3# Hannibal Barca: Battle of Cannae

3# Hannibal Barca: Battle of Cannae


In the previous episodes you saw that Hannibal
did something nobody before him managed to do. He crossed the Alps and defeated Romans in
two battles, but his work is still not over. The greatest battle still awaits him and this
one is still taught today in many modern military schools. Newly elected roman dictator Fabius saw in
the very beginning that Hannibal is a very capable military leader and that it will be
very hard to defeat him in a direct battle. So he decides up for a new strategy. The roman army was supposed to attack carthaginian
logistic lines and by that way to drain the enemy. Hannibal would probably be defeated by this
way with a lot less casualties, but the roman public and senate weren’t patient enough and
Fabius was replaced after 6 months with a two regular consuls, Gaius Varro and Lucius
Paullus. Unlike Fabius, they decided to use a totally
different strategy. They wanted to defeat Hannibal in one huge
direct battle. Thanks to their previous experiences, they
realized that the battlefield must fulfil two important conditions:>It has to be narrow because of superiority
of the carthaginian army>It also has to be flat enough, so Hannibal
can’t use parts of the surrounding terain to hide his army or for any other of his tricks The main roman advantage in this battle will
be numerical superiority. They were gathering the army for several months
and also heavily recruiting their allies. The Roman Army consisted of:>40 000 Roman infantry soldiers
>40 000 allied infantry soldiers>2000 Roman horsemen
>4000 allied horsemen 86 000 soldiers in total. Meanwhile, Hannibal was leading an offensive
in the south of Italy and in there he conquered an important weapon storage at Cannae. The roman army started moving towards Cannae
in order to return it back and after marching for two days, they noticed the carthaginian
army on the left shore of the river Aufid. The Romans created a camp some 10 kilometers
away from Hannibal’s army. Carthaginian leader tried to provoke the battle,
but the roman consul Paullus refused. But, according to roman deal, the military
leadership was switched every day between the two consuls and so the next day, Varro
took command and accepted the challenge. Carthaginian army was numericaly weaker than
roman army. It was made out of 40 000 heavy infantry soldiers,
6000 light infantry soldiers and 10 000 horsemen. On the battlefield, roman army was traditionaly
placed, infantry was keeping the center, and the wings were kept by cavalry. The only inovation was that the roman center
was the same size as the carthaginian one and because of that, they were hoping that
thanks to it’s depth they would be able to break the carthaginian army in two and force
them towards the river Aufid. Hannibal put his weakest soldiers in the center,
the iberian and gaelic infantry. On the left wing he put 6500 and on the right
3500 numidian horsemen. His best infantry soldiers were also set on
the wings. The carthaginian army was set in a shape of
the half circle so that it’s weakest powers were the first ones on the strike line. They got the order to not fight much and to
retreat as much as possible, so that the roman flanks can be left unprotected. The Course of the battle On the very beginning of the battle, Hannibal’s
horsemen broke down the roman ones on the left wing and the numidian horsemen had some
difficulties on the right wing. They got some help from the horsemen from
the left wing who attacked the Romans from behind. In that moment, Romans are out of cavalry
and their flanks are completely unprotected. Meanwhile, the Romans were advancing in the
center and the carthaginian infantry soldiers were on the retreat. So the balance of power got a new half circular
shape, but this time, the Romans were almost surrounded. In that moment, the best carthaginian soldiers
attack the roman flanks and their cavalry attacks the roman camp and scared away the
poor roman cavalry while attacking from behind. Romans found themselves in some kind of a
hoop and it became smaller and smaller as their soldiers died. Almost noboy managed to escape alive out of
the hoop. Around 50 000 Romans died in the battle and
5000 more were captured. The few survivors remained in the camp. Among the dead was the roman consul Paullus. On the carthaginian side, only 6000 soldiers
died. This Hannibal’s victory caused a huge catastrophe
in Rome. There was no family in Rome which didn’t lost
a family member in that battle and that is why a sorrowful grief was proclaimed. Given the fact that the roman army was destroyed,
some roman politicians were considering a peace deal with Hannibal and he even sent
a moderate offer of peace which was declined and therefore, he started moving south in
order to provoke the Greeks on the revolt. Tarentum and Capua were among the revolting
cities and even the ruler of Siracuza joined him. Filip the Fifth decided to help Hannibal and
therefore, he starts the First Macedonian War. Thanks to their fleet, Romans were able to
survive this disaster on the long run. Their fleet cut down the Hannibal’s suply
lines and the neccessary reinforcement. By using Fabiuse’s tactics, they managed to
break down the morale of the carthaginian army.

18 thoughts on “3# Hannibal Barca: Battle of Cannae

  1. Super klip samo tako nastavi idemo do 100 000 suba!!!I napravi novi serijal gde nam govoris o Drugom svetkom ratu,bas kao i ,,Srbija i Crna Gora u Velikom ratu'',samo sto ces govoriti o Svojetskom Savezu.

  2. How many were present, and how many of each kind on hannibal's side? I can't seem to find that part if I'm missing it could someone be kind enough to point it out to me.

  3. Historia civilis explains everything better, please if you compete do it better or do a new battle. You wasted time on this video.

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