Hannibal and the battle of cannae

Well, part of it possibly had to do with the erratic political affiliations of many Celtic tribes in Cisalpine Gaul, many of whom proved to be unreliable during the course of the Second Punic War. Thus the remaining bulk of the infantry comprised the Celts and other assorted lightly-armed troops.

Hannibal vs. Rome: Why the Battle of Cannae Is One of the Most Important in History

When the victorious Hispanic and Gallic cavalry came up, the allied cavalry broke and the Numidians pursued them off the field. Terentius Varro had been popularly elected as a plebeian consular political appointee, and ancient sources describe his character as overconfident and rash, ascribing to him the hope that he could overwhelm Hannibal with sheer numbers.

The battle that followed was a classical example of a successful flanking maneuver. The Roman infantry, now stripped of protection on both its flanks, formed a wedge that drove deeper and deeper into the Carthaginian semicircle, driving itself into an alley formed by the African infantry on the wings.

The Roman army recruits also had to swear an oath of obedience, which was known as sacramentum dicere. The field at Cannae was clear, with no possibility of hidden troops being brought to bear as an ambush.

The Romans built statues of him to celebrate their triumph over a worthy adversary, and his victory at Cannae later became a subject of fascination for generals ranging from Napoleon to Frederick the Great. The consul Aemilius Paullus lay among the dead, as did both consular quaestors, 29 military tribunes, and another 80 men of senatorial rank.

As Hannibal had anticipated, his cavalry won the struggle on the wings, and some then swept around behind the enemy. All of these psychological factors made battle especially difficult for the infantrymen. As a result, the Roman battlefield tactic was spectacularly simple — as it often entailed countering the enemy forces who were mostly disordered with sheer discipline and rotation of manpower on the field itself.

Battle of Cannae

They placed their cavalry about 6, on their wings and massed their infantry in an exceptionally deep and narrow formation in the centre in the hope of breaking the enemy centre by weight and push.

As a result, they reverted to the defensive Fabian strategy named after Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus which basically entailed a guerrilla-warfare type scenario with internal lines of communications.

Simply put, the choice of Cannae was an intentional ploy to provoke the Romans to give direct battle — as opposed to the Fabian strategy of delaying.

To counter that, Hannibal relied on the elasticity of his formation. In pressing so far forward in their desire to destroy the retreating and seemingly collapsing line of Hispanic and Gallic troops, the Romans had ignored possibly due to the dust the African troops that stood uncommitted on the projecting ends of this now-reversed crescent.

As for the warfare side of affairs, while the well-armored Celtic cavalry forces mostly derived from their nobles and retainers were crucial to the success of some Carthaginian engagements in Italy, many of their Gaulish infantrymen counterparts were generally considered as an undisciplined bunch that favored individual bravery over group-based tactics.

But more importantly, the soldiers despite their different origins placed their utmost trust on their Carthaginian commander when it came to actual battles. Aemilius Paullus was killed along with many other high-ranking commanders, including Gnaeus Servilius Geminus, Marcus Minucius Rufus, and other veteran patricians.

These Celtic men were often armed with long slashing swords and protected by only oval, leather-covered shields; while few even went to battle entirely naked.

Over the next several hours, the plain at Cannae turned into a killing field. Surrounded and unable to maneuver, the Roman army disintegrated as a coherent fighting force.

Realm of History

A review of the evidence led P. Numidian cavalry were very lightly equipped, lacking saddles and bridles for their horses, and used no armor but carried a small shield, javelins and possibly a knife or longer blade.

Only 14, Roman soldiers escaped, and 10, more were captured; the rest were killed. Pressed tightly together and hence unable to properly use their arms, the Romans were surrounded and cut to pieces. One such officer named Gisgo even went ahead and voiced his uneasiness to Hannibal at the sight of the Romans who were moving forward in tighter formations with greater manipular depths than usual.

Knowing the superiority of the Roman infantry, Hannibal had instructed his infantry to withdraw deliberately, creating an even tighter semicircle around the attacking Roman forces. Apart from his description of the battle itself, when later discussing the subject of Roman Legion versus Greek Phalanx, Polybius says that " According to Livy, the surviving consul, Terentius Varro, escaped from Cannae with a mere fifty soldiers.The Battle of Cannae (/ ˈ k æ n i / or / ˈ k æ n eɪ /) was a major battle of the Second Punic mi-centre.com took place on 2 August BC in Cannae, Apulia, in southeast mi-centre.com army of Carthage, under Hannibal, defeated a larger Roman army.

The Romans were led by the consuls Lucius Aemilius Paullus and Gaius Terentius Varro. Hannibal's victory. Nepos, Life of Hannibal — Chapter 4: The Battle of Cannae & Its Legacy "There was no longer any Roman camp, any general, any single soldier in existence." — Livy, Ab urbe condita On August 2, BC Rome suffered one of the most catastrophic defeats in military history.

Interestingly enough, it was the Battle of Cannae that was ultimately responsible for Hannibal’s unceremonious call back to Carthage (in BC) after 15 years of remaining undefeated on Italian soil.

At the Battle of Cannae in BCE, however, the Romans would learn an important lesson in military strategy from a general who fought like no other had before him. Hannibal 's Skills & Rome's Response. Battle of Cannae. The Battle of Cannae (/ˈkæni/ or /ˈkæneɪ/) was a major battle of the Second Punic War that took place on 2 August BC in Apulia, in southeast Italy.

The army of Carthage, under Hannibal, surrounded and decisively defeated a larger army of the Roman Republic under the consuls Lucius Aemilius Paullus and Gaius Terentius.

Hannibal could probably have taken Rome itself immediately after the Battle of Cannae, so why didn't he? by Keith Milton. It could be argued that Hannibal’s hesitation to go after Rome shortly after Cannae was because he lacked a siege train.

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Hannibal and the battle of cannae
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