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 The Second Punic War (218-202 BC)

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Andrew Cox
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PostSubject: The Second Punic War (218-202 BC)   Wed Nov 11, 2009 8:07 pm

The Second Punic War was fought between 218 and 202 BC. Following the first Punic war, Carthage set it's eyes on controlling modern day Spain. This was to get control of its mineral resources, and get a launching pad for an attack on Rome. This movement was controlled by Hamilcar Barca, and continued by his son Hannibal.



From Carthage's bases in Spain, Hannibal set a plan into action to attack Rome. He planned to march across Pyrenees and the Alps and suprise the Roman army. Along the way, he recruted members of the Celtic tribes to assist in the fight. Hannibal did his best to avoid the Roman commander Scipio, to make his attack a total suprise. The wintery climate of the Alps, along with resistance from mountain tribes caused him to lose over half his men, and most of his elephants. He reached mainland Italy with 20,000 infantry, 6,000 cavalry, and a few elephants elephant.

Once in Italy Hannibal met more resistance, but he used good tactics to fight his way to the city of Rome with his depleated army. Rome met him with an opposition of 80,000 infantry, and 7,000 cavalry. Hannibal gladly accepted the challange, starting the Battle of Cannae. The Roman general Varro thought he could crush his opponent with shear numbers. Hannibal used his superior battle tactics to crush the much larger Roman force. When the Cathagianans were backed against the river, he ordered wings of cavalry and infantry to attack at different angles, confusing the Romans, and destroying them. The Romans lost 60,000 men, compared to the Carthaginan 6,000.

The new Roman commander, Marcus Claudius Marcellus, was a new hope for the Romans. He was a better mach for Hannibal, and was able to match him in manny battles, even winning a few minor ones. This caused Hannibal to call for reinforcements from his brother, Hasdrubal in Italy. Hasdrubal met resistance from the Roman general Scipio along his route. During one of the battles, the Carthaginians were ambushed by the Romans, killing 10,000 men, including Hasdrubal. Scipio went on to take control of Spain, and prepared for an invasion of North Africa.

Once Scipio invaded North Africa, attacking Carthage, Hannibal was forced to return to defend his capitol. On the plains of Zuma, Hannibal readied to meet Scipio's army with a force of 45,000 infantry and 3,000 cavalry. Scipio brought an opposing force of 34,000 infantry and 9,000 cavalry. Hannibal did not have the large cavalry that he depended largely on for his other victories, so he could not emplay some of his favorite tactics. Scipio's cavalry circled around Hannibal's forces, attacking from the rear, much like what Hannibal did in the Battle of Cannae. The Romans slaughtered the Carthaginians killing 20,000 and taking 15,000 prisoner, while only losing 1,500, but Hannibal was able to escape.

Carthage had to sue for pease with the defeat of Hannibal's army, and agreed to had over all warships and elephants, was not able to make war without Rome's permission, and had to pay 10,000 talents over the next 50 years.


sources: http://www.unrv.com/empire/second-punic-war.php
http://www.carthagelives.com/images2/Punicwars/2ndpunicwar.bmp
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