Who Were the Brothers Gracchi, Why Were They Popular and How did They Die?

The Gracchi brothers, Tiberius and Gaius were the two sons of Cornelia who was the daughter of Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus, and her husband Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus. Cornelia gave birth to twelve children, but only three of them survived to adulthood, Tiberius, Gaius and a daughter, Sempronia. The elder by about ten years, Tiberius joined […]

Why Did The Romans Consider Quintus Fabius Maximus’ Strategy Cowardly?

Quintus Fabius Maximus thought outside the box. The normal Roman response was to directly confront the enemy on the battlefield, and most Romans could not understand or tolerate Fabius’ thinking. Livy relates how Fabius attempted to dissuade the Consul Lucius Aemilius Paullus from confronting Hannibal at Cannae. Fabius: “I think you know why I have […]

The Importance of Conquering New Carthage

The Carthaginians controlled southern Spain before the Second Punic war and had alliances with some of the tribes of northern Spain. They had highly productive gold and silver mines in southern Spain which helped finance the war. The Second Punic War began as a result of Hannibal’s destruction of Saguntum, a Roman ally, and Spain […]

Hasdrubal Barca’s Role in the Second Punic War

Hannibal left his brother Hasdrubal in Spain to deal with the Romans whom he suspected were planning to invade. Southern Spain was the site of vast rich gold and silver mines that the Carthaginians used to finance the war, and they needed to be protected. Upon learning that Hannibal and his army were heading toward […]

A Brief History of the Punic Wars

I wrote a historical novel about the Second and Third Punic Wars. Someone asked me what the book was about, and I said, “The Punic Wars.” He gave me a blank look and I said, “The wars between Rome and Carthage, Scipio versus Hannibal.” His eyes lit up and he said “Hannibal! I’ve heard of […]

Personal Encounters Between Hannibal and Scipio Africanus

Hannibal and Scipio Africanus were rival generals during the Second Punic War. Hannibal was the Carthaginian general who crossed the Alps to attack Rome, and Scipio was the Roman general who ended the sixteen-year-long war by defeating Hannibal at the Battle of Zama in North Africa. They are believed to have met in person only […]

Was Bribing Hannibal’s Allies a Tactic Scipio Africanus Used to Win the War?

In terms of the Iberian tribes, it probably was. Livy mentioned that in conquering New Carthage, Scipio acquired all of Carthage’s hostages, which he promptly returned to their respective tribes, and he also acquired a lot of gold and silver. He sent most of it to Rome for their treasury, and also paid bounties to […]

Was There Anything Carthage Could Have Done to Prevent its Destruction by Rome in the Third Punic War?

Unfortunately for Carthage, there was no way to stop Rome from conquering and destroying Carthage. A year before the Romans declared war on Carthage, the Carthaginians had lost about 50,000 soldiers in a war with its Numidian neighbor Masinissa, so they were in a much-weakened position. The Romans were urged on by Marcus Porcius Cato, […]

Who Was the Better General, Hannibal or Scipio?

In my estimation Hannibal’s rival Roman General, Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus was the better general. Hannibal was unsurpassed as a battlefield tactician, but in terms of strategy and logistics, Scipio was superior to him while being a superb battlefield tactician in his own right. Hannibal’s overall strategy for winning the Second Punic War was flawed. […]

What Happened to the Carthaginian Empire after The Battle of Zama?

After Hannibal’s defeat at Zama, Carthage was forced into a treaty on Roman terms. Scipio Africanus imposed an indemnity of ten thousand talents to be paid off over a fifty-year period. They lost all of their overseas territory and were confined to what is now Tunisia and perhaps part of what is now Libya. They […]