Hasdrubal make a mistake.
You have changed History! We have no way to prove it, but it seems
very likely that Hasdrubal might have defeated the Roman army in the north,
while Hannibal fought the Romans in the south. Together, they may
have totally destroyed Roman resistance, and finally, conquered Rome itself.
Hasdrubal was foolish, however, and discounted the effect of the spies
we have discussed so many times before. Scroll down... Because
there were spies everywhere, Hasdrubal's messengers were captured, and
their plans became known. Hasdrubal had sent his brother explicit
description of his plans, and the Romans used this to their advantage.
The consul Nero (not the later Emperor) defied his orders, and took part
of his army from the south to help consul Livius battle Hasdrubal.
Because of this bold move (a strategic trick worthy even of Hannibal),
the Romans were able to defeat Hasdrubal completely. According to legend, Hasdrubal,
realizing that the battle was lost, threw himself into the middle of the
fight, where he was eventually killed. The Romans cut off Hasdrubal's
head, and threw it into Hannibal's camp as a message that all was lost
to the Carthaginians. With no further hope for help from home, it
seemed that the situation could not get worse for Hannibal. See his
next choice. While the
death of Hasdrubal was a tremendous emotional loss for Hannibal, his biggest
concern as a commander were coming from other quarters. Word had
been received that Carthage itself was now under siege. Following the Battle at Cannae,
one of the few Roman leaders to remain faithful as a defender of Rome was
Scipio, son of the Scipio we previously met. This Scipio will come
to be known as Scipio Africanus Major, due to his eventual siege of Carthage.
Scipio A. M. had taken a force to North Africa, with the intention of removing
Hannibal from Italy by forcing him to come home to defend his own city.
This created the unique possibility that Scipio might take Carthage while
Hannibal took Rome. It is left to us to wonder what might have happened
had that transpired, but it did not. Hannibal received an appeal from
his Senate to return home to defend them. He had Rome in front of
him, and the possibility of his own siege to consider in the process.
He could take Rome, but also lose Carthage in the process. On the
other hand, if Hannibal took Rome, Scipio might be forced to surrender,
having no city to support him. What did he do?