battle of Zama

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Punic Wars

Hannibal (247—183 bc) Carthaginian general

Scipio Africanus (c. 236—184 bc)



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Zama is the name given to the final battle of the Second Punic War, though it was not actually fought near any of the places so called. Hannibal had perhaps 36,000 infantry, 4,000 cavalry and 80 elephants, Cornelius Scipio Africanus perhaps 29,000 infantry and 6,000 cavalry. The elephants, opening the battle, were either ushered down corridors Scipio had left in his formation or driven out to the flanks where they collided with Hannibal's cavalry, which was then routed by the Roman cavalry. When the infantry lines closed, the Roman first line may have defeated both Hannibal's first and second lines, though the remnants perhaps reformed on the wings of his third line, composed of his veterans from Italy. Scipio, too, reformed his lines at this point, and a titanic struggle developed until the Roman cavalry, returning from the pursuit, charged into Hannibal's rear, whereupon his army disintegrated.

Subjects: Classical Studies.

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