The Battle of Tunis, 255BC

The Battle of Tunis

THE BATTLE OF TUNIS

255BC

SUMMARY

After a series of victories in Sicily, Rome began a campaign to attack Carthage directly. Carthage raised a large mercenary force in response, and successfully repelled the Romans from Africa.

BACKGROUND

Rome had invaded Africa the previous year, and Carthage itself was under threat. Carthage quickly raised a powerful mercenary army, including elephants and cavalry, under the command of the Spartan general Xanthippus, to face the encroaching legions.

LOCATION

Tunis, Tunisia

THE ROMANS

15,000 infantry and 500 cavalry

THE CARTHAGINIANS

12,000 infantry, 4,000 cavalry and 100 elephants.

BATTLE

Xanthippus opened the battle with an attack from his elephants, breaking up the Roman infantry. With a massive numerical advantage, the Carthaginian cavalry quickly defeated their Roman counterparts and turned to charge the Roman infantry, who were quickly broken.

RESULT

Decisive Carthaginian Victory

CONSEQUENCE

The end of the Roman invasion of Africa.

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