The 2d Punic War (238 BC)
Following their defeat in the 1st Punic War, Carthage was forced to release its hold on Sicily, and was unable to pay-off its mercenary army, which prompted a popular uprising, which spread quickly through Carthage's territories in North Africa and Sardinia. Rome took advantage of Carthagian weakness to claim Sardinia and impose an additional war indemnity that Carthage was powerless to refuse. It was not until 238 BC, that the last sparks of rebellion were suppressed and Carthage could take stock of its situation. Clearly, this once great mercantile power faced further decline unless it could find new markets and sources of manpower.
Thus Carthage embarked on a series of conquests under the generalship of Hamilcar Barca (father of Hannibal), who first consolidated control over the North African littoral (i.e. modern Algeria and Morroco), enlisted Numidian horsemen into his army, and then crossed over into Iberia at Gades to subdue that land. For ten years, he fought successfully to extend Carthaginian rule until slain in an ambush. Then through diplomacy, his son-in-law Hasdrubal the Splendid ruled successfully for eight more years, striking a treaty with Rome in 226 AD that recognized Carthage's rights to Iberia south of the Ebro River. When Hasdrubal was assassinated in 221 AD, Hannibal Barca, the son of Hamilcar, was elected his successor. A gifted soldier, Hannibal renewed Carthage's military operations. He set his sights on the city of Saguntum, which was well within the Carthaginian sphere but which had appealed to Rome for assistance. A Roman ultimatum forbad Hannibal from taking the city at risk of war. Undaunted, Hannibal beseiged and then overran the city in 219 BC, subjecting its inhabitants to fire and slaughter.
Rome dispatched a delegation to Carthage demanding the surrender of Hannibal and the payment of reparations. When Carthage declined, Rome declared war. At this point, as Rome prepared for an invasion of North Africa, Hannibal defied convention wisdom and elected to march his army the Pyrenees and the Alps, overcoming hostile Gauls and inclement weather in addition to the difficult terrain to reach northern Italy, within striking distance of Rome.
What followed was a brilliant campaign resulting in Rome defeats at Trebbia, Lake Trasimeno and ultimately in the annihilation of a Roman army at Cannae. The Roman's were forced into a Fabian policy of avoiding conflict. With its armies intact, Rome's central Italian allies remained loyal, even while Hannibal gained allies among the Bruttians and Campanians in the south of Italy. However, denied reinforcements, Hannibal's army was slowly reduced by attrition. The Romans then mounted a campaign of their own in Spain, under the command of Publius Scipio (Africanus), who captured New Carthage and sparred in turn with the armies of Hamilcar Barca, Hasdrubal Gisco and Mago. In 207 BC, Hasdrubal Barca left Spain with his army, passing through central Gaul and then south into northern Italy in hopes of joining forces with his brother. He was met and soundly defeated at the river Metaurus, which left Hannibal without hope of further reenforcement.
Rome then prepared to mount a campaign in Northern Africa. Publius Scipio, fresh from his victory over Hasdrubal at Ilipa was chosen consul and given command. Hannibal embarked as much of his army as he could and returned to defend Carthage. His army met the Roman invading army at Zama (202 BC). By clever tactics, Scipio neutralized the Carthagian elephants, and by hard fighting, the Roman legions overcame Hannibal's mixed force of Carthaginians, Africans, Liburians, Gauls, and Bruttians. Carthage was beseiged and forced to accept Roman terms, thus ending the 2d Punic War.
The following is a stylized campaign map (PDF format) for the 2d Punic War prepared by Stephen Montague for the DBA Resource Page.
Mountain Crossings (Optional): Treat passage through the Pyrenes and the Alps (i.e., the two map routes marked with mountain symbols) as if taking passage by sea. Roll 1D6 if transiting during the Spring or Autumn rounds. On a score of 1, your army is caught in a snowstorm and loses 1D6 elements. The first element lost must be of mounted troops (if present). An advancing player may then decide whether to continue, to halt, or to retire without dicing again.
Last Updated: Nov. 17, 1999
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