Rome: The Punic Wars – The Second Punic War Begins

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

Whether it was fighting  in a civil war or fighting to expand/defend the Kingdom, Republic, or Empire, Rome rarely rested on its laurels. Last week we brought you Rome: The Punic Wars – The First Punic War.

Thanks to Extra Credits, today we carry on as we view the start of The Second Punic War!

Map showing Rome and Carthage at the start of the Second Punic War and the theatre of the Punic Wars (circa 218 BC).

According to Polybius, after The First Punic War there had been several trade agreements between Rome and Carthage, even a mutual alliance against king Pyrrhus of Epirus. When Rome and Carthage made peace in 241 BC, Rome secured the release of all 8,000 prisoners of war without ransom and, furthermore, received a considerable amount of silver as a war indemnity.

Legislative Assembly in the Roman Republic

However, Carthage refused to deliver to Rome the Roman deserters serving among their troops. A first issue for dispute was that the initial treaty, agreed upon by Hamilcar Barca and the Roman commander in Sicily, had a clause stipulating that the Roman Popular Assembly had to accept the treaty in order for it to be valid.

The Assembly not only rejected the treaty, but it also increased the indemnity Carthage had to pay. War was coming!

The Second Punic War (218 BC – 201 BC) is most remembered for the Carthaginian Hannibal‘s crossing of the Alps. His army invaded Italy from the north and resoundingly defeated the Exercitus Romanus (Roman Army) in several battles, but never achieved the ultimate goal of causing a political break between Rome and its allies.

Hannibal in Italy (on war elephants) by Jacopo Ripanda, ca. 1510 (Capitoline Museums, Rome).

Thanks for stopping by today, we hope you enjoyed the adventure. Be sure to come back soon for the Second Punic War marches on.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!