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Battle of Ilipa, 206 BC

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Scipio Africanus versus Hasdrubal Gisco: A Roman army under Scipio and a Carthaginian army stare each other down when Scipio makes a bold redeployment. Can Hasdrubal shake off his surprise and recover to defeat Scipio’s smaller army? Also known as the Battle of Silpia. Click on images below to view; first image opens video presentation and second image opens PowerPoint presentation.             | Legend |
 
 
For the Second Punic War, this battle is overshadowed by Metaurus River in importance and Cannae in brilliance.
 
Never has a redeployment achieved victory so handedly than in this battle. What was Hasdrubal to do?
 
 
This is another one of those battles that I was immediately fascinated by after reading just one vague account of it. When first creating this site, I always intended to animate this battle. This battle did not take long to animate but would win the award for best weather effects.
 
- Jonathan Webb
 
Works Consulted
 
Bagnall, Nigel. The Punic Wars. London: Random Century, 1990.
 
Dupuy, Trevor N. The Harper Encyclopedia of Military History: From 3500 BC to the Present, Fourth Edition. New York: HarperCollins, 1991.
 
Scullard, H.H. Scipio Africanus: Soldier and Politician. New York: Cornell University, 1970.
 
“The Battle of Ilipa.” Illustrated History of the Roman Empire. http://www.roman-empire.net/army/ilipa.html (accessed Sep. 5 2008).

Images
 
Carthaginian cavalry: http://rtw.heavengames.com/rtw/info/units/carthaginian_units/index.shtml
 
Carthaginian infantry: http://rtw.heavengames.com/rtw/info/units/carthaginian_units/index.shtml
 
Carthaginian war elephant: http://rtw.heavengames.com/rtw/info/units/carthaginian_units/index.shtml
 
Roman infantry: http://rtw.heavengames.com/rtw/info/units/rome/
 
Roman cavalry: http://rtw.heavengames.com/rtw/info/units/rome/
 
Scipio Africanus: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Old_man.JPG
 

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  1. 3 Comments to “Battle of Ilipa, 206 BC”

  2. This is a very interesting and informative site. Thanks

    By mike on Apr 29, 2009 at 10:45 pm

  3. Scipio’s battles (not just this, but also reading accounts of Baecula and the one he fought against Antiochus, the name of which i can’t remember) are almost like watching ballet. The way he manoeuvres his troops and annihilates Hasdrubals army is really graceful. I wonder if Hasdrubal thought re enforcements must have shown up because there is no way the Romans could have wheeled into position like that…
    Interesting to note that Scipio didn’t try anything this fancy against Hannibal, probably for fear of falling into some trap or exposing some weak point for Hannibal to exploit.

    By Ziggy on Jul 31, 2009 at 7:22 am

  4. This was one of the most brilliant military victories in history. The way Scipio trained, managed and utilized his troops is truly a work of art. Your account of it matches my interpretation and even my own diagrams. The only issue I have is with your use of the term “decimated,” especially in a matter involving the Roman legions. Decimating used to be a punishment for cowardly legions in which the soldiers got divided into lots of 10, drew straws and the short straw got clubbed to death by the lucky 9, who only got punished through worse food rations and humiliation.
    Note to Ziggy: He didn’t use fancy tactics because he didn’t need to. He had better cavalry and enough infantry to hold the field while the Cavalry handled the wings and came back to give Hannibal a prison-style welcome (a dose of his own medicine, too).

    By FiReSTaRT on Nov 29, 2010 at 2:19 am

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