Cannae


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Cannae

(kăn`ē), ancient village, Apulia, SE Italy, scene in 216 B.C. of HannibalHannibal
, b. 247 B.C., d. 183 or 182 B.C. Carthaginian general, an implacable and formidable enemy of Rome. Although knowledge of him is based primarily on the reports of his enemies, Hannibal appears to have been both just and merciful. He is renowned for his tactical genius.
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's crushing defeat of the Romans. Hannibal's troops assumed a crescent-shaped formation to meet the Roman troops, which were especially concentrated in the center. As the Romans advanced, Hannibal by brilliant strategy managed to encircle the entire Roman force and cut it to pieces.

Cannae

 

village in southeastern Italy on the Aufidus River (modern Ofanto River) near which, on Aug. 2, 216 B.C., occurred the largest battle of the Second Punic War, between the Roman Army commanded on the day of battle by Consul Terentius Varro and Hannibal’s Carthaginian Army. The Roman Army comprised 80, 000 infantry and 6, 000 cavalry, of which 63, 000 infantry and all the cavalry participated in the battle; the Carthaginian Army comprised 40, 000 infantry and 10, 000 cavalry. The Roman infantry, in a deep and dense battle formation, attacked the center of the Carthaginian forces and pushed them back. But the Carthaginian cavalry crushed the Roman cavalry on the flanks, whereupon the Roman infantry was surrounded and virtually wiped out. The Roman losses were 48, 000 killed and 10, 000 taken prisoner; the Carthaginians lost 6, 000.

After the defeat of the Roman Army, many southern Italian and Sicilian cities defected to Hannibal’s side. However, owing to the lack of forces, Hannibal was unable to take advantage of the victory and move against Rome. The battle of Cannae is an outstanding example of the art of warfare. “Never before had an entire army been so completely crushed” (F. Engels, Izbr. voen. proizvedeniia, 1956, p. 211).

REFERENCES

Razin, E. A. Istoriia voennogo iskusstva, vol. 1. Moscow, 1955.
Strokov, A. A. Istoriia voennogo iskusstva, vol. 1. Moscow, 1955.
Del’briuk, G. Istoriia voennogo iskusstva v ramkakh politicheskoi istorii, vol. 1. Moscow, 1936.
Shliffen, A. Kanny, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1938.

Cannae

perhaps Hannibal’s greatest victory (216 B.C.). [Rom. Hist.: Harbottle Battles, 48]
See: Battle

Cannae

an ancient city in SE Italy: scene of a victory by Hannibal over the Romans (216 bc)
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