Monday, 14 May 2018

The Second Punic War

The Second Punic War formally began when the Carthaginian general Hannibal and his army crossed the Alps in November of 218 BCE and descended into Northern Italy. Battles raged on Italian soil for nearly 15 years until Hannibal and what remained of his army sailed for North Africa in the summer or fall of 203 BCE.

Carthaginian coinages for this war were issued in debased gold (electrum), silver, debased silver (billon) and copper. They were struck in a wide variety of locations.
The first Punic War was so financially demanding that the Romans struck gold coins for the first time in their history.

Roman coinage underwent great change during the war. In addition to having issued its first gold coins, the Romans greatly increased their output of silver and bronze coins.
In 212 or 211 BCE, the ‘quadrigatus’ was replaced with a new, lighter coin called the denarius. This innovative coin would stand the test of time as the main Roman silver coin of the next 450 years.

Hannibal’s army sailed from Italy late in 203 BCE. In a series of engagements, culminating in the Battle of Zama in 202, the Roman general Scipio Africanus defeated Hannibal. Peace terms were negotiated in 201, after which the war officially came to a close.