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Roman Modification, Hannibal, and the Punic Wars. Major Carlos Rascon. Learning Objectives. Know and explain the organization of the Roman Army, with emphasis on the legionary system Know and explain the First Punic War with emphasis on the campaign against King Pyrrhus

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Roman Modification, Hannibal, and the Punic Wars

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learning objectives
Learning Objectives
  • Know and explain the organization of the Roman Army, with emphasis on the legionary system
  • Know and explain the First Punic War with emphasis on the campaign against King Pyrrhus
  • Know and Explain the Second Punic War to include the battles of Trebia, Lake Trasimene, and Cannae
learning objectives cont
Learning Objectives Cont.
  • Evaluate Hannibal as a Captain
  • Know and explain Hannibal’s failure to gain strategic victory despite tactical success
  • Know and explain the Battle of Zama and Scipio’s impact on the outcome
references and texts
References and Texts
  • 1. Dupuy and Dupuy, The Encyclopedia of Military History
  • 2. Jones, The Art of War in the Western World, pp.26-45, 65-72
  • Montross, War Through the Ages, pp. 43-69
  • Preston and Wise, Men in Arms, pp. 32-39
roman military organization chain of command
Roman Military Organization Chain of Command
  • Centurian-Controlled 100 men
  • 2 Centuries-Maniple
  • Cohort-Maniple from each of 3 lines
  • Legion- 10 Cohorts
  • Corps- 2 Legions
  • Consular Army- 2 Corps
military organization and legionary system
Military Organization and Legionary System

Legionary Composition- A citizens Army

  • Three lines
  • First two: 20 maniples spaces in a checkerboard fashion. Carried 7ft javelins and a 2ft sword
  • Video 1min-(Short Sword)
  • Third: 120 and 60 man maniples. Carried a 12ft Spear plus a sword and javelin
  • Supported by cavalry, archers, and skirmishers
military and legionary system cont
Military and Legionary System Cont.

Highly disciplined

  • Harshest discipline ever inflicted on a citizen Army
  • Very well trained
first punic war causes
First Punic War Causes

1. Carthage- Mediterainian Sea Power

2. Rome- Land Power with no Navy

3. Warring Factions in Sicilly

  • One wanted Roman support
  • One wanted Carthaginian support

4. Rome takes the battle to Carthage to avoid an outside influence so close

first punic war causes cont
First Punic War Causes Cont.

5. Pyhrrus is hired by an Italian city-state for protection against Romans

  • Greek soldier/king
  • Brings 20000 infantry and 3000 cavalry
  • Defeats Romans in 280 B.C.
  • Defeated by Romans in 275 B.C.
  • Returns to Greece and is killed
  • Quoted- “What a fine field of battle I leave here for Rome and Carthage”
romans build a navy
Romans build a Navy
  • Utilized a Carthaginian ship that had washed ashore as a model


  • Not a good handling vessel
  • Tough to maneuver in close boat combat


  • Utilized the Corvus-huge hook used to grapple an enemy boat
first punic war13
First Punic War

1. Romans win decissive victories at

  • Mylae, 260 B.C.
  • Cape Encomus 256 B.C.
  • Romans go ashore and set down surrender terms
first punic war cont
First Punic War Cont.

1.Carthaginians react by hiring Xanthippus

  • Xanthippus is a Spartan warrior
  • Defeats Romans in Africa

2. Carthaginian Fleet is destroyed in 241 B.C. during the Battle of Aegusa

3. Rome wins the First Punic War


Took control of Spain in 221 B.C.

  • Good field commander (could win battles)
  • Bad tactician
  • One officer told him, “You know how to win victories, but not how to use them.”
second punic war causes
Second Punic War Causes

1. Roman intersest in Spain

2. Recouperate losses from the First Punic War

3. Hannibal’s leadership

second punic war
Second Punic War

1. Hannibal takes the intitiative

  • Told Saguntum (only Roman city in Spain) to surrender
  • Upon refusal, he took it
  • Knew Romans would respond
  • Advanced from Spain into Northern Italy
trebbia december 218 b c
Trebbia- December 218 B.C.
  • Romans crossed river-extremely cold
  • Hannibal attacked
  • Mago (Hannibal’s brother) attacks upstream
  • Only 10,000 of 40,000 Romans escape
  • 5,000 Carthaginian casualties
  • Hannibal wins
lake trasimene 217 b c
Lake Trasimene 217 B.C.
  • Hannibal moves south to sever Roman’s lines of communications back to Rome
  • Romans use a quick attack

-sacrafice security for speed

  • Hannibal sets up an ambush

-Heavy infantry halts Roman advance

-seals the rear with cavalry

lake trasimene cont
Lake Trasimene Cont.

-Attack causes panic

-only 10,000 of 30,000 Romans escape

  • Hannibal wins again
second punic war cont
Second Punic War Cont.

Fabius Cunctator takes power in Rome

217 B.C.

  • Takes a delayed approach against Hannibal
  • Wants to rebuild the Army

Hannibal takes advantage of the situation

  • Continues to destroy the countryside
  • Romans turn on Fabius
cannae 216 b c
Cannae 216 B.C.
  • Hannibal still on the march

Romans attempt to siege Carthaginian camp

  • 11,000 men sent
  • Planned a war of attrition
  • Hannibal halts the Roman phalanx and slaughters them
  • 70,000 Roman casualties- 6,000 Carthaginian
zama 202 b c
Zama 202 B.C.

Scipio is leader of the Roman Army

  • Had good success in Spain while Hannibal was on his conquest through Italy
  • Attacks Carthage in Africa

Hannibal is recalled to defend Carthage

  • Hannibal’s Army is weakened
  • 40,000 Carthaginians vs 40,000 Romans
zama cont
Zama Cont.
  • Scipio uses the Cohort (more maneuverable than the Legion)
  • Transitioned from defense to offense and defeated Hannibal
  • 20,000 Carthaginians dead and 15,000 captured
  • 5,500 Roman casualties
  • Hannibal escapes
  • Hannibal is defeated!
  • Second Punic War ends