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652
PUNIC WARS


Though the force which Rome at first spared for this war was small in numbers and rested entirely upon its own resources, the generals Publius and Gnaeus Scipio by skilful strategy and diplomacy not only won over the peoples north of the Ebro and defeated the Carthaginian leader Hasdrubal Barca in his attempts to restore communication with Italy, but carried their arms along the east coast into the heart of the enemy's domain. But eventually their successes were nullified by a rash advance. Deserted by their native contingents and cut off by Carthaginian cavalry, among which the Numidian prince Massinissa rendered conspicuous service, the Roman generals were slain and their troops were destroyed in detail (212 or 211). Disturbances in Africa prevented the Punic commanders from reaping the full fruit of their success. Before long the fall of Capua enabled Rome to transfer troops from Italy to Spain, and in 209 the best Roman general of the day, the young son and namesake of the recently slain P. Scipio, was placed in command. The new leader signalized his arrival by a bold and successful coup-de-rnain upon the great arsenal of Carthago Nova. Though he failed to prevent Hasdrubal Barca from marching away to Italy, Scipio prohted by his departure to push back the remaining hostile forces the more rapidly. A last effort by the Carthaginians to retrieve their losses with a fresh army was frustrated by a great victory at Ilipa (near Corduba), and by the end of 206 they were completely driven out of the peninsula.

In 205 Scipio, who had returned to Rome to hold the consulship, proposed to follow up his victories by an attack upon the The War home territory of Carthage. Though the presence In A, '., ” of Hannibal in Italy at first deterred the senate from sanctioning this policy, the general popularity of the scheme overbore all resistance. Scipio was granted a force which he organized and supplemented in Sicily, and in 204 sailed across to Africa. He was here met by a combined levy of Carthage and King Syphax of Numidia, and for a time penned to the shore near Utica. But in“the winter he extricated himself by a surprise attack upon the enemy's camp, which resulted in the total loss of the allied force by sword or flame. In the campaign of 203 a new Carthaginian force was destroyed by Scipio on the Great Plains not far from Utica, their ally Syphax was captured, and the renegade Massinissa (q.v.) reinstated in the kingdom from which Syphax had recently expelled him. These disasters induced the Carthaginians to sue for peace, but before the very moderate terms which Scipio offered could be definitely accepted a sudden reversal of opinion caused them to recall Hannibal's army for a final trial of war, and to break off negotiations. In 202 Hannibal assumed command of a composite force of citizen and mercenary levies stiffened with a corps of his veteran Italian troops. After an abortive conference with Scipio he prepared for a decisive battle at Zama (an inland site not yet identified with certainty). Scipio's force was smaller in numbers, but well trained throughout and greatly superior in cavalry. His infantry, after evading an attack by the Carthaginian elephants, cut through the first two lines of the enemy, but was unable to break the reserve corps of veterans. The battle was ultimately decided by the cavalry of the Romans and their new ally Massinissa, which by a manoeuvre recalling the tactics of Cannae took Hannibal's line in the rear and completely destroyed it. The Carthaginians having thus lost their last army again applied for peace and accepted the terms which Scipio offered. They were compelled to cede Spain and the Mediterranean islands still in their hands, to surrender their warships, to pay an indemnity of 10,000 talents (about £2,400,000) within fifty years and to forfeit their independence in affairs of war and foreign policy.

The Second Punic War, by far the greatest struggle in which either power engaged, had thus ended in the complete triumph of Rome. This triumph is not to be explained in the main by any faultiness in the Carthaginians' method of attack. The history of the First Punic War, and that of the Second outside of Italy, prove that the Romans were irresistible on neutral or Carthaginian ground. Carthage could only hope to win by invading Italy and using the enemy's home resources against him. The failure of Hannibal's brilliant endeavour to realize these conditions was not due to any strategical mistakes on his part. It was caused by the indomitable strength of will of the Romans, whose character during this period appears at its best, and to the compactness of their Italian confederacy, which no shock of defeat or strain of war could entirely disintegrate. It is this spectacle of individual genius overborne by corporate and persevering effort which lends to the Second Punic War its peculiar interest. .

The Third Punic War (149-146 B.C.)-The political power of Carthage henceforth remained quite insignificant, but its commerce and material resources revived in the 2nd century with such rapidity as to excite the. jealousy of the growing mercantile population of Rome and the alarm of its more timid statesmen. Under the influence of these feelings the conviction -sedulously fostered by Cato the Elder, the Censor-that “ Carthage must be destroyed” overbore the scruples of more clear-sighted statesmen. A casns belli was readily found in a formal breach of the treaty, committed by the Carthaginians in 154, when they resisted Massinissa's aggressions by force of arms. A Roman army was dispatched to Africa, and although the Carthaginians consented to make reparation by giving hostages and surrendering their arms, they were goaded into revolt by the further stipulation that they must emigrate to some inland site where they would be debarred from commerce. By a desperate effort they created a new war equipment and prepared their city for a siege (149). The Roman attack for two years completely miscarried, until in 147 the command was given to a young officer who had distinguished himself in the early operations of the war-Scipio Aemilianus, the adoptive grandson of the former conqueror of Carthage. Scipio made the blockade stringent by walling off the isthmus on which the town lay and by cutting off its sources of supplies from oversea. His main attack was delivered on the harbour side, where he effected an entrance in the face of a determined and ingenious resistance. The struggle did not cease until he had carried house by house the streets that led up to the citadel. Of a population probably exceeding half a million only 50,000 remained at the final surrender. The survivors were sold into slaver-y; the city was razed to the ground and its site condemned by solemn imprecations to lie desolate for ever. The territory of Carthage, which had recently been much narrowed by Massinissa's encroachments, was converted into a Roman province under the name of “ Africa.”

BIBLIOGRAPHY.-I. Ancient Authorities. For the First Punic War Polybius, bk. I, provides a trustworthy and impartial account, but owing to his conciseness leaves many problems of chronology and strategy unexplained. For the Second War bks. 2 and 3 of Polybius present a complete and detailed record down to Cannae; bks. 7-1 5 contain fragmentary notices of which the most continuous deal with the campaigns of Scipio. Livy (bks. 23-30) gives a continuous and detailed narrative, partly based upon Polybius and other good a authorities, partly upon untrustworthy Roman annalists. The Third War is described in Appian's Res Libycae, chs. 67 sqq., and the fragments of Polybius, bks. 36-39.

The subsidiary authorities are: Diodorus, bks. 20-27, 32;, Appian, Res Libycae, Hispanicae, Hannibalicae; Zonaras's epitome of Dio Cassius, frs. 43, 54, 57; Plutarch's Lives of Fabins and Marcellus; Cornelius Nepos's Lives of Harnilcar and Hannibal, and short references in Justin, Eutropius, Aurelius Victor and Orosius. The sources and methods of composition of these authors have been discussed in numerous articles and dissertations, mostly German, of which the most important are mentioned in Niese's work (quoted below). These essays have brought out few certain results, but they tend to show that the narratives, so far as they are not based on Polybius or earlier authorities, are of little value.

2. Modern Works. a. For general accounts, see the respective passages in the general histories of Rome, especially Mommsen (Eng. trans., 1894, vol. ii.), and lhne (Eng. trans., vol. ii.); also C. Neumann, Das Zeilalter der pnnischen, Kriege (Breslau, 1883), and R. B. Smith, Rome and Carthage (London, 1881). IJ. For the First ar.-O. Meltzer, Geschichte der Karlhager, ii. 252-356 (Berlin, 1879-1886); ]. Beloch, Griechische Geschichte, vol. iii. pt. i. pp. 664-684 (Strassburg, 1893-1904); B. Niese, Geschichte der griechischen und rnakedonischen Staalen, ii. 174'-199 (Gotha, 1893~1903); W. W. Tarn, “ The Fleets of the First Punic War, ” in Journal of Hellenic Studies (1907), pp. 48-60. For