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Punic Wars

B.C. 261 to 146

Rome — versus — Carthage

Introduction : 

 The Overthrow of Cannae.

The three Punic Wars, fought over a hundred year period between Rome and the ancient sea power of Carthage was without doubt, the most important series of wars undertaken by the Roman Republic. There were several reasons for this: First, the wars transformed Rome from a regional land power, to a wide ranging sea-power. They transformed Rome from a primarily agrarian economy to a merchant based one. The third Punic War utterly destroyed Carthage and the ancient Phoenician civilization from which it came, and the second Punic War nearly destroyed Rome itself. Finally it created the foundation of an empire, as Rome inherited the far flung empire that had been controlled by Carthage. There were tremendous cultural differences between the two civilizations, and although Rome did not undertake the wars with the idea of creating an empire or vanquishing her opponent, it is unlikely the two powers could have long coexisted. It is fortunate for western civilization that the democratic and industry oriented Romans prevailed over the decadent and dictatorial Carthaginians in this mortal contest.

First Punic War : 262 to 241 B.C.

 The Roman Attack at Mylae

It was not until shortly after Rome consolidated her power on all of the Italian Peninsula, including the southern Greek city states, the turned her attention to Sicily, a large Island occupied by both Greek and Carthaginian settlements. Her first involvement in Sicily was at the invitation of Messina, and she accepted, primarily because the conflict gave her an opportunity to help drive Carthage off the island. She laid seige to and conquered Agrigentum, and foiled a Carthaginian invasion of the island.

Rome's next move was utterly radical and unprecedented in military history. Although she had next to no ship-building or sea-faring experience, she captured a Carthaginian trireme, copied it, and in two months had a fleet of 150 ships. In the meantime, the Romans built model ships on land to train rowers and sailers, and to cap things off, invented a movable ramp that would hook onto enemy ships so they could board and engage in hand-to-hand combat, at which they excelled. Thus equipped, the Romans set out to meet the Phoenicians, who had an 800 year history of sea-faring, and decisively defeated them in their serious engagement at Mylae.

After several subsequent naval victories, Rome decided that it was time to launch a land invasion of Africa. They were certain of their superiority in land combat, and envisioned a direct assault upon Carthage. For this purpose, they built an even larger transport fleet and engaged Carthage at the Battle of Economous, which, with over 300 large ships on each side, was possibly the largest naval battle in history to date. After a hard fought battle, the Romans drove of the Carthaginians and succeeded in making a landing, and prepared for a land engagement.

The leading Roman General of the day was Regulus, and with an army of 15,000 he prepared for a major battle. Carthage also recalled all of its generals to deal with the crisis. The first battle, at Adys was a decisive roman victory, but Regulus had to wait for reinforcement before launching an attack on Carthage itself. While he waited, Carthage brought in a Spartan mercenary to lead their defense, and he proved to be a near genius, winning for Carthage a decisive victory with the same troops that had failed at Adys. By forcing the battle on flat ground he was able to best use his elephants and cavalry to devastating effect on the Romans. The Roman army was nearly annihilated and Regulus captured.

After a brief respite in the hostilities, while Rome recovered from the disaster at Tunis, the fighting resumed on Sicily. Carthage besieged the Romans in Panormus, but to no avail. The war, in fact entered a period of stalemate. Rome besieged the Carthaginian stronghold of Lilybaeum, but it held out until the end of the war. Meanwhile, they were outmaneuvered at Drepanum and suffered a terrible disaster, losing most of their fleet and thousands of men, with up to 20,000 others taken prisoner. Carthage sought to use this victory to bring an end to the war, so they sent their prisoner Regulus, to treat with Rome. Instead of accepting Carthage's offer of peace however, Regulus insisted that Rome continue the fight, even at the expense of his own life and those of the other hostages. Carthage was infuriated by this, and is said to have killed him with unspeakable tortures. The war continued for eight more years with no decisive battles until Carthage sued for peace after a Roman victory at the Battle of the Aegates Islands. The cause of their surrender however, was not due to the battle itself, but instead, because a revolt within their mercenary army made it impossible to continue the war. Hamilcar Barca, the leading general of Carthage, was infuriated by the terms of this surrender and dedicated the rest of his life to building up a powerful Carthaginian empire in Spain. More importantly, he instilled his son Hannibal with an undying hatred of Rome, and thereby laid the groundwork for the greatest disaster ever to befall the Roman Republic: The Second Punic War.

Battle / Outcome
Battle of Mylae
Romans defeat Carthagians
Fought B.C. 260, when the Roman fleet, under Caius Duilius, defeated the Carthaginians, under Hannibal, with loss of 50 ships, 3,000 killed and 7,000 prisoners. Duilius had introduced the boarding bridge, which was lowered on to the deck of the opposing galley, and this gave full scope to the superior powers of the Romans in hand-to-hand fighting.
Battle of Liparaean Islands
Romans defeat Carthagians
The scene of a naval battle, B.C. 257, in which the Roman fleet, under the Consul, C.Attilius, completely defeated the Carthaginians.
Battle of Ecnomus
Romans defeat Carthagians
Fought B.C. 256, between 330 Roman galleys, with crews of 100,000 men, under I.. Manlius Valso, and M. Attilius Regulus, and 350 Carthaginian ships under Hanno. After a hard-fought battle, in which the Romans lost 24 vessels, they defeated the Carthaginians, with a loss of 30 ships sunk and 64 captured, and drove the rest of the fleet to Carthage.
Battle of Adys
Romans defeat Carthagians
Fought B.C. 255 between 15,000 Romans under Regulus, and over 5000 Carthaginian mercenaries. In an attempt to bring the war to a close, a large Roman army landed in Africa about 40 east of Carthage. In this first major land battle in Africa, the Romans routed the Carthage army, causing great consternation within the city.
Battle of Tunis
Carthagians defeat Romans
Fought B.C. 255 between 15,000 Romans, under Regulus, and 16,000 Carthaginians, of whom 4,000 were cavalry, with two elephants, under Xanthippus, the Spartan. The Romans were broken by a cavalry charge, and their rout was completed by the elephants, and all but 2,500 fell on the field. Regulus was captured, and Tunis at once occupied by the Carthaginians.
Siege of Lilybaeum
Drawn Battle (Romans vs. Carthage)
This fortress was besieged B.C. 250, by the Romans, under C. Attilius and L. Manlius, and was defended by a Carthaginian garrison, 10,000 strong, under Himilcon. The Romans invested the place both by sea and land, but the superior seamanship of the Carthaginians enabled them from time to time to throw succour into the place. The first line of the defenses was soon carried but the Romans were then confronted with a second rampart, equally strong, and the siege was begun anew. In 249 P. Claudius took over the command, but a defeat of the Roman fleet at Drepanum gave the Carthaginians complete command of the sea, and though the Romans continued to blockade the fortress on the land side, it held out till 241. After the naval battle of Aegusae Carthage sued for peace.
Battle of Panormus
Romans defeat Carthagians
Fought B.C. 250, between 25,000 Romans, under L. Caecilius Metellus, and the Carthaginian army in Sicily, under Hasdrubal. Hasdrubal offered battle in front of Panormus, and Metellus sent out his light troops to engage him. They ran back into the town before a charge of the elephants, which, following closely, were driven into the ditch surrounding the place, where many were killed. Meanwhile Metellus sallied out with his legionaries, and taking Hasdrubal in flank completely routed him. The whole of the Carthaginian elephants in Sicily were killed or captured in this battle.
Battle of Drepanum
Carthagians defeat Romans
Fought B.C. 249, during the siege of Lilybaeum, between the Roman fleet of 123 galleys under Publius Claudius, and the Carthaginians under Adherbal. Claudius was defeated, losing 93 ships, 8,000 killed and 20,000 prisoners, while the victors did not lose a ship.
Battle of Aegusa
Romans defeat Carthagians
Fought March 10, B.C. 241, between the Roman fleet of 200 quinqueremes under C. Lutatius Catulus, and a Carthaginian fleet under Hanno dispatched to relieve the town. The action was fought in heavy weather, and the Roman sailors, being far better trained than their opponents, Catulus gained a signal victory, capturing 70 and sinking 50 of the enemy's ships. The victory ended the First Punic War.

Short Biography
Regulus Captured by Carthage in first Punic war; urged Rome keep fighting at cost of his own life.
Xanthippus Spartan mercenary general in first Punic War; captured Regulus, led Carthage to victories.
Hamilcar Carthage's most able general in first Punic War; father of Hannibal.

Story LinksBook Links
First Punic War  in  Hannibal  by  Jacob Abbott
Story of Regulus  in  Fifty Famous Stories Retold  by  James  Baldwin
Servants of Mars  in  Helmet and Spear  by  A. J. Church
For Rule of the Sea  in  Helmet and Spear  by  A. J. Church
Martyr Patriot  in  Helmet and Spear  by  A. J. Church
Sons of Lightning  in  Helmet and Spear  by  A. J. Church
Ancient Ships  in  Story of the Romans  by  H. A.  Guerber
Regulus and the Snake  in  Story of the Romans  by  H. A.  Guerber
Regulus  in  Famous Men of Rome  by  J. H.  Haaren
Romans Build a Fleet  in  Story of Rome  by  Mary  Macgregor
Battle of Ecnomus  in  Story of Rome  by  Mary  Macgregor
Roman Legions in Africa  in  Story of Rome  by  Mary  Macgregor
Regulus Is Taken Prisoner  in  Story of Rome  by  Mary  Macgregor
Boy Hannibal  in  Story of Rome  by  Mary  Macgregor
Fate of Regulus  in  Historical Tales: 11—Roman  by  Charles  Morris
Roman Fleet  in  On the Shores of the Great Sea  by  M. B.  Synge
Beginnings of Empire  in  Stories from Ancient Rome  by  A. J. Church

Second Punic War—Early Battles : 218 to 216 B.C.

 "We are beaten, O Romans, in a great battle, our army is destroyed."

The Second Punic War, from first to last, was driven by one man, Hannibal Barca. Soon after gaining command of his fathers army in Spain, Hannibal began planning for an invasion of Italy by crossing the Alps. His plan was to ally himself with the Gauls and other enemies of Rome in the north and then descend upon Rome itself. The government of Carthage did not support these plans and when he instigated the war by attacking the Saguntum, a Roman Ally in Spain, they ordered him to desist. He avoided the ambassador, and continued with his activities until Rome declared war on Carthage, at which point he was given leave to defend Carthage's interests. He did so by raising a large army and in quick succession, crossed the Ebro, the Pyrenees, the Rhone and finally the Alps. The story of his march is an adventure in itself, but shortly after reaching Italian soil he fought his first battle against Rome, after meeting up with a scouting force led by an elder Scipio, at Ticinus River. This was followed by a much larger and more disastrous engagement at Trebia. Hannibal, as was his custom, laid an ambuscade and betting on the impetuosity of the Roman General, routed the Roman army with tremendous loss. He then spent the winter in Gallic territory, resting his troops and planning his next move.

Rome was in an uproar over this wretched turn of events. Politically, it was divided between a "cautious" faction, exemplified by Scipio, and an "urgent" faction, exemplified by Sempronious, the consul who had run his army into Hannibal's trap at Trebia. The Roman habit of choosing two consuls, one from each faction, worked to disastrous effect in this case, since Hannibal could easily discern which consul to lure into a trap. In the case of Lake Trasimene, the stooge was Flaminius, and the cost was 30,000 men killed or captured to Hannibal's loss of 1,500. At this point, Rome appointed Fabius, as dictator of the "cautious" persuasion and thereby gained a year reprieve from devastating attacks, and was able to hold together most of their Italian allies. Hannibal spent the time consolidating support among the Gallic tribes and establishing himself in Southern Italy. The only bright spot for Rome, other than a temporary succession of the slaughter of their legions, was a few victories in Spain by the elder Scipio brothers, which prevented Hannibal from receiving reinforcements from that area.

A full year after Trasimene however, Hannibal was still in Italy, Fabian's term as dictator was up, and Rome elected two more consuls and raised several legions to drive Hannibal out of Italy. The result was the debacle of Cannae, where Hannial once more, used his wiles to draw the less patient of the Consuls into battle. This time Rome lost at least 60,000 men killed and captured (including 80 senators), the most crushing defeat ever suffered by the city.

Battle / Outcome
Siege of Saguntum
Carthagians defeat Saguntum
Besieged B.C. 219, by the Carthagians, under Hannibal, and taken before a relieving force could be sent to the area. Saguntum was an ally of Rome, so attacking it provoked hostilities between the two rivals. Although there was a party in Cathage that favored peace with Rome, Hannibal's military triumphs, once accomplished were too popular to renounce, and the senate accepted that war was inevitable.
Battle of Cissna
Romans defeat Carthagians
Fouth B.C. 218 between 22,000 Romans under Gnaeus Scipio, and 10,000 Carthagians under Hanno. Scipio landed a force north of the Elbro river in order to prevent Carthage from sending reinforcements from Spain over the Alps. Hanno gave battle, and was routed, losing most of his army.
Battle of Ticinus
Carthagians defeat Romans
Fought B.C. 218, between 26,000 Carthaginians, under Hannibal, and 25,000 Romans, under P. Cornelius Scipio (the Elder). The Romans were defeated with heavy loss, Scipio being severely wounded.
Battle of Trebbia
Carthagians defeat Romans
Fought December B.C. 218, between 26,000 Cathaginians, 6,000 being cavalry, under Hannibal, and 40,000 Romans under the Consul Sempronins. Sempronius' colleague, Scipio, had been wounded a few days before in a skirmish, and Sempronius, contrary to his advice, being in sole command, crossed the Trebbia to attack the Carthaginians. The Romans fought with determination, and the issue was for some time in doubt, but finally a charge of the Carthaginian horse, under Mago, against their left flank, threw the legionaries into confusion, and they were routed with enormous loss.
Battle of Ebro River
Romans defeat Carthagians
This naval battle was fought in B.C. 217 at the mouth of the Ebro River between a Carthage fleet of 40 quinqueremes under Himilco, and a Roman fleet of 55 under Gnaeus Scipio. The Romans won a decisive victory.
Battle of Lake Trasimene
Carthagians defeat Romans
Fought June 24, B.C. 217 between 25,000 Romans, under Flaminius, and about an equal number of Cathagians under Hannibal. This battle, like Trebbia River, was won by stratagem. First by out marching the Romans, and then by guiding them into an ambush on a road between a mountain and a lake, Hannibal was able to nearly annihilate the legion with very little loss.
Battle of Cannae
Carthagians defeat Romans
Fought August 2, B.C. 216, between 90,000 Romans under Varro, and about 50,000 Carthaginians under Hannibal. Hannibal, though outnumbered in infantry, was much superior in cavalry. The Romans were drawn up with the sea in their rear, and were attacked and broken by the Carthaginian horse. The infantry followed up the attack, and, flight being impossible, the Romans were slaughtered where they stood, 80,000 falling, including the Consul Aemilius, 25 superior officers, and 80 senators. The Carthaginians lost 6,000.

Short Biography
Hannibal Carthaginian general, invaded and laid waste to Italy for sixteen years.
Fabius Cunctator Elected dictator to resist Hannibal; counseled delay, not direct assault.
Gnaeus Scipio Roman General who fought Hasdrubal in Spain and conquered Ebro region of Hispania.
Cornelius Scipio Tried to intercept Hannibal in Gaul, but was defeated at Ticino River and Trebbia.
Aemilius Paulus Consul at the Battle of Cannae; opposed the confrontation, but died on battlefield.
Varro Led Rome to disastrous defeat at Cannae. Survived and tried to rally the troops.
Hasdrubal Barca Fought against Scipios in Spain; killed after he crossed the Alps to aid Hannibal.
Mago Barca Younger brother of Hannibal, and one of his generals in Italy.

Story LinksBook Links
Hannibal at Saguntum  in  Hannibal  by  Jacob Abbott
Hannibal in the North of Italy  in  Hannibal  by  Jacob Abbott
Apennines  in  Hannibal  by  Jacob Abbott
Battle of Cannae  in  Hannibal  by  Jacob Abbott
Hannibal, the Hero of Carthage  in  Thirty More Famous Stories Retold  by  James  Baldwin
Avalanche from the Alps  in  Helmet and Spear  by  A. J. Church
Disaster at the Lake  in  Helmet and Spear  by  A. J. Church
Overthrow of Cannae  in  Helmet and Spear  by  A. J. Church
Crtitical Struggle  in  Stories from Ancient Rome  by  A. J. Church
Hannibal Crosses the Alps  in  Story of the Romans  by  H. A.  Guerber
Romans Defeated  in  Story of the Romans  by  H. A.  Guerber
Hannibal  in  Soldiers and Sailors  by  C. F.  Horne
Fabius  in  Our Young Folks' Plutarch  by  Rosalie  Kaufman
Hannibal  in  Red Book of Heroes  by  Andrew  Lang
Hannibal Crosses the Alps  in  Story of Rome  by  Mary  Macgregor
Battle of Trebia  in  Story of Rome  by  Mary  Macgregor
Battle of Lake Trasimenus  in  Story of Rome  by  Mary  Macgregor
Fabius Wins Two Victories  in  Story of Rome  by  Mary  Macgregor
Battle of Cannae  in  Story of Rome  by  Mary  Macgregor
Hannibal Crosses the Alps  in  Historical Tales: 11—Roman  by  Charles  Morris
Archimedes at the Siege of Syracuse  in  Historical Tales: 11—Roman  by  Charles  Morris
Adventures of Hannibal  in  On the Shores of the Great Sea  by  M. B.  Synge
Hannibal, Who Fought Against Rome  in  Old World Hero Stories  by  E. M.  Tappan
Trasemenus  in  Boy's Book of Battles  by  Eric  Wood
Man Who Waited  in  Children's Plutarch: Tales of the Romans  by  F. J.  Gould

Book Links
Hannibal  by  Jacob Abbott

Second Punic War—After Cannae : 216 to 202 B.C.

 A messenger was seen spurring his horse toward the city.

Had Hannibal immediately marched on Rome after his great victory at Cannae, he might have taken it, but he was seriously weakened by the battle and without siege weapons. Instead of pressing his great victory, he retired to Capua, where he rested his army for the winter. This lull gave Rome time to collect its wits and reinforce its considerable defenses. Although in three seasons they had lost the equivalent of eight legions, and a high percentage of their available manpower, they resolved to raise additional forces using slaves, peasants, and whoever could carry arms. Most importantly, there was no longer a division in philosophy. Rome whole-heartedly embraced the cautious stance of Fabian, and resolved to avoid at all cost pitched battles, instead relying on harassment and delay tactics. They also resolved to take the war to Carthage soil by attacking their empire in Spain and Sicily, and to prevent reinforcements from arriving to support Hannibal. All of Rome adopted a stoicism, born of desperation, and resolved to fight to the last, for as long as necessary. These measures did much to turn the war in Rome's favor, after a temporary bout with utter despair.

The Battle of Cannae was fought in 216 B.C. During the following fourteen years, Rome continued to fight dozens of Battles against Carthage but never again on the scale of the previous conflicts. They continued to harass Hannibal in Southern Italy, and reclaimed any region that he abandoned. Significantly, they retook Capua, after an extended siege, and so well fortified Rome, that they were able to field eight armies without significant danger. Hannibal did in fact, besiege Rome in 212 but gave up the effort as futile after a short while. In 214 a Roman army under Marcellus besieged, Syracuse, a Carthaginian ally, and within a few years had won control of all of Sicily. In Spain, the young Scipio, later known as Africanus, won several important victories, including New Carthage, Baecula, and Silphia, and governed the newly won province so well that he won the support of many of the natives. In Italy, there were many engagements, including both victories and disasters, but the real turning point of the war was the battle of Metaurus river in 207, wherein Hannibal's brother Hasdrubal, who had arrived from Spain with siege engines and reinforcements, was thoroughly routed. Hasdrubal's head was famously cut off and tossed into Hannibal's camp signaling the end of his practical hopes of finally conquering Rome.

Hannibal still remained in Italy until the Romans, led by Scipio, the hero of Spain, came up with a plan to move the war to Africa. Scipio realized that if Carthage itself was under attack, Hannibal would be recalled to defend it. Rome took the additional precaution of allying itself with Numidia, the major non-Carthage power in west Africa so that their formidable cavalry would be of service to Rome instead of Carthage. Thus was the stage set for the final show down between Rome, under the command of Scipio Africanus, and Carthage under Hannibal at the battle of Zama in 202 B.C. Hannibal was aware that he led the weaker force, and fought brilliantly, but he had met his match in Scipio. Carthage was at least defeated and accepted humiliating terms of surrender, including the destruction of their entire war fleet and a large indemnity.

Battle / Outcome
Battle of Dertosa
Romans defeat Carthagians
Fought in the spring of B.C. 215 between 33,000 Romans under Gnaeus Scipio, and 29,000 Carthagians under Hasdrubal Barca. After a pitched battle with heavy losses on both sides, Scipio drove Hasdrubal out of the region south of the Ebro.
Battle of Beneventum
Romans defeat Carthagians
Fought B.C. 214, between 18,000 Carthaginians under Hanno, and 20,000 Romans under Tiberius Gracchus. Hanno's troops were routed, his infantry being cut to pieces, and he himself escaping with difficulty, with a portion of his cavalry.
Siege of Syracuse
Romans defeat Carthagians
In 213 B.C. Syracuse, then in the hands of the pro-Carthaginian faction, was besieged by the Romans, 25,000 strong, under M. Marcellus, and a fleet under Appius Claudius. The city was defended by a garrison under Hippocrates. The siege is specially notable for the presence in the city of Archimedes, whose military engines played an important part in the defense, especially against the fleet. During the winter, the revolt of other Sicilian towns drew off a portion of the besiegers, and during the spring and early summer of 212, only a partial blockade could be maintained. Then however, taking advantage of a festival in the city, Marcellus stormed and captured the upper portion of the town. An attempt to force the Roman lines by a Carthaginian relieving force, under Himilco, was repulsed, and shortly afterwards the rest of the city was captured by assault.
Battle of Beneventum
Romans defeat Carthagians
Fought B.C. 212, when a Roman consular army under Cn. Fulvius, stormed Hanno's camp, three miles from Beneventum, at daybreak, and surprising the Carthaginians, routed them with heavy loss and captured all the corn and supplies intended for the revictualling of Capua.
Siege of Capua
Romans defeat Carthagians
This place was besieged in the autumn of B.C. 212, by 60,000 Romans under Q. Fulvius and Appius Claudius. The Romans formed a double wall of circumvallation round the city, and, early in the winter, their defenses were attacked by the garrison from within and Hannibal from without, but with no success. Hannibal then attempted to draw the besiegers from their position by marching upon Rome, but only a small portion of the besieging force followed him. It being thus found impossible to relieve the city, it shortly afterwards surrendered.
Battle of Upper Baetis
Carthagians defeat Romans
In the years leading up to this battle, Rome, lead by the Scipio brothers, Gnaeus and Publius, had secured a strong front in the Ebro valley, but Carthage, under Hasdrubal still held sway in the south. The Scipios hired 20,000 Celt-Iberian mercenaries and went to meet Hasdrubal at his stronghold near the Baetis River. The Scipios split their armies and fought two battles. The Romans under Publius Scipio met the Spaniards under Indibilius at the Battle of Castulo, and held the advantage until the arrival of Masanissa and his Numedian horsemen put the Romans to rout, and Publius was killed. A few days later, the Celt-Iberian mercenaries deserted Gnaeus and he was overwhelmed and killed at the Battle of Llorca.
Siege of Leontini
Romans defeat Carthagians
This city, the stronghold of the National party in Sicily, held by a garrison of Syracusans and Roman deserters, was stormed and sacked, B.C. 211, by three Roman legions under M. Marcellus. Two thousand Roman deserters captured in the place were put to the sword. Hippocrates succeeded in escaping.
Battle of Herdonea
Carthagians defeat Romans
Fought B.C. 210, when the Carthaginians, under Hannibal, defeated, and practically destroyed an army of 25,000 Romans, under Cnaeus Fulvius. Fulvius was among the slain.
Siege of Nova Carthago
Romans defeat Carthagians
This city, defended by a small Carthaginian garrison, under Mago, was stormed by 27,500 Romans, under Scipio, B.C. 209.
Battle of Baecula
Romans defeat Carthagians
Fought 208 B.C. between 35,000 Romans under Scipio Africanus, and 25,000 Carthagians and Spaniards under Hasdrubal Barca. In his first engagement in a pitched battle after taking possession of Novo Carthago, Scipio Africanus routed the Carthagians, killing 6,000 and taking 10,000 captive. Hasdrubal, however, escaped.
Battle of Metauras
Romans defeat Carthagians
Fought 207 B.C., between 50,000 Romans, under Claudius Nero and Marcus Livius, and the Carthaginians, in rather smaller force, under Hasdrubal. The Carthaginians were surprised at early dawn as they were endeavoring to find a ford in the Metaurus, and being vigorously attacked, were totally routed, Hasdrubal being slain. The completeness of the victory was due to Nero, who being in command of the right wing, where the ground prevented his getting to close quarters, and seeing the Roman left hard pressed by Hasdrubal's best troops, led the major part of his force round the Roman rear, and fell upon Hasdrubal's right, routing him utterly.
Battle of Elinga
Romans defeat Carthagians
Fought B.C. 206, between 74,000 Carthaginians, under Hanno, and 48,000 Romans under Scipio Africanus. The battle was fought on the open plain in front of Hanno's camp, and resulted in a complete victory for the Romans. This battle, which is also known as the battle of Silpia, ended the Carthaginian domination in Spain.
Battle of the Great Plains
Romans defeat Carthagians
Fought B.C. 203 between the Romans under Scipio Africanus, and his Western Numidian allies under Masinissa, and 30,000 Carthagians and Eastern Numidians under Hasdrubal and his ally Syphax. The entire Carthagian army was routed, and Syphax fled the scene with his enemy Masinissa in hot pursuit.
Battle of Zama
Romans defeat Carthagians
Fought B.C. 202, between the Carthaginians, under Hannibal, and the Romans, under Scipio Africanus. The Carthaginians began to attack with their elephants, 80 in number, but some of these became unmanageable, and fell back upon the cavalry, throwing them into disorder, while the legionaries opened out and allowed the others to pass down the lanes between their ranks. The infantry then closed, and after severe fighting, the Romans gained a complete victory, 20,000 Carthaginians falling, while as many more were made prisoners. Hannibal escaped from the field at the end of the day.

Short Biography
Hannibal Carthaginian general, invaded and laid waste to Italy for sixteen years.
Hasdrubal Barca Fought against Scipios in Spain; killed after he crossed the Alps to aid Hannibal.
Gnaeus Scipio Roman General who fought Hasdrubal in Spain and conquered Ebro region of Hispania.
Cornelius Scipio Tried to intercept Hannibal in Gaul, but was defeated at Ticino River and Trebbia.
Marcellus Besieged Syracuse during the second Punic War, but the ingenious war weapons of Archimedes frustrated the Romans.
Masinissa King of Numidia, allied with Rome against Carthage; fought at Zama.
Scipio Africanus Roman hero of second Punic War. Led armies in Spain and Africa. Defeated Hannibal at Zama.
Claudius Nero Led Rome to victory at the critical battle of Metaurus River.

Story LinksBook Links
Scipio  in  Hannibal  by  Jacob Abbott
Secret March  in  Helmet and Spear  by  A. J. Church
Hannibal's Last Battle  in  Helmet and Spear  by  A. J. Church
Inventor Archimedes  in  Story of the Romans  by  H. A.  Guerber
Scipio Africanus  in  Famous Men of Rome  by  J. H.  Haaren
Scipio  in  Soldiers and Sailors  by  C. F.  Horne
Archimedes  in  Statesmen and Sages  by  C. F.  Horne
Marcellus  in  Our Young Folks' Plutarch  by  Rosalie  Kaufman
Defeat of Hasdrubal  in  Story of Rome  by  Mary  Macgregor
Scipio Sails to Africa  in  Story of Rome  by  Mary  Macgregor
Battle of Zama  in  Story of Rome  by  Mary  Macgregor
Roman Undismayed  in  Children's Plutarch: Tales of the Romans  by  F. J.  Gould
How Hannibal Fought and Died  in  Historical Tales: 11—Roman  by  Charles  Morris

Story LinksBook Links
Early History of Spain  in  Romance of Spanish History  by  J. S. C. Abbott
Capture of New Carthage  in  Story of Rome  by  Mary  Macgregor

Third Punic War : 262 to 241 B.C.

 The Lady Salamo defies the Romans from the Walls of Carthage.

The third Punic war was a one-sided affair. Rome had resolved to destroy Carthage, and it proceeded to do so, but it faced a strongly fortified city with a desperate population. Although Carthage had not threatened Rome for over fifty years, it had recovered well from its losses, paid off its indemnity and now, with neither an expensive fleet or a mercenary army to support, was thriving again. There was considerable sentiment within Rome in favor of removing Carthage before it became an active threat, and with this in mind, Rome took Carthaginian hostages, forced the Carthaginians to disarm, and then forced concessions on them that were impossible to accept—namely, that the Carthaginians themselves destroy their own city and rebuild it several miles inland. Carthage was entirely a sea-faring, merchant-based civilization and could not consider such a possibility. The siege lasted for over a year, before Scipio the Younger, a nephew of Africanus was put in charge of its execution. He restored discipline and eventually made progress. The town had several layers of walls, however, and even when both walls were breached the Carthaginians fought house to house, preferring to die in combat than to surrender. The city was burned to the ground, the stone walls were dismantled, and the population was killed or sold into slavery. Carthage had ceased to exist.

Battle / Outcome
Siege of Carthage
Romans defeat Carthagians
In B.C. 152 siege was laid to this city by a Roman consular army under Manius Manilius, aided by a fleet under L. Censorinus. The Carthaginian army under Hasdrubal was encamped outside the walls, and greatly hindered the operations of the Romans, who would have made little progress but for the efforts of Scipio Aemilianus, then a military tribune. In B.C. 148, Scipio was made consul, and appointed to the command, and he succeeded in completely blockading the city, which, after an obstinate resistance lasting six years, was captured B.C. 146 and razed to the ground.

Short Biography
Scipio the Younger Led the siege of Carthage during the third Punic War.
Polybius Taken as Greek hostage during Macedonian wars; historian of Punic Wars.
Hasdrubal Leader of the Carthaginian military during the Third Punic War.

Story LinksBook Links
Destruction of Carthage  in  Hannibal  by  Jacob Abbott
Delenda est Carthago  in  Thirty More Famous Stories Retold  by  James  Baldwin
Blotting Out of Carthage  in  Helmet and Spear  by  A. J. Church
Destruction of Carthage  in  Story of the Romans  by  H. A.  Guerber
Hatred of Cato for Carthage  in  Story of Rome  by  Mary  Macgregor
Stern Decree  in  Story of Rome  by  Mary  Macgregor
Carthaginians Defend Their City  in  Story of Rome  by  Mary  Macgregor
Fate of Carthage  in  Historical Tales: 11—Roman  by  Charles  Morris
End of Carthage  in  On the Shores of the Great Sea  by  M. B.  Synge

Book Links
Lords of the World  by  Alfred J. Church

Map Links
Battle of Metaurus River
Plan of Carthage
Growth of Roman Power in Italy to 218 B.C.
Rome at Beginning of Second Punic War, 218 B.C.

Image Links
The Battle in the River  in Hannibal The Elephants crossing the Rhone  in Hannibal Hannibal on the Alps  in Hannibal
Crossing the Marshes  in Hannibal Hasdrubal's Head  in Hannibal The Burning of the Carthaginian Fleet  in Hannibal
Hannibal crossing the Alps  in Thirty More Famous Stories Retold The Overthrow of Cannae  in Helmet and Spear Do you yield?' Said Cleanor when the Roman had reached the shore  in Lords of the World
I saw you stoop and lift your companion from the ground.'  in Lords of the World The Lady Salamo defies the Romans from the Walls of Carthage.  in Lords of the World Scipio, throwing his toga over his face, burst into a passion of tears.  in Lords of the World
To be able to board an adversary's ship was what they aimed at.  in Stories from Ancient Rome The passage of the Alps was effected under many difficulties  in Stories from Ancient Rome Hannibal's route across the Alps  in Stories from Ancient Rome
Hannibal and Marcellus in Children's Plutarch: Tales of the Romans Roman Ships in Battle in Famous Men of Rome Boarding Bridge in Famous Men of Rome
Hannibal Crossing the Alps in Famous Men of Rome Hannibal's Strategem in Famous Men of Rome Patriotism of the Women of Carthage in Famous Men of Rome
The Roman Attack at Mylae  in Greatest Nations: Rome The Destruction of Carthage  in Greatest Nations: Rome Hannibal's Stratagem in Campania  in Greatest Nations: Rome
Death of Archimedes  in Greatest Nations: Rome Carthaginian Women Sacrificing their Treasures to their Country  in Greatest Nations: Rome Hannibal Crossing the Rhone  in Soldiers and Sailors
The gauls poured out of their camp shouting and screaming with delight. in Red Book of Heroes Under the eyes of the army the combat began. in Red Book of Heroes Fifteen thousand romans fell that day. in Red Book of Heroes
The whole four thousand climed the ridge. in Red Book of Heroes I carry here peace and war. Choose, men of Carthage, which ye will.'  in Story of Rome We are beaten, O Romans, in a great battle; our army is destroyed.'  in Story of Rome
A messenger was seen spurring his horse toward the city.  in Story of Rome His progress was as that of a king.  in Story of Rome The city was given to the flames.  in Story of Rome
Hannibal Crossing the Alps  in Historical Tales: 11—Roman Burning of Carthage. in On the Shores of the Great Sea Hannibal Crossing the Rhone.  in Old World Hero Stories
Hannibal Crossing the Alps.  in Old World Hero Stories Carthagian Women (Preparing for the Romans.)  in Old World Hero Stories