Scipio Africanus was just of the many talented generals in the ancient world. He to be barely an adult when Hannibal attacked Italy. He fought in several of the most epic battles of the war and lost his father, uncle and father-in-law in the first couple of years the the war. Taking his very first command in Spain, Scipio prospered in beating Carthaginian pressures that with each other had practically three time as countless men.

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After securing Spain Scipio, gift an ardent patriot, seek to finish the war with full victory fairly than merely seeking state as many of the war-weary senate desired. Through Hannibal quiet in Italy v a veteran army Scipio suggest an invasion of Africa to end the war. From Livy, this is Scipio’s plea come the senate:

“Italy has suffered long; let she for a while have actually rest. The is Africa’s rotate to be devastated by fire and sword. It is time a Roman army threatened the gates of Carthage, quite than the we need to again view from our wall surfaces the rampart that an foe camp. Allow Africa be the theater of war henceforward; for fourteen years all the horrors that war have fallen thick upon us, terror and defeat, the devastation of our farms, the desertion of our friends; it is her turn now to suffer the same”


Despite the moving speech, the Senate only allowed Scipio to take it a small army come Africa despite he recruited countless volunteers, including several thousand of the disgraced survivors the Cannae that sought a possibility for redemption. Before invading Scipio sent his second in command, Laelius, to command naval raids along the african coast. Below he made contact with Masinissa, A Numidian prince who determined to ally with Rome, despite he remained in the middle of a civil battle with another Numidian leader, Syphax, that was allied through Carthage.

though rather cluttered, this map that battles clearly shows the devastation of Italy transparent the war. though quite cluttered, this map of battles clearly shows the devastation the Italy throughout the war. By Maglorbd – CC BY-SA 3.0

Scipio landed in northern Africa in 204 BCE close to Utica in contemporary Tunisia, phibìc of Carthage v an army of around 28,000 men. Though Scipio hope to take the city of Utica the siege to be unsuccessful and Scipio was soon faced with a Carthaginian military that camped near to the roman camp. Scipio sent out spies right into the camp and was able to organize a nighttime assault by beginning the Carthaginian camp on fire and stationing his army approximately the exit to death those who obtained out. Hardly also a fight, virtually 40,000 Carthaginians were killed with couple of casualties because that the Romans. Though this was seen as a dishonorable relocate through most ancient wars, the 2nd Punic War had actually dragged on for well over a decade with atrocities on every sides, for this reason no tactic was off boundaries by this point.

Despite losing almost their entire army in the camp fires, The Carthaginian command Hasdrubal and the Numidian Syphax to be able to escape the camps and gather a surprisingly large army southwest of Utica. The Carthaginian numbers were bolstered by number of thousand Celtiberian mercenaries who had actually just arrived. Within a month the Carthaginians had actually assembled an army larger 보다 Scipio’s for this reason Scipio was forced to assault them prior to they prospered too huge to confront.

At the battle of the an excellent Plains Scipio assembled his military in classic maniple development with young Hastati in the front, Principes in the middle and the many veteran Triarii in the rear and also allies on the wings and also cavalry on one of two people flank. With this standard formation Scipio bespeak a full attack against the Carthaginians who had placed the elite Celtiberians in the center and also the remaining infantry on either wing and also cavalry on the flanks.

Once involved Scipio sent sections that his rear two lines approximately to flank the raw recruits that created the Carthaginian wings. This extra press routed the wings and shortly after ~ the Carthaginian cavalry damaged leaving only the Celtiberians that fought extremely valiantly but were surrounded and also almost completely eliminated.

Masinissa had a long and interesting life, first fighting because that Carthage before being encouraged to join the Romans, he lived well right into his eighties. Numidix – CC by 2.5Masinissa had actually a long and also interesting life, very first fighting for Carthage before being convinced to sign up with the Romans, he live well into his eighties. Numidix – CC by 2.5

After this battle Syphax to be chased westward right into Numidia wherein Masinissa had the ability to win a success over him and also secure full regulate in Numidia. Hearing the they simply lost their closest ally on the heels of another massive defeat, Carthage invite Scipio to discuss peace terms. A peace was completed in Africa for a time till an altercation end supply ships brought about Roman emissaries being blatantly attacked and also hostilities resumed.

Hannibal, In Italy this entirety time, was lastly able come sail earlier to Africa. His holdings in southern Italy had been steadily shrinking end the years and also by the time he left he was just really in regulate of the “foot” the Italy. The arrival of Hannibal and also his main point of Italian veterans gave more hope come Carthage, who had actually kept both Carthage and also Utica safe from Scipio. Even much more mercenaries were hired and large amounts the Carthaginian citizens joined Hannibal’s army. Hannibal had the advantage in infantry at roughly 36,000 to Scipio’s 29,000 and also initially had an ext cavalry at 4,000 yet a last minute combine by Masinissa brought Scipio’s cavalry to 6,000. Hannibal did have one an ext advantage, the substantial stables of Carthage to be emptied and 80 battle elephants would type Hannibal’s former line.

Mohammad_adil_rais-battle_of_zama-1Roman and also Carthaginian troop deployment. By Mohammad adil – CC BY-SA 3.0

The fight of Zama was one of the most very closely contested battles in antiquity between 2 of the best generals who ever before lived. Scipio i ordered it his infantry not with each line staggered behind the other like the timeless checkerboard formation, yet placed units of Principes and Triarii directly behind the Hastati creating several large avenues indigenous the front to the earlier of the formation. This gaps to be filled by skirmishers, recognized as Velites, who can easily retract behind the Hastati. Prefer Hannibal did at Cannae Scipio took advantage of his much more numerous mounties by overloading one side. His appropriate flank having Masinissa’s 4,000 cavalry and left v 2,000 Roman mounties while Hannibal had actually 2,000 on one of two people side. Hannibal had actually three present of infantry and placed his Italian veterans in the rear line a higher than common distance indigenous the following line.

At the start of the battle the 80 elephants charged forward, however Scipio had actually prepared his troops well. The front lines blew horns to scare and also distract the elephants when the javelin-armed skirmishers fearlessly peppered the elephants and also retreating together needed. Number of elephants to be killed, countless went with the methods created in the present of infantry and harmlessly left the battlefield, but many others turned around and caused destruction in Hannibal’s army, particularly with his cavalry.

Seeing the disruption, Scipio’s cavalry advanced immediately. Both flanks of Hannibal’s mounties were easily routed and chased from the field. With every one of the elephants and the cavalry gone the battle came down to the infantry. The very first lines closed v young Hastati engaging the newly recruited mercenaries.

The Hastati to be able to push ago the first line and engaged v the second line that Carthaginian citizen soldiers who provided a fierce sufficient fight so the the Princepes it seems to be ~ to have been associated (sources room unclear). Soon sufficient the second line to be broken, but Hannibal had actually accounted for this. In most battles this routed prior lines would be the end of the battle but Hannibal had organized the so the the third line was much enough ago that the survivors can rally, and also so the two lines take it up location on the flanks the the 3rd line forming a long singular line that threatened to envelop Scipio’s more compact formation.

Scipio responded by marching his Princepes front on either side of the Hastati and also the Triarii on either side of them developing an same long single line. Marching end the carnage the the earlier fighting the Romans charged. The disgraced survivors of Cannae seek redemption end the really same soldiers that had defeated them fourteen year earlier. The fighting was incredibly fierce v both sides refusing to give any ground.

Mohammad_adil_rais-battle_of_zama-5Scipio and Hannibal rearrange their troops in a solitary line and also battle continues to be stalemate until Roman mounties returns and also attacks Hannibal’s infantry at the rear. Through Mohammad adil – CC BY-SA 3.0

As the infantry were grind away at each various other Scipio’s victorious mounties finally went back to the battlefield and also charged the flanks of the Carthaginians. The mercenaries and citizens fled when the veterans mostly combated to the death. It was an for sure brutal battle that might have rotate either means at any kind of point. Gaining victorious cavalry to return to fight was no basic task as most mounties get too recorded up in the chase or decision to prey the enemy camp. The is a credit transaction to Masinissa and also Laelius that they to be able to return to accomplish the victory

Rome had suffered three horrific defeat in their own territory and also decided come fight on, because that Carthage this, the 3rd disaster in two years was sufficient for them come sue for peace and accept the crushing terms that would certainly doom their realm and collection them up for their ultimate elimination.

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Scipio was commemorated like no various other upon his go back to Rome. The was given meager pressures in Spain and fully conquered that area. After ~ fighting because that permission to invade Africa, the won an excellent victories, eliminated Hannibal indigenous Italy where he had been for sixteen years and also defeated that in open up battle. He to be the very first Roman to be offered a name for overcoming an area, after that being known as Africanus. Hannibal provided his referral that Carthage surrender and soon fled Africa come seek company with international kings together he knew the Romans would certainly seek personal revenge against him.