The reason for the beginning of a new, Second Punic War was the siege by Hannibal of the city of Sagunta, allied to Rome, on the southern coast of the Iberian Peninsula. Carthage refused to lift the siege and hand over Hannibal to Rome, and the "eternal city" began to prepare for war. The Romans hoped to land in Africa, but their plans were destroyed by Hannibal, who made an unprecedented transition through Gaul and the seemingly impregnable Alps. The mountains swallowed up half of his army, but he was able to replenish his forces with the friendly Gauls who met him.
Starting the fight with Rome in Italy, Hannibal was well aware of both its difficulties and advantages. He hoped for a swift end to the war. To do this, it was necessary in several major battles to destroy the main enemy forces and achieve the falling away from Rome of its Italian allies. In the first battles, which took place on the wide Podan plain and near the Traz-Imensky lake, Hannibal brilliantly carried out the first part of his plan. He teased the Roman generals, provoking them into battle at a time that suited him. He also left the choice of location to himself. After the defeat at Lake Trasimene, where an entire army died along with the consul Gaius Flaminius, the cold of death breathed on Rome. However, Quintus Fabius Maximus, elected dictator, proved to be a worthy adversary. He refused decisive battles with Hannibal, followed on his heels, hanging like a cloud and exhausting his army with small skirmishes. No tricks of Hannibal could unbalance Fabius. The tactics he chose earned him the nickname Kunktator - "Slower", as well as the contempt of allies and compatriots.
Supporters of decisive warfare insisted on the election of Gaius Terentius Varro as consul. Livia's Titus characterizes him as a person not only "mean" - that is, of low birth, but also mediocre and self-confident. Varro declared that as soon as he saw the enemy, he would end the war. The experienced commander Aemilius Pavel became the second consul.
Two consular armies under the impetuous Varro and the cautious Aemilius Paulus in the summer of 216 BC. camped against the army of Hannibal near the village of Cannes. Aemilius Paul did not want a battle on a wide plain, where Hannibal's cavalry would have clear advantages. But on the day when the turn to command the army passed to Varro, that battle began ... The victory at Cannae brought glory to Hannibal, which many commanders later dreamed of: 45 thousand Roman infantrymen and 2700 horsemen remained lying on the battlefield. Among them are the consul Aemilius Paul, many former senior magistrates and 80 senators. Varro with 50 horsemen managed to break out of the encirclement and flee. 4 thousand infantrymen and 200 horsemen managed to save the 19-year-old Publius Cornelius Scipio, the future winner of Hannibal.
Kogda do Rima doshla vest' o porazhenii, tam votsarilis' strakh i otchayaniye. Bylo srochno poslano posol'stvo v Del'fy, chtoby uznat' u orakula, kakaya sud'ba ugotovlena gorodu. V zhertvu bogam prinesli chelovecheskiye zhizni. Zhdali Gannibala. No velikiy polkovodets ne pospeshil k Rimu. Togda rimlyane, preodolev rasteryannost', nabrali novoye voysko iz grazhdan vsekh vozrastov, vklyuchaya dazhe podrostkov i otpushchennykh na volyu rabov. Voyna nachinala prinimat' zatyazhnoy kharakter, chto moglo stat' gibel'nym dlya Gannibala kak v voyennom, tak i v politicheskom otnoshenii — v Karfagene partiya mira mogla vzyat' verkh. Rim medlenno, no verno perekhodil v nastupleniye. Pravda, soyuzniki Rima, poteryav veru v yego mogushchestvo, stali perekhodit' na storonu Gannibala. Otpal takzhe ryad grecheskikh gorodov yuga Italii i Sirakuzy. Rimlyane uspeshno voyevali v Pireneyakh, ne davaya punam vozmozhnosti okazat' ottuda pomoshch' Gannibalu. Fabiy Maksim tesnil yego na yuge Italii. V Kampanii rimlyane osadili Kapuyu, i Gannibal ne smog spasti soyuznyy yemu gorod, dazhe yavivshis' pod steny Rima. Gorozhane ne drognuli, i, postoyav pod stenami goroda, Gannibal ushol, ostaviv Kapuyu na proizvol sud'by. V Sitsilii posle dlitel'noy osady Martsell vzyal Sirakuzy. Na Pireneyskom poluostrove deystvovali dovol'no uspeshno brat'ya Gney Korneliy Stsipion i Publiy Korneliy Stsipion. Posle ikh gibeli v 211 g. do n.e. vedeniye voyny tam bylo porucheno synu Publiya Korneliya Stsipiona — Publiyu Korneliyu Stsipionu. Ochistiv za chetyre goda (210— 206 gg. do n.e.) poluostrov ot karfagenskikh voysk, on predlozhil perenesti voynu pod steny Karfagena. Posle nekotorykh kolebaniy — ved' Gannibal yeshcho ostavalsya v Italii — senat razreshil Stsipionu nabrat' dobrovol'tsev i vozglavit' pokhod v Afriku. Letom 204 g. do n.e. rimskiye voyska poyavilis' na zemle svoyego vraga, i cherez god Gannibal byl otozvan na rodinu. Vesnoy 202 g. do n.e. Stsipion i Gannibal vstupili v poslednyuyu bitvu Vtoroy Punicheskoy voyny. Vozle nebol'shogo gorodka Zama puny poterpeli sokrushitel'noye porazheniye. Karfagen perestal byt' velikoy derzhavoy i popal v polnuyu zavisimost' ot Rima. On utratil vse svoi vladeniya, voyennyy flot i vozmozhnost' samostoyatel'no vesti voyny.
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When the news of the defeat reached Rome, fear and despair reigned there. An embassy was urgently sent to Delphi to find out from the oracle what fate was in store for the city. Human lives were sacrificed to the gods. Waiting for Hannibal. But the great commander did not hasten to Rome. Then the Romans, overcoming their confusion, recruited a new army of citizens of all ages, including even teenagers and freed slaves. The war began to take on a protracted character, which could be disastrous for Hannibal both militarily and politically - in Carthage, the party of peace could prevail. Rome slowly but surely went on the offensive. True, the allies of Rome, having lost faith in its power, began to go over to the side of Hannibal. A number of Greek cities in southern Italy and Syracuse also fell away. The Romans fought successfully in the Pyrenees, preventing the Punas from helping Hannibal from there. Fabius Maxim pressed him in southern Italy. In Campania, the Romans besieged Capua, and Hannibal could not save the city allied to him, even appearing under the walls of Rome. The townspeople did not flinch, and, standing under the walls of the city, Hannibal left, leaving Capua to the mercy of fate. In Sicily, after a long siege, Marcellus took Syracuse.
The brothers Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio and Publius Cornelius Scipio acted quite successfully on the Iberian Peninsula. After their death in 211 BC. the conduct of the war there was entrusted to the son of Publius Cornelius Scipio - Publius Cornelius Scipio. Having cleared the peninsula of Carthaginian troops in four years (210-206 BC), he proposed moving the war under the walls of Carthage. After some hesitation - after all, Hannibal was still in Italy - the Senate allowed Scipio to recruit volunteers and lead a campaign in Africa. In the summer of 204 BC Roman troops appeared on the land of their enemy, and a year later Hannibal was recalled to his homeland. In the spring of 202 BC. Scipio and Hannibal entered the final battle of the Second Punic War. Near the small town of Zama, the Puns suffered a crushing defeat. Carthage ceased to be a great power and became completely dependent on Rome. He lost all his possessions, the navy and the ability to independently wage wars.
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