The army commanded by the sons of Hamilcar Barca to fight against the Roman Republic during the Second Punic War was an armed force of over 100,000 soldiers comprised of Carthaginians, Libyans, Celts, Hispanics, Gauls and Numidians. It was a cohesive army built for speed and shock, and it answered to one man and one will; Hannibal Barca of Carthage.
With such a wide range of foreign troops serving in the Carthaginian army, such as Libyans, Gauls, Numidians, Iberians, Celts, Balearians, and Gaetulians, there was no attempt made to standardise these troops into a uniformed fighting force. They had all been equipped and fought according to the customs of their respective nations.
Numidian cavalry were armed with javelins and fought as skirmishers rather than shock cavalry.
As it would have been impractical to deploy troops together who did not understand each other and their combat styles, or lacked similar weapons, they would have been organised on the basis of nationality.
During Hamilcar's reignEdit
Before Hamilcar Barca had left Carthage during the First Punic War, he brought his 9-year-old son Hannibal to a temple to vow 'never to be a friend of Rome.' Hamilcar campaigned in Iberia for nine years, until he was killed in battle in 229 BC.
The Carthaginian army acclaimed Hannibal, although he was only 25 years old, as its new commander. So it was left to Hannibal, with his younger brothers Hasdrubal and Mago, to carry out their father's campaign tp destroy the Roman Republic.
Hannibal wasted no time. In two years of hard campaigning he consolidated the Carthaginian hold on southern Iberia and perfected his army. A dispute with the city of Saguntum, allied with Rome but south of the Ebro, provided the pretext he needed to provoke a new war. In 219 bc he laid siege to Saguntum, and after eight months it was defeated.
Rome sent ambassadors to Carthage to demand restitution and Hannibal's surrender. When the Carthaginian council refused, the Roman diplomats offered a challenge of war; the Carthaginians accepted. The Second Punic War, or the Hannibalic War, had begun.
Cross over the AlpsEditHannibal and his army began their cross over the Alps in September.
Crossing the Alps into Roman territory was not thought possible by the Romans, and caught them completely by surprise. Crossing the Alps was a treacherous journey for Hannibal and his army, but he succeeded. However this feat depleated heavy numbers in his army, taking it from around 100,000 strong to around 26,000 when they finally entered Italy.
Many of froze to death, others died of starvation, fell from the icy cliffs, or were killed by massive boulders sent down to them by tribes living in the hills.
Second Punic WarEdit
- Main Article: Second Punic War
Hannibal had gained command of his fathers army. Hannibal Barca of Carthage had brought this army to the banks of the Ebro in a fateful year, 218 bc.
Ten years earlier, the Senate and people of Rome had forbidden the Carthaginians to cross that river on pain of war. But Hannibal was content with fighting the Romans, promising to his father on a sacred oath to finally defeating and destroying Rome itself
The young general was resolved not only to cross the Ebro but also to conduct an epic march across the Pyrenees, on through Gaul, over the Alps and into Italy to threaten Rome itself.
A Roman fleet of 20 quinqueremes defeated a Carthaginian fleet of 35 galleys.
August - Hannibal conquered Catalonia.
September - Hannibal defeated the Gaul Volcae tribe
October - Hannibal's army defeated Gauls in two battles while crossing the Alps.
November - Hannibal defeated the Romans under Publius Cornelius Scipio the Elder in a small cavalry skirmish.
December - Hannibal defeated the Romans under Tiberius Sempronius Longus, who had foolishly attacked.
Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus defeated Hanno. Iberia north of the Ebro River came under Roman control.
In an ambush, Hannibal destroyed the Roman army of Gaius Flaminius Nepos, who was killed.
Naval battle - a Roman fleet, aided by ships from Massilia, surprised and defeated the Iberian contingent of the Carthaginian fleet in the naval
Hannibal was trapped by Quintus Fabius in Ager Falernus, but he managed to escape
Hannibal trapped and inflicted severe losses on a Roman army under Minucius. The timely intervention of the Dictator Quintus Fabius Maximus saved the Romans from another disaster.
216 BC August - Hannibal destroyed the Roman army led by Lucius Aemilius Paullus and Gaius Terentius Varro in what is considered one of the great masterpieces of the tactical art.
Roman general Marcus Claudius Marcellus held off an attack by Hannibal.
Marcellus again repulsed an attack by Hannibal. A Roman fleet under Titus Otacilius Crassus defeated a Carthaginian fleet near Sardinia.
Hasdrubal Barca is defeated by the Scipio brothers. The Romans raided Carthaginian territory south of the Ebro river.
Carthaginian expedition under Hasdrubal the Bald is defeated near Caralis in Sardinia
214 BC - Marcellus fought an inconclusive battle with Hannibal.
Tiberius Gracchus' slave legions defeat Hanno (son of Bomlicar) and, therefore, deny Hannibal his reinforcements.
212 BC Hannibal, after careful planning and collaboration from the Greek populance, takes the city of Tarentum in a daring Night Raid on Tarentum. The Romans managed to hold the Citadel at the mouth of the port.
Hannibal defeated the consuls Q. Fulvius Flaccus and Appius Claudius, but the Roman army escaped. Siege of Capua temporarily lifted.
Hannibal destroyed the army of the Roman praetor M. Centenius Penula in Campania.
Hannibal destroyed the Roman army of the praetor Gnaeus Fulvius in Apulia.
The Siege of Syracuse ends with the fall of the city. Archimedes is accidentally slain.
211 BC - Publius Cornelius Scipio and Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus were killed in battle with Hasdrubal Barca.
Hannibal was unable to break the Roman siege of the city.
210 BC - Hannibal destroyed the Roman army of Fulvius Centumalus, who was killed.
Hannibal defeated Marcellus once more.
The Tarentine Greek navy defeated a Roman squadron trying to reinforce the Citadel.
209 BC - Hannibal once again confronted Marcellus in an indecisive battle. Marcellus was recalled to Rome on charges of bad leadership.
P. Cornelius Scipio the Younger captured Cartagena, the main base of Carthage in Hispania.
208 BC - Romans in Hispania under P. Cornelius Scipio the Younger defeated Hasdrubal Barca. Hasdrubal managed to save 2/3 of his army, treasures and elephants and retreat.
The Carthaginian navy is defeated in a battle off the African coast.
207 BC - Roman general Gaius Claudius Nero fought an indecisive battle with Hannibal, then marched north to confront Hasdrubal Barca, who had invaded Italy.
Hasdrubal Barca was defeated and killed by Livius and Nero's combined Roman army. Is thought by many as one of the most decisive battles in history.
Naval battle - A Carthaginian fleet of 70 ships is defeated by a Roman fleet of 100 ships near Utica.
206 BC - Scipio destroyed the remaining Carthaginian forces in Hispania.
204 BC - Hannibal fought a drawn battle against the Roman general Sempronius in Southern Italy.
203 BC - Romans under Scipio defeated the Carthaginian army of Hasdrubal Gisco and Syphax. Hannibal was recalled to Africa.
Carthaginian fleet under Hasdrubal plunders the Roman supply convoy sailing to resupply Scipio's army in Africa near Utica.
October 19, 202 BC - Scipio Africanus Major decisively defeated Hannibal in North Africa, ending the Second Punic War.
Generals and commandersEdit
- Hannibal: Leader of the army, first born son of Hamilcar Barca
- Hasdrubal: Brother and general of Hannibal
- Mago: Brother and general of Hannibal
- Hasdrubal Gisco
Hannibal's 37 elephantsEditThe Carthaginians travelled towards the Alps with a total of 37 elephants during the Second Punic War. Hamilcar Barca made great use of his elephants during the Mercenary War, while Hannibal used war-elephants in both Spain and Italy.
On his march through the Alps they scared the Celts so much that they did not launch attacks on areas which had elephants. Hannibal put them to good use in the Battle of the Trebia, though it is believed he lost most of the initial 37 he brought across with him during the winter of 217. Only one named Syrus had survived, which Hannibal rode through the Arnus marshes.