Second Punic War Battles > Battle of Castulo

Battle of Castulo

Punic Wars - Punic Wars Decoration

The Battle of Castulo occurred in 211 BC during the Second Punic War and was a significant engagement between the forces of Rome, led by generals Publius Cornelius Scipio and Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus, and the Carthaginian army under the command of Hasdrubal Barca, brother of Hannibal Barca. After their defeat at the Battle of Cannae in 216 BC, the Romans faced a desperate situation in Italy. To relieve pressure on Rome, the Roman Senate decided to open a new front in Spain (Hispania), where the Carthaginians, under Hannibal's brother Hasdrubal Barca, had established a strong presence.

The Scipio brothers, Publius Cornelius Scipio (later known as Scipio Africanus) and Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus, were appointed as Roman commanders in Hispania and tasked with confronting the Carthaginians. The Scipio brothers deployed their combined Roman and allied forces near the town of Castulo (modern-day Cazlona, Spain), strategically positioning their troops to defend against the approaching Carthaginian army. Hasdrubal Barca, leading a Carthaginian force consisting of infantry, cavalry, and war elephants, advanced towards Castulo with the intent of engaging the Romans in battle and maintaining Carthaginian control over Hispania.


The battle began with skirmishes between the advanced scouting parties of both armies, as they sought to gain information about the enemy's position and intentions. Hasdrubal Barca, aware of the Scipios' defensive posture, launched a series of probing attacks to test the strength of the Roman position and identify any vulnerabilities. The fighting escalated as both sides committed their infantry and cavalry to the fray, with the Romans holding their ground against the Carthaginian assaults and inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy ranks. The decisive moment of the battle came when Gnaeus Scipio led a bold cavalry charge against the Carthaginian flank, routing the enemy cavalry and creating confusion and disorder in the Carthaginian lines.


The Battle of Castulo ended in a decisive victory for the Romans. Hasdrubal Barca's forces suffered heavy losses, including the loss of many war elephants, and were forced to retreat from the battlefield. The Roman victory at Castulo boosted morale among the Roman troops and strengthened their position in Hispania, paving the way for further Roman successes in the region. The Battle of Castulo marked a significant turning point in the Second Punic War, demonstrating the effectiveness of Roman military tactics and the leadership of the Scipio brothers in confronting and defeating the Carthaginians in Hispania. The Roman victory at Castulo set the stage for the eventual expulsion of the Carthaginians from Hispania and contributed to the overall momentum of the Roman war effort against Carthage.

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