Second Punic War

Having understood the meaning of the word Punic from the introduction of the First Punic War, the second Punic war which can be referred to as The HANNIBALIC War or second Carthaginian War was the second of the three Punic Wars.

The special feature about this is the participation of the Greek polities and NUMIDIAN and IBERIAN forces on both sides.

It was fought across the entire Western Mediterranean region for 17years and regarded as the greatest war in history. The war is said to be the deadliest in human history.

Facts about the Second Punic War

  • The war cut across Spain, Italy, Africa, Greece and partly present France which was Gaul.
  • The flashpoints for the war was Island of Sicily
  • Carthage was a Phoenician city
  • The war began just twenty-three short years after the First Punic War had ended. Clearly, the tensions between Rome and Carthage had not been fully settled. One must consider the reasons for tensions being high enough to cause a second war so soon after the first had ended.
  • Confrontations in Spain, Italy, Sicily, Sardinia, and North Africa were part of the Second Punic War. Commander Hannibal, one of the most gifted commanders in history was in charge of leading the people of Carthage to war, while general Scipio Africanus also an astute commander himself led the people of Rome. General Scipio Africanus was responsible for attacking Carthage thereby conquering their Commander Hannibal and securing a great win.
  • Saguntum, a Hellenized coastal city had a cordial relationship with the city of Rome. This coastal city became a bone of contention thereby instigating the Second Punic War. Now, Hannibal decided to attack the city of Saguntum because those in support of Carthage after some issues that happened were killed. Remember that Hannibal was Carthage’s great commander. The people did cry out to the Romans for rescue but their cry for help was ignored by the Romans. The people of Carthage went ahead and secured the city to themselves.
  • The people of Carthage had a plan. Their greatest concern was to ensure that the battle does not affect their major source of sustenance which is Agriculture. Next was to also ensure the protection of belongings that were owned by the rich class of power controlling people of Carthage. Other things that needed protection were the mines that belonged to the people of Spain and their human resources. These were foundations upon which the people of Carthage established their authority. It is interesting to note that all these protections were done by the people of Carthage so as to continue to be relevant and being known as a people of great authority all over the world.
  • Hannibal famously led an army of North African war elephants across the Alps during the second Punic war, although many of them perished in the harsh conditions.
  • Alps were an obstacle, considered impossible to pass during Hannibal’ time.
  • Hannibal’ father commanded the city of Carthage’s forces in the first Punic War.
  • Hannibal inflicted on Rome the worst defeat in its military history at the battle of cannae in 216 BCE (between 50,000 and 70,000 Roman soldiers were killed or captured by a much smaller force. It is known to be one of the most important military triumphs and disasters as the case may be in history, the perfect battle of annihilation as it is fondly called.
  • Hannibal’s decision not to attack Rome after the victory at cannae was the best way to continue the war.
  • Hannibal was a serious concern to Rome that they demanded his personal surrender long after Carthage armies have been defeated.
  • Carthage did lose major achievements that were achieved by Hannibal in Spain, thereafter he was called home. As a result of the great defeat, Carthage was under the control of the Romans for a total period of 50 years.
  • Hannibal later committed suicide by poisoning himself.
  • According to Roman historian Appian there were a sum of 300,000 Roman deaths and probably the same from Carthaginians. The bloodiest episode was the battle of Cannae (216 BCE), with 45,000 Romans and 6,000 Carthaginians deaths.


    • Question: Where was the flashpoint of the war
      Answer: Island of Sicily
    • Question: How did Hannibal die
      Answer: He committed suicide by poisoning himself
    • Question: What kind of elephants did Hannibal use for war
      Answer: North African Elephant
    • Question: Who inflicted perfect battle of annihilation on Rome?
      Answer: Hannibal Barca
    • Question: How long was Carthage indebted to Rome after losing the war?
      Answer: 50 years