The battle of Cannae marks the summit of Hannibal's
career. He maintained himself in Italy for thirteen years thereafter, but the
Romans, taught by bitter experience, refused another engagement with their foe.
Hannibal's army was too small and too poorly equipped with siege engines for a
successful attack on Rome. His brother, Hasdrubal, led strong reinforcements
from Spain to Italy, but these were caught and destroyed before they could
effect a junction with Hannibal's troops. Meanwhile the brilliant Roman
commander, Publius Scipio, drove the Carthaginians from Spain and invaded
Africa. Hannibal was summoned from Italy to face this new adversary. He came,
and on the field of Zama (202 B.C.) met his first and only defeat. Scipio, the
victor, received the proud surname, Africanus.
PEACE IN 201 B.C.
Exhausted Carthage could now do no more than sue for peace
on any terms that Rome was willing to grant. In the hour of defeat she still
trusted her mighty soldier, and it was Hannibal who conducted the final
negotiations. The conditions of peace were severe enough. The Carthaginians
gave up Spain and all their ships except ten triremes. They were saddled with a
huge indemnity and bound to engage in no war without the consent of Rome.
Carthage thus became a dependent ally of the Roman city.
In describing the course and outcome of the Second Punic
War our sympathies naturally go out to the heroic figure of Hannibal, who
fought so long and so bravely for his native land. It is clear, however, that
Rome's victory in the gigantic struggle was essential to the continued progress
of classical civilization. The triumph of Carthage in the third century, like
that of Persia in the fifth century, must have resulted in the spread of
Oriental ideas and customs throughout the Mediterranean. From this fate Rome