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sent home a part of his army, and crossed those mountains
with only fifty thousand infantry and nine thousand cavalry;
but these were veteran troops. He took the coast route by
Narbonne and Nirnes, through the Celtic territory, and
encountered no serious resistance till he reached the Rhone,
opposite to Avignon, about the end of July. The passage
was disputed by Scipio, assisted by friendly Gauls, but Han-
nibal outflanked his enemies by sending a detachment across
the river, on rafts, two days' march higher up, and thus easily
forced the passage, and was three days' march beyond the
river before Scipio was aware that he had crossed. Scipio
then sailed back to Pisa, and aided his colleague to meet the
invader in Cisalpine Gaul.

Hannibal, now on Celtic territory on the Roman side
of the Rhone, could not be prevented from reaching the Alps.
Two passes then led from the lower Rhone across the Alps —
the one by the Cottian Alps (Mount Geneva) ; and the other,
Hannibal the higher pass of the Grain Alps (Mount St. Ber-

crossos the ° x .

Alps. nard), and this was selected by Hannibal, lhe

task of transporting a large army over even this easier pass



Chap. XXX.] Passage of the Alps. 443

was a work of great difficulty, with baggage, cavalry, and
elephants, when the autumn snows were falling, resisted by
the mountaineers, against whom they had to fight to the very
summit of the pass. The descent, though free from ene-
mies, was still more dangerous, and it required, at one place,
three days' labor to make the i*oad practicable for the ele-
phants. The army arrived, the middle of September, in the
plain of Ivrea, where his exhausted troops were quartered
in friendly villages. Had the Romans met him near Turin
with only thirty thousand men, and at once forced a battle,
the prospects of Hannibal would have been doubtful. But
no army appeared ; the object was attained, but with the loss
of half his troops, and the rest so demoralized by fatigue, that
a long rest was required.

The great talents by which Scipio atoned for his previous
errors now extricated his army from destruction.

Scipio.

He retreated across the Ticinio and the Po, refus-
ing a pitched battle on the plains, and fell back upon a
strong position on the hills. The united consular armies,
forty thousand men, were so posted as to compel Hannibal
to attack in front with inferior force, or go into winter
quarters, trusting to the doubtful fidelity of the Gauls.

It has been well said, "that it was the misfortune of
Rome's double magistracy when both consuls were present
on the field." Owing to a wound which Scipio had received,
the command devolved upon Sempronius, who, eager for dis-
tinction, could not resist the provocations of Hannibal to
bring on a battle. In one of the skirmishes the Roman cav-
alry and light infantry were enticed by the flying Numidians
across a swollen stream, and suddenly found themselves
before the entire Punic army. The whole Roman force hur-
ried across the stream to support the vanguard. Battle of the

m t i Tnisimene

A battle took place on the Trasimene Lake, m Lake,
which the Romans were sorely beaten, but ten thousand
infantry cut their way through the masses of the enemy, and
reached the fortess of Placentia, where they were joined by
other bands. After this success, which gave Hannibal all of



444 The Second Punic War. [Chap. XXX.

Northern Italy, his army, suffering from fatigue and disease,
retired into winter quarters. He now had lost all his ele-
phants but one. The remains of the Roman army passed the
winter in the fortresses of Placentia and Cremona.

The next spring, the Romans, under Flaminius, took the
field, with four legions, to command the great northern and
eastern roads, and the passes of the Appenines. But Hanni-
Hannibai in ^al, knowing that Rome was only vulnerable at

y ' the heart, rapidly changed his base, crossed the

Appenines at an undefended pass, and advanced, by the
lower Arno, into Etruria, while Flaminius was watching by
the upper course of that stream. Flaminius was a mere party
leader and demagogue, and was not the man for such a crisis,
for Hannibal was allowed to pass by him, and reach Fsesulae
unobstructed. The Romans prepared themselves for the
worst, broke down the bridges over the Tiber, and nominated
Quintus Fabius Maximus dictator.

Pyrrhus would have marched direct upon Rome, but Han-
nibal was more far-sighted. His army needed a new organi-
zation, and rest, and recruits, so he marched unexpectedly
Hannibal through TJmbria, devastated the country, and

marches to „ . a -i • • tt i

the Adriatic, halted on the snores ot tne Adriatic. ±iere ne
rested, reorganized his Libyan cavalry, and resumed his com-
munication with Carthage. He then broke up his camp, and
marched into Southern Italy, hoping to break up the confed-
eracy. But not a single Italian town entered into alliance
with the Carthaginians.

Fabius, the dictator, a man of great prudence, advanced
in yeai'S, and a tactitian of the old Roman school, determined
to avoid a pitched battle, and starve or weary out his enemy.
Hannibal adjusted his plans in accordance with the character
of the man he opposed. So he passed the Roman army,
crossed the Appenines, took Telesia, and turned against
Capua, the most important of all the Italian dependent cities,
hopins: for a revolt anion sj the Campanian towns.

Fabius. * = . , ■,..-.«

Here again he was disappointed. So, retracing
his steps, he took the road to Apulia, the dictator follow-



Chap, xxx.] Battle of Cannce. 445

ing him along the heights. So the summer was consumed
by marchings and countermarchings, the lands of the His-
panians, Campanians, Samnites, Paelignians, and other prov-
inces, being successively devastated. But no important
battle was fought. He selected then the rich lands of Apu-
lia for winter quarters, and intrenched his camp at Gerenium.
The Romans formed a camp in the territory of the Efforts of
Larinates, and harassed the enemy's foragers. theBoman8 -
This defensive policy of Fabius wounded the Roman pride,
and the dictator became unpopular. The Senate resolved to
depart from a policy which was slowly but surely ruining
the State, and an army was equipped larger than Rome ever
before sent into the field, composed of eight legions, under
the command of the two consuls, L. JEmilius Paulus, and M.
Terentius Varro. The former, a patrician, had conducted
successfully the Illyrian war; the latter, the popular candi-
date, incapable, conceited, and presumptuous.

As soon as the season allowed him to leave his winter-
quarters, Hannibal, assuming the offensive, marched out of
Gerenium, passed Luceria, crossed the Aufidus, and took the
citadel of Cannae, which commanded the plain of Canusium.
The Roman consuls arrived in Apulia in the beginning of the
summer, with eighty thousand infantry and six thousand
cavalry. Hannibal's force was forty thousand infantry and
ten thousand cavalry, inured to regular warfare. The Romans
made up their minds to fight, and confronted the Carthagin-
ians on the right bank of the Aufidus. According to a foolish
custom, the command devolved on one of the consuls every
other day, and Varro determined to avail himself of the first
opportunity for a battle. The forces met on the plain west
of Cannae, more favorable to the Carthaginians than the Ro-
mans, on account of the superiority of the cavalry. Battle of
It is difficult, without a long description, to give
clear conceptions of this famous battle. Hannibal, it would
seem, like Epaminondas and Alexander, brought to bear his
heavy cavalry, under Hasdrubal, upon the weakest point of
the enemy, after the conflict had continued awhile without



4-K3 The Second Punic War. [Chap. XXX.

decisive results. The weaker right of the Roman army, led
by Paulas, after bravely fighting, were cut down and driven
across the river. Paulus, wounded, then rode to the centre,
composed of infantry in close lines, which had gained an
advantage over the Spanish and Gaulish troops that encoun-
tered them. In order to follow up this advantage, the legions
pressed forward in the form of a wedge. In this position the
its great con- Libyan infantry, wheeling upon them right and
sequences. left ^ warm p^ assailed both sides of the Roman
infantry, which checked its advance. By this double flank
attack the Roman infantry became crowded, and were not
free. Meanwhile, Ilasdrubal, after defeating the right wing,
which had been led by Paulus, led his cavalry behind the
Roman centre and attacked the left wing, led by Varro.
The cavalry of Varro, opposed by the Numidian
cavalry, was in no condition to meet this double
attack, and was scattered. Ilasdrubal again rallied his cav-
alry, and led it to the rear of the Roman centre, already in
close fight with the Spanish and Gaulish infantry. This last
charge decided the battle. Flight was impossible, for the
river was in the rear, and in front was a victorious enemy.
No quarter was given. Seventy thousand Romans were
slain, including the consul Paulus and eighty men of sena-
torial rank. Varro was saved »by the speed of his horse.
The Carthaginians lost not quite six thousand.

This immense disaster was the signal for the revolt of the
,. , allies, which Hannibal, before in vain had sought

Revolt of ' ' °

allies. to procure. Capua opened her gates to the con-

queror. Nearly all the people of Southern Italy rose against
Rome. But the Greek cities of the coast were held by
Roman garrisons, as well as the fortresses in Apulia, Cam-
pania, and Samnium. The news of the battle of Cannae, b.o.
216, induced the Macedonian king to promise aid to Han-
nibal. The death of Hiero at Syracuse made Sicily an enemy
to Rome, while Carthage, now elated, sent considerable
re-enforcements.

Many critics have expressed surprise that Hannibal, after



Chap, xxx.] Fortitude of the Romans. 447

this great victory, did not at once march upon Rome. Had
he conquered, as Alexander did, a Persian, Orien- wisdom of
i^t7~effeminate people, this might have been his Hannibal,
true policy. But Rome was still capable of a strong de-
fense, and would not have succumbed under any pressure of
adverse circumstances, and she also was still strong in allies.
And more, Hannibal had not perfected his political combi-
nations. He was not ready to strike the final blow. He had
to keep his eye on Macedonia, Africa, Sicily, and Spain.
Alexander did not march to Babylon, until he had subdued
Phoenicia and Egypt. Even the capture of Rome would not
prevent a long war with the States of Italy.

Nor did the Romans lose courage when they learned the
greatest calamity which had ever befallen them. They
made new and immense preparations. All the reserve forces
were called out — all men capable of bearing arms Fortitude of
— young or old. Even the slaves were armed, after the Romans-
being purchased by the State, and made soldiers. Spoils
were taken down from the temples. The Latin cities sent in
contingents, and the Senate refused to receive even the
envoy of the conqueror.

Such courage and fortitude and energy were not without
effect, while the enervating influence of Capua, the

c • t l- -i i t>\ i • • The crisis.

following winter, demoralized the Carthaginians.
The turning point of the war was the winter which followed
the defeat at Cannse. The great aim of Hannibal, in his
expedition to Italy, had been to break up the Italian confed-
eracy. After three campaigns, that object was only imper-
fectly accomplished, in spite of his victories, and he had a
great frontier to protect. With only forty thousand men,
he could not leave it uncovered, and advance to Rome.
The Romans, too, learning wisdom, now appointed only gen-
erals of experience, and continued them in command.

The animating soul of the new warfare was Marcus Claud-
ius Marcellus, a man fifty years of age, who had
received a severe military training, and performed
acts of signal heroism. He was not a general to be a mere



4-18 The Second Punic War. [Chap. XXX.

spectator of the movements of the enemy from the hills, but
to take his position in fortified camps under the walls of for-
tresses. With the two legions saved from Canno?, and the
troops raised from Rome and Ostia, he followed Hannibal to
Campania, while other Roman armies were posted in other
quarters.

Hannibal now saw that without great re-enforcements from
Carthage, Spain, Macedonia, and Syracuse, he would be
obliged to fio-ht on the defensive. But the Carthaginians
sent only congratulations; the king of Macedonia failed
in courage ; while the Romans intercepted supplies from
Syracuse and Spain. Hannibal was left to his own re-
sources.

Scipio, meanwhile, in Spain, attacked the real base of Han-
nibal, overran the country of the Ebro, secured the
passes of the Pyrenees, and defeated Hasdrubal
while attempting to lead succor to his brother. The capture
of Saguntum gave the Romans a strong fortress between the
Ebro and Carthagena. Scipio even meditated an attack on
Africa, and induced Syphax, king of one of the Numidian
nations, to desert Carthage, which caused the recall of
Hasdrubal from Spain. His departure left Scipio master of
the peninsula; but Hasdrubal, after punishing the disaf-
fected Numidians, returned to Spain, and with overwhelm"
ing numbers regained their ascendency, and Scipio was slain,
as well as his brother, and their army routed.

It has been mentioned that on the death of Hiero, who
had been the long-tried friend of Rome, Syracuse threw her
Kevoitof influence in favor of Carthage, being ruled by
Syracuse. factions. Against this revolted city the consul
Marcellus now advanced, and invested the city by land and
sea. He was foiled by the celebrated mathematician Archi-
medes, who constructed engines Avhich destroyed

Archimedes. , _ ' , . „., . ° J ,

the Roman ships, llns very great man advanced
the science of geometry, and made discoveries which rank
him among the lights of the ancient world. His theory of
the lever was the foundation of statics till the time of Xew-



Chap. XXX.] Siege of Syracuse. 449

ton. His discovery of the method of determining specific
gravities by immersion in a fluid was equally memorable. He
was not only the greatest mathematician of the old world,
but he applied science to practical affairs, and compelled
Marcellus to convert the siege of Syracuse into a blockade.
He is said to have launched a ship by the pressure of the
screw, which, reversed in its operation, has revolutionized
naval and commercial marines.

The time gained by this eminent engineer, as well as geom-
eter, enabled the Carthaginians to send an army to relieve
Syracuse. The situation of Marcellus was critical, g ie „ e of
when, by a fortunate escalade of the walls, left un- s J' racuse -
guarded at a festival, the Romans were enabled to take pos-
session of a strong position within the walls. A pestilence
carried off most of the African army encamped in the valley
of Anapus, with the general Himilco. Bomilcar, the Cartha-
ginian admiral, retreated, rather than fight the Roman fleet.
Marcellus obtained, by the treachery of a Sicilian captain,
possession of the island of Ortygia, where Dionysius had once
intrenched himself, the key to the port and the city, and
Syracuse fell. The city was given up to plunder and mas-
sacre, and Archimedes was one of the victims. Death f
Marcellus honored the illustrious defender with Archimede8 -
a stately funeral, and he was buried outside the gate of
Acradina. One hundred and fifty years later, the Syracusans
had forgotten even where he was buried, and his tomb was
discovered by Cicero.

While these events took place in Spain and Sicily, Hanni-
bal bent his efforts to capture Tarentum, and the Romans
were equally resolved to recover Capua. The fall of Taren-
tum enabled Hannibal to break up the siege of CajDua, and
foiled in his attempts to bring on a decisive battle before that
city, he advanced to Rome, and encamped within five miles
of the city, after having led his troops with consummate skill
between the armies and fortresses of the enemy. But Rome
was well defended by two legions, under Fabius, who refused
to fight a pitched battle. Hannibal was, therefore, com-
29



450 The Second Punic War. [Chap. XXX.

pelled to retreat in order to save Capua, which, however,
^ „ r in his absence, had surrendered to the Romans, after

Fall of ' '_

Capua. a two years' siege, and was savagely punished

for its defection from the Roman cause. The fall of Capua
gave a renewed confidence to the Roman government, which
sent re-enforcements to Spain. But it imprudently reduced
its other forces, so that Marcellus was left to face Hannibal
with an inadequate army. The war was now carried on with
alternate successes, in the course of which Tarentum again
fell into Roman hands. Thirty thousand Tarentines were
sold as slaves, b. c. 209.

This great war had now lasted ten years, and both parties
were sinking from exhaustion. In this posture of affairs the
Romans were startled with the intelligence that Hasdrubal
had crossed the Pyrenees, and was advancing to join his
brother in Italy. The Romans, in this exigency, made pro-
digious exertions. Twenty-three legions were enrolled ; but
before preparations were completed, Hasdrubal crossed the
Alps, re-enforced by eight thousand Ligurian mercenaries.
It was the aim of the two Carthaginian generals to form a
juncture of their forces, and of the Romans to prevent it.
Gaining intelligence of the intended movements of Hannibal
and Hasdrubal by an intercepted dispatch, the Roman con-
Battie of sul, Nero, advanced to meet Hasdrubal, and en-
Metamus. countered him on the banks of the Metaurus.
Here a battle ensued, in which the Carthaginians w T ere
defeated and Hasdrubal slain. Hannibal was waiting in
suspense for the dispatch of his brother in his Apulian camp,
when the victor returned from his march of five hundred
miles, and threw the head of Hasdrubal within his outposts.
Keverses of On the sight of his brother's head, he exclaimed ;
Hannibal. « j recogmze the doom of Carthage." Abandon-
ing Apulia and Lucania,he retired to the Bruttian peninsula,
and the victor of Cannas retained only a few posts to re-
embark for Africa.

And yet this great general was able to keep the field four
years longer, nor could the superiority of his opponents com-



Chap. XXX.] Scijpio. 451

pel him to shut himself up in a fortress or re-embark, a proof
of his strategic talents.

In the mean time a brilliant career was opened in Spain to
the young Publius Scipio, known as the elder Africanus. He

was only twenty-four when selected to lead the

"p -d • a • -r v * Scipi0 -

ai mies of Korae m Spain ; tor it was necessary to

subdue that country in order to foil the Carthaginians in
Italy. Publius Scipio was an enthusiast, who won the hearts
of soldiers and women. He was kingly in his bearing, con-
fident of his greatness, graceful in his manners, and eloquent
in his speech — popular with all classes, and inspiring the
enthusiasm which he felt.

He landed in Spain with an army of thirty thousand, and
at once marched to New Carthage, before the distant armies
of the Carthaginians could come to its relief. In a single
day the schemes of Hamilcar and his sons were H is successes
dissolved, and this great capital fell into the hands in s ' ,ain -
of the youthful general, not yet eligible for a single curule
magistracy. Ten thousand captives were taken and six
hundred talents, with great stores of corn and munitions of
war. Spain seemed to be an easy conquest ; but the follow-
ing year the Carthaginians made a desperate effort, and sent
to Spain a new army of seventy thousand infantry, four thou-
sand horse, and thirty-two elephants. Yet this great force,
united with that which remained under Hasdrubal and Mago,
was signally defeated by Scipio. This grand victory, which
made Scipio master of Spain, left him free to carry the war
into Africa itself, assisted by his ally Masinassa. Gades
alone remained to the Carthaginians, the original colony of
the Phoenicians, and even this last tie was severed when
Mago was recalled to assist Hannibal.

Scipio, ambitious to finish the war, and seeking to employ
the whole resources of the empire, returned to Sci ■ con _
Italy and offered himself for the consulship, b. c. suL
205, and was unanimously chosen by the centuries, though
not of legal age. His colleague was the chief pontiff P.
Licinius Crassus, whcse office prevented him from leaving



452 TJie Second Punic War. [Chap. xxx.

Italy, and he was thus left unobstructed in the sole conduct
of the war. Sicily was assigned to him as his province,
where he was to build a fleet and make preparations for
He invades passing over to Africa, although a party, headed
Afnca. ^y. pj Fabms Maximus, wished him to remain in

Italy to drive away Hannibal. The Senate withheld the
usual power of the consul to make a new leA r y, but permitted
Scipio to enroll volunteers throughout Italy. In the state of
disorganization and demoralization which ever attend a long
war, this enrollment was easily effected, and money was raised
by contributions on disaffected States.

Hannibal was still pent up among the Bruttii, unwilling
to let go his last hold on Italy. Mago, in cisalpine Gaul, was
Hannibal too far off to render aid. The defense of Africa

evacuates

Italy. depended on him alone, and he was recalled. He

would probably have anticipated the order. Rome breathed
more freely when the "Libyan Lion" had departed. For
fifteen years he had been an incubus or a terror, and the
Romans, in various conflicts, had lost three hundred thousand
men. Two of the Scipios, Paulus Gracchus and Marcellus,
had yielded up their lives in battle. Only Fabius, among
the experienced generals at the beginning of the war, was
alive, and he, at the age of ninety, Avas now crowned with a
chaplet of the grass of Italy, as the most honorable reward
which could be given him.

Hannibal now sought a conference with Scipio, for both
Hannibal parties were anxious for peace, but was unable to

seeks for .

peace. obtain any better terms than the cession of Spam,

as well as the Mediterranean islands, the surrender of the
Carthaginian fleet, the payment of four thousand talents,
and the confirmation of Masinissa in the kingdom of Syphax.
Such terms could not be accepted, and both parties prepared
for one more decisive conflict.

The battle was fought at Zama. " Hannibal arranged his
The battle infantry in three lines. The first division contained
of Zama. ^he Carthaginian mercenaries; the second, the
African allies, and the militia of Cartilage ; the third, the



Chap. XXX.] Battle of Zama. 453

veterans who followed him from Italy. In the front of the
lines were stationed eighty elephants ; the cavalry wa=
placed on the wings. Scipio likewise disposed the legions
in three divisions. The infantry fought hand to hand in the
first division, and both parties falling into confusion, sought
aid in the second division. The Romans were supported,
but the Carthaginian militia was wavering. Upon seeing
this, Hannibal hastily withdrew what remained of the two
first lines to the flanks, and pushed forward his choice Italian
troops along the whole line. Scipio gathered together in the
centre all that were able to fight of the first line, and made
the second and third divisions close up on the right and left
of the first. Once again the conflict was renewed with more
desperate fighting, till the cavalry of the Romans and of
Masinassa, returning from pursuit of the beaten cavalry of
the enemy, surrounded them on all sides. This movement
annihilated the Punic army. All was lost, and Hannibal
was only able to escape with a handful of men."

It was now in the power of Scipio to march upon Carthage
and lay siege to the city, neither protected nor Scipio gives

...._,,■*-. peace to Car-

provisioned. .but he made no extravagant use of thage.
his victory. He granted peace on the terms previously re-
jected, with the addition of an annual tribute of two hundred
talents for fifty years. He had no object to destroy a city
after its political power was annihilated, and wickedly over-
throw the primitive seat of commerce, which was still one
of the main pillars of civilization. He was too great and
wise a statesman to take such a revenge as the Romans
sought fifty years afterward. He was contented to end the
war gloriously, and see Carthage, the old rival, a tributary



Online LibraryJohn LordAnceint states and empires → online text (page 38 of 55)