By indexer
136 days ago

The Battle of Zama, 202 BC

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The battle of Zama was fought on 15th October 202 BC. It was the battle that finally decided which power would be master of the Mediterranean region – Rome or Carthage.

Carthage, a powerful city-state in North Africa, had been a thorn in the side of Rome for many years, particularly under the generalship of Hannibal who had inflicted a heavy defeat on Rome at Cannae in 216 BC. However, Rome simply refused to cave in. Hannibal’s main problem was that he did not have the right equipment for siege warfare - although he came within three miles of the walls of Rome at one point he could never hope to breach them.

What tipped the balance for Rome was the emergence of a general who was at least the equal of Hannibal. This was Publius Cornelius Scipio, a survivor of Cannae, who managed to recapture virtually all the land lost to Hannibal in Spain. In 204 BC, with Hannibal still in Italy, Scipio gathered a large army and set sail for Carthage.

After several Roman victories in North Africa, Hannibal was forced to return home. However, it was two years later that the issue was finally decided on the battlefield at Zama, five miles south of modern Tunis. Hannibal could muster 40,000 troops and 80 elephants as against Scipio’s 34,000 men, but the latter were better trained and included three times as many cavalry troops as the Carthaginians could put into the field.

The elephants were soon taken out of the account, being panicked by the blare of Roman trumpets, and the cavalry battle was decisively won by the Romans. The infantry of the two armies now faced each other, and the initial advantage went to the larger force of Hannibal’s army. However, the Roman cavalry, having chased off that of the Carthaginians, was then then able to attack the infantry from the rear, and this was the decisive move. More than 20,000 Carthaginians were killed during the battle.

Scipio was magnanimous in victory and allowed Hannibal to remain in Carthage, where he became his country’s ruler. However, the Roman Senate was later to demand that Hannibal should be punished and he was forced to flee into exile, where he eventually committed suicide.

Scipio became one of Rome’s greatest heroes and he was awarded the title Africanus. As a general, he never lost a battle during a 25-year long career.
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milenazoran Great article!
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RasmaSandra Most interesting. Never heard of this battle but then there have been so many. The blaring of the trumpets made me think that instead of panicking the elephants could have just loudly trumpeted back 😃
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OlgaLifeLover So coloreful...
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indexer @OlgaLifeLover Highly imaginary!
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OlgaLifeLover i think it was not like that @indexer
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