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Mago’s mission to Carthage with request for support for Hannibal

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Hannibal accepting surrender of Romans
Hannibal accepting the Roman surrender | Author: Aleksander Jeżow

Despite the great victory of at Cannae in 216 BCE, Hannibal still needed both material and military support to defeat the Romans. To this end, Hannibal, before the battle, sent his younger brother Magon to Carthage to negotiate additional troops to Italy.

Mago asks the Carthaginian “senators” to supply Hannibal with grain, money, and military meals. Mago stresses the plight of Hannibal, who is at the heart of a hostile country and yet has won many victories so far, defeating six consular armies led by six different chiefs; moreover, he killed over 200,000 enemies and took 50,000 prisoners. In order to emphasize Hannibal’s achievements, Mago has the numerous rings obtained from his opponents thrown to the floor. Mago also points out that other peoples and cities of Italy, including some Samnites and Capua, are passing over to Hannibal.

As it turned out, Mago’s speech was successful, despite the objections of one of Hannibal’s opponents – Hannon. The Council of Elders unanimously agreed to send support to Italy: 4,000 Numidian cavalries, 40 elephants1 and money.

After the mission in Carthage, Mago went to Spain to organize a new army, thus becoming an independent commander.

  1. It is possible that Indian elephants were transported to Italy, which were larger than African elephants, and which could have been obtained from neighboring countries, e.g. Egypt, which, in turn, could have obtained them after the victorious battle of Raffia in 217 BCE.
  • Titus Livy, Ad urbe condita, XXIII.11-13

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