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Zama

October 19, 202 BC


Strategic Context
After defeating the Carthaginians in Spain, Scipio Africanus invades North Africa in 204 BC to take Carthage itself. Scipio defeats Carthaginian ally, King Syphax of Numidia, with the help of his son Prince Masinissa. Scipio establishes himself while Hannibal Barca leads the main Carthaginian army in ineffectual skirmishes in Italy. Hannibal Barca returns to defend Carthage in 203 BC and meets Scipio at Zama the next year.

Stakes
+ A Roman victory would leave Carthage undefended, forcing it to concede to a severe peace treaty. + A Carthaginian victory would destroy Romes only army in North Africa, forcing a more advantageous peace.

By Jonathan Webb, 2009

Zama, 202 BC
Strength
Romans
Scipio Africanus 29,000 infantry 6,500 cavalry Well Carthaginians

Hannibal Barca
36,000 infantry 4,000 cavalry 80 war elephants

Well

By Jonathan Webb, 2009

Hannibal charges withhis his war elephants and which are confronted by Roman skirmishers. thewing war approach the Hannibal deploys his infantry in continue three lines with his hardened veterans occupying the rear line ranks, and his mercenaries and levies occupying theelephants front two lines. He deploys his war Frightened elephants rampage into the Carthaginian disordering the As right cavalry. Laelius also Scipio redresses ranks toto form askirmishers continuous battle line and advances. Hannibal meets the Roman infantry with elephants and skirmishers in frontthe of the infantryto and the cavalry on theto wings. Scipio deploys his infantry in threesucceeds; lines as well:many hastatielephants in the front, then and flee. finallyThe Roman lines, Scipio orders cavalry blow loud horns frighten the beasts which partly turn principes about and seizes the opportunity to charge the Carthaginian right wing and drive it from the field. Meanwhile, Roman skirmishers veteran only his triarii. first Scipio two leaves lines wide lanes of infantry. between his formations but hides the gaps with skirmishers. He deploys his cavalry on the wings, Masinissa commanding the stronger Carthaginian left wing is stampeded by rampaging elephants, completely disordering it. Masinissa promptly charges the Carthaginian left wing right wing. the Hannibal knows Scipios cavalry is superior and gives orders to his cavalry to lure thethe Roman cavalry far away fr om infantry the battlefield ifbe defeated. harass remaining war elephants and carefully lure them down wide lanes in the to destroyed in the rear. and drives it from the field.

Carthaginians (Hannibal Barca) 36,000 infantry 4,000 cavalry

Hannibal

Carthaginians (Hannibal)

Tychaeus

Romans (Scipio)

Laelius Scipio

Romans (Scipio Africanus) 29,000 infantry Masinissa 6,500 cavalry

The Carthaginian second counterattacks aggressively, pushing the Roman hastati backwards until reinforced by the principes .A fierce with The Roman hastati eventually defeat thea Carthaginian front infantry line which must retreat. However, Hannibal orders is second line Scipio redresses his line ranks to form continuous battle line and advances. Hannibal meets the Roman infantry struggle ensues but the Carthaginian infantry are again defeated and forced to retreat. Hannibal does not allow these troops to mingle with his infantry tofirst not allow the first into their ranks resulting in a few initial skirmishes between friendly troops. Trapped between their only his two lines of line infantry. rear line but most have the sense to redeploy on the wings. Hannibals cavalry appears to be carrying out its orders magnificently as there is no own second line and the Roman hastati, the Carthaginian front line is slaughtered although some escape to settle on the wings. sign of the Roman cavalry.

Carthaginians (Hannibal Barca) 36,000 infantry 4,000 cavalry

Hannibal

Carthaginians (Hannibal)

Romans (Scipio)

Scipio

Romans (Scipio Africanus) 29,000 infantry 6,500 cavalry

Scipio Hannibal pause briefly to reorganize their formations. Scipio leisurely deploys the principes on the inner wings As theand Scipio orders infantry an battle advance reaches over athe climax, gory the battlefield. Roman A cavalry violentfinally and costly return infantry to attack struggle the Carthaginians infantry ensues. in the Neither rear. In and the triarii on the outer wings for a balanced line which slightly overlaps the Carthaginian line. Hannibal knows an side an instant, appears the to Carthaginian be gaining an infantry advantage are annihilated and the decision where remains they stand in or great violently doubtpursued to both commanders. from the battlefield. advance over the corpse-filled battlefield would be difficult and opts to wait for Scipio to attack his veteran infantry line.

Carthaginians (Hannibal Barca) 36,000 infantry 4,000 cavalry

Hannibal

Carthaginians (Hannibal)

Triarii

Principes

Hastati

Principes

Triarii

Scipio

Romans (Scipio)

Romans (Scipio Africanus) 29,000 infantry 6,500 cavalry

Zama, 202 BC
Casualties & Aftermath
Romans: Carthaginians:

5,000
or 14%

30,000
or 75%

Hannibal escaped to convince the Carthaginian senate to sue for peace. Carthage was forced to surrender its fleet, cede land to Masinissas Numidia and pay severe reparations to Rome. Hannibal was allowed to continue playing a role in Carthaginian politics. In fact, he was so successful in Carthages recovery within the terms of the peace treaty, that Rome forced him to flee in 196 BC.
By Jonathan Webb, 2009

The Art of Battle: Animated Battle Maps


http://www.theartofbattle.com
By Jonathan Webb, 2009