Carthaginians

The Battle of Lake Trasimene. April 24, 217 BC.

The Battle of Lake Trasimene (24 April 217 BC, on the Julian calendar) was a major battle in the Second Punic War. The Carthaginians under Hannibal defeated the Romans under the consul Gaius Flaminius. Hannibal’s victory over the Roman army at Lake Trasimene remains, in terms of the number of men involved, the largest ambush in military history. In the prelude to the battle, Hannibal also achieved the earliest known example of a strategic turning movement. The Carthaginian cavalry and infantry swept down from their concealed positions in the surrounding hills, blocked the road and engaged the unsuspecting Romans from three sides. Surprised and outmanoeuvred, the Romans did not have time to draw up in battle array, and were forced to fight a desperate hand-to-hand battle in open order. The ...

First Punic War – March 10, 241 BC

The Romans and Carthaginians were engaged in what was called the First Punic War, beginning in 264 BC. Carthage was the superior force at the beginning of the conflict and the term “Punic” is Latin for the Carthaginians as it began as a Phoenician colony in North Africa. The conflict between the two powers was for control of the western Mediterranean Sea and began when they clashed in Messana, in Sicily, the closest city to the Italian peninsula. In 288 BC, Messana had been captured by the Mamertines, a group of mercenaries originially hired by Agathocles of Syracuse. While that was going on, rebel Campanian Romans took Rhegium. In 271-270 BC, Roman Republicans retook Rhegium and punished the rebels who still lived there. Meanwhile, the Mamertines were marauding across the countryside, unt...

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