The Roman consul Scipio had already defeated the Carthaginians in Spain when he obtained Senate approval to invade their North African homeland, with their star general Hannibal still encamped in Italy. When the Romans landed, Hannibal was hastily summoned back, and confronted Scipio, with a numerically superior army, at Zama. Scipio countered an elephant charge by leaving pathways through his lines; loud trumpet-blowing drove some agitated elephants back on the enemy lines. Scipio’s heavy infantry then advanced, slamming the Carthaginian centre, while both the Roman cavalry flanks chased their Carthaginian counterparts who withdrew on Hannibal’s instructions. Each army’s cavalry contingents contained Numidians, led by brothers vying for the throne. Rome’s ally Masinissa managed to rout his brother’s cavalry, and, as Hannibal’s infantry were threatening to prevail, slammed into their rear. Now encircled, the Carthaginian infantry were crushed. The battle decided the second Punic War, earning Scipio the sobriquet ‘Africanus’.
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