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Second Punic War

Satisfactory Essays
The cause of the Second Punic War is an issue of some great debate. Polybius is someone who gives a very good account of the events that led to the war, blaming the Carthaginians for causing the war. This raises a very large question on the part of Polybius. Was he right to assume that it was the actions of Hannibal and the Carthaginians that led to the war, or was there some other underlying events that took place the actually caused the Second Punic War? It is my belief that Polybius assumption was correct in a sense. However it seems that actions of the Roman state played a large part in provoking the war.

Many people believe that the Second Punic War started as a result of Hannibal and the Carthaginians laying siege to the city of Saguntum, and crossing the river of Ebro going against the treaty from the First Punic War. Something that Polybius says, which I agree with, is that these events might be described as the beginnings of the war, but should by no means agree that they constituted its cause.

According to Polybius Hannibal Inherited the Second Punic War from his father in much the same was as Alexander the Great inherited his expedition from his father Philip II. What this means is that the events that led to the war were actually the result of the dealings with Hannibal’s father, Hamilcar Barca, and the Romans. Polybius gives us three events that led to the Second Punic War, and none of these events actually involved Hannibal himself. Polybius tells us that the real reason that there was a renewal of activates between Carthage and Rome boiled down to these three factors. The first was the bitterness and anger of Hamilcar Barca at the end of the First Punic War when he was forced to surrender despite being undefeated in Sicily. The second factor, which Polybius tells us is the most important is the Roman seizure of Sardinia, while Carthage was still reeling form the result of the Mercenary Rebellion. The final reason that Polybius gives us is the fact that Carthaginian enterprise in to Spain was so successful.

For these reasons Polybius tells us that Hamilcar Barca played an important role in bringing about the Second Punic War even though he died ten years before the actual war took place. What Polybius was saying was that the events of the First Punic War and the success in Spain distilled a hatred for Rome in the Carthaginian people but more importantly his son Hannibal.
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