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Triumph in DefeatMilitary Loss and the Roman Republic$
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Jessica H. Clark

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199336548

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199336548.001.0001

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Costs and Benefits

Costs and Benefits

Winning the Second Punic War

(p.50) 2 Costs and Benefits
Triumph in Defeat

Jessica H. Clark

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses Romans’ experience of the Second Punic War (218–202 B.C.E.). It first examines the major defeats that marked the opening years of the war (at the Ticinus, the Trebia, Lake Trasimene, and, most famously, Cannae) and the ways in which Romans (the Roman Senate, collectively, and individual senators in historiographic terms) responded to each of these losses. The chapter then explores the strategies, both in the field, and, as is more emphasized, at Rome, that allowed the Romans to continue the prosecution of the war until its eventual but by no means inevitable conclusion. In manning the legions and the fleet, funding the war, propitiating the gods, and addressing the concerns of its allies, the Romans showed themselves willing to go to desperate measures rather than concede in what was—importantly—not a fight to the death.

Keywords:   Roman Senate, Second Punic War, defeat, Cannae, Lake Trasimene

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