Ancient texts

Livius (25.22); (26.4-16)
Livius (27.20-29)
Polybius (10.32-33)

2nd Punic war
Italy 214 -208 bc

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    Italy 208-204 bc

214-208 bc


Problems for Hannibal
Hannibal had to divide his troops over the cities that had chosen his side. Either to protect them or to threaten them in case that city had not volunteered. He had gotten Tarentum in his power by treason, but the citadel had remained in Roman hands. For his attempts to conquer this too he needed a lot of manpower. When the Roman consuls attacked and besieged Capua, which was an important city for both parties, he would have to give up these attempts in Tarentum.

Conquest of Capua
Hannibal decided the loss of Capua was a too high price and moved his army towards Capua, where the consuls were preparing a siege. The first meeting of the armies there ended in a draw. For the next morning the consuls had decided to try and lure Hannibal away from Capua. This resulted in 2 more battles (near Herdonea) won by Hannibal. Still Hannibal Barca couldn't raise the siege. On his turn he tried to lure away the Romans by moving his army to Rome itself. Now almost 5 years after the battle of Cannae this had not the result Hannibal had hoped for and the siege of Capua ended with surrender. As a punishment all the inhabitants of Capua were moved to another location. Scipio Jr. proconsul

In 213 bc already young Scipio had opted for the function of curule aedile. His age then was 22. The peoples tribunes protested because the minimum age for that function was 27. Scipio replied: "If the people all vote for me I'll be old enough". According to Livius he was elected unanimous.
Now just two years later both his father and uncle were killed in the war in Spain. A new proconsul for Spain was needed, but no one of the experienced men had the guts to opt for this function. When the young Scipio said he would be available, no one protested and Scipio was sent to Spain with a fresh army. For his achievements there look here.

Ares or Mars god of war

Mars god of war
Museo Nazionale Romana Roma

Money needed for the Punic war
In this same period the senate sent home a great number of elder soldiers and diminished the number of legions. A clear sign the war is developing favorable for Rome. But there was shortage of money. When a fleet had to be manned everybody with enough property had to pay a new tax: the equipment and pay for a rower of that fleet. The rich put an example by paying lots of money. In fact this it was a loan that would be repaid six years later. But it shows how the Romans usually did what was necessary at any given time.

Latin cities tired of war
in 209 bc a number of Latin cities concluded together Rome had asked too much of them and it even might be better to make peace with Carthago themselves.


Census or tax collecting
Louvre Paris


To do that they lacked the courage, instead they reported to Rome , they were out of men and could not fulfill their obligations of the delivery of legionnaires. Another number stayed loyal and the Roman senate chose to ignore these cities and praised the other loyal cities. consuls Marcellus meant he was strong enough to do battle with Hannibal. He met him near Canusium. The battle had two phases in two days. Hannibal won the first day and Marcellus the second. None of the victories was really decisive.
In the same year Fabius Maximus reconquered Tarentum.

Etruscan cities suspected of disloyalty
in 208 more cities became tired of the war. This time an Etruscan city, Arretium, became under suspicion and immediately G. Terentius Varro He demanded hostages,when the city couldn't deliver them fast enough, he took all the senators and their children hostage. M. Claudius Marcellus, was elected again as consul. He and his colleague T. Quinctius Crispinus challenged Hannibal; Together they thought he wouldn't stand a chance. But Hannibal didn't take the bait and lured a detachment of 2000 Romans, who forgot to to explore their way, in to a trap. Some time later Marcellus decided to reconnoitre himself a nearby hill of tactical importance, that was occupied by concealed Carthaginians, was attacked and killed.

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    Italy 208-204 bc

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