Ticinus

by Daniel Russ on January 14, 2020

Post image for Ticinus

 

Publius Cornelius Scipio

 

In the fiorst battle of the Second Punic War, we see something rarely this nuanced. But we see cleverness.

 

After crossing the Alps, Hannibal finally arrived in northern Italy with 12,000 African infantry, 8,000 Iberian infantry, and 4,000 cavalry.

 

Polybius is sure of these numbers because, he reports, he read them in an inscription on a column erected by Hannibal

 

Scipio faced him at what histories think was Vigevano (Vigevano is a town and comune in the province of Pavia, Lombardy in northern Italy. A historic art town, it is also renowned for shoemaking and is one of the main centres of Lomellina, a rice-growing agricultural district.  ) With 12,000 infantry and several thousand allies, possibly around 20,000 men. Three cavalry legions of 900 mounted warriors. In addition 2,000 Gallic cavalry, and various 1,000 allied units brought Scipio’s strength  4,000 cavalry.

 

Both commanders at Ticinus sent a reconnaissance in force, mostly cavalry, and probed to find and test the other’s defenses. When they met, the Romans began setting up velites, javelin throwers to be exact.

 

Hannibal ran them down with his heavy bridled cavalry in a surprise attack that rendered utter chaos in the Publius Cornelius battle lines. The foot soldiers were slaughtered and and scattered and remained un organized over the course of the battle. Hannibal’s Numidian light cavalry encircled the Roman from behind, and it was out of this trap that Scipio ( Father of Scipio Africanus) would barely make it.

 

The next day, their force depleted, Scipio withdrew over the Po River.

 

200 Gauls switched side to fight with the Carthaginians.

 

It was considered a minor win for Carthage.

 

It would not end there though.

 

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