Ancient texts

Livius (23.24-48)
Livius (24.11)

2nd Punic war
Italy 216-214 bc

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    War on Sicily
First Macedonian war War in Italy (214-208)


Mosaic of skeleton
Mosaic of a skeleton
Museo Nazionale Napoli
Rome in deep trouble
The name of the previous page is turning point, but the Romans didn't know that at that time though and neither did the Carthaginians. A great number of cities in south Italy defected to Hannibal. At this point in the 2nd Punic war, Hannibal was wasting a lot of time with persuading cities to choose his side or trying and conquer them.
Rome wasn't able to give aid to cities that asked for protection. There was no money to pay the soldiers, especially not those on the islands Corsica and Sardinia. A moral boost was the return of the committee that was sent to Delphi. The oracle advised services to certain gods and promised victory for the Romans in the end.

More war and diaster :A Roman army trapped and destroyed
In the same year consul Lucius Postumius led a complete army into the woods in Gallia Cisalpina. The Gauls had surrounded the wood where the Romans entered and had prepared trees, so they would fall over the Romans after a little push. This army was completely destroyed (216bc).
In Spain the Romans had better luck.

A new enemy: first Macedonian war
King Philipus V of Macedonia had followed the war and decided it was time to choose Hannibal's side. He sent a commission to Hannibal They concluded a treaty with Hannibal: Philipus would enter actively into the war. The commission was caught on her way back to Macedonia. Typically Roman, the senate didn't wait for Philipus to attack but, immediately had 25 ships built to create a fleet of 30. Praetor M. Valerius was sent with this fleet and an army to Macedonia.
Bit by bit the 2nd Punic war became a world war.

  Carthaginian mistake: attempt to reconquer Sardinia
Hannibal's younger brother was sent to Carthago to ask for more troops. The reluctant government assembled 12,000 foot, 1500 horse and 20 elephants that should be moved under the protection of 60 warships to Italy. But somehow Mago couldn't convince them. When things went bad in Spain and an opportunity to win Sardinia back seemed to pop up, Mago was sent to Spain and an equal force was sent to Sardinia. To
Hannibal they sent nothing
( Though Livius (23.41)
reports a Bomilcar landed in Locri with reinforcements and even elephants.) Both operations failed and Hannibal got boxed in in South Italy, loosing his momentum and initiative to the Romans.

Syracuse gets a new king and changes sides
When king Hiero of Syracuse died he was succeeded by his grandson Hieronymus. Hiero had been loyal to Rome since the first Punic war. Now seemed the time to get rid of the Romans with the help of the Carthaginians who seemingly were winning the war.

Roman countermeasures
Titus Otacilius was ordered by the senate to investigate in Sicilia with a fleet. To solve the shortage of sailors a new taxing system was installed. Depending on ones possessions established by the censors one had to provide one or three completely equipped sailors for the fleet, together with rations for 30 days.

Battle of Beneventum
In 214 bc Hanno tried to conquer Beneventum but was met by consul Ti. Gracchus. In spite of the fact that Gracchus was leading a slave army he did win the battle. Step by step the Romans gained the initiative in the 2nd Punic war.

retreat to previous page; to next page
    War on Sicily
First Macedonian war War in Italy (214-208)
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