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Transcript of Hannibal Barca
Carthage vs. Roman Republic
*Exact size is unknown
Roman and Carthaginian Territory at the start of the 2nd Punic War
- Rome has taken lands in Hispania following 2nd Punic War
- Series of political assassinations of pro-Carthage politicians in Saguntum sparks Carthaginian intervention
- Saguntum calls for Roman aid and recieves no response. Hannibal takes Saguntum.
- Previous treaty drew the borders of the two empires at Saguntum, Rome claims Carthage violated the treaty by occupying the city.
- Second Punic War Begins
- Hannibal takes action and leads his troops over Pyrenees, Rhone River, and Alps
- Shocks Rome with the efficiency at which he destroys their armies.
- The senate, in desperation, names Quintus Fabius Maximus dictator.
- His attrition tactics cut Hannibal's lines short.
The Romans are furious after their defeat at Ticino, Trebia, and Lake Trasimene. Facing a much larger army in enemy territory, Hannibal has no room for error.
- Versatility: utilized mercenaries masterfully
- Cavalry: Iberian Cavalry, Numidian Cavalry, Gallic infantry, African Heavy Infantry
- Experienced Fighters and Renowned General
- Vastly Inferior numbers
- In foreign territory with dwindling supplies
This young general is widely regarded as a military genius. His father was Hamilcar Barca, a powerful statesman and general during the First Punic Wars. Hannibal, as well as Hamilcar, gained much of their fortune in Hispania. At the young age of 26 Hannibal won the respect of one of the most effective fighting forces in the world.
The city of Barcelona's name originates from the ancient Barcid dynasty.
50,000 - 80,000 Soldiers
*Exact size unknown
Rome has faced defeat after defeat at the hands of Hannibal. They are now desperate to defeat him and drive him from Italy. The largest army the republic has ever fielded now marches towards a town in Southern Italy named Cannae under the command of the Consuls Lucius Aemillius Paulus and Gaius Terentius Varro.
- Maximus's term runs out, Lucius Aemillius Paulus and Gaius Terentius Varro are elected Consuls
- Very well equipped
- Size of army. Some estimates
claim it was nearly double that
- Heavily armored soldiers equipped with large scutum, capable of blocking many attacks
- Familiar territory
- Established supply network
- Weak cavalry. Roman cavalry was made up of patricians attempting to bolster their political standing via glory on the battlefield, and were more concerned for their personal safety than victory.
- Military ranks based on social standing instead of experience
- Generals had different strategic temperaments.
- Veteran and patrician of prominent military family
- Cautious general, especially against Hannibal
- Elected popularly as plebeian consul
- Ancient sources describe him as overconfident and rash
- Hoped numbers would overwhelm Hannibal
The Roman cavalry was infamously ineffective.
In one battle against his political rival, Julius Caesar told his men to raise their spears and aim at the incoming cavalry's faces.
The Pompeian cavalry were so shocked by this that as soon as they saw this they turned back and routed.
- Hannibal's supplies were dwindling due to Maximus's attrition tactics.
- Seized the large supply depot at the town of Cannae
- Romans set out to attempt a pitched battle
- While the Romans marched, a small portion of Hannibal's army ambushed Varro.
- Varro manages to drive the Carthaginians off, bolstering the Roman army's morale. - His overconfidence nearly got the best of him, as he prepared to push the offensive.
- Paulus knew it would be foolish to fight on open ground due to Carthaginian cavalry superiority.
- He managed to calm Varro down and they agreed on setting camp east of the Aufidus River.
- Hannibal recognized the importance of water to the enormous Roman army
- Sent cavalry up to Roman camp, wrecking havoc and killed water-bearers at the river
- The two armies stayed put for two days.
Hannibal, however, had received word that Varro would be in charge on the third day.
Hannibal's plan to lure the Roman army out into open ground had succeeded due to Varro's brash nature, and had set the stage for a massacre.
Landscape of Cannae
The Battle Begins...
- The Romans began the battle, setting up their forces facing southwest, 3 miles from the coast and with their backs to the Aufidus River.
- They placed their cavalry on their wings and had their infantry in a very tightly packed formation.
Varro thought that Hannibal had no room to maneuver, and had planned on punching through the Carthaginian lines with his infantry.
- The Roman infantry was organized with the younger more inexperienced soldiers in the front
- heavily armored principes would charge in after contact was made.
Hastati (left) and a Principe (right)
Hannibal, however, had his men positioned based on their skills and weaknesses.
- His lines were positioned in an arrow-like formation
- light infantry in the middle
- the heavier infantry on the wings
- cavalry matching Roman placement on the flanks
Strategic Map of Pre-Engagement
As the Roman forces advanced towards the center of Hannibal's lines, light infantry engaged with Hannibal and his brother leading the charge.
- Iberian and Gallic cavalry engaged Roman cavalry on flanks
- The historian Livy described the horsemen to dismount and fight on the ground in a "barbarian" style
- Roman cavalry was defeated by the Iberian and Gallic force
- Rode around back and, with the help of Numidian cavalry, cut down the remaining Roman horsemen.
- the Roman infantry pursued the Iberian and Celtic light infantry too far.
- Hannibal's lines now made a crescent shape
- Roman lines curved and their cavalry destroyed
- backs were now exposed.
The heavy African infantry began advancing on the Romans, pushing them into an incredibly tight formation.
Hannibal ordered his cavalry to charge into the back of the enemy force.
Romans suddenly found themselves surrounded.
The Roman force was pushed so tight it is said that one could not raise his arm in order to strike back.
Hannibal pressed his advantage.
He gave the order to cut every Roman's hamstrings, disabling their retreat.
The Romans, now without will to fight and packed together too tight to strike back, no longer had the ability to flee. The Carthaginian forces cut them down at their leisure.
Hannibal and his forces spend the entire day destroying the Roman army.
Dead or Critically Wounded
40,000 - 50,000
Dead or Critically Wounded
Cannae becomes the bloodiest battle in Ancient History, and shapes Roman military doctrine.
For a time, Rome is in disarray and the capital is in danger of destruction.
Hannibal, however, recieves word that he is needed back at Carthage, and is unable to press his advantage.
Rome wins the Second Punic War, however Cannae is used to teach generations of future Generals.
- Swordsmen: Iberian and Celtic
Swordsmen, light armor
- Carthaginian light infantry slowly backpedaled while fighting
- Varro, enraged, sallies out to face Hannibal