The Significance of the Second Punic War


[What is the difference between 'Results' and 'Significance'? 

Consider, then mouseover to see my suggestion here.]


The consequences of defeat for Carthage

a. The terms of the Peace [THING]

  they could keep their pre-war Territory and trading centres along the coast, and live as free men under their own laws - although they had to restore all lands and property to Masinissa and sign a treaty with him;
100 Hostages (to be chosen by Scipio), aged between fourteen and thirty, had to be handed over, plus deserters, runaway slaves, and all prisoners of war had to be returned.
a war Indemnity of 10,000 talents, spread over 50 years in equal instalments, had to be paid;
their whole Navy except for ten warships along with all their war-elephants had to be handed over to the Romans;
they could only Go to war in Africa with the permission of Rome, and were forbidden to make war under any circumstances outside Africa.

b. Hannibal and Reform

Hannibal was elected Suffete
he reformed political abuses, enacting that the Hundred and Four were elected, for one year only
Carthage propspered, and the indemnity was paid back as a lump sum in 191bc
the Carthaginian nobility appealed to Rome, and Hannibal was forced into exile.

c. International weakness

the loss of its Mediterranean empire meant that Carthage became just another trading port
Carthage suffered from constant attacks from Masinissa and Numidia.

d. The Cothon rebuilt

Carthage's military port (the Cothon) port was rebuilt to hold 200 ships - this may indicate a growth in trade
the wikipedia author speculates that Carthage became a pirate-centre.

e. Carthago delenda est ('Carthage must be destroyed')

many Romans believed that the Peace was too lenient, and that Carthage should be destroyed - Cato ended every speech, whatever the subject, with the words 'Carthago delenda est'
when Carthage declared war on Numidia, the Romans invaded (149bc) and - after a three year war - destroyed Carthage, and ploughed salt into the land.



The origin of the Roman empire 

a. The power of Rome

Lazenby (1998) states that the war 'revealed the latent power of Rome' - its huge resources of money and manpower, its powerful navy and army, and the stability and resilience of its political institutions (e.g. the senate)
the Hannibalic War, claimed Polybius, marked the moment when the Romans decided they wanted to rule the world
Michael Fronda (2010) writes: 'At the global level, Rome's ultimate victory [over Hannibal] paved the way for its conquest of the Mediterranean. Rome entered the Second Punic War as the dominant city in Italy..., yet emerged as a world power'.
the war left Rome in control - for the first time - of Cisapline Gaul, Sicily, Sardinia and Spain (which they decided to keep) - i.e. this was the beginning of a real 'empire'.

b. The Socii

Hannibal had tried to persuade the southern Italian allies of Rome (e.g. Arpi, Capua, Bruttium, Tarentum) to abandon Rome; Michael Fronda (2010) has shown how - when Rome reconquered them, 'fiercely independent' allies were turned into conquered colonies
this created great tension in southern Italy, leading in 90bc to the 'Social War', when the allies revolted.

c. Syria

when Hannibal fled to Antiochus of Syria, who was resisting the Romans in the eastern Mediterranean, Scipio with his brother Lucius went there and defeated him (Battle of Magnesia, 190bc), establishing Roman power in the eastern Mediterranean.

d. Macedon and Greece

Rome had gone to war with Philip V of Macedon 214-205bc when he allied himself with Hannibal. After the war they tried to keep out of Greek affairs but found themselves unable to do so, finally conquering Macedon in 147bc.

e. Roman trade expanded

the destruction of Carthage removed a trading rival, and the period after the war saw a massive growth in Roman trade, ports - and the industries (textiles, olive oil) which produced trade goods.



Effects in Italy 

a. The devastation of southern Italy

'deracination' - the taking-away of farmers for the army (which was traditionally made up of free farmers) took literally hundreds of thousands of small farmers from the land
Hannibal's razed earth strategy (he boasted that he had destroyed 4,000 'towns' and killed 300,000 Italians) further damaged the countryside
Fabius and the Romans did the same to towns which supported Hannibal; also, Fabus made forced grain seizures from the peasants
in the south of Italy, wealthy 'new men' bought up the land and turned it into huge landed estates, farmed by slaves - the original peasant-subsistance-farming economy was obliterated.

b. Social changes

the rapidly-changing economy produced changes in society - particularly the rise of a new social class of 'equites' (bankers, traders, estate owners) - which the old social structures could not cope with
the rapid growth of Rome created a huge mass of poor 'plebs' - victorious generals and politicians held increasingly spectacular Games to keep them happy
huge numbers of slaves completely changed the balance of Roman society, and the way ordinary Romans behaved.

c. Religious and Cultural changes

the defeats of the war challenged people's beliefs in the old Roman gods - people (e.g. Flaminius) openly said that the auguries were useless
Greek ideas and gods - and teachers and doctors - were imported from Greece
pro-Hellenists like Scipio introduced Greek fashions and learning (e.g. shaving every day).

d. Political changes

the war gave the aristocracy (20 noble families) the chance to grasp total political dominance
'equites' and new men were excluded from power - which increased political and social tension
there were clashes between the pro-Hellenist modernisers such as Scipio and the conservative traditionalists such as Fabius and Cato.

e. Historiography

the Roman writer Sallust (1st century bc) believed that the war marked the start of the beginning of Rome's political corruption, and of the erosion of its core values by luxury and wealth
Arnold Toynbee (1965) published a huge work listing all the ways Italy and the world changed; he believed that the Second Punic War caused the Roman empire and changed the world ... but also kick-started the developments which would eventually lead to its collapse; he also said that southern Italy still hadn't recovered from the war even by the 20th century.  He wrote: 'The Roman Commonwealth's life was deranged in all its aspects'.
Peter Brunt (1971) rejected Toynbee's thesis. He claimed that the Roman writers had exaggerated the effects in the same way that they exaggerated battle casualties. He accepted that changes were happening, but said they were long-term developments, and were not caused by the war
Modern historians tend to think that the war speeded up and increased changes that were happening anyway.






The following web pages will help you complete the task:

This document contains the relevant sections of the set
OCR Textbook, though will find it very poor and muddled.



Read the following passage from Polybius, and write answers to the questions which follow:

Polybius, Book 1, Chapter 3
It was owing to their defeat of the Carthaginians in the Hannibalic War that the Romans, feeling that the chief and most essential step in their scheme of universal aggression had now been taken, were first emboldened to reach out their hands to grasp the rest and to cross with an army to Greece and the continent of Asia

Briefly describe the results of the Hannibalic War    [4]

Explain how victory in the Hannibalic War helped the creation of the Roman Empire   [4]

Do you accept that Polybius's interpretation of the results of the Second Punic War is true?  Explain your opinion.  You must refer both to this passage, and to your knowledge of Polybius as a writer.     [5]