Would Carthage Have Destroyed Rome If They Had Been Victorious in the Punic Wars?

After the Battle of Cannae in which Hannibal’s army killed some 50,000 Roman and allied soldiers, Hannibal expected the Romans to sue for peace. He was not inclined to destroy the city. The Romans were having none of that. They would not allow Hannibal’s emissary into the city, and the Senate made it a crime […]

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 […]

How Did Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus Rise to Power

Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus was born in 236 B.C., the scion of a family that had been influential in Roman politics for over two hundred years. In 218 B.C. his father was elected to Consul. His uncle Gneius had been Consul two years before. That year, Hannibal invaded Italy. The elder Scipio had gone to […]

Why Did the Romans Not Sue For Peace After the Battle of Cannae?

Hannibal fully expected Rome to surrender after the Battle of Cannae. He sent the nobleman Carthalo to the city to present them with terms. The Romans wouldn’t let him into the city. Besides that, they allowed a delegation of ten prisoners captured in the battle to present their case for ransom, then passed a resolution […]

Tacticians Versus Strategists in the Second Punic War

When it comes to comparing tacticians and strategists in the Second Punic War, I agree that Hannibal was a superb tactician but a poor strategist. As a superb strategist but not a tactical genius I point to Quintus Fabius Maximus, the architect of the “Fabian strategy.” Fabius realized that Hannibal was far more of a […]

Why Didn’t the Carthaginian Senate Support Hannibal?

After the Battle of Cannae, Hannibal collected over two hundred gold signet rings from the bodies of upper-class Romans who had fallen on the battlefield and put them in an urn. He sent his younger brother Mago back to Carthage to persuade the Senate to provide more men and materiel to Hannibal’s cause. Mago poured […]

What Were the Main Reasons for the Roman Victory over Carthage in the Second Punic War?

There were several reasons. Rome relied on citizen and allied soldiery while Carthage relied largely on mercenaries. Mercenaries have to be paid and are not as reliable as citizen soldiers and can be bought off. Carthage during the Second Punic War did not support its military to the same degree that Rome supported theirs. Carthage’s […]

Why Did the Romans Oppose the Fabian Strategy?

Quintus Fabius Maximus realized that Hannibal was a military genius and that the best thing to do was not to confront him in battle but to starve him out. He tried to prevent Hannibal’s men from foraging and he forbade farmers from sowing crops in the areas where Hannibal’s army traveled. It was sort of […]

Was Hannibal a Failure?

I think Hannibal would have considered himself a failure, but he would probably have also blamed others, especially the Carthaginian government for not giving him more material support. Should Hannibal have besieged Rome immediately after his decisive victory at Cannae? That has been the subject of debate for millennia. I can see his reasoning for […]

Who Was Quintus Fabius Maximus and What Was His Strategy?

Quintus Fabius Maximus was a Roman politician and general during the Second Punic War. When Hannibal invaded Italy in 218 B.C., he soundly defeated the Romans in the battles of Ticinus, Trebia and Trasimene causing the loss of some 45,000 Roman and allied soldiers. After the Battle of Trasimene in June of 217 B.C. the […]