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Battle_cannae_destruction.gif
Map - The Battle of Cannae 215 B.C.389 viewsThe Romans, hoping to gain success through sheer strength and weight of numbers, raised a new army of unprecedented size, estimated by some to be as large as 100,000 men, but more likely around 50-80,000. Resolved to confront Hannibal, they marched southward to Apulia. They eventually found Hannibal on the left bank of the Aufidus River, and encamped six miles (10 km) away. On this occasion, the two armies were combined into one, the consuls having to alternate their command on a daily basis. Varro, who was in command on the first day, was a man of reckless and hubristic nature, and was determined to defeat Hannibal. Hannibal capitalized on the eagerness of Varro and drew him into a trap by using an envelopment tactic, which eliminated the Roman numerical advantage by shrinking the combat area. Hannibal drew up his least reliable infantry in a semicircle in the center with the wings composed of the Gallic and Numidian horse. The Roman legions forced their way through Hannibal's weak center, but the Libyan mercenaries on the wings, swung around by the movement, menaced their flanks. The onslaught of Hannibal's cavalry was irresistible, and Maharbal, Hannibal's chief cavalry commander, who led the mobile Numidian cavalry on the right, shattered the Roman cavalry opposing them. Hannibal's Iberian and Gallic heavy cavalry, led by Hanno on the left, defeated the Roman heavy cavalry, and then both the Carthaginian heavy cavalry and the Numidians attacked the legions from behind. As a result, the Roman army was hemmed in with no means of escape. Due to these brilliant tactics, Hannibal, with much inferior numbers, managed to surround and destroy all but a small remnant of his enemy. Depending upon the source, it is estimated that 50,000-70,000 Romans were killed or captured. Among the dead were the Roman Consul Lucius Aemilius Paullus, as well as two consuls for the preceding year, two quaestors, twenty-nine out of the forty-eight military tribunes and an additional eighty senators (at a time when the Roman Senate comprised no more than 300 men, this constituted 25%Ė30% of the governing body). This makes the battle one of the most catastrophic defeats in the history of Ancient Rome, and one of the bloodiest battles in all of human history (in terms of the number of lives lost within a single day). After Cannae, the Romans were very hesitant to confront Hannibal in pitched battle, preferring instead to weaken him by attrition, relying on their advantages of interior lines, supply, and manpower. As a result, Hannibal fought no more major battles in Italy for the rest of the war.
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Map - Battle of Lake Trasimene333 viewsArriving in Etruria in the spring of 217 BC, Hannibal decided to lure the main Roman army under Flaminius, into a pitched battle, by devastating the region Flaminius had been sent to protect. As Polybius recounts, "he [Hannibal] calculated that, if he passed the camp and made a descent into the district beyond, Flaminius (partly for fear of popular reproach and partly of personal irritation) would be unable to endure watching passively the devastation of the country but would spontaneously follow him . . . and give him opportunities for attack." At the same time, Hannibal tried to break the allegiance of Romeís allies by proving that Flaminius was powerless to protect them. Despite this, Flaminius remained passively encamped at Arretium. Unable to draw Flaminius into battle by mere devastation, Hannibal marched boldly around his opponentís left flank and effectively cut Flaminius off from Rome (thus executing the first recorded turning movement in military history). Advancing through the uplands of Etruria, Hannibal provoked Flaminius into a hasty pursuit and, catching him in a defile on the shore of Lake Trasimenus, destroyed his army in the waters or on the adjoining slopes, killing Flaminius as well (see Battle of Lake Trasimene). This was the most costly ambush the Romans would ever sustain until the Battle of Carrhae against the Parthians. He had now disposed of the only field force that could check his advance upon Rome, but, realizing that without siege engines, he could not hope to take the capital, he preferred to exploit his victory by entering into central and southern Italy and encouraging a general revolt against the sovereign power.
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Map - The Battle of Trebia239 viewsHannibal demonstrated his masterful military skill at Trebia; where after wearing down the superior Roman infantry he then cut it to pieces with a surprise attack and ambush from the flanks.
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Map - Carthagian Empire291 views
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Map - Hannibal's route of invasion.362 viewsThe Second Punic War, 218 - 201 B.C., is most remembered for Hannibal's crossing of the Alps, followed by his crushing victories over Rome in the battle of the Trebia, at Trasimene, and again at Cannae. After these defeats, many Roman allies joined Carthage, prolonging the war in Italy for over a decade. Against Hannibal's skill on the battlefield, the Romans deployed the Fabian strategy. More capable in siegecraft, the Romans recaptured all the major cities that had defected. The Romans defeated an attempt to reinforce Hannibal at the battle of the Metaurus and Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus Major took New Carthage and ended Carthaginian rule over Iberia in the Battle of Ilipa. The final showdown was the Battle of Zama in Africa where Scipio Africanus defeated Hannibal, resulting in the imposition of harsh peace conditions on Carthage, which ceased to be a major power and became a Roman client-state.
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Map - Plan of carthage218 views
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Map - Rome and Carthage at the start of the Second Punic War 218 BC244 viewsThe Second Punic War, 218 - 201 B.C., is most remembered for Hannibal's crossing of the Alps, followed by his crushing victories over Rome in the battle of the Trebia, at Trasimene, and again at Cannae. After these defeats, many Roman allies joined Carthage, prolonging the war in Italy for over a decade. Against Hannibal's skill on the battlefield, the Romans deployed the Fabian strategy. More capable in siegecraft, the Romans recaptured all the major cities that had defected. The Romans defeated an attempt to reinforce Hannibal at the battle of the Metaurus and, in Iberia, Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus Major took New Carthage and ended Carthaginian rule over Iberia in the Battle of Ilipa. The final showdown was the Battle of Zama in Africa where Scipio Africanus defeated Hannibal, resulting in the imposition of harsh peace conditions on Carthage, which ceased to be a major power and became a Roman client-state.
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Map - Rome and Carthage198 views
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