The life of the Carthaginian general Hannibal Barca and his lifelong struggle against the Romans, set against the background of the Punic Wars between Carthage and Rome. This blog links to a related web-site that contains additional information and images. Hannibal could not do what he had done before, but if he had been able to force Scipio into a set battle shortly after he arrived, he would have held the cards because Scipio had practically no cavalry.
Saguntum's status, therefore, was ambiguous: When the besieged Saguntines appealed to Rome, Rome pressured the Carthaginians to recognize their alliance with Saguntum.
Even as the Romans attempted to negotiate a settlement to the crisis, Hannibal captured the city after an eight-month siege.
When Carthage refused Roman demands for Hannibal's extradition, both sides prepared for war. Rome and Carthage enjoyed different military advantages than they had during the last war. Hannibal now fielded the best-trained and equipped army in the ancient world; the Romans enjoyed complete naval superiority, which they could use to invade Carthaginian territory at will.
Rome expected to exploit this advantage to wage a quick, offensive war that would compel Carthage to sue for peace on Rome's terms. Hannibal, however, had a plan to restore Carthage's supremacy in the western Mediterranean.
First, he would neutralize Rome's advantage at sea through a daring invasion of Italy across the Alps. Hannibal correctly saw that the presence of a foreign army in Italy would compel the Romans to abandon their planned assault on Carthage.
Once across the Alps, Hannibal planned to recruit soldiers from the recently conquered regions of northern and southern Italy and convince other kingdoms in the East to join forces against Rome. At the head of this combined force, Hannibal would cut at the roots of Roman military power by disrupting the intricate web of alliances that bound the cities and peoples of Italy to Rome.
It is important to note that Hannibal's goal at the start of the war was not to destroy the city or exterminate the Romans, despite the claims made by later Roman authors.
Hannibal assumed that a few decisive victories in Italy would compel Rome to negotiate a new peace treaty on terms favorable to Carthage. At the least, he thought he could win a restoration of Carthaginian holdings in Sicily and Sardinia and a recognition of their empire in Hispania.
Roman resolve, however, would again surprise the Carthaginians.
At the start of the war, the Romans assumed that Hannibal, whose army was in constant danger of being outflanked by sea, would seek to protect Carthage's hard-won territory in northern Hispania.
The Roman strategy assumed that one army would pin Hannibal down in Hispania, freeing another to invade the Carthaginian homeland in Africa.
But Hannibal, ever bold, seized the initiative and marched towards Italy with a large army. He evaded the first Roman army sent against him and arrived at the Alps in late BC with 38, infantry troops, 8, cavalrymen, and 37 war elephants.
The brutal march over the mountains in the early winter cost Hannibal nearly a third of his army and most of his irreplaceable elephants. But his gamble worked. He was able to lead an intact army into Italy. Facing an enemy army in Italy, the Romans recalled the forces that were being marshaled for the planned invasion of Africa.
Hannibal had succeeded in forestalling the invasion of Carthage. His audacity had gained him the chance to win the war in Italy. In quick succession, Hannibal inflicted two crushing defeats on a stunned and unprepared Rome. Hannibal then crossed the Padus River into central Italy.
Despite the shocking defeat, Rome refused to negotiate terms with the invader. Inthe two consuls raised a new army and led it against Hannibal. Nearly all of the Roman soldiers in Flaminius' army were either killed or captured [ Trasimene Battle Schematic ]. But still the Romans refused to surrender or even negotiate an exchange of prisoners.
Instead, Fabius Maximus was elected dictator and invested with unlimited power to confront the threat to Rome.It looks like you've lost connection to our server.
Please check your internet connection or reload this page. Scipio would remember Hannibal’s tactics at Cannae and, further, would study his other successful engagements. Fourteen years later, at the Battle of Zama in BCE, Scipio would use Hannibal’s own tricks to defeat him and win the Second Punic War.
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Hannibal’s Tactics during the Punic Wars. Home / Free Essays / The last greatest victory won by Hannibal was during the Battle of Cannae. Though outnumbered by more than 30, men, Hannibal employed his old strategies in order to defeat both Consuls Aemilius and Varro.
Although he lost the war, his tactics were far beyond any other person at the time, which had won him many battles even when the odds were stacked against him.
Hannibal was born in BCE in Carthage, located in North Africa. Hannibal formed his infantry akin to a Roman triplex acies, but with his best unit, his veterans, the one unit who could match Scipio's troops, at a further distance than the one between the first and second line.