AE Learning Blog Team
The Second Punic War (The Hannibalic War)
The Second Punic War began in 219 BC when Hannibal seized control of Sagnutum which was a city in eastern Spain. Hannibal had an army of African warriors which required payment which was part of the reason for the invasion but in addition it was one of the most well-fortified cities in the region making it a good strategic move to control instead of the Romans. This military campaign was known as the Siege of Saguntum and it was a successful operation for Carthage who took control of the city. Rome then declared war on Carthage and this prompted a response from Hannibal who was the leader of the army. Hannibal raised an army of 90,000 men on foot and a further 12,000 on horseback and 37 African elephants. The majority of the army of Hannibal were domestic African fighters from Libya and Numidia
but in addition Hannibal also recruited fighters from other nations including Greeks, Iberians (modern-day southern Spain), Gauls and Celts (western Europe). Many of the foreign fighters were from nations which had their own disputes with Rome and therefore were keen to see the Africans defeat them. Hannibal decided to invade Italy directly and march on Rome. He began his march in Cartagena in southern Spain and took city after city destroying Roman attempts to stop him. He crossed the Ebro Rover in Spain and marched on through the Pyrenees Mountains on the border of Spain and Gaul (modern-day France) and through the alps into northern Italy.
Eventually, after numerous battles over a 36-month period Hannibal was able to reach the gates of Rome itself and attacked but they were unable to breach the heavy defences of Rome. They camped outside Rome for years in attempts to invade and destroy the city entirely. However, by 210 BC Rome had
begun to have some success, firstly by capturing Sicily where Carthage had set up gold and silver mines and then by directly invading Africa. Hannibal was forced to take a portion of his army and return home to Africa to deal with this new threat. The war eventually came to a conclusion on African soil at the Battle of Zama in Numidia. The Second Punic War was over by 201 BC with Rome although damaged
eventually victorious and a peace treaty was signed heavily in favour of Rome.