End of the Second Punic War
In 203 BCE, the Second Punic War appeared to be at an end. Rome had defeated Carthginian military efforts in Sicily, driven Carthage’s remaining forces out of Spain, and won key victories at Utica - close to Carthage itself. The Carthaginians had surrendered, and the Roman general Scipio (later known as Scipio Africanus the Elder) had offered peace terms. However, this decision was abruptly reversed and Carthage recalled all of its armies to home territory, for a final stand against the Romans. The armies still campaigning in Italy led by Hannibal and Mago returned from Italy to North Africa, and Hannibal was made commander of the whole Carthaginian force.
The fight that took place was the Battle of Zama, and Scipio’s highly developed tactics contributed to a major victory for the Romans.
After a huge defeat at the Battle of Zama, Carthage surrendered to Rome. The terms of peace were significantly more strict than after the First Punic War. The treaty prevented Carthage from taking any military action without Roman approval, forcing them to partially disarm. The Carthaginians had to surrender their fleet of warships and elephant corps and their fleet was not to exceed 10 warships in the future.
A fine of 10,000 talents within 50 years to be paid in 10 annual instalments was also part of the treaty, and Carthage lost all territory in Spain and the Mediterranean islands. Rome also demanded hostages.
After the end of the Second Punic War, Carthage’s power was hugely reduced. They were still permitted to trade, but were forbidden from taking any military action. This meant they were vulnerable to neighbouring powers including Numidia, now ruled by King Masinissa.
DID YOU KNOW...?
While Carthage had controlled territory in Spain, they had demanded a tax on mines. When the Romans took over the territory, they continued the same taxes.