The Layman’s Historian
Episode 45 - The Mediterranean on Fire: Sicily

Episode 45 - The Mediterranean on Fire: Sicily

September 4, 2021

Unlike Spain, Sicily had been relatively quiet during the opening years of the Second Punic War. That all changed in 216 BC with the death of Hiero II, King of Syracuse. Staunchly pro-Roman, Hiero had feared that his grandson and natural heir, Hieronymus, would lead Syracuse to disaster. His greatest fears were justified - shortly after the old king's death, Hieronymus broke with Rome and allied with Hannibal. When Hieronymus was assassinated, one of the most confused and confusing conflicts of the Second Punic War began, one which would ultimately culminate in the sacking of the greatest Greek city in Magna Graecia.

 

Link to the Episode 45 page on the Layman's Historian website

Recommended further reading:

The Histories by Polybius

Hannibal's War by Titus Livius

A Companion to the Punic Wars (Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World) Edited by Dexter Hoyos

Hannibal's Dynasty by Dexter Hoyos

Carthage Must Be Destroyed by Richard Miles

Implacable Enemies: The Barcid Armies at War by Karwansary Publishers

Clash of the Colossi: The First Punic War by Karwansary Publishers

Subscribe or leave a review on iTunes or Spotify

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Episode 44 - The Mediterranean on Fire: Spain

Episode 44 - The Mediterranean on Fire: Spain

July 17, 2021

With Hannibal immersed in the mire of Italian geopolitics, the Second Punic War shifts to theaters overseas. Keenly aware of the strategic importance of maintaining pressure on Carthage’s outposts in Spain, the Scipio brothers – Gnaeus and Publius Cornelius – grappled with Hannibal’s younger brother, Hasdrubal Barca for years, chipping away at the Barcid power base. When both Scipio brothers perished within days of each other in 211 BC, Publius Cornelius Scipio the Younger volunteered to take their place as senior commander of the Spanish war. Barely in his mid-twenties, Scipio rapidly showed that he was a new type of Roman commander, one well-versed in the tactics of Hannibalic warfare….

 

Link to the Episode 44 page on the Layman's Historian website

Recommended further reading:

The Histories by Polybius

Hannibal's War by Titus Livius

A Companion to the Punic Wars (Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World) Edited by Dexter Hoyos

Hannibal's Dynasty by Dexter Hoyos

Carthage Must Be Destroyed by Richard Miles

Implacable Enemies: The Barcid Armies at War by Karwansary Publishers

Clash of the Colossi: The First Punic War by Karwansary Publishers

Subscribe or leave a review on iTunes or Spotify

Leave a like or comment on Facebook or Twitter

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Episode 43 - Capua: Hannibal’s Albatross

Episode 43 - Capua: Hannibal’s Albatross

July 17, 2021

Following Cannae, Hannibal descended into the rich agricultural lands of Campania in Magna Graecia. Chafing under Roman rule and eager to reclaim her place as hegemon of southern Italy, the ancient Etruscan city of Capua quickly came to an agreement with Hannibal. In exchange for defecting to the Carthaginian side, Hannibal would allow Capua autonomy, secure her place as mistress of Italy, and allow her to be governed by her own rulers and marshal her own army. A stormy honeymoon followed, with Hannibal soon realizing that he had given too much and received far too little for his new southern Italian "ally"....

 

Link to the Episode 43 page on the Layman's Historian website

Recommended further reading:

The Histories by Polybius

Hannibal's War by Titus Livius

A Companion to the Punic Wars (Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World) Edited by Dexter Hoyos

Hannibal's Dynasty by Dexter Hoyos

Carthage Must Be Destroyed by Richard Miles

Implacable Enemies: The Barcid Armies at War by Karwansary Publishers

Clash of the Colossi: The First Punic War by Karwansary Publishers

Subscribe or leave a review on iTunes or Spotify

Leave a like or comment on Facebook or Twitter

Contact me directly through email

 

Episode 42 - The Day After Cannae

Episode 42 - The Day After Cannae

July 17, 2021

In the stillness following the destruction of their greatest army at the Battle of Cannae, the Romans faced an awful choice. The triumphant Hannibal stood poised to march on Rome herself and besiege the capital, and there was little the surviving remnants of legionaries could do to stop him. The Italian allies had already begun to waiver in their resolve, and some even among Rome's patricians began to advocate for abandoning Italy entirely. In this hour of doubt, Hannibal's envoys arrived to discuss peace terms. However, Romans such as Publius Cornelius Scipio and Titus Manlius Torquatus would hear no talk of peace or flight. The Carthaginian delegate was coldly told to return home, and the Senate refused to ransom the Roman prisoners in Hannibal's hands despite their heart-rending pleas. There would be no admission of defeat - Rome would fight until the bitter end.

Link to the Episode 42 page on the Layman's Historian website

Recommended further reading:

The Histories by Polybius

Hannibal's War by Titus Livius

A Companion to the Punic Wars (Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World) Edited by Dexter Hoyos

Hannibal's Dynasty by Dexter Hoyos

Carthage Must Be Destroyed by Richard Miles

Implacable Enemies: The Barcid Armies at War by Karwansary Publishers

Clash of the Colossi: The First Punic War by Karwansary Publishers

Subscribe or leave a review on iTunes or Spotify

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Episode 41 - Cannae: Rome’s Darkest Day

Episode 41 - Cannae: Rome’s Darkest Day

July 17, 2021

Fabius the Delayer may have saved Minucius from disaster at Geronium, but he would not always be there to protect his impetuous colleagues from rushing into trouble. Following Fabius's relinquishment of the dictatorship, one of the newly-elected consuls, Gaius Terentius Varro, accused Fabius and the patricians of intentionally prolonging the war. Instead of continuing to follow Fabius’s delaying tactics, Varro urged the Romans to immediately engage Hannibal to obtain decisive victory. Despite the protests of his fellow consul, Lucius Aemilius Paullus, Varro's counsel won out. The Senate raised four new legions in addition to the four which typically served. Fielding the greatest army she had ever raised - 87,000 men total - Rome challenged Hannibal for the third time at the small Apulian town of Cannae.

Link to the Episode 41 page on the Layman's Historian website which includes pictures and diagrams of the Battle of Cannae

Recommended further reading:

The Histories by Polybius

Hannibal's War by Titus Livius

A Companion to the Punic Wars (Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World) Edited by Dexter Hoyos

Hannibal's Dynasty by Dexter Hoyos

Carthage Must Be Destroyed by Richard Miles

Implacable Enemies: The Barcid Armies at War by Karwansary Publishers

Clash of the Colossi: The First Punic War by Karwansary Publishers

Subscribe or leave a review on iTunes or Spotify

Leave a like or comment on the Facebook page

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Episode 40 - The Delayer: Part II

Episode 40 - The Delayer: Part II

November 15, 2020

Following Hannibal's daring escape from Campania, Fabius's reputation in Rome lay in shambles. Subsequent victories by the Scipios in Spain and the fierce rhetoric of Fabius's lieutenant Minucius at last succeeded in having Minucius appointed as co-equal commander of the Roman army. Undeterred by this humiliation, Fabius continued in his single-minded determination to preserve Rome's army. That selflessness would save Rome from another near disaster when Minucius predictably fell into Hannibal's cunning trap.

Recommended further reading:

The Histories by Polybius

Hannibal's War by Titus Livius

A Companion to the Punic Wars (Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World) Edited by Dexter Hoyos

Hannibal's Dynasty by Dexter Hoyos

Carthage Must Be Destroyed by Richard Miles

Implacable Enemies: The Barcid Armies at War by Karwansary Publishers

Clash of the Colossi: The First Punic War by Karwansary Publishers

Link to the Episode 40 page on the Layman's Historian website

Subscribe or leave a review on iTunes or Spotify

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Episode 39 - The Delayer: Part I

Episode 39 - The Delayer: Part I

September 26, 2020

 

Following the disaster at Lake Trasimene, the Roman Senate took the drastic step of appointing a dictator - a single man with full military powers - to meet the crisis. The man chosen - Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus - differed greatly from the typical Roman aristocrat of his day. Cool-headed and steady handed, Fabius implemented a strategy of delay and harassment against Hannibal, hoping to whittle down the Carthaginian forces without risking another devastating defeat in open battle. Although effective at stabilizing Roman morale, the dictator's strategy proved extremely unpopular among soldiers in his own camp. His second-in-command, Marcus Minucius Rufus, soon became the ringleader of a growing band of dissidents, and the tension between the dictator and his lieutenant would lead to an open breach which Hannibal would be quick to exploit.

Recommended further reading:

The Histories by Polybius

Hannibal's War by Titus Livius

A Companion to the Punic Wars (Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World) Edited by Dexter Hoyos

Hannibal's Dynasty by Dexter Hoyos

Carthage Must Be Destroyed by Richard Miles

Implacable Enemies: The Barcid Armies at War by Karwansary Publishers

Clash of the Colossi: The First Punic War by Karwansary Publishers

Link to the Episode 39 page on the Layman's Historian website

Subscribe or leave a review on iTunes

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Episode 38 - The Dark Waters of Trasimene

Episode 38 - The Dark Waters of Trasimene

August 15, 2020

Following the Battle of the River Trebia, Hannibal descended upon the rich province of Etruria in his advance into Italy. The new Roman consul, Gaius Flaminius, set out to confront the invaders with a mixture of fresh recruits as well as the survivors from Trebia. Arrogant, brash, and reckless, Flaminius led his legionaries in hot pursuit of the marauding Carthaginians - just as Hannibal intended. Flaminius finally caught up with Hannibal near the shores of Lake Trasimene, a name which would soon be rendered hateful to Roman ears…

Recommended further reading:

The Histories by Polybius

Hannibal's War by Titus Livius

A Companion to the Punic Wars (Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World) Edited by Dexter Hoyos

Hannibal's Dynasty by Dexter Hoyos

Carthage Must Be Destroyed by Richard Miles

Implacable Enemies: The Barcid Armies at War by Karwansary Publishers

Clash of the Colossi: The First Punic War by Karwansary Publishers

Link to the Episode 38 page on the Layman's Historian website

Subscribe or leave a review on iTunes

Leave a like or comment on the Facebook page

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Episode 37 - First Blood

Episode 37 - First Blood

July 12, 2020

Having narrowly skirted disaster in the Alps, Hannibal and his army regrouped in the Po Valley of northern Italy while the Roman Consuls, Scipio and Sempronious, scrambled to intercept him. After thrashing the Romans under Scipio at the River Ticinus, Hannibal pursued Scipio’s retreating legions to the River Trebia. Here, Sempronious - proud, headstrong, and impetuous - would seek to meet the Carthaginians in decisive battle. In the December, 218 BC, the two armies would clash at the Battle of the River Trebia - the first major battle between Hannibal and the Roman legions.

Recommended further reading:

The Histories by Polybius

Hannibal's War by Titus Livius

A Companion to the Punic Wars (Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World) Edited by Dexter Hoyos

Hannibal's Dynasty by Dexter Hoyos

Carthage Must Be Destroyed by Richard Miles

Implacable Enemies: The Barcid Armies at War by Karwansary Publishers

Clash of the Colossi: The First Punic War by Karwansary Publishers

Link to the Episode 37 page on the Layman's Historian website

Subscribe or leave a review on iTunes

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Episode 36 - Making a Way

Episode 36 - Making a Way

May 30, 2020

In early October 218 BC, Hannibal performed his most famous - and controversial - feat: the crossing of the Alps. Fighting hostile tribes, freezing cold, blinding snow, treacherous paths, and even the solid rock which barred his way, Hannibal forged a path across Europe’s tallest mountain range, elephants in tow. When he emerged into Italy, his forces had been drastically reduced, but the men who remained formed the nucleus of what would become the Roman's worst nightmare.

Recommended further reading:

The Histories by Polybius

Hannibal's War by Titus Livius

A Companion to the Punic Wars (Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World) Edited by Dexter Hoyos

Hannibal's Dynasty by Dexter Hoyos

Carthage Must Be Destroyed by Richard Miles

Implacable Enemies: The Barcid Armies at War by Karwansary Publishers

Clash of the Colossi: The First Punic War by Karwansary Publishers

Link to the Episode 36 page on the Layman's Historian website

Subscribe or leave a review on iTunes

Leave a like or comment on the Facebook page

Follow on Twitter.

Contact me directly through email

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