• Moderator 2023 '22 '21 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 '12

    Today, October 19th in 202BC, the greatest general since Alexander met his match in a young Roman called Publius Cornelius Scipio.I am of course talking about Hannibal Barca of Carthage. These two great rival nations were again at war, 14 years after Hannibal’s greatest triumph at Cannae.
    Scipio landed in North Africa with two Legions and purposely marched through Carthage’s most fertile lands. Hannibal who had rushed back from Italy to meet him knew he had to attack before Rome’s new ally, Masinissa of
    Numidia joined him. These Numidians were the best light cavalry in the world.
    Hannibal had brought his Italian veterans with him and placed them in his third line, but his first two lines were not as reliable. They composed LIgurians, Gauls and Carthage’s own troops. His cavalry were fewer in number and of a lesser quality too. He did have 80 untrained elephants. It was reliance on these elephants that was to prove his undoing.
    Scipio was aware what damage elephants could do, so amended the great Roman tactic of a checkerboard infantry formation, each line  to the side of the one in front. Instead, he had his three lines of infantry line up directly behind each other. When Hannibal released his elephants, a large trumpet fanfare was sounded, frightening them. Some turned around and ran amok amongst their own lines. Those that did not, ran inbetween the Roman formations and off the battlefield. Scipio’s cavalry chased off Hannibal’s, but did not stop charging after the beaten enemy and so too left the field…
    Hannibal could still have won as his infantry held firm against the Roman Hastati , but his first line which was overlapped began to run when they felt the second line was not supporting them. Hannibal’s second line threw back the Hastati and Scipio had to use his older, more experienced Principes. They were  able to put the Carthaginians to flight. Hannibal personally led his 24000 Italian veterans, well aware the better Numidian cavalry could show up at any time and strike him in the rear. Scipio changed his tactics again. He placed his Hastati in a compact formation and his Principes and spear armed Triari on both flanks. He was going for violence of attack and no longer trying to overlap his adversary. The battle hung in the balance, but was decided by the reappearance of Scipio’s Numidian and  Roman cavalry.
    Hannibal did not leave the field until all was lost.
    It is thought Carthage’s losses were 20000 and Scipio’s about 2000.

  • This battle should be on most top ten list. Ended one of the most classic wars.

  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    Dare I ask…

    What was the war over?

  • Moderator 2023 '22 '21 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 '12

    Control of the Med. Rome and Carthage(near modern day Tunis) had been fighting for control over minor territories, like Sicily, for 70 years. Rome got her own way most of the time,then enter Hannibal Barca. He almost brought Rome to her knees with victory after victory. Unfortunately, his country was as worried and jealous of him and his family as they were of Rome and did not always support him enough.
    By 202BC Rome had found a General with Hannibal’s skill and he was defeated at Zama.
    Rome was never again threatened by Carthage.
    After the wars, known as Punic wars, Rome started to become the world empire we know today. It could not have done while Carthage existed.

  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    The dialouge between Hannibal and Scipio is fascinating…  lol two greats of their time.

  • Rome used the victory in the 2nd Punic War to expand againist Carthage’s supporters in Greece and other areas in the East.

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