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Hannibal at the Gates
The Second Romano-Carthaginian
War and the Contest for
Mediterranean Supremacy
Carthaginian Spain and Barcid
Hamilcar Barca and the New Carthaginian Spanish
Empire: 237-229/8 BCE
 Mineral Resources and Manpower
 Gades and the Fortress at Alicante
 Roman Reconnaissance Mission (231 BCE?)
 Hamilcar: Meeting the War Indemnity
Hasdrubal (Hamilcar’s son-in-law): 229-221 BCE
 Carthago Nova (New Carthage)
 The Ebro Treaty (226 BCE?)
 The Massalia Factor
Hannibal Barca (son of Hamilcar)
 Assumes high Spanish command in 221 BCE
 Saguntum and the Roman Ultimatum
Carthaginian Spain
Causes of the Hannibalic War:
The Polybian Analysis (3.9-12)
The “Wrath of the Barcids”
 Roman Seizure of Sardinia in the Aftermath
of the First Romano-Carthaginian War
 Carthaginian Success in Spain and Roman
 “Hannibal’s Oath”
Alpine Gorge--Hannibal’s Troops Ambushed
Here by Gallic Tribesmen
The Col de la Traversette
Hannibal’s Passage of the Alps
Synopsis of the Hannibalic War (218-202 BCE)
Blitzkrieg Strategy--Hannibal arrives in Italy with
26,000 troops
Plan: Disaffection of Roman Allies
Early Victories in Northern Italy
Cannae (Apulia): 216 BCE (Polyb. 3.107-18; Liv.
Ticinus and Trebia (218 BCE); Trasimene (217 BCE)
70,000 Roman casualties (Polyb. 3.117)
“Double-Envelopment” Tactic
Fabius Maximus Cunctator (“Delayer”; Fabian
Roman allies hold firm
Hannibal bottled up in southern Italy
Carthaginian reinforcements intercepted and destroyed at
Metaurus River in 207 BCE
Hannibal arrives in the Po River
Valley (Polyb. 3.56)
“The whole march from New Carthage had
taken him five months, and the actual crossing
of the Alps fifteen days, and now when he boldly
descended into the plains of the Po valley and
the territory of the Insubres, the army that was
left to him consisted of 12,000 African and 8,000
Spanish infantry, and not more than 6,000
cavalry in all; he himself explicitly mentions
these figures in the inscription on the column at
Lacinium which records the strength of his
The High Toll of the Alps
(Polyb. 3.60)
“The result was that while Hannibal started
after the crossing of the Rhone with 38,000
infantry and more than 8,000 cavalry he lost
nearly half his force as I have described
above in making his way through the passes,
while the survivors, because of the ceaseless
privations they endured, came in their
outward appearance and general condition to
look more like beasts than men.”
The Hannibalic War in Italy
The Battle at Trasimene (217 BCE)
The Battle at Cannae (216 BCE)
Rome on the Offensive
Hannibal returns to Africa (autumn, 203
 Proconsul: P. Cornelius Scipio (204-202
 The Battle at Zama (202 BCE)
 The Trial of the Scipios and the PoliticoCultural Stance of the elder Cato
(“Catonians” and “Philhellenes”?)
The Battle at Zama (202 BCE)
Aftermath of the Hannibalic War
Spain: Roman Province from 197 BCE (see Livy,
The Greek World: “[I]t is evident even to those
of us who give scanty attention to affairs of
state, that whether the Carthaginians beat the
Romans or the Romans the Carthaginians in
this war…they are sure to come here and
extend their ambitions beyond the bounds of
 speech of Greek ambassador in 217 BCE
 Polybius, Histories, 5.104
Readings for Next Meeting
Polybius, The Rise of the Roman Empire, 178-276
Harris, War and Imperialism in Republican Rome,
Gruen, Hellenistic World and the Coming of
Rome, 1-53
Questions for Readings
How does Polybius represent Roman
motivations in the First Illyrian, Gallic, and
Hannibalic Wars? In these wars, who is the
aggressor in the Polybian account?
Compare and contrast the views of Harris and
Gruen on Roman imperial expansion
In Gruen’s view, where and how did the
Romans learn the diplomatic tools they
employed in Greece?
Assignments for Next Meeting
 Group
Discussions of Polybius and the
contrasting views on Roman
imperialism of W.V. Harris and E.S.