216 BC2014-09-17T14:22:21+00:00

Battle of Cannae
The Roman army commanded by the Consuls Lucius Aemilius Paullus and Gaius Terentius Varo was destroyed as a fighting force by Hannibal and the Carthaginians. This was the nadir of Roman fortunes during the Second Punic war and the defeat had strategic implications. Shortly thereafter, Capua and some other southern Italian cities joined the Carthaginian side.

There is debate among scholars as to the size of the Roman army. Some historians place the number of legions at 8 with a matching number of allied legions. This yields a number of 86,000 men. Other historians think this number is too large and estimate the number at 50,000. Whichever number we accept, it is generally agreed that the Romans and their Italian allies outnumbered the Carthaginians.

Livy estimates that 40,000 Romans and allies died at Cannae. Among them Aemilius Paulus the consul, 80 senators, 30 of whom had served as consul, praetor or aedile.

[Visual: Statue: Hannibal and jar of rings]

Polybius. The Rise of the Roman Empire. Ian Scott-Kilvert (Trans.), 1979. Penguin Books, Ltd. London. pgs. 134-138.

O’Connell Robert L. The Ghosts of Cannae. Random House. New York. 2010.

Livius, T. The History of Rome, Books 9-to-26. Trans. D. Spillman. London. Henry G. Bohn, York Street, Covent Garden. 1853. John Childs and Son, Bungay. Project Gutenberg. Produced by Ted Garvin, Taavi Kalju and the Online Distributed Proofreading team at http://www.pgdp,net. November 6, 2006. EBook #19725. Page 123