Battle of Zama (202 BC)

Battle of Zama (202 BC)

Scipio’s Roman army defeated Hannibal’s Punic army in the battle fought during the 2nd Punic war in Africa.

History

Keywords

Battle of Zama, Zama, Punic war, battle, Punic army, fight, Roman, Hannibal, Carthage, Scipio, Numidia, Numidian cavalry, war, warfare, infantry, military, 3rd century BC, Római Birodalom, Africa, antiquity, history

Related items

Scenes

Zama

Roman army

Punic army

Events of the battle

Stage 1

After the victories scored in Italia, Hannibal, the Carthaginian general, faced the Roman army on his home ground, because Scipio and his troops had invaded North Africa. The two armies, deployed on the field next to Zama, had almost an equal number of soldiers i.e. approximately 40,000. Both generals positioned their armies in the traditional way. The battle began with the attack launched by the Numidian and Italian cavalries from the flanks of the Roman army, who managed to destroy almost the entire Punic cavalry.

Stage 2

Hannibal ordered his dreaded war elephants to attack. The action failed, because due to an ingenious manoeuvre Scipio had reorganised the three rows of the Roman infantry deploying his soldiers in columns. Thus, the elephants rushed forward between the columns, without causing serious damage to the enemy. The Romans attacked and hunted the elephants, some of which turned back, causing disarray in their own army.

Stage 3

At the beginning of the clash between the two infantries, Hannibal made sure that that the third row of his army, made up of veterans, i.e. very valuable soldiers, be held in reserve until later in the battle. With this move, he prevented his army from being encircled by the enemy. Finally, it was the veterans who managed to counteract the Roman attack. In the desperate fight, the Punic army gradually achieved superiority.

Stage 4

The return of the Roman cavalry led to a turnaround, as the Punic infantry was attacked from behind and enclosed. Thus, the battle turned into a massacre. The Punic army suffered huge losses and only a very few (including Hannibal) managed to flee from the sight of the battle. Through this victory, Scipio did not only win a battle, but also put an end to the war in favour of the Roman Republic.

Stages of the battle

Narration

Stage 1

After the victories scored in Italia, Hannibal, the Carthaginian general, faced the Roman army on his home ground, because Scipio and his troops had invaded North Africa. The two armies, deployed on the field next to Zama, had almost an equal number of soldiers i.e. approximately 40,000. Both generals positioned their armies in the traditional way. The battle began with the attack launched by the Numidian and Italian cavalries from the flanks of the Roman army, who managed to destroy almost the entire Punic cavalry.

Stage 2

Hannibal ordered his dreaded war elephants to attack. The action failed, because due to an ingenious manoeuvre Scipio had reorganised the three rows of the Roman infantry deploying his soldiers in columns. Thus, the elephants rushed forward between the columns, without causing serious damage to the enemy. The Romans attacked and hunted the elephants, some of which turned back, causing disarray in their own army.

Stage 3

At the beginning of the clash between the two infantries, Hannibal made sure that that the third row of his army, made up of veterans, i.e. very valuable soldiers, be held in reserve until later in the battle. With this move, he prevented his army from being encircled by the enemy. Finally, it was the veterans who managed to counteract the Roman attack. In the desperate fight, the Punic army gradually achieved superiority.

Stage 4

The return of the Roman cavalry led to a turnaround, as the Punic infantry was attacked from behind and enclosed. Thus, the battle turned into a massacre. The Punic army suffered huge losses and only a very few (including Hannibal) managed to flee from the sight of the battle. Through this victory, Scipio did not only win a battle, but also put an end to the war in favour of the Roman Republic.

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