The Carthaginian general, Hannibal, triggered the second Punic War by attacking the Roman protectorate of Saguntum in Spain. Seeking a decisive victory, he marched his army through the Alps and, for 15 years, remained undefeated in the Italian peninsula. His most crushing victory was at Cannae (216 BCE). However, without siege equipment, he was unable to take cities, and the Romans resorted to the Fabian strategy of avoiding pitched battle. With Hannibal penned in Italy, the Romans drove the Carthaginians from Sicily and, with their general Scipio’s victory at IIipa (206), completed the conquest of Iberia. This left them in a strong position to mount an invasion of the Carthaginian homelands. Hannibal hurried back to defend his capital, but was defeated by Scipio at the battle of Zama (202 BCE). Under the peace terms, Carthage lost Iberia, had its naval and military power hobbled, and was forced to pay a huge annual indemnity.
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