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Post by thelivyjr » Sat Mar 14, 2020 1:40 p

Second Punic War, continued ...

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The tide turns (210–209 BC)

Italy (210–209 BC)

Carthage sent more reinforcements to Sicily and Hanno and Mottones went over to the offensive, capturing Macella and re-capturing Morgantina.

Marcellus was succeeded by the praetor Marcus Cornelius, who first dealt with indiscipline in the Roman army, after which he checked the Carthaginian progress by taking Morgantina.

The hyper-aggressive Roman consul Marcus Valerius Laevinus took charge in 210 BC and immediately marched on Agrigentum to evict Carthage from Sicily.

Hanno demoted Mottones and Hanno's son was given the command of the cavalry instead.

Mottones betrayed the Carthaginian cause and opened the gates of Agrigentum to the Romans.

The Romans massacred the population of the city or sold them to slavery.

Hanno and Epicydes fled to Carthage in a merchant ship.

Laevinus captured 66 other Sicilian towns, of which 40 surrendered and 26 were taken through force or treachery.

He put Sicilian farms back into production and the supply of grain to Rome was resumed in 209 BC.

In Italy, the second Battle of Herdonia (210 BC) was fought to lift the Roman siege of that allied city.

Hannibal caught the proconsul Gnaeus Fulvius Centumalus off guard during his siege of Herdonia and destroyed his army in a pitched battle with up to 13,000 Romans dead of 20,000.

The defection of the allied city of Salapia in Apulia in 210 BC was achieved by treachery: the inhabitants massacred the Numidian garrison and went over to the Romans.

In 210 BC, the Battle of Numistro between Marcellus and Hannibal was inconclusive, but the Romans stayed on his heels until the also inconclusive Battle of Canusium in 209 BC.

In the meantime, this battle enabled another Roman army under Fabius to approach Tarentum and take it by treachery in the second Battle of Tarentum (209 BC).

Hannibal, at that time, had been able to disengage from Marcellus and was only 8.0 km (5 mi) away when the city, under the command of Carthalo, who was bound to Fabius by an agreement of hospitality, fell.


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Post by thelivyjr » Sun Mar 15, 2020 1:40 p

Battle of Herdonia (210 BC)

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The second battle of Herdonia took place in 210 BC during the Second Punic War.

Hannibal, leader of the Carthaginians, who had invaded Italy eight years earlier, encircled and destroyed a Roman army which was operating against his allies in Apulia.

The heavy defeat increased the war's burden on Rome and, piled on previous military disasters (such as Lake Trasimene, Cannae, and others), aggravated the relations with her exhausted Italian allies.

For Hannibal the battle was a tactical success, but did not halt for long the Roman advance.

Within the next three years the Romans reconquered most of the territories and cities lost at the beginning of the war and pushed the Carthaginian general to the southwestern end of the Apennine peninsula.

The battle was the last Carthaginian victory of the war; all battles which followed were either inconclusive or Roman victories.

Controversy among historians

There is a controversy among modern historians arising from the narrative of Titus Livius, the major source of this event, who describes two battles taking place in the span of two years (in 212 BC and 210 BC) at the same place (Herdonia) between Hannibal and Roman commanders with similar names (Gn. Fulvius Flaccus and Gn. Fulvius Centumalus).

Some state that there was just one battle in fact, but there is no general agreement on this issue.

TO BE CONTINUED … ... a_(210_BC)

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Post by thelivyjr » Mon Mar 16, 2020 1:40 p

Battle of Herdonia (210 BC), continued ...

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Developments in southern Italy until 210 BC

Following his incursion into southern Italy in 217 BC, Hannibal defeated the Roman forces in the battle of Cannae (216 BC).

This victory brought him a host of new allies from Campania, Samnium, Apulia, Lucania, Bruttium, and Magna Graecia, who revolted from Rome enticed by his narrative of Roman oppression.

One of these allies was the city of Herdonia in northern Apulia.

It was the site of a general engagement between Hannibal and the Romans already in 212 BC (see the first battle of Herdonia), because despite the severe defeats on the battlefield, Rome still managed to preserve intact the core of its system of alliances in Italy and continued to mount a slow but steady counter-offensive.

The first battle of Herdonia ended with the almost total annihilation of the troops led by the praetor Gnaeus Fulvius Flaccus.

However Flaccus' army was just a fraction of the forces fielded by Rome.

The siege of Capua, which had begun years before, ended in 211 BC with the fall of the largest city that had taken the side of Hannibal after Cannae.

The Carthaginian's inability to defend Capua reversed the mood among many of his allies and Hannibal's position began to weaken.

Marcellus' successes and Centumalus' demise

The Roman advance in southern Italy continued in 210 BC.

Two armies stood against Hannibal in Apulia.

One was under the consul Marcus Claudius Marcellus.

The proconsul Gnaeus Fulvius Centumalus commanded the other.

Their overall strength was four Roman legions, plus an approximately equal allied contingent.

Since they operated not far from each other, Hannibal did not dare to challenge them.

This allowed Marcellus to capture the city of Salapia, that was betrayed to him by a fraction of its citizens, and to destroy the Carthaginian garrison.

Following this setback, Hannibal retreated and a rumour was spread that he was going away to Bruttium.

Upon learning this, Marcellus moved to Samnium and reduced two more towns that served as Carthaginian bases in this region.

Meanwhile, Hannibal returned to northern Apulia with forced marches and managed to catch Centumalus off-guard when the latter was besieging Herdonia.

Despite the Carthaginian numerical superiority the proconsul did not decline the battle.

He arranged his army in two battle lines and clashed with the Carthaginian infantry.

Hannibal waited until the Romans and their allies were fully engaged and sent his Numidian cavalry to surround them.

Part of the Numidians attacked the Roman camp which was insufficiently protected.

The others fell upon the rear legion and dispersed it.

The same happened to the Romans fighting in the front line.

Centumalus, eleven (out of twelve) military tribunes, and 7,000–13,000 soldiers were slain.

The rest were scattered and some escaped to Marcellus in Samnium.

TO BE CONTINUED … ... a_(210_BC)

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Post by thelivyjr » Tue Mar 17, 2020 1:40 p

Battle of Herdonia (210 BC), concluded ...

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Repercussions on Rome

The victory did not bring strategic advantages to Hannibal. Judging that in the long run he could not retain Herdonia, the Carthaginian general decided to resettle its population in Metapontum and Thurii to the south and destroy the city itself.

Before that he set an example to other eventual traitors by executing some of the distinguished citizens who had conspired to betray Herdonia to Centumalus.

For the rest of the summer he was forced to fight off the second Roman army.

The next battle with Marcellus at Numistro was inconclusive and Hannibal was unable to regain the positions lost at the beginning of the campaign.

The second defeat at Herdonia did not make the Roman Senate change its warlike stance.

Once again, as in the aftermath of Cannae, the senators resorted to punitive actions against the remnants of the defeated army.

4,344 men were rounded up and sent to Sicily where they joined the survivors of Cannae and were sentenced to serve on the island until the end of the war.

This had undesired repercussions.

The deportation of the soldiers, most of whom were of Latin origin, caused considerable discontent among the Latin colonies which had already been drained by ten years of continuous warfare on Italian soil.

Amidst great want of additional manpower and financial resources twelve out of thirty colonies refused to send any more levies and money to Rome.

This crisis continued for five years and put severe strain on the Roman war effort. ... a_(210_BC)

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Post by thelivyjr » Wed Mar 18, 2020 1:40 p

Battle of Numistro

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The Battle of Numistro was fought in 210 BC between Hannibal's army and one of the Roman consular armies led by consul Marcus Claudius Marcellus.

It was the fourth time they met in a battle.

Previous encounters were located around the walls of Nola (Campania) in 216, 215, and 214 and had been favourable for the Roman side.


In the early months of the 210 BC, the city of Salapia (Apulia) was betrayed to the Romans, and the Carthaginians lost an important garrison of cavalry.

After this, Hannibal retreated to Brutium and Marcellus conquered the towns of Maronea and Meles in Samnium.

Shortly thereafter, the Carthaginian general returned to Apulia and defeated proconsul Gnaeus Fulvius Centumalus Maximus in the Second Battle of Herdonia.

Then Marcellus informed the Senate he would intercept and give battle against the Carthaginian general to restore Roman honour.

His was the only full strength Roman army in the south of Italy at the moment (there was another minor army in Capua with one legion of 5,000 men and an allied wing of 7,500 soldiers), so the consequences of a defeat could have been disastrous for the Roman side and its attempt to counter the invasion in that part of the country.

Marcellus moved from Samnium and intercepted the Carthaginian army in Numistro, a town north-east of Lucania.

The Roman army encamped in the plain while the Carthaginian camp was on a hill.

Numistro was close to Muro Lucano, on a route that the Carthaginian army used between Northern Apulia and Brutium.

The Battle

According to Livy, the fight started early in the morning.

Marcellus put his "I Legion" and "Right Alae Sociorum" in the front line.

During the combat both units were relieved by the "III Legion" and "Left Alae".

Punic forces described by Livy included Balearic slingers and Spanish infantry, as well as elephants.

The battle lasted one day but after a hard fight the result was inconclusive, since it ended due to nightfall, with Hannibal retreating to Apulia the next day.

Though Goldsworthy counts it as a marginal Roman victory.

Marcellus left his injured soldiers at the town to recover and followed Hannibal to hunt him in that territory, having minor engagements until the end of that year's campaign.

Frontinus tells that the battle was won by Hannibal thanks to the surrounding terrain.

Both generals met again in battle the following year in Canusium.

Numistro and Canusium were probably separated in time by no more than six months, as the former happened during the last period of the 210 BC consulship while the latter was in the early months of 209 BC.

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Post by thelivyjr » Thu Mar 19, 2020 1:40 p

Battle of Canusium

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The Battle of Canusium was a three-day engagement between the forces of Rome and Carthage.

It took place in Apulia during the spring of 209 BC, the tenth year of the Second Punic War.

A larger Roman offensive, of which it was a part, aimed to subjugate and to punish cities and tribes that had abandoned the alliance with Rome after the Battle of Cannae, and to narrow the base of the Carthaginian leader, Hannibal, in southern Italy.

The battle of Canusium was also an episode of the years-long contest between Hannibal and the Roman general Marcus Claudius Marcellus for control over that territory.

As neither side gained a decisive victory and both suffered considerable losses (up to 14,000 killed overall), the outcome of this engagement was open to differing interpretations by both ancient and modern historians.

While Marcellus took a heavy blow at Canusium, he nevertheless checked for some time the movements of the main Punic forces and thus contributed to the simultaneous Roman successes against Hannibal's allies in Magna Graecia and Lucania.


Fabius, consul in 209 BC, made retaking Tarentum his priority.

His colleague, Q. Fulvius Flaccus, and Marcus Claudius Marcellus, now a proconsul, had the task of keeping Hannibal's Carthaginian army from assisting the city.

Each of the three generals had an army of two legions with their allied auxiliaries.

While Fabius advanced to Tarentum, Fulvius marched into Lucania.

The third army under Marcellus fought in Apulia.

A fourth force was ordered by Fabius to attack Hannibal's Bruttian allies.


It was Marcellus' lot to confront Hannibal directly, for the Carthaginian general chose Apulia for his main operations after winter's end.

Hannibal made the first move by encamping near Canusium, hoping to persuade its inhabitants to break their allegiance to Rome.

Canusium was not far from Salapia, a town whose Numidian garrison had been betrayed to and slaughtered by Marcellus the preceding year.

Hannibal's intention was to restore his influence in the area.

However, as soon as the proconsul approached, the Carthaginian withdrew from Canusium.

The loss of the Numidian contingent in Salapia had deprived him of one of his advantages over the Romans – his strong cavalry, so the open and flat terrain was no longer as favorable as it had been at the time of Cannae.

That is why Hannibal retreated, endeavoring to lure Marcellus into an ambush.

The Romans, relentlessly pursuing, forced a battle.

Initial skirmishes grew to a general battle which ended only when night fell and both sides disengaged and fortified their camps.

On the next day Hannibal decided to stand his ground and in the renewed fighting the Romans were heavily beaten.

One of the wings of the first battle line, composed of allied levies, was forced to give ground.

Marcellus ordered the legion positioned in the rear to relieve the retreating allies.

This proved to be an error, as the ensuing manoeuvre and the continuing Carthaginian advance threw the entire Roman army into disorder.

The Romans were put to flight and 2,700 of them were killed before the rest could take refuge behind the palisade of the camp.

Marcellus was undaunted by this setback, and although many of his men were wounded, he led them to yet another long and inconclusive fight on the third day.

Hannibal's elite Iberian troops were unable to break the Romans, and the Carthaginian brought up his war elephants.

At first they produced the desired effect by trampling and scattering the Roman front, but a successful counterstrike by a maniple of hastati turned the beasts against their own troops and caused disorder among the Carthaginian ranks.

Marcellus seizing the opportunity, threw his cavalry, kept so far in reserve, into the action.

The cavalry charge was followed by an all-out and irresistible infantry attack.

Hannibal's forces fell back to their camp with heavy losses (8,000 killed according to Livy).

The toll on Marcellus' troops was even heavier than that of the preceding day - 3,000 killed and nearly all the rest wounded, according to Plutarch - so he declined to pursue Hannibal when the latter broke camp and marched south the following night.


As a result of the battle of Canusium, the army of Marcellus was effectively put out of action.

Sparing his soldiers, most of whom were wounded, the proconsul retired to Sinuesa (Campania) according to Plutarch, or Venusia (Apulia) according to Livy, where he was inactive the rest of the summer, allowing Hannibal to traverse southern Italy unchecked.

This prompted Marcellus' political enemies in Rome to accuse him of bad generalship for two defeats that year, undermining Livy's claim of Marcellus' victory on the third day at Canusium, and to ask the Senate and People to relieve him of his command.

Nevertheless, Marcellus was elected consul once again and was authorized to seek a decisive engagement with Hannibal in the following year.

Still in the summer of 209 BC, while Marcellus was fighting Hannibal in Apulia, the army under the consul Quintus Fulvius Flaccus effected the submission of northern Lucania.

The other consul, Quintus Fabius Maximus, assaulted the city of Manduria, in the Sallentine.

It was hardly 35 km away from Tarentum.

Having disentangled himself from Marcellus, although the army of Fabius was very close to Tarentum, Hannibal hurried to rescue the city of Caulonia (in the farthest corner of southwestern Italy for Bruttium was also under Roman attack).

Unopposed by the main Roman forces the Carthaginian commander managed to intercept and destroy near Caulonia an 8,000 strong detachment that had attacked the Bruttians from Regium, and thus retained control over the region.

But this fight delayed him and he would not arrive in time to save Tarentum from Fabius' assault.

He was five miles away when Fabius sacked Tarentum.

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Post by thelivyjr » Sun Mar 22, 2020 1:40 p

Battle of Tarentum (209 BC)

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The Battle of Tarentum of 209 BC was a battle in the Second Punic War.

The Romans, led by Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus, recaptured the city of Tarentum that had betrayed them in the first Battle of Tarentum in 212 BC.

This time the commander of the city, Carthalo, turned against the Carthaginians, and supported the Romans.

The siege

According to Plutarch, a Greek biographer, Fabius won the city of Tarentum through treachery.

One of the soldiers in Fabius's army had a sister in Tarentum who was the lover of the Bruttian commander, Carthalo, who Hannibal had left in charge of the city.

Carthalo was swayed to the Roman side and agreed to help the Romans gain entry into Tarentum.

However Plutarch also writes that another story is that it was Fabius's Bruttian mistress who seduced the commander over to the Roman side when she discovered that he was a fellow countryman.

Fabius drew Hannibal away from Tarentum by sending the garrison of Rhegium to plunder the lands of the Bruttians and to take Caulonia.

Hannibal went to the aid of the Bruttians.

On the sixth day of the siege it was arranged that the commander would help the Romans gain entry to Tarentum.

Fabius took a cohort to the appointed place while the rest of the army attacked the walls, luring the cities defenders away.

The Bruttian gave the signal and Fabius and his men scaled the walls and took the city.

(Plutarch does not mention what the Bruttian commander does to aid the Romans)

Aftermath of the capture of Tarentum

In the Life of Fabius Maximus (22.4), Plutarch writes that "At this point, however, Fabius's ambition seems to have proved stronger than his principles."

This seems to be true, as after capturing the city, Fabius ordered that the Bruttians stationed in the city were to be killed to ensure no knowledge of the treachery spread to Rome.

After that, a number of Tarentines were killed with 30,000 being sold into slavery.

The Roman army ransacked the city, stealing 3,000 Attic talents to enrich the treasury, though on the orders of Fabius the statues and paintings of the Gods were left apart from the statue of Hercules which was taken to Rome.

Fabius's victory allowed him to celebrate his second triumph.

According to Plutarch (Life of Fabius Maximus 23.1), Hannibal was within five miles when Tarentum fell to the Romans.

He is said to have remarked in public that "It seems that the Romans have found another Hannibal, for we have lost Tarentum in the same way we took it." ... m_(209_BC)

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