A complete history of ancient Carthage from its founding to its collapse including its leaders, generals, philosophies and contribution to civilization

Part One

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Page Four

The Story of Hannibal

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Ancient Carthage

Author: Rollin, Charles

Part Three

 Section II.


The Passage Over The Alps


     The sight of these mountains, whose tops seem to touch the skies, and

were covered with snow, and where nothing appeared to the eye but a few

pitiful cottages, scattered here and there, on the sharp tops of inaccessible

rocks; nothing but meagre flocks, almost perishing with cold, and hairy men of

a savage and fierce aspect; this spectacle renewed the terror which the

distant prospect had raised, and chilled with fear the hearts of the soldiers.

^816 When they began to climb up, they perceived the mountaineers, who had

seized upon the highest cliffs, and prepared to oppose their passage.  They

therefore were forced to halt.  Had the mountaineers, says Polybius, only lain

in ambuscade and suffered Hannibal's troops to strike into some narrow

passage, and then charged them on a sudden, the Carthaginian army would have

been irrecoverably lost.  Hannibal, being informed that they kept those posts

only in the daytime, and quitted them in the evening, possessed himself of

them by night.  The Gauls, returning early in the morning, were very much

surprised to find their posts in the enemy's hands; but still they were not

disheartened.  Being used to climb up those rocks, they attacked the

Carthaginians who were upon their march, and harassed them on all sides. The

latter were obliged, at the same time, to engage with the enemy, and struggle

with the ruggedness of the paths of the mountains, where they could hardly

stand.  But the greatest disorder was caused by the horses and beasts of

burden laden with the baggage, that were frighted by the cries and howling of

the Gauls, which echoed dreadfully among the mountains; and being sometimes

wounded by the mountaineers, came tumbling on the soldiers, and dragged them

headlong with them down the precipices which skirted the road.  Hannibal,

being sensible that the loss of his baggage alone was enough to destroy his

army, ran to the assistance of his troops who were thus embarrassed, and

having put the enemy to flight, continued his march without molestation or

danger, and came to a castle, which was the most important fortress in the

whole country.  He possessed himself of it, and of all the neighboring

villages, in which he found a large quantity of corn, and sufficient cattle to

subsist his army for three days.


[Footnote 816: Polyb. l. iii. pp. 203-208.  Liv. l. xxi. n. 32-37.]


     Although their march was for a short time uninterrupted, the

Carthaginians were to encounter a new danger.  The Gauls, feigning to take

advantage of the misfortunes of their neighbors, who had suffered for opposing

the passage of Hannibal's troops, came to pay their respects to that general,

brought him provisions, offered to be his guides, and left him hostages, as

pledges of their fidelity.  Hannibal, however, placed no great confidence in

them.  The elephants and horses marched in the front, while himself followed

with the main body of his foot, keeping a vigilant eye over all.  They came at

length to a very steep and narrow pass, which was commanded by an eminence,

where the Gauls had placed an ambuscade. These rushing out on a sudden

assailed the Carthaginians on every side, rolling down stones upon them of a

prodigious size.  The army would have been entirely routed, had not Hannibal

exerted himself, in an extraordinary manner, to extricate them out of this



     At last, on the ninth day, they reached the summit of the Alps.  Here the

army halted two days, to rest and refresh themselves after their fatigue,

after which they continued their march.  As it was now autumn, a great

quantity of snow had lately fallen, and covered all the roads, which caused a

consternation among the troops, and disheartened them very much. Hannibal

perceived it, and halting on a hill, from whence there was a prospect of all

Italy, he showed them the fruitful plains of Piedmont, watered by the river

Po, which they had nearly reached, adding that they had but one more effort to

make, before they arrived at them.  He represented to them, that a battle or

two would put a glorious period to their toils, and enrich them for ever, by

giving them possession of the capital of the Roman empire.  This speech, full

of such pleasing hopes, and enforced by the sight of Italy, inspired the

dejected soldiers with fresh vigor and alacrity.  They therefore pursued their

march.  But still the road was more craggy and troublesome than ever, and as

they were now on a descent, the difficulty and danger increased.  For the ways

were narrow, steep, and slippery, in most places; so that the soldiers could

neither keep their feet as they marched, nor recover themselves when they made

a false step, but stumbled, and beat down one another.


     They were now come to a place worse than any they had yet met with. This

was a path naturally very steep and craggy, which being made more so by the

late falling in of the earth, terminated in a frightful precipice more than a

thousand feet deep.  Here the cavalry stopped short. Hannibal, wondering at

this sudden halt, ran to the place, and saw that it would really be impossible

for the troops to advance.  He therefore was for making a circuitous route,

but this also was found impracticable.  As upon the old snow, which was

growing hard by lying, there was some lately fallen that was of no great

depth, the feet, at first, by their sinking into it, found a firm support; but

this snow being soon dissolved by the treading of the foremost troops and

beasts of burden, the soldiers marched on nothing but ice, which was so

slippery that they had no firm footing; and where, if they made the least

false step, or endeavored to save themselves with their hands or knees, there

were no boughs or roots to catch hold of.  Besides this difficulty, the horses

striking their feet forcibly into the ice to keep themselves from falling,

could not draw them out again, but were caught as in a gin.  They therefore

were forced to seek some other expedient.


     Hannibal resolved to pitch his camp, and to give his troops some days'

rest on the summit of this hill, which was of a considerable extent, after

they should have cleared the ground, and removed all the old as well as the

new fallen snow, which was a work of immense labor.  He afterwards ordered a

path to be cut into the rock itself, and this was carried on with amazing

patience and labor.  To open and enlarge this path, all the trees thereabout

were cut down, and piled round the rock, and there set on fire.  The wind,

fortunately blowing hard, a fierce flame soon broke out, so that the rock

glowed like the very coals with which it was surrounded. Then Hannibal, if

Livy may be credited, for Polybius says nothing of this matter, caused a great

quantity of vinegar to be poured on the rock, ^817 which piercing into the

veins of it, that were now cracked by the intense hear of the fire, calcined

and softened it.  In this manner, making a large circuit, in order that the

descent might be easier, they cut a way along the rock, which opened a free

passage to the forces, the baggage, and even to the elephants.  Four days were

employed in this work, during which the beasts of burden had no provender,

there being no food for them on mountains buried under eternal snows.  At last

they came into cultivated and fruitful spots, which yielded plenty of forage

for the horses, and all kinds of food for the soldiers.


[Footnote 817: Many reject this incident as fictitious.  Pliny takes notice of

a remarkable quality in vinegar, viz.: its being able to break rocks and

stones. - Saxa rumpit infusum, quae non ruperit ignis antecedens, l. xxiii. c.

1.  He therefore calls it, Succus rerum domitor. l. xxxiii. c. 2.  Dion,

speaking of the siege of Eleuthra, says, that the walls of it were made to

fall by the force of vinegar, l. xxxvi. p. 8. Probably the circumstances that

seems improbable on this occasion, is the difficulty of Hannibal's procuring,

in those mountains, a quantity of vinegar sufficient for this purpose.]


Hannibal Enters Italy


     When Hannibal marched into Italy, his army was far less numerous than

when he left Spain, where we find it amounted to nearly sixty thousand men.

^818 He had sustained great losses during the march, either in the battles he

was forced to fight, or in the passage of rivers.  At his departure from the

Rhone, it consisted of thirty-eight thousand foot, and above eight thousand

horse.  The march over the Alps destroyed nearly half this number, so that

Hannibal had now remaining only twelve thousand Africans, eight thousand

Spanish foot, and six thousand horse.  This account he himself caused to be

engraved on a pillar near the promontory called Licinium.  It was five months

and a half since his first setting out from New Carthage, including the

fortnight he employed in marching over the Alps, when he set up his standard

in the plains of the Po, at the entrance of Piedmont.  It might then have been



[Footnote 818: Polyb. l. iii. pp. 299, 212-214.  Liv. l. xxi. n. 39.]


     His first care was to give his troops some rest, which they very much

wanted.  When he perceived that they were fit for action, the inhabitants of

all the territories of Turin ^819 refusing to conclude an alliance with him,

he marched and encamped before their chief city, carried it in three days, and

put all who had opposed him to the sword.  This expedition struck the

barbarians with so much dread, that they all came voluntarily and surrendered

at discretion.  The rest of the Gauls would have done the same, had they not

been awed by the terror of the Roman arms, which were now approaching.

Hannibal thought, therefore, that he had no time to lose; that it was his

interest to march up into the country, and attempt some great exploit, such as

might induce those who should have an inclination to join him to rely on his



[Footnote 819: Taurini.]


     The rapid progress which Hannibal had made greatly alarmed Rome, and

caused the utmost consternation throughout the city.  Sempronius was ordered

to leave Sicily, and hasten to the relief of his country; and P. Scipio, the

other consul, advanced with the utmost diligence towards the enemy, crossed

the Po, and pitched his camp near the Ticinus. ^820


[Footnote 820: A small river, now called Tesino, in Lombardy.]


Battle Of The Cavalry Near The Ticinus


     The armies being now in sight, the generals on each side made a speech to

their soldiers, before they engaged in battle. ^821 Scipio, after having

represented to his forces the glory of their country, and the noble

achievements of their ancestors, observed to them, that victory was in their

hands, since they were to combat only with Carthaginians, a people who had

been so often defeated by them, as well as forced to be their tributaries for

twenty years, and long accustomed to be almost their slaves: that the

advantage they had gained over the flower of the Carthaginian horse, was a

sure omen of their success during the rest of the war: that Hannibal, in

marching over the Alps, had just before lost the best part of his army, and

that those who survived were exhausted with hunger, cold, and fatigue: that

the bare sight of the Romans was sufficient to put to flight a parcel of

soldiers, who had the aspect of ghosts rather than of men: in a word, that

victory was become necessary, not only to secure Italy, but to save Rome

itself, whose fate the present battle would decide, that city having no other

army wherewith to oppose the enemy.


[Footnote 821: Polyb. l. iii. pp. 214-218.  Liv. l. xxi. n. 39-47.]


     Hannibal, that his words might make the stronger impression on the rude

minds of his soldiers, addressed himself to their eyes, before he addressed

their ears; and did not attempt to persuade them by arguments, till he had

first moved them by the following spectacle.  He armed some of the prisoners

he had taken in the mountains, and obliged them to fight, two and two, in the

sight of his army, promising to reward the conquerors with their liberty and

rich presents.  The alacrity and vigor wherewith these barbarians engaged upon

these motives, gave Hannibal an occasion of exhibiting to his soldiers a

lively image of their present condition; which, by depriving them of all means

of returning back, put them under an absolute necessity either of conquering

or dying, in order to avoid the endless evils prepared for those that should

be so base and cowardly as to submit to the Romans.  He displayed to them the

greatness of their reward, viz.: the conquest of all Italy; the plunder of the

rich and wealthy city of Rome; an illustrious victory, and immortal glory.  He

spoke contemptibly of the Roman power, the false lustre of which, he observed,

ought not to dazzle such warriors as themselves, who had marched from the

pillars of Hercules, through the fiercest nations into the very centre of

Italy.  As for his own part, he scorned to compare himself with Scipio, a

general of but six months' standing: himself, who was almost born, at least

brought up, in the tent of Hamilcar, his father; the conqueror of Spain, of

Gaul, of the inhabitants of the Alps, and, what was still more remarkable, of

the Alps themselves.  He roused their indignation against the insolence of the

Romans, who had dared to demand that himself, and the rest who had taken

Saguntum, should be delivered up to them; and excited their jealousy against

the intolerable pride of those imperious masters, who imagined that all things

ought to obey them, and that they had a right to give laws to the world.


     After these speeches, both sides prepared for battle.  Scipio, having

thrown a bridge across the Ticinus, marched his troops over it.  Two ill omens

had filled his army with consternation and dread. ^822 As for the

Carthaginians, they were inspired with the boldest courage.  Hannibal animated

them with fresh promises; and cleaving with a stone the skull of the lamb he

was sacrificing, he prayed to Jupiter to dash his head in pieces in like

manner, in case he did not give his soldiers the rewards he had promised them.


[Footnote 822: These two ill omens were, first, a wolf had stole into the camp

of the Romans and cruelly mangled some of the soldiers, without receiving the

least harm from those who endeavored to kill it; and, secondly, a swarm of

bees had pitched upon a tree near the praetorium, or general's tent. - Liv. l.

xxi. c. 46.]


     Scipio posted in the first line, the troops armed with missile weapons,

and the Gaulish horse; and forming his second line of the flower of the

confederate cavalry, he advanced slowly.  Hannibal advanced with his whole

cavalry, in the centre of which he had posted the troopers who rode with

bridles, and the Numidian horse on the wings, in order to surround the enemy.

^823 The officers and cavalry, being eager to engage, the battle commenced.

At the first onset, Scipio's light-armed soldiers discharged their darts, but

frightened at the Carthaginian cavalry, which came pouring upon them, and

fearing lest they should be trampled under the horses' feet, they gave way,

and retired through the intervals of the squadrons.  The fight continued a

long time with equal success.  Many troopers on both sides dismounted; so that

the battle was carried on between infantry as well as cavalry.  In the mean

time, the Numidians surrounded the enemy, and charged the rear of the

light-armed troops, who at first had escaped the attack of the cavalry, and

trod them under their horses' feet.  The centre of the Roman forces had

hitherto fought with great bravery.  Many were killed on both sides, and even

more on that of the Carthaginians.  But the Roman troops were thrown into

disorder by the Numidians, who attacked them in the rear: and especially by a

wound the consul received, which disabled him.  This general, however, was

rescued out of the enemy's hands by the bravery of his son, then but seventeen

years old, and who afterwards was honored with the surname of Africanus, for

having put a glorious period to this war.


[Footnote 823: The Numidians used to ride without saddle or bridle.]


     The consul, though dangerously wounded, retreated in good order, and was

conveyed to his camp by a body of horse, who covered him with their arms and

bodies: the rest of the army followed him thither.  He hastened to the Po,

which he crossed with his army, and then broke down the bridge, whereby he

prevented Hannibal from overtaking him.


     It was agreed, that Hannibal owed this first victory to his cavalry; and

it was judged from thenceforth, that the main strength of his army consisted

in his horse; and therefore, that it would be proper for the Romans to avoid

large open plains like those between the Po and the Alps.


     Immediately after the battle of the Ticinus, all the neighboring Gauls

seemed to contend who should submit themselves first to Hannibal, furnish him

with ammunition, and enlist in his army.  And this, as Polybius has observed,

was what chiefly induced that wise and skilful general, notwithstanding the

small number and weakness of his troops, to hazard a battle; which he indeed

was now obliged to venture, from the impossibility of marching back whenever

he should desire to do it, because nothing but a battle would oblige the

Gaul's to declare for him: their assistance being the only refuge he then had



Battle Of Trebia


     Sempronius the consul, upon the orders he had received from the senate,

was returned from Sicily to Ariminum. ^824 From thence he marched towards

Trebia, a small river of Lombardy, which falls into the Po a little above

Placentia, where he joined his forces to those of Scipio. Hannibal advanced

towards the camp of the Romans, from which he was separated only by that small

river.  The armies lying so near one another, gave occasion to frequent

skirmishes, in one of which Sempronius, at the head of a body of horse, gained

but a very small advantage over a party of Carthaginians, which nevertheless

very much increased the good opinion this general naturally entertained of his

own merit.


[Footnote 824: Polyb. l. xxiii. pp. 220-227.  Liv. l. xxi. pp. 51-56]


     This inconsiderable success seemed to him a complete victory.  He boasted

his having vanquished the enemy in the same kind of fight in which his

colleague had been defeated, and that he thereby had revived the courage of

the dejected Romans.  Being now resolutely bent to come, as soon as possible,

to a decisive battle, he thought it proper, for decency sake, to consult

Scipio, whom he found to be of a quite different opinion from himself.  Scipio

represented, that in case time should be allowed for disciplining the new

levies during the winter, they would be much more fit for service in the

ensuing campaign; that the Gauls, who were naturally fickle and inconstant,

would disengage themselves insensibly from Hannibal; that as soon as his

wounds should be healed, his presence might be of some use in an affair of

such general concern; in a word, he besought him earnestly not to proceed any



     These reasons, though so just, made no impression upon Sempronius. He saw

himself at the head of sixteen thousand Romans, and twenty thousand allies,

exclusive of cavalry, which number, in those ages, formed a complete army,

when both consuls joined their forces.  The troops of the enemy amounted to

near the same number.  He thought the juncture extremely favorable for him.

He declared publicly, that all the officers and soldiers were desirous of a

battle, except his colleague, whose mind, he observed, being more affected by

his wound than his body, could not for that reason bear to hear of an

engagement.  But still, continued Sempronius, is it just to let the whole army

droop and languish with him? What could Scipio expect more?  Did he flatter

himself with the hopes that a third consul, and a new army, would come to his

assistance?  Such were the expressions he employed, both among the soldiers,

and even about Scipio's tent.  The time for the election of new generals

drawing near, Sempronius was afraid a successor would be sent before he had

put an end to the war; and therefore it was his opinion, that he ought to take

advantage of his colleague's illness to secure the whole honor of the victory

to himself.  As he had no regard, says Polybius, to the time proper for

action, and only to that which he thought suited his own interest, he could

not fail of taking wrong measures.  He therefore ordered his army to prepare

for battle.


     This was the very thing Hannibal desired, holding it for a maxim, that

when a general has entered a foreign country, or one possessed by the enemy,

and has formed some great design, that such an one has no other refuge left,

but continually to raise the expectation of his allies by some fresh exploits.

Besides, knowing that he should have to deal only with new-levied and

inexperienced troops, he was desirous of taking every advantage possible of

the ardor of the Gauls, who were extremely desirous of fighting; and of

Scipio's absence, who, by reason of his wound, could not be present in the

battle.  Mago was therefore ordered to lie in ambush with two thousand men,

consisting of horse and foot, on the steep banks of a small rivulet, which ran

between the two camps, and to conceal himself among the bushes, that were very

thick there.  An ambuscade is often safer in a smooth open country, but full

of thickets, as this was, than in woods, because such a spot is less apt to be

suspected.  He afterwards caused a detachment of Numidian cavalry to cross the

Trebia, with orders to advance at break of day as far as the very barriers of

the enemy's camp, in order to provoke them to fight; and then to retreat and

repass the river, in order to draw the Romans after them.  What he had

foreseen, came exactly to pass.  The fiery Sempronius immediately detached his

whole cavalry against the Numidians, and then six thousand light-armed troops,

who were soon followed by the rest of the army.  The Numidians fled

designedly; upon which the Romans pursued with great eagerness, and crossed

the Trebia without resistance, but not without great difficulty, being forced

to wade up to their very arm-pits through the rivulet, which was swollen with

the torrents that had fallen in the night from the neighboring mountains.  It

was then about the winter-solstice, that is, in December.  It happened to snow

that day, and the cold was excessively piercing.  The Romans had left their

camp fasting, and without taking the least precaution; whereas the

Carthaginians had, by Hannibal's order, eat and drank plentifully in their

tents; had got their horses in readiness, rubbed themselves with oil, and put

on their armor by the fire-side.


     They were thus prepared when the fight began.  The Romans defended

themselves valiantly for a considerable time, though they were half spent with

hunger, fatigue, and cold; but their cavalry was at last broken and put to

flight by that of the Carthaginians, which much exceeded theirs in numbers and

strength.  The infantry also were soon in great disorder.  The soldiers in

ambuscade sallying out at a proper time, rushed suddenly upon their rear, and

completed the overthrow.  A body of about ten thousand men fought their way

resolutely through the Gauls and Africans, of whom they made a dreadful

slaughter; but as they could neither assist their friends, nor return to their

camp, the way to it being cut off by the Numidian horse, the river and the

rain, they retreated in good order to Placentia. Most of the rest lost their

lives on the banks of the river, being trampled to pieces by the elephants and

horses.  Those who escaped, joined the body above mentioned.  The next night

Scipio also retired to Placentia.  The Carthaginians gained a complete

victory, and their loss was inconsiderable, except that a great number of

their horses were destroyed by the cold, the rain, and the snow: and that, of

all their elephants, they saved but one.


     In Spain, the Romans had better success, in this and the following

campaign, ^825 for Cn. Scipio extended his conquests as far as the river

Iberus, ^826 defeated Hanno, and made him prisoner.


[Footnote 825: Polyb. l. iii. pp. 228, 229.  Liv. l. xxi. n. 60, 61.]


[Footnote 826: Or Ebro.]


     Hannibal took the opportunity, while he was in winterquarters, to refresh

his troops, and gain the affection of the natives.  For this purpose, after

having declared to the prisoners he had taken from the Roman allies, that he

was not come with the view of making war upon them, but to restore the

Italians to their liberty, and protect them against the Romans, he sent them

all home to their own countries without requiring the least ransom. ^827


[Footnote 827: Polyb. l. iii. p. 229.]


     The winter was no sooner over, than he set off towards Tuscany, whither

he hastened his march for two important reasons. ^828 First, to avoid the ill

effects which would arise from the ill-will of the Gauls, who were tired with

the long stay of the Carthaginian army in their territories; and impatient of

bearing the whole burden of a war, in which they had engaged with no other

view than to carry it into the country of their common enemy.  Secondly, that

he might increase, by some bold exploit, the reputation of his arms in the

minds of all the inhabitants of Italy, by carrying the war to the very gates

of Rome, and at the same time, reanimate his troops, and the Gauls his allies,

by the plunder of the enemy's territories.  But in his march over the

Appenines, he was overtaken with a dreadful storm, which destroyed great

numbers of his men. The cold, the rain, the wind and hail, seemed to conspire

his ruin; so that the fatigues which the Carthaginians had undergone in

crossing the Alps, seemed less dreadful than these they now suffered.  He

therefore marched back to Placentia, where he again fought Sempronius, who had

returned from Rome.  The loss on both sides was very nearly equal.


[Footnote 828: Liv. l. xxi. n. 52.]


     While Hannibal was in these winter-quarters, he hit upon a stratagem

truly Carthaginian. ^829 He was surrounded with fickle and inconstant nations;

the friendship he had contracted with them was but of recent date.  He had

reason to apprehend a change in their disposition, and consequently that

attempts would be made upon his life.  To secure himself, therefore, he got

perukes made, and clothes suited to every age. Of these he sometimes wore one,

sometimes another; and disguised himself so often, that not only those who saw

him transiently, but even his intimate acquaintance, could scarcely know him.


[Footnote 829: Polyb. l. xxii. n. 1 Appian. in Bell. Annib. p. 316.]


     At Rome, Cn. Servilius and C. Flaminius had been appointed consuls. ^830

Hannibal having advice that the latter was advanced already as far as

Arretium, a town of Tuscany, resolved to go and engage him as soon as

possible.  Two ways being shown him, he chose the shortest, though the most

troublesome, nay, almost impassable, by reason of a fen which he was forced to

go through.  Here the army suffered incredible hardships. During four days and

three nights, they marched half leg deep in water, and consequently could not

get a moment's sleep.  Hannibal himself who rode upon the only elephant he had

left, could hardly get through.  His long want of sleep, and the thick vapors

which exhaled from that marshy place, together with the unhealthfulness of the

season, cost him one of his eyes.


[Footnote 830: A. M. 3788.  A. Rome, 532.  Polyb. pp. 230, 231.  Liv. 1. xxii.

n. 2.]


Section I.


Battle Of Thrasymene


     Hannibal thus extricated, almost unexpectedly, out of this dangerous

situation, refreshed his troops, and then marched and pitched his camp between

Arretium and Fesulae, in the richest and most fruitful part of Tuscany. ^831

His first endeavors were, to discover the genius and character of Flaminius,

in order that he might take advantage of his errors, which, according to

Polybius, ought to be the chief study of a general.  He was told that

Flaminius was very self-conceited, bold, enterprising, rash, and fond of

glory.  To plunge him the deeper into these excesses, to which he was

naturally prone, ^832 he inflamed his impetuous spirit, by laying waste and

burning the whole country in his sight.


[Footnote 831: Polyb. l. iii. pp. 231-238.]


[Footnote 832: Apparebat ferociter omnia ac praepropere acturem.  Quoque

pronioz esset in sua vitia, agitare eum atque irritare Poepus parat. - Liv. l.

xxii. n. 5.]


     Flaminius was not of a disposition to remain inactive in his camp, though

Hannibal should have lain still.  But when he saw the territories of his

allies laid waste before his eyes, he thought it would reflect dishonor upon

him should he suffer Hannibal to ravage Italy without control, and even

advance to the very walls of Rome, without meeting any resistance.  He

rejected with scorn the prudent counsels of those who advised him to wait the

arrival of his colleague; and to be satisfied for the present with putting a

stop to the devastation of the enemy.


     In the mean time Hannibal was still advancing towards Rome, having

Cortona on the left hand, and the lake Thrasymene on his right.  When he saw

that the consul followed close after him, with the design to give him battle,

by stopping him in his march; having observed that the ground was convenient

for that purpose, he also began to prepare himself for battle. The lake

Thrasymene and the mountains of Cortona form a narrow defile, which leads into

a large valley, lined on both sides with hills of considerable height, and

closed at the outlet by a steep hill of difficult access.  On this hill,

Hannibal, after having crossed the valley, came and encamped with the main

body of his army; posting his light-armed infantry in ambuscade upon the hills

on the right, and part of his cavalry behind those on the left, as far almost

as the entrance of the defile, through which Flaminius was obliged to pass.

Accordingly, this general, who followed him very eagerly, with the resolution

to fight him, having reached the defile near the lake, was forced to halt,

because night was coming on; but he entered it the next morning at daybreak.


     Hannibal having permitted him to advance with all his forces more than

half way through the valley, and seeing the Roman vanguard pretty near him, he

sounded the charge, and commanded his troops to come out of their ambuscade,

that he might attack the enemy, at the same time, from all quarters.  The

reader may guess at the consternation with which the Romans were seized.


     They were not yet drawn up in order of battle, neither had they got their

arms in readiness, when they found themselves attacked in front, in rear, and

in flank.  In a moment all the ranks were put in disorder. Flaminius, alone

undaunted in so universal a consternation, animated his soldiers both with his

hand and voice; and exhorted them to cut themselves a passage with their

swords through the midst of the enemy.  But the tumult which reigned

everywhere, the dreadful shouts of the enemy, and a heavy fog prevented his

being seen or heard.  When the Romans, however, saw themselves surrounded on

all sides, either by the enemy or the lake, and the impossibility of saving

their lives by flight, it roused their courage, and both parties began the

fight with astonishing animosity. Their fury was so great, that not a soldier

in either army perceived an earthquake which happened in that country, and

buried whole cities in ruins.  In this confusion, Flaminius being slain by one

of the Insubrian Gauls, the Romans began to give ground, and at last turned

and fled. Great numbers, to save themselves, leaped into the lake; while

others, directing their course to the mountains, fell into the enemy's hands

whom they strove to avoid.  Only six thousand cut their way through the

conquerors, and retreated to a place of safety; but the next day they were

taken prisoners.  In this battle fifteen thousand Romans were killed, and

about ten thousand escaped to Rome, by different roads.  Hannibal sent back

the Latins, who were allies of the Romans, into their own country, without

demanding the least ransom.  He commanded search to be made for the body of

Flaminius in order to give it burial but it could not be found.  He afterwards

put his troops into quarters of refreshment, and solemnized the funerals of

thirty of his chief officers, who were killed in the battle.  He lost in all

but fifteen hundred men, most of whom were Gauls.


     Immediately after, Hannibal despatched a courier to Carthage, with the

news of the success in Italy.  This caused the greatest joy for the present,

raised the most promising hopes with regard to the future, and revived the

courage of all the citizens.  They now prepared, with incredible ardor, to

send into Italy and Spain all necessary succors.


     Rome, on the contrary, was filled with universal grief and alarm, as soon

as the praetor had pronounced from the rostra the following words, We have

lost a great battle.  The senate, studious of nothing but the public welfare,

thought that in so great a calamity, and so imminent a danger, recourse must

be had to extraordinary remedies.  They therefore appointed Quintus Fabius

dictator, a person as conspicuous for his wisdom as his birth.  It was the

custom at Rome that the moment a dictator was nominated, all authority ceased,

that of the tribunes of the people excepted.  M. Minucius was appointed his

general of horse.  We are now in the second year of the war.


Hannibal's Conduct With Respect To Fabius


       Hannibal, after the battle of Thrasymene, not thinking it yet proper to

march directly to Rome, contented himself, in the mean time, with laying waste

the country. ^833 He crossed Umbria and Picenum; and after ten days' march,

arrived in the territory of Adria. ^834 He got a very considerable booty in

this march.  Out of his implacable enmity to the Romans, he commanded, that

all who were able to bear arms should be put to the sword; and meeting no

obstacle anywhere, he advanced as far as Apulia, plundering the countries

which lay in his way, and carrying desolation wherever he came, in order to

compel the nations to disengage themselves from their alliance with the

Romans, and to show all Italy, that Rome itself, now quite dispirited, yielded

him the victory.


[Footnote 833: Polyb. l. xxiii. pp. 239-255.  Liv. l. xxii. n. 9-30.]


[Footnote 834: A small town, which gave name to the Adriatic sea.]


     Fabius, followed by Minucius and four legions, had marched from Rome in

quest of the enemy, but with a firm resolution not to let him take the least

advantage, nor to advance one step till he had first reconnoitred every place;

nor hazard a battle, till he should be sure of success.


     As soon as both armies were in sight, Hannibal, to terrify the Roman

forces, offered them battle, by advancing almost to the intrenchments of their

camp.  But finding every thing quiet there, he retired; blaming in appearance

the outward cowardice of the enemy, whom he upbraided with having at last lost

that valor so natural to their ancestors; but fretting inwardly, to find he

had to act with a general of so different a genius from Sempronius and

Flaminius; and that the Romans, instructed by their defeat, had at last made

choice of a commander capable of opposing Hannibal.


     From this moment he perceived that the dictator would not be formidable

to him by the boldness of his attacks, but by the prudence and regularity of

his conduct, which might perplex and embarrass him very much.  The only

circumstance he now wanted to know was, whether the new general had resolution

enough to pursue steadily the plan he seemed to have laid down.  He

endeavored, therefore, to rouse him, by his frequent removals from place to

place, by laying waste the lands, plundering the cities, and burning the

villages and towns.  He, at one time, would raise his camp with the utmost

precipitation; and at another, stop short in some valley out of the common

route, to try whether he could not surprise him in the plain.  However, Fabius

still kept his troops on the hills, but without losing sight of Hannibal;

never approaching near enough to come to an engagement, nor yet keeping at

such a distance, as might give him an opportunity of escaping him.  He never

suffered his soldiers to stir out of the camp, except to forage, and not even

on those occasions without a numerous convoy.  If ever he engaged, it was only

in slight skirmishes, and so very cautiously, that his troops had always the

advantage.  This conduct revived, by insensible degrees, the courage of the

soldiers, which the loss of three battles had entirely damped; and enabled

them to rely, as they had formerly done, on their valor and success.


     Hannibal, having got immensely rich spoils in Campania, where he had

resided a considerable time, left there with his army, that he might not

consume the provisions he had laid up, and which he reserved for the winter

season.  Besides, he could no longer continue in a country of gardens and

vineyards, which were more agreeable to the eye, than useful for the

subsistance of an army; a country where he would have been forced to take up

his winter-quarters among marshes, rocks and sands; whereas the Romans would

have drawn plentiful supplies from Capua, and the richest parts of Italy.  He

therefore resolved to settle elsewhere.


     Fabius naturally supposed that Hannibal would be obliged to return the

same way he came, and that he might easily annoy him during his march. He

began by throwing a considerable body of troops into Casilinum, thereby

securing that small town, situated on the Vulturnus, which separated the

territories of Falernum from those of Capua; he afterwards detached four

thousand men, to seize the only narrow pass through which Hannibal could come

out; and then, according to his usual custom, posted himself with the

remainder of the army on the hills adjoining the road.


     The Carthaginians arrived, and encamped in the plain at the foot of the

mountains.  And now, the crafty Carthaginians fell into the same snare he had

laid for Flaminius at the defile of Thrasymene; and it seemed impossible for

him ever to extricate himself out of this difficulty, there being but one

outlet, of which the Romans were possessed.  Fabius, fancying himself sure of

his prey, was only contriving how to seize it. He flattered himself with the

probable hopes of putting an end to the war by this single battle.

Nevertheless, he thought fit to defer the attack till the next day.


     Hannibal perceived that his own artifices were now employed against him.

^835 It is in such junctures as these, that a general has need of great

presence of mind, and unusual fortitude, to view danger in its utmost extent,

without being struck with the least dread; and to find out sure and instant

expedients, without deliberating.  The Carthaginian general immediately caused

two thousand oxen to be collected, and ordered small bundles of vine branches

to be tied to their horns.  He then commanded the branches to be set on fire

in the dead of night, and the oxen to be driven with violence to the top of

the hills, where the Romans were encamped.  As soon as these creatures felt

the flame, the pain putting them in a rage, they flew up and down on all

sides, and set fire to the shrubs and bushes they met in their way.  This

squadron, of a new kind, was sustained by a good number of light-armed

soldiers, who had orders to seize upon the summit of the mountain, and to

charge the enemy in case they should meet them.  All things happened which

Hannibal had foreseen.  The Romans, who guarded the defile, seeing the fires

spread over the hills which were above them, and imagining that it was

Hannibal making his escape by torchlight, quit their posts and run to the

mountains to oppose his passage.  The main body of the army not knowing what

to think of all this tumult, and Fabius himself not daring to stir, as it was

excessively dark, for fear of a surprise, waited for the return of the day.

Hannibal seized this opportunity, marched his troops and the spoils through

the defile, which was now unguarded, and rescued his army out of a snare, in

which, had Fabius been but a little more vigorous, it would either have been

destroyed, or at least very much weakened.  It is glorious for a man to turn

his very errors to his advantage, and make them subservient to his reputation.


[Footnote 835: Nec Annibalem fefellit suis se artibus peti. - Liv.]


     The Carthaginian army returned to Apulia, still pursued and harassed by

the Romans.  The dictator being obliged to take a journey to Rome, on account

of some religious ceremonies, earnestly entreated his general of horse, before

his departure, not to fight during his absence.  Minucius however did not

regard either his advice or his entreaties, but the very first opportunity he

had, while part of Hannibal's troops were foraging, charged the rest, and

gained some advantage.  He immediately sent advice of this to Rome, as if he

had obtained a considerable victory.  The news of this, with what had just

before happened at the passage of the defile, raised complaints and murmurs

against the slow and timorous circumspection of Fabius.  In a word, matters

were carried so far, that the Roman people gave his general of horse an equal

authority with him; a thing unheard of before.  The dictator was upon the road

when he received advice of this, for he had left Rome, that he might not be an

eye-witness of what was contriving against him.  His constancy, however was

not shaken.  He was very sensible, that though his authority in the command

was divided, yet his skill in the art of war was not so. ^836 This soon became



[Footnote 836: Satis fidens handquaquam cum imperii jure artem imperandi

aequatam. - Liv. l. xxii. n. 26.]


     Minucius, grown arrogant with the advantage he had gained over his

colleague, proposed that each should command a day alternately, or even a

longer time.  But Fabius rejected this proposal, as it would have exposed the

whole army to danger while under the command of Minucius.  He therefore chose

to divide the troops, in order that it might be in his power to preserve, at

least, that part which should fall to his share.


     Hannibal, fully informed of all that passed in the Roman camp, was

overjoyed to hear of this dissension of the two commanders.  He therefore laid

a snare for the rash Minucius, who accordingly plunged headlong into it, and

engaged the enemy on an eminence, in which an ambuscade was concealed.  But

his troops, being soon put into disorder, were just on the point of being cut

to pieces, when Fabius, alarmed by the sudden outcries of the wounded, called

aloud to his soldiers, "Let us hasten to the assistance of Minucius; let us

fly and snatch the victory from the enemy, and extort from our fellow-citizens

a confession of their fault." This succor was very seasonable, and compelled

Hannibal to sound a retreat. The latter, as he was retiring, said, "That the

cloud which had been long hovering on the summit of the mountains, had at last

burst with a loud crack, and caused a mighty storm." So important and

seasonable a service rendered by the dictator, opened the eyes of Minucius.

He accordingly acknowledged his error, returned immediately to his duty and

obedience, and showed that it is sometimes more glorious to know how to atone

for a fault, than to have committed it.


The State Of Affairs In Spain


     In the beginning of this campaign, Cn. Scipio having suddenly attacked

the Carthaginian fleet, commanded by Hamilcar, defeated it, and took

twenty-five ships, with a great quantity of rich spoils. ^837 This victory

made the Romans sensible that they ought to be particularly attentive to the

affairs of Spain, because Hannibal could draw considerable supplies both of

men and money from that country. Accordingly they sent a fleet thither, the

command of which was given to P. Scipio, who, after his arrival in Spain,

having joined his brother, did the commonwealth very great service.  Till that

time the Romans had never ventured beyond the Ebro.  They then were satisfied

with having gained the friendship of the nations situated between that river

and Italy, and confirming it by alliances; but under Publius, they crossed the

Ebro, and carried their arms much further up into the country.


[Footnote 837: Polyb. l. iii. pp. 245-250.  Liv. l. xxii, n. 19-22.]


     The circumstance which contributed most to promote their affairs, was the

treachery of a Spaniard in Saguntum.  Hannibal had left there the children of

the most distinguished families in Spain, whom he had taken as hostages.

Abelox (for so this Spaniard was called), persuaded Bostar, the governor of

the city, to send back these young men into their country, in order, by that

means, to attach the inhabitants more firmly to the Carthaginian interest.  He

himself was charged with this commission; but he carried them to the Romans,

who afterwards delivered them to their relations, and by so acceptable a

present, acquired their amity.


The Battle Of Cannae


     The next spring, C. Terentius Varro, and L. Aemilius Paulus, were chosen

consuls at Rome. ^838 In this campaign, which was the third of the second

Punic war, the Romans did what had never been practised before, viz.; they

composed the army of eight legions, each consisting of five thousand men,

exclusive of the allies.  For, as we have already observed, the Romans never

raised but four legions, each of which consisted of about four thousand foot,

and three hundred horse. ^839 They never, except on the most important

occasions, made them consist of five thousand of the one, and four hundred of

the other.  As for the troops of the allies, the number of their infantry was

equal to that of the legions, but they had three times as many horse.  Each of

the consuls had commonly half the troops of the allies, with two legions, that

they might act separately; and all these forces were very seldom used at the

same time, and in the same expedition.  Here the Romans had not only four, but

eight legions, so important did the affair appear to them.  The senate even

thought proper that the two consuls of the foregoing year, Servilius and

Attilius, should serve in the army as proconsuls; but the latter could not go

into the field, in consequence of his great age.


[Footnote 838: A. M. 3789.  A. Rome, 533.  Polyb. l. iii. pp. 255-268. Liv. l.

xxii. n. 34-54.]


[Footnote 839: Polybius supposes only two hundred horse in each legion; but J.

Lipsius thinks that this is a mistake either of the author or transcriber.]


     Varro, at his setting out from Rome, had declared openly that he would

fall upon the enemy the very first opportunity, and put an end to the war;

adding, that it would never be terminated, as long as men of the character of

Fabius should be at the head of the Romans armies.  An advantage which he

gained over the Carthaginians, of whom near seventeen hundred were killed,

greatly increased his boldness and arrogance.  As for Hannibal, he considered

this loss as a real advantage, being persuaded that it would serve as a bait

to the consul's rashness, and urge him on to a battle, which he anxiously

desired.  It was afterwards known, that Hannibal was reduced to such a

scarcity of provisions, that he could not possibly have subsisted ten days

longer.  The Spaniards were already meditating to leave him.  So that there

would have been an end of Hannibal and his army, if his good fortune had not

thrown a Varro in his way.


     Both armies, having often removed from place to place, came in sight of

each other near Cannae, a little town in Apulia, situated on the river

Aufidus.  As Hannibal was encamped in a level, open country, and his cavalry

much superior to that of the Romans, Aemilius did not think proper to engage

in such a place.  He was for drawing the enemy into an irregular spot, where

the infantry might have the greatest share in the action.  But his colleague,

who was wholly inexperienced, was of a contrary opinion. Such is the

disadvantage of a divided command; jealousy, a difference of disposition, or a

diversity of views, seldom failing to create a dissension between the two



     The troops on either side were, for some time, contented with slight

skirmishes.  But at last, one day when Varro had the command, for the two

consuls took it by turns, preparations were made on both sides for battle.

Aemilius had not been consulted; yet, though he extremely disapproved the

conduct of his colleague, as it was not in his power to prevent it, he

seconded him to the utmost.


     Hannibal, after having pointed out to his soldiers that being superior in

cavalry, they could not possibly have pitched upon a better spot for fighting,

had it been left to their choice, thus addressed them: "Return thanks to the

gods for having brought the enemy hither, that you may triumph over them; and

thank me also for having reduced the Romans to the necessity of coming to an

engagement.  After three great victories, won successively, is not the

remembrance of your own actions sufficient to inspire you with courage?  By

former battles, you are become masters of the open country, but this will put

you in possession of all the cities, and, I presume to say it, of all the

riches and power of the Romans.  It is not words that we want, but actions.  I

trust in the gods that you shall soon see my promises verified."


     The two armies were very unequal in number.  That of the Romans,

including the allies, amounted to fourscore thousand foot, and a little more

than six thousand horse, and that of the Carthaginians consisted but of forty

thousand foot, all well disciplined, and of ten thousand horse. Aemilius

commanded the right wing of the Romans, Varro the left, and Servilius, one of

the consuls of the last year, was posted in the centre. Hannibal, who had the

art of taking all advantages, had posted himself so that the wind Vulturnus,

^840 which rises at certain stated times, should blow directly in the faces of

the Romans during the fight, and cover them with dust; then keeping the river

Aufidus on his left, and posting his cavalry in the wings, he formed his main

body of the Spanish and Gallic infantry, which he posted in the centre, with

half the African heavy armed foot on their right, and half on the left, on the

same line with the cavalry.  His army being thus drawn up, he put himself at

the head of the Spanish and Gallic infantry; and having drawn them out of the

line, advanced to begin the battle, rounding his front as he advanced nearer

the enemy; and extending his flanks in the shape of a half-moon, in order that

he might leave no interval between his main body and the rest of the line,

which consisted of the heavy-armed infantry, who had not moved from their



[Footnote 840: A violent burning wind, blowing south south-east, which, in

this flat and sandy country, raised clouds of hot dust, and blinded and choked

the Romans.]


     The fight soon began, and the Roman legions that were in the wings,

seeing their centre warmly attacked, advanced to charge the enemy in flank.

Hannibal's main body, after a brave resistance, finding themselves furiously

attacked on all sides, gave way, being overpowered by numbers, and retired

through the interval they had left in the centre of the line. The Romans

having pursued them thither with eager confusion, the two wings of the African

infantry, which were fresh, well armed, and in good order, wheeled about on a

sudden towards that void space in which the Romans, who were already fatigued,

had thrown themselves in disorder, and attacked them vigorously on both sides,

without leaving them time to recover themselves, or leaving them ground to

form.  In the mean time, the two wings of the cavalry, having defeated those

of the Romans, which were much inferior to them, and, in order to pursue the

broken and scattered squadrons, having left only as many forces as were

necessary to keep them from rallying, advanced and charged the rear of the

Roman infantry, which, being surrounded at once on every side by the enemy's

horse and foot, was all cut to pieces, after having fought with unparalleled

bravery. Aemilius, being covered with the wounds he had received in the fight,

was afterwards killed by a body of the enemy, to whom he was not known; and

with him two quaestors, one-and-twenty military tribunes, many who had been

either consuls or praetors; Servilius, one of the last year's consuls,

Minucius, the late general of horse to Fabius, and fourscore senators.  Above

seventy thousand men fell in this battle; ^841 and the Carthaginians, so great

was their fury, ^842 did not give over the slaughter, till Hannibal, in the

very heat of it, called out to them several times, Stop, soldiers; spare the

vanquished.  Ten thousand men, who had been left to guard the camp,

surrendered themselves prisoners of war after the battle.  Varro, the consul,

retired to Venusia, with only seventy horse; and about four thousand men

escaped into the neighboring cities.  Thus Hannibal remained master of the

field, he being chiefly indebted for this, as well as for his former

victories, to the superiority of his cavalry over that of the Romans.  He lost

four thousand Gauls, fifteen hundred Spaniards and Africans, and two hundred



[Footnote 841: Livy lessens very much the number of the slain, making them

amount but to about forty-three thousand.  But Polybius ought rather to be



[Footnote 842: Duo maximi exercitus caesi ad hostium satietatem, donec Annibal

diceret militi suo, Parce ferro. - Flor l. 1, c. 6.]


     Maharbal, one of the Carthaginian generals, advised Hannibal to march

directly to Rome, promising him, that within five days they should sup in the

capitol.  Hannibal answering, that it was an affair which required mature

examination, "I see," replied, Maharbal, "that the gods have not endowed the

same man with every talent.  You, Hannibal, know how to conquer but not to

make the best use of a victory." ^843


[Footnote 843: Tum Maharbal: Non omnra nimirum eidem Dii dedere.  Vincere

scis, Anni bal, victoria uti nescis. - Liv. l. xxii. n. 51.]


     It is pretended that this delay saved Rome and the empire.  Many authors,

and among them Livy, charge Hannibal, on this occasion, with being guilty of a

capital error.  But others, more reserved, are not for condemning, without

evident proofs, so renowned a general, who, in the rest of his conduct, was

never wanting, either in prudence to make choice of the best expedients or in

readiness to put his designs in execution. They are, moreover, inclined to

judge favorably of him, from the authority, or at least the silence, of

Polybius, who, speaking of the memorable consequences of this celebrated

battle, says, that the Carthaginians were firmly persuaded, that they should

possess themselves of Rome at the first assault; but, then, he does not

mention how this could possibly have been effected, as that city was very

populous, warlike, strongly fortified, and defended with a garrison of two

legions; nor does he anywhere give the least hint that such a project was

feasible, or that Hannibal did wrong in not attempting to put it in execution.


     And, indeed, if we examine matters more narrowly, we shall find, that

according to the common maxims of war, it could not be undertaken.  It is

certain that Hannibal's whole infantry, before the battle, amounted but to

forty thousand men; and as six thousand of these had been slain in the action,

and doubtless many more either wounded or disabled, there could remain but six

or seven-and-twenty thousand foot for service.  Now this number was not

sufficient to invest so large a city as Rome, which had a river running

through it; nor to attack it in form, because they had neither engines,

ammunition, nor any other things necessary for carrying on a siege. ^844 For

want of these, Hannibal, even after his victory at Thrasymene, miscarried in

his attempt upon Spoletum; and soon after the battle of Cannae, was forced to

raise the siege of Casilinum, though a city of little note or strength.  It

cannot be denied, that, had he miscarried on the present occasion, nothing

less could have been expected, than that he must have been irrecoverably lost.

However, to form a judgment of this matter, a man ought to be a soldier, and

should perhaps have been upon the spot.  This is an old dispute, on which none

but those who are perfectly well skilled in the art of war should pretend to

give their opinion.


[Footnote 844: Liv. l. xxii. n. 9.  Ibid. l. xxiii. n. 18.]


     Soon after the battle of Cannae, Hannibal despatched his brother Mago to

Carthage, with the news of his victory; ^845 and at the same time to demand

succors, in order that he might be enabled to put an end to the war.  Mago, on

his arrival, made, in full senate, a lofty speech, in which he extolled his

brother's exploits, and displayed the great advantages he had gained over the

Romans.  And, to give a more lively idea of the greatness of the victory, by

speaking in some measure to the eye, he poured out in the middle of the senate

a bushel of gold rings, ^846 which had been taken from the fingers of such of

the Roman nobility as had fallen in the battle of Cannae.  He concluded with

demanding money, provisions, and fresh troops.  All the spectators were struck

with an extraordinary joy, upon which Imilcon, a warm advocate for Hannibal,

fancying he now had a fair opportunity to insult Hanno, the chief of the

opposite faction, asked him, whether he was still dissatisfied with the war

they were carrying on against the Romans, and was for having Hannibal

delivered up to them?  Hanno, without discovering the least emotion, replied,

that he was still of the same mind, and that the victories they so much

boasted, supposing them real, could not give him joy, but only in proportion

as they should be made subservient to an advantageous peace; he then undertook

to prove, that the mighty exploits, on which they insisted so much, were

wholly chimerical and imaginary.  "I have cut to pieces," says he, continuing

Mago's speech, "the Roman armies; send me some troops. What more could you

ask, had you been conquered?  I have twice seized upon the enemy's camp, full,

no doubt, of provisions of every kind. - Send me provisions and money.  Could

you have talked otherwise, had you lost your camp?" He then asked Mago,

whether any of the Latin nations were come over to Hannibal, and whether the

Romans had made him any proposals of peace? To this, Mago answering in the

negative; "I then perceive," replied Hanno, "that we are no farther advanced

than when Hannibal first landed in Italy." The inference he drew from hence

was, that neither men nor money ought to be sent.  But Hannibal's faction

prevailing at that time, no regard was paid to Hanno's remonstrances, which

were considered merely as the effect of prejudice and jealousy; and

accordingly, orders were given for levying the supplies of men and money which

Hannibal required.  Mago set out immediately for Spain, to raise twenty-four

thousand foot, and four thousand horse, in that country; but these levies were

afterwards stopped, and sent another way, so eager was the opposite faction to

counteract the designs of a general whom they utterly abhorred.  In Rome, a

consul who had fled was thanked because he had not despaired of the

commonwealth; but at Carthage, people were almost angry with Hannibal for

being victorious. ^847 Hanno could never forgive him the advantages he had

gained in this war, because he had undertaken it in opposition to his counsel.

Thus, being more jealous for the honor of his own opinions than for the good

of his country, and a greater enemy to the Carthaginian general than to the

Romans, he did all that lay in his power to prevent future successes, and to

frustrate those already acquired.


[Footnote 845: Liv. l. xxiii. n. 11-14.]


[Footnote 846: Piiny, l. xxxiii. c. 1, says, that there were three bushels

sent to Carthage. Livy observers, that some authors make, them amount to three

bushels and a half, but he thinks it most probable that there was but one, l.

xxxiii. c. 12. - Florus, l. ii. c. 16, makes it two bushels.]


[Footnote 847: De St. Evremond.]


Section II.


Hannibal Takes Up His Winter-Quarters In Capua


     The battle of Cannae subjected the most powerful nations of Italy to

Hannibal, ^848 drew over to his interest Graecia Magna, ^849 with the city of

Tarentum; and so wrested from the Romans their most ancient allies, among whom

the Capuans held the first rank.  This city, by the fertility of its soil, its

advantageous situations, and the blessings of a long peace, had risen to great

wealth and power.  Luxury, and a flow of pleasures, the usual attendants on

wealth, had corrupted the minds of its citizens, who from their natural

disposition, were but too much inclined to voluptuousness and all excesses.


[Footnote 848: Liv. l. xxiii. n. 4-13.]


[Footnote 849: Caeterum quum Graeci omnem fere oram maritimam coloniis suis e

Graecia deductis, obsidirent, &c.  But after the Greeks had, by their

colonies, possessed themselves of almost all the maritime coast, this very

country, together with Sicily, was called Graecia Magna, &c. - Cluver.

Geograph. l. iii. c.30.]


     Hannibal made choice of this city for his winter-quarters. ^850 Here it

was that his soldiers, who had sustained the most grievous toils, and braved

the most formidable dangers, were overthrown by delights and a profusion of

all things, into which they plunged with the greater eagerness, as they, till

then, had been strangers to them.  Their courage was so greatly enervated in

this bewitching retirement, that all their after efforts were owing rather to

the fame and splendor of their former victories, than to their present

strength.  When Hannibal marched his forces out of the city, they would have

been taken for other men, and the reverse of those who had so lately marched

into it.  Accustomed, during the winter season, to commodious lodgings, to

case and plenty, they were no longer able to bear hunger, thirst, long

marches, watchings, and the other toils of war; not to mention, that all

obedience, all discipline, were entirely laid aside.


[Footnote 850: Ibi partem majorem hiemis exercitum in tectis habuit: adverus

omnia humaua mala saepeiac diu durantem, bonis inexpertum atque insuetum.

Itaque quos nulla mali vicerat vis, perdidere, nimia bona ac voluptates

immodicae, et co impensidus, quo avidius ex insolentia in eas se merserant. -

Liv. l. xxiii. n. 12.]


     I only transcribe on this occasion from Livy, who, if he may be credited,

thinks Hannibal's stay at Capua a reproach to his conduct; and pretends that

there he was guilty of an infinitely greater error, than when he neglected to

march directly to Rome after the battle of Cannae. For this delay, says Livy,

might seem only to have retarded his victory whereas this last misconduct

rendered him absolutely incapable of ever defeating the enemy. ^851 In a word,

as Marcellas afterwards judiciously observed, Capua was to the Carthaginians

and their general, what Cannae had been to the Romans. ^852 There their

martial genius, their love of discipline, were lost: there their former fame,

and their almost certain hopes of future glory, vanished at once.  And,

indeed, from thenceforth the affairs of Hannibal rapidly advanced to their

decline; fortune declared in favor of prudence, and victory seemed now

reconciled to the Romans.


[Footnote 851: Illa enim cunctatio distulisse modo victoriam videri potuit,

hic error vires ademisse ad vincendum. - Liv. l. xxiii. n. 18.]


[Footnote 852: Capuam Annibali Cannas fuisse: ibi virtutem bellicam, ibi

militarem disciplinam, ibi praeteriti temporis fumam, ibi spem futuri

extinctam. - Liv. l. xxiii. n. 45.]


     I know not whether Livy has reason to impute all these fatal consequences

to the delicious abode of Capua.  If we examine carefully all the

circumstances of this history, we shall be hardly able to persuade ourselves,

that the little progress which was afterwards made by the arms of Hannibal

ought to be ascribed to Capua.  It might, indeed, have been one cause, but

this would be a very inconsiderable one: and the bravery with which the forces

of Hannibal afterwards defeated the armies of consuls and praetors; the towns

they took even in sight of the Romans; their maintaining their conquests so

vigorously, and staying fourteen years after this in Italy, in spite of the

Romans; all these circumstances may induce us to believe, that Livy lays too

great a stress on the delights of Capua.


     The real cause of the decay of Hannibal's affairs was owing to his want

of necessary recruits and succors from Carthage.  After Mago's speech, the

Carthaginian senate had judged it necessary, in order to carry on the

conquests in Italy, to send thither a considerable reinforcement of Numidian

horse, forty elephants, and a thousand talents; and to hire, in Spain, twenty

thousand foot, and four thousand horse, to reinforce their armies in Spain and

Italy. ^853 Mago however, could obtain an order but for twelve thousand foot,

and two thousand five hundred horse: and even when he was just going to march

to Italy with an army so much inferior to that which had been promised him, he

was countermanded and sent to Spain. ^854 So that Hannibal, after these mighty

promises, had neither infantry, cavalry, elephants, nor money sent him, but

was left to his own resources. His army was now reduced to twenty-six thousand

foot, and nine thousand horse.  How could it be possible for him, with so

inconsiderable an army, to seize, in an enemy's country, on all the

advantageous posts; to awe his new allies, to preserve his old conquests, and

form new ones; and to keep the field with advantage against two armies of the

Romans, which were recruited every year?  This was the true cause of the

declension of Hannibal's affairs, and of the ruin of those of Carthage.  Were

the part where Polybius treats of this subject extant, we doubtless should

find, that he lays a greater stress on this cause, than on the luxurious

delights of Capua.


[Footnote 853: Liv. l. xxxiii. n. 13.]


[Footnote 854: Ibid. n. 32.]


The Transactions Relating To Spain And Sardinia


     The two Scipios continued in the command of Spain, and their arms were

making a considerable progress there, when Asdrubal, who alone seemed able to

cope with them, received orders from Carthage to march into Italy to the

relief of his brother. ^855 Before he left Spain, he wrote to the senate to

convince them of the absolute necessity of their sending a general in his

stead, who possessed abilities adequate to oppose the Romans.  Imilcon was

therefore sent thither with an army; and Asdrubal commenced his march in order

to join his brother.  The news of his departure was no sooner known than the

greatest part of Spain was subdued by the Scipios.  These two generals,

animated by such signal success, resolved to prevent him, if possible, from

leaving Spain.  They considered the danger to which the Romans would be

exposed, if, being scarce able to resist Hannibal only, they should be

attacked by the two brothers at the head of two powerful armies.  They

therefore pursued Asdrubal, and coming up with him forced him to fight against

his inclination.  Asdrubal was overcome; and so far from being able to

continue his march for Italy, he found that it would be impossible for him to

continue with any safety in Spain.


[Footnote 855: A. M. 8790.  A. Rome, 534.  Liv. xxiii. n. 26-30, 32, 40, 41.]


     The Carthaginians had no better success in Sardinia.  Designing to take

advantage of some rebellions they had fomented in that country, they lost

twelve thousand men in a battle fought with the Romans, who took a still

greater number of prisoners, among whom were Asdrubal, surnamed Calvus, Hanno,

and Mago. ^856 who were distinguished by their birth as well as military



[Footnote 856: Not Hannibal's brother.]


The Ill Success Of Hannibal:  The Sieges Of Capua And Rome


     From Hannibal's abode in Capua, the Carthaginian affairs in Italy no

longer supported their reputation. ^857 M. Marcellus, first as praetor, and

afterwards as consul, had contributed very much to this revolution.  He

harassed Hannibal's army on every occasion, seized upon his quarters, forced

him to raise sieges, and even defeated him in several engagements; so that he

was called the sword of Rome, as Fabius had before been called its buckler.


[Footnote 857: A. M. 3791.  A. Rome, 535.  Liv. l. xxiii. n. 41-46; 1. xxvi.

n. 5-16].


     But what most affected the Carthaginian general, was to see Capua

besieged by the Romans. ^858 In order, therefore, to preserve his reputation

among his allies, by a vigorous support of those who held the chief rank as

such, he flew to the relief of that city, brought forward his forces, attacked

the Romans, and fought several battles to oblige them to raise the siege.  At

last, seeing all his measures defeated, he marched hastily towards Rome, in

order to make a powerful diversion. ^859 He had some hopes, in case he could

have an opportunity, in the first consternation, to storm some part of the

city, of drawing the Roman generals, with all their forces, from the siege of

Capua, to the relief of their capital; he flattered himself, at least, that if

for the sake of continuing the siege, they should divide their forces, their

weakness might then offer an occasion, either to the Capuans or himself, of

engaging and defeating them.  Rome was struck, but not confounded.  A proposal

being made by one of the senators, to recall all the armies to succor Rome;

Fabius declared that it would be a disgrace for them to be terrified, and

forced to change their measures, upon every motion of Hannibal. ^860 They

therefore contented themselves with only recalling part of the army, and one

of the generals, Q. Fulvius, the proconsul, from the siege.  Hannibal, after

making some devastations, drew up his army in order of battle before the city,

and the consul did the same.  Both sides were preparing to signalize

themselves in a battle, of which Rome was to be the recompense when a violent

storm obliged them to separate.  They were no sooner returned to their

respective camps, than the face of the heavens grew calm and serene.  The same

happened frequently afterwards, insomuch that Hannibal, believing that there

was something supernatural in the event, said, according to Livy, that

sometimes his own will, and sometimes fortune, would not suffer him to take

Rome. ^861


[Footnote 858: A. M. 3793.  A. Rome, 537.]


[Footnote 859: A. M. 3794.  A. Rome, 538.]


[Footnote 860: Flagitiosum esse terreri ac circumagi ad omnes Annibalis

comminationes.  Liv. l. xxvi. n. 8.]


[Footnote 861: Audita vox Annibalis fertur, potiundae sibi urbis Romae, modo

mentem nondari, modo fortunam. - Liv. l. xxxvi. xxvi, n. 11.]


     But the circumstance which most surprised and intimidated him, was the

news that while he lay encamped at one of the gates of Rome, the Romans had

sent out recruits for the army in Spain at another gate; and at the same time

disposed of the ground whereon he was encamped, notwithstanding which it had

been sold for its full value, such open contempt stung Hannibal to the quick:

he, therefore, on the other hand, exposed to sale the shops of the goldsmiths

round the forum.  After this bravado he retired, and, in his march, plundered

the rich temple of the goddess Feronia. ^862


[Footnote 862: Feronia was the goddess of groves, and there was one with a

temple in it dedicated to her, at the foot of the mountain Soracte. Strabo,

speaking of the grove where this goddess was worshipped, says, that a

sacrifice was offered annually to her in it; and that her votaries, inspired

by this goddess, walked unhurt over burning coals.  There are still extant

some medals of Augustus, in which this goddess is represented with a crown on

her head.]


     Capua, thus left to itself, held out but very little longer.  After such

of its senators as had been principals in the revolt, and consequently could

not expect any quarter from the Romans, had put themselves to a truly tragical

death, ^863!  the city surrendered at discretion.  The success of this siege,

which, by the happy consequences attending it, proved decisive, and gave the

Romans a visible superiority over the Carthaginians, displayed at the same

time, how formidable the power of the Romans was, ^864 when they undertook to

punish their perfidious allies; and the feeble protection which Hannibal could

afford his friends, at a time when they most wanted it.


[Footnote 863: Villius Virius, the chief of this conspiracy, after having

represented to the Capuan senate, the severe treatment which his country might

expect from the Romans, prevailed upon twenty-seven senators to go with him to

his own house, where, after eating a plentiful dinner, and heating themselves

with wine, they all drank poison.  Then, taking their last farewell, some

withdrew to their own houses, others stayed with Virius; and all expired

before the gates were opened to the Romans. - Liv. l. xxvi. n. 16.]


[Footnote 864: Confessio expressa hosti, quanta vis in Romanis ad expetendas

poenas ab infidelibus sociis, et quam nihil in Annibale auxilii ad receptos in

fidem tuendo esset. - Liv. l. xxvi. n. 16.]


The Defeat And Death Of The Two Scipios In Spain


     The face of affairs was very much changed in Spain. ^865 The

Carthaginians had three armies in that country, one commanded by Asdrubal, the

son of Gisco; the second by Asdrubal, son of Hamilcar; and a third under Mago,

who had joined the first Asdrubal.  The two Scipios, Cneus and Publius, were

for dividing their forces, and attacking the enemy separately, which was the

cause of their ruin; it accordingly was agreed that Cneus, with a small number

of Romans, and thirty thousand Celtiberians, should march against Asdrubal the

son of Hamilcar; while Publius, with the remainder of the forces, composed of

Romans and the allies of Italy, should advance against the other two generals.


[Footnote 865: A. M. 3793.  A. Rome, 537.  Liv. l. xxv. n. 32-39.]


     Publius was vanquished first.  Masinissa, elated with the victories he

had lately obtained over Syphax, had joined the two leaders whom Publius was

to oppose; and was to be soon followed by Indibilis, a powerful Spanish

prince.  The armies came to an engagement.  The Romans, being thus attacked on

all sides at once, made a brave resistance as long as they had their general

at their head; but the moment he fell, the few troops which had escaped the

slaughter, secured themselves by flight.


     The three victorious armies marched immediately in quest of Cneus, in

order to put an end to the war by his defeat.  He was already more than half

vanquished, by the desertion of his allies, who all forsook him, and left to

the Roman generals this important instruction, viz.: never to let their own

forces be exceeded in number by those of foreigners. ^866 He had reason to

believe that his brother was slain, and his army defeated, on seeing such

great bodies of the enemy arrive.  He survived him but a short time, being

killed in the engagement.  These two great men were equally lamented by their

citizens and allies; and the Spaniards bewailed their memory on account of the

justice and moderation of their conduct.


[Footnote 866: Id quidem cavendum semper Romanis ducibus erit, exemplaque haec

vere pro documentis habenda.  Ne ita externis credant auxilliis, ut non plus

sui roboris suarumque proprie virium in castris habeant. - Liv. n. 33.]


     These extensive countries seemed now inevitably lost, but the valor of L.

Marcius, ^867 a private officer of the equestrian order, preserved them to the

Romans.  Shortly after this, the younger Scipio was sent thither, who fully

avenged the death of his father and uncle, and restored the affairs of the

Romans in Spain to their former flourishing condition.


[Footnote 867: He attacked the Carthaginians, who had divided themselves into

two camps, and were secure, as they thought, from any immediate attempt of the

Romans; killed thirty-seven thousand of them; took one thousand eight hundred

prisoners, and brought off immense plunder. - Liv. l. xxv. n. 39.]


The Defeat And Death Of Asdrubal


     One unforeseen defeat ruined all the measures, and blasted all the hopes

of Hannibal with regard to Italy. ^868 The consuls of this year, which was the

eleventh of the second Punic war (for I pass over several events for brevity's

sake), were C. Claudius Nero and M. Livius.  The latter had for his province

Cisalpine Gaul, where he was to oppose Asdrubal, who, it was reported, was

preparing to pass the Alps.  The former commanded in the country of the

Brutians and in Lucania, that is, in the opposite extremity of Italy, and was

there making head against Hannibal.


[Footnote 868: A. M. 3798.  A. Rome, 542.  Polyb. l. xi. pp. 622-625. Liv. l.

xxvii. pp. 35-39, 51.]


     The passage of the Alps gave Asdrubal very little trouble, because his

brother had cleared the way for him, and all the nations were disposed to

receive him.  Some time after this he despatched couriers to Hannibal, but

they were intercepted.  Nero found by their letters, that Asdrubal was

hastening to join his brother in Umbria.  In a conjuncture of so delicate and

important a nature as this, when the safety of Rome lay at stake, he thought

himself at liberty to dispense with the established rules of his duty, for the

welfare of his country. ^869 In consequence of this, it was his opinion, that

such a bold and unexpected blow ought to be struck, as might be capable of

terrifying the enemy, by marching to the relief of his colleague, in order to

charge Asdrubal unexpectedly with their united forces.  This design, if the

several circumstances of it be thoroughly examined, will appear exceedingly

remote from imprudence.  To prevent the two brothers from joining their

armies, was to save the state.  Very little would be hazarded, even though

Hannibal should be informed of the absence of the consul.  From his army,

which consisted of forty-two thousand men, he drew out but seven thousand for

his own detachment, which indeed were the flower of his troops, but at the

same time, a very inconsiderable part of them.  The rest remained in the camp,

which was advantageously situated, and strongly fortified.  Now, could it be

supposed that Hannibal would attack, and force a camp, defended by thirty-

five thousand men?


[Footnote 869: No general was allowed to leave his own province, to go into

that of another.]


     Nero set out, without giving his soldiers the least notice of his design.

When he advanced so far, that it might be communicated without any danger, he

told them, that he was leading them to certain victory; that in war all things

depended upon reputation; that the bare rumor of their arrival would

disconcert all the measures of the Carthaginians; and that the whole honor of

this battle would fall to them.


     They marched with extraordinary diligence, and joined the other consul in

the night, but did not encamp separately the better to impose upon the enemy.

The troops on their arrival joined those of Livius.  The army of Portius the

praetor was encamped near that of the consul, and in the morning a council of

war was held.  Livius was of opinion, that it might be proper to allow the

troops some days to refresh themselves, but Nero besought him not to ruin, by

delay, an enterprise to which despatch could only give success; and to take

advantage of the error of the enemy, absent as well as present.  This advice

was complied with, and accordingly the signal for battle was given.  Asdrubal,

advancing to his foremost ranks, discovered by several circumstances, that

fresh troops were arrived; and he did not doubt but that they belonged to the

other consul. This made him conjecture that his brother had sustained a

considerable loss, and, at the same time, fear that he was come too late to

his assistance.


     After making these reflections, he caused a retreat to be sounded and his

army began to march in great disorder.  Night overtaking him, and his guides

deserting, he was uncertain which way to go.  He marched at random along the

banks of the river Metaurus, ^870 and was preparing to cross it, when the

three armies of the enemy came up with him.  In this extremity, he saw it

would be impossible for him to avoid coming to an engagement; and therefore

did every thing which could be expected from the presence of mind and valor of

a great captain.  He seized an advantageous post, and drew up his forces on a

narrow spot, which gave him an opportunity of posting his left wing, the

weakest part of his army, in such a manner, that it could neither be attacked

in front, nor charged in flank; and of giving to his main battle and right

wing a greater depth than front. After this hasty disposition of his forces,

he posted himself in the centre, and first marched to attack the enemy's left

wing; well knowing that all was at stake, and that he must either conquer or

die.  The battle lasted a long time, and was obstinately disputed on both

sides.  Asdrubal, especially signalized himself in this engagement, and added

new glory to that he had already acquired by a series of brilliant actions.

He led on his soldiers, trembling and quite dispirited, against an enemy

superior to them both in numbers and resolution.  He animated them by his

words, supported them by his example, and, with entreaties and menaces,

endeavored to bring back those who fled; till, at last, seeing that victory

declared for the Romans, and being unable to survive the loss of so many

thousand men, who had quit their country to follow his fortune, he rushed at

once into the midst of a Roman cohort, and there died in a manner worthy the

son of Hamilcar, and the brother of Hannibal.


[Footnote 870: Now called Metaro.]


     This was the most bloody battle the Carthaginians had fought during this

war; and, whether we consider the death of the general, or the slaughter made

of the Carthaginian forces, it may be looked upon as a retaliation for the

battle of Cannae.  The Carthaginians lost fifty-five thousand men, ^871 and

six thousand prisoners.  The Romans lost eight thousand, and were so weary of

slaughter, that some person telling Livius, that he might very easily cut to

pieces a body of the enemy who were flying; It is fit, says he, that some

should survive, that they may carry the news of this defeat to the



[Footnote 871: According to Polybius, the loss amounted to but ten thousand

men, and that of the Romans to two thousand. - L. xi. p. 870. Edit. Gronov.]


     Nero set out upon his march on the very night which followed the

engagement.  Through all places where he passed, in his return, he was

welcomed by shouts of joy and loud acclamations, instead of those fears and

uneasiness which his coming had occasioned.  He arrived in his camp the sixth

day.  Asdrubal's head being thrown into that of the Carthaginians, informed

Hannibal of his brother's unhappy fate.  Hannibal perceived, by this cruel

stroke, the fortune of Carthage: It is finished, says he; I will no longer

send triumphant messages to Carthage.  In losing Asdrubal, I have lost at once

all my hope, all my good fortune. ^872 He afterwards retired to the

extremities of the country of the Brutians, where he assembled all his forces,

who found it a very difficult matter to subsist there, as no provisions were

sent them from Carthage.


[Footnote 872: Horace makes him speak thus, in the beautiful ode where this

defeat is described.


     Carthagini jam non ego nuntios

     Mittam superbos.  Occidit, occidit

     Spes omnis, et fortuna nostri

     Nominis, Asdrubale interempto. - Lib. vi. Od. 4.]


Scipio Conquers All Spain; Is Appointed Consul, And Sails Into Africa

Hannibal Is Recalled


     The affairs of the Carthaginians were equally unfortunate in Spain. ^873

The prudent activity of young Scipio had restored the Roman affairs in that

country to their former flourishing state, as the courageous delay of Fabius

had before done in Italy.  The three Carthaginian generals in Spain, Asdrubal,

son of Gisco, Hanno, and Mago, having been defeated with their numerous armies

by the Romans, in several engagements, Scipio at last possessed himself of

Spain, and subjected it entirely to the Roman power.  It was at this time that

Masinissa, a very powerful African prince, went over to the Romans; and

Syphax, on the contrary, to the Carthaginians.


[Footnote 873: A. M. 3799.  A. Rome, 543.  Polyb. l. xi. p. 650, et l. xiv.

pp. 677-687, et l. xv. pp. 689-694.  Liv. l. xxviii. n. 1-4, 16, 38, 40-46, l.

xxix. n. 24-36, l. xxx. n. 20-28]


     Scipio, on his return to Rome, was declared consul, being then thirty

years of age. ^874 He had P. Licinius Crassus for his colleague.  Sicily was

allotted to Scipio, with permission to cross into Africa, if he found it

convenient.  He set out will all imaginable expedition for his province; while

his colleague was to command in the country to which Hannibal had retired.


[Footnote 874: A. M. 3800.  A. Rome, 544.]


     The taking of New Carthage, where Scipio had displayed all the prudence,

the courage, and capacity which could have been expected from the greatest

generals, and the complete conquest of Spain, were more than sufficient to

immortalize his name: but he had considered these as only so many steps by

which to climb to a nobler enterprise, and this was the conquest of Africa.

Accordingly he cross over thither, and made it the seat of war.


     The devastation of the country; the siege of Utica, one of the strongest

cities of Africa; the entire defeat of the two armies under Syphax and

Asdrubal, whose camp was burnt by Scipio; and afterwards the taking of Syphax

himself prisoner, who was the most powerful resource the Carthaginians had

left; all these things forced them at last to turn their thoughts to peace.

They thereupon deputed thirty of their principal senators, who were selected

for that purpose, out of the powerful body at Carthage, called the council of

the hundred.  Being introduced into the Roman general's tent, they threw

themselves prostrate on the earth (such was the custom of their country),

spoke to him in terms of great submission, accusing Hannibal as the author of

all their calamities, and promising, in the name of the senate, an implicit

obedience to whatever the Romans should please to ordain.  Scipio answered,

that though he was come into Africa, not for peace but conquest, he would

however grant them a peace, upon condition that they should deliver up all the

prisoners and deserters to the Romans; that they should recall their armies

out of Italy and Gaul; should never set foot again in Spain; should retire out

of all the islands between Italy and Africa; should deliver up all their

ships, except twenty, to the victor; should give the Romans five hundred

thousand bushels of wheat, three hundred thousand of barley, and pay fifteen

thousand talents: that in case they were pleased with these conditions, they

then might send ambassadors to the senate.  The Carthaginians feigned a

compliance, but this was only to gain time till Hannibal should be returned.

A truce was then granted to the Carthaginians, who immediately sent deputies

to Rome; and at the same time, an express to Hannibal, to order his return

into Africa.


     He was then, as was observed before, in the extremity of Italy. ^875 Here

he received the orders from Carthage, which he could not listen to without

groans, and almost tears; and was exasperated almost to madness, to see

himself thus forced to quit his prey.  An exile could not have shown more

regret at leaving his native country, than Hannibal did in quitting that of an

enemy. ^876 He often turned his eyes wistfully to Italy, accusing gods and men

of his misfortunes, and calling down a thousand curses, says Livy, upon

himself, for not having marched directly to Rome after the battle of Cannae,

while his soldiers were still reeking with the blood of its citizens. ^877


[Footnote 875: A. M. 3802.  A. Rome, 546.]


[Footnote 876: Raro quenquam alium patriam exilii causa relinguentem magis

moestum abusse ferunt, quam Annibalem hostium terra excedentem. Respexisset

saepe Italiae littora, et deos hominesque accusantem, in se quoque ac suum

ipsius caput execratum, "Quod non cruentum ab Cannensi victoria militem Romam

duxisset." - Liv. l. xxx. n. 20.]


[Footnote 877: Livy supposes, however, that this delay was a capital error in

Hannibal, which he himself afterwards regretted.]


     At Rome, the senate, greatly dissatisfied with the excuses made by the

Carthaginian deputies, in justification of their republic, and the ridiculous

offer of their adhering, in its name, to the treaty of Lutatius, thought

proper to refer the decision of the whole to Scipio, who, being on the spot,

could best judge what conditions the welfare of the state required.


     About the same time, Octavius the praetor, sailing from Sicily with two

hundred vessels of burden, was attacked near Carthage by a violent storm,

which dispersed his fleet.  The citizens, unwilling to see so rich a prey

escape them, demanded importunately that the Carthaginian fleet might sail out

and seize it.  The senate, after a faint resistance, complied.  Asdrubal,

sailing out of the harbor, seized the greatest part of the Roman ships, and

brought them to Carthage, although the truce was still subsisting.


     Scipio sent deputies to the Carthaginian senate, to complain of this, but

they were slightly regarded.  Hannibal's approach had revived their courage,

and filled them with great hopes.  The deputies were even in great danger of

being ill-treated by the populace.  They therefore demanded a convoy, which

was granted, and accordingly two ships of the republic attended them; but the

magistrates, who were absolutely against peace, and determined to renew the

war, gave private orders to Asdrubal, who was with the fleet near Utica, to

attack the Roman galley when it should arrive in the river Bagrada, near the

Roman camp, where the convoy was ordered to leave them.  He obeyed the order,

and sent out two galleys against the ambassadors, who, nevertheless, made

their escape, but with difficulty and danger.


     This was a fresh subject for a war between the two nations, who were now

more animated, or rather more exasperated, one against the other, than ever;

the Romans, from the strong desire they had to revenge so base a perfidy, and

the Carthaginians, from a firm persuasion that they were not now to expect a



     At the same time, Laelius and Fulvius, who carried the full powers with

which the senate and people of Rome had invested Scipio, arrived in the camp,

accompanied by the deputies of Carthage.  As the Carthaginians had not only

infringed the truce, but violated the law of nations, in the persons of the

Roman ambassadors, it was natural that their principals should order the

Carthaginian deputies to be seized by way of reprisal. Scipio, however, ^878

more attentive to the Roman generosity than to the demerits of the

Carthaginians, in order not to deviate from the principles and maxims of his

own countrymen, nor his own character, dismissed the deputies, without

offering them the least injury.  So astonishing an instance of moderation, and

at such a juncture, terrified the Carthaginians, and even put them to the

blush; and made Hannibal himself entertain a still higher idea of a general,

who, to the dishonorable practices of his enemies, opposed a rectitude and

magnanimity, still more worthy of admiration than all his military virtues.


[Footnote 878: - Polyb. l. xv. p. 965 Edit. Gronov.


     Quibus Scipio; Etsi non induciarum modo fides, sed etiam jus gentium in

legatis violatum esset; tamen nec nihil nec institutis populi Romani nec sui

moribus indignum in iis facturum esse. - Liv. l. xxx. n. 25] 25.]


     In the mean time, Hannibal, being strongly importuned by his fellow-

citizens, advanced into the country;; and arriving at Zama, which is five

days' march from Carthage, encamped there.  He then sent out spies to observe

the posture of the Romans.  Scipio having seized these, so far from punishing

them, only commanded them to be led about the Roman camp, that they might take

an exact survey of it, and then sent them back to Hannibal.  The latter knew

very well whence so noble an assurance flowed. After the strange reverses he

had met with, he no longer expected that fortune would be again propitious.

While every one was exciting him to give battle, he alone meditated a peace.

He flattered himself that the conditions of it would be more honorable for

him, as he was at the head of an army, and as the fate of war might still

appear uncertain.  He therefore sent to desire an interview with Scipio, which

accordingly was agreed to, and the time and place fixed.


Section III.


The Interview Between Hannibal And Scipio In Africa, Followed By A Battle


     These two generals, who were not only the most illustrious of their own

age, but worthy of being ranked with the most renowned princes and warriors

that had ever lived, meeting at the place appointed, maintained for some time

a deep silence, as though they were astonished, and struck with mutual

admiration at the sight of each other. ^879 At last Hannibal spoke; and, after

having praised Scipio in the most artful and delicate manner, he gave a very

lively description of the ravages of the war, and the calamities in which it

had involved both the victors and the vanquished.  He conjured him not to

suffer himself to be dazzled by the splendor of his victories.  He represented

to him, that however successful he might have hitherto been, he ought to

tremble at the inconstancy of fortune; that without going far back for

examples, he himself, who was then speaking to him, was a glaring proof of

this: that Scipio was at that time what himself, Hannibal, had been at

Thrasymene and Cannae: that he ought to make a better use of opportunity than

himself had done, and consent to peace, now when it was in his power to

propose the conditions of it.  He concluded with declaring, that the

Carthaginians would willingly resign Sicily, Sardinia, Spain, and all the

islands between Africa and Italy, to the Romans.  That they must be forced,

since such was the will of the gods, to confine themselves to Africa; while

they should see the Romans extending their conquests in the most remote

regions, and obliging all nations to pay obedience to their laws.


[Footnote 879: A. M. 3803.  A. Rome, 547.  Polyb. 1. xv. pp. 694-703. Liv. l.

xxx. n. 29, 35.]


     Scipio answered in a few words, but not with less dignity.  He reproached

the Carthaginians for their perfidy, in plundering the Roman galleys before

the truce was expired.  He imputed to them only, and to their injustice, all

the calamities with which the two wars had been attended.  After thanking

Hannibal for the admonition he gave him, with regard to the uncertainty of

human events, he concluded with desiring him to prepare for battle, unless he

chose rather to accept of the conditions that had been already proposed; to

which he observed, some others would be added, in order to punish the

Carthaginians for having violated the truce.


     Hannibal could not prevail upon himself to accept these conditions, and

the generals separated with the resolution to decide the fate of Carthage by a

general battle.  Each commander exhorted his troops to fight valiantly.

Hannibal enumerated the victories he had gained over the Romans, the generals

he had slain, the armies he had cut to pieces. Scipio represented to his

soldiers, the conquests of both the Spains, his successes in Africa, and the

tacit confession their enemies themselves made of their weakness, by thus

coming to sue for peace.  All this he spoke with the tone and air of a

conqueror. ^880 Never were motives more calculated to excite troops to behave

gallantly.  This day was to complete the glory of the one or the other of the

generals, and to decide whether Rome or Carthage should prescribe laws to all

other nations.


[Footnote 880: Celsus haec corpore, vultuque ita laeto, ut vicisse jam

crederes, dicebat.  Liv. l. xxx. n. 32.]


     I shall not undertake to describe the order of the battle, nor the valor

of the forces on both sides.  The reader will naturally suppose, that two such

experienced generals did not forget any circumstance which could contribute to

the victory.  The Carthaginians after a very obstinate fight, were obliged to

fly, leaving twenty thousand men on the field of battle, and the like number

of prisoners were taken by the Romans. Hannibal escaped in the tumult, and

entering Carthage, owned that he was irrecoverably overthrown, and that the

citizens had no other choice left, but to accept of peace on any conditions.

Scipio bestowed great eulogiums on Hannibal, chiefly with regard to his

capacity in taking advantages, his manner of drawing up his army, and giving

his orders in the engagement; and affirmed, that Hannibal had this day

surpassed himself, although fortune had not answered his valor and conduct.


     With regard to himself, he well knew how to make a proper advantage of

his victory, and the consternation with which he had filled the enemy. He

commanded one of his lieutenants to march his land army to Carthage, and

prepared in person to conduct the fleet thither.


     He was not far from the city, when he met a vessel covered with streamers

and olive-branches, bringing ten of the most considerable persons of the

state, as ambassadors to implore his clemency.  He however dismissed them

without making any answer, and bid them come to him at Tunis, where he should

halt.  The deputies of Carthage, being thirty in number, came to him at the

place appointed, and sued for peace in the most submissive terms.  He then

called a council, the majority of which was for razing Carthage, and treating

the inhabitants with the utmost severity. But the consideration of the time

which must necessarily be employed before a city so strongly fortified could

be taken, and Scipio's fear that a successor to him might be appointed while

he should be employed in the siege, made him incline to clemency.


A Peace Concluded Between The Carthaginians And The Romans.  The End Of

The Second Punic War


     The conditions of the peace dictated by Scipio to the Carthaginians were

"that the Carthaginians were to continue free, and preserve their laws, their

territories, and the cities they possessed in Africa before the war; ^881 that

they should deliver up to the Romans all deserters, slaves, and captives

belonging to them; all their ships, except ten triremes; all their tame

elephants, and that they should not train up any more for war; that they

should not make war out of Africa, nor even in that country, without first

obtaining leave for that purpose from the Roman people; should restore to

Masinissa all they had taken from him or his ancestors; should furnish money

and corn to the Roman auxiliaries, till their ambassadors should be returned

from Rome; should pay to the Romans ten thousand Euboic talents ^882 of

silver, in fifty annual payments; and give a hundred hostages, who should be

nominated by Scipio. And in order that they might have time to send to Rome,

it was agreed to grant them a truce, upon condition that they should restore

the ships taken during the former war, without which they were not to expect

either a truce or a peace."


[Footnote 881: Polyb. l. xv. pp. 704-707.  Liv. 1. xxx. n, 36-44.]


[Footnote 882: Ten thousand Attic talents make thirty millions French money.

Ten thousand Euboic talents make something more than twenty-eight millions,

thirty-three thousand livres; because, according to Budaeus, the Euboic talent

is equivalent but to fifty-six Minae and something more, whereas the Attic

talent is worth sixty Minae.  Or otherwise thus calculated in English money:



[See Table 1: Euboic Talent]


     When the deputies returned to Carthage, they laid before the senate the

conditions dictated by Scipio.  But they appeared so intolerable to Gisco,

that rising up, he made a speech, in order to dissuade the citizens from

accepting a peace on such shameful terms.  Hannibal, provoked at the calmness

with which such an orator was heard, took Gisco by the arm, and dragged him

from his seat.  A behavior so outrageous, and so remote from the manners of a

free city, like Carthage, raised a universal murmur. Hannibal was vexed with

himself when he reflected on what he had done, and immediately made an apology

for it.  "As I left," says he, "your city at nine years of age, and did not

return to it till after thirty-six years' absence, I had full leisure to learn

the arts of war, and flatter myself that I have made some improvement in them.

As for your laws and customs, it is no wonder I am ignorant of them, and I

therefore desire you to instruct me in them." He then expatiated on the

necessity they were under of concluding a peace.  He added, that they ought to

thank the gods for having prompted the Romans to grant them a peace even on

these conditions. He urged on them the importance of their uniting in opinion,

and of not giving an opportunity, by their divisions, for the people to take

an affair of this nature under their cognizance.  The whole city came over to

his opinion, and accordingly the peace was accepted.  The senate made Scipio

satisfaction with regard to the ships demanded by him, and after obtaining a

truce for three months, sent ambassadors to Rome.


     These Carthaginians, who were all venerable for their years, and dignity,

were admitted immediately to an audience.  Asdrubal, surnamed Hoedus, who was

still an irreconcilable enemy to Hannibal and his faction, spoke first: and

after having excused, to the best of his power, the people of Carthage, by

imputing the rupture to the ambition of some particular persons, he added,

that had the Carthaginians listened to his counsels, and those of Hanno, they

would have been able to grant the Romans the peace for which they now were

obliged to sue.  "But," continued he, "wisdom and prosperity are very rarely

found together.  The Romans are invincible, because they never suffer

themselves to be blinded by good fortune.  And it would be surprising should

they act otherwise.  Success dazzles those only to whom it is new and unusual,

whereas the Romans are so much accustomed to conquer, that they are almost

insensible to the charms of victory; and it may be said for their glory, that

they have extended their empire, in some measure, more by the humanity they

have shown to the conquered, than by conquest itself." ^883 The other

ambassadors spoke with a more plaintive tone of voice, and represented the

calamitous state to which Carthage was about to be reduced, and the grandeur

and power from which she had fallen.


[Footnote 883: Raro simul hominibus bonam fortunam bonamque mentem dari.

Populum Romanum eo invictum esse quod in secundis rebus sapere et consulere

meminerit.  Et hercle mirandum fuisse si aliter facerent.  Ex insolentia,

quibus nova bona fortuna sit, impotentes laetitiae insanire; populo Romano

usitata ac prope obsoleta ex victoria gaudia esse; ac plus pene parcendo

victis, quam vincendo, imperiam auxisse. - Liv. l. xxx. n. 42.]


     The senate and people, being equally inclined to peace, sent full powers

to Scipio to conclude it, left the conditions to that general, and permitted

him to march back his army, after the treaty should be ratified.


     The ambassadors desired to leave to enter the city to redeem some of

their prisoners, and they found about two hundred whom they desired to ransom.

But the senate sent them to Scipio, with orders that they should be restored

without any pecuniary consideration, in case a peace should be concluded.


     The Carthaginians, on the return of the ambassadors, concluded a peace

with Scipio on the terms he himself had prescribed.  They then delivered up to

him more than five hundred ships, all which he burnt in sight of Carthage; a

lamentable sight to the inhabitants of that ill-fated city!  He struck off the

heads of the allies of the allies of the Latin name, and hanged all the

citizens who were surrendered to him, as deserters.


     When the time for the payment of the first tax imposed by the treaty was

expired, as the funds of the government were exhausted by this long and

expensive war, the difficulty which would be found in levying so great a sum,

threw the senate into a melancholy silence, and many could not refrain even

from tears.  It is said, that at this Hannibal laughed, and when reproached by

Asdrubal Hoedus, for thus insulting his country in the affliction which he had

brought upon it, "were it possible," says Hannibal, "for my heart to be seen,

and that as clearly as my countenance, you would then find that this laughter,

which offends so much, flows not from an intemperate joy, but from a mind

almost distracted with the public calamities.  But is this laughter more

unreasonable than your unbecoming tears?  Then, ought you to have wept, when

your arms were ingloriously taken from you, your ships burned, and you were

forbidden to engage in any foreign wars.  This was the mortal blow which laid

us prostrate.  We are sensible of the public calamity so far only as we have a

personal concern in it, and the loss of our money gives us the most poignant

sorrow.  Hence it was, that when our city was made the spoil of the victor;

when it was left disarmed and defenceless amidst so many powerful nations of

Africa, who had at that time taken the field, not a groan, not a sigh was

heard. But now, when you are called on for a poll-tax you weep and lament, as

if all were lost.  Alas!  I only wish that the subject of this day's fear do

not soon appear to you the least of your misfortunes."


     Scipio, after all things were concluded, embarked to return to Italy. He

arrived at Rome through crowds of people, whom curiosity had drawn together to

behold his march.  The most magnificent triumph that Rome had ever seen was

decreed him, and the surname of Africanus was bestowed upon that great man;

and honor till then unknown, no person before him having assumed the name of a

vanquished nation.  Such was the conclusion of the second Punic war, after

having lasted seventeen years. ^884


[Footnote 884: A. M. 3804.  A. Carth. 646. A. Rome, 548.  Ant. J. C. 200.]


A Short Reflection On The Government Of Carthage In The Time Of The Second

Punic War


     I shall conclude the particulars which relate to the second Punic war,

with a reflection of Polybius, which will show the difference between the two

commonwealths. ^885 If may be affirmed, in some measure, that at the beginning

of the second Punic war, and in Hannibal's time, Carthage was in its decline.

The flower of its youth, and its sprightly vigor, were already diminished.  It

had begun to fall from its exalted pitch of power, and was inclining towards

its ruin; whereas Rome was then, as it were, in its bloom and strength of

life, and rapidly advancing to the conquest of the universe.  The reason of

the declension of the one, and the rise of the other, is taken by Polybius

from the different form of government established in these commonwealths, at

the time we are now speaking of.  At Carthage, the common people had seized

upon the sovereign authority with regard to public affairs, and the advice of

their ancient men or magistrates, was no longer listened to; all affairs were

transacted by intrigue and cabal.  Not to mention the artifices which the

faction opposed to Hannibal employed, during the whole time of his command, to

perplex him; the single instance of burning the Roman vessels during a truce,

a perfidious action to which the common people compelled the senate to lend

their name and assistance, is a proof of Polybius' assertion.  On the

contrary, at this very time, the Romans paid the highest regard to their

senate, that is, to a body composed of the greatest sages; and their old men

were listened to and revered as oracles.  It is well known that the Roman

people were exceedingly jealous of their authority, and especially in that

part of it which related to the election of magistrates. ^886 A century of

young men, who by lot were to give the first vote, which generally directed

all the rest, had nominated two consuls. On the bare remonstrance of Fabius,

^887 who represented to the people, that in a tempest, like that with which

Rome was then struggling, the most able pilots ought to be chosen to steer

their common ship, the republic; the century returned to their suffrages, and

nominated other consuls. Polybius, from this disparity of government, infers

that a people, thus guided by the prudence of old men, could not fail of

prevailing over a state which was governed wholly by the giddy multitude.  And

indeed, the Romans, under the guidance of the wise counsels of their senate,

gained at last the superiority with regard to the war considered in general,

though they were defeated in several particular engagements, and established

their power and grandeur on the ruin of their rivals.


[Footnote 885: Lib. vi. pp. 493, 494.]


[Footnote 886: Liv. 1. xxiv. n. 8, 9.]


[Footnote 887: Quilibet nautarum rectorumque tranquillo mari gubernare potest;

ubi saeva orta tempestas est, ac turbato mari rapitur vento navis, tum viro et

gubernatore opus est.  Non tranquillo navigamus, sed jam aliquot procellis

submersi pene sumus.  Itaque quis ad gubernacula sedeat summa cura providendum

ae praecuvendum nobis est.]


The Interval Between The Second And Third Punic Wars


     The events relating to Carthage during this period, are not very

remarkable, although it includes more than fifty years.  They may be reduced

to two heads, one of which relates to the person of Hannibal, and the other to

some particular differences between the Carthaginians and Masinissa, king of

the Numidians.  We shall treat both separately, but not extensively.


Section I: - Continuation Of The History Of Hannibal


     When the second Punic war was ended, by the treaty of peace concluded

with Scipio, Hannibal, as he himself observed in the Carthaginian senate, was

forty-five years of age.  What we have further to say of this great man,

includes the space of twenty-five years.


Hannibal Undertakes And Completes The Reformation Of The Courts Of

Justice, And The Treasury Of Carthage


     After the conclusion of the peace, Hannibal, at least in the beginning,

was greatly respected in Carthage, where he filled the first employments of

the state with honor and applause.  He headed the Carthaginian forces in some

wars against the Africans: but the Romans, to whom the very name of Hannibal

gave uneasiness, discontented at seeing him in arms, made complaints on that

account, and accordingly he was recalled to Carthage. ^888


[Footnote 888: Corn. Nep. in Annib. c. 7.]


     On his return he was appointed praetor, which seems to have been a very

considerable employment, as well as of great authority. ^889 Carthage is

therefore, with regard to him, becoming a new theatre, as it were, on which he

will display virtues and qualities of a quite different nature from those we

have hitherto admired in, and which will finish the picture of this

illustrious man.


[Footnote 889: A. M. 3810.  A. Rome, 554.]


     Eagerly desirous of restoring the affairs of his afflicted country to

their former happy condition, he was persuaded that the two most powerful

methods to make a state flourish were, an exact and equal distribution of

justice to the people in general, and a faithful management of the public

finances.  The former, by preserving an equality among the citizens, and

making them enjoy such a delightful, undisturbed liberty, under the protection

of the laws, as fully secures their honor, their lives and properties, unites

the individuals of the commonwealth more closely together, and attaches them

more firmly to the state, to which they owe the preservation of all that is

most dear and valuable to them.  The latter, by a faithful administration of

the public revenues, supplies punctually the several wants and necessities of

the state, keeps in reserve a never-failing resource for sudden emergencies,

and prevents the people from being burdened with new taxes, which are rendered

necessary by extravagant profusion, and which chiefly contribute to make men

harbor an aversion for government.


     Hannibal saw with great concern the irregularities which had crept

equally into the administration of justice and the management of the finances.

Upon his being nominated praetor, as his love for regularity and order made

him uneasy at every deviation from it, and prompted him to use his utmost

endeavors for its restoration; he had the courage to attempt the reformation

of this double abuse, which drew after it a numberless multitude of others,

without dreading either the animosity of the old faction that opposed him, or

the new enmity which his zeal for the republic must necessarily create.


     The judges exercised the most cruel rapine with impunity. ^890 They were

so many petty tyrants, who disposed, in an arbitrary manner, of the lives and

fortunes of the citizens, without there being the least possibility of putting

a stop to their injustice.  Because they held their commissions for life, and

mutually supported one another.  Hannibal, a praetor, summoned before his

tribunal an officer belonging to the bench of judges, who openly abused his

power.  Livy tells us that he was a quaestor.  This officer, who was in the

opposite faction to Hannibal, and had already assumed all the pride and

haughtiness of the judges among whom he was to be admitted at the expiration

of his present office, insolently refused to obey the summons.  Hannibal was

not of a disposition to suffer an affront of this nature tamely.  Accordingly,

he caused him to be seized by a lictor, and brought him before the assembly of

the people.  There, not satisfied with levelling his resentment against this

single officer, he impeached the whole bench of judges; whose insupportable

and tyrannical pride was not restrained, either by the fear of the laws, or a

reverence for the magistrates.  And, as Hannibal perceived that he was heard

with pleasure, and that the lowest and most inconsiderable of the people

discovered on this occasion that they were no longer able to bear the insolent

pride of these judges, who seemed to have a design upon their liberties; he

proposed a law, which accordingly passed, by which it was enacted, that new

judges should be chosen annually; with a clause that none should continue in

office beyond that term.  This law, at the same time that it acquired him the

friendship and esteem of the people, drew upon him proportionably the hatred

of the greatest part of the grandees and nobility.


[Footnote 890: Liv. l. xxxiii. n. 46.]


     He attempted another reformation, which created him new enemies, but

gained him great honor. ^891 The public revenues were either squandered away

by the negligence of those who had the management of them, or were plundered

by the chief men of the city, and the magistrates; so that money being wanted

to pay the annual tribute due to the Romans, the Carthaginians were going to

levy it upon the people in general.  Hannibal, entering into a full detail of

the public revenues, ordered an exact estimate to be laid before him; inquired

in what manner they had been applied to the employments and ordinary expenses

of the state; and having discovered by this inquiry, that the public funds had

been in a great measure embezzled by the fraud of the officers who had the

management of them, he declared and promised, in a full assembly of the

people, that without laying any new taxes upon individuals, the republic

should hereafter be enabled to pay the tribute due to the Romans; and he was

as good as his word.  The farmers of the revenues, whose plunder and rapine he

had publicly detected, having accustomed themselves hitherto to fatten upon

the spoils of their country, exclaimed vehemently against these regulations,

^892 as if their own property had been forced out of their hands, and not the

sums of which they had defrauded the public.


[Footnote 891: Liv. l. xxxiii. n. 46, 47.]


[Footnote 892: Tum vero isti quos paverat per aliquot annos publicus

peculatus, velut bonis ereptis, non furto eorum manibus extorto, incensi et

irati, Romanos in Annibalem, et ipsos causam odii quaerentes, instigabant. -



Section IV.


The Retreat And Death Of Hannibal


     This double reformation of abuses raised great clamor against Hannibal.

^893 His enemies were writing incessantly to the chief men, or their friends,

at Rome, to inform them, that he was carrying on a secret correspondence with

Antiochus, king of Syria; that he frequently received couriers from him; and

that this prince had privately despatched agents to Hannibal, to concert with

him measures for carrying on the war he was meditating: that as some animals

are so extremely fierce, that it is impossible ever to tame them; in like

manner, this man was of so turbulent and implacable a spirit that he could not

brook ease, and therefore would, sooner or later, break out again.  These

informations were listened to at Rome; and as the transactions of the

preceding war had been begun and carried on almost solely by Hannibal, they

appeared the more probable. However, Scipio strongly opposed the violent

measures which the senate were about to take on their receiving this

intelligence, by representing it as derogatory to the dignity of the Roman

people, to countenance the hatred and accusations of Hannibal's enemies; to

support, with their authority, their unjust passions; and obstinately to

pursue him even to the very heart of his country; as though the Romans had not

humbled him sufficiently, in driving him out of the field, and forcing him to

lay down his arms.


[Footnote 893: Liv. l. xxxiii. n. 45-49]


     But, notwithstanding these prudent remonstrances, the senate appointed

three commissioners to go and make their complaints to Carthage, and to demand

that Hannibal should be delivered up to them.  On their arrival in that city,

though other things were speciously pretended, yet Hannibal was perfectly

sensible that he only was the object.  The evening being come, he conveyed

himself on board a ship, which he had secretly provided for that purpose; on

which occasion he bewailed his country's fate more than his own.  Soepius

patrioe quam suos eventus miseratus. This was the eighth year after the

conclusion of the peace.  The first place he landed at was Tyre, where he was

received as in his second country, and had all the honors paid him which were

due to his exalted merit.  After staying some days here, he set out for

Antioch, which the king had lately left, and from thence waited upon him at

Ephesus. ^894 The arrival of so renowned a general gave great pleasure to the

king, and did not a little contribute to determine him to engage in war

against Rome; for hitherto he had appeared wavering and uncertain on that

head.  In this city, a philosopher, who was looked upon as the greatest orator

of Asia, had the imprudence to harangue before Hannibal on the duties of a

general, and the rules of the military art. ^895 The speech charmed the whole

audience.  But Hannibal, being asked his opinion of it, "I have seen," says

he, "many old dotards in my life, but this exceeds them all." ^896


[Footnote 894: A. M. 3812.  A. Rome, 556.]


[Footnote 895: Cic. de Orat. l. ii. n. 75, 76.]


[Footnote 896: Hic Poenus libere respondisse fertur, multos se deliros senes

saepe vidisse: sed qui magis quam Phormio deliraret vidisse neminem. Stobaeus,

Serm. lii. gives the following account of this matter: i. e., Hannibal,

hearing a Stoic philosopher undertake to prove that the wise man was the only

general, laughed, as thinking it impossible for a man to have any skill in

war, without being long practised in it.]


     The Carthaginians, justly fearing that Hannibal's escape would certainly

draw upon them the arms of the Romans, sent them advice that Hannibal was

withdrawn to Antiochus. ^897 The Romans were very much disturbed at this news,

and the king might have turned it extremely to his advantage, had he known how

to make a proper use of it.


[Footnote 897: They did more, for they sent two ships to pursue Hannibal, and

bring him back; they sold off his goods, razed his house, and, by a public

decree, declared him an exile.  Such was the gratitude the Carthaginians

showed to the greatest general they ever had. - Corn. Nep. in Vita Annib. c.



     The first counsel that Hannibal gave him at this time, and which he

frequently repeated afterwards, was, to make Italy the seat of war. ^898 He

required a hundred ships, eleven or twelve thousand land-forces, and offered

to take upon himself the command of the fleet; to cross into Africa, in order

to engage the Carthaginians in the war; and afterwards to make a descent upon

Italy, during which the king himself should be ready to cross over with his

army into Italy, whenever it should be thought convenient.  This was the only

thing proper to be done, and the king very much approved the proposal at



[Footnote 898: Liv. l. xxxiv. n. 60.]


     Hannibal thought it would be expedient to prepare his friends at

Carthage, in order to engage them the more strongly in his interest. ^899 The

communication by letters is not only unsafe, but also gives an imperfect idea

of things, and is never sufficiently particular.  He therefore despatched a

trusty person with ample instructions to Carthage. This man had no sooner

arrived in the city than his business was suspected.  Accordingly he was

watched and followed; and at last orders were issued for his being seized.

He, however, prevented the vigilance of his enemies, and escaped in the night;

after having fixed, in several public places, papers which fully declared the

occasion of his coming among them.  The senate immediately sent advice of this

to the Romans.


[Footnote 899: Ibid. n. 61.]


     Villius, one of the deputies who had been sent into Asia to inquire into

the state of affairs there, and, if possible, to discover the real designs of

Antiochus, found Hannibal in Ephesus. ^900 He had many conferences with him,

paid him several visits, and speciously affected to show him a particular

esteem on all occasions.  But his chief aim, by all this artificial behavior,

was to make him be suspected, and to lessen his credit with the king, in which

he succeeded but too well. ^901


[Footnote 900: A. M. 3813.  A. Rome. 557.  Liv. l. xxxv. n. 14.  Polyb. l.

iii. pp. 166, 167]


[Footnote 901: Polybius represents this application of Villius to Hannibal, as

a premeditated design, in order to render him suspected to Antiochus, because

of his intimacy with a Roman.  Livy owns, that the affair succeeded as if it

had been designed; but, at the same time, he gives, for a very obvious reason,

another turn to this conversation, and says that no more was intended by it

than to sound Hannibal, and to remove any fears or apprehensions he might be

under from the Romans.]


     Some authors affirm that Scipio was joined in this embassy; and they even

relate the conversation which that general had with Hannibal. ^902 They tell

us that the Roman having asked him who, in his opinion, was the greatest

captain that had ever lived; he answered, Alexander the Great, because, with a

handful of Macedonians, he had defeated numberless armies, and carried his

conquests into countries so very remote that it seemed scarcely possible for

any man only to travel so far.  Being afterwards asked to whom he gave the

second rank, he answered, to Pyrrhus, for this king, says Hannibal, first

understood the art of pitching a camp to advantage; no commander had ever made

a more judicious choice of his posts, was better skilled in drawing up his

forces, or was more happy in winning the affection of foreign soldiers;

insomuch that even the people of Italy were more desirous to have him for

their governor than the Romans themselves, though they had so long been

subject to them.  Scipio proceeding, asked him next whom he looked upon as the

third captain; on which decision Hannibal made no scruple to give the

preference to himself. Here Scipio could not forbear laughing: "but what would

you have said," continued Scipio, "had you conquered me?" - "I would," replied

Hannibal, "have ranked myself above Alexander, Pyrrhus, and all the generals

the world ever produced." Scipio was not insensible to so refined and delicate

a flattery, which he by no means expected; and which, by giving him no rival,

seemed to insinuate that no captain was worthy of being put in comparison with



[Footnote 902: Liv. l.xxxv. n. 24.  Plutarch, in Vita Flamin. &c.]


     The answer, as told by Plutarch, ^903 is less witty, and not so probable.

In this author, Hannibal gives Pyrrhus the first place, Scipio the second, and

himself the third.


[Footnote 903: Plut. in Pyrrho, p. 687.]


     Hannibal, sensible of the coldness with which Antiochus received him ever

since his conferences with Villius or Scipio, took no notice of it for some

time, and seemed insensible of it.  But at last he thought it advisable to

come to an explanation with the king, and to open his mind freely to him.

"The hatred," says he, "which I bear to the Romans, is known to the whole

world.  I bound myself to it by an oath, from my most tender infancy.  It was

this hatred that made me draw the sword against Rome during thirty-six years.

It was that, even in times of peace, which drove me from my native country,

and forced me to seek an asylum in your dominions.  For ever guided and fired

by the same passion, should my hopes be eluded, I will fly to every part of

the globe, and rouse up all nations against the Romans.  I hate them, will

hate them eternally; and know that they bear me no less animosity.  So long as

you shall continue in the resolution to take up arms against that people, you

may rank Hannibal in the number of your best friends.  But if other counsels

incline you to peace, I declare to you once for all, address yourself to

others for counsel, and not to me." Such a speech, which came from his heart,

and expressed the greatest sincerity, struck the king, and seemed to remove

all his suspicious; so that he now resolved to give Hannibal command of part

of his fleet. ^904


[Footnote 904: Liv. lib. xxxv. n. 19.]


     But what mischief is beyond the power of flattery to produce in courts,

and in the minds of princes?  Antiochus was told "that it was imprudent in him

to put so much confidence in Hannibal, an exile, a Carthaginian, whose fortune

or genius might suggest, in one day, a thousand different projects to him;

that besides, this very fame which Hannibal had acquired in war, and which he

considered as his peculiar inheritance, was too great for a man who fought

only under the ensigns of another; that none but the king ought to be the

general and conductor of the war; and that it was incumbent on him to draw

upon himself only the eyes and attention of all men; whereas, should Hannibal

be employed, he, a foreigner, would have the glory of all victories ascribed

to him." ^905 No minds, says Livy, on this occasion, are more susceptible of

envy, than those whose merit is below their birth and dignity; such persons

always abhorring virtue and worth in others, for this reason only, because

they are strange and foreign in themselves. ^906 This observation was fully

verified on this occasion.  Antiochus had been taken on his weak side; a low

and sordid jealousy, which is the defect and characteristic of little minds,

extinguished every generous sentiment in that monarch.  Hannibal was now

slighted and laid aside; he, however, was greatly revenged on Antiochus by the

ill success this prince met with, who showed how unfortunate that king is,

whose soul is accessible to envy, and his ears open to the poisonous

insinuation of flatterers.


[Footnote 905: Liv. l. xxxv. n. 42, 43.]


[Footnote 906: Nulla ingenia tam prona ad invidiam sunt, quam eorum qui genus

ac fortunam suam animis non aequant, in virtutem et bonum alienum oderunt.]


     In a council held some time after, to which Hannibal, for form's sake,

was admitted, he, when it come to his turn to speak, endeavored chiefly to

prove, that Philip of Macedon ought, on any terms, to be invited into the

alliance of Antiochus, which was not so difficult as might be imagined.  "With

regard," says Hannibal, "to the operations of the war, I adhere immovably to

my first opinion; and had my counsels been listened to before, Tuscany and

Liguria would now be all in a flame, had Hannibal, a name that strikes terror

into the Romans, been in Italy. Though I should not be very well skilled as to

other matters, yet the good and ill success I have met with, must necessarily

have taught me sufficiently how to carry on a war against the Romans.  I have

nothing now in my power, but to give you my counsel, and offer you my service.

May the gods give success to all your undertakings." Hannibal's speech was

received with applause, but not one of his counsels were put in execution.



[Footnote 907: Liv. l. xxxvi. n. 7.]


     Antiochus, imposed upon and lulled to sleep by his flatterers, remained

quiet at Ephesus, after the Romans had driven him out of Greece; not once

imagining that they would ever invade his dominions. ^908 Hannibal, who was

now restored to favor, was for ever assuring him, that the war would soon be

removed into Asia, and that he would see the enemy at his gates: that he must

resolve either to abdicate his throne, or vigorously oppose a people who

grasped at the empire of the world.  This discourse waked, in some measure,

the king out of his lethargy, and prompted him to make some weak efforts.

But, as his conduct was unsteady, after sustaining a great many considerable

losses, he was forced to terminate the war by an ignominious peace; one of the

articles of which was, that he should deliver up Hannibal to the Romans.  The

latter, however, did not give him an opportunity to put it into execution,

retiring to the island of Crete, to consider there what course would be best

for him to take.


[Footnote 908: Liv. l. xxxvi. n. 41.]


     The riches he had brought with him, of which the people of the island had

got some notice, had like to have proved his ruin. ^909 Hannibal was never

wanting in stratagems, and he had occasion to employ them now, to save both

himself and his treasure.  He filled several vessels with molten lead, which

he just covered with gold and silver.  These he deposited in the temple of

Diana, in presence of several Cretans, to whose honesty, he said, he confided

all his treasure.  A strong guard was then posted on the temple, and Hannibal

left at full liberty, from a supposition that his riches was secured.  But he

had concealed them in hollow statues of brass, ^910 which he always carried

along with him.  And then, embracing a favorable opportunity he had of making

his escape, he fled to the court of Prusias, king of Bithynia. ^911


[Footnote 909: Corn. Nep. in Annnib. c. 9, 10.  Justin. l. xxxii. c. 4.]


[Footnote 910: These statues were thrown out by him, in a place of public

resort, as thing of little value. - Corn. Nep.]


[Footnote 911: A. M. 3820.  A. Rome, 564.  Corn. Nep. in Annib. c. 10, 11.

Justin. l. xxxiii. c. 4.]


     It appears from history, that he made some stay in the court of this

prince, who soon engaged in war with Eumenes, king of Pergamus, a professed

friend to the Romans.  By the aid of Hannibal, the troops of king Prusias

gained several victories by land and sea.


     He employed a stratagem of an extraordinary kind, in a sea fight. ^912

The enemy's fleet consisting of more ships than his, he had recourse to

artifice.  He put into earthen vessels all kinds of serpents, and ordered

these vessels to be thrown into the enemy's ships.  His chief aim in this was

to destroy Eumenes, and for that purpose it was necessary for him to find out

which ship he was on board of.  This Hannibal discovered, by sending out a

boat, upon pretence of conveying a letter to him.  Having gained his point

thus far, he ordered his commanders of the respective vessels to direct the

greatest force of their attacks against Eumenes' ship.  They obeyed, and would

have taken it, had he not outsailed his pursuers.  The rest of the ships of

Pergamus sustained the fight with great vigor, till the earthen vessels had

been thrown into them.  At first they only laughed at this, and were very much

surprised to find such weapons employed against them.  But seeing themselves

surrounded with serpents which flew out of these vessels when they broke to

pieces, they were seized with dread, retired in disorder, and yielded the

victory to the enemy.


[Footnote 912: Justin. l. xxxii. c. 4.  Corn. Nep. in Vit. Annib.]


     Services of so important a nature seemed to secure for ever to Hannibal

an undisturbed asylum at that prince's court.  The Romans, however, would not

suffer him to be easy there, but deputed Q. Flaminius to Prusias, to complain

of the protection he gave Hannibal. ^913 The latter readily conjectured the

motive of this embassy, and therefore did not wait till his enemies had an

opportunity of delivering him up.  At first he attempted to secure himself by

flight, but perceiving that the seven secret outlets which he had contrived in

his palace were all seized by the soldiers of Prusias, who, by this perfidy,

was desirous of making his court to the Romans, he ordered the poison, which

he had long kept for this melancholy occasion, to be brought him; and, taking

it in his hand, "let us," said he, "free the Romans from the disquiet with

which they have been so long tortured, since they have not patience to wait

for an old man's death.  The victory which Flaminius gains over a naked, and

betrayed man, will not do him much honor.  This single day will be a lasting

testimony of the great degeneracy of the Romans.  Their fathers sent notice to

Pyrrhus, to desire he would beware of a traitor who intended to poison him,

and that at a time when this prince was at war with them in the very centre of

Italy; but their sons have deputed a person of consular dignity to instigate

Prusias impiously to murder one who is not only his friend, but his guest."

After calling down curses upon Prusias, and having invoked the gods, the

protectors and avengers of the sacred rights of hospitality, he swallowed the

poison, and died at seventy years of age. ^914


[Footnote 913: A. M. 3822.  A. Rome, 566.  Liv. l. xxxix. n. 51.]


[Footnote 914: Plutarch, according to his custom, assigns him three different

deaths.  Some, says he, relate, that having wrapped his cloak about his neck,

he ordered his servant to fix his knees against his buttocks, and not to leave

twisting till he had strangled him.  Others say, that in imitation of

Themistocles and Midas, he drank bull's blood. Livy tells us, that Hannibal

drank a poison which he always carried about him; and taking the cup into his

hands, cried, "Let us free," &c. - In Vita Flaminii.]


     This year was remarkable for the death of three great men, Hannibal,

Philopoemen, and Scipio, who it is worthy of notice all died out of their

native countries, in a manner far from corresponding to the glory of their

actions.  The two first died by poison: Hannibal was betrayed by his host; and

Philopoemen, being taken prisoner in a battle against the Messinians, and

thrown into a dungeon, was forced to swallow a dose of poison.  As to Scipio,

he banished himself, to avoid an unjust prosecution which was carrying on

against him at Rome, and ended his days in a kind of obscurity.


The Character And Eulogium Of Hannibal


     This would be the proper place for representing the excellent qualities

of Hannibal, who reflected so much glory on Carthage.  But, as I have

attempted to draw his character elsewhere, ^915 and to give a just idea of

him, by making a comparison between him and Scipio, I think it unnecessary to

give his eulogium at large in this place.


[Footnote 915: Vol. II. of the method of studying and teaching the Belles



     Persons who devote themselves to the profession of arms, cannot spend too

much time in the study of this great man, who is looked upon, by the best

judges, as the most complete general, in almost every respect, that ever the

world produced.


     During the whole seventeen years (the time the war lasted), two errors

only are objected to him; first, his not marching, immediately after the

battle of Cannae, his victorious army to Rome, in order to besiege that city;

secondly, his suffering their courage to be softened and enervated, during

their winter-quarters in Capua; errors, which only show that great men are not

so in all things, summi enim sunt homines tamen; ^916 and which, perhaps, may

be partly excused.


[Footnote 916: Quinctil.]


     But then, for these two errors, what a multitude of shining qualities

appear in Hannibal!  How extensive were his views and designs, even in his

most tender years!  What greatness of soul!  what intrepidity!  what presence

of mind must he have possessed, to be able, even in the fire and heat of

action, to take all advantages!  With what surprising address must he have

managed the minds of men, that amidst so great a variety of nations as

composed his army, who often were in want both of money and provisions, his

camp was not once disturbed with an insurrection, either against himself or

any of his generals!  With what equity, what moderation, must he have behaved

towards his new allies, to have prevailed so far, as to attach them inviolably

to his service, though he was reduced to the necessity of making them sustain

almost the whole burden of the war, by a quartering his army upon them, and

levying contributions in their several countries!  In fine, how fruitful must

he have been in expedients, to be able to carry on, for so many years, the war

in a remote country, in spite of the violent opposition made by a powerful

domestic faction, which refused him supplies of every kind, and thwarted him

on all occasions!  It may be affirmed, that Hannibal, during the whole series

of this war, seemed the only prop of the state, and the soul of every part of

the empire of the Carthaginians, who could never believe themselves conquered,

till Hannibal confessed that he himself was so.


     But that man must know the character of Hannibal very imperfectly, who

should consider him only at the head of armies.  The particulars we learn from

history, concerning the secret intelligence he held with Philip of Macedon;

the wise counsels he gave to Antiochus, king of Syria; the double regulation

he introduced in Carthage, with regard to the management of the public

revenues and the administration of justice, prove that he was a great

statesman in every respect.  So superior and universal was his genius, that it

took in all parts of government; and so great were his natural abilities, that

he was capable of acquitting himself in all the various functions of it with

glory.  Hannibal shone as conspicuously in the cabinet as in the field;

equally able to fill civil or military employments.  In a word, he united in

his own person, the different talents and merits of all professions, the

sword, the gown, and the finances.


     He had some learning; and though he was so much employed in military

labors, and engaged in so many wars, he, however, found leisure to cultivate

the muses. ^917 Several smart repartees of Hannibal, which have been

transmitted to us, show that he had a great fund of natural wit; and this he

improved, by the most polite education that could be bestowed at that time, in

such a republic as Carthage.  He spoke Greek tolerably well, and wrote several

books in that language.  His preceptor was a Lacedaemonian (Solsius), who,

with Philenius, another Lacedaemonian, accompanied him in all his expeditions.

Both these undertook to write the history of this renowned warrior.


[Footnote 917: Atque hic tantus vir, tantisque bellis distractus, nonnihil

temporis tribuit literis, &c. - Corn. Nep. in Vita Annib. cap. 13.]


     With regard to his religion and moral conduct, he was not so profligate

and wicked as he is represented by Livy; "cruel even to inhumanity; more

perfidious than a Carthaginian; regardless of truth, of probity, of the sacred

ties of oaths; fearless of the gods, and utterly void of religion." Inhumana

crudelitas, perfidia plusquam Punica; nihil veri, nihil sancti, nulius deum

metus, nullum jus jurandum, nulla religio. ^918 According to Polybius, he

rejected a barbarous proposal that was made to him, before he entered Italy,

of eating human flesh, at a time when his army was in absolute want of

provisions. ^919 Some years after, so far from treating with barbarity, as he

was advised to do, the dead body of Sempronius Gracchus, which Mago had sent

him, he caused his funeral obsequies to be solemnized in presence of the whole

army. ^920 We have seen him, on many occasions, showing the highest reverence

for the gods; and Justin, who copied Trogus Pompeius, an author worthy of

credit, observes that he always showed uncommon wisdom and continence, with

regard to the great number of women taken by him during the course of so long

a war; insomuch, that no one would have imagined he had been born in Africa,

where incontinence is the predominant vice of the country.  Pudicitiamque eum

tantum inter tot captivas habuisse, ut in Africa natum quivis negaret. ^921


[Footnote 918: Lib. xxi. n. 4]


[Footnote 919: Excerpt. e Polyb. p. 33.]


[Footnote 920: Excerpt l Diod. p. 282. Liv. l, xxv. n. 17.]


[Footnote 921: Lib. xxxiii, c. 4.]


     His disregard of wealth at a time when he had so many opportunities to

enrich himself, by the plunder of the cities he stormed, and the nations he

subdued, shows, that he knew the true and genuine use which a general ought to

make of riches, viz.: to gain the affection of his soldiers, and to attach

allies to his interest, by diffusing his beneficence on proper occasions, and

not being sparing in his rewards; a very essential quality, but very uncommon

in a commander.  The only use Hannibal made of money was to purchase success;

firmly persuaded, that a man who is at the head of affairs is sufficiently

recompensed by the glory derived from victory.


     He always led a very regular, austere life; and even in times of peace,

and in the midst of Carthage, when he was invested with the first dignity of

the city, we are told that he never used to recline himself on a bed at meals,

as was the custom in those ages, and drank but very little wine. ^922 So

regular and uniform a life may serve as an illustrious example to our

commanders, who often include among the privileges of war, and the duty of

officers, the keeping of splendid tables, and luxurious living.


[Footnote 922: Cibi potionisque, desiderio naturali, nen voluptate, modus

finitus. - Liv. l. xxi. n. 4.


     Constat Annibalem nec tum cam Romano tonantem bello Italia contremuit,

nec cum reversus Carthaginem summum imperium tenuit, aut cubantem coenasse,

aut plus quam sextario vini indulsisse. - Justin. l. xxxii. c. 4.]


     But, notwithstanding those eulogiums, I do not, however, pretend to

justify entirely all the errors and defects with which Hannibal is charged.

Though he possessed an assemblage of the most exalted qualities, it cannot be

denied that he had some little tincture of the vices of his country: and that

it would be difficult to excuse some actions and circumstances of his life.

Polybius observes, that Hannibal was accused of avarice in Carthage, and of

cruelty in Rome. ^923 He adds, on the same occasion, that people were very

much divided in opinion concerning him; and it would be no wonder, as he had

made himself so many enemies in both cities, that they should have drawn him

in disadvantageous colors.  But Polybius is of opinion, that though it should

be taken for granted, that all the defects with which he is charged are true,

we yet ought to conclude, that they were not so much owing to his nature and

disposition, as to the difficulties with which he was surrounded in the course

of so long and laborious a war; and to the complacency he was obliged to show

to the general officers, whose assistance he absolutely wanted for the

execution of his various enterprises; and whom he was not always able to

restrain, any more than he could the soldiers who fought under them.


[Footnote 923: Excerpt. e Polyb. pp. 34, 37.]



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