Hannibal of Carthage

Opening Engagements of the Second Punic War With Rome

Was there ever a cause too lost

Ever a cause lost too long

Or showed with the lapse of time too vain

For the generous tears of youth and song

Hannibal 

                        219 B.C. The Second Punic War

          The Roman navy began mobilizing quickly  in 219 BC, fielding 220 quinqueremes for fighting Illyrians. Publius Cornelius Scipio received 4 legions (8,000 Roman and 14,000 allied infantry and 600 Roman and 1,600 allied horse) and was to sail for Iberia escorted by 60 ships to destroy Hannibal.

However, Gauls of the Boi and Insuber tribes in northern Italy, on friendly terms with Carthage,  attacked the Roman colonies of Placentia and Cremona, causing the Romans to flee to the walled-city of Mutina, which the Gauls then besieged. Praetor L. Manlius Vulso marched with 2 Roman legions, 600 Roman Horse, 10,000 allied infantry and 1,000 allied cavalry towards Cisalpine Gaul  from the fortress city of Ariminum. This army was ambushed twice on the way, lost 1,200 men, and although the siege of Mutina was raised, the army itself fell under a loose siege a few miles from Mutina. This event prompted the Roman Senate to send one of Scipio's legions and 5,000 allied troops to aid Vulso. Scipio had to raise troops to replace these and thus could not set out for Iberia until September of 218 BC., thereby allowing Hannibal precious time to implement his plans.

The other consul, Tiberius Sempronius Longus received 4 legions (2 Romans and 2 allied, 8,000 Roman and 16,000 allied infantry and 600 Roman and 1,800 allied horse) and instructions to sail for Africa with the escort of 160 quinqueremes. Sempronius had set sail for Sicily, where he was to complete his preparations for invading Africa.

          Hannibal, as said before, had dismissed his army to winter quarters after the fall of Saguntum. In the summer of 218 BC, after his army had re-formed, Hannibal stationed 15,000 soldiers and 21 elephants in Iberia under his brother Hasdrubal Barca, to hold Spain for Carthage. He then sent 20,000 soldiers to Africa to keep the Libyans and Numidians from rising against Carthage, with 4,000 of these troops for garrisoning Carthage. The army that marched for Italy from Cartagena is supposed to have numbered 90,000 foot and 12,000 cavalry, and 37 elephants. Hannibal divided his army into three columns before crossing the Ebro River, and attacked the Iberian tribes of Illergetes, Bergusii and Ausetani in Catalonia. In a two month long campaign, Hannibal subdued parts of Catalonia between the Ebro, the Pyrenees and the Sicoris river in a swift, if costly campaign which reduced his army.

The Iberian contingent of the Punic navy numbered around 50 quinqueremes (only 32 were manned) and 5 triremes, which remained in the Iberian waters, having shadowed Hannibal's army for some way. Carthage quickly mobilized at least 55 Quinqueremes for immediate raids on Italy and Sicily and for the protection of her shores.

          The Carthaginian navy struck the first blow of the war when a fleet of 20 quinqueremes, loaded with 1,000 soldiers, raided the Lipari Islands which are situated between Sicily and Italy. This island chain was part of the group of islands which Carthage surrendered to Rome after the first war. Another larger raid was planned for Lilybaeum, the former Carthage stronghold on Sicily. Another group of eight ships attacked the Vulcan islands, but were blown off-course in a storm towards the Straits of Messina. The Syracusan navy, then at Messina, managed to capture three of the ships, which surrendered without resistance. Learning from the captured crew that another Carthaginian fleet was making preparations to attack Lilybaeum, Hero ll, who was at Messina awaiting the arrival of Sempronius, to aid him in his preparations against Carthage, warned the Roman praetor Marcus Aemilius at Lilybaeum about the impending raid.

          The Carthaginian fleet was hampered by bad weather and had to wait before commencing their operation. Although the Romans only had 20 ships present at Lilybaeum, the praetor, after receiving the warning from Hiero, provisioned his ships for a long sail and put in a proper contingent of Roman legionaries on board each ship before the Carthaginian fleet appeared. He also posted lookouts along the coast to watch for the Carthaginian ships, giving him early warning and minimizing the risk of surprise.

           The Carthaginians had broken their journey at the Aegates Islands, and when they sailed for Lilybaeum on a moonlit night, they intended to make their approach coincide with the dawn. The Roman lookouts spotted them well before they reached the harbour. As the Romans sallied forth, the Carthaginians lowered their sails for battle and moved to the open sea. The Carthaginians outnumbered the Romans, but their ships were undermanned and the Romans had the advantage of containing a larger number of soldiers aboard their ships. Playing to their individual strengths, the Roman ships tried to close with the Carthaginian ships and grapple them, while the Carthaginians tried to evade the onrushing Roman ships and ram them if possible. In the melee, the Romans managed to board and capture seven Carthaginian ships and take 1,700 prisoners. The remaining Carthaginian ships managed to retreat. The Roman losses are unknown.

The Romans had managed to thwart the attempt by the Carthaginians to establish a base in Sicily. The Consul T. Sempronius Longus soon arrived with his army and fleet in Sicily. He sailed with his fleet to Malta, which was still under Carthage rule, where he captured the island and bagged 2,000 prisoners, along with the Carthaginian garrison commander, Hamilcar Gisco. He then sailed to intercept a Carthaginian naval contingent raiding the Vulcan islands. The Carthaginian contingent had sailed and raided the Roman territory around Vibo in Bruttium.

          While the cities began sparring at sea, Hannibal, after securing most of Catalonia, marched north towards the Rhone River, pausing along the way to gather more recruits for his army. The Roman army, commanded by Scipio the Elder, landed in Iberia,  somewhat to the south of Hannibal and began searching for his army. With Scipio was a delegation from the Roman senate which dispersed into the Iberian countryside, meeting with various tribes and cities, asking them to rebel against Carthage and join the Romans. Everywhere they were met with deaf ears. One tribe, the powerful Volcanes, replied to the delegation request, " We see from the fate of Saguntum what is to be expected from an alliance with Rome". "You left them to stand alone against Carthage without sending reinforcements". "No my friends, if you want allies you will need to go to where the story of Saguntum is not known".

          As Hannibal moved into the Rhone valley of Gaul ( Modern France), he met with chieftains of the Gallic Boi tribes. Hannibal had sent envoys to these chieftains the previous winter, just after the fall of Saguntum,  to inform them of his desire to move his army through their lands the following year, promising them that he had no intentions of occupying any of their lands.  Hannibal feasted the chieftains and asked for assistance with his plans and pledged strong support from his brother Hasdubal should they ally with Carthage. He informed the Gallic chieftains that his intentions were to take his army across the Alpine mountains and invade Italy. During the time of Hannibal, there were no roads going into the Alps and Hannibal could find good use of any Boi guides to assist his crossing. Furthermore, with Rome controlling the sea, this would be the only way for Hannibal to bring the war to Rome.  These Gauls, hateful of Rome, and allied to the Boi tribes upon the eastern side of the Alps,  promised strong support against Rome and the leaders even went so far as to give Hannibal hostages to show their support as being honest and trustworthy in their alliance. Hannibal then quickly left with his army and marched towards the Rhone River.

                                                                                      Crossing of the Rhone River in modern France

           Hannibal arrived at the Rhone River with a force of nearly 100,000 men and 86 war elephants. Upon his arrival he was faced with several obstacles. The first and most dangerous was the force of Gauls on the other side of the River ( not from the Boi Tribes), who were determined to stop his march through their lands. These Gauls were also closer to Rome and also the Roman ally of Massilia and had more to fear from Roman wrath than the Boi. 

          Hannibal closely studied the terrain all along the side of the river and sent scouts further upstream to find an area where a crossing would be easy. He then had his engineers cut down numerous trees and construct large transport rafts, in full view of the opposing force. That night he sent one of his generals, Hanno, with 10,000 men to cross over upstream and position themselves behind the enemy force before dawn. This Hanno was said by some to be a forth son of Hamilcar, and Hannibal's brother, however, he was in fact Hannibal's nephew, and the son of his sister who was married to Hannibal's brother-in-law, Hasdrubal the Splendid. By dawn the next day Hanno was in place behind the unknowing Gauls and Hannibal launched a large portion of his army upon the rafts and pushed towards the Gauls.   As Hannibal neared the opposite shore, the Gauls rushed forward and gave battle and were besting the Carthage army as they struggled to depart the rafts until they were met with full force by Hanno upon their rear and flanks. The surprise attack caused widespread panic among the Gauls who were cut down effectively by the Carthaginians and the few survivors fled. 

          After securing both banks of the river, Hannibal was now faced with his other obstacle. This was the issue of transporting his war elephants across the river. They were scared of the river and also the strong current prohibited them from entering the river to swim across. Hannibal and his men tried to get them to board the rafts, however, they were not willing to do so. Hannibal then instructed his men to place several inches of dirt on each raft and cover each with grass. He also made sure that they placed small bushes upon the rafts to trick the elephants into entering upon the rafts without knowing that they were.  During the crossing numerous elephants panicked and fell off the rafts and were drowned, however the bulk of them were successfully transferred to the other side, to be followed by Hannibal's baggage trains.

          Hannibal then marched for and arrived at the base of the Alpine mountains. Once he was here he put his final plans in place. It is said that when Hannibal told his generals of his plans that one of them replied that there was no way they could take an army through the Alps during the winter, to which Hannibal was said to have replied, " I will find a way or else make a way".  Hannibal then decided to leave Hanno, his nephew,  with 10,000 men to govern the Iberian lands north of the Ebro River and to protect the Gallic Boi tribes from Rome.  Also 15,000 men were given to his brother Hasrubal to hold the lands south of the Ebro River for Carthage. Hannibal then sent another 4,000, less reliable troops, to Carthage to garrison the city. He then called upon the officers of his army to meet together and asked them to tell their troops that their intentions were not just to secure the Rhone valley for Carthage, but the invasion of Italy, through the Alps. He asked his officers to tell their men that the upcoming journey would not be for the faint of heart and that if any were hesitant, they should immediately leave his army and return home to their families. Another 10,000 left, leaving Hannibal with around 56,000 men. The year was waning, the snows were beginning to fall, and Hannibal disappeared quickly into the treacherous Alps. Hasdrubal and Hanno then both led their prospective forces to secure the territories that Hannibal had directed, cleverly evading the Roman force led by Scipio the Elder.

          Meanwhile, the Roman army, led by Scipio the Elder, had advanced north into the area of the Rhone Valley and sent a contingent of cavalry numbering around 1000 to scour the countryside to look for Hannibal. They were met by a small portion of the rear guard of Hannibal's army, his Numidian wing of cavalry who had not yet entered the Alps, numbering 500 and a small skirmish ensued.  The Romans seemed to best the smaller Numidian force and both sides re-joined their armies. Scipio then marched to where Hannibal's camp had been and sent out scouts to locate Hannibal, only to have all return to his army without success. Captured Gallic tribesmen told Scipio that Hannibal had vanished into the Alps with his army. Scipio then realized that Hannibal had no intentions of only securing the Rhone river valley for Carthage. As unbelievable as it sounded, Hannibal was leading his force through the Alps for an invasion of Italy. Scipio then quickly boarded his ships who had followed his army along the coast and immediately set sail for Rome to confront Hannibal, should any of his army survive the Alpine crossing. 

                                                                                                        Hannibal's most likely route

                                                                                      Hannibal's epic march through the Alps 

                                    Hannibal's army crossed the Alps in 14 grueling days, over 28,000 men perished  

So began Hannibal's historic crossing, which would be ever bit as difficult as his upcoming battles with the Romans. As Hannibal led his army further into the Alps, a horrible storm set in, which caused the trails to become very icy and slippery. The paths were also very narrow and thousands would slip and fall to their deaths into the gorges below. Hannibal's Gallic guides also frequently lost their way and he would have to backtrack. The elephants, accustomed to the warm African weather, began to get sick and die, one by one. The numerous pack animals also began to suffer from the harsh temperatures and began to perish. The heavy siege machines also were not able to make it through the narrow trails and had to be left behind. As Hannibal moved on, his progress was stopped by an ancient rock slide that blocked the pass. Hannibal then had his men pour vinegar, probably from wine, onto the rocks and then had the rocks set on fire. The chemical reaction from the vinegar and the heat made the rocks very brittle and allowed his engineers to easily cut through the rocks to enable his army to pass through. To his men, who lived during a time of  powerful superstitions,  this was nothing less than god-like. Many thought that Hannibal was displaying powers given him by the gods. As the Punic army moved further into the Alps, the extreme weather began to take it's toll on the soldiers as well. Food was running out and the force weakened from lack of food and the extreme weather.

          As said before, Hannibal's guides did have difficulty at times finding the proper paths to lead the army and before he had reached the summit, a band of mountain tribesmen came before him and offered to lead him through the mountains ti Italy. Hannibal was suspicious of their intentions and demanded hostages as good faith. The mountain guides then, as Hannibal had feared, led them into a blind ravine where they were attacked by thousands of mountain warriors who were hidden high above the Carthage force. The hardy warriors inflicted heavy casualties upon the Carthage army by throwing heavy boulders upon them as well as showering them with arrows and spears. For awhile Hannibal's army was split in two. The cavalry in the front, followed by the heavy baggage, followed by the infantry. The baggage train is what forged the interest of the mountain force as they sensed loot. The battle forged into the evening and ceased as darkness fell. Hannibal sent troops to find paths that would lead to higher grounds. As they crept through the crevices they found that the opposing force had vacated their positions and returned to their villages for the evening. Hannibal placed troops in these positions  and just before daybreak the opposing force attempted to return to their previous positions only to be attacked and defeated by the Carthage army.

          With the victory secured, Hannibal forged on but serious damage had been inflicted upon his army. Thousands had died in battle and numerous others were injured and had to be carried. A large portion of his dwindling pack animals also were killed. After 9 days from entering the Alps, Hannibal reached the summit. The summit where Hannibal stayed for two days, so stragglers could rejoin his army, was not the highest of the Alps, only the highest point where passage was able to be attained. As he waited stragglers rejoined his army, having been lost, sometimes whole units, cut off from the main force for days and somehow managed to find their way to Hannibal.  

          After two days Hannibal could not afford to wait any longer. He gathered his generals and pointed down the mountains toward Italy and reminded them of the warm weather with bubbling streams that lay before them. He also reminded them that the Gallis tribes of the Boi would welcome them and that they would once again have plenty of food and wine. 

          The ascent to the summit was very difficult and heavy losses occurred, the descent down the mountains would prove even more deadly. The slippery, icy slopes became difficult to travel and thousands slipped down the mountains to their deaths. The last of the elephants, save just one, finally succumbed to the mountains.

                                              Most of Hannibal's Elephants Perished During the Alpine Crossing

Hannibal's tattered army, upon the Alpine descent into Italy. Even though Hannibal had lost half his army during the crossing, the remaining 28,000 men were in a class all their own. No army that Rome could send against them were even close to their equal.

          Finally, after 14 days of extreme torture, the tattered force burst upon the fertile lands of northern Italy. The splendid army of 56,000 men who had entered the Alps was reduced to half. 28,000 men had perished during the crossing.  As Hannibal looked upon his army he must have determined with pride that these men were the pick of his army. There was no doubt in his mind that these men would follow him anywhere.

          Hannibal then took the time to gather his army and brought before them 16 of the mountain tribesmen whom they had captured during their ascent of the Alps. He then gave each of them a sword and offered them the opportunity of freedom. They would have to fight against one another, to the death, until only one stood. That lone man would gain his freedom.  The 16 men agreed and the lone man standing was given his freedom, as the army watched. Hannibal then explained to his army that they were in the same situation as the men they had just watched. They were trapped and the only way they could hope to have freedom and return to their loved ones was to fight and defeat the Romans with the same vigor that they had just witnessed from the one man who had just gained his. There would be little reinforcements from Carthage as Rome controlled the seas, and re-crossing the Alps was not an option.

         Hannibal had arrived in the fertile valleys of the Po in northern Italy. During this time period, these valleys were occupied by the Gallic tribes of Gaul. The center area of Italy was occupied by people who called themselves Italians, and the southern area of Italy by people of Greek descent. In order for Hannibal's plans to succeed, he was counting upon that the Gauls and the Greeks would join him in an attempt to release themselves from Roman rule. He was also hoping  king Phillip V of Macedonia would also form an alliance with Carthage as early news from returning envoys proved positive. Word was brought to Hannibal that Phillip was mobilizing his armies and navies. Hannibal had also sent at this time spies into the city of Syracuse with the intent of spurring opposition to Rome. In order for there to be any chance of any of these taking place, he would have to defeat the Romans in pitched battles, of which he was extremely confident. Moreover, Hannibal was fully aware that the Roman legions were led, not by military soldiers, but by politicians, who were called consuls in Rome. Each consul commanded their own army, and if both armies were combined, the two consuls would alternate command on every other day.  These politicians would be no match for Hannibal. The fact that Rome could put forth over 700,000 men in the field from the capitol and their allies also did nothing to despair the Carthaginian general. The army that he was about to lead against Rome was not to be taken lightly. They were career soldiers, experts in the art of warfare, their only job in life was to kill or die trying. They  also knew each other well and had fought together for years, which would prove disasterous to the legions of Rome.                     

          As Hannibal began forming alliances with the Gauls in northern Italy, Rome was not in the least bit worried about Hannibal. To them, Hannibal was nothing but a petty barbarian who would be dealt with in due time. Their spies also told of gruesome Carthage casualties suffered during the Alpine crossing. They also brought word that Hannibal pocessed no siege machines. This unalarmed nature was brought to Hannibal's attention by the spies that he had infiltrated into Rome, and would play well into his plans. 

          As said, Hannibal began forming alliances with the various Gallic tribes and began recruiting these men into his army to replenish his losses from the Alpine crossing. There was, however, Ligurians in northern Italy as well, particularly a powerful tribe called the Taurini, who were allied with Rome and refused the request of Hannibal to join him against Rome. The following conflict was no doubt do to the Taurini opposition to the Gallic Boi and Insubres tribes who had eagerly joined Hannibal.  When the Taurini envoys declined Hannibal's offer, they sent word to Rome to come to their aid against Hannibal. Hannibal then besieged their principle city and was able to capture it without a prolonged siege, inflicting heavy casualties upon the populace.          

          Receiving news of the battle, Publius, who had just landed in central Italy,  was incredulous that Hannibal had made it through the Alps and should have recovered from the horrors of his Alpine crossing so soon and was able to take his army on the offensive at such an early stage.  Decamping, he gathered his army and crossed the Po and marched upstream on the left bank of the river looking for Hannibal. Receiving intelligence of Publius' impending march and arrival, Hannibal was equally incredulous that Publius had made the difficult voyage from Spain and would now be at hand with his army intact. However, the most astounded of all at the news that both Hannibal and Publius were in Italy, when they were believed to be in Spain, were the Roman Senate and populace. They then sent orders  to the second consul, Tierius Sempronius Longus, conducting leisurely operations in Sicily with Hiero of Syracuse, in preperations of his invasion of Carthage, that he was to abandon his current project and proceed to the assistance of Publius in defense of central Italy as most of northern Italy was now under Hannibal's control.

          Sending his fleet in advance, Tiberius determined that individuals could travel more swiftly than armies. He released his men from service having exacted an oath that they would present themselves at Ariminum, a city in Italy south of the mouth of the Po on a certain day. Even with these measures to get his army quickly to Italy to aid Publius, events began to move too swiftly for Tiberius to be of any use to Publius in the immediate future and the following Battle of the Ticinus River ( november 218 B.C.) would soon begin the war in Italy.

 

          Several days before the battle Scipio had drawn near Hannibal's camp and he himself was encamped in the base of the Po River near Piacenza, where Roman colonists had been previously building a city before Hannibal had arrived. This settlement being in a loop on the right bank of the Po River, he had to construct a bridge to access it from the left bank,  as well as another which he was forced to build over the Ticinus River some miles away. Roman historians make it clear that there were two bridges, one from the right to the left bank of the Po at the town of Piacenza and one from the left to the right bank of the Ticinus, location unknown, but the best possible crossing was at the city of Pavia, which was founded by Roman colonists as Ticinum, perhaps at the site of the fortifications Publius threw up to protect his new bridge. A fine permanent bridge stands there today. The ground on the right bank of the Ticinus north of there was swampy, and was no place for an army to become bogged down.

          After building the bridge over the Ticinus and crossing it Scipio entered the level plains  and camped five miles from Victumulae, in the country of the Gallic Insubres, who had joined Hannibal. There is a town to the south of Vigevano, between Pavia which is called Gambolo, which still has some of the features of a large Roman camp, such as the ditch that Publius had his men dig.

          Scipio as consul superseded the praetors Manlius and Atilius who had led armies into northern Italy as soon as word had reached Rome that Hannibal had crossed the Alps. They split their army amongst the walled cities to garrison in their defense while they waited for Publius.  Once Publius arrived, they gathered their garrisons and joined Publius which therefore would have put the Roman army at three legions, about 12,000 Roman infantry and 12,000 allied infantry, possibly around 24,000 men. The regular cavalry of three legions amounts to around 1,000 Roman horse. Some Gallic cavalry, which fought in the battle for Scipio but later defected to Hannibal at the urging of Hannibals Gallic allies, were about 2,000 strong. In addition were 1,000 allied cavalry attached to Manlius at Rome, which brought to a total of about 4,000 cavalry in all. Hannibals army at the time was around the same strength with the additions of several thousand Gauls.

          At the same time as Scipio was making camp, Hannibal was camping upstream along the Po. The two were unknown to each other but making the discovery through scouts the next day both commanders decided on the same tactic: a reconnaissance in force to discover and test the strength of the enemy. Hannibal probably took the majority of his 6000 cavalry that remained after crossing the Alps, while Scipio took all of his cavalry and a small number of light infantry called velites. This last decision was not in keeping with a fast-moving reconnaissance and was to cost Scipio the battle and nearly his life.

          Coming within observation distance of each other at last the two armies stopped to form ranks. Hannibal, before the battle, offered, on his own behalf, his strongest motivations to the troops if they would fight to win. The offer he gave was free, tax-free, land in Italy, Spain or Africa, whichever they would choose, Carthaginian citizenship to allies and freedom to all slaves. He then placed his heavy, or "bridled", cavalry, made up of Spanish and Carthaginian contingents,  in the center. These men were the best armored and generally had the best weapons. He then placed the light and swift-moving Numidian cavalry on the wings: a classic formation in which the wings would break off to ride around and attack the enemy rear. Scipio's less effective technique used the cavalry more like the infantry in a fixed line. The Gallic cavalry was placed out front screening a line of infantry, javelin-throwers, who would cast volleys into the front of the advancing enemy and then retreat through the ranks to the rear and turn the battle over to the rest of the Roman cavalry.

          Hannibal, seeing the infantry beginning to form ordered an immediate, all-out charge, which rode down upon them before they could cast a single volley and sent them running for their lives through the cavalry ranks behind them, causing confusion. Rome  portrayed this retreat as an act of cowardice which was rare among their legions up to that point. The main cavalry ranks then fought until the Numidian cavalry performed their planned envelopment and attacked the rear. Unable to maneuver because of the infantry that had retreated into their ranks, the Roman cavalry broke into small groups, some dismounting and fighting as infantry. Scipio was seriously wounded soon after the battle had commenced. He found himself isolated with just a few to defend him and was soon surrounded by the Carthaginian horse.          

          It was in this compromising setting that the consul's 18-year-old son, the future Scipio Africanus, showed his first aptitude for military matters and bravery by rescuing his father. Having entered the field of battle for the first time, Scipio was assigned by his father to lead a group of 30 veteran horsemen, probably his best soldiers, of which were no doubt to in  fact to protect his son during the battle.  Seeing that his wounded father was in danger with only two or three to defend him, Scipio the younger called upon those with him to go to the assistance of his father.  When these troops failed to respond to the order, fearing the large number of Carthaginians who were around the consul, Scipio drove his horse into the enemy. The others were compelled to join Scipio and opened a path through the Carthaginian horse to the consul. They escorted him off the field as the rest of the Roman infantry and horse was compelled to retreat back to the fort that Scipio had constructed near the bridge and to rejoin with the rest of the Roman army. The younger Scipio was subsequently publicly honored by the consul, which was the beginning of public and the military confidence in him. Thus ended the minor Battle of the Ticinus River in victory for Carthage. The losses inccurred of both sides in the battle are not known. But the Carthage victory, minor as it was, had shaken the confidence of the Roman army and also had sparked rebellion in more of the Gallic tribes in northern Italy who were closely watching the events.          

          Hannibal had driven the Roman forces from the field of battle but he did not press his victory that day, perhaps because his forces were outnumbered by the Roman infantry still in the fort and the fact that he had no siege machines, instead preferring to wait until he was able to draw them out onto open fields again.  He left the field and all of Scipio's men gradually returned to base in a disorganized frenzy. Scipio had discovered the intelligence he wanted to know. He knew Hannibal would be back the next day with his whole army, would interpose himself between the Roman fort and the bridge and Scipio and all his men would be trapped, a set-up for another massacre. He therefore broke camp in the night, hastened to get over the bridge before dawn and was in Piacenza before Hannibal knew he had left camp. Finding the camp empty the next morning Hannibal followed the Roman trail to the river, capturing the 600 man Roman force that was left at the bridge in order to destroy it to pevent Hannibal from using it to draw nearer the Roman army. He decided not force a subsequent crossing of the Po under hostile fire at this position of the river, preferring to turn and march upon the left bank, whereas, after a days march, he found a convenient crossing and descended the right bank to camp before Piacenza two days later.

          In the early morning before first light after the arrival of Hannibal some 2200 Gallic allies in the Roman camp attacked the Romans closest to them sleeping in their tents, took the heads of the slain and crossed to the Carthaginian camp, where they were well received. Hannibal subsequently sent them as emissaries to raise all the Celts in Italy. Scipio meanwhile again anticipating the consequences immediately broke camp before dawn on that same night  and slipped up the right bank of the Po to the west in the same direction from which Hannibal had come crossed the River Trebia, a right-bank tributary of the Po. Then he headed south along its left bank to the hills from which it flows, keeping the river between him and Hannibal. The Numidian cavalry sent in pursuit made the mistake of burning the camp first, giving all but Scipio's rear guard time to cross the river. A day's march to the south, Scipio reached the hills, fortified the slope of one of them and settled down to rest and recover from his wounds, as well as, wait for the arrival of the second consul, Sempronius, who had received Publius' messengers with regards to the skirmish at the Ticinus.

          As Hannibal followed, he came upon where Publius had positioned his army and Hannibal did not force action as he became aware that his cavalry would not be effective in the hills where Publius had positioned his army. He therefore marched north and set up camp amongst his Gallic allies.

                          Area of the Battle of the Ticinus River 

                                                          Hannibal's victory at the Battle of Trebia

                                                                            Hannibal's victory at the Battle of Lake Trasimene 

                                                                                   Hannibal's Zenith. , The Battle of Cannae 

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