Why Did The Roman Republic Transition to a Monarchy?

The Roman Republic was born in 509 B.C. when the Romans, under the leadership of Lucius Junius Brutus drove out the last King, Tarquin Superbus. The Republic was not very democratic, even though the leadership was elected. The aristocracy had far more say in affairs of state than the common people. It was, essentially, a […]

If a Roman General Ordered Decimation, What Would Have Happened if the Legionaries Refused to Comply?

If a legion ordered to perform decimation refused to comply, the other legions under the commander would be brought into action. It is quite possible that the entire mutinous legion would be killed. The Romans took mutiny very seriously. In 206 B.C. Publius Cornelius Scipio faced a mutiny among the soldiers at his base at […]

Quora Question: What Was the Greatest Military Comeback in History

I’d have to give that to the Romans in the Second Punic War. The Carthaginian general Hannibal brought an army over the Alps in 218 B.C. During the next two years he won four battles: Ticinus, 2300 Roman casualties, Roman Consul wounded. Trebia 28,000 Roman Casualties. Trasimene, 15,000 Romans killed, 15,000 captured, Roman Consul killed. […]

Why Did Rome Spare the City of Carthage after the Second Punic War and then Destroy it Fifty Years Later?

It was Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus who finally defeated Hannibal at the end of the Second Punic war. He imposed Roman terms on the city. They were generous terms in that they allowed Carthage autonomy with their own laws and government. The treaty forced Carthage to destroy all but five of their battleships, stop training […]

Why is Scipio Africanus Considered a Military Genius for Clearing a Path for Hannibal’s Elephants? Isn’t that the Obvious Thing to Do?

Elephants were known to wreak havoc in ancient warfare. In the case of Zama, it wasn’t a simple matter of stepping out of way and clearing a path for the elephants. Scipio wanted Hannibal to think that his elephants would be effective in disrupting the Roman lines, so he disguised the paths he was planning […]

Why did Hannibal Hate the Romans?

Hannibal’s father was Hamilcar Barca, the most effective general Carthage produced during the 23 year long First Punic War, 264 B.C. to 241 B.C. In 241 B.C. Carthage suffered a massive defeat at the naval battle of the Aegates Islands and sued for peace. Hamilcar Barca had been having some success against the Romans in […]

How Did Rome Acquire Iberia as a Province?

Rome maintained a sphere of influence in Iberia even before the beginning of the Second Punic War. They had an alliance with the city of Saguntum, and they made an agreement with the Carthaginian leader Hasdrubal the Fair (brother in law of Hannibal) that the Carthaginian sphere of influence would extend up to the Iberus […]

What Role Did the Berbers (Numidians) Play in the Destruction of Carthage?

The Romans called the native peoples of North Africa Numidians, which meant nomads. They were distinct from the Carthaginians who were descended from Phoenician colonists. The Numidians provided the Carthaginians with mercenaries, and at the start of the Second Punic War in 218 B.C. both major tribes, the Masaesyli under King Syphax and the Massylii […]

Why did Hannibal not Besiege and Conquer Rome after his Victory at Cannae.

After the battle of Cannae one would have thought that Hannibal had Rome on the ropes. It is believed that one in five Roman or allied men of military age died at Cannae, Trasimene or Trebia. The story goes that Hannibal’s cavalry chief, Maharbal offered to take his cavalry to Rome and besiege the city, […]

Why Did Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus Refuse to be Buried in Rome?

“Ingrata Patria, ne osse quidem habebis”- Ungrateful fatherland, you won’t even have my bones. Scipio Africanus was by far the most effective Roman military figure of the Second Punic War. After his father and uncle were killed in the Battles of the Upper Baetis in 211 B.C., he somehow got himself elected to take their […]