she orders a pyre to be built where she falls upon Aeneas' sword.
As she lay dying, she predicted eternal strife between Aeneas' people and her own: "rise up from my bones, avenging spirit" she says, an invocation of Hannibal. Aeneas goes on to found the Roman Kingdom; the details of Virgil's story do not, form part of the original legend and are significant as an indication of Rome's attitude towards the city she had founded, exemplified by Cato the Elder's much-repeated utterance, "Carthago delenda est", "Carthage must be destroyed". The Phoenicians established numerous colonial cities along the coasts of the Mediterranean to provide safe harbors for their merchant fleets, to maintain a Phoenician monopoly on an area's natural resources, to conduct trade free of outside interference, they were motivated to found these cities by a desire to satisfy the demand for trade goods or to escape the necessity of paying tribute to the succession of empires that ruled Tyre and Byblos, by fear of complete Greek colonization of that part of the Mediterranean suitable for commerce.
The Phoenicians lacked the population or necessity to establish large self-sustaining cities abroad, most of their colonial cities had fewer than 1,000 inhabitants, but Carthage and a few others developed larger populations. Although Strabo's claim that the Tyrians founded three hundred colonies along the west African coast is exaggerated, colonies were established in Tunisia, Algeria, to a much lesser extent, on the arid coast of Libya; the Phoenicians were active in Cyprus, Corsica, the Balearic Islands and Sicily, as well as on the European mainland at present-day Genoa in Italy and Marseille in present-day France. The settlements at Crete and Sicily were in perpetual conflict with the Greeks, but the Phoenicians managed to control all of Sicily for a limited time; the entire area came under the leadership and protection of Carthage, which in turn dispatched its own colonists to found new cities or to reinforce those that declined with the loss of primacy of Tyre and Sidon. The first colonies were settled on the two paths to Iberia's mineral wealth — along the Northwest African coast and on Sicily and the Ba
Battle of Zama
The Battle of Zama—fought in 202 BC near Zama —marked the end of the Second Punic War. A Roman army led by Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus, with crucial support from Numidian leader Masinissa, defeated the Carthaginian army led by Hannibal. After defeating Carthaginian and Numidian armies at the battles of Utica and the Great Plains, Scipio imposed peace terms on the Carthaginians, who had no choice but to accept them. At the same time they recalled their general Hannibal's army from Italy. Confident in Hannibal's forces, the Carthaginians broke the armistice with Rome. Scipio and Hannibal confronted each other near Zama Regia. Hannibal had 36,000 infantry to Scipio's 29,000. One-third of Hannibal's army were citizen levies and the Romans had 6,100 cavalry to Carthage's 4,000, as most of the Numidian cavalry that Hannibal had employed with great success in Italy had defected to the Romans. Hannibal employed 80 war elephants; the elephants opened the battle by charging the main Roman army. Scipio's soldiers avoided the elephants by opening their ranks and drove them off with missiles.
The Roman and Numidian cavalry subsequently defeated the Carthaginian cavalry and chased them from the battlefield. Hannibal's first line of mercenaries attacked Scipio's infantry and were defeated; the second line of citizen levies and the mercenaries' remnants assaulted and inflicted heavy losses on the Roman first line. The Roman second line joined the struggle and pushed back the Carthaginian assault. Hannibal's third line of veterans, reinforced by the citizen levies and mercenaries, faced off against the Roman army, redeployed into a single line; the combat was fierce and evenly matched. Scipio's cavalry returned to the battle and attacked Hannibal's army in the rear and destroying it; the Carthaginians lost 20,000–25,000 killed and 8,500–20,000 captured. Scipio lost 4,000–5,000 men, 1,500–2,500 Romans and 2,500 Numidians, killed. Defeated on their home ground, the Carthaginian ruling elite sued for peace and accepted humiliating terms, ending the 17-year war. Crossing the Alps, Hannibal reached the Italian peninsula in 218 BC and won several major victories against the Roman armies.
The Romans failed to defeat him in the field and he remained in Italy, but following Scipio's decisive victory at the Battle of Ilipa in Spain in 206 BC, Iberia had been secured by the Romans. In 205 BC Scipio returned to Rome, where he was elected consul by unanimous vote. Scipio, now powerful enough, proposed to end the war by directly invading the Carthaginian homeland; the Senate opposed this ambitious design of Scipio, persuaded by Quintus Fabius Maximus that the enterprise was far too hazardous. Scipio and his supporters convinced the Senate to ratify the plan, Scipio was given the requisite authority to attempt the invasion. Scipio received no levy troops, he sailed to Sicily with a group of 7,000 heterogeneous volunteers, he was authorized to employ the regular forces stationed in Sicily, which consisted of the remnants of the 5th and 6th Legion, exiled to the island as a punishment for the humiliation they suffered at the Battle of Cannae. Scipio continued to reinforce his troops with local defectors.
He landed at Utica and defeated the Carthaginian army at the Battle of the Great Plains in 203 BC. The panicked Carthaginians felt that they had no alternative but to offer peace to Scipio and him, having the authority to do so, granted peace on generous terms. Under the treaty, Carthage could keep its African territory but would lose its overseas empire, by that time a fait-accompli. Masinissa was to be allowed to expand Numidia into parts of Africa. Carthage was to reduce its fleet and pay a war indemnity; the Roman Senate ratified the treaty. The Carthaginian senate recalled Hannibal, still in Italy when Scipio landed in Africa, in 203 BC. Meanwhile, the Carthaginians breached the armistice agreement by capturing a stranded Roman fleet in the Gulf of Tunis and stripping it of supplies; the Carthaginians no longer believed a treaty advantageous, rebuffed it under much Roman protest. Hannibal led an army composed of mercenaries, local citizens and veterans and Numidian cavalry from his Italian campaigns.
Scipio led a pre-Marian Roman army quincunx, along with a body of Numidian cavalry. The battle took place at Zama Regia, near Siliana 130 km southwest of Tunis. Hannibal was first to march and reach the plains of Zama Regia, which were suitable for cavalry maneuvering; this gave an edge in turn to Scipio, who relied on his Roman heavy cavalry and Numidian light cavalry. Hannibal deployed his troops facing northwest, while Scipio deployed his troops in front of the Carthaginian army facing southeast. Hannibal's army consisted of 36,000 infantry, 4,000 cavalry and 80 war elephants, while Scipio had a total of 29,000 infantry and 6,100 cavalry. Putting his cavalry on the flanks, with the inexperienced Carthaginian cavalry on the right and the Numidians on the left, Hannibal aligned the rest of his troops in three straight lines behind his elephants; the first line consisted of mixed infantry of mercenaries from Gaul and the Balearic Islands. In his second line he placed the Carthaginian and Libyan citizen levies, while his veterans from Italy, including mercenaries from Gaul and Hispania, were placed in the third line.
Hannibal intentionally held back his third infantry line, in order to thwart Scipio's tendency to pin the Carthaginian center and envelop his opponent's lines, as he had done at the Battle of Ilipa. Livy states that Hannibal deployed 4,000 Macedonians in the second line, their presence is discounted as Roman propaganda, although T. Dorey suggests that there may be a grain of truth here if the Carthagin