Quora Question: What Did Scipio do in Response to Hannibal’s Invasion of Italy

  When Hannibal invaded Italy Scipio was only seventeen, so he served in the legions, first under his father, Publius Cornelius Scipio the elder, who was Consul at the time. At the Battle of Ticinus he was in charge of a turma, a group of 30 cavalry, and he led the charge of the turma […]

You Won’t Even Have My Bones: The Story of Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus

My new book, You Won’t Even Have My Bones, has just been published. It is the story of the Roman general Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus, told in the first person. Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus was a pivotal character in history. Without him, it is unlikely that Rome would have conquered Spain during the Second Punic […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Did Hannibal and Scipio Meet?

According to Livy, Scipio and Hannibal met to negotiate just before the battle of Zama. Hannibal had sent spies to the Roman camp, and they were caught snooping around. Much to the shock of his underlings, Scipio told his tribune to release them and show them around the camp and answer any questions to their […]

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 […]