CKM 2018-20 / Aziz Yardımlı





Extent of Carthaginian influence prior to 264 BC.

Ancient Carthage

Ancient Carthage (814-146 BC) (W)

Capital Carthage
Common languages Punic, Phoenician, Berber (Numidian), Ancient Greek
Religion Punic religion
Government Monarchy until 480 BC, republic thereafter
King, later Shophet ("Judge")
Historical era Antiquity
Foundation of Carthage 814 BC
Destroyed 146 BC
Currency Carthaginian shekel
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Africa (Roman province)
Sicilia (Roman province)

(/ˈkɑːrθɪ/; Punic: 𐤒𐤓𐤕•𐤇𐤃𐤔𐤕, romanized: Qart-ḥadašt, lit. 'New City'; Latin: Carthāgō) 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. Initially 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 lasted 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; tensions led to a series of armed conflicts known as the Sicilian Wars (c. 600–265 BC) and the Punic Wars (264–146 BC) respectively. The city also had to deal with potentially 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 then 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.


Foundation legends

Foundation legends (W)

According to Roman sources, Phoenician colonists from modern-day Lebanon, led by Dido(also known as Queen Elissa), founded Carthage c. 814 BC. Queen Elissa (also known as "Alissar") was allegedly an exiled princess of the ancient Phoenician city of Tyre. At its peak, the metropolis she founded, Carthage, 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 Elissa's husband, the high priest. Elissa escaped the tyranny of her own country, founding the "new city" of Carthage and subsequently its later dominions. Details of her life are sketchy and confusing, but various sources give some details. According to Justin (2nd century AD), Princess Elissa was the daughter of King Belus II of Tyre. When he died, the throne was jointly bequeathed to her brother, Pygmalion, and her. She married her uncle Acerbas, also 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 religious élite and the monarchy. Pygmalion was a tyrant, a 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.

Virgil’s Roman epic, the Aeneid, first introduces Queen Dido (the Greek name for Elissa) as a highly esteemed character. In just seven years since their exodus from Tyre, the Carthaginians have built a successful kingdom under her rule. Her subjects adore her and present her with a festival of praise. Virgil portrays her character as even more noble when she offers asylum to Aeneas and his men, who had recently escaped from Troy. A spirit in the form of the messenger-god, Mercury, sent by Jupiter, reminds Aeneas that his mission is not to stay in Carthage with his new-found love, Dido, but to sail to Italy to found Rome. Virgil ends his legend of Dido with the story that, when Aeneas farewells Dido, her heart broken, she orders a pyre to be built where she falls upon Aeneas' sword. As she lies dying, she predicts 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 predecessor-state of the Roman Kingdom. The details of Virgil's story do not, however, form part of the original legend and are significant mainly as an indication of Rome's attitude towards the city Dido had founded, an attitude exemplified by Cato the Elder's much-repeated utterance, "Carthago delenda est", "Carthage must be destroyed".


Phoenician settlement

Phoenician settlement (W)

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, and to conduct trade free of outside interference. They were also 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,  Sidon, and Byblos, and 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, and most of their colonial cities had fewer than 1,000 inhabitants, but Carthage and a few others developed larger populations.[16]

Although Strabo's claim that the Tyrians founded three hundred colonies along the west African coast is clearly exaggerated, colonies arose in Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Iberia, and to a much lesser extent, on the arid coast of Libya. The Phoenicians were active in Cyprus, Sardinia,  Corsica, the Balearic Islands,  Crete, and Sicily, as well as on the European mainland at present-day Genoa in Italy and at Marseille in present-day France. The settlements at Crete and Sicily continually clashed with the Greeks, but the Phoenicians managed to control all of Sicily for a limited time. The entire area later came under the leadership and protection of Carthage, which in turn dispatched its own colonists to found new citie or to reinforce those that declined with the loss of primacy of Tyre and Sidon.

The first Phoenician colonies grew up on the two paths to Iberia's mineral wealth — along the Northwest African coast and on SicilySardinia and the Balearic Islands. The centre of the Phoenician world was Tyre, which served as its economic and political hub. The power of this city waned following numerous sieges by Babylonia, and then its later voluntary submission to the Persian king Cambyses (r. 530-522 BC) and incorporation within the Persian empire. Supremacy passed to Sidon. and then to Carthage, before Tyre's eventual destruction by Alexander the Great in 332 BC. Each colony paid tribute to either Tyre or Sidon, but neither of these cities had actual control of the colonies. This changed with the rise of Carthage, since the Carthaginians appointed their own magistrates to rule the towns and Carthage retained much direct control over her colonies. This policy resulted in a number of Iberian towns siding with the Romans during the Punic Wars of 264 to 146 BC.

In 509 BC Carthage and Rome signed a treaty, indicating a division of influence and commercial activities. This is the first known source indicating that Carthage had gained control over Sicily and Sardinia.

By the beginning of the 5th century BC, Carthage had become the commercial center of the West Mediterranean region, a position it retained until overthrown by the Roman Republic. Carthaginians had conquered most of the old Phoenician colonies (including Hadrumetum. Utica. Hippo Diarrhytus and Kerkouane), subjugated the Libyan tribes (with the Numidian and Mauretanian kingdoms remaining more or less independent), and taken control of the entire Northwest African coast from modern Morocco to the borders of Egypt (not including the Cyrenaica, which eventually became part of Hellenistic Egypt).  Their influence had also extended into the Mediterranean, taking control of Sardinia, Malta, the Balearic Islands, and the western half of Sicily, where coastal fortresses such as Motya or Lilybaeum secured their possessions. Important Carthaginian colonies also grew up on the Iberian Peninsula. Carthaginian cultural influence in the Iberian Peninsula is documented, but the degree of Carthage's political influence before the conquest (237-228 BC) by Hamilcar Barca is disputed.


Greco-Punic Wars (Sicilian Wars) İÖ 580-265

Greco-Punic Wars (Sicilian Wars) (580-265 BC) (W)

The Sicilian Wars, or Greco-Punic Wars, were a series of conflicts fought between Ancient Carthage and the Greek city-statesled by Syracuse, Sicily, over control of Sicily and the western Mediterranean between 580-265 BC.

Carthage's economic success and its dependence on seaborne trade led to the creation of a powerful navy to discourage both pirates and rival nations. They had inherited their naval strength and experience from their forebearers, the Phoenicians, but had increased it because, unlike the Phoenicians, the Punics did not want to rely on a foreign nation's aid. This, coupled with its success and growing hegemony, brought Carthage into increasing conflict with the Greeks, the other major power contending for control of the central Mediterranean.

The Greeks, like the Phoenicians, were expert sailors who had established thriving colonies throughout the Mediterranean. These two rivals fought their wars on the island of Sicily, which lay close to Carthage. From their earliest days, both the Greeks and Phoenicians had been attracted to the large island, establishing a large number of colonies and trading posts along its coasts. Small battles had been fought between these settlements for centuries.

No Carthaginian records of the war exist today because when the city was destroyed in 146 BC by the Romans, the books from Carthage's library were distributed among the nearby African tribes. None remain on the topic of Carthaginian history. As a result, most of what we know about the Sicilian Wars comes from Greek historians.

Pyrrhic War (278-276 BC) (W)

After Agathocles sued for peace, Carthage enjoyed a brief, unchallenged period of control of Sicily, which ended with the Pyrrhic War. The Sicilian Pyrrhic expedition, the second phase of the Pyrrhic War (280-265 BC), which ultimately led to the Punic Wars, can be considered the ultimate part of the Greek-Punic wars. Pyrrhus of Epirus arrived in Sicily to rescue the island from the Carthaginians. He conquered Palermo, Eryx and Iaitias but his siege of Lilybaeum failed. So he returned in Italy. Rome, despite its close proximity to Sicily, was not involved in the Sicilian Wars of the 5th and 4th centuries BC because of its focus on local conflicts in Latium during the 5th century BC and its conquest of Italy proper during the 4th century BC. Rome's later involvement in Sicily ended the indecisive warfare on the island.



Battle of Himera (480 BC)

Battle of Himera (480 BC) (W)

The Battle of Himera (480 BC), supposedly fought on the same day as the more famous Battle of Salamis, or at the same time as the Battle of Thermopylae, saw the Greek forces of Gelon, King of Syracuse, and Theron, tyrant of Agrigentum, defeat the Carthaginian force of Hamilcar the Magonid, ending a Carthaginian bid to restore the deposed tyrant of Himera. The alleged coincidence of this battle with the naval battle of Salamis and the resultant derailing of a Punic-Persian conspiracy aimed at destroying the Greek civilization is rejected by modern scholars. Scholars also agree that the battle led to the crippling of Carthage's power in Sicily for many decades. It was one of the most important battles of the Sicilian Wars.

The discovery in 2007/8 of mass graves from the battle has confirmed the location and nature of the battle.

The Battle of Himera, 480 BC; Decisive Greek victory; Syracusian hegemony of Sicily.



  Carthage and Rome
Outlines of Roman History
by William C. Morey, Ph.D., D.C.L.
New York, Cincinnati, Chicago: American Book Company (1901). LINK

📙 THE FIRST PUNIC WAR (B.C. 264-241)



Carthage and Rome, I.Operations of the First Punic War, II.Events Following the War (B.C. 241-218), III.


Beginning of Foreign Conquests.—The ambition and the resources of Rome were not exhausted with the conquest of Italy. It was but a step from the Greek cities of Italy to the Greek cities of Sicily. But when Rome ventured to cross the Sicilian Strait, she was drawn into a struggle which was not ended until she was mistress of the Mediterranean. In passing beyond the limits of her own peninsula, she became one of the great world powers. The strength which she had acquired in her wars with the Latins and Etruscans and Samnites, she was now to use in the greater conflicts with Carthage and Macedonia and Syria.

The Origin of Carthage.—The first foreign power with which Rome came in contact, outside of Italy, was Carthage. This city was originally a colony of Tyre, and had come to be the capital of a great commercial empire on the northern coast of Africa. The origin of Carthage, like that of Rome, is almost lost in the clouds of tradition. An old story tells us how Queen Dido was driven from Tyre and landed in Africa, as Aeneas did in Italy, with a band of fugitives. It is said that Dido purchased from the African princes as much land as an oxhide would cover; and cunningly cut the hide into thin strips and encircled enough land, upon which to found a city. Vergil has told us the romantic story of Dido and Aeneas, and the death of the queen. But all we really know of the origin of this city is that it was settled by Phoenicians from Tyre, and early acquired dominion over the native races of Africa, the Lydians and the Numidians.

Government of Carthage.—When Carthage came into conflict with Rome, it had in some respects the same kind of government as the Roman republic. It had two chief magistrates (called suffetes), corresponding to the Roman consuls. It had a council of elders, called the “hundred,” which we might compare to the Roman senate. It had also an assembly something like the Roman comitia. But while the Carthaginian government had some outward similarity to the Roman, it was in its spirit very different. The real power was exercised by a few wealthy and prominent families. The Carthaginians, moreover, did not understand the Roman method of incorporating their subjects into the state; and hence did not possess a great body of loyal citizens, as did Rome. But one great advantage of the Carthaginian government was the fact that it placed the command of the army in the hands of a permanent able leader, and not in the hands of its civil magistrates, who were constantly changing as were the consuls at Rome.

The Civilization of Carthage.—Carthage brought into the western Mediterranean the ideas and civilization which the Phoenicians had developed in the East. Her power was based upon trade and commercial supremacy. She had brought under her control the trading colonies of northern Africa and many of the Greek cities of Sicily. She was, in fact, the great merchant of the Mediterranean. She had grown wealthy and strong by buying and selling the products of the East and the West—the purple of Tyre, the frankincense of Arabia, the linen of Egypt, the gold of Spain, the silver of the Balearic Isles, the tin of Britain, and the iron of Elba. She had formed commercial treaties with the chief countries of the world. She coveted not only the Greek cities of Sicily, but the Greek cities of Italy as well. We can thus see how Rome and Carthage became rivals for the possession of the countries bordering upon the western Mediterranean Sea.

Rome and Carthage Compared.—In comparing these two great rivals of the West, we might say that they were nearly equal in strength and resources. Carthage had greater wealth, but Rome had a better organization. Carthage had a more powerful navy, but Rome had a more efficient army. Carthage had more brilliant leaders, while Rome had a more steadfast body of citizens. The main strength of Carthage rested in her wealth and commercial resources, while that of Rome depended upon the character of her people and her well-organized political system. The greatness of the Carthaginians was shown in their successes, while the greatness of the Romans was most fully revealed in the dark hours of disaster and trial.


🎨 Aeneas and Dido (Elissa)

Aeneas and Dido (Elissa)

“The Meeting of Dido and Aeneas” — Nathaniel Dance-Holland

The-Aeneid, “Aeneas and Achates Appearing to Dido” — Antoine Coypel II.

“Dido and Aeneas” — Nicolas Verkolye (The Netherlands, 1673-1746)

“The suicide of Queen Dido” — (Virgil, Aeneas, Book 4); sculpture by Claude-Augustin Cayot [fr] (1667–1722).

“Aeneas tells Dido about the fall of Troy,” by Pierre-Narcisse Guérin


  Punic Wars

Punic Wars — CARTHAGE AND ROME (264-146 BCE) (B)

Punic Wars — CARTHAGE AND ROME (264-146 BCE) (B)

Punic Wars, also called Carthaginian Wars, (264-146 BCE), a series of three wars between the Roman Republic and the Carthaginian (Punic) empire, resulting in the destruction of Carthage, the enslavement of its population, and Roman hegemony over the western Mediterranean.

The western Mediterranean during the Punic Wars.

The origin of these conflicts is to be found in the position which Rome acquired, about 275 BCE, as leader and protector of all Italy. The attendant new obligation to safeguard the peninsula against foreign interference made it necessary not to allow the neighbouring island of Sicily to fall into the hands of a strong and expansive power. Carthage, on the other hand, had long been anxious to conquer Sicily and so to complete the chain of island posts by which it controlled the western Mediterranean.

Roman expansion in Italy from 298 to 201 BC.


Punic Wars (W)

Punic Wars — 264 BC to 146 BC (W)

Map of the Mediterranean in 218 BC

The Punic Wars were a series of three wars fought between Rome and Carthage from 264 BC to 146 BC. At the time, they were some of the largest wars that had ever taken place. The term Punic comes from the Latin word Punicus (or Poenicus), meaning "Carthaginian," with reference to the Carthaginians' Phoenician ancestry.

The main cause of the Punic Wars was the conflicts of interest between the existing Carthaginian Empire and the expanding Roman Republic. The Romans were initially interested in expansion via Sicily (which at that time was a cultural melting pot), part of which lay under Carthaginian control. At the start of the First Punic War (264-241 BC), Carthage was the dominant power of the Western Mediterranean, with an extensive maritime empire. Rome was a rapidly ascending power in Italy, but it lacked the naval power of Carthage. The Second Punic War (218-201 BC) witnessed Hannibal’s crossing of the Alps in 218 BC, followed by a prolonged but ultimately failed campaign of Carthage's Hannibal in mainland Italy. By the end of the Third Punic War (149-146 BC), after more than a hundred years and the loss of many hundreds of thousands of soldiers from both sides, Rome had conquered Carthage’s empire, completely destroyed the city, and became the most powerful state of the Western Mediterranean.

With the end of the Macedonian Wars – which ran concurrently with the Punic Wars – and the defeat of the Seleucid King Antiochus III the Great in the Roman-Seleucid War (Treaty of Apamea, 188 BC) in the eastern sea, Rome emerged as the dominant Mediterranean power and one of the most powerful cities in classical antiquity. The Roman victories over Carthage in these wars gave Rome a preeminent status it would retain until the 5th century AD.

Depiction of Hannibal and his army crossing the Alps during the Second Punic War, Heinrich Leutemann
(Kolorierter Holzschnitt Die Karthager – Hannibals Übergang über die Alpen von Heinrich Leutemann, erschienen im Münchener Bilderbogen. (Blatt 13 der „Bilder aus dem Altertume“; Nr. 438)

DepictionHannibal's feat in crossing the Alps with war elephants, though many of them did not survive, passed into European legend: detail of a fresco by Jacopo Ripanda, c. 1510, Capitoline Museums, Rome


  First Punic War (264-241 BC)

First Punic War (264–241 BCE) (B)

First Punic War (264-241 BCE) (B)

The proximate cause of the first outbreak was a crisis in the city of Messana (Messina), commanding the straits between Italy and Sicily. The Mamertini, a band of Campanian mercenaries, had forcibly established themselves within the town and were being hard pressed in 264 by Hieron II of Syracuse. The Mamertini appealed to both Rome and Carthage, and the Carthaginians, arriving first, occupied Messana and effected a reconciliation with Hieron. The Roman commander, nevertheless, persisted in throwing troops into the city, and, by seizing the Carthaginian admiral during a parley, induced him to withdraw. This aggression provoked war with Carthage and Syracuse.

Operations began with a joint attack upon Messana, which the Romans easily repelled. In 263 the Romans advanced with a considerable force into Hieron’s territory and induced him to seek peace and alliance with them. They besieged and captured the Carthaginian base at Agrigentum in 262 but made little impression upon the Carthaginian fortresses in the west of the island and upon the towns of the interior.

In 260 the Romans built their first large fleet of standard battleships. At Mylae (Milazzo), off the north Sicilian coast, their admiral Gaius Duilius defeated a Carthaginian squadron of superior maneuvering capacity by grappling and boarding. This left Rome free to land a force on Corsica (259) and expel the Carthaginians but did not suffice to loosen their grasp on Sicily. A large Roman fleet sailed out in 256, repelled the entire Carthaginian fleet off Cape Ecnomus (near modern Licata) and established a fortified camp on African soil at Clypea (Kélibia in Tunisia). The Carthaginians, whose citizen levy was utterly disorganized, could neither keep the field against the invaders nor prevent their subjects from revolting. After one campaign they were ready to sue for peace, but the terms which the Roman commander Marcus Atilius Regulus offered were intolerably harsh. Accordingly they equipped a new army in which, by the advice of a Greek captain of mercenaries named Xanthippus, cavalry and elephants formed the strongest arm. In 255, under Xanthippus’ command, they offered battle to Regulus, who had taken up position with an inadequate force near Tunis, outmaneuvered him, and destroyed the bulk of his army. A second Roman fleet, which subsequently reached Africa after defeating the full Carthaginian fleet off Cape Hermaeum (Sharīk Peninsula), withdrew all the remaining troops.

The Romans now directed their efforts once more against Sicily. In 254 they captured the important fortress of Panormus (Palermo), but when Carthage threw reinforcements into the island the war again came to a standstill. In 251 or 250 the Roman general Lucius Caecilius Metellus at last brought about a pitched battle near Panormus in which the enemy’s force was effectively crippled. This victory was followed by an investment of the chief Punic base at Lilybaeum (Marsala), together with Drepanum (Trapani), by land and sea. The besiegers met with a gallant resistance and in 249 were compelled to withdraw by the loss of their fleet in a surprise attack upon Drepanum, in which the admiral Publius Claudius Pulcher was repulsed with a loss of 93 ships. While this was the Romans’ only naval defeat in the war, their fleet had suffered a series of grievous losses by storm, and now it was so reduced that the attack upon Sicily had to be suspended. At the same time, the Carthaginians, who felt no less severely the financial strain of the prolonged struggle, reduced their forces and made no attempt to deliver a counterattack. The only noteworthy feature of the ensuing campaigns is the skillful guerrilla war waged by a new Carthaginian commander, Hamilcar Barca, from his strong positions on Mt. Ercte (247–244) and Mt. Eryx (modern Erice) (244–242) in western Sicily, by which he effectually screened Lilybaeum from any attempt on it by the Roman land army.

In 242 Rome resumed operations at sea. By a magnificent effort on the part of private citizens a fleet of 200 warships was equipped and sent out to renew the blockade of Lilybaeum. The Carthaginians hastily collected a relief force, but in a battle fought off the Aegates Insulae (Egadi Islands), west of Drepana, their fleet was caught at a disadvantage and mostly sunk or captured (March 10, 241). This victory, by giving the Romans undisputed command of the sea, rendered certain the ultimate fall of the Punic strongholds in Sicily. The Carthaginians accordingly opened negotiations and consented to a peace by which they ceded Sicily and the Lipari (Eolie) Islands to Rome and paid an indemnity of 3,200 talents.


First Punic War (W)

First Punic War (W)

The First Punic War (264 to 241 BC) was the first of three wars fought between Ancient Carthage and the Roman Republic, the two great powers of the Western Mediterranean. For 23 years, in the longest continuous conflict and greatest naval war of antiquity, the two powers struggled for supremacy, primarily on the Mediterranean island of Sicily and its surrounding waters, and also in North Africa.

Sicily, the main theater of the war.

The war began in 264 BC with the Roman conquest of the Carthaginian-controlled city of Messina in Sicily, granting Rome a military foothold on the island. The Romans built up a navy to challenge Carthage, the greatest naval power in the Mediterranean, for control over the waters around Sicily. In naval battles and storms, 700 Roman and 500 Carthaginian quinqueremes were lost, along with hundreds of thousands of lives. Command of the sea was won and lost by both sides repeatedly. A Roman invasion of Carthaginian Africa was destroyed in battle at the Bagradas and the Roman consul Marcus Atilius Regulus was captured by the Carthaginians in 255. In 23 years, the Romans slowly conquered Sicily and drove the Carthaginians to the west end of the island.

After both sides had been brought to a state of near exhaustion, the Romans mobilized their citizenry's private wealth and created a new fleet under consul Gaius Lutatius Catulus. The Carthaginian fleet was destroyed at the Aegates Islands in 241, forcing the cut-off Carthaginian troops on Sicily to give up. A peace treaty was signed in which Carthage was made to pay a heavy indemnity and Rome ejected Carthage from Sicily, annexing the island as a Roman province.

The war was followed by a failed revolt against the Carthaginian Empire. The Romans exploited Carthage's weakness to seize the Carthaginian possessions of Sardinia and Corsica in violation of the peace treaty. The unresolved strategic competition between Rome and Carthage would lead to the eruption of the Second Punic War in 218 BC.

First Punic War

Date 264–241 BC (23 years)
Result Roman victory
Roman annexation of Sicily (Except for the Kingdom of Syracuse)
Roman Republic Carthage
Commanders and leaders
Marcus Atilius Regulus
Gaius Lutatius Catulus
Gaius Duilius
Hamilcar Barca
Hanno the Great
Hasdrubal the Fair
unknown unknown
Casualties and losses
700 quinqueremes lost
400,000 killed, including 50,000 Roman citizens
500 quinqueremes lost


  Interval Between The First And Second Punic Wars (241-218 BC)

The Interval Between The First And Second Punic Wars (241-218 BCE) (B)

The Interval Between The First And Second Punic Wars (241-218 BCE) (B)

The loss of naval supremacy not only deprived the Carthaginians of their predominance in the western Mediterranean but exposed their overseas empire to disintegration under renewed attacks by Rome. The temper of the Roman people was soon made manifest during a conflict which broke out between the Carthaginians and their discontented mercenaries. A gross breach of the treaty was perpetrated when a Roman force was sent to occupy Sardinia, whose insurgent garrison had offered to surrender the island (238). To the remonstrances of Carthage the Romans replied with a direct declaration of war, and only withheld their attack upon the formal cession of Sardinia and Corsica and the payment of a further indemnity.

From this episode it became clear that Rome intended to use the victory to the utmost. To avoid complete humiliation Carthage had no resource but to humiliate its adversary. The recent complications of foreign and internal strife had indeed so weakened Punic power that the prospect of renewing the war under favourable circumstances seemed remote enough. However, the scheme of preparing for a fresh conflict found a worthy champion in Hamilcar Barca. He sought to compensate for the loss of Sicily by acquiring a dominion in Spain where Carthage might gain new wealth and form a fresh base of operations against Rome. Invested with an unrestricted foreign command, he spent the rest of his life in founding a Spanish empire (237–228). His work was continued by his son-in-law Hasdrubal and his son Hannibal, who was placed at the head of the army in 221. These conquests aroused the suspicions of Rome, which in a treaty with Hasdrubal confined the Carthaginians to the south of the Ebro. At some point also Rome entered into relations with Saguntum (Sagunto), a town on the east coast, south of the Ebro. In 219 Hannibal laid siege to Saguntum and carried the town in spite of a stubborn defense.

It is a debatable point whether his attack contravened the new treaty. The Romans certainly took this view and demanded Hannibal’s surrender. His defiant policy was too popular to be disavowed, however. The Carthaginian council upheld Hannibal’s action and drew upon itself a declaration of war.


Interval between the First and Second Punic Wars (W)

Interval between the First and Second Punic Wars (W)

According to Polybius, there had been several trade agreements between Rome and Carthage, even a mutual alliance against king Pyrrhus of Epirus. When Rome and Carthage made peace in 241 BC, Rome secured the release of all 8,000 prisoners of war without ransom and, furthermore, received a considerable amount of silver as a war indemnity. However, Carthage refused to deliver to Rome the Roman deserters serving among their troops. A first issue for dispute was that the initial treaty, agreed upon by Hamilcar Barca and the Roman commander in Sicily, had a clause stipulating that the Roman popular assembly had to accept the treaty in order for it to be valid. The assembly not only rejected the treaty but increased the indemnity Carthage had to pay.

Map of the Mediterranean in 218 BC


Carthage had a liquidity problem and attempted to gain financial help from Egypt, a mutual ally of Rome and Carthage, but failed. This resulted in delay of payments owed to the mercenary troops that had served Carthage in Sicily, leading to a climate of mutual mistrust and, finally, a revolt supported by the Libyan natives, known as the Mercenary War (240-238 BC). During this war, Rome and Syracuse both aided Carthage, although traders from Italy seem to have done business with the insurgents. Some of them were caught and punished by Carthage, aggravating the political climate, which had started to improve in recognition of the old alliance and treaties.

During the uprising in the Punic mainland, the mercenary troops in Corsica and Sardinia toppled Punic rule and briefly established their own, but were expelled by a native uprising. After securing aid from Rome, the exiled mercenaries then regained authority on the island of Sicily. For several years, a brutal campaign was fought to quell the insurgent natives. Like many Sicilians, they would ultimately rise again in support of Carthage during the Second Punic War.

Eventually, Rome annexed Corsica and Sardinia by revisiting the terms of the treaty that ended the first Punic War. As Carthage was under siege and engaged in a difficult civil war, they grudgingly accepted the loss of these islands and the subsequent Roman conditions for ongoing peace, which also increased the war indemnity levied against Carthage after the first Punic War. This eventually plunged relations between the two powers to a new low point.

After Carthage emerged victorious from the Mercenary War there were two opposing factions: the reformist party was led by Hamilcar Barca while the other, more conservative, faction was represented by Hanno the Great and the old Carthaginian aristocracy. Hamilcar had led the initial Carthaginian peace negotiations and was blamed for the clause that allowed the Roman popular assembly to increase the war indemnity and annex Corsica and Sardinia, but his superlative generalship was instrumental in enabling Carthage to ultimately quell the mercenary uprising, ironically fought against many of the same mercenary troops he had trained. Hamilcar ultimately left Carthage for the Iberian peninsula where he captured rich silver mines and subdued many tribes who fortified his army with levies of native troops.

Hanno had lost many elephants and soldiers when he became complacent after a victory in the Mercenary War. Further, when he and Hamilcar were supreme commanders of Carthage's field armies, the soldiers had supported Hamilcar when his and Hamilcar's personalities clashed. On the other hand, he was responsible for the greatest territorial expansion of Carthage's hinterland during his rule as strategus and wanted to continue such expansion. However, the Numidian king of the relevant area was now a son-in-law of Hamilcar and had supported Carthage during a crucial moment in the Mercenary War. While Hamilcar was able to obtain the resources for his aim, the Numidians in the Atlas Mountains were not conquered, like Hanno suggested, but became vassals of Carthage.

The Iberian conquest was begun by Hamilcar Barca and his other son-in-law, Hasdrubal the Fair, who ruled relatively independently of Carthage and signed the Ebro Treaty with Rome. Hamilcar died in battle in 228 BC. Around this time, Hasdrubal became Carthaginian commander in Iberia (229 BC). He maintained this post for some eight years until 221 BC. Soon the Romans became aware of a burgeoning alliance between Carthage and the Celts of the Po river valley in northern Italy. The latter were amassing forces to invade Italy, presumably with Carthaginian backing. Thus, the Romans preemptively invaded the Po region in 225 BC. By 220 BC, the Romans had annexed the area as Gallia Cisalpina. Hasdrubal was assassinated around the same time (221 BC), bringing Hannibal to the fore. It seems that, having apparently dealt with the threat of a Gallo-Carthaginian invasion of Italy (and perhaps with the original Carthaginian commander killed), the Romans lulled themselves into a false sense of security. Thus, Hannibal took the Romans by surprise a mere two years later (218 BC) by merely reviving and adapting the original Gallo-Carthaginian invasion plan of his brother-in-law Hasdrubal.

After Hasdrubal's assassination by a Celtic assassin, Hamilcar's young sons took over, with Hannibal becoming the strategus of Iberia, although this decision was not undisputed in Carthage. The output of the Iberian silver mines allowed for the financing of a standing army and the payment of the war indemnity to Rome. The mines also served as a tool for political influence, creating a faction in Carthage's magistrate that was called the Barcino.

In 219 BC, Hannibal attacked the town of Saguntum, which stood under the special protection of Rome. According to Roman tradition, Hannibal had been made to swear by his father never to be a friend of Rome, and he certainly did not take a conciliatory attitude when the Romans berated him for crossing the river Iberus (Ebro), which Carthage was bound by treaty not to cross. Hannibal did not cross the Ebro River (Saguntum was near modern Valencia – well south of the river) in arms, and the Saguntines provoked his attack by attacking their neighboring tribes who were Carthaginian protectorates and by massacring pro-Punic factions in their city. Rome had no legal protection pact with any tribe south of the Ebro River. Nonetheless, they asked Carthage to hand Hannibal over, and when the Carthaginian oligarchy refused, Rome declared war on Carthage.


  Second Punic War (218-201 BC)

Second Punic War (218-201 BCE) (B)

Second Punic War (218-201 BCE) (B)

It seemed as though the superiority of the Romans at sea would enable them to choose the field of battle. They decided to embark one army for Spain and another for Sicily and Africa. Before their preparations were complete, Hannibal began a series of operations by which he dictated the course of the war for the greater part of its duration. He realized that so long as the Romans commanded the resources of an undivided Italian confederacy, no foreign attack could beat them down beyond recovery. Thus he conceived the plan of cutting off their supply of strength at the source by carrying the war into Italy and causing a disruption of the league. His chances of ever reaching Italy seemed small, for the sea was guarded by the Roman fleets and the land route was long and arduous.

The very boldness of his enterprise contributed to its success. After a six months’ march through Spain and Gaul and over the Alps, which the Romans were in no position to oppose, Hannibal arrived in the plain of the Po in autumn 218. His force of 20,000 infantry and 6,000 horses represented the pick of his African and Spanish levies. His further advance was disputed by some Roman troops, but the superiority of the Carthaginian cavalry and the spread of insurrection among the Gaulish inhabitants forced the defenders to fall back upon the Apennines. At the end of the year the Roman army was reinforced by the division from Sicily and led out to battle on the banks of the Trebbia. Hannibal, by superior tactics, routed the significantly larger Roman force and thus made his position in north Italy secure.

In 217 the campaign opened in Etruria, into which the invading army, largely reinforced by Gauls, penetrated by an unguarded pass. A rash pursuit by the Roman field force under Gaius Flaminius led to its being entrapped on the shore of Lake Trasimene and destroyed with a loss of at least 15,000 men. This catastrophe left Rome completely uncovered, but Hannibal, having resolved not to attack the capital before he could collect a more overwhelming force, directed his march toward the south of Italy. There he hoped to stir up the peoples who had formerly been Rome’s most stubborn enemies. The Italians, however, were everywhere slow to join the Carthaginians, and a new Roman army under the dictator Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus adopted a policy of strategic non-engagement. This “Fabian strategy” earned Fabius the nickname “Cunctator” (“delayer”); without daring to close with Hannibal, Fabius dogged his steps through Apulia and Campania, preventing him from acquiring a permanent base of operations.

The eventful campaign of 216 was begun with a deviation from the Fabian strategy and a new aggressive move on the part of Rome. An exceptionally strong field army, estimated at 85,000 men, was sent to crush the Carthaginians in open battle. On August 2, 216 BCE, on a level plain near Cannae in Apulia, the Roman legions delivered their attack. Hannibal had chosen the battleground, and he deliberately allowed his centre to be driven in by the Romans’ superior numbers. While the Romans advanced, Hannibal’s cavalry wheeled round so as to take the enemy in flank and rear. The Romans, surrounded on all sides and so cramped that their superior numbers aggravated their plight, were practically annihilated. An estimated one-fifth of Roman men of fighting age were killed, and the loss of citizens was perhaps greater than in any other defeat that befell the Republic.

Battle of Cannae.

The moral effect of the battle was no less momentous. The south Italian peoples at last found courage to secede from Rome, the leaders of the movement being the people of Capua, at the time the second greatest town of Italy. Reinforcements were sent from Carthage, and several neutral powers prepared to enter the fray on Hannibal’s behalf. At first sight it seems strange that the Battle of Cannae did not decide the war. Although the great resources of Rome had been terribly reduced in respect to both men and money, they were not yet exhausted. In north and central Italy the insurrection spread but little and could be sufficiently guarded against with small detachments. In the south the Greek towns of the coast remained loyal, and the numerous Latin colonies continued to render important service by interrupting free communication between the rebels and detaining part of their forces.

In Rome itself the quarrels between the nobles and commons, which had previously unsettled Roman policy, gave way to a unanimity unparalleled in the annals of the Republic. The guidance of operations was henceforth left to the Senate, which maintained a consistent policy until the conflict was brought to a successful end.

The subsequent campaigns of the war in Italy assumed a new character. Though the Romans contrived at times to raise 200,000 men, they could spare only a moderate force for field operations. Their generals, among whom the veterans Fabius and Marcus Claudius Marcellus frequently held the most important commands, rarely ventured to engage Hannibal in the open and contented themselves with observing him or skirmishing against his detachments. Hannibal, whose recent accessions of strength were largely discounted by the necessity of assigning troops to protect his new allies or secure their wavering loyalty, was still too weak to undertake a vigorous offensive. In the ensuing years the war resolved itself into a multiplicity of minor engagements. In 216 and 215 the chief seat of war was Campania, where Hannibal, vainly attempting to establish himself on the coast, experienced a severe repulse at Nola.

In 214 the main Carthaginian force was transferred to Apulia in hopes of capturing Tarentum (Taranto). Though Crotona and Locri on the southern coast had fallen into his hands, Hannibal still lacked a suitable harbour by which he might have secured his overseas communications. For two years he watched in vain for an opportunity to surprise the town, while the Romans narrowed down the sphere of revolt in Campania and defeated other Carthaginian commanders.

In 213–212 the greater part of Tarentum and other cities of the southern seaboard at last came into Hannibal’s power. Finally in 212 the Romans found themselves strong enough to place Capua under blockade. They severely defeated a Carthaginian relief force and could not be permanently dislodged, even by Hannibal himself. In 211 Hannibal made a last effort to relieve his allies by a feint upon Rome itself, but the besiegers refused to be drawn away from their entrenchments, and eventually Capua was starved into surrender. Its fall was a sign that no power could in the long run uphold a rival Italian coalition against Rome. After a year of desultory fighting, the Romans in 209 gained a further important success by recovering Tarentum. Though Hannibal still won isolated engagements, he was slowly being driven back into the extreme south of the peninsula.

In 207 the arrival of a fresh invading force produced a new crisis. Hasdrubal, who in 208–207 had marched overland from Spain, appeared in northern Italy with a force scarcely inferior to the army which his brother had brought in 218. After levying contingents of Gauls and Ligurians, he marched down the east coast with the object of joining Hannibal in central Italy for a direct attack upon Rome itself. By this time the steady drain of men and money was telling so severely upon the confederacy that some of the most loyal allies protested their inability to render further help. Yet by exerting a supreme effort the Romans raised their war establishment to the highest total yet attained and sent a strong field army against each Carthaginian leader.

The danger to Rome was chiefly averted by the prompt insight and enterprise of the consul Gaius Claudius Nero, who commanded the main army in the south. Having discovered that Hannibal would not advance beyond Apulia until his brother had established communications with him, Nero slipped away with part of his troops and arrived in time to reinforce his colleague Marcus Livius Salinator, whose force had recently contacted Hasdrubal near Sena Gallica (Senigallia). The combined Roman army frustrated an attempt of Hasdrubal to elude it and forced him to fight on the banks of the Metaurus (Metauro). The battle was evenly contested until Nero, by a dexterous flanking movement, cut the enemy’s retreat. Hasdrubal himself fell, and the bulk of his army was destroyed.

The campaign of 207 decided the war in Italy. Though Hannibal still maintained himself for some years in southern Italy, this was chiefly due to the exhaustion of Rome after the prodigious strain of past years and the consequent reduction of Roman forces. In 203 Italy was finally cleared of Carthaginian troops. Hannibal, in accordance with orders received from home, sailed back to Africa. An expedition under his brother, Mago, which had sailed to Liguria in 205 and endeavoured to rouse the slumbering discontent of the people in Cisalpine Gaul and Etruria, was forced to withdraw.


Second Punic War (218–201 BC) (W)

Second Punic War (218-201 BC) (W)

The Second Punic War (218-201 BC) is most remembered for the Carthaginian general Hannibal's crossing of the Alps. His army invaded Italy from the north and resoundingly defeated the Roman army in several battles, but never achieved the ultimate goal of causing a political break between Rome and its allies.

While fighting Hannibal in Italy, Hispania, and Sicily, Rome simultaneously fought against Macedon in the First Macedonian War. Eventually, the war was taken to Africa, where Carthage was defeated at the Battle of Zama (201 BC) by Scipio Africanus. The end of the war saw Carthage's control reduced to only the city itself.

There were three military theaters in this war: Italy, where Hannibal defeated the Roman legions repeatedly; Hispania, where Hasdrubal, a younger brother of Hannibal, defended the Carthaginian colonial cities with mixed success until eventually retreating into Italy; and Sicily, where the Romans held military supremacy.

DepictionHannibal's feat in crossing the Alps with war elephants, though many of them did not survive, passed into European legend: detail of a fresco by Jacopo Ripanda, c. 1510, Capitoline Museums, Rome



After assaulting Saguntum in Hispania (219 BC), Hannibal attacked Italy in 218 BC by leading the Iberians and three dozen elephants through the Alps. Although Hannibal surprised the Romans and thoroughly beat them on the battlefields of Italy, he lost his only siege engines and most of his elephants to the cold temperatures and icy mountain paths. In the end he could defeat the Romans in the field, but not in the strategically crucial city of Rome itself, thus leaving him unable to win the war.

Hannibal defeated the Roman legions in several major engagements, including the Battle of the Trebia (December 218 BC), the Battle of Lake Trasimene (217 BC) and most famously the Battle of Cannae (216 BC), but his long-term strategy failed. Lacking siege engines and sufficient manpower to take the city of Rome itself, he had planned to turn the Italian allies against Rome and to starve the city out through a siege. However, with the exception of a few of the southern city-states, the majority of the Roman allies remained loyal and continued to fight alongside Rome, despite Hannibal's near-invincible seeming army devastating the Italian countryside. Rome also exhibited an impressive ability to draft army after army of conscripts after each crushing defeat by Hannibal, allowing them to recover from the defeats at Cannae and elsewhere and to keep Hannibal cut off from aid.

Hannibal never successfully received any significant reinforcements from Carthage. Despite his many pleas, Carthage only ever sent reinforcements successfully to Hispania. This lack of reinforcements prevented Hannibal from decisively ending the conflict by conquering Rome through force of arms.

The Roman army under Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus intentionally deprived Hannibal of open battle in Italy for the rest of the war, while making it difficult for Hannibal to forage for supplies. Nevertheless, Rome was also incapable of bringing the conflict in the Italian theatre to a decisive close. Not only did Roman legions contend with Hannibal in Italy and with Hannibal's brother Hasdrubal in Hispania, but Rome had embroiled itself in yet another foreign war, the first of its Macedonian wars against Carthage's ally Philip V, at the same time.

Through Hannibal's inability to take strategically important Italian cities, through the general loyalty Italian allies showed to Rome, and through Rome's own inability to counter Hannibal as a master general, Hannibal's campaign continued in Italy inconclusively for sixteen years. Though he managed to sustain his forces for 15 years, Hannibal did so only by ravaging farm-lands, keeping his army healthy, which brought anger among the Romans' subject states. Realizing that Hannibal's army was outrunning its supply lines quickly, Rome took countermeasures against Hannibal's home base in Africa by sea command and stopped the flow of supplies. Hannibal quickly turned back and rushed to home defense, but suffered defeat in the Battle of Zama (202 BC).

Hasdrubal’s campaign to reinforce Hannibal

In Hispania, a young Roman commander, Publius Cornelius Scipio (later to be given the agnomen Africanus because of his feats during this war), eventually defeated the larger but divided Carthaginian forces under Hasdrubal and two other Carthaginian generals. Abandoning Hispania, Hasdrubal moved to bring his mercenary army into Italy to reinforce Hannibal, but never made it and was defeated by Roman forces near the Alps.


📹 The Battle of Cannae 216 BCE — History of Hannibal and The Punic Wars (VİDEO)

📹 The Battle of Cannae 216 BCE — History of Hannibal and The Punic Wars (LINK)

The Battle of Cannae was one of the most spectacular military victories in history. It was Hannibal's masterpiece and came at the end of one of the most successful military campaigns. Rome came close to being wiped out.


📹 📹 Hannibal — Second Punic War (Parts 1-7)

📹 Road to Rome — Hannibal (Part 1) — Second Punic War (VİDEO)

📹 Road to Rome — Hannibal (Part 1) — Second Punic War (LINK)


📹 Across the Alps — Hannibal (Part 2) — Second Punic War (VİDEO)

📹 Across the Alps — Hannibal (Part 2) — Second Punic War (LINK)


📹 Battle of Ticinus (218 BC) — Hannibal (Part 3) — Second Punic War (VİDEO)

📹 Battle of Ticinus (218 BC) — Hannibal (Part 3) — Second Punic War (LINK)


📹 Battle of the Trebia, 218 BC — Hannibal (Part 4) — Second Punic War (VİDEO)

📹 Battle of the Trebia, 218 BC — Hannibal (Part 4) — Second Punic War (LINK)


📹 Battle of the Ebro, 217 BC — Hannibal (Part 5) — Second Punic War (VİDEO)

📹 Battle of the Ebro, 217 BC — Hannibal (Part 5) — Second Punic War (LINK)


📹 Battle of Lake Trasimene, 217 BC — Hannibal (Part 6) — Second Punic War (VİDEO)

📹 Battle of Lake Trasimene, 217 BC — Hannibal (Part 6) — Second Punic War (LINK)


📹 Why didn't Hannibal attack Rome? — Hannibal (Part 7) — Second Punic War (VİDEO)

📹 Why didn't Hannibal attack Rome? — Hannibal (Part 7) — Second Punic War (LINK)



📹 The battle of Zama — Hannibal and Scipio's final showdown (Rome vs Carthage History) (VİDEO)

📹 The battle of Zama — Hannibal and Scipio’s final showdown (Rome vs Carthage History) (LINK)


📹 Battle of Zama (202 BC) Roman Republic Vs Carthage — Rome 2 Total War — Historical Cinematic Battle (VİDEO)

📹 Battle of Zama (202 BC) Roman Republic Vs Carthage — Rome 2 Total War — Historical Cinematic Battle (LINK)

The Battle of Zama — fought in 202 BC near Zama (Tunisia) — 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 Barca.


  Third Punic War (149-146 BC)

Third Punic War (149–146 BCE) (B)

Third Punic War (149-146 BCE) (B)

The political power of Carthage henceforth remained quite insignificant, but its commerce and material resources revived in the 2nd century BCE with such rapidity as to excite the jealousy of the growing mercantile population of Rome and the alarm of an influential group of statesmen. Under the influence of these feelings the conviction—sedulously fostered by Cato the Censor — that “Carthage must be destroyed” (“Delenda est Carthago”)— overbore the scruples of more moderate factions. A casus belli was readily found in a formal breach of the treaty, committed by the Carthaginians in 150, when they resisted Masinissa’s aggressions by force of arms. A Roman army was dispatched to Africa, and, although the Carthaginians consented to make reparation by giving hostages and surrendering their arms, they were goaded into revolt by the further stipulation that they must emigrate to some inland site where they would be debarred from commerce.

By a desperate effort, they created new war equipment and prepared their city for a siege (149). The Roman attack for two years completely miscarried, until in 147 the command was given to a young officer who had distinguished himself in the early operations of the war — Scipio Aemilianus, the adopted grandson of the former conqueror of Carthage. Scipio made the blockade stringent by walling off the isthmus on which the town lay and by cutting off its sources of supplies from overseas. His main attack was delivered on the harbour side, where he effected an entrance in the face of a determined and ingenious resistance. The struggle did not cease until he had captured house by house the streets that led up to the citadel.

Of a city population perhaps exceeding a quarter of a million, only 50,000 remained at the final surrender. The survivors were sold into slavery, the city was razed to the ground, and its site was condemned by solemn imprecations to lie desolate for ever. The territory of Carthage, which had recently been much narrowed by Masinissa’s encroachments, was converted into the Roman province of Africa.


Third Punic War (149–146 BC) (W)

Third Punic War (149-146 BC) (W)

The Third Punic War (149-146 BC) involved an extended siege of Carthage, ending in the city’s thorough destruction. The resurgence of the struggle can be explained by growing anti-Roman agitations in Hispania and Greece, and the visible improvement of Carthaginian wealth and martial power in the fifty years since the Second War.

With no military, Carthage suffered raids from its neighbor Numidia. Under the terms of the treaty with Rome, such disputes were arbitrated by the Roman Senate. Because Numidia was a favored client state of Rome, Roman rulings were slanted heavily in favor of the Numidians. After some fifty years of this condition, Carthage had managed to discharge its war indemnity to Rome, and considered itself no longer bound by the restrictions of the treaty, although Rome believed otherwise. Carthage mustered an army to repel Numidian forces. It immediately lost the war with Numidia, placing itself in debt yet again, this time to Numidia.

This new-found Punic militarism alarmed many Romans, including Cato the Elder who, after a voyage to Carthage, ended all his speeches, no matter what the topic, by saying: "Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam" – "And I also think that Carthage must be destroyed".

In 149 BC, in an attempt to draw Carthage into open conflict, Rome made a series of escalating demands, one being the surrender of three hundred children of the nobility as hostages, and finally ending with the near-impossible demand that the city be demolished and rebuilt away from the coast, deeper into Africa. When the Carthaginians refused this last demand, Rome declared the Third Punic War. Having previously relied on mercenaries to fight their wars for them, the Carthaginians were now forced into a more active role in the defense of their city. They made thousands of makeshift weapons in a short time, even using women's hair for catapult strings, and were able to hold off the initial Roman attack. A second offensive under the command of Scipio Aemilianus resulted in a three-year siege before he breached the walls, sacked the city, and systematically burned Carthage to the ground in 146 BC. When the war ended, the remaining 50,000 Carthaginians, a small part of the original pre-war population, were sold into slavery by the victors – the normal fate in antiquity of inhabitants of sacked cities. Carthage was systematically burned for 17 days; the city's walls and buildings were utterly destroyed. The remaining Carthaginian territories were annexed by Rome and reconstituted to become the Roman province of Africa.

After Rome emerged as victorious, significant Carthaginian settlements, such as those in Mauretania, were taken over and aggrandized by the Romans. Volubilis, for example, was an important Roman town situated near the westernmost border of the Roman conquests. It was built on the site of the previous Carthaginian settlement that overlies an earlier neolithic habitation.


  Scipio Africanus (236-183 BC)

Scipio Africanus (236-183 BC) (B)

Scipio Africanus (236-183 BC) (B)

Scipio Africanus, also called Scipio Africanus the Elder, Latin Scipio Africanus Major, in full Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus, (born 236 BCE — died 183 BCE, Liternum, Campania [now Patria, Italy]), Roman general noted for his victory over the Carthaginian leader Hannibal in the great Battle of Zama (202 BCE), ending the Second Punic War. For his victory he won the surname Africanus (201 BCE).

Family Background

Publius Cornelius Scipio was born into one of the great patrician families in Rome; his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather had all been consuls in their day. In 218 BCE Scipio’s father, also named Publius Cornelius Scipio, held the consulship in one of the most critical years of Rome’s history. While with him during an engagement on the Ticinus River, the young Scipio made his first appearance in history. According to the Roman historian Livy, the Roman force was outflanked by Numidian cavalry. Seeing his father wounded, the younger Scipio charged forward, an action that allowed Scipio père to escape with his guard of cavalry officers and his young son. This anecdote was also recounted by the historian Polybius on the authority of Scipio’s friend Laelius, and it may well be true.

Nothing is known of Scipio’s boyhood or the date of his marriage to Aemilia, daughter of Aemilius Paullus, consul of 216, who fell at Cannae. Scipio had two sons: Publius, who was debarred by ill health from a public career and who adopted the name Scipio Africanus the Younger, and Lucius, who became praetor in 174. Scipio’s physical appearance is shown on some coins minted at Carthago Nova (now Cartagena, Spain) — which almost certainly bear his portrait — and also probably on a signet ring found near Naples.


Military Career

According to Livy, Scipio served as a young military tribune at the disastrous Battle of Cannae in 216. He escaped after the defeat to Canusium (modern Canosa di Puglia, Italy), where some 4,000 survivors rallied; there he boldly thwarted a plot of some fainthearts to desert Rome. Then in 213 he returned to a civilian career by winning the position of curule (“higher”) aedile; the story is told that when the tribunes objected to his candidature because he was under the legal age, he replied, “If all the Roman people want to make me aedile, I am old enough.” Soon family and national disaster followed: his father and uncle were defeated and killed in Spain, where the Carthaginians swept forward to the Ebro River (211).

In 210 the Romans decided to send reinforcements to Spain, but it is said that no senior general would undertake the task and that young Scipio offered himself as a candidate; at any rate, the Roman people decided to invest him with a command there, although he was technically a privatus (not a magistrate). This grant of a military command outside Italy by the people to a man who had not been praetor or consul created an important constitutional precedent. Thus, Scipio was given the chance to avenge the deaths of his father and uncle in Spain, where he hoped not merely to hold the Carthaginian armies at bay and prevent their sending reinforcements to Hannibal in Italy but to resume his father’s offensive policy, to turn back the tide of war, and to drive the enemy out of the Iberian Peninsula. Such a task must have seemed fantastic in 210, but Scipio had the confidence and ability; it was achieved in the next four years.

From his headquarters at Tarraco (Tarragona) in 209, Scipio suddenly launched a combined military and naval assault on the enemy’s headquarters at Carthago Nova, knowing that all three enemy armies in Spain were at least 10 days distant from the city. Polybius relates that Scipio had heard from Spanish fishermen at Tarraco that the water level around Carthago Nova varied daily and that it was especially low in the afternoon. Helped by a lowering of the water in a lagoon, which exposed the northern wall, he successfully stormed the city. This possibly tidal phenomenon, attributed to the help of Neptune, was perhaps enhanced by an offshore wind; at any rate, it increased the troops’ belief in their commander’s divine support. In Carthago Nova he gained stores and supplies, Spanish hostages, the local silver mines, a splendid harbour, and a base for an advance farther south.

After training his army in new tactics, Scipio defeated the Carthaginian commander Hasdrubal Barca at Baecula (Bailen) in Baetica (208); whereas normally the two rear ranks of a Roman army closely supported the front line, Scipio in this battle, under a screen of light troops, divided his main forces, which fell upon the enemy’s flanks. When Hasdrubal broke away, ultimately to join his brother Hannibal in Italy, Scipio wisely declined the impossible task of trying to stop him and decided rather to accomplish his mission in Spain—the defeat of the other two Carthaginian armies still there. This he brilliantly achieved in 206 at the Battle of Ilipa (Alcalá del Río, near Sevilla). Over several days of posturing and light skirmishing between the arrayed armies, Scipio lulled the Carthaginian commanders — Hasdrubal (son of Gisco) and Mago — into a sense of routine. On the day of the battle, Scipio dramatically altered that routine, arriving in full force at dawn and changing the order of his troops so that where he was strong the Carthaginians were weak. He used his Roman veterans to execute a series of audacious flanking maneuvers while his fickle Spanish allies held the enemy’s main forces in place. The Carthaginian armies were destroyed, and Hasdrubal and Mago fled the field. Scipio then secured Gades (Cádiz), thus making Roman control of Spain complete.

After he was elected consul for 205, Scipio boldly determined to disregard Hannibal — already largely contained in southern Italy — and to strike instead at Africa. Once he had beaten down political opposition in the Senate, he crossed to Sicily with an army consisting partly of volunteers, some of whom had also survived the disaster of Cannae and sought to redeem themselves. While preparing his troops, he boldly snatched Locri Epizephyrii, in the toe of Italy, from Hannibal’s grasp, though the subsequent misconduct of Pleminius, the man he left in command of the town, gave Scipio’s political opponents cause to criticize him. In 204 he landed with perhaps 35,000 men in Africa, where he besieged Utica. Early in 203, with the help of Rome’s new Numidian ally Masinissa, he burned the camps of Hasdrubal (son of Gisgo) and his Numidian ally Syphax. Then, sweeping down on the forces that the enemy was trying to muster at the Great Plains on the upper Bagradas (modern Sūq al Khamīs, on the Majardah in Tunisia), he smashed that army by a double flanking movement.


Battle Of Zama

After Scipio’s capture of Tunis, the Carthaginians sought peace terms, but Hannibal’s subsequent return to Africa led to their renewing the war in 202. Hannibal was placed in command of an army of many raw recruits and 80 untrained elephants. Scipio advanced southwestward to join Masinissa, who was taking his invaluable cavalry to Scipio’s support. Then Scipio turned eastward to face Hannibal at Zama, having secured the better watering holes and the best terrain. In the first phase of the battle, Scipio largely neutralized the feared Carthaginian war elephants by using skirmishers to draw them into corridors between the densely packed heavy infantry, thus minimizing their impact on the battle. The Battle of Zama also demonstrated that Rome held the advantage in cavalry (especially with the addition of Masinissa’s Numidians) that Hannibal had previously exploited. Taking advantage of the confusion in the wake of the elephant charge, Scipio’s cavalry fell on the Carthaginian horsemen, driving them from the field. At first, Scipio’s outflanking tactics failed against the master from whom he had learned them, because Hannibal widened his lines and did not allow his first two ranks of soldiers to back up, instead pushing them forward and out to the sides, with his veterans at the rear. The issue was decided when the Roman and Numidian cavalry, having broken off pursuit of the Punic horsemen, fell on the rear of Hannibal’s army. Roman victory was complete, and the long war ended; Scipio granted comparatively lenient terms to Carthage and to Hannibal personally. According to Polybius, this battle marked the first time a Roman could envision a global perspective of future empire. In honour of his victory, Scipio was named Africanus.


Late Years

In 199 Scipio was censor and became princeps Senatus (the titular head of the Senate). He held this position until his death, the following two pairs of censors having confirmed him in the position. Though he vigorously supported a philhellenic policy, he argued during his second consulship (194) against a complete Roman evacuation of Greece after the ejection of Philip V of Macedonia, fearing that Antiochus III of Syria would invade it; his fear was premature but not unfounded. In 193 he served on an embassy to Africa and perhaps also to the East. After Antiochus advanced into Greece and was thrown out by a Roman army, Scipio’s brother Lucius was given the command against him, with Publius serving as his legate (190); together the brothers crossed to Asia, but Publius was too ill to take a personal part in Lucius’s victory over Antiochus at Magnesia (for which Lucius took the name Asiagenus).

Meantime, in Rome, Scipio’s political opponents, led by the elder Cato, launched a series of attacks on the Scipios and their friends. Lucius’s command was not prolonged; the generous peace terms that Africanus proposed for Antiochus were harshly modified; and the “trials of the Scipios” followed. On the trials the ancient evidence is confusing: in 187 an attack on Lucius for refusing to account for 500 talents received from Antiochus (as war indemnity or personal booty?) was parried, and in 184 Africanus himself may have been accused but not condemned. In any case, his influence was shaken, and he withdrew from Rome to Liternum in Campania, where he lived simply on a villa (country farm) of modest size, cultivating the fields with his own hands; Lucius Annaeus Seneca later contrasted the villa’s small and cold bathroom with the luxurious baths of his own day. Scipio had not long to live, however; embittered and ill, he died in 184 or 183, in virtual self-imposed exile from his country and its capital. He is said to have ordered his burial at Liternum and not in the ungrateful city of Rome, where his family tomb lay outside, on the Appian Way.


The Legend Of Scipio

Such was Scipio’s impact upon the Romans that even during his lifetime, legends began to cluster around him; he was regarded as favoured by Fortune or even divinely inspired. Many believed not only that he had received a promise of help from Neptune in a dream on the night before his assault on Carthago Nova but also that he had a close connection with Jupiter. He used to visit Jupiter’s temple on the Capitol at night to commune with the god, and later the story circulated that he was even a son of the god, who supposedly had appeared in his mother’s bed in the form of a snake.

Polybius thought that this popular view of Scipio was mistaken and argued that Scipio always acted only as the result of reasoned foresight and worked on men’s superstitions in a calculating manner. But Polybius himself was a rationalist and probably underestimated a streak of religious confidence, if not mysticism, in Scipio’s character that impressed so many of his contemporaries with its magnanimity and generosity. Thus, although Polybius had an intense admiration for Scipio, whom he called “almost the most famous man of all time,” the existence of the legend, a unique phenomenon in Rome’s history, may indicate that Polybius’s portrait is too one-sided.


Significance And Influence

A man of wide sympathies, cultured and magnanimous, Scipio easily won the friendship of such men as Philip V, king of Macedonia, and the native princes of Spain and Africa while he secured the devotion of his own troops. Though he was essentially a man of good planning and practical action, he may also have been something of a mystic in whom contemporary legend, at any rate, saw a favourite of Jupiter as well as a spiritual descendant of Alexander the Great. Scipio was one of the greatest soldiers of the ancient world; by his tactical reforms and strategic insight, he created a new army that defeated even Hannibal and asserted Rome’s supremacy in Spain, Africa, and the Hellenistic East. He had a great appreciation of Greek culture and enjoyed relaxing in the congenial atmosphere of the Greek cities of Sicily, conduct that provoked the anger of old-fashioned Romans such as Cato. Indeed, he was outstanding among those Roman nobles of the day who welcomed the civilizing influences of Greek culture that were beginning to permeate Roman society. His Greek sympathies led him to champion Rome’s mission in the world as protector of Greek culture; he preferred to establish Roman protection rather than direct conquest and annexation. For 10 years (210–201) he commanded a devoted army at the people’s wish. His position might seem almost kingly; he had been hailed as king by Spanish tribes, and he may have been the first Roman general to be acclaimed as imperator (emperor) by his troops. But, though he was convinced of his own powers, he offered no challenge to the dominance of the Roman nobility ensconced in the Senate except by normal political methods (in which he showed no outstanding ability). Reaction against his generous foreign policy—with possible clemency to Hannibal after Zama—and against his encouragement of Greek culture in Roman life led to his downfall amid personal and political rivalries. His career, however, had shown that Rome’s destiny was to be a Mediterranean, not merely an Italian, power.

Scipio’s influence outlived the Roman world. Great interest was shown in his life during the early Renaissance, and it helped the early humanists to build a bridge between the classical world and Christendom. He became an idealized perfect hero who was seen to have served the ends of Providence. Petrarch glorified him in a Latin epic, the Africa, which secured his own coronation as poet laureate in 1341 on the Capitol, where, some 1,500 years earlier, the historical Scipio used to commune in the temple of Jupiter.




Hannibal — CARTHAGINIAN GENERAL (247-181 BC) (B)

Hannibal — CARTHAGINIAN GENERAL (247-181 BC) (B)

Hannibal, (born 247 BCE, North Africa—died c. 183–181 BCE, Libyssa, Bithynia [near Gebze, Turkey]), Carthaginian general, one of the great military leaders of antiquity, who commanded the Carthaginian forces against Rome in the Second Punic War (218–201 BCE) and who continued to oppose Rome and its satellites until his death.

Early Life


Hannibal was the son of the great Carthaginian general Hamilcar Barca. The Greek historian Polybius and the Roman historian Livy are the two primary sources for his life. According to them, Hannibal was taken to Spain by his father and at an early age was made to swear eternal hostility to Rome. From the death of his father in 229/228 until his own death about 183, Hannibal’s life was one of near constant struggle against the Roman Republic.

Hannibal’s earliest commands were given to him in the Carthaginian province of Spain by Hasdrubal, son-in-law and successor of Hamilcar. It is clear that Hannibal emerged as a successful officer, for, on the assassination of Hasdrubal in 221, the army proclaimed him, at age 26, its commander in chief, and the Carthaginian government quickly ratified his field appointment.

Hannibal immediately turned himself to the consolidation of the Punic hold on Spain. He married a Spanish princess, Imilce, and then conquered various Spanish tribes. He fought against the Olcades and captured their capital, Althaea, and he quelled the Vaccaei in the northwest. In 221, making the seaport of Kart-hadasht (modern Cartagena, Spain) his base, he won a resounding victory over the Carpetani in the region of the Tagus River.

In 219 Hannibal attacked Saguntum, an independent Iberian city south of the Ebro River. In the treaty between Rome and Carthage subsequent to the First Punic War (264-241), the Ebro had been set as the northern limit of Carthaginian influence in the Iberian Peninsula. Saguntum was indeed south of the Ebro, but the Romans had “friendship” (though perhaps not an actual treaty) with the city and regarded the Carthaginian attack on it as an act of war. The siege of Saguntum lasted eight months, and in it Hannibal was wounded. The Romans, who had sent envoys to Carthage in protest (though they did not send an army to help Saguntum), after its fall demanded the surrender of Hannibal. Thus began the Second Punic War, declared by Rome and conducted, on the Carthaginian side, almost entirely by Hannibal.


The March Into Gaul

Hannibal spent the winter of 219–218 at Cartagena in active preparations for carrying the war into Italy. Leaving his brother Hasdrubal in command of a considerable army for the defense of Spain and North Africa, he crossed the Ebro in April or May 218 and then marched into the Pyrenees. Rome declared war shortly before it heard of his arrival at the Pyrenees, a decision spurred by Saguntum and Hannibal’s crossing of the Ebro. Hannibal may have started from Cartagena with an army of around 90,000 — including an estimated 12,000 cavalry — but he left at least 20,000 soldiers in Spain to protect his supply lines. In the Pyrenees his army, which included at least 37 elephants, met with stiff resistance from the Pyrenean tribes. This opposition and the likely desertion of some of his Spanish troops diminished his numbers as he reached the Rhône River, but he met little resistance from the tribes of southern Gaul. Meanwhile, the Roman general Publius Cornelius Scipio transported his army, which had been detained in northern Italy by a rebellion, by sea to the area of Massilia (Marseille), a city that was allied to Rome. Thus, Hannibal’s access to the coastal route into Italy was blocked not only by the Massilians but by at least one army, with another gathering in Italy. As Scipio moved northward along the right bank of the Rhône, he learned that Hannibal had already crossed the river and was marching northward on the left bank. Realizing that Hannibal probably planned to cross the Alps, Scipio returned to northern Italy to await him.

Controversy has surrounded the details of Hannibal’s movements after the crossing of the Rhône. Polybius states that he crossed it while the river was still in one stream at a distance of four days’ march from the sea. Fourques, opposite Arles, is thought by some to have been the likely crossing place. Many also consider as possibilities the natural historic fording places between modern Beaucaire and Avignon. Hannibal used coracles and boats locally commandeered; for the elephants he made jetties out into the river and floated the elephants from those on earth-covered rafts. Horses were embarked on large boats or made to swim. During the operation hostile Gauls appeared on the eastern bank, and Hannibal dispatched a force under Hanno to cross farther upstream and attack them from behind. As the Gauls attempted to block Hannibal’s crossing, Hanno’s force struck, scattering the Gauls and allowing the main body of the Carthaginian army to transit the Rhône unopposed.

Hannibal then received friendly Gallic leaders headed by the northern Italian Boii, a Celtic tribe whose lands had been reduced by recent Roman settlements and whose superior knowledge of the Alpine passes must have been of the greatest value to Hannibal’s plans. Indeed, Polybius makes it clear that Hannibal did not march toward the Alps blindly but instead had excellent information about the best routes. After crossing the Rhône, Hannibal’s army seems to have marched north for about 80 miles (130 km) and passed into an area called “the island,” the identification of which is the key to Hannibal’s subsequent movements on land. According to Polybius, it was a fertile densely populated triangle bounded by hills, by the Rhône, and by a river that is probably the Isère. The confluence of the Rhône and the Isère marked the boundary of the Allobroges tribe, and on the “island” a civil war was being fought between two brothers, possibly both Allobroges chieftains. Brancus, the elder, in return for Hannibal’s help, provided supplies for the Carthaginian army, which, after marching about 750 miles (1,210 km) in four months from Cartagena, was in sore need of them.


The Alpine Crossing

Some details of Hannibal’s crossing of the Alps have been preserved, chiefly by Polybius, who is said to have traveled the route himself. First to oppose the crossing was a tribelet of the Allobroges, who may have been angered by Hannibal’s intervention on behalf of Brancus. This group attacked the rear of Hannibal’s column in an ambush, possibly along the Isère at the “gateway to the Alps” (near modern Grenoble) and possibly where the river is at its narrowest, surrounded by high ridges of the Chartreuse and Belledonne massifs. Hannibal took countermeasures, but those involved him in heavy losses in men. On the third day he captured a Gallic town and from its stores provided the army with rations for two or three days.

After about four more days of passage along river valleys — very possibly the Isère and Arc rivers, although that is debated — through increasing elevations, Hannibal was ambushed by hostile Gauls at a “white-rock” place apparently one day’s march from the summit. Those unnamed Gauls attacked the baggage animals and rolled heavy stones down from the heights, causing both men and animals to panic and lose their footings on the precipitous paths. Harassed by such daytime assaults and mistrusting the loyalty of his Gallic guides, Hannibal bivouacked on a large bare rock to cover the passage by night of his horses and pack animals in the gorge below. Then, before dawn, he led the remainder of his force through the narrow gorge entrance, killing the few Gauls who had guarded it and believed Hannibal to be trapped.

Mustering his forces at the summit of the Alps, Hannibal remained camped there for several days before his descent into Italy. Polybius makes it clear that the summit itself must have been high enough for snow drifts to persist from the previous winter; along with the other criteria extrapolated from Polybius, that suggests a summit elevation of at least 8,000 feet (2,400 metres). The problem of determining the exact location of the camp is compounded by the fact that the name of the pass was either not known to Polybius and his sources or it was thought not sufficiently important to provide to mostly Roman readers. Livy, writing 150 years later, sheds no additional light on the matter, and modern historians have posited numerous theories about Hannibal’s exact course through the Alps. Proposed routes have included the low passes at Montgenèvre, Little St. Bernard, and Mount Cenis, as well as the high passes at Col du Clapier–Savine Coche and Col de la Traversette.

Along the end stages of the route, snow was falling on the pass, making the descent even more treacherous. Rockslides made travel on the narrow track hazardous, and the army was held up for most of a day while it was made passable for the pack animals and elephants. Finally, on the 15th day, after a journey of five months from Cartagena, with 25,000 infantry, 6,000 cavalry, and most of his original 37 elephants, Hannibal descended into Italy. He had surmounted the difficulties of climate and terrain, the guerrilla tactics of inaccessible tribes, and the major difficulty of commanding a body of men diverse in race and language under conditions to which they were ill-fitted.


The War In Italy

Hannibal’s forces were now inadequate to match the army of Scipio, who had rushed to the Po River to protect the recently founded Roman colonies of Placentia (modern Piacenza) and Cremona. The first significant action between the two armies took place on the Po plains, west of the Ticino River, and Hannibal’s Numidian cavalry prevailed. Scipio was severely wounded, and the Romans withdrew to Placentia. After maneuvers failed to lead to a second engagement, Hannibal successfully goaded the army of Sempronius Longus into battle on the left bank of the Trebbia River south of Placentia (December 218). The Roman force was soundly defeated, although it is likely that the wounded Claudius Scipio did not take part in the battle, and it is uncertain if any of his legions were part of the action. That victory brought both Gauls and Ligurians to Hannibal’s side, and his army was considerably augmented by Celtic recruits. After a severe winter Hannibal was able to advance in the spring of 217 as far as the Arno River marshes, where he lost an eye to infection. Although two Roman armies were now in the field against him, he was able to outmaneuver that of Gaius Flaminius at Arretium (modern Arezzo) and reached Curtun (modern Cortona). By design, that move forced Flaminius’s army into open combat, and in the ensuing Battle of Lake Trasimene, Hannibal’s troops all but annihilated the Roman army, killing at least 15,000 soldiers, many of whom were driven into the lake to drown. An additional 15,000 Romans and allied troops were captured. Reinforcements of about 4,000 cavalry under Gaius Centenius were intercepted before they arrived and were also destroyed. The Carthaginian troops were either too worn to clinch their victories and march on Rome, or Hannibal considered the city to be too well fortified. Hannibal, furthermore, nurtured the vain hope that the Italian allies of Rome would defect and cause civil war.

Hannibal spent the summer of 217 resting at Picenum, but later he ravaged Apulia and Campania; meanwhile, the delaying tactics of Quintus Fabius Maximus Cunctator’s army allowed only skirmishes between the two armies. Suddenly in the early summer of 216, Hannibal moved southward and seized the large army supply depot at Cannae on the Aufidus River. There early in August the Battle of Cannae (modern Monte di Canne) was fought. Hannibal chose the ground wisely; he commanded the water supply of the Aufidus, and he forced the numerically superior Romans into a narrow plain bounded by the river and a sizable hill. He also positioned his army in such a way that the Romans had to engage it by facing into a hot summer wind carrying dust that irritated the eyes and reduced visibility. When battle commenced, the Gauls and Iberian infantry of Hannibal’s centre line yielded (without breaking) before the drive of the numerically superior Roman infantry. The Romans continued their advance, exposing both of their flanks to the Spanish and Libyan infantry that comprised the Carthaginian right and left. Boxed in on three sides, the Romans’ avenue of retreat was closed when Hannibal’s cavalry returned after completing its rout of the Roman cavalry. The compressed Romans were butchered by Hannibal’s army. Polybius gave the number of Roman dead at 70,000, while Livy reported 55,000; either way it was disaster for Rome. Virtually 1 in 5 Roman men of military age were slaughtered, and households at every level of society were affected. Dozens of senators were killed, as were many patricians and over 200 members of the equestrian class (Roman knights). Rome was now justifiably terrified of Hannibal, and he became a bogeyman to Roman children.

That great land victory, which came to be seen as the textbook example of a double envelopment, brought the desired effect: many regions began to defect from the Italic confederacy. Hannibal, however, did not march on Rome but spent the winter of 216–215 in Capua, which declared its loyalty to Hannibal, possibly with the hope of being made Rome’s equal. Gradually the Carthaginian fighting strength weakened. The strategy suggested by Fabius after the Battle of Trasimene was again put into operation: to defend the cities loyal to Rome; to try to recover, where opportunity offered, those cities that had fallen to Hannibal; never to enter battle when the enemy offered it but rather to keep the Carthaginians alert in every theatre of war. Thus, Hannibal, unable because of inferior numbers to spread his forces to match the Romans and unable to employ that concentrated strength in a decisive battle, passed from the offensive to a cautious and not always successful defensive in Italy, inadequately supported by the home government at Carthage and, because of the Roman command of the sea, forced to obtain local provisions for protracted and ineffectual operations. That was a diplomatically challenging task, as Hannibal could not extract so much food as to alienate his local allies. In addition, many of his Gallic supporters tired of a war in which the promised plunder had dried up, and they returned north to their homelands. When combined with the slow but steady loss of his African veterans to combat deaths and injuries, the departure of Hannibal’s Gallic soldiers represented a qualitative and quantitative erosion of his army.

Hannibal, except for the capture of Tarentum (modern Taranto), gained only minor victories (215–213). Reinforcements from Carthage were few. In 213 Casilinum and Arpi (captured by Hannibal in winter 216–215) were recovered by the Romans, and in 211 Hannibal was obliged to march to relieve the Roman siege of Capua. Hannibal marched to within 3 miles (5 km) of the strongly fortified walls of Rome in an attempt to draw away the Roman armies, but the move was unsuccessful and Capua fell. In the same year, in Sicily, Syracuse fell, and by 209 Tarentum, in south Italy, had also been recaptured by the Romans.


The Wars In Spain And Africa

Meanwhile, Roman successes in Spain dealt severe blows to Carthaginian power there. In 208 Hasdrubal, detaching a force from the main Carthaginian army, crossed the Alps (possibly by his brother’s route, although no great losses are recorded) to go to Hannibal’s aid. Hasdrubal’s army was defeated, however, at Metaurus in northern Italy (207) before the Carthaginian armies could effect a junction. Hasdrubal was killed in the battle, and his severed head was delivered to Hannibal’s camp; that reportedly led Hannibal to lament, “There lies the fate of Carthage.” His last hope of making a recovery in central Italy thus dashed, Hannibal concentrated his forces in Bruttium, where with the help of his remaining allies he was able to resist Roman pressure for four more years.

Scipio, elected consul in 205, overcame opposition within the Senate and won approval to take the fight to North Africa, breaking Carthage’s principal ally, the Massaesylian Numidians, and endangering Carthage itself. In order to go to the help of his country, Hannibal was forced to abandon Italy in 203. Although a preliminary armistice had already been declared and the Carthaginian armies had accepted Scipio’s severe terms (winter 204–203), Hannibal concentrated the remnants of the Carthaginian forces at Hadrumetum (modern Sousse, Tunisia). Almost at the very moment when the ambassadors were returning from Rome with the preliminary peace proposals, the Carthaginians violated the armistice.

Accounts of the campaigns that followed differ greatly, but they culminate at the Battle of Zama. Both Hannibal and Scipio, in order to link up with their respective Numidian allies, moved up the Bagradas River to the region of Zama Regia. Hannibal was now deficient in cavalry. The mercenary troops of his front line and the African infantry of his second line together were routed, and Scipio, seeing that Hannibal’s third line, the veteran soldiers, was still intact, reformed his front and brought up the Numidian cavalry of Masinissa, his Numidian ally, in the Carthaginian rear. Hannibal lost 20,000 men in defeat, but he himself escaped Masinissa’s pursuit. That marked the end of Hannibal’s military campaigns on behalf of Carthage.


Exile And Death

The treaty between Rome and Carthage that was concluded a year after the Battle of Zama frustrated the entire object of Hannibal’s life, but his hopes of taking arms once more against Rome lived on. Although accused of having misconducted the war by his enemies in Carthage—chiefly, the merchant faction led by Hanno—Hannibal was made a suffete (a civil magistrate) in addition to retaining his military command. As suffete he was able to overthrow the power of the oligarchic governing faction at Carthage and bring about certain administrative and constitutional changes. Although Scipio Africanus, who had bested him at Zama, supported his leadership in Carthage, he became unpopular with a certain faction of the Carthaginian nobility because he challenged their graft. According to Livy, that led his enemies to denounce him to the Romans for inciting Antiochus III of Syria to take up arms against Rome. The strength of that accusation was questionable, but Hannibal was forced to flee, first to Tyre and then to the court of Antiochus at Ephesus (195). There he was welcome at first, since Antiochus was preparing war with Rome. Soon, however, the presence of Hannibal and the sound advice he gave concerning the conduct of the war became a source of embarrassment, and he was sent to raise and command a fleet for Antiochus in the Phoenician cities. Inexperienced as he was in naval matters, he was defeated by the Roman fleet off Side in Pamphylia. Antiochus was defeated on land at Magnesia in 190, and one of the terms demanded of him by the Romans was that Hannibal should be surrendered. Again, accounts of Hannibal’s subsequent actions vary; either he fled via Crete to the court of King Prusias of Bithynia, or he joined the rebel forces in Armenia. Eventually he took refuge with Prusias, who at that time was engaged in warfare with Rome’s ally, King Eumenes II of Pergamum. He served Prusias in that war, and, in one of the victories he gained over Eumenes at sea, it is said that he threw baskets of snakes into the enemy vessels in one of the earliest documented examples of biological warfare.

The Romans’ influence in the east had expanded to such a degree that they were in a position to demand the surrender of Hannibal. In one account of his final hours, Hannibal, expecting treachery from Bithynia, sent out his last faithful servant to check all the secret exits from his fortress at Libyssa (near modern Gebze, Turkey). The servant reported back that hostile unknown guards stood at every exit. Knowing that he had been betrayed and was unable to escape, Hannibal poisoned himself in a final act of defiance against the Romans. The year is uncertain but was probably 183.



It is not to be expected that his Roman biographers would treat Hannibal impartially, but Polybius and Dio Cassius give the least-biased accounts. In spite of the charges of Hannibal’s cruelty put forth by the Roman authors, he did enter into agreement with Fabius for the return of prisoners and treated with respect the bodies of Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus (consul 215) and Lucius Aemilius Paulus (216), the fallen enemy generals. Of avarice, the other charge commonly laid against him, no direct evidence is found other than the practices necessary for a general to finance a war. Indeed, he spared Fabius’s farm in Campania while ravaging the surrounding countryside, although that was done to fuel rumours that Fabius had reached an accommodation with Hannibal.

Much that was said against Hannibal might be ascribed to Roman propaganda, especially from Livy. One claim laid against him was that he cannibalized the bodies of his dead soldiers in times of great difficulty, but Polybius dismisses that charge as an idle suggestion made by a Carthaginian commander and offers no evidence that Hannibal acted upon it. In retrospect, Hannibal’s physical bravery is well attested, and his temperance and continence were usually praised. His power of leadership is implied in the lack of rioting and disharmony in that mixed body of men he commanded for so long, and the care he took for his elephants and horses as well as his men gives proof of a humane disposition. His treachery, that punica fides that the Romans detested, could from another point of view pass for resourcefulness in war and boldness in stratagem. Of his wit and subtlety of speech, many anecdotes remain. He spoke Greek and Latin fluently, but more personal information is absent from his biographies. The only surviving portrait of Hannibal may exist in the form of silver coins from Cartagena, possibly struck in 221, the year of his election as general, depicting him with a youthful beardless face. (See also Researcher’s Note on Hannibal’s ethnicity and physical appearance.)


Hannibal (W)

Hannibal (W)

Illustrations from Mommsen's "Römische Geschichte" page 265, Hannibal

Hannibal Barca (Punic: 𐤇𐤍𐤁𐤏𐤋𐤟𐤁𐤓𐤒, brq ḥnbʿl; 247 – between 183 and 181 BC) was a Carthaginian general and statesman who is widely considered one of the greatest military commanders in history. His father, Hamilcar Barca, was a leading Carthaginian commander during the First Punic War (264-241 BC). His younger brothers were Mago and Hasdrubal, and he was brother-in-law to Hasdrubal the Fair; all also 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 never to 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 then 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, and Cannae. He distinguished himself for his ability to determine his and his opponent's respective strengths and weaknesses, and to plan battles accordingly. Hannibal's well-planned strategies allowed him to conquer several Italian cities allied to Rome. 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, and he finally defeated Rome's nemesis at the Battle of Zama, having previously driven Hannibal's brother Hasdrubal out of the Iberian Peninsula.

After the war, Hannibal successfully ran for the office of sufet. He enacted political and financial reforms to enable the payment of the war indemnity imposed by Rome; however, those reforms were unpopular with members of the Carthaginian aristocracy and in Rome, and he fled into voluntary exile. 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, and Hannibal fled again, making a stop in the Kingdom of Armenia. His flight ended in the court of Bithynia. He was afterwards betrayed to the Romans and committed suicide by poisoning himself.

Hannibal is often 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, and Scipio Africanus. Plutarch states that Scipio supposedly asked Hannibal "who the greatest general was", to which Hannibal replied "either Alexander or Pyrrhus, then himself". Military historian Theodore Ayrault Dodge called Hannibal the "father of strategy", because Roman armies adopted elements of his military tactics into their 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.


📹 Words of Hanno The Navigator — Ancient Explorer / 5th century BC / Primary Source (VİDEO)

📹 Words of Hanno The Navigator — Ancient Explorer / 5th century BC / Primary Source (LINK)

Here we have the words of Hanno the Navigator, famed Carthaginian explorer and one of the earliest accounts of West Africa that has survived to the present day.

Saved from the burning remains of Carthage by a Greek translation, the text itself allegedly hung on a temple wall along with the dried gorilla skins mentioned in his story for almost three hundred years, before Carthage was finally crushed entirely by Rome.

(W) Hanno the Navigator (Punic𐤇‬𐤍‬𐤀‬‬, ḥnʾ'; GreekἌννωνHannōn)  was a Carthaginian explorer of the sixth or fifth century BC, best known for his naval exploration of the western coast of Africa. The only source of his voyage is a Greek periplus. According to some modern analyses of his route, Hanno's expedition could have reached as far south as Gabon; however, others have taken him no further than southern Morocco.

Carthage dispatched Hanno at the head of a fleet of 60 ships to explore and colonize the northwestern coast of Africa.  He sailed through the straits of Gibraltar, founded or repopulated seven colonies along the African coast of what is now Morocco, and explored significantly farther along the Atlantic coast of the continent. Hanno encountered various indigenous peoples on his journey and met with a variety of welcomes.


📹 Conversation between Hannibal and Scipio before The Battle of Zama (202 BC) / As told by Livy (VİDEO)

📹 Conversation between Hannibal and Scipio before The Battle of Zama (202 BC) / As told by Livy (LINK)

The year is 202 BC and the Roman Republic has spent seventeen years at war with the Carthaginians. Legendary general Hannibal, who at this point had been in Italy bringing Rome close to her knees for sixteen years, has been dragged back to Carthage in northern Africa to defend his homeland from a bold incursion by the Republic's remarkable young wunderkind General - Publius Cornelius Scipio, only at the beginning of a lifetime of empire moulding battles, before even he received the title 'Africanus'. On the eve of the battle with both armies waiting tensely for the conflict, the older man Hannibal calls Scipio to meet him and discuss terms of peace. Here the famous Roman historian Livy details that conversation; between, as he notes, "the peers of the the most famous kings and commanders the world had seen."


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