Society / War

218BC , Duration 17Y 6205d

Event #6: Second Punic War

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Text #6

"Second Punic War", in Wikipedia.
[Polyb. . ]

The Second Punic War, also referred to as The Hannibalic War and (by the Romans) The War Against Hannibal, lasted from 218 to 201 BC and involved combatants in the western and eastern Mediterranean. This was the second major war between Carthage and the Roman Republic and its allied Italic socii, with the crucial participation of Numidian-Berber armies and tribes on both sides.

The war was to a considerable extent initiated by Rome, but is marked by Hannibal’s surprising overland journey and his costly crossing of the Alps, followed by his reinforcement by Gallic allies and crushing victories over Roman armies in the Battle of the Trebia and the giant ambush at Trasimene. In the following year (216), Hannibal’s army defeated the Romans again, this time in southern Italy at Cannae. In consequence of these defeats, many Roman allies went over to Carthage, prolonging the war in Italy for over a decade. Against Hannibal’s skill on the battlefield, the Romans deployed the Fabian strategy. Roman forces were more capable in siege warfare than the Carthaginians and recaptured all of the major cities that had joined the enemy, as well as defeating a Carthaginian attempt to reinforce Hannibal at the Battle of the Metaurus. In the meantime, in Iberia, which served as the main source of manpower for the Carthaginian army, a second Roman expedition under Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus Major took Carthago Nova by assault and ended Carthaginian rule over Iberia in the Battle of Ilipa. The final showdown was the Battle of Zama in Africa between Scipio Africanus and Hannibal, resulting in the latter’s defeat and the imposition of harsh peace conditions on Carthage (Carthaginian peace), which ceased to be a major power and became a Roman client-state.

A sideshow of this war was the indecisive First Macedonian War in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Ionian Sea.

All battles mentioned in the introduction are ranked among the most costly traditional battles of human history; in addition, there were a few successful ambushes of armies that also ended in their annihilation.

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