The Battle of Cannae Essay

The Battle of Cannae Essay

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The battle of Cannae was the third victory for the Carthaginians against the Romans, during the second Punic War [ca. 216 BCE]. The battle at Cannae would prove to be the battle that made Hannibal famous, and nearly bring the entire Roman Empire to its knees. For the Carthaginians the battle brought great victory and support to their interracial army. For the Romans it brought symbolic importance and lessons learned as well as the need for military strategic adaptation. Hannibal a great general by the age of 26 was sworn in his youth to look on the Romans with utter contempt and to destroy them in their highest ranks. The Romans on the other hand mocked Hannibal time and time again by sending out their lesser soldiers. By the time the battle of Cannae came around Hannibal knew he was facing his long awaited encounter with the very top legions of the Roman army. Hannibal’s success in the battle of Cannae can only be attributed to his strategic war tactics.
The battle of Cannae was slow in coming each side milled around for two or three days before the Romans finally made the first move.
As soon as he saw the Romans beginning to move on that steamy day, Hannibal sent his light-armed troops- the slingers and pikemen-across the river. He knew who was in command of the Roman army and he knew, even before the main body of the opposing troops began to debouch towards the river, that at long last he had brought the main body of Roman arms to battle. Ever since Lake Trasimene [June 24, 217 BCE] he had waited for this moment... [Leonard Cottrell 1960p. 112]
As is clearly visible the first thing that Hannibal did was to let the opposing army make the first move, he then proceeds with his light armoured troops across the river. This ena...


... middle of paper ...


...s of Hannibal led his army to the ultimate victory even at the point that they were outnumbered two to one. There is not an exact amount of men who died that day however it was one of the bloodiest battles ever, losing more men then where killed in the Royal Air Force throughout the first and second world wars. Latter on Varro a Roman general admitted that,
...It would be strange or rather indeed impossible thing, that after meeting your enemies on equal terms in so many separate skirmishes and in most cases being victorious, now when you confront them with your united forces and outnumber them by more than two to one you should be beaten.
As stated previously while some attribute the Carthaginians success to weather and geography it is obvious that it was Hannibal’s strategic manoeuvres and tactics that led to the defeat of the Romans at the Battle of Cannae.

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