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2nd Punic war; Roman reaction on the fall of Saguntum

219 bc

Roman senate surprised
Much faster, still 8 months, than the Roman senate expected Hannibal took Saguntum. At that moment both consuls were tied up in the Illyrian war. All the Roman senate could do was sending a group of Roman senators to Carthago and demand compensation and the surrender of Hannibal.

Strange declaration of war
When this was refused, one of the ambassadors made a kind of bowl in his toga and said:" Here I have peace and war, you may choose which one I'll leave here." The proud answer was he should choose himself. "Then I'll leave you war", he said and the ambassadors went back to Rome.

Ti. Sempronius Longus was to attack Carthago

In the next year, 218 bc, P. Cornelius Scipio and Ti. Sempronius Longus were elected consul. Sempronius was to go to Sicily and N. Africa to attack the Carthaginians there. To him were assigned the regular 2 Roman legions 16,000 men infantry and 1800 cavalry from the allied contingents. (This is one of the few times the allied forces are mentioned). He was also provided with 160 warships and 12 cargo ships.

P. Cornelius Scipio was to attack Hannibal in Spain
P. Cornelius Scipio also got the regular 2 legion and 14,000 infantry and 1600 cavalry from the allies. Because no one expected Hannibal to cross the sea he was provided with only 60 warships. (With this amount of warships he could transport only 60X180=10,800 men. he is going to transport all his power included the horses. There must have been more cargos hips maybe!)

Gauls attack
Because the Gauls in Gallia Cisalpina still were making trouble, there were made troops available for praetor L. Manlius to deal with them. To good Roman tradition Manlius lead his men right into a Gallic ambush. Why scouting, when you are so strong? With what was left he built a defendable camp at the Po. Roman legions are sent for help, but these were Cornelius' legions. This must have caused him great delay, because when he has sailed in 5 days from Pisae to Massilia, Hannibal is about to cross the Rône. On the next page we will see how much time that must have taken.

    Orestes and Iphigenia    

The Troyan war begins with sacrifying Iphigenia, the only way to get a favorable wind.
Sarcophagus Glyptothek in München


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