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The Layman's Historian

Episode 41 - Cannae: Rome's Darkest Day


Fabius the Delayer may have saved Minucius from disaster at Geronium, but he would not always be there to protect his impetuous colleagues from rushing into trouble. Following Fabius's relinquishment of the dictatorship, one of the newly-elected consuls, Gaius Terentius Varro, accused Fabius and the patricians of intentionally prolonging the war. Instead of continuing to follow Fabius’s delaying tactics, Varro urged the Romans to immediately engage Hannibal to obtain decisive victory. Despite the protests of his fellow consul, Lucius Aemilius Paullus, Varro's counsel won out. The Senate raised four new legions in addition to the four which typically served. Fielding the greatest army she had ever raised - 87,000 men total - Rome challenged Hannibal for the third time at the small Apulian town of Cannae.

Link to the Episode 41 page on the Layman's Historian website which includes pictures and diagrams of the Battle of Cannae

Recommended further reading:

The Histories by Polybius

Hannibal's War by Titus Livius

A Companion to the Punic Wars (Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World) Edited by Dexter Hoyos

Hannibal's Dynasty by Dexter Hoyos

Carthage Must Be Destroyed by Richard Miles

Implacable Enemies: The Barcid Armies at War by Karwansary Publishers

Clash of the Colossi: The First Punic War by Karwansary Publishers

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