Episode 44 – The Mediterranean on Fire: Spain

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….

Bust of Publius Cornelius Scipio the Younger – soon to be termed Africanus. In his mid-twenties when his father and uncle simultaneously perished in Spain, Scipio volunteered to take their place as commander of Rome’s Spanish forces. Original Photo by Wikipedia user Miguel Hermoso Cuesta.
View of the harbor and town of New Carthage (modern-day Cartagena). Founded by Hasdrubal the Fair, it served as the military, diplomatic, and economic center for Barcid Spain until captured by Scipio the Younger in 210 BC. Original Photo by Wikipedia user Juan Sáez.
Remains of the Carthaginian walls of New Carthage. Due to their impressive height, Scipio’s men had a difficult time storming them until Scipio and a band of 500 soldiers forded a local lagoon and breached the city. Original Photo by Wikipedia user VIATOR IMPERI.
Two romantic portrayals of the “continence” of Scipio. When offered a beautiful Iberian princess as a war prize, Scipio instead reunited her with her Celtiberian fiancee, scoring a diplomatic coup with the local Spanish tribes. The first painting is by Nicolas Poussin while the second is by Nicolas-Guy Brenet. Public Domain.

Download: Episode 44 – The Mediterranean on Fire: Spain on Apple Podcasts

Download: Episode 44 – The Mediterranean on Fire: Spain on Spotify

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

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