Friday, November 4, 2011

PUNIC WARS: Battle of Cannae




The war is marked by Hannibal's surprising overland journey and his costly crossing of the Alps, followed by his reinforcement by Gaulish allies and crushing victories over Roman armies in the battle... Second Punic War

    Swearing vengeance against Rome for the humiliation they inflicted on Carthage, Hannibal Barca in his Iberian kingdom set out on an audacious plan to strike at Rome's heart in Italy, by marching an army of between 60,000 and 80,000 men overland through southern Gaul and over the Alps.

    Somewhere over 40,000 arrived in Italy with Hannibal some months later.

    With inferior numbers, Hannibal wielded a tactical and strategic genius which allowed him to twice outsmart and defeat the Roman armies at Lake Trasimene and the River Trebia.

    Appointed Dictator by the Senate of Rome, Quintus Fabius Maximus was not about to let Hannibal demolish and humiliate the Romans again. He began a policy of "delaying", a war of attrition which would starve Hannibal's army out of Italy.

    This policy lasted as long as Fabius Maximus's Dictatorship. After it expired, the new Consuls for the year, Gaius Terentius Varro and Lucius Aemilius Paullus, raised an army of some 16 legions numbering between 80,000 and 90,000 men, Roman and Italian, to meet Hannibal Barca and defeat him once and for all.

    The ensuing day's battle would be the turning point for the Second Punic War, and the course of Roman and Carthaginian history. Hannibal's tactics would be studied and admired by Rome for hundreds of years to come.

    The strategy, as it unfolded, began by presenting Rome with an unavoidably appealing target---the Carthaginian infantry line, slightly ragged, shaped like a crescent. The cavalry met first, with Hannibal's Iberian, Gallic, and Carthaginian cavalry quickly defeating the Romans, and chasing them off the field completely. The Roman army pressed into the infantry, which gave ground steadily, flexing the crescent shape around and creating a sort of crater for the front lines of the Romans to crash into. Much of the center would be stuck in place by the sheer mass of the army moving forward.

    On cue, the elite African and Libyan troops of Hannibal's army extended the lines and attacked the Roman flanks, leaving one line of escape. This was sealed shut by the returning heavy cavalry. While virtually every Carthaginian line could fight the Romans, only the Roman lines on the extreme flanks, rear, and front could fight while the rest were crushed in the center, left to panic that they were surrounded, and undoubtedly losing the battle.

    Estimates put the Roman casualties at 50,000, with Consul Paullus dead, and over eighty Roman Senators killed. Carthage lost 6,000 dead and 10,000 wounded.

    Despite the stunning victory, Hannibal Barca did not press on Rome itself. Theories range, claiming Hannibal could have taken Rome by force, while others put forth that because Barca had no siege equipment, he would have bled his army out on the walls, as the Romans had left a garrison in the city, and would scrape together all the troops they could to defend the city to the death.File:First Punic War 264 BC.png

    Hannibal was ultimately defeated by Publius Cornelius Scipio at the Battle of Zama, after spending over a decade in Italy, victim of returning Dictator Quintus Fabius Maximus's "delaying" tactics, an entire Roman army keeping Hannibal pinned in Italy while Scipio led another army to ultimately destroy Hannibal's "kingdom" in Iberia. Hannibal risked the journey to Carthage with his ragged army when Carthage itself was threatened by Rome.

    Enter video caption here


    The Punic Wars were a series of three wars fought between Rome and Carthage from 264 BC to 146 BC.[1] At the time, they were probably the largest wars that had ever taken place.[2] The term Punic comes from the Latin word Punicus (or Poenicus), meaning "Carthaginian", with reference to the Carthaginians' Phoenician ancestry.[3] The main cause of the Punic Wars was the conflict of interests 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, Carthage was the dominant power of the Western Mediterranean, with an extensive maritime empire, while Rome was the rapidly ascending power in Italy, but lacked the naval power of Carthage. By the end of the third war, 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 and completely destroyed the city, becoming 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–Syrian 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.

    During the mid-3rd century BC, Carthage was a large city located on the coast of modern Tunisia. Founded by the Phoenicians in the mid-9th century BC, it was a powerful thalassocratic city-state with a vast commercial network. Of the great city-states in the western Mediterranean, only Rome rivaled it in power, wealth, and population. While Carthage's navy was the largest in the ancient world at the time, it did not maintain a large, permanent, standing army. Instead, Carthage relied mostly on mercenaries, especially the indigenous Numidian Berbers, to fight its wars.[4] However, most of the officers who commanded the armies were Carthaginian citizens. The Carthaginians were famed for their abilities as sailors, and unlike their armies, many Carthaginians from the lower classes served in their navy, which provided them with a stable income and career.

    In 200 BC the Roman Republic had gained control of the Italian peninsula south of the Po river. Unlike Carthage, Rome had large disciplined armed forces. On the other hand, at the start of the First Punic War the Romans had no navy, and were thus at a disadvantage until they began to construct their own large fleets during the war.

    First Punic War (264 to 241 BC)File:Falcata íbera (M.A.N. Madrid) 03.jpg

    Iberian falcata, 4th/3rd century BC. This weapon, a scythe-shaped sword, was unique to Iberia. By its inherent weight distribution, it could deliver blows as powerful as an axe. The Iberians also invented the gladius, the standard sword used by Roman infantry. National Archaeological Museum of Spain, Madrid

    The First Punic War (264–241 BC) was fought partly on land in Sicily and Africa, but was largely a naval war. It began as a local conflict in Sicily between Hiero II of Syracuse and the Mamertines of Messina. The Mamertines enlisted the aid of the Carthaginian navy, and then subsequently betrayed them by entreating the Roman Senate for aid against Carthage. The Romans sent a garrison to secure Messina, so the outraged Carthaginians then lent aid to Syracuse. With the two powers now embroiled in the conflict, tensions quickly escalated into a full-scale war between Carthage and Rome for the control of Sicily. After a harsh defeat at the Battle of Agrigentum in 261 BC, the Carthaginian leadership resolved to avoid further direct land-based engagements with the powerful Roman legions, and concentrate on the sea where they believed Carthage's large navy had the advantage. Initially the Carthaginian navy prevailed. In 260 BC they defeated the fledgling Roman navy at the Battle of the Lipari Islands. Rome responded by drastically expanding its navy in a very short time. Within two months the Romans had a fleet of over one hundred warships. Because they knew that they could not defeat the Carthaginians in the traditional tactics of ramming and sinking enemy ships, the Romans added the corvus, an assault bridge, to Roman ships. The hinged bridge would swing onto enemy vessels with a sharp spike and stop them. Roman legionaries could then board and capture Carthaginian ships. This innovative Roman tactic reduced the Carthaginian navy's advantage in ship-to-ship engagements, and allowed Rome's superior infantry to be brought to bear in naval conflicts. However, the corvus was also cumbersome and dangerous, and was eventually phased out as the Roman navy became more experienced and tactically proficient. Save for the disastrous defeat at the Battle of Tunis in Africa, and two naval engagements, the First Punic War was a nearly unbroken string of Roman victories. In 241 BC, Carthage signed a peace treaty under the terms of which they evacuated Sicily and paid Rome a large war indemnity. The long war was costly to both powers, but Carthage was more seriously destabilized. In 238 BC, Carthage was plunged into the Mercenary War, during which Rome seized Sardinia and Corsica. Rome was now the most powerful state in the western Mediterranean: its large navy able to prevent seaborne invasion of Italy, control important sea trade routes, and invade foreign shores.[5]

    By the middle of the 3rd century BC, the Romans had secured the whole of the Italian peninsula, except Gallia Cisalpina (Po Valley). Over the course of the preceding one hundred years, Rome had defeated every rival that stood in the way of their domination of the Italian peninsula. First the Latin league was forcibly dissolved during the Latin War,[3] then the power of the Samnites was broken during the three prolonged Samnite wars,[4] and the Greek cities of Magna Graecia who were unified after Pyrrhus of Epirus finally left Italy, requiring the Greek Cities in southern Italy to submit to Roman authority at the conclusion of the Pyrrhic War.[4]

    Carthage considered itself the dominant naval power in the western Mediterranean. It originated as a Phoenician colony in Africa, near modern Tunis, and gradually became the center of a civilization whose hegemony reached along the North African coast and deep in its hinterland, and also included the Balearic Islands, Sardinia, Corsica, a limited area in southern Spain, and the western half of Sicily.[5] The conflict began after both Rome and Carthage intervened in Messana, the Sicilian city closest to the Italian peninsula.[2]

    [edit] Beginning

    In 288 BC, the Mamertines—a group of Italian (Campanian) mercenaries originally hired by Agathocles of Syracuse—occupied the city of Messana (modern Messina) in the northeastern tip of Sicily, killing all the men and taking the women as their wives.[6] At the same time, a group of Roman troops made up of Campanian "citizens without the vote" also seized control of Rhegium, which lies across the straits on the mainland of Italy. In 270 BC, the Romans regained control of Rhegium and severely punished the survivors of the revolt. In Sicily, the Mamertines ravaged the countryside and collided with the expanding regional empire of the independent city of Syracuse. Hiero II, tyrant of Syracuse, defeated the Mamertines near Mylae on the Longanus River.[7] Following the defeat at the river Longanus, the Mamertines appealed to both Rome and Carthage for assistance, and acting first the Carthaginians approached Hiero to take no further action and convinced the Mamertines to accept a Carthaginian garrison in Messana. Either unhappy with the prospect of a Carthaginian garrison, or convinced that the recent alliance between Rome and Carthage against Pyrrhus reflected cordial relations between the two, the Mamertines petitioned Rome for an alliance, hoping for more reliable protection. However, the rivalry between Rome and Carthage had grown since the war with Pyrrhus; therefore, according to Warmington, an alliance with both powers was simply no longer feasible.[8]

    According to the historian Polybius, considerable debate took place in Rome on the question of whether to accept the Mamertines' appeal for help, and thus likely enter into a war with Carthage. While the Romans did not wish to come to the aid of soldiers who had unjustly stolen a city from its rightful possessors, and although they were still recovering from the insurrection of Campanian troops at Rhegium in 271, many were also unwilling to see Carthaginian power in Sicily expand even further. Leaving the Carthaginians alone at Messana would give them a free hand to deal with Syracuse; after the Syracusans had been defeated, the Carthaginian takeover of Sicily would essentially be complete.[9] A deadlocked senate put the matter before the popular assembly, where it was decided to accept the Mamertines' request and Appius Claudius Caudex was appointed commander of a military expedition with orders to cross to Messana.[10][11]

    [edit] Roman landing and advance to Syracuse


    Roman arrival and neutralization of Syracuse.

    Sicily is a semi-hilly island, with geographical obstacles and rough terrain making lines of communication difficult to maintain. For this reason land warfare played a secondary role in the First Punic War. Land operations were confined to small scale raids and skirmishes, with few pitched battles. Sieges and land blockades were the most common large-scale operations for the regular army. The main blockade targets were the important ports, since neither Carthage nor Rome were based in Sicily and both needed continuous reinforcements and communication with the mainland.[12]

    The land war in Sicily began with the Roman landing at Messana in 264 BC. If one follows Polybius, the course of events was the following: Despite the Carthaginian pre-war naval advantage, the Roman landing was virtually unopposed. Two legions commanded by Appius Claudius Caudex disembarked at Messana, where the Mamertines had expelled the Carthaginian garrison commanded by Hanno (no relation to Hanno the Great).[13] After defeating the Syracusan and Carthaginian forces besieging Messana, the Romans marched south and in turn besieged Syracuse.[14] After a brief siege, with no Carthaginian help in sight, Syracuse made peace with the Romans.[15] According to the terms of the treaty, Syracuse would become a Roman ally, would pay a somewhat light indemnity of 100 talents of silver to Rome, and, perhaps most importantly, would agree to help supply the Roman army in Sicily.[15] This solved the Roman problem of having to keep an overseas army provisioned while facing an enemy with a superior navy.[15][16] Following the defection of Syracuse, several other smaller Carthaginian dependencies in Sicily also switched to the Roman side.[15]

    [edit] Carthage prepares for war

    Meanwhile, Carthage had begun to build a mercenary army in Africa which was to be shipped to Sicily to meet the Romans. According to the historian Philinus, this army was composed of 50,000 infantry, 6,000 cavalry, and 60 elephants.[17] According to Polybius, this army was partly composed of Ligurians, Celts and Iberians.[18]

    In past wars on the island of Sicily, Carthage had won out by relying on certain fortified strong-points throughout the island, and their plan was to conduct the land war in the same fashion. The mercenary army would operate in the open against the Romans, while the strongly fortified cities would provide a defensive base from which to operate.[15]

    Battle of Agrigentum

    Main article: Battle of Agrigentum

    One of these cities, Agrigentum (known to the Greeks as Acragas), would be the next Roman objective. In 262 BC, Rome besieged Agrigentum, an operation that involved both consular armies—a total of four Roman legions—and took several months to resolve. The garrison of Agrigentum managed to call for reinforcements and the Carthaginian relief force commanded by Hanno came to the rescue and destroyed the Roman supply base at Erbessus.[19] With supplies from Syracuse cut, the Romans were now besieged and constructed a line of contravallation.[19] After a few skirmishes, disease struck the Roman army while supplies in Agrigentum were running low, and both sides saw an open battle as preferable to the current situation.[19] Although the Romans won a clear victory over the Carthaginian relief force at the Battle of Agrigentum, the Carthaginian army defending the city managed to escape.[19] Agrigentum, now lacking any real defenses, fell easily to the Romans, who then sacked the city and enslaved the populace.[19][20]

    Rome builds a fleet

    At the beginning of the First Punic War, Rome had virtually no experience in naval warfare, whereas Carthage had a great deal of experience on the seas thanks to its centuries of sea-based trade. Nevertheless, the growing Roman Republic soon understood the importance of Mediterranean control in the outcome of the conflict.[21]

    [edit] Origin of Roman design

    The first major Roman fleet was constructed after the victory of Agrigentum in 261 BC. Some historians have speculated that since Rome lacked advanced naval technology the design of the warships was probably copied verbatim from captured Carthaginian triremes and quinqueremes or from ships that had beached on Roman shores due to storms.[22] Other historians have pointed out that Rome did have experience with naval technology, as she patrolled her coasts against piracy.[23] Another possibility is that Rome received technical assistance from its seafaring Sicilian ally, Syracuse.[23] Regardless of the state of their naval technology at the start of the war, Rome quickly adapted.[24]

    [edit] The corvus

    Diagram of a corvus boarding device.

    Main article: Corvus (weapon)

    In order to compensate for the lack of experience, and to make use of standard land military tactics on sea,[25] the Romans equipped their new ships with a special boarding device, the corvus.[26] The Roman military was a land-based army while Carthage was primarily a naval power. This boarding-bridge allowed the Roman navy to circumvent some of Carthage's naval skills by using their marines to board Carthaginian ships and fight in hand to hand combat. Instead of maneuvering to ram, which was the standard naval tactic at the time, corvus equipped ships would maneuver alongside the enemy vessel, deploy the bridge which would attach to the enemy ship through spikes on the end of the bridge, and send legionaries across as boarding parties.

    The new weapon would prove its worth in the Battle of Mylae, the first Roman naval victory, and would continued to do so in the following years, especially in the huge Battle of Cape Ecnomus. The addition of the corvus forced Carthage to review its military tactics, and since the city had difficulty in doing so, Rome had the naval advantage.[29]

    [edit] Battle of Mylae

    Main article: Battle of Mylae

    File:Aeolian Islands map.png

    Location of Mylae (Milazzo) on the coast of northern Sicily.

    Duilius met Hamilcar off northern Mylae in 260. Polybius states that the Carthaginians had 130 ships, but does not give an exact figure for the Romans.[30] The loss of 17 ships at the Lipari Islands from a starting total of 120 ships suggests that Rome had 103 remaining. However, it is possible that this number was larger than 103, thanks to captured ships and the assistance of Roman allies.[31] The Carthaginians anticipated victory, especially because of their superior experience at sea.[30]

    The corvus were very successful, and helped the Romans seize the first 30 Carthaginian ships that got close enough. In order to avoid the corvus, the Carthaginians were forced to navigate around them and approach the Romans from behind, or from the side. The corvus was usually still able to pivot and grapple most oncoming ships.[32] Once an additional 20 of the Carthaginian ships had been hooked and lost to the Romans, Hamilcar retreated with his surviving ships, leaving Duilius with a clear victory.

    Instead of following the remaining Carthaginians at sea, Duilius sailed to Sicily to retrieve control of the troops. There he saved the city of Segesta, which had been under siege from the Carthaginian infantry commander Hamilcar.[33] Modern historians have wondered at Duilius’ decision not to immediately follow up with another naval attack, but Hamilcar’s remaining 80 ships was probably still too strong for Rome to conquer.[34]

    [edit] Hamilcar's counterattack


    Hamilcar's attack.

    The Roman advance now continued westward from Agrigentum to relieve in 260 BC the besieged city of Macella,[35] which had sided with Rome and were attacked by the Carthaginians for doing so. In the north, the Romans, with their northern sea flank secured by their naval victory at Battle of Mylae, advanced toward Thermae. They were defeated there by the Carthaginians under Hamilcar (a popular Carthaginian name, not to be confused with Hannibal Barca's father, with the same name) in 260 BC.[36] The Carthaginians took advantage of this victory by counterattacking, in 259 BC, and seizing Enna. Hamilcar continued south to Camarina, in Syracusan territory, presumably with the intent to convince the Syracusans to rejoin the Carthaginian side.[37]

    [edit] Continued Roman advance


    Continued Roman advance 260-256 BC.

    The next year, 258 BC, the Romans were able to regain the initiative by retaking Enna and Camarina. In central Sicily, they took the town of Mytistraton, which they had attacked twice previously. The Romans also moved in the north by marching across the northern coast toward Panormus, but were not able to take the city.[38]

    [edit] Invasion of Africa

    After their conquests in the Agrigentum campaign, and following several naval battles, Rome attempted (256/255 BC) the second large scale land operation of the war. Seeking a swifter end to the war than the long sieges in Sicily would have provided, Rome decided to invade the Carthaginian colonies of Africa and usurp Carthage's supremacy in the Mediterranean Sea, consequently forcing Carthage to accept its terms.[27][39]

    [edit] Battle of Cape Ecnomus

    Main article: Battle of Cape Ecnomus

    In order to initiate its invasion of Africa, the Roman Republic constructed a major fleet, comprising transports for the army and its equipment, and warships for protection. Carthage attempted to intervene with a fleet of 350 ships (according to Polybius),[40] but was defeated in the Battle of Cape Ecnomus.[41]


    Invasion of Africa.

    [edit] Regulus's raid

    Main articles: Battle of Adys and Battle of Tunis

    As a result of the battle, the Roman army, commanded by Marcus Atilius Regulus, landed in Africa and began ravaging the Carthaginian countryside.[42] At first, Regulus was victorious, winning the Battle of Adys and forcing Carthage to sue for peace.[43] The terms were so heavy that negotiations failed and, in response, the Carthaginians hired Xanthippus, a Spartan mercenary, to reorganize the army.[27][44] Xanthippus defeated the Roman army and captured Regulus at the Battle of Tunis,[45][46] and then managed to cut off what remained of the Roman army from its base by re-establishing Carthaginian naval supremacy.[47][48]

    [edit] Carthage's respite


    Carthage's respite.

    The Romans, meanwhile, had sent a new fleet to pick up the survivors of its African expedition. Although the Romans defeated the Carthaginian fleet and were successful in rescuing its army in Africa, a storm destroyed nearly the entire Roman fleet on the trip home; the number of casualties in the disaster may have exceeded 90,000 men.[48] The Carthaginians took advantage of this to attack Agrigentum. They did not believe they could hold the city, so they burned it and left.[49]

    [edit] Renewed Roman offensive


    Roman attacks 253-251 BC.

    The Romans were able to rally, however, and quickly resumed the offensive. Along with constructing a new fleet of 140 ships, Rome returned to the strategy of taking the Carthaginian cities in Sicily one by one.

    Attacks began with naval assaults on Lilybaeum, the center of Carthaginian power on Sicily, and a raid on Africa. Both efforts ended in failure.[51] The Romans retreated from Lilybaeum, and the African force was caught in another storm and destroyed.[51]

    [edit] Northern advance

    The Romans, however, made great progress in the north. The city of Thermae was captured in 252 BC, enabling another advance on the port city of Panormus. The Romans attacked this city after taking Kephalodon in 251 BC. After fierce fighting, the Carthaginians were defeated and the city fell. With Panormus captured, much of western inland Sicily fell with it. The cities of Ietas, Solous, Petra, and Tyndaris agreed to peace with the Romans that same year.[52]

    [edit] Southwestern expedition

    Main article: Battle of Drepana


    Roman attacks 250-249 BC.

    The next year, the Romans shifted their attention to the southwest. They sent a naval expedition toward Lilybaeum. En route, the Romans seized and burned the Carthaginian hold-out cities of Selinous and Heraclea Minoa. This expedition to Lilybaeum was not successful, but attacking the Carthaginian headquarters demonstrated Roman resolve to take all of Sicily.[53] The Roman fleet was defeated by the Carthaginians at Drepana, forcing the Romans to continue their attacks from land. Roman forces at Lilybaeum were relieved, and Eryx, near Drepana, was seized thus menacing that important city as well.[54]

    Following the conclusive naval victory off Drepana in 249 BC, Carthage ruled the seas as Rome was unwilling to finance the construction of yet another expensive fleet. Nevertheless the Carthaginian faction that opposed the conflict, led by the land-owning aristocrat Hanno the Great, gained power and in 244 BC, and considering the war to be over, started the demobilization of the fleet, giving the Romans a chance to again attain naval superiority.


    Carthaginians negotiate peace and withdraw.

    At this point (247 BC[56]), Carthage sent general Hamilcar Barca (Hannibal's father) to Sicily. His landing at Heirkte (near Panormus) drew the Romans away to defend that port city and resupply point and gave Drepana some breathing room. Subsequent guerilla warfare kept the Roman legions pinned down and preserved Carthage's toehold in Sicily, although Roman forces which bypassed Hamilcar forced him to relocate to Eryx, to better defend Drepana.[53]

    Battle of the Aegates Islands


    Perhaps in response to Hamilcar's raids, Rome did build another fleet paid for with donations from wealthy citizens and it was that fleet which rendered the Carthaginian success in Sicily futile, as the stalemate Hamilcar produced in Sicily became irrelevant following the Roman naval victory at the Battle of the Aegates Islands in 241 BC, where the new Roman fleet under consul Gaius Lutatius Catulus was victorious over an undermanned and hastily built Carthaginian fleet. Carthage lost most of its fleet and was economically incapable of funding another, or of finding manpower for the crews.[57]

    Without naval support, Hamilcar Barca was cut off from Carthage and forced to negotiate peace and agree to evacuate Sicily.[58] It should be noted that Hamilcar Barca had a subordinate named Gesco conduct the negotiations with Lutatius, in order to create the impression that he had not really been defeated.[2][59]

    [edit] Role of naval warfare

    Photo of the remains of the naval base of the city of Carthage. Before the war, Carthage had the most powerful navy in the western Mediterranean.

    See also: Roman Navy

    Due to the difficulty of operating in Sicily, most of the First Punic War was fought at sea, including the most decisive battles.[12] But one reason the war bogged down into stalemate on the landward side was because ancient navies were ineffective at maintaining seaward blockades of enemy ports. Consequently, Carthage was able to reinforce and re-supply its besieged strongholds, especially Lilybaeum, on the western end of Sicily. Both sides of the conflict had publicly funded fleets. This fact compromised Carthage and Rome's finances and eventually decided the course of the war.[60]

    Despite the Roman victories at sea, the Roman Republic lost countless ships and crews during the war, due to both storms and battles. On at least two occasions (255 and 253 BC) whole fleets were destroyed in bad weather; the disaster off Camarina in 255 BC counted two hundred seventy ships and over one hundred thousand men lost, the greatest single loss in history.[61] One theory for the problem is the weight of the corvus on the prows of the ships made the ships unstable and caused them to sink in bad weather. Later, as Roman experience in naval warfare grew, the corvus device was abandoned due to its impact on the navigability of the war vessels.[62]

    [edit] Aftermath

    Rome won the First Punic War after 23 years of conflict and in the end became the dominant naval power of the Mediterranean. In the aftermath of the war, both states were financially and demographically exhausted.[60] Corsica, Sardinia and Africa remained Carthaginian, but they had to pay a high war indemnity. Rome's victory was greatly influenced by its persistence. Moreover, the Roman Republic's ability to attract private investments in the war effort to fund ships and crews was one of the deciding factors of the war, particularly when contrasted with the Carthaginian nobility's apparent unwillingness to risk their fortunes for the common war effort.

    [edit] Casualties

    The exact number of casualties on each side is difficult to determine, due to bias in the historical sources.

    According to sources (excluding land warfare casualties):[63]


  • Rome lost 700 ships (in part to bad weather) with an unknown number crew deaths.

  • Carthage lost 500 ships with an unknown number crew deaths.


    Although uncertain, the casualties were heavy for both sides. Polybius commented that the war was, at the time, the most destructive in terms of casualties in the history of warfare, including the battles of Alexander the Great. Analyzing the data from the Roman census of the 3rd century BC, Adrian Goldsworthy noted that during the conflict Rome lost about 50,000 citizens. This excludes auxiliary troops and every other man in the army without citizen status, who would be outside the head count.[64][65]

    [edit] Peace terms

    The terms of the Treaty of Lutatius designed by the Romans were particularly heavy for Carthage, which had lost bargaining power following its defeat at the Aegates islands. Both sides agreed upon:


  • Carthage evacuates Sicily and small islands west of it (Aegadian Islands).

  • Carthage returns their prisoners of war without ransom, while paying heavy ransom on their own.

  • Carthage refrains from attacking Syracuse and her allies.

  • Carthage transfers a group of small islands north of Sicily (Aeolian Islands and Ustica) to Rome.

  • Carthage evacuates all of the small islands between Sicily and Africa (Pantelleria, Linosa, Lampedusa, Lampione and Malta).

  • Carthage pays a 2,200 talent (66 tons) of silver indemnity in ten annual installments, plus an additional indemnity of 1,000 talents (30 tons) immediately.[66]


Further clauses determined that the allies of each side would not be attacked by the other, no attacks were to be made by either side upon the other's allies and both sides were prohibited from recruiting soldiers within the territory of the other. This denied the Carthaginians access to any mercenary manpower from Italy and most of Sicily, although this later clause was temporarily abolished during the Mercenary War.

[edit] Political results

In the aftermath of the war, Carthage had insufficient state funds. Hanno the Great tried to induce the disbanded armies to accept diminished payment, but kindled a movement that led to an internal conflict, the Mercenary War. After a hard struggle from the combined efforts of Hamilcar Barca, Hanno the Great and others, the Punic forces were finally able to annihilate the mercenaries and the insurgents. However, during this conflict, Rome took advantage of the opportunity to strip Carthage of Corsica and Sardinia as well.[2]

Perhaps the most immediate political result of the First Punic War was the downfall of Carthage's naval power. Conditions signed in the peace treaty were intended to compromise Carthage's economic situation and prevent the city's recovery. The indemnity demanded by the Romans caused strain on the city's finances and forced Carthage to look to other areas of influence for the money to pay Rome.[1]

Carthage, seeking to make up for the recent territorial losses and a plentiful source of silver to pay the large indemnity owed to Rome, turned its attention to Iberia, and in 237 BC the Carthaginians, led by Hamilcar Barca, began a series of campaigns to expand their control over the peninsula. Though Hamilcar was killed in 229 BC, the offensive continued with the Carthaginians extending their power towards the Ebro valley and founding "New Carthage" in 228 BC. It was this expansion that led to the Second Punic War when Carthage besieged the Roman protected town of Saguntum in 218 BC, igniting a conflict with Rome.[67]

As for Rome, the end of the First Punic War marked the start of the expansion beyond the Italian Peninsula. Sicily became the first Roman province (Sicilia) governed by a former praetor, instead of an ally. Sicily would become very important to Rome as a source of grain.[2] Importantly, Syracuse was granted nominal independent ally status for the lifetime of Hiero II, and was not incorporated into the Roman province of Sicily until after it was sacked by Marcus Claudius Marcellus during the Second Punic War.


Carthage spent the years following the war improving its finances and expanding its colonial empire in Hispania under the militaristic Barcid family. Rome's attention was mostly concentrated on the Illyrian Wars. In 219 BC Hannibal, the son of Hamilcar Barca, attacked Saguntum in Hispania, a city allied to Rome, starting the second Punic War.

Interval between the First and Second Punic Wars

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.

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 begrudgingly 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.[6] 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 Gaulo-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 Gaulo-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.

The Barcid Empire


The 'Barcid Empire' consisted of the Punic territories in Iberia. According to the historian Pedro Barceló, it can be described as a private military-economic hegemony backed by the two independent powers, Carthage and Gades. These shared the profits of the silver mines in southern Iberia with the Barcas family and closely followed Hellenistic diplomatic customs. Gades played a supporting role in this field, but Hannibal visited the local temple to conduct ceremonies before launching his campaign against Rome. The Barcid Empire was strongly influenced by the Hellenistic kingdoms of the time and for example, contrary to Carthage, it minted silver coins in its short time of existence.

Second Punic War (218 to 201 BC)

Main article: Second Punic War

The Second Punic War (218 BC – 201 BC) is most remembered for the Carthaginian 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 by Scipio Africanus. The end of the war saw Carthage's control reduced to only the city itself.

The Second Punic War, also referred to as The Hannibalic War, (by the Romans) The War Against Hannibal, or "The Carthaginian War", lasted from 218 to 201 BC[2] and involved combatants in the western and eastern Mediterranean. This was the second major war between Carthage and the Roman Republic, with the crucial participation of Numidian-Berber armies and tribes on both sides. The two states had three major conflicts against each other over the course of their existence. They are called the "Punic Wars" because Rome's name for Carthaginians was Punici, due to their Phoenician ancestry.[3]

The war is marked by Hannibal's surprising overland journey and his costly crossing of the Alps, followed by his reinforcement by Gaulish allies and crushing victories over Roman armies in the battle of the Trebia and the giant ambush at Trasimene. Against his skill on the battlefield the Romans deployed the Fabian strategy. But because of the increasing unpopularity of this approach, the Romans resorted to a further major field battle. The result was the Roman defeat at Cannae. In consequence many Roman allies went over to Carthage, prolonging the war in Italy for over a decade, during which more Roman armies were destroyed on the battlefield. Despite these setbacks, the Roman forces were more capable in siegecraft than the Carthaginians and recaptured all the major cities that had joined the enemy, as well as defeating a Carthaginian attempt to reinforce Hannibal at the battle of the Metaurus. In the meantime in Iberia, which served as the main source of manpower for the Carthaginian army, a second Roman expedition under Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus Major took New Carthage by assault and ended Carthaginian rule over Iberia in the battle of Ilipa. The final showdown was the battle of Zama in Africa between Scipio Africanus and Hannibal, resulting in the latter's defeat and the imposition of harsh peace conditions on Carthage, which ceased to be a major power and became a Roman client-state.

A sideshow of this war was the indecisive First Macedonian War in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Ionian Sea.

All battles mentioned in the introduction are ranked among the most costly traditional battles of human history; in addition there were a few successful ambushes of armies that also ended in their annihilation.

The Second Punic War between Carthage and Rome was ignited by the dispute over the hegemony of Saguntum, a Hellenized Iberian coastal city with diplomatic contacts with Rome.[4] After great tension within the city government, culminating in the assassination of the supporters of Carthage, Hannibal laid siege to the city of Saguntum in 219 BC. The city called for Roman aid, but the pleas fell on deaf ears. Following a prolonged siege and a bloody struggle, in which Hannibal himself was wounded and the army practically destroyed, the Carthaginians finally took control of the city. Many of the Saguntians chose to commit suicide rather than face subjugation by the Carthaginians.

Before the war Rome and Hasdrubal the Fair had made a treaty. Livy reports that it was agreed that the Iber should be the boundary between both empires and that the liberty of the Saguntines should be preserved.[5]

[edit] Hannibal takes the initiative (218–213 BC)

[edit] Western Mediterranean (218–213 BC)

[edit] Hannibal's overland journey

Route of Hannibal's invasion of Italy

The Carthaginian army in Iberia, excluding the forces in Africa, totaled, according to Polybius,[6] 90,000 infantry, 12,000 cavalry and 37 war elephants: it was thus one of the largest in the Hellenistic world and equal in numbers to any that the Romans had yet fielded. Hannibal departed with this army from New Carthage (Cartagena, Spain) northwards along the coast in late spring of 218 BC. At the Ebro, he split the army into three columns and subdued the tribes from there to the Pyrenees within weeks, but with severe losses. At the Pyrenees, he left a detachment of 11,000 Iberian troops, who showed reluctance to leave their homeland, to garrison the newly conquered region.[7] Hannibal reportedly entered Gaul with 50,000 infantry and 9,000 cavalry. He took his army by an inland route,[4] avoiding the Roman allies along the coast. In Gaul negotiations helped him to move unmolested except for the Battle of Rhone Crossing where a force of the Allobroges unsuccessfully tried to oppose his 38,000 infantry (that number may exclude light infantry), 8,000 cavalry, and 37 war elephants from the other shore.[8]

In the meantime, a Roman fleet with an invasion force was underway to northern Iberia. Its commanders, the brothers Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus and Publius Cornelius Scipio, knew that Hannibal had crossed the Ebro, but were surprised by the Carthaginian army's presence at the Rhone upstream of their ally Massalia, where they had landed. A scouting party of 300 cavalry was sent to discover the whereabouts of the enemy.[4] These eventually defeated a Carthaginian scouting troop of 500 mounted Numidians and chased them back to their main camp. Thus, with knowledge of the location of the enemy, the Romans marched upstream, ready for battle. Hannibal evaded this force and by an unknown route [4] reached (the Isère or the Durance) the foot of the Alps in autumn. He also received messengers from his Gallic allies in Italy that urged him to come to their aid and offered to guide him over the Alps. Before setting out to cross the Alps, he was re-supplied by a native tribe, some of whose hereditary disputes he had helped solve.

[edit] First Roman expedition to Iberia


Iberian warrior from bas-relief c. 200 BC. The warrior is armed with a falcata and an oval shield. Iberian tribes fought for both sides in the 2nd Punic War, but in reality most wanted to be rid of all foreign domination. National Archaeological Museum of Spain, Madrid

Iberian falcata, 4th/3rd century BC. This weapon, a scythe-shaped sword, was unique to Iberia. By its inherent weight distribution, it could deliver blows as powerful as an axe. The Iberians also invented the gladius, the standard sword used by Roman infantry. National Archaeological Museum of Spain, Madrid

The first Roman expedition to Iberia was unable to bring the Carthaginian troops in the hinterland of Massalia to a pitched battle, so it continued on its way to northern Iberia under Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus, a move which proved decisive for the outcome of the war. Their other commander, Publius Cornelius Scipio, returned to Rome, realizing the danger of an invasion of Italy where the tribes of the Boii and Insubres were already in revolt. After 217 BC, he also traveled to Iberia.

In Iberia, Carthaginian rule was not popular, but Roman inaction during the siege of Saguntum had made the natives cautious about an alliance against their masters. Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus established his headquarters at Cissa, in the midst of Hannibal's latest acquisition, the area between Ebro and Pyrenees. Despite initial setbacks, he won increasing support among the natives. This convinced the Carthaginian commander Hanno, the nephew of Hannibal, to accept pitched battle before his troops had been united with the army under Hasdrubal, the brother of Hannibal, despite being outnumbered 2 to 1. The result was a Roman victory in the battle of Cissa in 218 BC. When Hasdrubal finally made it to the scene, he was in no position to fight the Roman army and merely caught their navy personnel off-guard, killing some of them in the process.

The combined Roman and Massalian fleet and army posed a threat to the Carthaginians. Hasdrubal intended to first defeat the fleet. However, his naval forces had a history of failure against the Romans. They had lost all but one major naval engagement in the First Punic War and in 218 BC a naval engagement in the waters of Lilybaeum had been lost despite numerical superiority. For this reason he moved the army and fleet together. The fleet is described as being very disorganized prior to the battle. The army in the meantime provided loud moral support and a safe harbour for the ensuing naval Battle of Ebro River. The 40 Carthaginian and Iberian vessels were severely defeated by the 55 Roman and Massalian ships in the second naval engagement of the war with about 3/4 of the fleet captured or sunk and the rest beaching their ships with the army on the shore. In the aftermath the Carthaginian forces retreated, but the Romans were still confined to the area between Ebro and Pyrenees.

This position prevented the Carthaginians from sending reinforcements from Iberia to Hannibal or to the insurgent Gauls in northern Italy during critical stages of the war. To deal with this problem, in 215 BC Hasdrubal marched into Roman territory and offered battle at Dertosa. In this battle he used his cavalry superiority to clear the field and to envelop the enemy on both sides with his infantry, a tactic that had been very successfully employed in Italy. But the Romans broke through the thinned out line in the centre and defeated both wings separately, inflicting severe losses; not without, however, taking heavy losses themselves.

While little progress was made in the Iberian theatre, the Scipios were able to negotiate a new front in Africa by allying themselves with Syphax, a powerful Numidian king in North Africa. In 213 BC he received Roman advisers to train his heavy infantry soldiers that had not yet been able to stand up to their Carthaginian counterparts. With this support he waged war against the Carthaginian ally Gala. According to Appian, in 213 BC Hasdrubal left Iberia and fought Syphax, though he may be confused with Hasdrubal Gisco, however, it did bind Carthaginian resources.[9] Hasdrubal Gisco is the son of the Gesco who had served together with Hamilcar Barca, Hannibal's father, in Sicily during the First Punic War and son-in-law of Hanno the Elder who was one of Hannibal's lieutenants in Italy.

[edit] Central Mediterranean (218–213 BC)

[edit] Naval raids and expeditions

In 218 BC, the Carthaginian navy was busy scouting the Sicilian waters and preparing for a surprise attack on their former key stronghold Lilybaeum on the western tip of the island. Twenty quinqueremes, loaded with 1,000 soldiers, raided the Aegadian Islands west of Sicily and eight ships intended to attack the Vulcan islands, but were blown off-course in a storm towards the Straits of Messina. The Syracusan navy, then at Messina, managed to capture three of these ships without resistance. Learning from their crews that a Carthaginian fleet was to attack Lilybaeum, Hiero II warned the Roman praetor Marcus Amellius there. As a result the Romans prepared 20 quinqueremes to intercept, and defeated the 35 Carthaginian quinqueremes in the battle of Lilybaeum.

In 218 BC preparations were made to launch a Roman expedition from the same Lilybaeum against Africa. Hannibal had anticipated the move and reinforced the defending army in Africa with 13,850 Iberian heavy infantry, 870 Balearic slingers and 1200 Iberian cavalry. In addition, some 4000 Iberian men "of good family were called up who were under orders to be conveyed to Carthage to strengthen its defence, and also to serve as hostages for the loyalty of their people."[10] In return, 11,850 Libyan infantry, 300 Ligurians, and 500 Balearics were sent to Iberia to strengthen the local defence against the other anticipated Roman invasion.[11]

The Carthaginian navy had been defeated in two major encounters by the Romans, but neither side was usually able to interdict the other from raiding each other's coasts. An exception was in 217 BC, when a Carthaginian fleet of 70 quinqueremes was intercepted off the coast of Etruria by a Roman fleet of 120 quinqueremes and retreated without giving battle.

The first Carthaginian expedition to Sardinia, in 215 BC, was under the command of Hasdrubal The Bald with his subordinate Hampsicora. A previous pro-Carthaginian uprising had been defeated while a storm had blown the Carthaginian fleet to the Balearic Islands. When they finally made it to Sardinia, the Romans were aware of their intentions and had reinforced the unpopular garrison under Titus Manlius Torquatus to 20,000 infantry and 1,200 cavalry. These engaged and defeated the Carthaginians' 15,000 infantry and 1,500 cavalry (plus an unknown number of elephants) and the remaining insurgent Sardinians at the Battle of Cornus. In the aftermath the defeated expedition of 60 quinqueremes and several transports encountered a Roman raiding party from Africa with 100 quinqueremes. The Carthaginian fleet scattered and escaped save for seven ships. As a result Sardinia, an important grain exporter, remained under Roman occupation.

Carthaginian coin showing (obverse) a deity or hero, probably Melqart assimilated to Hercules (hence club). Dated 221–218 BC, it is believed to be a portrait of Hannibal or (posthumously) of his father Hamilcar. On reverse, image of an African war elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis[citation needed]). Silver double shekel. British Museum, London.

[edit] Gallic uprising

The Romans simultaneously received news of Hannibal's crossing of the Ebro and of an uprising in northern Italy of the Gallic tribes Boii and Insubres.[12] These had established diplomatic contact with the Carthaginians and joined them as allies against their common enemy, Rome. The first objective of the insurgents were the Roman colonies of Placentia and Cremona, causing the Romans to flee to Mutina (modern Modena), which the Gauls then besieged. In response, Praetor L. Manlius Vulso marched with two legions and allies, for a total of 1,600 cavalry and 20,000 infantry, to Cisalpine Gaul. This army was ambushed twice on the way from Ariminium, lost 1,200 men; although the siege of Mutina was raised, the army itself fell under a loose siege a few kilometers from Mutina.[13] This event prompted the Roman Senate to send one of Scipio's legions and 5,000 allied troops to aid Vulso. Scipio had to raise troops to replace these and thus could not set out for Iberia until September 218 BC, giving Hannibal time to march from the Ebro to the Rhone.

After evading a pitched battle at the Rhone, Hannibal came to the aid of his Gallic allies, who were hard pressed by the Roman reinforcements. He crossed the Alps, surmounting the difficulties of climate and terrain,[4] and the guerrilla tactics of the native tribes. His exact route is disputed. Hannibal arrived with at least 28,000 infantry, 6,000 cavalry and 30 elephants in the territory of the Taurini, in what is now Piedmont, northern Italy. His crossing was expected by the enemy, but not such an early arrival, while the Roman forces were still in their winter quarters.[14] This crossing is usually credited as a great achievement since no army before had crossed the Alps in winter with elephants and it led to the termination of Rome's main intended thrust, an invasion of Africa.

The Gauls of the lower Po Valley, Hannibal's allies, were still far away. Hannibal was first obliged to fight with his currently reduced force to be able to reach them and to incite the rest of Gallia Cisalpina to revolt. His first action was to take the chief city of the hostile Taurini. Afterwards the Carthaginians were intercepted by a newly raised Roman force under Publius Cornelius Scipio, whom Hannibal had evaded earlier in the Rhone Valley, and who had not anticipated such an early arrival on the other side of the Alps. In the ensuing Battle of Ticinus the cavalry forces of Hannibal's army defeated the cavalry and light infantry of the Romans in a minor engagement. Scipio, severely injured in the battle, retreated across the River Trebia with his heavy infantry still intact, and encamped at the town of Placentia to await reinforcements. As a result of Rome's defeat at the Ticinus, all the Gauls except the Cenomani were induced to join the Carthaginian cause. Soon the entire north of Italy was unofficially insurgent, with both Gallic and Ligurian troops bolstering Hannibal's army back to at least 40,000 men.

File:Battle trebia.gif

Battle of the Trebia plan.



Even before news of the defeat at the Ticinus River reached Rome, the Senate had ordered the consul Sempronius Longus to bring his army back from Sicily, where it had been preparing for the invasion of Africa, to join Scipio and face Hannibal. The latter was blocking Sempronius' way to Scipio's army. But the Carthaginian capture of the supply depot at Clastidium, through the treachery of the local Latin commander, served as a diversion and allowed Sempronius' army to slip through to Scipio, who was still too seriously injured to take the field. After some minor successes, the united and numerically equal Roman force under the command of Sempronius Longus was lured by Hannibal into combat at the battle of the Trebia. The Roman troops were drawn into the engagement without breakfast and had to first cross a cold river, preventing many from putting up much of a fight. Furthermore, a hidden detachment led by Hannibal's younger brother Mago attacked them from the rear. All in all, the Romans suffered heavy losses with only 20,000 men out of 40,000 able to retreat to safety. They left Cisalpine Gaul in the aftermath. Having secured his position in northern Italy by this victory, Hannibal quartered his troops for the winter amongst the Gauls. The latter joined his army in large numbers, bringing it up to 60,000 men, but the Carthaginians living on their land reduced their enthusiasm.

The Roman Senate resolved to raise new armies against Hannibal under the recently elected consuls of 217 BC, Gnaeus Servilius Geminus and Gaius Flaminius. The latter had long distrusted his fellow senators and feared they would try to sabotage his command by finding excuses to delay his departure. So he quietly left Rome to take over his army at Ariminum without performing the lengthy religious rituals required of an incoming consul.[15] The Senate voted unanimously to recall him but he ignored its orders. This caused widespread dismay among the Romans, who feared that Flaminius' disrespect for the gods would bring disaster on Rome. As it was expected that Hannibal would advance into central Italy, Flaminius moved his army from Ariminum to Arretium, to cover the Apennine mountain passes into Etruria. His colleague Servilius, who had performed the proper rituals and was therefore well behind Flaminius, replaced him with his freshly raised army at Ariminum to cover the route along the Adriatic coast. A third force, containing the survivors of previous engagements, was also stationed in Etruria under Scipio. Thus both the eastern and western routes to Rome appeared guarded.

Battle of Lake Trasimene plan



In early spring 217 BC Hannibal decided to advance, leaving his wavering Gallic allies in the Po Valley and crossing the Apennines unopposed. Afterwards he avoided the Roman positions and took the only unguarded route into Etruria at the mouth of the Arno. This route was through a huge marsh which happened to be more flooded than usual for spring. Hannibal's army marched for several days without finding convenient places to rest, suffering terribly from fatigue and lack of sleep. This led to the loss of part of the force, including, it seems, the few remaining elephants.

Arriving in Etruria still in the spring of 217 BC, Hannibal tried without success to draw the main Roman army under Flaminius into a pitched battle by devastating the area the latter had been sent to protect.[16] Then a new stratagem was employed by Hannibal who marched around his opponent’s left flank and effectively cut him off from Rome. Advancing through the uplands of Etruria, the Carthaginian now provoked Flaminius into a hasty pursuit without proper reconnaissance. Then, in a defile on the shore of Lake Trasimenus, Hannibal lay in ambush with his army. The ambush was a complete success: in the battle of Lake Trasimene Hannibal destroyed most of the Roman army and killed Flaminius with little loss to his own army. 6,000 Romans had been able to escape, but were caught and forced to surrender by Maharbal's Numidians. Furthermore, Scipio, aware of the fighting, sent his cavalry in support but it was also caught and annihilated. As a result of this victory, the heterogeneous force of insurgent Gauls, Africans, Iberians and Numidians had more military equipment than they could use themselves and sold the surplus via Egyptian traders to the Romans. As after all previous engagements the captured enemies were sorted according to whether they were Romans, who were held captive, or non-Romans, who were released to spread the propaganda that the Carthaginian army was in Italy to fight for their freedom against the Romans. Strategically, Hannibal had now disposed of the only field force which could check his advance upon Rome, but despite the urgings of his generals, did not proceed to attack Rome. Instead he marched to the south in the hope of winning over allies amongst the Greek and Italic population there.

[edit] Fabian strategy

File:Altar Domitius Ahenobarbus Louvre n2.jpg

Detail of frieze showing the equipment of a soldier in the manipular Roman legion (left). Note mail armour, oval shield and helmet with plume (probably horsehair). The soldier at centre is an officer (bronze cuirass, mantle), prob. a tribunus militum.[17] From an altar built by Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus, consul in 122 BC. Musée du Louvre, Paris

Roman coin issued during the Second Punic war showing (obverse) the god of war Mars and (reverse) a very rare image of a Roman cavalryman of the time. Note plumed helmet, long spear (hasta), small round shield, flowing mantle. Roman cavalry was levied from the equites, or noble knights, until c. 338 BC and thereafter also from the First Class of commoners under the centuriate organisation. Bronze quincunx from Larinum mint

The defeat at Lake Trasimene put the Romans in an immense state of panic, fearing for the very existence of their city. The Senate decided to resort to the traditional emergency measure of appointing a dictator, a temporary commander-in-chief who would unite military authority, which was normally divided between the two consuls, under one head for six months. The usual procedure required the presence of a consul to appoint the dictator. Since one consul (Flaminius) was dead and the other (Servilius) away with the only army left in Italy, the Senate resolved to elect a dictator itself. As this was unconstitutional, the person appointed, Quintus Fabius Maximus, was given the title of prodictator (acting dictator) although he held the same powers as a dictator. The Senate also appointed his magister equitum ("master of cavalry", who acted as his second-in-command) instead of allowing the dictator to choose one himself as was the normal rule: M. Minucius Rufus.[18]

Departing from the Roman military tradition of engaging the enemy in pitched battle as soon as possible, Fabius invented the Fabian strategy: refusing open battle with his opponent, but constantly skirmishing with small detachments of the enemy. This course was not popular among the soldiers, earning Fabius the nickname Cunctator ("delayer"), since he seemed to avoid battle while Italy was being ravaged by the enemy. Moreover, it was widely feared that, if Hannibal continued to plunder Italy unopposed, the terrified allies, believing that Rome was incapable of protecting them, might defect and pledge their allegiance to the Carthaginians. As a countermeasure, residents of villages were encouraged to post lookouts, so that they could gather their livestock and possessions in time and take refuge in fortified towns which the enemy could not yet take. Fabius' policy was to shadow Hannibal by moving on the heights parallel to the Carthaginian movements on the plains, to avoid Hannibal's cavalry which was supreme on flat terrain. This demanded great care since the Carthaginian tried with all his skill to ambush the Romans. For this reason a new marching formation with three parallel columns of infantry was developed instead of the single column that had been in use at Lake Trasimene.

Fabius' constant harassment of Hannibal's force handicapped the latter's command abilities and gained many prisoners. Both commanders decided that they would exchange prisoners under the same conditions as in the First Punic War. Although the Carthaginians returned to the Romans several hundred more prisoners than they received and were thus expecting monetary compensation, the Senate was reluctant to pay. However, the estates of Fabius had not been touched by the Carthaginian pillage parties in order to incite distrust against him. Fabius now sold these estates to pay the enemy army for the received surplus of prisoners.

Having ravaged Apulia without provoking Fabius into a battle, Hannibal decided to march through Samnium to Campania, one of the richest and most fertile provinces of Italy, hoping that the devastation would draw Fabius into battle. The latter was aware that there were excellent opportunities to trap the Carthaginian force on the Campanian plain and to force Hannibal to fight in the surrounding mountains on ground of his own choice. As the year wore on, Hannibal decided that it would be unwise to winter in the already devastated plains of Campania but Fabius had ensured that all the mountain passes offering an exit were blocked. This situation led to the night battle of Ager Falernus in which the Carthaginians made good their escape by tricking the Romans into believing that they were heading to the heights above them. The Romans were thus decoyed and the Carthaginians slipped through the undefended pass with all their baggage train. This was a severe blow to Fabius’ prestige.

Minucius, the magister equitum, was one of the leading voices in the army against the adoption of the Fabian Strategy. As soon as he scored a minor success by winning a skirmish with the Carthaginians, the Senate promoted Minucius to the same imperium (power of command) as Fabius, whom he accused of cowardice. In consequence the two men decided to split the army between them. Minucius with his division was swiftly lured by Hannibal into an ambush in the flat country of Geronium. Fabius Maximus rushed to his co-commander's assistance and Hannibal's forces immediately retreated. Subsequently Minucius accepted Fabius' authority and ended their political conflict.

[edit] Seeking a decisive engagement

Main article: Battle of Cannae

Fabius became unpopular in Rome, since his tactics did not lead to a quick end to the war. The Roman populace derided the Cunctator, and at the elections of 216 BC elected as consuls Gaius Terentius Varro who advocated pursing a more aggressive war strategy and Lucius Aemilius Paullus, who advocated a strategy in the middle between the Fabian tactics and the tactics suggest by Varro. In the campaign of 217 BC, Hannibal had failed to obtain a following among the Italics. In the spring of 216 BC, he took the initiative and seized the large supply depot at Cannae in the Apulian plain. Thus, by seizing Cannae, Hannibal had placed himself between the Romans and their crucial source of supply. The Roman Senate authorised the raising of double-sized armies by consuls Varro and Aemilius Paullus. By some estimates, the Romans raised a force as large as 100,000 men, though this figure cannot be completely validated.[citation needed]

Opening and decisive phase of the Battle of Cannae, 216 BC. The Punic cavalry (made up of Gauls and Iberians) routed the much smaller Roman cavalry on the Roman right wing, then raced round the rear of the Roman line to attack from behind the Romans' allied Latin cavalry on the Roman left, who were already engaged with Hannibal's Numidian horse. The Latin cavalry was then destroyed. The victorious Punic cavalry were then free to attack the Roman infantry line from the rear. The battle confirmed the superiority of Hannibal's cavalry, in both numbers and training, over the Roman and Latin citizen levies. From this time, the Romans relied heavily on non-Italian allied cavalry and around the start of the 1st century BC legionary cavalry was abolished altogether

Consuls Aemilius Paullus and Varro resolved to confront Hannibal and marched southward to Apulia. After a two-day march, they found him on the left bank of the Aufidus River, and encamped six miles (10 km) away. Hannibal capitalized on Varro's eagerness and drew him into a trap by using an envelopment tactic which eliminated the Roman numerical advantage by shrinking the surface area where combat could occur. Hannibal drew up his least reliable infantry in the centre of a semicircle with the wings composed of the Gallic and Numidian horse. The Roman legions forced their way through Hannibal's weak centre but the Libyan Mercenaries on the wings swung around their advance, menacing their flanks. The onslaught of Hannibal's cavalry was irresistible, and Hasdrubal, his brother, who commanded the left, routed the Roman cavalry on the Roman right wing and then swept around the rear of the Roman line and attacked Varro's cavalry on the Roman left, and then the legions, from behind. As a result, the Roman army was surrounded with no means of escape. Due to these brilliant tactics, Hannibal, with much inferior numbers, managed to destroy all but a small remnant of this force. Depending on the source, it is estimated that 50,000–70,000 Romans were killed or captured at Cannae.

As Polybius notes, "How much more serious was the defeat of Cannae, than those which preceded it can be seen by the behaviour of Rome’s allies; before that fateful day, their loyalty remained unshaken, now it began to waver for the simple reason that they despaired of Roman power."[19] During that same year, the Greek cities in Sicily were induced to revolt against Roman political control, while the Macedonian king, Philip V pledged his support to Hannibal – thus initiating the First Macedonian War against Rome. Hannibal also secured an alliance with newly appointed King Hieronymous of Syracuse, and Tarentum also came over to him around that time. Hannibal now had the resources and personnel needed to launch a successful attack on the City of Rome. However, he was uncertain of the feasibility of such an attack and spent a great deal of time pondering it. While he hesitated, the Romans were able to regroup, and the opportunity was lost. The Romans looked back on Hannibal's indecision as what saved Rome from certain defeat. The only other notable event of 216 BC was the defection of Capua, the second largest city of Italy, which Hannibal made his new base. Yet even this defection failed to satisfy him as only a few of the Italian city-states which he had expected to gain as allies agreed to join him. Furthermore, the Macedonian navy was no match for the Roman navy, so they were unable to help him directly.

Hannibal sent a delegation to Rome to negotiate a peace and another one offering to release his Roman prisoners of war for ransom, but Rome rejected all offers.

Establishing an allied base

For detailed analysis of Hannibal's relations with Roman allies, see: Socii


A well-preserved stretch of the Via Appia, the first major Roman road in Italy. Construction was launched under the censor Appius Claudius in 312 BC and continued in stages until 269 BC when it reached its final destination, the port of Brundisium. It was the road used by Rome's armies, including Fabius', to reach Hannibal in S. Italy 216-203 BC

File:Via Appia map.jpg

Trace of the Via Appia imposed on a satellite picture of southern Italy, showing the location of many of the Greek cities fought over by Hannibal and the Romans. The original Via Appia is in white. The alternative road (in pink) was constructed 400 years later under emperor Trajan (ruled 98-117). But the route was already a busy one in Hannibal's time and repeatedly used by him

After Cannae several south Italian allies went over to Hannibal at once: the Apulian towns of Salapia, Arpi and Herdonia and many of the Lucanians. Mago marched south with an army detachment and some weeks later the Bruttians joined him. Simultaneously, Hannibal marched north with part of his forces and was joined by the Hirpini and the Caudini, two of the three

Samnite cantons. The greatest gain was the second largest city of Italy, Capua, when Hannibal's army marched into Campania in 216 BC. The inhabitants of Capua held limited Roman citizenship and the aristocracy was linked to the Romans via marriage and friendship, but the possibility of becoming the supreme city of Italy after the evident Roman disasters proved too strong a temptation. The treaty between them and Hannibal can be described as an agreement of friendship since the Capuans had no obligations, but provided the harbour through which Hannibal was reinforced.[20] By 215 BC Hannibal's alliance system covered the bulk of southern Italy, save for the Greek cities along the coast (except Croton that was conquered by his allies), Rhegium, and the Latin colonies Beneventum, Luceria in Samnium, Venusia in Apulia, Brundisium and Paestum. The independent Gaul he had established in northern Italy was still out of Roman control.[21]

Hannibal had been able to win over a major allied base by his tremendous military success. He also regarded it as essential to take the city of Nola, a Roman fortress in Campania, a region that linked his various allies geographically and contained his most important harbour for supply. Prior to his first attempt the pro-Punic faction in the city had been eliminated by the Romans, so there was no chance of the city being betrayed. Hannibal tried three times, by assault or siege, to take this city, which was defended by Marcus Claudius Marcellus in the battle of Nola (216 BC), Battle of Nola (215 BC) and battle of Nola (214 BC), but failed each time. At least in 215 Hannibal was able to take Casilinum, the other important site for controlling Campania.

While it was not directly connected with the Italian peninsula, Syracuse on Sicily was important for securing the searoutes for supply, since Lilybaeum remained in Roman hands. Hannibal was aided by the fact that Hiero II, the old tyrant of Syracuse and a staunch Roman ally, had died and his successor Hieronymus was discontented with his position in the Roman alliance. Hannibal dispatched two of his lieutenants, who were of Syracusian origin; they succeeded in winning Syracuse over, at the price, however, of making the whole of Sicily a Syracusan possession. The Syracusans' ambitions were great, but the army they fielded was no match for the arriving Roman force, leading to the siege of Syracuse from 214 BC onwards. During this siege the ingenuity of Archimedes' machines defeated all Roman attacks.

The essence of Hannibal's campaign in Italy was to fight the Romans by using local resources and raising recruits from among the local population. His subordinate Hanno was able to raise troops in Samnium, but the Romans intercepted these new levies in the Battle of Beneventum (214 BC) and eliminated them before they came under the feared leadership of Hannibal. Hannibal could win allies, but defending them against the Romans was a new and difficult problem, as the Romans could still field multiple armies greatly outnumbering his own forces. Thus Fabius was able to take the Punic ally Arpi in 213 BC.

Eastern Mediterranean and Ionian Sea (218–213 BC)

Main article: First Macedonian War

[edit] Rome takes key cities (212–207 BC)

[edit] Western Mediterranean (212–207 BC)
[edit] Defeat of the first expedition

Scipio Africanus, portrait on a gold signet ring from Capua dating from around the time of the Second Punic War

In Iberia, the Scipio brothers had hired 20,000 Celtiberian mercenaries to reinforce their army of 30,000 infantry and 3,000 cavalry. Observing that the Carthaginian armies were deployed separately from each other, with Hasdrubal Barca and 15,000 troops near Amtorgis, and Mago Barca, Hasdrubal Gisco with 10,000 troops each further to the West of Hasdrubal, the Scipio brothers planned to split their forces. Publius Scipio decided to take 20,000 Roman and allied soldiers and attack Mago Barca near Castulo, while Gnaeus Scipio took one double legion (10,000 troops) and the mercenaries to attack Hasdrubal Barca. This stratagem resulted in 2 battles, the Battle of Castulo and the Battle of Ilorca, which occurred within a few days of each other, usually combined as Battle of the Upper Baetis (211 BC). Both battles ended in clear defeats for the Romans because Hasdrubal bribed the Roman mercenaries to desert and return home without a fight.

As a result of the battle the Romans were forced to retreat to their stronghold of Northern Iberia from which the Carthaginians could not expel them. It is notable that the Roman soldiers decided to elect a new leader since both commanders had been killed, a practice hitherto known only in Punic or Hellenistic armies.

Second Roman expedition to Iberia

In 210 BC Scipio Africanus arrived in Iberia on the Senate's orders to avenge his father and uncle.

In a brilliant assault Scipio succeeded in capturing the centre of Punic power in Iberia, Cartagena, in 209 BC. Battle of Cartagena (209 BC) In the Battle of Baecula (208 BC) he defeated Hasdrubal, but was not able to prevent him from continuing his march to Italy in order to reinforce his brother Hannibal.

In the Battle of Ilipa (206 BC), Scipio defeated a combined army under the command of Mago Barca, Hasdrubal Gisgo and Masinissa, thus bringing to an end the Carthaginian hold in Iberia.

[edit] Central Mediterranean (212–207 BC)
[edit] Climax and fall of Hannibal's alliance

Coin issued by the city of Tarentum during the period of Hannibal's control c. 212–208 BC showing (obverse) youth on horseback and (reverse) boy riding dolphin, the traditional symbol of Tarentine coins. Note the legend TAPAΣ (TARAS) the Greek name for the city. Silver didrachm

File:Tomba archimede.JPG

Ancient Greek tomb at Syracuse, Sicily, believed to be that of Archimedes (with decorative lintel)

The climax of Carthaginian expansion was reached when the biggest Greek city in Italy, Tarentum, switched sides in 212 BC. The Battle of Tarentum (212 BC) was a carefully planned coup by Hannibal and members of the city's democratic faction. There were two separate successful assaults on the gates of the city. This enabled the Punic army, which had approached unobserved behind a screen of marauding Numidian horsemen, to enter the city by surprise and take all but the citadel where the Romans and their supporting faction were able to rally. The Carthaginians failed to take the citadel, but subsequent fortifications around this enemy stronghold enabled the city to remain under Punic control. However, the harbour was blocked and warships had to be transported overland to be launched at sea.

The Battle of Capua (212 BC) was a stalemate since neither side could defeat the other. The Romans decided to withdraw and break off the siege of Capua. As a result the cavalry of Capua was reinforced with half of the available Numidian cavalry, 2,000 riders.

In the Battle of Beneventum (212 BC) Hanno the Elder was again defeated, this time by Quintus Fulvius Flaccus who also captured his camp. The following battle was the Battle of the Silarus, in the same year, where the Romans under Marcus Centenius were ambushed and lost all but 1,000 of their 16,000 effectives. Also in 212 BC was the Battle of Herdonia, another Roman defeat when only 2,000 Romans out of force of 18,000 survived a direct attack by Hannibal's numerically superior forces combined with an ambush cutting off the Roman line of retreat.

This phase of the war was marked by the fall of major and minor cities to the Romans, although Hannibal was still able to prevail on the battlefield and thus lift some sieges. The Siege of Syracuse from 214 BC onwards was marked by Archimedes' ingenuity in inventing war machines that made it impossible for the Romans to make any gains with traditional methods of siege warfare. A Carthaginian army of 20,000 had been sent to relieve the city, but suffered more heavily than the Romans from pestilence and was thus forced to retreat to Agrigentum. The fall of Syracuse was finally achieved by a Roman attack that was treacherously helped to enter the city by a Syracusan pro-Roman faction and resulted in the death of Archimedes.

File:Servian Wall.JPG

A section of Rome's Servian Wall at Termini railway station. It was this wall that dissuaded Hannibal from attempting a direct attack on Rome.

In the Battle of Capua (211 BC) Hannibal again tried to relieve his main harbour as in the previous year, by luring the Romans into a pitched battle. He was unsuccessful, and was also unable to lift the siege by assaulting the besiegers' defences. So he tried a strategem of staging a march towards Rome, hoping in this way to compel the enemy to abandon the siege and rush to defend their home city. However, only part of the besieging force left for Rome and under continued siege Capua fell soon afterwards. Near Rome he fought another pitched battle.

The Battle of Herdonia (210 BC) was another battle to lift the Roman siege of an allied city. Hannibal caught the proconsul Gnaeus Fulvius Centumalus off guard during his siege of Herdonia and destroyed his army in a pitched battle with up to 13,000 Romans dead out of less than 20,000. The defection of Salapia in Apulia in 210 BC was achieved by treachery: the inhabitants massacred the Numidian garrison and went over to the Romans.

In 210 BC the Battle of Numistro between Marcellus and Hannibal was inconclusive, but the Romans stayed on his heels until the also inconclusive Battle of Canusium in 209 BC. In the meantime, this battle enabled another Roman army under Fabius to approach Tarentum and take it by treachery in the Battle of Tarentum (209 BC). Hannibal at that time had been able to disengage from Marcellus and was only 5 miles (8.0 km) away when the city, under the command of Carthalo (who was bound to Fabius by an agreement of hospitality), fell.

[edit] Hasdrubal's failed reinforcement

The Battle of Grumentum was an inconclusive fight in 207 BC between Gaius Claudius Nero and Hannibal. In the aftermath of the battle Nero was able to trick Hannibal into believing that the whole Roman army was still in camp. In the meantime Nero marched with a selected corps north and reinforced the Romans there to win the Battle of the Metaurus, killing Hasdrubal and scattering the survivors of his army. The Carthaginian force under Hasdrubal had left Iberia a year before, after the defeat at the Battle of Baecula and had been reinforced by Gallic and Ligurian mercenaries and allies. It is notable that they took the same route as Hannibal 10 years previously, but suffered fewer casualties, being better supported by mercenaries from the mountain tribes.

[edit] Naval raids and expeditions
  • 210 BC – second expedition to Sardinia
  • 210 BC – naval expedition to Tarentum
  • 210 BC – Roman raids on Africa
[edit] Eastern Mediterranean and Ionian Sea (212–207 BC)

Main article: First Macedonian War

In 211 BC Rome countered the Macedonian threat with a Greek alliance of the Aetolians, Elis, Sparta, Messenia and Attalus I of Pergamon, as well as two Roman clients, the Illyrians Pleuratus and Scerdilaidas.[22]

[edit] Seeking peace (206–202 BC)

[edit] Western Mediterranean (206–202 BC)
[edit] Carthage's last stand in Iberia

At the Battle of Ilipa large numbers of Celtiberian mercenaries in Carthaginian service confronted a mixed army of Romans and Iberians. Scipio Africanus Major employed a clever ruse. Every day for several days, he drew up his army for battle with the Romans stationed in the centre of the line and their Iberian on the wings. But when the enemy offered battle, he would eventually decline it. By this stratagem he convinced the Punic commanders Mago and Hasdrubal Gisco that they could expect the Romans to hold the centre of their line. On the day of the battle the Roman force deployed earlier in the day and with the Romans posted on the wings of the line. In the rush to respond, the Carthaginians placed their best forces in the centre as usual, failing to spot the unusual Roman deployment. Thus the inferior Carthaginian mercenaries on the wings were severely beaten by the Romans. The Celtiberians deserted the Carthaginian camp that night. This catastrophic defeat sealed the fate of the Carthaginian presence in Iberia. It was followed by the Roman capture of Gades in 206 BC after the city had already rebelled against Carthaginian rule. Tribeleaders Indibilis and Mandonius (of the Ausetani) thought that after the expulsion of the Carthaginians the Romans would leave and they would get control of Spain again. This didn't happen however, so they participated with the mutineers at the Sucro camp against the Romans. This mutiny was ultimately squelched by Scipio Africanus however.[23]

A last attempt was made by Mago in 205 BC to recapture New Carthage while the Roman presence was shaken by a mutiny and an Iberian uprising against their new overlords. But the attack was repulsed. So in the same year he left Iberia, setting sail from the Balearic islands to Italy with his remaining forces.

[edit] The Numidian struggle

File:Tomb of Massinissa 01.jpg

Tomb of the Numidian king Massinissa (c.238–c.148 BC). Massinissa, leader of the Massyli Berber tribe, was originally an ally of Carthage and fought against the Romans in Iberia. But after the Battle of Ilipa in 206 BC, he switched sides. His support at the Battle of Zama was critical to the Roman victory. Massinissa remained a staunch Roman ally for the rest of his long life. Site: Shoumaa el-Khroub, near Constantine, Algeria

In 206 BC there was a quick succession of kings in Eastern Numidia that temporarily ended with the division of the land between Carthage and the Western Numidian king Syphax, a former Roman ally. For this bargain Syphax was to marry Sophonisba, daughter of Hasdrubal Gisco. Massinissa, who had thus lost his fiancee, went over to the Romans with whom he had already established contact during his military service in Iberia.

[edit] Central Mediterranean (206–202 BC)
[edit] Carrying the war to Africa

Main articles: Battle of Utica (203 BC) and Battle of the Great Plains

In 205 Mago landed in Italy. His arrival was followed by the Battle of Crotona (modern Crotone, 204), until he was defeated in the Po Valley Raid in 203.

At the same time, Scipio Africanus Major was given command of the legions in Sicily and was allowed to levy volunteers for his plan to end the war by an invasion of Africa. The legions in Sicily were mainly the survivors of Cannae who were not allowed home until the war was finished. Scipio was also one of the survivors and had served during the siege of Syracuse with them, but unlike the ordinary soldiers he then had been allowed home, had run successfully for public office and had been given command of the troops in Iberia.

Within a year of his landing in Africa, Scipio twice routed the regular Carthaginian forces under Hasdrubal Gisco and his Numidian allies. The main native supporter of the Carthaginians, king Syphax of the Massaesylians (western Numidians), was defeated and taken prisoner. Masinissa, a Numidian rival of Syphax and at that time an ally of the Romans, seized a large part of his kingdom with their help. These setbacks persuaded some of the Carthaginians that it was time to sue for peace. Others pleaded for the recall of the sons of Hamilcar Barca, Hannibal and Mago, who were still fighting the Romans in Bruttium and Cisalpine Gaul respectively.

In 203 BC, while Scipio was carrying all before him in Africa and the Carthaginian peace party were arranging an armistice, Hannibal was recalled from Italy by the war party at Carthage. After leaving a record of his expedition engraved in Punic and Greek upon bronze tablets in the temple of Juno at Crotone, he sailed back to Africa. These records were later quoted by Polybius. Hannibal's arrival immediately restored the predominance of the war party, who placed him in command of a combined force of African levies and his mercenaries from Italy. But Hannibal was opposed to this policy and tried to convince them not to send the untrained African levies into battle. In 202 BC, Hannibal met Scipio in a peace conference. Despite the two generals' mutual admiration, negotiations floundered, according to the Romans due to "Punic faith", meaning bad faith. This Roman expression referred to the alleged breach of protocols which ended the First Punic War by the Carthaginian attack on Saguntum, Hannibal's perceived breaches of the idealised Roman military etiquette (i.e. Hannibal's numerous ambuscades), as well as the armistice violated by the Carthaginians in the period before Hannibal's return.

Broken armistice and final peace treaty

File:Schlacht bei Zama Gemälde H P Motte.jpg

Carthaginian war elephants engage Roman infantry at the Battle of Zama (202 BC).

Main article: Battle of Zama

The decisive battle soon followed. Unlike most battles of the Second Punic War, the Romans had superiority in cavalry and the Carthaginians had superiority in infantry. The Roman army was generally better armed and a head taller than the Carthaginian. Hannibal had refused to lead this army into battle because he did not expect them to be able to stand their ground. There had been very bitter arguments between him and the oligarchy. His co-general Hasdrubal Gisco was forced to commit suicide by a violent mob after he spoke in support of Hannibal's view that such troops should not be led into battle. Before the battle Hannibal gave no speech to his new troops, only to his veterans.

Scipio countered an expected Carthaginian elephant charge, which caused some of Hannibal's elephants to turn back into his own ranks, throwing his cavalry into disarray, the Roman cavalry was able to capitalize on this and drive the Carthaginian cavalry from the field. However, the battle remained closely fought, and at one point it seemed that Hannibal was on the verge of victory. However, Scipio was able to rally his men, and his cavalry returned from chasing the Carthaginian cavalry and attacked Hannibal's rear. This two-pronged attack caused the Carthaginian formation to disintegrate and collapse. After their defeat, Hannibal convinced the Carthaginians to accept peace. Notably, he broke the rules of the assembly by forcibly removing a speaker who supported continued resistance. Afterwards he was obliged to apologize for his behaviour.

[edit] Eastern Mediterranean and Ionian Sea (218–201 BC)

Main article: First Macedonian War



Aerial view (1958) of Carthage's cothon-type military harbour. The circular naval base was situated on the central peninsula. The entrance to the harbour has silted up.

File:Maquette Port militaire punique 2.jpg

Scale model of the circular naval base at Carthage. Note the individual docking bays for warships

Carthage lost Hispania forever, and Roman power there was firmly established over large areas. A war indemnity of 10,000 talents was imposed, her navy was limited to 10 ships to ward off pirates, and she was forbidden from raising an army without Rome's permission. The Numidians took the opportunity to capture and plunder Carthaginian territory. Half a century later, when Carthage raised an army to defend itself from these incursions, it was destroyed by Rome in the Third Punic War. Rome, on the other hand, by her victory, had taken a key step towards domination of the Mediterranean world.

The end of the war was not universally welcomed in Rome, for reasons of both politics and morale. When the Senate decreed upon a peace treaty with Carthage, Quintus Caecilius Metellus, a former consul, said he did not look upon the termination of the war as a blessing to Rome, since he feared that the Roman people would now sink back again into its former slumbers, from which it had been roused by the presence of Hannibal.[24] Others, most notably Cato the Elder, feared that if Carthage was not completely destroyed it would soon regain its power and pose new threats to Rome, and pressed for harsher peace conditions. Even after the peace, Cato insisted on the destruction of Carthage, ending all his speeches with "Carthage must be destroyed", even if they had nothing to do with Carthage.[25]

Archeology has discovered that the famous circular military harbour at Carthage, the Cothon, received a significant buildup after this war. It could house and quickly deploy about 200 triremes, and was shielded from external sight. This is a surprising development, as after the war, the Carthaginian fleet was restricted to only ten triremes as one of the terms of surrender. One possible explanation: as has been pointed out for other Phoenician cities, privateers with warships played a significant role besides trade, even when the Roman Empire was fully established and officially controlled all coasts. In this case it is not clear whether the treaty included private warships. The only reference to Punic privateers is from the First Punic War: one of them, Hanno the Rhodian, owned a quinquereme (faster than the serial production models which the Romans had copied), manned with about 500 men and then among the heaviest warships in use. Later pirates in Roman waters are all reported with much smaller vessels, that could outrun naval vessels, but operated with lower personnel costs. Thus, piracy was probably highly developed in Carthage and the state did not have a monopoly of military forces. Pirates probably played an important role in capturing slaves, one of the most profitable trade goods, but merchant ships with tradeable goods and a crew were also their targets. No surviving source reports the fate of Punic privateers in the periods between the Punic Wars.

Hannibal became a businessman for several years and later enjoyed a leadership role in Carthage. However, the Carthaginian nobility was upset by his policy of democratisation and struggle against corruption. They persuaded the Romans to force him into exile in Asia Minor, where he again led armies against the Romans and their allies on the battlefield. He eventually committed suicide to avoid capture.

Carthage and Numidia after the war

Between Carthage and Numidia there was constant low-level warfare, but by the time of the Third Punic War, most of Carthage's African territories had been lost and the Numidians traded independently with Greeks.

[edit] Intelligence

In this conflict intelligence played an important role on both sides. Hannibal mastered an intelligence service that enabled him to achieve outstanding victories.[26] Likewise Scipio Africanus major's victories were dependant on information. In 217 BC a Carthaginian resident spy in Rome, who was probably a Roman citizen, was caught and had his hands cut off as a punishment

Hannibal's feat in crossing the Alps with war elephants passed into European legend: detail of a fresco by Jacopo Ripanda, ca. 1510, Capitoline Museums, Rome

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.

[edit] Hannibal

After assaulting Saguntum, Hannibal surprised the Romans 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 it allowed him to defeat the Romans in the field, but not in the strategically crucial city of Rome itself, thus making him unable to win the war.

Hannibal defeated the Roman legions in several major engagements, including the Battle of the Trebia, the Battle of Lake Trasimene and most famously at the Battle of Cannae, 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 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 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 keep Hannibal cut off from aid.

More importantly, 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 intentionally deprived Hannibal of open battle, 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 were they contending with Hannibal in Italy, and his 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. Hannibal used elephants for the first time in war.

Through Hannibal's inability to take strategically important Italian cities, the general loyalty Italian allies showed to Rome, and 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 for 15 years, he did so only by ravaging farm lands, keeping his army healthy, which brought anger among the Roman's 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 was soundly defeated in the Battle of Zama.

[edit] Hasdrubal's campaign to reinforce Hannibal

Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus

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.

[edit] Third Punic War (149 to 146 BC)

Main article: Third Punic War

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 to favor 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: "Carthago delenda est" – "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 amount of time, even using women's hair for catapult strings, and were able to hold off an 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.

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 Roman conquests. It was built on the site of the previous Carthaginian settlement that overlies an earlier neolithic habitation.



Hannibal's feat in crossing the Alps with war elephants passed into European legend: detail of a fresco by Jacopo Ripanda, ca. 1510, Capitoline Museums, Rome


Depiction of Hannibal and his army crossing the Alps during the Second Punic War.


    Carthage and the Phoenicians

    Although Alpha and Beta are Greek letters that give us our word alphabet, the alphabet itself comes from the Phoenicians, at least conventionally. Greek myth and legend credit the dragon-teeth-sowing Phoenician Cadmus as not only founding the Boeotian Greek city of Thebes, but bringing the letters with him. The 22-letter abecedary of the Phoenicians contained only consonants, some of which had no equivalent in Greek. So the Greeks substituted their vowels for the unused letters. Some say that without the vowels, it was not an alphabet. If vowels aren't required, Egypt can also make a claim for the earliest alphabet.

  • What Does Punic Mean?

  • What Was the 1st Alphabet?

  • Review: Writing: Theory and History of the Technology of Civilization, by Barry Powell

    Were this the only contribution of the Phoenicians, their place in history would be assured, but they did more. So much, it seems as though jealousy prompted the Romans to set out to annihilate them in 146 B.C., when they razed Carthage and were rumored to have salted its earth.

    The Phoenicians are also credited with

  • inventing glass,

  • the bireme (two tiers of oars) galley,

  • the luxurious purple dye known as Tyrian,

  • circumnavigating Africa, and

  • navigating by the stars.

    The Phoenicians were merchants who developed an extensive empire almost as a by-product of their quality merchandise and trading routes. They are believed to have gone as far as England to buy Cornish tin, but they started in Tyre, in an area now part of Lebanon, and expanded. By the time the Greeks were colonizing Syracuse and the rest of Sicily, the Phoenicians were already (9th century B.C.) a major power in the middle of the Mediterranean. The principal city of the Phoenicians, Carthage, was located near modern Tunis, on a promontory on the Northern Coast of Africa. It was a prime spot for access to all areas of the "known world."

    The Founding of Carthage - Legend

    After the brother of Dido (famed for her role in Virgil's Aeneid) killed her husband, Queen Dido fled her palace home in Tyre to settle in Carthage, north Africa, where she sought to buy land for her new settlement. Coming from a nation of merchants she cleverly asked to buy an area of land that would fit within an ox hide. The local inhabitants thought she was a fool, but she got the last laugh when she cut the ox hide (byrsa) into strips to enclose a large area, with the sea coast acting as one border. Dido was queen of this new community.

    Later, Aeneas, on his route from Troy to Latium, stopped in Carthage where he had an affair with the queen. When she found that he had abandoned her, Dido committed suicide, but not before cursing Aeneas and his descendants. Her story is an important part of Virgil's Aeneid and supplies a motive for the hostility between the Romans and Carthage.

At length, in dead of night, the ghost appears

Of her unhappy lord: the specter stares,

And, with erected eyes, his bloody bosom bares.

The cruel altars and his fate he tells,

And the dire secret of his house reveals,

Then warns the widow, with her household gods,

To seek a refuge in remote abodes.

Last, to support her in so long a way,

He shows her where his hidden treasure lay.

Admonish'd thus, and seiz'd with mortal fright,

The queen provides companions of her flight:

They meet, and all combine to leave the state,

Who hate the tyrant, or who fear his hate.


At last they landed, where from far your eyes

May view the turrets of new Carthage rise;

There bought a space of ground, which (Byrsa call'd,

From the bull's hide) they first inclos'd, and wall'd.

Translation from ( of Vergil's Aeneid Book I

    Vital Differences of the People of Carthage

    The people of Carthage seem more primitive to modern sensibilities than the Romans or Greeks for one main reason: They are said to have sacrificed humans, babies and toddlers (possibly their first born to "ensure" fertility). There is controversy over this. It's hard to prove one way or the other since millennia old human remains don't easily tell whether the person was sacrificed or died some other way.

    Unlike Romans of their time, the leaders of Carthage hired mercenary soldiers and had a capable navy. They were extremely adept at trade, a fact that allowed them to rebuild a profitable economy even after the setbacks of military defeat and a yearly tribute to Rome of almost 10 tons of silver. Such wealth allowed them to have paved streets and multi-story homes, compared with which proud Rome looked shabby.

  • 1st Punic War

  • 2nd Punic War

  • 3rd Punic War


Tarshish also gave rise to a branch of the Greek people that is often identified with people who came to live in Spain with it probable that the ancient Spanish city of Tartesus on the south Spanish coast on the Atlantic side of the Strait of Gilbralter between what is now Cadiz and the Portuguese border being the main location of Tarshish. Cadiz is probably mentioned by Plato himself in his description of Atlantis as he mentions that Atlantis was near Gadira which many scholars agree is Cadiz. This place also was previously called Gades. This is mentioned by Plato in Critias 114b. Previously the Mediterranean Sea was also called the Sea of Tarshish and the Phoenicians who previously lived in an area centred on what is now Lebanon built ships for trading through the Mediterranean that were called ships of Tarshish. The people of Tarshish also built and used extensively many ships used throughout the Mediterranean and these would also have been called ships of Tarshish. It is also possible the people of Tarshish in Spain gave rise to the legend of Altantis. There was an article on the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) on June 6, 2004 that gives the most convincing association of existing ruins or physical features with the description by Plato, who is our earliest remaining source of this legend. He describes Altantis in significant detail in his dialogues Critias and Timaeus. From this BBC article is was reported that satellite observations showed remains of what matches some of the description of Plato's dialogues in southern Spain.. Dr. Rainer Kuehne, a researcher supporting this possibility believes Plato or other Greeks could have confused the Egyptian word for island with coastland which is an alternative interpretation which is also possible for the corresponding Hebrew word. This would make it possible for this location on the south coast of Spain to fit the description given by Plato. Plato is supposed to have received the account of Atlantis and its destruction from another Greek named Solon who visited Egypt and received the account from priests in the Nile Delta in as city called Sais. This was in the 26th dynasty of Egypt under a pharoah named Amasis around 570 to 526 BC according to a book on the history of Egypt called History of Ancient Egypt by Erik Hornung. Therefore the destruction of Atlantis must have been before that but I don't think it was anything like 9000 years before that like is mentioned by Plato but I think would have been between 570 BC and about 1000 BC when Solomon was still alive and was trading with Tarshish which is probably Atlantis. There was also a well documented flood in this area of southern Spain between 800 and 500 BC. I heard of this flood and its date from the BBC article by the German Professor Dr. Rainer Kuehne as mentioned above. Although he doesn't state this flood was caused by a tidal wave that is possible or it could have been caused by torrential rain. Although this is more recent that the dates sometimes given for Altantic and its destruction of about 12,000 years ago, it is still before the time of Plato and when it was on the other side of Mediterranean it could have still become legendary to Plato and the Greeks of his time and therefore uncertain about how long ago it happened.

March 2010 Further Archaeological Investigation About Site in Spain as Possible Location of Atlantis

There was an article published by a woman named Fiona Govan on January 19, 2010 giving further efforts to research possible connections with a site in Spain to Atlantis. This is in the same location in the Donana National Park on the south coast of Spain that I referred to in the previous paragraph. In the BBC article the research was being conducted by a German professor from a German university. This new archaeological effort is being led by a man named Sebastian Celestino. He says remnants of the Tartessos culture have been found on the other side of a river from this national park. This river is called the Guadalquiver River. It flows into the Atlantic so this would be an appropriate location for a place called Atlantis. In this article it is mentioned that up until now scholar had rejected the idea of Atlantis being in this location as they thought it was under water since the ice age. Now it is put forward that there is support the waters receded so that the Tartessians could build a city which was later demolished by a tsunami. This would be consistant with what Plato said about Atlantis. The Hinojos marches in the Donana national park are thought to the location of Atlantis as was also the location put forward by the German researcher on the BBC several years ago that I referred to. It is also mentioned that pictures from the air show large circular and rectangular forms that couldn't be natural in this area. These could be some of the sets of concentric circles and central temples mentioned by Plato in his description of Atlantis and that were also mentioned in the previous BBC article. This article says the Tartesian civilization was present from the 11th to the 7th centuries BC which would be consistant with references to it with King Solomon and Tyre as mentioned in this article around 1000 BC. Although this Spanish team don't want to acknowledge it there is considerable talk that they might be now on the verge of tracking down the true location of Atlantis. There might be more about this shortly.


Features, Materials and Measurements of Possible Ruins of Atlantis (and Tarshish) in Southern Spain Corresponding to Plato's Description of Atlantis

According to the BBC article Satellite Images 'Show Atlantis' the satellite photos show rectangular ruins with concentric circles around them of about the right scale given in Plato's description. If there was a slight change in the measurements the "stade" from what is usually associated with it, the circles and structures in Atlantis would almost exactly match the sizes given by Plato in Critias and Timaeus. The two rectangular structures were a silver temple dedicated to the marine Greek god Poseidon and a gold temple dedicated to Cleito and the Greek god of the sea Poseidon. It is also interesting that according to the Bible in Genesis 10 the people of Tarshish were the descendants of Javan which is Greece and Tarshish was well known in the Bible and elsewhere as a sea going people associated with the city of Tartesus in southern Spain. The Tarshish of the Bible was also very rich through trading throughout the Mediterranean including Phoenicia (Tyre) in current day Lebanon and with Israel under King Solomon in items such as precious metals and exotic animals that are both mentioned in association with Tarshish in the Old Testament as well as about Atlantis in Plato's writings. There would also be mountains, the Sierra Morena and Sierra Nevada, surrounding a plain between these mountains and the concentric rings in the Marisma de Hinojos part of south coastal Spain on the Atlantic side of the Strait of Gilbralter between the current city of Cadiz and the Portuguese border. The Sierra Morena mountains even now provide abundant supply of copper and also has significant supplies of other metals.

Background of Atlantis Researcher of Identification of Atlantis with the Sea People

The main investigator of this possible location of Atlantis, Dr. Rainer Kuehne of the University of Wuppertal in Germany, also points out in the BBC article "Satellite Images 'Show Altantis'" from June 6, 2004 that records of war between Atlantis and the eastern Mediterranean by Plato is very similiar to recorded attacks on Egypt, Cyprus and the area of Syria, Lebanon and Israel by the "sea people" and he proposes that Altantis and the sea peoples are probably the same as the people of Atlantis (and Tarshish). These attacks might not have been noticed and recorded too much in the Old Testament as they occurred in the 12th century BC which would be near the end of the time of the judges in the history of Israel when Israeli society was still very much in chaos.

Verse in Judges 5 About Possible Attack in About 1200 BC by a Sea Going People (Perhaps from Atlantis or Tarshish) on Israel

In this verse in Judges 5 there is the clearest description of these possible attacks on Israel in the 12th century in the Bible. Dan and Asher were two of the tribes of Israel with land bordering the Mediterranean Sea, Dan on the south part of the Israeli coast near the land occupied by the Phillistines and Asher further north nearer to what is now Lebanon and what was then Phoenicia. In verse 17 of this chapter there seems to be a record of an attack by a sea going people on the coasts of Israel. Since this attack was about the time stated for the attacks by the "sea peoples" that is quite likely from Atlantis, Tarshish or Tartesus these are probably attacks by the fleets of Atlantis or Tarshish. These tribes of Israel and Israel's ships seem to be intimidated as it is stated that Dan remained in ships (and didn't fight it is implied) and Asher continued on the sea shore and abode in his breaches (harbours) (and also didn't fight the "sea people" or fleets of Atlantis or Tarshish which could easily overpower the navy or forces of Israel at that time since Israel under the judges was usually in moral and political chaos and would be no match in an attack by a powerful outside armed force. The scripture reference in Judges 5 of this possible attack by the "sea people" on Israel and Israel's timid response is as follows:

Scripture Reference in Judges 5 of Possible Attack by the "Sea People" (Atlantic or Tarshish) on Israel and Israel's Timid Response

Gilead abode beyond Jordan: and why did Dan remain in ships? Asher continued on the sea shore, and abode in breeches (harbours). Judges 5:17

First Mention of Tarshish in the Bible as a Son of Javan (Greece) and Descendant of Noah in Genesis 10

In Genesis 10 there is a comprehensive table of the nations as they descended from Noah although it is given by their Hebrew or ancient names in the King James version of the English Bible but these can be linked to modern peoples and regions with some research or notes. Verse 1 says that these peoples were descendants of Noah and his sons after the flood which puts some time constraints on their origin. Since the flood, from a literal interpretation of the Bible, probably occurred around 3100 BC or about 5000 years ago. In verse 4 of this chapter it is stated that one of the sons of Javan, who is known to refer to people of Greece and that area, is Tarshish. Tarshish later in the Old Testament is associated with a mighty sea going people of the Mediterranean that was especially powerful in the time of the Phoenicians and Israel under King Solomon although it is mentioned in Ezekiel of the glories of Tyre that was attacked by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar in the sixth century but the prophecy in Ezekiel 26 of its defeat was of the then future in the fourth century by the Greek leader Alexander the Great. Finally in verse 5 of Genesis chapter 10, it is mentioned by these previously named people, including Javan (Greece) and his son Tarshish, the islands or coastlands of the Gentiles or nations were divided. This would also apply to southern Spain, the location of Tarshish and probably of Atlantis or the "sea people" which was a coastland and part of the nations. The scripture reference in Genesis 10 of Tarshish (Atlantis or the "sea people") is as follows:

Scripture Reference in Genesis 10 of the Origins from Javan (Greece) of Tarshish (the Probably People of Atlantis or the "Sea People")

Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood. The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meschech, and Tiras. And the sons of Gomer; Ashkenaz, and Riphah, and Togarmah. And the sons of Javan; Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim. By these were the isles (or coastlands) of the Gentiles (nations) divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations. Genesis 10:1-5

Description of Israel's King Solomon's Trade with Tarshish (Atlantis or the "Sea People") in 2 Chronicles 9

Some of the things the Bible describes as King Solomon the riches and most famous and one of the most powerful kings of Israel as receiving from Tarshish and her ships were precious metals such as gold and silver and exotic animals or their products such as apes and peacocks and ivory, probably from elephants that are all consistant with Tarshish on southern Spain at that time and with Plato's description of Atlantis. It is also worthy to note that the times between trips was about three years so it would have to be some distance from Israel as well as to transport all the goods into the ships and have them ready for shipping. A location on the Meditteranean is also supported by the cooperation of Huram, probably Hiram of Lebanon or Tyre or Phoenicia who was a good friend of King Solomon and who supplied cedar tries and other material and labourers to help King Solomon built the temple for the God of Israel in Jerusalem, since Huram (Hiram) and Tyre were also on the Meditteranean and did much of their trading there. The scripture reference of King Solomon's tradiing with Tarshish (Atlantis or the Sea People) in 2 Chronicles 9 is as follows:

Scripture Reference in 2 Chronicles 9 of King Solomon of Israel's Trading by Sea with Tarshish (Atlantis or the Sea People)

For the king's (King Solomon's) ships went to Tarshish with the servants of Huram (Hiram): every three years once came the ships of Tarshish bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks. 2 Chronicles 9:21

Description of Some Riches that Tarshish (Atlantis) Traded with the Phoenicians in Ezekiel 27

In Plato's description there were many riches described as being in abundance in Atlantis. This included many metals such as silver and gold although there were many other riches mentioned as well. Tarshish which in the Bible is usually in reference to southern Spain and almost exactly the same location as Atlantis is also pictured as having much riches. In Ezekiel 27 the great trading fairs of Tyre or Phoenicia is pictured with the different goods it imported from many different countries or peoples including from Tarshish. From Tarshish principally different metals are mentioned although from 2 Chronicles 9 with Israel under King Solomon, it is clear Tarshish also traded in exotic animals as well. The metals mentioned that Tyre received from Tarshish on the Atlantic side of the Strait of Gibraltar in southern Spain near the former site of Tartesus and with the previously mentioned archaeological evidence and other reasons the site of Atlantis are silver, iron, tin and lead. They could have also traded in mercury ores if the ancients used these as I have found this region of southern Spain is still a principal resource source for the metal Mercury in the world. The scripture reference from Ezekiel 27 of the goods namely metals traded of and received by Tyre from Tarshish probably Atlantis are as follows:

Scripture Reference from Ezekiel 2

According to all modern historians, the Sumerians were the first people to develop a civilization. Generally, 3500 BC is the period most researchers place as the founding of this "cultivation of the earth." Perhaps their most outstanding contribution was the development of cuneiform script, the earliest known system of writing. Their written evidence also indicates they had knowledge of astronomy, mathematics, and medicine. The Sumerians also invented the plow and probably were the first to use wheeled vehicles, as well as being the first to use the arch in construction.

The Sumerians were an agricultural people and discovered how to capture floodwater and later use it to irrigate in the dry season. The system was elaborate and quite a feat of engineering. It served to make vast areas of the desert bloom on the hot, dry Mesopotamian (Greek for "between the rivers") plain.

Each year the lower plain between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers (see picture) would flood as the rains from the higher regions would rush toward the Persian Gulf. The Sumerians created hundreds of miles of water traps (shallow lakes) along the higher regions of the plain. When the land flooded, these receptacles would serve as reservoirs for future irrigation purposes. Because of the engineering, the results were deposits of valuable silt on the farmed land during the flood season and abundant water supplies during the dry hot growing season. This invention of irrigation on a large scale enabled the Sumerians to trade their surplus crops for metals (for which there were excellent craftsmen and engravers) and other goods and services.

Because of this vast irrigation system, the Sumerians were able to settle permanently in one place. They were the first people to build cities. They used dried clay or mud bricks for buildings. They invented the "Temple," which resulted in a terraced tower or ziggurat, no doubt the first of the many pyramids created by ancient civilized man. The government was primarily a number of independent city-states.

The Sumerian civilization continued until about 2300 BC. At that time, they were conquered by another Adamic race of people. They later regained independence. Some time later, they were conquered again and by 2000 BC they finally ceased to exist as a separate people. Abraham, of the Bible, a descendant of Adam, left Ur, Sumeria, his homeland, about 2000 BC. In the Bible, the name for Sumeria is The Chaldees.

Who were the Sumerians, and where did they come from? The "native" residents of Sumeria were pre-Adamic men. They were shorter with dark hair and dark eyes. Most historians believe the creators of the Sumerian civilization to have come somewhere from the north. Waddell (note 3) states them to be long-headed (Nordic) Aryans (Indo-European). "They were the longish-headed, broad-browed and large-brained Nordic type; and they were obviously fair in complexion as attested by the blue eyes and white shell inlaid with lapis lazuli stone inset in some of their statues and also by the darkish colour of much of their jewelry; and of fair hair, and their general term for their subject people was 'the black-headed (haired) people'. The kings and officials on state occasions usually wore the Gothic horned head-dress of the Ancient Britons and Anglo-Saxon" (note 3).

Waddell (note 3) also has an interesting study of the "King-List in the Isin Chronicle" of the ancient Sumerians. The "King-List" is exactly that, their official genealogical king's record. His deciphering work has tied the Sumerian, Assyrian, Babylonian, and Indian kings to the same source. In the Sumerian language records, the first of the ancient kings was known by several names, some of which were Ad, Adar, Adda, Addamu, or Adam.

What happened to the Sumerian civilization? Why did it become weak and eventually cease to exist in its current location? Pendell (note 4) states that there was no apparent reason. However, he suggests that they failed to maintain a strong gene pool of genetically superior leaders; they failed to recognize nature and its natural selection process. He also states that "the economy turned socialistic under the direction of the priest, as the financial records show."

In the next 1500 years, Mesopotamia was conquered and reconquered by different people. Some of the conquerors were pure Adamites; some were a mixture. The Assyrian Empire arose along with the Babylonian. Their leaders were initially Adamites; then as time progressed, most of the people became mixed. King Hammurabi established a written code of rules by which to live. Adamic man had long used these laws in his world; they were genetically ingrained, i.e., a circumcised heart (note 5), so to speak. But this was the first time in history the laws had become written (note 6).

The Babylonians made advances in science. They made many accurate astronomical observations and performed many complex mathematical calculations. Man's world order began to override God's order. The influence of Adam's genealogy in Assyria and Babylonia grew weak with time, but it was still alive. In a selfish manner, Adamic man continued onward following his genetic programming. But in time the greatness waned in Mesopotamia. The strong among him traveled further westward.

Today, most of the people we see in southwestern Iraq (ancient Mesopotamia) and the remaining Middle East are the mixture of pre-Adamic man (the darker skin and eyes people) and Adamic man, the creators of the ancient Sumerian/Assyrian/Babylonian civilizations. However, there still exists a remnant of pure Adamic man living in these regions. They are easily noticed, surrounded by a dark skin and eyes people.

File:Karthago Antoninus-Pius-Thermen.JPGThe first civilization that developed within the city's sphere of influence is referred to as Punic (a form of the word "Phoenician") or Carthaginian. The city of Carthage is located on the eastern side of Lake Tunis across from the centre of Tunis. According to Greek historians it was founded byCanaanite-speaking Phoenician colonists from Tyre (in modern Lebanon) under the leadership of Elissa who was renamed (Queen Dido) in Virgil'sAeneid. It became a large and rich city and thus a major power in the Mediterranean. The resulting rivalry with Syracuse, Numidia, and Rome was accompanied by several wars with respective invasions of each other's homeland.

Hannibal's invasion of Italy in the Second Punic War culminated in the Carthaginian victory at Cannae and led to a serious threat to the continuation of Roman rule over Italy; however, Carthage emerged from the conflict weaker after Hannibal's defeat at the Battle of Zama in 202 BC. Following the Third Punic War, the city was destroyed by the Romans in 146 BC. However, the Romans refounded Carthage, which became the Empire's fourth most important city and the capital of the short-lived Vandal kingdom. It remained one of the most important Roman cities until theMuslim conquest when it was destroyed a second time in 698.

"Since the dawn of history, the land of Egypt has been occupied by two different races" (note 3). The original inhabitants were pre-Adamic people. The most recent pre-Adamic man was short, had darker skin, black hair and black or dark eyes. When Adamic man arrived in Egypt, pre-Adamic man became his subject. Pre-Adamic man was compelled to execute the monumental works which have made the name of Egypt famous throughout the world (note 4). In the later dynasties (there were almost 30), "in the course of time, however, the two races became completely amalgamated" (note 4). The people of Egypt we see today are the product of North African pre-Adamic man, sub-Sahara African man (the black, imported as slaves), and Adamic man. Today Egypt's primary economic strengths are tourism (the great monuments), sustenance agriculture, and billions of dollars each year in "aid" from the United States.

The Bible confirms the founders of Egypt to be Adamic in several passages, and this is demonstrated clearly in Psalms 105:23, "Israel also came into Egypt; Thus Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham." Ham was a son of Noah. From secular records, it is apparent that Adamic man was the ruling class, who engineered and designed the pyramids (note 2, 8, 10, 11), engineered the irrigation systems, established a form of government (monarchy), and set the order of things. These rulers made Egypt the center of ancient civilization for over a thousand years.

According to Sayce, the original home of these conquering people was the "divine land" of Arabia Felix (note 5). They were long skulled, with fair skin. The artist of the Pharaohs acknowledged that their countrymen belonged to the white race. While the skin of the men is painted red (sunburn), the skin of the women is a pale yellow or white. The women protected themselves from the sun; the men did not; hence alone the difference in the color of their skin (note 6).

"Flinders Petrie compares them (Egyptians) to the people of Pun (see picture). No where else did the Egyptian find a population which resembled that of his country; the nearest in type were the Phoenicians of Kaft, who in general appearance remind us of the natives of Pun. But apart from the Phoenicians of Kaft, among the nations of the world known to the Egyptians Pun, alone contained a population which in outward form resembled that of Egypt." (note 7).

So, according to Petrie, the Egyptians, the Puns, and the Phoenicians all resembled each other. From other evidence, what did the Phoenicians look like?

In Capt's work, the Phoenicians were tall, light skinned, red-headed and blue-eyed (note 8). The Phoenicians were Semites (note 9) and were known for their trading and seafaring. They were also known for the alphabet they created. For further documented descriptions of the Phoenicians, read the remainder of this primer.

The mummy of Ramses II, the oppressor of the Israelites, had red hair (note 10). When we consider that Moses, an Israelite, was raised from birth as a ruling Egyptian, and no one knew the difference (by sight), then the ruling Egyptians of that time and the Israelites must have been a closely related people (see chapter on Israel).

Waddell (note 11) states "the thirty-seventh Sumerian king and emperor, Guni or Sa-Guni or Sargon-the-great, extended his empire westwards to the Mediterranean and Egypt, where he and his father and grandfather before him were Predynastic Pharaohs as well as emperors at the same time in Mesopotamia, and introduced civilization (Indo-European civilization) into Egypt with the Sumerian language and writing (Sumerian pictograph hieroglyphs). His son, Menes, was identical with the emperor Manis Tussu of Mesopotamia and Minos of Crete, and founded the First Dynasty of Egypt about 2704 BC."

We are fortunate the Egyptians have left pictures of themselves. They were carved in stone or painted inside protected burial chambers within the pyramids.

The historical study of Carthage is problematic. Because its culture and records were destroyed by the Romans at the end of the Third Punic War, very few Carthaginian primary historical sources survive. While there are a few ancient translations of Punic texts into Greek and Latin, as well as inscriptions on monuments and buildings discovered in North Africa,[4] the main sources are Greek and Roman historians, including Livy, Polybius,Appian, Cornelius Nepos, Silius Italicus, Plutarch, Dio Cassius, and Herodotus. These writers belonged to peoples in competition, and often in conflict, with Carthage.[5] Greek cities contested with Carthage for Sicily,[6] and the Romansfought three wars against Carthage.[7] Not surprisingly, their accounts of Carthage are extremely hostile; while there are a few Greek authors who took a favorable view, these works have been lost.

File:Carthage, Tunisia EO-1.jpg




According to Roman sources, Phoenician colonists from modern-day Lebanon, led by Queen Dido (Elissa) founded Carthage. Queen Elissa (also known as "Alissar"), was 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 westernMediterranean and leading the Phoenician (or Punic) world.

Elissa's brother, King Pygmalion of Tyre, had murdered her 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 the following can be deduced from various sources. According to Justin, Princess Elissa was the daughter of KingMatten of Tyre (also known as Belus II). When he died, the throne was jointly bequeathed to her and her brother, Pygmalion. She married her uncle Acherbas (also known as Sychaeus), the High Priest ofMelqart, a man with both authority and wealth comparable to the king. This led to increased rivalry between religion and the monarchy. Pygmalion was a tyrant, lover of both gold and intrigue, who desired the authority and fortune enjoyed by Acherbas.[citation needed] Pygmalion assassinated Acherbas 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.

[edit]Virgil's Aeneid

In the Roman epic of Virgil, the Aeneid, Queen Dido, the Greek name for Queen Elissa, is first introduced as an extremely respected character. In just seven years, since their exodus from Tyre, the Carthaginians have rebuilt a successful kingdom under her rule. Her subjects adore her and present her with a festival of praise. Her character is perceived by Virgil as even more noble when she offers asylum to Aeneas and his men, who have 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 tells Dido, her heart broken, she orders a pyre to be built where she falls upon Aeneas' sword. As she lay dying, she predicted eternal strife between Aeneas' people and her own: "rise up from my bones, avenging spirit" (4.625, trans. Fitzgerald) she says, an invocation of Hannibal. 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 she had destroyed, exemplified by Cato the Elder's much-repeated utterance, "delenda est Carthaga", Carthage must be destroyed.[9]

[edit]Carthaginian Republic

Main article: Carthaginian Republic


Carthaginian held territory in the early 3rd century BC

The Carthaginian Republic was one of the longest-lived and largest states in the ancient Mediterranean. Reports relay several wars with Syracuse and finally, Rome, which eventually resulted in the defeat and destruction of Carthage in the third Punic war. The Carthaginians were Semitic Phoeniciansettlers originating in the Mediterranean coast of the Near East. They spoke Canaanite and followed a predominantly Canaanite religion.


Main article: Military of ancient Carthage

According to Polybius, Carthage relied heavily, though not exclusively, on foreign mercenaries,[10] especially in overseas warfare. The core of its army was from its own territory in north Africa (ethnic Libyans and Numidians (modern northern Algeria), as well as "Liby-Phoenicians" — i.e. Phoeniciansproper). These troops were supported by mercenaries from different ethnic groups and geographic locations across the Mediterranean who fought in their own national units; Celtic, Balearic, and Iberian troops were especially common. Later, after the Barcid conquest of Iberia (modern Spain and Portugal),Iberians came to form an even greater part of the Carthaginian forces. Carthage seems to have fielded a formidable cavalry force, especially in its North African homeland; a significant part of it was composed of Numidian contingents of light cavalry. Other mounted troops included the now extinct North African elephants, trained for war, which, among other uses, were commonly used for frontal assaults or as anti-cavalry protection. An army could field up to several hundred of these animals, but on most reported occasions fewer than a hundred were deployed. The riders of these elephants were armed with a spike and hammer to kill the elephants in case they charged toward their own army.



Roman trireme mosaic from Carthage,Bardo Museum, Tunis

The navy of Carthage was one of the largest in the Mediterranean, using serial production to maintain high numbers at moderate cost. The sailors andmarines of the Carthaginian navy were predominantly recruited from the Phoenician citizenry, unlike the multi-ethnic allied and mercenary troops of the Carthaginian armies. The navy offered a stable profession and financial security for its sailors. This helped to contribute to the city's political stability, since the unemployed, debt ridden poor in other cities were frequently inclined to support revolutionary leaders in the hope of improving their own lot.[11]The reputation of her skilled sailors implies that there was in peacetime a training of oarsmen and coxswains, giving their navy a cutting edge in naval matters.

The trade of Carthaginian merchantmen was by land across the Sahara and especially by sea throughout the Mediterranean and far into the Atlantic to the tin-rich islands of Britain and also to North West Africa. There is evidence that at least one Punic expedition under Hanno sailed along the West African coast to regions south of the Tropic of Cancer, describing how the sun was in the north at noon.[citation needed]

Polybius wrote in the sixth book of his History that the Carthaginians were "more exercised in maritime affairs than any other people."[12] Their navy included some 300 to 350 warships. The Romans, who had little experience in naval warfare prior to the First Punic War, managed to finally defeat Carthage with a combination of reverse engineering captured Carthaginian ships, recruitment of experienced Greek sailors from the ranks of its conquered cities, the unorthodox corvus device, and their superior numbers in marines and rowers. In the Third Punic War Polybius describes a tactical innovation of the Carthaginians, augmenting their few triremes with small vessels that carried hooks (to attack the oars) and fire (to attack the hulls). With this new combination, they were able to stand their ground against the numerically superior Roman for a whole day.


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Ruins of Carthage

The fall of Carthage came at the end of the Third Punic War in 146 BC at the Battle of Carthage.[13] Despite initial devastating Roman naval losses and Rome's recovery from the brink of defeat after the terror of a 15-year occupation of much of Italy by Hannibal, the end of the series of wars resulted in the end of Carthaginian power and the complete destruction of the city by Scipio Aemilianus. The Romans pulled the Phoenician warships out into the harbour and burned them before the city, and went from house to house, capturing, raping and enslaving the people. Fifty thousand Carthaginians were sold into slavery.[14] The city was set ablaze, and razed to the ground, leaving only ruins and rubble. After the fall of Carthage, Rome annexed the majority of the Carthaginian colonies, including other North African locations such as Volubilis, Lixus, Chellah, and Mogador.[15] The legend that the city was sown with salt is not mentioned by the ancient sources; R.T. Ridley suggested that the story originated from 1930 in section of the Cambridge Ancient History written by B Hallward whose influence might be an account of Abimelech's salting of Shechem in Judges 9:45.[16][17] Warmington admitted his fault in repeating Hallward's error but mentions an example of the story that goes back to 1299 when Bonaface VIII destroyed Palestrina.[18]

[edit]City of survivors


Main article: Byrsa

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Punic ruins in Byrsa

On top of Byrsa hill, the location of the Roman Forum, a residential area from the last century of existence (early 2nd century) of the Punic city was excavated by the French archaeologist Serge Lancel. The neighborhood, with its houses, shops and private spaces, is significant for what it reveals about daily life there over twenty-one hundred years ago. .[19]

The habitat is typical, even stereotypical. The street was often used as a storefront; cistern tanks were installed in basements to collect water for domestic use, and a long corridor on the right side of each residence led to a courtyard containing a sump, around which various other elements may be found. In some places the ground is covered with mosaics called punica pavement, sometimes using a characteristic red mortar.

The remains have been preserved under embankments, the substructures of the later Roman forum, whose foundation piles dot the district. The housing blocks are separated by a grid of straight streets approximately six metres wide, with a roadway consisting of clay; there are in situ stairs to compensate for the slope of the hill. Construction of this type presupposes organization and political will, and has inspired the name of the neighborhood, "Hannibal district", referring to the legendary Punic general or Suffete (consul) at the beginning of the 2nd century BC.

[edit]Other alternatives

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Roman Carthage

When Carthage fell, its nearby rival Utica, a Roman ally, was made capital of the region and replaced Carthage as the leading center of Punic trade and leadership. It had the advantageous position of being situated on the Lake of Tunis and the outlet of the Majardah River, Tunisia's only river that flowed all year long. However, grain cultivation in the Tunisian mountains caused large amounts of silt to erode into the river. This silt accumulated in the harbor until it became useless, and Rome was forced to rebuild Carthage.

By 122 BC Gaius Gracchus founded a short-lived colony, called Colonia Iunonia, after the Latin name for the punic goddess Tanit, Iuno caelestis. The purpose was to obtain arable lands for impoverished farmers. The Senate abolished the colony some time later, in order to undermine Gracchus' power.

After this ill-fated attempt a new city of Carthage was built on the same land by Julius Caesar in 49-44 BC period, and by the 1st century A.D. it had grown to be the second largest city in the western half of the Roman Empire, with a peak population of 500,000[citation needed]. It was the center of the Roman province of Africa, which was a major breadbasket of the Empire.

Carthage also became a centre of early Christianity. In the first of a string of rather poorly-reported councils at Carthage a few years later, no fewer than 70 bishops attended. Tertullian later broke with the mainstream that was represented more and more in the west by the bishop of Rome, but a more serious rift among Christians was the Donatist controversy, which Augustine of Hippo spent much time and parchment arguing against. In 397 AD at theCouncil at Carthage, the biblical canon for the western Church was confirmed.


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Vandal Empire in 500 AD, centered in Carthage.

The political fallout from the deep disaffection of African Christians is supposedly a crucial factor in the ease with which Carthage and the other centres were captured in the 5th century by Gaiseric, king of the Vandals, who defeated the Roman general Bonifacius and made the city his capital. Gaiseric was considered a heretic too, an Arian, and though Arians commonly despised orthodox Catholic Christians, a mere promise of toleration might have caused the city's population to accept him. After a failed attempt to recapture the city in the 5th century, the Eastern Roman empire finally subdued the Vandals in the Vandalic War 533-534.

Thereafter the city became the seat of the praetorian prefecture of Africa, which during the emperor Maurice's reign, was made into an Exarchate, as was Ravenna in Italy. These two exarchates were the western bulwarks of the Roman empire, all that remained of its power in the west. In the early 7th century it was the exarch of Carthage who overthrew emperor Phocas.

[edit]Islamic conquests

The Roman Exarchate of Africa was not able to withstand the Muslim conquerors of the 7th century. Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik in 686 AD sent a force led by Zuhayr ibn Qais who won a battle over Romans and Berbers led by Kusaila, on the Qairawan plain; but could not follow that up. In 695 ADHasan ibn al-Nu'man captured Carthage and advanced into the Atlas Mountains. An imperial fleet arrived and retook Carthage, but in 698 AD Hasan ibn al-Nu'man returned and defeated emperorTiberios III at the Battle of Carthage. Roman imperial forces withdrew from all Africa except Ceuta. Roman Carthage was destroyed and was replaced by Tunis as the major regional centre. The destruction of the Exarchate of Africa marked a permanent end to the influence there of the eastern Roman empire.

[edit]Modern times

In the mid-19th century Nathan Davis and other European archaeologists were given permission to excavate the ancient city.

Carthage remains a popular tourist attraction and residential suburb of Tunis. The Tunisian presidential palace is located in the city.[20]

In February 1985, Ugo Vetere, the mayor of Rome, and Chedly Klibi, the mayor of Carthage, signed a symbolic treaty "officially" ending the conflict between their cities, which had been supposedly extended by the lack of a peace treaty for more than 2,100 years

Detail of frieze showing the equipment of a soldier in the manipular Roman legion (left). Note mail armour, oval shield and helmet with plume (probably horsehair). The soldier at centre is an officer (bronze cuirass, mantle), prob. a tribunus militum.[17] From an altar built by Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus, consul in 122 BC. Musée du Louvre, Paris

1 comment:

Gerald said...

Warfare is a fascinating subject. Despite the dubious morality of using violence to achieve personal or political aims. It remains that conflict has been used to do just that throughout recorded history.

Your article is very well done, a good read.