Results 1 to 3 of 3

Thread: Hannibal's original soldiers: What happened to them?

  1. #1

    Default Hannibal's original soldiers: What happened to them?


    I was recently doing an essay about the battle of Zama. There Hannibal employed three lines of infantry.
    1. Mercenaries: Celts, Moors, Baelerics, Ligurians.
    2. Carthaginian citizen militia (hoplites? Pikemen?)
    3. Veterans from Italy: Bruttians.

    But what actually happened to the original troops, that Hannibal took over the Alps? Iberians, Africans (Carthaginians? Lybians? instead of Numdians or Moors)...
    He did at least triumph in three great battles in Italy, that of the Trebia, Lake Trasimene, and Cannae.
    Decisive victories with minimum casualty of his best troops and maximum casualty on the Roman side.

    I know that Hannibal was about 15 years in Italy, so that some part of his troops would perhaps be considered too old. Or killed in small numbers here and there.
    But that did not stop the Silver shield pikemen, the old veterans that fought for Eumenes at the battle of Gabiene.

    I am just wondering what happened to the Iberian and African soldiers? how did they gradually loose their numbers? where and when?
    Last edited by VikingPower; 06-03-2014 at 03:35.

  2. #2
    Arrogant Ashigaru Moderator Ludens's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Blog Entries

    Lightbulb Re: Hannibal's original soldiers: What happened to them?

    I am not a historian, but my guess is that we simply cannot reconstruct that in any detail. Nearly all our information comes from Roman literary sources, and they wouldn't be very interested in such things.

    A considerable number of Hannibal's men would have been able to return home fairly easily: the Ligurians, Bruttians, Celts from northern Italy. Others could do as mercenaries usually did: arrange for a ship and hire themselves out elsewhere. The Africans presumably left together with Hannibal himself. That only leaves the non-mercenary Iberian contingent.

    Do we actually know how Hannibal retreated from Italy? The (popular) history books I've read are always vague on this bit. Did he capture a port and commandeered the ships, or did Carthage send a fleet to fetch him and his men?
    Looking for a good read? Visit the Library!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Hannibal's original soldiers: What happened to them?

    Polybius speaks little about Hannibal's manner of departure.
    Livy states that the soldiers that were considered unfit for service; were distributed to garrison duty in a few Bruttian towns.
    He did probably already have a port and access to ships
    Livy implies that these were the same soldiers that fought in Trebia, Trasimene, and Cannae.
    Perhaps some of the African veterans were in the second line, along with the militia. Livy states that there was also one legion of Macedonian pikemen.


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
Single Sign On provided by vBSSO