From Defeat to Victory: Why did Rome Win the Second Punic War?

From Defeat to Victory: Why did Rome Win the Second Punic War?
3 December 2021, 5.00pm - 6.30pm

Oded Haim, University of Auckland

This Postgraduate-work-in-progress seminar will be held online via Zoom and in person in room 246, Senate House.

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During the 3rd and 2nd century BCE, Rome waged three wars against Carthage, the dominant power of the western Mediterranean. I will focus on the second Punic war (218-202 BCE) and especially on two of its most well-known battles, Cannae and Zama. At the battle of Cannae, the Romans outnumbered their opponents but suffered a crushing defeat in which tens of thousands were killed. fourteen years later at Zama, the numerically inferior Romans won and ended the second Punic war. Thus, it seems that between the defeat at Cannae and the victory at Zama, Rome went through some change. In order to try and find out what that change was, I will use a methodology called “the face of battle”; to compare between the course of fighting of the two battles. This methodology first came into being in 1976 with the publication of the book The Face of Battle written by John Keegan. In this book, Keegan offered a new way to examine battles. Instead of looking at tactics, strategy and the commander’s viewpoint, Keegan’s book looks at battles at a much smaller level, where things like moral and equipment seem to have a greater presence.


Valerie James
020 7862 8716