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Ancient texts
Livius: 22.19-22;
Livius: 23.26-29
Livius: 25.32-39
Livius: 26.41-50; 29.1-2
Polybius 3.76; 95-99

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War in Italy

2nd Punic war in Spain; Cornelius Scipio

Gneus Cornelius Scipio appointed general
After they missed Hannibal, who was crossing the Alps, consul Publius Cornelius Scipio appointed his brother Gnaeus as commander of the army and left for Italy to fight Hannibal there. He ordered his brother to bring the army to Spain as ordered by the senate.

Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio sails to Tarraco
Gnaeus Scipio had his forces embark again and set sail to Tarraco. Here he landed and started to subdue the locals. Either by force or treaties. Tarraco was to become an important Roman city. But for now Gnaeus made this small fisher town his base.

Sea battle in the mouth of the Ebro
Hasdrubal, the Carthaginian commander in Spain and Hannibals' brother , assembled and manned his fleet in Cartagena (New Carthago). In spring 217 he sailed along the coast to the mouth of the Iberus. Gneus Scipio, learning this, manned a fleet to and succeeded in sur prizing Hasdrubal's fleet and defeating him.

Carthaginians in the defence
Hasdrubal who had also had moved his assembled army to the south side of the Ebro decided to withdraw, giving Gneus Scipio the opportunity to occupy and subdue more territory and gaining more support of the local population.

Publius Scipio returns(217bc)
When consul P. Cornelius Scipio, after he had been defeated in the battle of the Ticinus and been humiliated in the battle of the Trebbia, arrived in Spain and joined his brother Gneus Scipio. He assumed command of the troops in what was his designated theatre of operations. He brought with him about 4000 men and resources. Now they felt strong enough to attack Hasdrubal.

Hostages in Saguntum
Together now, the brothers Scipio crossed the Iberus and started to "liberate" the cities south of the river. With the help of a traitor they liberated the Spanish hostages, who were held by the Carthaginians in Saguntum. They sent the hostages to their homes in the justified hope to win the trust of the local population.

River Ebro
or Hiberus

Battle of Ibera (216 bc)
According to Livius the Carthaginian senate ordered Hasdrubal to join his brother in Italy. This sounds it bit strange since the Carthaginian government sent Mago with reinforcements to Spain instead of Italy. True or not, the brothers Scipio decided to attack Hasdrubal's army. In the resulting battle of Ibera the Carthaginian army was defeated and Hasdrubal could barely escape alive.

Saguntum reconquered(214bc)
From now on the struggle was a matter of conquering and reconquering cities, reinforcing and attacking again. In 214bc Saguntum was (re?)conquered by the Romans. Generally the Romans were winning and the Carthaginians retreating.

Battle field
near Lorca

Death of the brothers Scipio (212bc)
Due to their successes the brothers Scipio became overconfident and in order to reach and win more Spanish people to their course, they decided to divide the army between the two brothers. This worked fine as long as the Carthaginians were defensive. In 212 bc Hasdrubal massed a large army. Next he persuaded the celtiberian allies of the Romans to change sides (for a while). Together with the young Massinissa, the Numidian prince who commanded the cavalry, he defeated and killed first Publius Cornelius Scipio at Urso. A month later he did the same with Gnaeus at Lorca.

    Model of ancient Taraco    

Model of the ancient Roman city of Tarraco (2nd century ad)


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