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THE MAKING OF EUROPE / EARLY EUROPEAN HISTORY

From Hutton Webster's, Early European History (1917); edited for this on-line publication, by ELLOPOS

VIII. THE GREAT AGE OF THE ROMAN REPUBLIC, 264-31 B.C.

Em. Macron, Rediscovering the Path to Europe
Em. Macron, Rediscovering the Path to Europe


» Contents of this Chapter
Page 7

AFTER CANNAE

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.

VICTORIOUS ROME

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 saved Europe.

 

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THE MAKING OF EUROPE / EARLY EUROPEAN HISTORY: Table of Contents

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Cf. The Ancient Greece * The Ancient Rome
Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) * Western Medieval Europe * Renaissance in Italy

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