Dux femina facti: " a woman, the leader of the deed", describing Dido in the Aeneid; later used by Queen Elizabeth I (and Mrs. Marsh)Elizabeth_I_(Ermine_Portrait).jpgThere she is! (Queen Elizabeth, not Mrs. Marsh) What in the world is up with the rat? ( according to my former student, Matthew Forcier, it is an ermine. I still think it looks like a rat, or possibly a ferret).

Carthago delenda est: "Cathage must be destroyed." Marcus Cato, the respected Roman statesman began to end every speech he gave in the Senate during the Third Punic War, whether the issue being debated had anything to do with Carthage or not. It has come to be used for insistance than an issue be handled, usually an issue concerning war. After 9/11, this phrase was often employed to describe how we must deal with ISIS.

Cato_Major.jpgThat is one serious dude.

deletorius: full of destruction
effeminate: womanly; a man who shows characteristics similar to a woman, unmanly

Dido(aka Elissa): Phoenician queen; queen of Carthage, the African nation, fled her homeland after her brother, Pygmalion, murdered her husband, Sychaeus. She established a city in Africa called Carthage. She was the lover of Aeneas, the founder of Italy. When he left her, she committed suicide, and when she did, she cursed him and all of his descendents(i.e. the Romans) to eternal enmity, and begged the gods to allow an avenger to rise from her blood to avenge her death. This is the tradional reason for the hostility between the Carthaginians and the Romans, but in reality, wars are for MONEY ( and sometimes religion, and sometimes both).

Check this out, Classics popping up in popular culture:tres chic

The_Death_of_Dido_(1781);_Joshua_Reynolds.jpgAnna, who is horrified at what Dido has done. Iris is in the back, there to release her soul.

Joshua Reynolds

Claude Augustin's scultpure, note the funeral pyre....


Punic: Punicus,a,um...the Latin word for Phoenician, hence the Punic Wars are the wars against the Phoenicians, i.e the Carthaginians.


bellaque matribus detestata: "and wars, hated by mothers" (Horace) apropo for our new unit, yes?

bella horrida bella: "wars, horrible wars" (Vergil)

detest: to feel intense and often violent antipathy toward

horrid: innately offensive or repulsive

Carthage : Ancient state of North Africa, and at times including European territory in the southwestern part of the Mediterranean basin, lasting from about the 9th century BCE to 146 BCE. From the 8th century until the 3rd century BCE, Carthage was the dominant power in the western half of the Mediterranean.
reconstruction_of_Carthage_1.jpg Reconstruction of Carthage
carthage05.jpg Roman ruins in modern Tunisa

Hanno the Navigator: was a Carthaginian explorer of the 6th or 5th century BC,best known for his naval exploration of the western African coast. The only source of his voyage is a Greek Periplus. He went through the straights of Gibraltar, and down possibly as far as Gabon, when he had to return for supplies.
His purpose was to create colonies, thus increasing Carthage's influence and presence in the Med and around Africa.

livius hanno the navigator

engineering an empire carthage



si vis pacem para bellum: "if you want peace, prepare for war"...it seems a bit of a paradox.

amat victoria curam: "victory loves care" so cross your t's and dot your i's.

parabellum:a type of semiautomatic pistol or machine-gun;also called Luger
pacifism:a commitment to peace and opposition to war as a means of settling disputes

Meanwhile, in Italy, the Romans are making moves of their own. The Greeks are trying to make moves, and the Romans are coming into conflict with them as a result. There cannot be two top dogs in Italy.

Pyhrrus of Epirus:
(born 319 bce—died 272, Argos, Argolis), king of Hellenistic Epirius whose costly military successes against Macedonia and Rome gave rise to the phrase “Pyrrhic victory.” His Memoirs and books on the art of war were quoted and praised by many ancient authors, including Cicero.

After the Battle of Asculum (279), Pyrrhus won, it was on this occasion that he said "One more victory against the Romans and we will be ruined" - the origin of the expression Pyrrhic victory, which is when you when a battle, but at such heavy cost that you cannot win the war.


Upon becoming ruler at the age of 12, Pyrrhus allied himself with Demetrius, son of Antigonus I Monophthalmus of Macedonia. Dethroned by an uprising in 302 bce, Pyrrhus fought beside Demetrius in Asia and was sent to Alexandria as a hostage under the treaty between Ptolemy I Soter and Demetrius. Ptolemy befriended Pyrrhus and in 297 restored him to his kingdom. At first Pyrrhus reigned with a kinsman, Neoptolemus, but soon he had his colleague assassinated.
In 294 he exploited a dynastic quarrel in Macedonia to obtain the frontier areas of Parauaea and Tymphaea, along with Acarnania, Ampholochia, and Ambracia. Corcyra and Leucas were given to him in a marriage dowry. Next, he went to war against his former ally, now Demetrius I Poliorcretes of Macedonia. Pyrrhus took Thessaly and the western half of Macedonia and relieved Athens from Demetrius’s siege, but was driven back into Epirus by Lysimachus (who had supplanted Demetrius) in 284.
In 281 Tarentum (in southern Italy) asked for Pyrrhus’s assistance against Rome. He crossed to Italy with about 25,000 men, and in 280 won a complete, if costly, victory over a Roman army at Heraclea. In 279 Pyrrhus, again suffering heavy casualties, defeated the Romans at Ausculum (Ascoli Satriano) in Apulia. He then crossed to Sicily (278) and, as “king of Sicily,” conquered most of the Punic province except Lilybaeum (Marsala). However, his despotic methods provoked a revolt of the Greek Sicilians, and in 276 (or early 275) he returned to Italy. In 275 he suffered heavy losses in a battle against Rome at Beneventum (Benevento).

The next year he defeated the new Macedonian ruler, Antigonus II Gonatas, whose troops hailed Pyrrhus as king. Suddenly abandoning Macedonia, however, he launched an unsuccessful attack on Sparta to restore Cleonymus (272). Pyrrhus was killed in a night skirmish in the streets of Argos.

So, there is a large Greek presence in Italy. But not for long, because with Pyrhhus dead in a street fight, the Romans take the Pennisula.
This map is provided by our friends at the University of Texas.


damnatio memoriae: "condemnation of memory"; one must not be remembered; a judgment passed upon traitors or others who humiliated or betrayed Rome in some way

homo homini lupus : "man is a wolf to man" Welcome to God's cruel kingdom.

homunculus (homo):a diminutive human being

damnation ( damnatio):the state of being in hell as punishment after death; eternal damnation

Mamertines:group of mercenaries living in Messana, often fighting like pirates.

Campanian mercenaries, ruthless, elite and highly sought-after throughout the period 400 - 241 B.C., were a mainstay of the army that sustained the power of the ruthless Agathocles ‘King of Sicily’ Following the death of Agathocles in 289 BC, these unemployed mercenaries agreed to depart Sicily and return to Italy.

En route back to Italy, on the north-eastern tip of Sicily, the band of desperadoes came across the walled Greek settlement of Messana (now Messina). The peaceful townspeople allowed the travelling mercenaries into their homes. The Campanian mercenaries treacherously betrayed their hosts, killed most of the population, divided the women and property, and made Messana their new home. They named themselves the Mamertines, the sons’ of the Oscan war-god Mamers(often translated to 'Children of Mars' in English). The Mamertines held Messana for over 20 years, turning it into a raiding base, spreading mayhem and terror, looting nearby towns, capturing ships, taking prisoners and demanding tribute. Their exploits made them rich and they even struck their own coins.

The Mamertines’ disturbing presence in Messana did not go unchallenged forever. In 265 B.C., Hiero II, king of Syracuse, attacked them, laid siege to their city, and reduced them to such an extremity that they felt obliged to look for help. The Mamertines called for help from a nearby fleet from Carthage, which then occupied the harbor of Messana. Hiero II withdrew, not wishing to confront Carthaginian forces.

In 264 B.C., uncomfortable under the Carthaginian "protection," the Mamertines appealed to Rome. At first, the Romans did not wish to come to the aid brigands who had stolen a city. Soon, however, Rome agreed, unwilling to see Carthaginian power spread further over Sicily and get too close to Italy. In response, Syracuse allied itself with Carthage. At that point, the Mamertines and Syracuse became nearly insignificant, the conflict had escalated into the First Punic War.

After the First Punic War, the Mamertines as a power are lost to history, but centuries later the inhabitants of Messana were still called Mamertines. Julius Caesar served Mamertine wine, his favorite, at a feast celebrating his third consulship.

In his novel Salammbô, Gustave Flaubert writes of the Greeks singing the 'old song of the Mamertines': "With my lance and sword I plough and reap; I am master of the house! The disarmed man falls at my feet and calls me Lord and Great King."


Battle Of Agrigentum

Agrigento-concordia1-430bc.jpgif you ever find yourself on the island of Sicily

The Siege of Agrigentum was the first major battle between Roman and Carthaginian armies during the First Punic War. Agrigentum, a Greek city on the southern coast of Sicily, had entered into an alliance with Carthage in 264, during the campaign that had resulted the siege of Messana. At the start of 262 the well-fortified city was the main Punic base in Sicily. The Carthaginians were reported to be recruiting a large mercenary army amongst the Celts of northern Italy, intending to assemble that army at Agrigentum. In the meantime the cities defences were in the hands of Hannibal Gisco.

The Romans responded by sending both Consuls for 262, L. Postumius and Q. Mamilius, to Sicily, at the head of an army 40,000 strong. They reached Agrigentum in the summer of 262, probably in June, and just in time to gather in the local harvest. They settled down to besiege the city. It was known that a large Punic army under the command of Hanno (one of many Hannos to be found commanding Punic forces) was being prepared to come to the aid of Hannibal, and so the Romans prepared a double line of trenches around Agrigentum.

The Carthaginian relief force took most of the rest of the year to prepare. Eventually Hanno would arrive in Sicily with a force reputed to contain 50,000 infantry, 6,000 cavalry and 60 elephants. Events around Agrigentum would suggest that this figure was fairly accurate.

The Roman siege continued uninterrupted for five months before Hanno finally arrived outside their lines. The situation inside the city was already desperate by that point, but the presence of the relief force encouraged further resistance. Hanno was able to cut the Romans off from their supplies, producing a double siege. His army must have been of sufficient size to prevent the Romans from engaging it in open battle.

The value of Rome’s alliance with King Hiero II of Syracuse was now demonstrated. While the besieged garrison of Agrigentum was becoming increasingly desperate, Hiero was able to break the Carthaginian blockage of the Roman camp, running much needed supplies to his allies.

After two months outside the Roman lines, Hanno was finally forced to offer battle or see Agrigentum surrender. He was soundly defeated by the Romans, and forced to retreat west along the coast to Heraclea having lost half of his army. However, the fighting had also weakened the Romans, who were unable to prevent Hannibal from escaping from Agrigentum.

The Romans treated the captured city with unexpected severity. The city was sacked, its population, including the Greeks, sold into slavery. This had the result of turning the Greek population of Sicily against the Romans, making it much harder for them to pose as defenders of Greek liberties against Carthaginian attack. The two consuls involved in the siege of Agrigentum were not awarded a triumph, suggesting a certain dissatisfaction with their efforts.



mors tua, mea vita : "your death, my life"; a fight in which only one person is coming out of it alive.

igni ferroque :" by fire and iron"; how the Romans brought people into the fold

vital(vita): necessary for life

igneous(ignis) : full of fire; like a rock from a volcano

Corvi("beaks"): The Romans quickly came to understand that they needed a navy to win the First Punic War. To that end, they began to develop technology to help them use their strengths to fortify thier very limited experience with naval battles.

The Romans recognized their weakness in naval power and tactics, especially after the incident of the Lipari Islands ( loss of 17 ships and a surrender to the Carthaginians...quelle horreur). With this in mind they constructed the corvus a plank to link ships together at sea. . This device would be attached to the prow of Roman ships on a rotating axle, so that it could be swung around; and its spiked end could then be dropped onto an enemy ship. In this way the Romans could still make use of their superior soldiers by loading them across the corvus and onto enemy ships.corvi.jpgThis way, they could just load the men onto ships, drop them onto enemy ships, and then fight the land battle that they were so very good at, on a ship!corvus.jpgNecessity is the mother of invention.



Regulus (optimus vir!!!!!)

Marcus Atilius Regulus, (flourished 3rd century bc), Roman general and statesman whose career, greatly embellished by legend, was seen by the Romans as a model of heroic endurance.
Regulus served as consul in 267 and 256. In the latter year (during the First Punic War 264–241) he and his colleague Lucius Manlius Vulso defeated the Carthaginian fleet off Mount Ecnomus, in southeast Sicily, and landed an army in Africa. Vulso was then recalled, leaving Regulus to finish the war. Regulus severely defeated the enemy at Adys, near Carthage. His demands for an unconditional surrender, however, angered the Carthaginians, who in turn resolved to continue the struggle, and in 255 they defeated and seized the Roman general.
According to tradition, Regulus remained in captivity at Carthage until he was sent to Rome on parole to negotiate either a peace or an exchange of prisoners. He is supposed to have urged the Roman Senate to refuse the proposals and then, over the protests of his own people, to have fulfilled the terms of his parole by returning to Carthage. His captors, it was said, promptly tortured him to death. The story is not found in the best surviving source, the 2nd-century bc Greek historian Polybius, but it is mentioned in the fragments of Gaius Sempronius Tuditanus (consul in 129 bc). Some historians have suggested that the story of the torture of Regulus was invented to excuse the subsequent torturing of two Carthaginian prisoners of war by Regulus’s widow.
regulus.png Regulus_Returning_to_Carthage_-_1791.jpg


Urbes constituit aetas, hora dissolvit (Seneca the Younger) Lifetime builds up cities, a single hour ruins them.
Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori: it is sweet and honorable to die for one's country (Horace)

constitute: to establish
decorum: a sense of propriety and good judgement; honor

ducle et decorum

Hamilcar Barca

Hamilcar Barca, Barca also spelled Barcas (died winter 229/228 bc)
Hamilcar commanded the Carthaginian land forces in Sicily during 247–241 BC during the later stages of the First Punic War. He kept his army intact and led a successful guerrilla war against the Romans in Sicily. After the defeat of Carthage in 241 BC Hamilcar retired to Africa after the peace treaty. When the Mercenary War burst out in 239 BC, Hamilcar was recalled to command and was instrumental in concluding that conflict successfully. Hamilcar commanded the Carthaginian expedition to Spain in 237 BC, and for 8 years expanded the territory of Carthage in Spain before dying in battle in 228 BC.

Hamilcar spent nine years in Spain. With Hannibal, and son-in-law Hasdrubal (the Handsome), he and an army of elephants and Phoenician and Numidian troops battled Iberian tribes, acquired huge quantities of Spanish bullion, and solidified new political and military alliances. In expanding his power to the European continent, Hamilcar reinvigorated the Carthaginian empire, regained needed resources, and prepared a base for renewing war against Rome, which his son Hannibal would famously do in the Second Punic War. Hamilcar died in battle, most likely drowning in the Jucar River while besieging a place called Helice and trying to escape from a Celtiberian army.
The Barcid's family's domination of and presence in Spain is still felt to this very day...

The Barcids founded several Carthaginian cities in the Iberian peninsula, some of which still exist today. Note for example Mahón and Qart Hadast (more famous under the Latin translation of its name: "Carthago Nova: - New Carthage) which currently bears the name of Cartagena in modern-day Spain. And the city, Barcelona bears their name.




Hamilcar Barca


viam aut inveniam aut faciam:" Either I will find a way or I will make one". I love this quote. Who said this? None other than our friend and compadre, Hannibal.

Bellum se alet: "War feeds on itself" Thomas Hobbes, English philosopher, social contract

alimentary(alere): of or relating to nourishment or nutrition. The alimentary canal allows sustenance in one's body.

facsimile ( facere + simile): made similar;an exact copy. I'm sending a fax right now!

And now to our Punic friends: hannibal-3-sized.jpg

So, how did the Second Punic War get started? Hannibal the African general who is considered to be among the great generals of all time ,deliberately provoked Rome into war. Nanny nanny boo boo. hannibal child soldier

"The first Punic War left Carthage greatly weakened. Rome now occupied Sicily, while the Mercenary War left Carthage vulnerable in Africa as well. The Carthaginian response was to send Hamilcar Barca, their undefeated general from Sicily, to Spain (c.238-7 BC), where he was to greatly revive Carthage's fortunes. By the time he was killed in an ambush (229 BC), he had secured control of the southern coast of Spain. He was replaced by his son-in-law Hasdrubal, who continued the advance, before his own assassination in 221. The key event of his time in charge was that in c.226 BC he signed a treaty with Rome agreeing not to interfere north of the River Ebro. This agreement didn't cause any problems to either side at this point - Carthage's Spanish lines were much further south, while Rome was not involved in Spain at all at this point. However, it was typical of Rome's attitude that she felt she had the right to intervene in Carthage's affairs even at a distance, something that was bound to annoy the Carthaginians.

Hasdrubal was replaced in command in Spain by the twenty six year old Hannibal, the son of Hamilcar, who was elected by the army in Spain. Everything suggests that he was intent on war with Rome from the moment he came to power, a cause he probably inherited from his father (considered by Polybius to be one of the main causes of the second war). With this in mind, Hannibal's campaigns in Spain in 221 can be seen as an attempt to capture more fertile lands to feed his army for Italy. Certainly, when the chance came to make the break with Rome, Hannibal seized it. By 220 the city of Saguntum, some way south of the Ebro, had allied with Rome. When a tribe allied to Carthage started to raid Saguntum's territory, Hannibal sided with the allied tribe, and despite a direct warning from the Romans not to, attacked Saguntum (Spring 219 BC). Although the siege took eight months, it consisted of a series of attempts to take the city by storm, an unusually aggressive plan for this period. The city was captured at the end of 219, and Hannibal sent his troops into winter quarters.

Although Rome did nothing to help Saguntum, she did sent a delegation to Carthage over the winter. In a dramatic scene in the Carthaginian senate, the leader of the Roman delegation declared war. Only two decades after one of the most costly wars of antiquity, Rome and Carthage were once again at war."


The Ebro Treaty : The treaty stipulating that the Carthagininans would not attempt to take any territory in Spain north of the Ebro River, likewise Rome would not go south of the Ebro. Neither party ultimately abided by this treaty, and both parties blamed each other for violating it. It is very unlikely that Hannibal had any intent of abiding by it, but then again, Rome is not unsullied here either.

"The Ebro Treaty was upheld by both parties for a short time after Hamilcar Barca of Carthage's defeat by the Romans in the First Punic War. This treaty allowed Carthage the right to develop and patrol any land to the south of the River Ebro, which lies a short distance to the northeast of modern Barcelona (which was at the time in Iberia, now modern Spain), but it also specified that the Carthaginians were not to cross the river. Rome offered in the treaty that it would refrain from land acquisition south of the Ebro, and thought itself generous by granting Carthage the right to utilize any area at all not already under Carthaginian control (the land south of the Ebro). Adrian Goldsworthy explains in his book The Punic Wars that Hannibal felt the treaty limited his right to explore even unconquered territories (north of the Ebro).

Rome, fearing that Carthage was on the verge of breaking the treaty (which it most likely would have with Hannibal in control of Carthage's Iberian enterprise, had Rome not first violated its premises) allied itself with Saguntum, a town south of the Ebro in 219 BCE, and expelled Carthaginian officials from the city. So the young Carthaginian commander Hannibal lay siege to the city, which fell after eight months. Although Saguntum was a good distance south of the Ebro, Rome considered Hannibal's attacking the city, which had diplomatic relations with Rome, was a violation of the Ebro Treaty on Carthage's part, and sent some of its officials to Carthage, demanding reparations."



It's on like donkey kong.


morior invictus: "I die unvanquished"; death before defeat

imperium sine finem(Vergil): "empire without end"

imperious: assuming power or authority without justification; arrogant and domineering.

finite: having an end

The Second Punic War has now begun! hannibal

The Second Punic War is most often remembered for Hannibal's march across the Alps with the elephants, which is quite memorable, and dramatic, and indicative of his determination, but not really the big hoohah of the war. "Hoohah" is what all the big generals call it.

hannibal_elephants.jpgEcce!It's a mahout!!!

Imagine what that army looked like coming over the Alps.

Battle of Trebia:battle of trebia

The Battle of the Trebia was the first major battle of the Second Punic War in December of 218 BC, on or around the winter solstice. It was a resounding Roman defeat with heavy losses, and yet some 10,000 and more Romans, over 2.5 legions, were victorious on their part of battlefield. In this battle Hannibal got the better of the Romans by exercising the careful and innovative planning for which he was famous. The impetuous and short-sighted opposing general, the consul, Tiberius Sempronius Longus, allowed himself to be provoked into a frontal assault under physically difficult circumstances and failed to see that he was being led into a trap.

Battle_Trebia-numbers_svg.pngHannibal positioned his brother Mago inthe swampy lands nearby to ambush the Romans. He antagonized Sempronius Longus into crossing the river, which was cold and chest high, and it was reported that the Romans were shivering so badly that they could scarely hold their weapons. Meanwhile, the Carthaginians are dry, well fed and warm. Hannibal allowed them to get out of/across the river, and then he struck.


"The following morning, Hannibal ordered elements of his cavalry to cross the Trebia and harass the Romans. Once engaged they were to retreat and lure the Romans to a point where Mago's men could launch an ambush.

Ordering his own cavalry to attack the approaching Carthaginian horsemen, Sempronius raised his entire army and sent it forward against Hannibal's camp. Seeing this, Hannibal quickly formed his army with infantry in the center and cavalry and war elephants on the flanks. Sempronius approached in the standard Roman formation with three lines of infantry in the center and cavalry on the flanks. In addition, velite skirmishers were deployed forward. As the two armies collided, the velites were thrown back and the heavy infantry engaged.

On the flanks, the Carthaginian cavalry, making use of their greater numbers, slowly pushed back their Roman counterparts. As pressure on the Roman cavalry grew, the flanks of the infantry became unprotected and open to attack. Sending forward his war elephants against the Roman left, Hannibal next ordered his cavalry to attack the exposed flanks of the Roman infantry. With the Roman lines wavering, Mago's men sprang from their concealed position and attacked Sempronius' rear. Nearly surrounded, the Roman army collapsed and began fleeing back across the river.


As the Roman army broke, thousands were cut down or trampled as they attempted to escape to safety. Only the center of Sempronius' infantry, which had fought well, was able to retire to Placentia in good order."Second_Punic_War_Battles.gif

battle of trebia


Ius ad bellum : "right to war"; the criteria for declaring war

Ius in bello: "right in war"; criteria for behavior in war

justice: the process or result of using laws to fairly judge and punish crimes and criminals; having one's rights upheld

bellicose: having or showing a tendency to argue or fight; one who wants war

Battle of Lake Trasimene : ambush at trasimene

Battle of Lake Trasimene - Background:

In the wake of Tiberius Sempronius Longus' defeat at the Battle of Trebia in 218 BC, the Roman Republic moved to elect two new consuls the following year with the hope of turning the tide of the conflict. While Gnaeus Servilius Geminus replaced Publius Cornelius Scipio, Gaius Flaminius relieved the defeated Sempronius. Taking command of the remnants of Sempronius' army, Flaminius was reinforced by newly raised legions and began moving south to assume a defensive position closer to Rome. Alerted to Flaminius' intentions, Hannibal and his Carthaginian army followed.

Moving faster than the Romans, Hannibal's force passed Flaminius and began devastating the countryside with the hope of bringing the Romans to battle. Encamping at Arretium, Flaminius awaited the arrival of additional men led by Servilius. Rampaging through the region, Hannibal worked to encourage Rome's allies to desert to his side by showing that the Republic was unable to protect them. Unable to draw the Romans into battle, Hannibal moved around Flaminius' left and maneuvered to cut him off from Rome. Under increasing pressure from Rome and angered by Carthaginian actions in the area, Flaminius moved in pursuit.

Laying the Trap:

Passing along the northern shore of Lake Trasimene, Hannibal learned that the Romans were on the march. Assessing the terrain, he made plans for a massive ambush along the lake's shore. The area along the lake was reached by passing through a narrow defile to the west which opened to a narrow plain. To the north were wooded hills with the lake to the south. As bait, Hannibal established a camp which was visible from the defile. Just to the west of the camp he deployed his heavy infantry along a low rise. On the hills extending west, he placed his light infantry in concealed positions.

Furthest west, hidden in a wooded valley, Hannibal formed his Gallic infantry and cavalry. These forces were intended to sweep down on the Roman rear and prevent their escape. As a final ruse on the night before the battle, he ordered fires lit in the Tuoro hills to confuse the Romans as to the actual location of his army. Marching hard the next day, Flaminius approached the defile. Though advised by his officers to await Servilius, he was determined to exact revenge on the Carthaginians. Passing through the defile on June 24, 217 BC, Flaminius goaded his men forward.

The Battle of Lake Trasimene:

In an effort to split the Roman army, Hannibal sent forward a skirmishing force which succeeded in drawing Flaminius' vanguard away from the main body. With the entire Roman force on the narrow plain, the Carthaginians emerged from their positions and attacked. Riding down, the Carthaginian cavalry blocked the road east sealing the trap. Streaming down from the hills, Hannibal's men caught the Romans by surprise and prevented them from forming for battle. Separated into three groups, the Romans desperately battled for their lives .

In short order the westernmost group was overrun by the Carthaginian cavalry and forced into the lake. Fighting with the center group, Flaminius came under attack from the Gallic infantry. Though mounting a tenacious defense, he was cut down with the bulk of his men after three hours of fighting. Quickly realizing that the majority of the army was in jeopardy, the Roman vanguard fought their way forward and succeeded in breaking through Hannibal's light troops. Fleeing through the woods, the majority of this force was able to escape.

Aftermath of Lake Trasimene:

Though casualties are not known with precision, it is believed that the Romans suffered around 15,000 killed with only around 10,000 of the army ultimately reaching safety. The remainder was captured either on the field or the next day by the Carthaginian cavalry commander Maharbal. Hannibal's losses were approximately 2,500 kill on the field with more dying from their wounds. The destruction of Flaminius' army led to widespread panic in Rome. The allies remain loyal, for now, but the seeds of doubt are indubidibly being sown.

It's a magnus lacus.
Note the fog.
external image helmet_punic_wars_s.JPG
Roman helmet from the age of the Punic wars, now in the British Museum.



C. Flaminius:

Sylvestre Ducar decapite Flaminius

moribund:dying; a moribund plant

definite: having distinct limits; free from uncertainty; definite rules

[[http://www.meenerally annoying thrriam-webster.com/dictionary/definite]]


Hannibal ante portas: Hannibal before the gates;in 216 BC

Hannibal directly threatens the city of Rome, but cannot advance due to lack of supplies and reinforcements. This turns out to be a huge mistake on Carthage's part. Now the phrase is used to describe any imminent threat.

bellum domesticam: "war among family members" ; the most dreaded of all

domestic: of the home

portal: a gateway

The Romans need to get their act together. For real.

Fabius MaxiusCUNCTATOR/ The Delayer!!!! Patience is a virtue, and virtues are rarely popular.
Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucocus, to be exact!!!
Our friend Hannibal had weaknesses despite his enormous success. Fabius Maximus was elected dictator after the debacle at Trasiimene in order to stop Hannibal. He realized that Hannibal's weakness was his distance from home, and so he decided to fight a war of attrition and to adopt a scorched earth policy. This, however, was not the glamorous resounding kind of victory which the Romans found so very appealing. Fabius Maximus refused to meet Hannibal in open battle, as that was Hannibal's strength. Instead, he skirted about the countryside, generally annoying the Carthaginian forces. At one point, he did have Hannibal cornered, but our resourceful Hannibal employed an "oxen army" to scare the bejesus( that is the technical term...all the big generals are using it) out of the Romans, and clear a path for his army to escape.
Hannibal sought to force Fabius into a fight. He marched his army into Campania. This stretch of land was the garden of Italy, the most fertile and wealthy of all the peninsula. As Hannibal moved through it he put it to the torch. How long could Fabius bear to stand by and watch the destruction of finest piece of land in all Italy? Fabius endured. Though his men demanded to be lead into battle. Though Minucius grew ever more scathing in his criticism of his superior. Fabius watched on. But he did not content himself with doing nothing. As Hannibal rampaged through the countryside, Fabius set about closing off all the passes out of Campania. It wasn’t long before Hannibal was trapped. Once more, however, the genius of the man proved too much for the Romans. He rounded up 2,000 oxen and drove them up a hillside one night, each beast with a lighted torch tied to its horns. Thinking Hannibal’s army was launching a nocturnal attack on a neighbouring position, a garrison of 4,000 men stationed at a the pass by a mountain called Erubianus (by Polybius) or Callicula (by Livy) rushed to reinforce their comrades. Once these guards had abandoned their position, Hannibal simply marched his army across the pass they were supposed to guard. (217 BC)
fabian tactics

video the battle of cannae

battle of Cannae history professors and military dudes

Battle of Cannae

The Battle of Cannae is considered by many to be a rare example of tactical perfection. A numerically inferior force (Hannibal's 40000) beat a numerically superior force ( Rome's 50000), which is very unusual.
roman-empire.net the battle of CannaeBattle_of_Cannae,_215_BC_-_Initial_Roman_attack.gif
It's called a slaughtering pit, and is exactly what it sounds like.
Maps courtesy of United States Military Academy Department of History

Scipio Africanus:

article about Scipio Scipio_Africanus_the_Elder.jpgIt's startling looking, I know.

Scipio is largely remembered as the man in whom finally Hannibal met his match. He had fought in the 2nd Punic War( he survived cannae,and put down an effort by some of the surviving soldiers to surrender)and had observed and learned from Hannibal. He cut his teeth in Spain, and then, when he earned his command, he decided to strike at Carthage itself. This turned out to be a great idea, and Hannibal was forced to leave Italy and return to Africa. "Prepare for war, since you find peace intolerable" said Scipio. The two men faced off at the Battle of Zama.

article about Zama with maps
Battle of Zama, (202 bc), victory of the Romans led by Scipio Africanus the Elder over the Carthaginians commanded by Hannibal. It was the last and decisive battle of the Second Punic War. The battle took place at a site identified by the Roman historian Livy as Naraggara (now Sāqiyat Sīdī Yūsuf, Tunisia). The name Zama was given to the site (which modern historians have never precisely identified) by the Roman historian Cornelius Nepos about 150 years after the battle.
By the year 203 Carthage was in great danger of attack from the forces of the Roman general Publius Cornelius Scipio, who had invaded Africa and had won an important battle barely 20 miles (32 km) west of Carthage itself. The Carthaginian generals Hannibal and his brother Mago were accordingly recalled from their campaigns in Italy; Hannibal returned to Africa with his 12,000-man veteran army and soon gathered a total of 37,000 troops with which to defend the approaches to Carthage. Scipio, for his part, marched up the Bagradas (Medjerda) River toward Carthage, seeking a decisive battle with the Carthaginians. Scipio had no more troops than did Hannibal, but his 6,000 Numidian cavalrymen led by Prince Masinissa were superior to the Carthaginian cavalry.
As the two armies approached each other, the Carthaginians unloosed their 80 elephants into the ranks of the Roman infantry, but the great beasts were soon dispersed. Masinissa’s cavalry then charged the opposing Carthaginian cavalry on the wings; the latter fled and were pursued by Masinissa’s forces. The Roman infantry legions then advanced and attacked Hannibal’s infantry, which consisted of three consecutive lines of defense. The Romans crushed the soldiers of the first line and then those of the second. However, by that time the legionnaires had become nearly exhausted—and they had yet to close with the third line, which consisted of Hannibal’s veterans from his Italian campaign (i.e., his best troops). At this crucial juncture Masinissa’s Numidian cavalry returned from their rout of the enemy cavalry and attacked the rear of the Carthaginian infantry, who were soon crushed between the combined Roman infantry and cavalry assault. Some 20,000 Carthaginians died in the battle and the rest were captured, while the Romans lost about 1,500 dead.
The Battle of Zama left Carthage helpless, and the city accepted Scipio’s peace terms whereby it ceded Spain to Rome, surrendered most of its warships, and began paying a 50-year indemnity to Rome. Scipio was awarded the surname Africanus in tribute of his victory. Hannibal escaped from the battle and soon returned to Carthage.

battle of Zama

death of hannibal

destruction of Carthage


The Third Punic War is a bit of an anti-climax. The Second Punic War was really the decisive part. It was Rome's stepping stone to domination. The Third Punic War did happen, however, and after that one, Carthage was no more...Carthago delenda est.

Placed, again, under a heavy war indemnity by Rome, Carthage struggled to pay their debt while also trying to fend off incursions from neighbouring Numidia. Carthage went to war against Numidia and lost. Having only recently paid off their debt to Rome, they now owed a new war debt to Numidia. Rome was not concerned with what Carthage and Numidia were involved with but did not care for the sudden revitalization of the Carthaginian army. Carthage believed that their treaty with Rome was ended when their war debt was paid; Rome disagreed. The Romans felt that Carthage was still obliged to bend to Roman will; so much so that the Roman Senator Cato the Elder ended all of his speeches, no matter what the subject, with the phrase, “Further, I think that Carthage should be destroyed.” In 149 BCE, Rome suggested just that course of action.
A Roman embassy to Carthage made demands to the senate which included the stipulation that Carthage be dismantled and then re-built further inland. The Carthaginians, understandably, refused to do so and the Third Punic War (149-146 BCE) began. The Roman general Scipio Aemilianus besieged Carthage for three years until it fell. After sacking the city, the Romans burned it to the ground, leaving not one stone on top of another. A modern myth has grown up that the Romans forces then sowed the ruins with salt but this story has no basis in fact. It is said that Scipio Aemilianus wept when he ordered the destruction of the city and behaved virtuously toward the survivors.