Cannae

In: Historical Events

Submitted By calvinjason
Words 951
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For a brief period, the Romans were in complete disarray. Their best armies in the peninsula were destroyed, the few remnants severely demoralized, and the only remaining consul (Varro) completely discredited. As the story goes, Rome declared a national day of mourning as there was not a single person who was not either related to or acquainted with a person who had died. The Romans became so desperate that they resorted to human sacrifice, twice burying people alive[40] at the Forum of Rome and abandoning an oversized baby in the Adriatic Sea[40] (perhaps one of the last instances of human sacrifices by the Romans, apart from public executions of defeated enemies dedicated to Mars).

Lucius Caecilius Metellus, a military tribune, despaired so much of the Roman cause as to suggest that everything was lost, and called the other tribunes to sail overseas and hire themselves into the service of some foreign prince.[16] Afterwards, he was forced by his own example to swear an oath of allegiance to Rome for all time. The survivors of Cannae were reconstituted as two legions and assigned to Sicily for the remainder of the war as punishment for their humiliating desertion of the battlefield.[16] In addition to the physical loss of her army, Rome suffered a symbolic defeat of prestige. A gold ring was a token of membership in the upper classes of Roman society;[16] Hannibal and his men collected more than 200 from the corpses on the battlefield, and sent this collection to Carthage as proof of his victory. The collection was poured on the floor in front of the Punic Senate, and was judged to be "three and a half measures."

Hannibal had defeated the equivalent of eight consular armies (16 legions plus an equal number of allies).[41] Within just three campaign seasons (20 months), Rome had lost one-fifth (150,000) of the entire population of male citizens over 17 years of…...

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