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Causes of the Second Punic War Essay Paper

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The Second Punic war “was the greatest and most unsafe one Rome was compelled to contend on their manner to the conquering of the Mediterranean. ” With 17 old ages of conflict doing heavy casualties to be suffered on both sides. the Second Punic War has proven to be an of import clip period in the Roman and Punic imperiums. For Rome. the terminal of the war meant “the desertion of most Southern Italy” ( Kagan 232. 1995 ) and many economic jobs. For Carthage this meant the terminal of their rise to power. and the realisation that the thought of Mediterranean control being based in Africa instead than Europe was no longer a possibility ( Kagan 233. 1995 ) .

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Both imperiums had a batch at interest upon come ining the war. but as will be discussed. many historiographers believe that eventual struggle was inevitable. Past grudges and conflicts pitted the Romans and Carthaginians against one another finally taking to the Second Punic War and the ensuing ruin of Carthage. The ancient beginnings written by Livy. Polybius Dio Cassius and Appian topographic point a great trade of incrimination on Hannibal in get downing the Second Punic War. Though some of the writers warrant his actions to an extent. Hannibal’s invasion of Saguntum is pinpointed as the immediate cause of the Second Punic War.

Dio Cassius and Appian find small understanding in the motivations behind Hannibal’s actions. As discussed by each of the authors. Hannibal’s male parent. after the loss of Sicily. harbored utmost hatred toward the Romans and transfuse these feelings into Hannibal from a really immature age. All four writers mention an curse taken by Hannibal at age nine in which he vowed retaliation against the Romans for their unfair actions. Livy writes that this curse “bound Hannibal to turn out himself. every bit shortly as he could. an enemy to the Roman people” ( Kagan 93-94. 1975 ) .

Certain plenty. upon go uping to power. “as if Italy had been decreed to him as his state. and the war with Rome committed to him. ” ( Kagan 95. 1975 ) Hannibal marched toward Saguntum with the cognition that this would acquire a rise out of the Romans. Ultimately. Livy asserts that the incrimination is dependent on “whether it was allowed to be done by the treaty” ( Kagan 103. 1975 ) . Polybius outlines three clear causes of the Second Punic war. First. as other ancient writers. Polybius points to Hannibal’s curse and longstanding score against the Romans.

However. he continues to explicate the grounds for Hannibal’s fury. the First Punic War. which Polybius calls “the most of import cause of the subsequent war” ( Kagan106. 1975 ) . At the stopping point of the materialistic war. Carthage did all it could to avoid struggle with Rome. finally bing them Sardinia and big insurances that were to paid to the Romans both instantly and over clip. This unequal pact on the portion of the Romans is the taking factor in Carthage’s hatred toward Rome. Third. Polybius credits the Punic successes in Ibera as the 3rd prima cause of the Second Punic war.

Having secured a great trade of district and farther motivated by triumphs. Carthage felt that they were strong and powerful plenty to take on Rome. It is for this ground that Hannibal chose to assail Saguntum at this clip to arouse a response from the great imperium. Upon being confronted by the Romans. Hannibal does non profess the existent implicit in causes for his onslaught. but insists alternatively that it is revenge for the Punic leaders put to decease by Roman arbiters in Saguntum. Polybius makes an interesting point that this failure to unwrap his true motivations may hold caused more blasted to fall on Hannibal’s shoulders.

Polybius writes. “he had non said a word of the existent cause. but alleged the fabricated one of the affair of Saguntum ; and so travel the recognition of get downing the war” ( Kagan 107. 1975 ) This averment is of import to see in analysing the antediluvian beginnings. as many contain a pro-Roman prejudice. Polybius recognizes that the immediate action that brought the war was that of Hannibal. but besides that “we must admit that the Carthaginians had good ground for set abouting the Hannibalian war. ” ( Kagan 109. 1975 ) .

In his essay “The Case for Rome. ” Frank argues that “the states came to blows because the Barcid household were able to maintain alive the acrimonious feelings aroused by former defeats” ( Kagan 118. 1975 ) . As with Polybius. Frank discusses the true nature of the onslaught versus the alibi for conflict Hannibal was saying. Throughout the exchange of embassies and the lead-up to the Roman and Punic conflicts. Hannibal ne’er wavered from his averment that Carthage was seeking retaliation for those functionaries who had been executed in Saguntum.

Frank continues on to province his sentiment that the war between the two imperiums was non inevitable. but instead a affair of Hannibal and the Carthaginians desiring to reconstruct their pride. In comparing Frank to other modern writers. he is much less sensitive to the errors on the portion of Rome. Frank mistakes Hannibal for the beginning of the war. warranting the confederation with Saguntum and impeaching Hannibal of get downing a war based on bastard scores. In his essay. Frank claims that “an unwelcome war had been thrust” ( Kagan 119. 1975 ) upon Rome.

In analysing the other modern beginnings. it is apparent that Frank’s position is the uncommon one and that Rome was in fact an provoker in the Second Punic war. While Hallward acknowledges the choler of Carthage as a factor in Hannibal’s actions. he is besides rather difficult on the Romans for their unfair actions following the First Punic War. “In 237 B. C. . the Romans. with no shadow of right. had forced Carthage to give up Sardinia and to pay an extra insurance of 1200 talents” ( Kagan 120. 1975 ) .

Hallward acknowledges that it was outside the moral and legal kingdom of Rome to prehend Sardinia and coerce the payment of such steep insurances. He continues to discourse the restrictions imposed on Carthage with the Ebro pact. As Rome grew more concerned with Carthage’s promotions in Spain. they took advantage of the times to enforce the pact and restrict Carthage from progressing past the Ebro River. An of import facet of the Ebro pact is the deductions that came with it. This pact implies that Rome would non impede Punic enlargement up to the River.

Though day of the months are ill-defined. had the confederation with Saguntum already existed. it was an “implied duty on Rome non to utilize the town [ Saguntum ] as an instrument to impede Punic enlargement within the sphere recognized as unfastened to her” ( Kagan 120. 1975 ) . Rome failed to remain out of Carthage’s manner and became a fuss and a hinderance in their pursuit for enlargement. In Saguntum. Rome “intervened to convey into power. non without bloodshed. a party hostile to Carthage and to advance clash with the neighbouring folk of the Torboletae. who were topics of the Carthaginians” ( Kagan 120. 1975 ) .

Not merely was this confederation against unfair in that it was against the spirit of the pact. but it was besides vindictive on Rome’s portion. In the eight months in which Saguntum and Carthage were combating. Rome was hesitating to direct support. Saguntum was “unimportant and distant. and the stuff involvements of Rome were protected in the Ebro treaty” ( Kagan 121. 1975 ) . However. in malice of holding so small to derive. Rome pursued an confederation with this state to impede Carthage and enforce themselves in the Punic kingdom.

All of these actions on Rome’s portion were rough reminders of the unjust intervention Carthage had received since the First Punic war. Though past scores played a cardinal function. Rome’s continued belligerencies and instigatory actions gave good cause for the hateful feelings to go on. and finally led Carthage. under Hannibal’s bid. to prehending Saguntum as a manner of conveying Forth a response from Rome. Throughout his essay. Scullard asserts that Hannibal and Carthage were within their legal and moral right in prehending Saguntum.

Scullard bases this decision on his analysis of the pacts that existed between Rome and Carthage at that clip. He foremost addresses the pact made with Lutatius in 241. He states that Carthage was within their rights because “Rome’s confederation with Saguntum was later than the pact of Lutatius. so that the town was non included in the list of Rome’s Alliess whom the Carthaginians had promised to respect” ( Kagan 123. 1975 ) In respects to the Treaty of Ebro. he points to the simple geographical fact that Saguntum was located 100 stat mis south of the Ebro River. good in the sphere which Carthage had been promised.

Besides in respects to this pact. Scullard mentions a similar point to Hallward in that Saguntum “could non in equity be used by the Romans as a grip to look into Punic enlargement in the south” ( Kagan 124. 1975 ) . Scullard besides addresses Hannibal’s hatred of Rome which is discussed in so many other beginnings. Scullard asserts that though there is grounds and cause for the hate. Hamilcar moved into Spain with “the purpose of re-establishing his country’s lost imperium. ” non seeking retaliation.

Based on the pacts which had been made. and the unfair actions of Rome. Scullard states “Rome had no legal land to keep Hannibal from assailing Saguntum. he was within his legal rights and was no pact breaker” ( Kagan 124. 1975 ) . As with the other modern authors. Errington acknowledges the choler of Hannibal but does non indicate to these emotions as the cause for war. Alternatively. Errington recognizes the incorrect making of Rome in the events taking up to the Second Punic war.

It is critical to understand that “the peace of 241 and Rome’s subsequent appropriation of Sardinia were presented as the acrimonious Barcid letdown which precipitated another war 23 old ages later” ( Errington. 53 ) . It is important to understand the logical thinking behind Hannibal’s choler. instead than reprobate him as a treated. vindictive leader. Errington continues to compose about the “unwarranted intervention with Carthage’s friends in Saguntum. ” This arbitration and newfound friendly relationship with Saguntum reminded Carthage excessively much of the convenient alliances Rome had made in the yesteryear with the Mamerties and the Sardinian soldier of fortunes. Errington 55-56 ) .

In reasoning. he addresses the “Roman traditions” sing the Punic war. which steadfastly blamed Hannibal for the beginning of the war. He evaluates these claims as simplified and “grotesquely wrong” ( Scullard. 60 ) asserting that the Romans played a portion in ask foring the war through their actions against Carthage. In Kagan’s chapter on the Second War. he gives an in deepness background which allows the reader to to the full hold on and understand the fortunes which led to the actions and emotions of both imperiums. The peacetime between the two wars was important in taking up to the 2nd Punic war.

During this clip. Romans involved themselves in a war in Sardinia at the petition of the soldier of fortunes. This engagement against Carthage “was a clear misdemeanor of the pact of 241 and without any respectable pretext” ( Kagan 253 ) . The Romans wittingly and blatantly broke the pact which had been formed between the two states. Once involved. Rome took advantage of their state of affairs and demanded Sardinia and monolithic insurances from Carthage. The Carthaginians were forced to reluctantly accept. but they resented that their pact had been violated and that they taken advantage of.

This declaration “reflected the relationship of power between Rome and Carthage at a clip when Carthage was unnaturally weak” ( Kagan 255 ) . As the imperium gained it’s power back through Spain. they became more confident in their abilities to fit up against Rome. and Rome became more nervous sing their ability to make so. Kagan discusses the confederation made between Saguntum and Rome and concludes that either manner. Rome was in the incorrect. Had the confederation occurred beforehand. it should hold been included in the pact. but had it been subsequently. so it was a direct misdemeanor of the Ebro pact.

Either manner. Rome was in the incorrect to seek to forestall Carthage from taking Saguntum. a metropolis of small importance or value to the Roman imperium. Kagan. like other writers. addresses the Roman tradition of faulting Hannibal’s curse and choler. Kagan argues “the rejection of the wrath and the curse leads to a decline in the duty of Carthage. It is possible to see its behaviour as wholly reactive and defensive” ( Kagan 270. 1995 ) . In Hannibal’s quest to reconstruct the imperium which had been taken fro him. Carthage pushed through Spain in the district they were permitted. In this position. Hannibal’s onslaught on Saguntum broke no pact and was justified by any just apprehension of the Ebro treaty” ( Kagan 270. 1995 ) . Each of the writers offered a similar narrative. but the prejudice and incrimination was placed otherwise in each piece. The ancient authors seem to fall into the trap of the “Roman traditions. ” blaming Hannibal to a great extent for the retribution he felt toward Rome throughout his life. However. as we move to the more modern writers. it is evident that Carthage’s actions were merely a effect and answer to those of Rome.

Hannibal was within his rights of both pacts when he attacked Saguntum. and it was non the right of Rome to go involved. Carthage had been undermined by Rome on several occasions. and they were right to stand up against Rome in the eyes of farther unfairness. While the immediate incrimination for the Second Punic war may fall on Hannibal and his invasion of Saguntum based on Roman hatred. it is of import to recognize that the implicit in causes of the war were in fact instigated by Rome and their policies in the preceding decennaries.

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