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Jewish History From The Babylonian Captivity To The Birth Of Christ

The Antediluvian World

The Hebrew Race From Abraham To The Sale Of Joseph

The Civil Wars Between Caesar And Pompey

Grecian Civilization Before The Persian Wars

Rome In Its Infancy Under Kings

The Conquest Of Canaan To The Establishment Of The Kingdom Of David





The Second Punic Or Hannibalic War








The peace between the Carthaginians and Romans was a mere truce. Though it
lasted twenty-one years, new sources of quarrel were accumulating, and
forces were being prepared for a more decisive encounter.

Before we trace the progress of this still more memorable war, let us
glance at the events which transpired in the interval between it and the
first contest.

That interval is memorable for the military career of Hamilcar, and
his great ascendency at Carthage. That city paid dearly for the peace it
had secured, for the tribute of Sicily flowed into the treasury of the
Romans. Its commercial policy was broken up, and the commerce of Italy
flowed in new channels. This change was bitterly felt by the Phoenician
city, and a party was soon organized for the further prosecution of
hostilities. There was also a strong peace party, made up of the indolent
and cowardly money-worshipers of that mercantile State. The war party was
headed by Hamilcar, the peace party by Hanno, which at first had the
ascendency. It drove the army into mutiny by haggling about pay. The
Libyan mercenaries joined the revolt, and Carthage found herself alone in
the midst of anarchies. In this emergency the government solicited
Hamilcar to save it from the effect of its blunders and selfishness.

This government, as at Rome, was oligarchic, but the nobles were
merely mercantile grandees, without ability--jealous, exclusive, and
selfish. The great body of the people whom they ruled were poor and
dependent. In intrusting power to Hamilcar, the government of wealthy
citizens only gave him military control. The army which he commanded was
not a citizen militia, it was made up of mercenaries. Hamilcar was obliged
to construct a force from these, to whom the State looked for its
salvation.

He was a young man, a little over thirty, and foreboding that he would not
live to complete his plans, enjoined his son Hannibal, nine years of age,
when he was about to leave Carthage, to swear at the altar of the Eternal
God hatred of the Roman name.

He left Carthage for Spain, taking with him his sons, to be reared
in the camp. He marched along the coast, accompanied by the fleet, which
was commanded by Hasdrubal. He crossed the sea at the Pillars of Hercules,
with the view of organizing a Spanish kingdom to assist the Carthaginians
in their future warfare. But he died prematurely, B.C. 229, leaving his
son-in-law, Hasdrubal, to carry out his designs, and the southern and
eastern provinces of Spain became Carthaginian provinces. Carthagena arose
as the capital of this new Spanish kingdom, in the territory of the
Contestana. Here agriculture flourished, and still more, mining, from the
silver mines, which produced, a century afterward, thirty-six millions of
sesterces--nearly two million dollars--yearly. Carthage thus acquired in
Spain a market for its commerce and manufactures, and the New Carthage
ruled as far as the Ebro. But the greatest advantage of this new
acquisition to Carthage was the new class of mercenary soldiers which were
incorporated with the army. At first, the Romans were not alarmed by the
rise of this new Spanish power, and saw only a compensation for the
tribute and traffic which Carthage had lost in Sicily. And while the
Carthaginians were creating armies in Spain, the Romans were engaged in
conquering Cisalpine Gaul, and consolidating the Italian conquests.

Hasdrubal was assassinated after eight years of successful
administration, and Hannibal was hailed as his successor by the army, and
the choice was confirmed by the Carthaginians, B.C. 221. He was now
twenty-nine, trained to all the fatigue and dangers of the camp, and with
a native genius for war, which made him, according to the estimation of
modern critics, the greatest general of antiquity. He combined courage
with discretion, and prudence with energy. He had an inventive craftiness,
which led him to take unexpected routes. He profoundly studied the
character of antagonists, and kept himself informed of the projects of his
enemies. He had his spies at Rome, and was frequently seen in disguises in
order to get important information.

This crafty and able general resolved, on his nomination, to make
war at once upon the Romans, whom he regarded as the deadly foe of his
country. His first great exploit was the reduction of Saguntum, an Iberian
city on the coast, in alliance with the Romans. It defended itself with
desperate energy for eight months, and its siege is memorable. The
inhabitants were treated with savage cruelty, and the spoil was sent to
Carthage.

This act of Hannibal was the occasion, though not the cause, of the
second Punic war. The Romans, indignant, demanded of Carthage the
surrender of the general who had broken the peace. On the fall of
Saguntum, Hannibal retired to Carthagena for winter quarters, and to make
preparations for the invasion of Italy. He collected an army of one
hundred and twenty thousand infantry, sixteen thousand cavalry, and
fifty-eight elephants, assisted by a naval force. But the whole of this
great army was not designed for the Italian expedition. A part of it was
sent for the protection of Carthage, and a part was reserved for the
protection of Spain, the government of which he intrusted to his brother
Hasdrubal.

The nations of the earth, two thousand years ago, would scarcely
appreciate the magnitude of the events which were to follow from the
invasion of Italy, and the war which followed--perhaps "the most memorable
of all the wars ever waged," certainly one of the most memorable in human
annals. The question at issue was, whether the world was to be governed by
a commercial oligarchy, with all the superstitions of the East, or by the
laws of a free and patriotic State. It was a war waged between the genius
of a mighty general and the resources of the Roman people, for Hannibal
did not look for aid so much to his own State, as to those hardy Spaniards
who followed his standard.

In the spring, B.C. 218, Hannibal set out from New Carthage with an
army of ninety thousand infantry and twelve thousand cavalry. He
encountered at the Ebro the first serious resistance, but this was from
the natives, and not the Romans. It took four months to surmount their
resistance, during which he lost one-fourth of his army. As it was his
great object to gain time before the Romans could occupy the passes of the
Alps, he made this sacrifice of his men. When he readied the Pyrenees, he
sent home a part of his army, and crossed those mountains with only fifty
thousand infantry and nine thousand cavalry; but these were veteran
troops. He took the coast route by Narbonne and Nimes, through the Celtic
territory, and encountered no serious resistance till he reached the
Rhone, opposite to Avignon, about the end of July. The passage was
disputed by Scipio, assisted by friendly Gauls, but Hannibal outflanked
his enemies by sending a detachment across the river, on rafts, two days'
march higher up, and thus easily forced the passage, and was three days'
march beyond the river before Scipio was aware that he had crossed. Scipio
then sailed back to Pisa, and aided his colleague to meet the invader in
Cisalpine Gaul.

Hannibal, now on Celtic territory on the Roman side of the Rhone,
could not be prevented from reaching the Alps. Two passes then led from
the lower Rhone across the Alps--the one by the Cottian Alps (Mount
Geneva); and the other, the higher pass of the Grain Alps (Mount St.
Bernard), and this was selected by Hannibal. The task of transporting a
large army over even this easier pass was a work of great difficulty, with
baggage, cavalry, and elephants, when the autumn snows were falling,
resisted by the mountaineers, against whom they had to fight to the very
summit of the pass. The descent, though free from enemies, was still more
dangerous, and it required, at one place, three days' labor to make the
road practicable for the elephants. The army arrived, the middle of
September, in the plain of Ivrea, where his exhausted troops were
quartered in friendly villages. Had the Romans met him near Turin with
only thirty thousand men, and at once forced a battle, the prospects of
Hannibal would have been doubtful. But no army appeared; the object was
attained, but with the loss of half his troops, and the rest so
demoralized by fatigue, that a long rest was required.

The great talents by which Scipio atoned for his previous errors
now extricated his army from destruction. He retreated across the Ticinio
and the Po, refusing a pitched battle on the plains, and fell back upon a
strong position on the hills. The united consular armies, forty thousand
men, were so posted as to compel Hannibal to attack in front with inferior
force, or go into winter quarters, trusting to the doubtful fidelity of
the Gauls.

It has been well said, "that it was the misfortune of Rome's double
magistracy when both consuls were present on the field." Owing to a wound
which Scipio had received, the command devolved upon Sempronius, who,
eager for distinction, could not resist the provocations of Hannibal to
bring on a battle. In one of the skirmishes the Roman cavalry and light
infantry were enticed by the flying Numidians across a swollen stream, and
suddenly found themselves before the entire Punic army. The whole Roman
force hurried across the stream to support the vanguard. A battle took
place on the Trasimene Lake, in which the Romans were sorely beaten, but
ten thousand infantry cut their way through the masses of the enemy, and
reached the fortress of Placentia, where they were joined by other bands.
After this success, which gave Hannibal all of Northern Italy, his army,
suffering from fatigue and disease, retired into winter quarters. He now
had lost all his elephants but one. The remains of the Roman army passed
the winter in the fortresses of Placentia and Cremona.

The next spring, the Romans, under Flaminius, took the field, with
four legions, to command the great northern and eastern roads, and the
passes of the Appenines. But Hannibal, knowing that Rome was only
vulnerable at the heart, rapidly changed his base, crossed the Appenines
at an undefended pass, and advanced, by the lower Arno, into Etruria,
while Flaminius was watching by the upper course of that stream. Flaminius
was a mere party leader and demagogue, and was not the man for such a
crisis, for Hannibal was allowed to pass by him, and reach Faesulae
unobstructed. The Romans prepared themselves for the worst, broke down the
bridges over the Tiber, and nominated Quintus Fabius Maximus dictator.

Pyrrhus would have marched direct upon Rome, but Hannibal was more
far-sighted. His army needed a new organization, and rest, and recruits,
so he marched unexpectedly through Umbria, devastated the country, and
halted on the shores of the Adriatic. Here he rested, reorganized his
Libyan cavalry, and resumed his communication with Carthage. He then broke
up his camp, and marched into Southern Italy, hoping to break up the
confederacy. But not a single Italian town entered into alliance with the
Carthaginians.

Fabius, the dictator, a man of great prudence, advanced in years,
and a tactitian of the old Roman school, determined to avoid a pitched
battle, and starve or weary out his enemy. Hannibal adjusted his plans in
accordance with the character of the man he opposed. So he passed the
Roman army, crossed the Appenines, took Telesia, and turned against Capua,
the most important of all the Italian dependent cities, hoping for a
revolt among the Campanian towns. Here again he was disappointed. So,
retracing his steps, he took the road to Apulia, the dictator following
him along the heights. So the summer was consumed by marchings and
counter-marchings, the lands of the Hispanians, Campamans, Samnites,
Paelignians, and other provinces, being successively devastated. But no
important battle was fought. He selected then the rich lands of Apulia for
winter quarters, and intrenched his camp at Gerenium. The Romans formed a
camp in the territory of the Larinates, and harassed the enemy's foragers.
This defensive policy of Fabius wounded the Roman pride, and the dictator
became unpopular. The Senate resolved to depart from a policy which was
slowly but surely ruining the State, and an army was equipped larger than
Rome ever before sent into the field, composed of eight legions, under the
command of the two consuls, L. AEmilius Paulus, and M. Terentius Varro. The
former, a patrician, had conducted successfully the Illyrian war; the
latter, the popular candidate, incapable, conceited, and presumptuous.

As soon as the season allowed him to leave his winter-quarters,
Hannibal, assuming the offensive, marched out of Gerenium, passed Luceria,
crossed the Aufidus, and took the citadel of Cannae, which commanded the
plain of Canusium. The Roman consuls arrived in Apulia in the beginning of
the summer, with eighty thousand infantry and six thousand cavalry.
Hannibal's force was forty thousand infantry and ten thousand cavalry,
inured to regular warfare. The Romans made up their minds to fight, and
confronted the Carthaginians on the right bank of the Aufidus. According
to a foolish custom, the command devolved on one of the consuls every
other day, and Varro determined to avail himself of the first opportunity
for a battle. The forces met on the plain west of Cannae, more favorable to
the Carthaginians than the Romans, on account of the superiority of the
cavalry. It is difficult, without a long description, to give clear
conceptions of this famous battle. Hannibal, it would seem, like
Epaminondas and Alexander, brought to bear his heavy cavalry, under
Hasdrubal, upon the weakest point of the enemy, after the conflict had
continued awhile without decisive results. The weaker right of the Roman
army, led by Paulus, after bravely fighting, were cut down and driven
across the river. Paulus, wounded, then rode to the centre, composed of
infantry in close lines, which had gained an advantage over the Spanish
and Gaulish troops that encountered them. In order to follow up this
advantage, the legions pressed forward in the form of a wedge. In this
position the Libyan infantry, wheeling upon them right and left, warmly
assailed both sides of the Roman infantry, which checked its advance. By
this double flank attack the Roman infantry became crowded, and were not
free. Meanwhile, Hasdrubal, after defeating the right wing, which had been
led by Paulus, led his cavalry behind the Roman centre and attacked the
left wing, led by Varro. The cavalry of Varro, opposed by the Numidian
cavalry, was in no condition to meet this double attack, and was
scattered. Hasdrubal again rallied his cavalry, and led it to the rear of
the Roman centre, already in close fight with the Spanish and Gaulish
infantry. This last charge decided the battle. Flight was impossible, for
the river was in the rear, and in front was a victorious enemy. No quarter
was given. Seventy thousand Romans were slain, including the consul Paulus
and eighty men of senatorial rank. Varro was saved by the speed of his
horse. The Carthaginians lost not quite six thousand.

This immense disaster was the signal for the revolt of the allies,
which Hannibal before in vain had sought to procure. Capua opened her
gates to the conqueror. Nearly all the people of Southern Italy rose
against Rome. But the Greek cities of the coast were held by Roman
garrisons, as well as the fortresses in Apulia, Campania, and Samnium. The
news of the battle of Cannae, B.C. 216, induced the Macedonian king to
promise aid to Hannibal. The death of Hiero at Syracuse made Sicily an
enemy to Rome, while Carthage, now elated, sent considerable
re-enforcements.

Many critics have expressed surprise that Hannibal, after this
great victory, did not at once march upon Rome. Had he conquered, as
Alexander did, a Persian, Oriental, effeminate people, this might have
been his true policy. But Rome was still capable of a strong defense, and
would not have succumbed under any pressure of adverse circumstances, and
she also was still strong in allies. And more, Hannibal had not perfected
his political combinations. He was not ready to strike the final blow. He
had to keep his eye on Macedonia, Africa, Sicily, and Spain. Alexander did
not march to Babylon, until he had subdued Phoenicia and Egypt. Even the
capture of Rome would not prevent a long war with the States of Italy.

Nor did the Romans lose courage when they learned the greatest
calamity which had ever befallen them. They made new and immense
preparations. All the reserve forces were called out--all men capable of
bearing arms--young or old. Even the slaves were armed, after being
purchased by the State, and made soldiers. Spoils were taken down from the
temples. The Latin cities sent in contingents, and the Senate refused to
receive even the envoy of the conqueror.

Such courage and fortitude and energy were not without effect,
while the enervating influence of Capua, the following winter, demoralized
the Carthaginians. The turning point of the war was the winter which
followed the defeat at Cannae. The great aim of Hannibal, in his expedition
to Italy, had been to break up the Italian confederacy. After three
campaigns, that object was only imperfectly accomplished, in spite of his
victories, and he had a great frontier to protect. With only forty
thousand men, he could not leave it uncovered, and advance to Rome. The
Romans, too, learning wisdom, now appointed only generals of experience,
and continued them in command.

The animating soul of the new warfare was Marcus Claudius
Marcellus, a man fifty years of age, who had received a severe military
training, and performed acts of signal heroism. He was not a general to be
a mere spectator of the movements of the enemy from the hills, but to take
his position in fortified camps under the walls of fortresses. With the
two legions saved from Cannae, and the troops raised from Rome and Ostia,
he followed Hannibal to Campania, while other Roman armies were posted in
other quarters.

Hannibal now saw that without great re-enforcements from Carthage, Spain,
Macedonia, and Syracuse, he would be obliged to fight on the defensive.
But the Carthaginians sent only congratulations; the king of Macedonia
failed in courage; while the Romans intercepted supplies from Syracuse and
Spain. Hannibal was left to his own resources.

Scipio, meanwhile, in Spain, attacked the real base of Hannibal,
overran the country of the Ebro, secured the passes of the Pyrenees, and
defeated Hasdrubal while attempting to lead succor to his brother. The
capture of Saguntum gave the Romans a strong fortress between the Ebro and
Carthagena. Scipio even meditated an attack on Africa, and induced Syphax,
king of one of the Numidian nations, to desert Carthage, which caused the
recall of Hasdrubal from Spain. His departure left Scipio master of the
peninsula; but Hasdrubal, after punishing the disaffected Numidians,
returned to Spain, and with overwhelming numbers regained their
ascendency, and Scipio was slain, as well as his brother, and their army
routed.

It has been mentioned that on the death of Hiero, who had been the
long-tried friend of Rome, Syracuse threw her influence in favor of
Carthage, being ruled by factions. Against this revolted city the consul
Marcellus now advanced, and invested the city by land and sea. He was
foiled by the celebrated mathematician Archimedes, who constructed engines
which destroyed the Roman ships. This very great man advanced the science
of geometry, and made discoveries which rank him among the lights of the
ancient world. His theory of the lever was the foundation of statics till
the time of Newton. His discovery of the method of determining specific
gravities by immersion in a fluid was equally memorable. He was not only
the greatest mathematician of the old world, but he applied science to
practical affairs, and compelled Marcellus to convert the siege of
Syracuse into a blockade. He is said to have launched a ship by the
pressure of the screw, which, reversed in its operation, has
revolutionized naval and commercial marines.

The time gained by this eminent engineer, as well as geometer,
enabled the Carthaginians to send an army to relieve Syracuse. The
situation of Marcellus was critical, when, by a fortunate escalade of the
walls, left unguarded at a festival, the Romans were enabled to take
possession of a strong position within the walls. A pestilence carried off
most of the African army encamped in the valley of Anapus, with the
general Himilco. Bomilcar, the Carthaginian admiral, retreated, rather
than fight the Roman fleet. Marcellus obtained, by the treachery of a
Sicilian captain, possession of the island of Ortygia, where Dionysius had
once intrenched himself, the key to the port and the city, and Syracuse
fell. The city was given up to plunder and massacre, and Archimedes was
one of the victims. Marcellus honored the illustrious defender with a
stately funeral, and he was buried outside the gate of Aeradina. One
hundred and fifty years later, the Syracusans had forgotten even where he
was buried, and his tomb was discovered by Cicero.

While these events took place in Spain and Sicily, Hannibal bent
his efforts to capture Tarentum, and the Romans were equally resolved to
recover Capua. The fall of Tarentum enabled Hannibal to break up the siege
of Capua, and foiled in his attempts to bring on a decisive battle before
that city, he advanced to Rome, and encamped within five miles of the
city, after having led his troops with consummate skill between the armies
and fortresses of the enemy. But Rome was well defended by two legions,
under Fabius, who refused to fight a pitched battle. Hannibal was,
therefore, compelled to retreat in order to save Capua, which, however, in
his absence, had surrendered to the Romans, after a two years' siege, and
was savagely punished for its defection from the Roman cause. The fall of
Capua gave a renewed confidence to the Roman government, which sent
re-enforcements to Spain. But it imprudently reduced its other forces, so
that Marcellus was left to face Hannibal with an inadequate army. The war
was now carried on with alternate successes, in the course of which
Tarentum again fell into Roman hands. Thirty thousand Tarentines were sold
as slaves, B.C. 209.

This great war had now lasted ten years, and both parties were
sinking from exhaustion. In this posture of affairs the Romans were
startled with the intelligence that Hasdrubal had crossed the Pyrenees,
and was advancing to join his brother in Italy. The Romans, in this
exigency, made prodigious exertions. Twenty-three legions were enrolled;
but before preparations were completed, Hasdrubal crossed the Alps,
re-enforced by eight thousand Ligurian mercenaries. It was the aim of the
two Carthaginian generals to form a juncture of their forces, and of the
Romans to prevent it. Gaining intelligence of the intended movements of
Hannibal and Hasdrubal by an intercepted dispatch, the Roman consul, Nero,
advanced to meet Hasdrubal, and encountered him on the banks of the
Metaurus. Here a battle ensued, in which the Carthaginians were defeated
and Hasdrubal slain. Hannibal was waiting in suspense for the dispatch of
his brother in his Apulian camp, when the victor returned from his march
of five hundred miles, and threw the head of Hasdrubal within his
outposts, On the sight of his brothers head, he exclaimed; "I recognize
the doom of Carthage." Abandoning Apulia and Lucania, he retired to the
Bruttian peninsula, and the victor of Cannae retained only a few posts to
re-embark for Africa.

And yet this great general was able to keep the field four years longer,
nor could the superiority of his opponents compel him to shut himself up
in a fortress or re-embark, a proof of his strategic talents.

In the mean time a brilliant career was opened in Spain to the
young Publius Scipio, known as the elder Africanus. He was only
twenty-four when selected to lead the armies of Rome in Spain; for it was
necessary to subdue that country in order to foil the Carthaginians in
Italy. Publius Scipio was an enthusiast, who won the hearts of soldiers
and women. He was kingly in his bearing, confident of his greatness,
graceful in his manners, and eloquent in his speech--popular with all
classes, and inspiring the enthusiasm which he felt.

He landed in Spain with an army of thirty thousand, and at once
marched to New Carthage, before the distant armies of the Carthaginians
could come to its relief. In a single day the schemes of Hamilcar and his
sons were dissolved, and this great capital fell into the hands of the
youthful general, not yet eligible for a single curule magistracy. Ten
thousand captives were taken and six hundred talents, with great stores of
corn and munitions of war. Spain seemed to be an easy conquest; but the
following year the Carthaginians made a desperate effort, and sent to
Spain a new army of seventy thousand infantry, four thousand horse, and
thirty-two elephants. Yet this great force, united with that which
remained under Hasdrubal and Mago, was signally defeated by Scipio. This
grand victory, which made Scipio master of Spain, left him free to carry
the war into Africa itself, assisted by his ally Masinassa. Gades alone
remained to the Carthaginians, the original colony of the Phoenicians, and
even this last tie was severed when Mago was recalled to assist Hannibal.

Scipio, ambitious to finish the war, and seeking to employ the
whole resources of the empire, returned to Italy and offered himself for
the consulship, B.C. 205, and was unanimously chosen by the centuries,
though not of legal age. His colleague was the chief pontiff P. Licinius
Crassus, whose office prevented him from leaving Italy, and he was thus
left unobstructed in the sole conduct of the war. Sicily was assigned to
him as his province, where he was to build a fleet and make preparations
for passing over to Africa, although a party, headed by old Fabius
Maximus, wished him to remain in Italy to drive away Hannibal. The Senate
withheld the usual power of the consul to make a new levy, but permitted
Scipio to enroll volunteers throughout Italy. In the state of
disorganization and demoralization which ever attend a long war, this
enrollment was easily effected, and money was raised by contributions on
disaffected States.

Hannibal was still pent up among the Bruttii, unwilling to let go
his last hold on Italy. Mago, in cisalpine Gaul, was too far off to render
aid. The defense of Africa depended on him alone, and he was recalled. He
would probably have anticipated the order. Rome breathed more freely when
the "Libyan Lion" had departed. For fifteen years he had been an incubus
or a terror, and the Romans, in various conflicts, had lost three hundred
thousand men. Two of the Scipios, Paulus Gracchus and Marcellus, had
yielded up their lives in battle. Only Fabius, among the experienced
generals at the beginning of the war, was alive, and he, at the age of
ninety, was now crowned with a chaplet of the grass of Italy, as the most
honorable reward which could be given him.

Hannibal now sought a conference with Scipio, for both parties were
anxious for peace, but was unable to obtain any better terms than the
cession of Spain, as well as the Mediterranean islands, the surrender of
the Carthaginian fleet, the payment of four thousand talents, and the
confirmation of Masinissa in the kingdom of Syphax. Such terms could not
be accepted, and both parties prepared for one more decisive conflict.

The battle was fought at Zama. "Hannibal arranged his infantry in
three lines. The first division contained the Carthaginian mercenaries;
the second, the African allies, and the militia of Carriage; the third,
the veterans who followed him from Italy. In the front of the lines were
stationed eighty elephants; the cavalry was placed on the wings. Scipio
likewise disposed the legions in three divisions. The infantry fought hand
to hand in the first division, and both parties falling into confusion,
sought aid in the second division. The Romans were supported, but the
Carthaginian militia was wavering. Upon seeing this, Hannibal hastily
withdrew what remained of the two first lines to the flanks, and pushed
forward his choice Italian troops along the whole line. Scipio gathered
together in the centre all that were able to fight of the first line, and
made the second and third divisions close up on the right and left of the
first. Once again the conflict was renewed with more desperate fighting,
till the cavalry of the Romans and of Masinassa, returning from pursuit of
the beaten cavalry of the enemy, surrounded them on all sides. This
movement annihilated the Punic army. All was lost, and Hannibal was only
able to escape with a handful of men."

It was now in the power of Scipio to march upon Carthage and lay
siege to the city, neither protected nor provisioned. But he made no
extravagant use of his victory. He granted peace on the terms previously
rejected, with the addition of an annual tribute of two hundred talents
for fifty years. He had no object to destroy a city after its political
power was annihilated, and wickedly overthrow the primitive seat of
commerce, which was still one of the main pillars of civilization. He was
too great and wise a statesman to take such a revenge as the Romans sought
fifty years afterward. He was contented to end the war gloriously, and see
Carthage, the old rival, a tributary and broken power, with no possibility
of reviving its former schemes, B.C. 201.

This ended the Hannibalic war, which had lasted seventeen years,
and which gave to Rome the undisputed sovereignty of Italy, the conversion
of Spain into two Roman provinces, the union of Syracuse with the Roman
province of Sicily, the establishment of a Roman protectorate over the
Numidian chiefs, and the reduction of Carthage to a defenseless mercantile
city. The hegemony of Rome was established over the western region of the
Mediterranean. These results were great, but were obtained by the loss of
one quarter of the burgesses of Rome, the ruin of four hundred towns, the
waste of the accumulated capital of years, and the general demoralization
of the people. It might seem that the Romans could have lived side by side
with other nations in amity, as modern nations do. But, in ancient times,
"it was necessary to be either anvil or hammer." Either Rome or Carthage
was to become the great power of the world.





Next: The Macedonian And Asiatic Wars

Previous: The First Punic War



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