Second Punic War Battles > Battle of Ilipa

Battle of Ilipa

Punic Wars - Punic Wars Decoration


The Battle of Ilipa, also known as the Battle of the Guadalquivir, took place in 206 BC during the Second Punic War. It was a decisive engagement between the forces of Rome, led by the Roman general Publius Cornelius Scipio (later known as Scipio Africanus), and the Carthaginian army under the command of Hasdrubal Gisco. After his victories in Hispania, Scipio Africanus sought to confront and defeat the Carthaginian forces to secure Roman control over the region and cut off Hannibal's reinforcements and supply lines.

Hasdrubal Gisco, the Carthaginian commander in Hispania, had gathered a large army to defend Carthaginian interests in the region and prevent the Romans from gaining further ground. Publius Cornelius Scipio led the Roman forces to confront Hasdrubal Gisco near the town of Ilipa (modern-day Alcalá del Río) in southwestern Spain. Hasdrubal Gisco deployed his Carthaginian army on a hill overlooking the Guadalquivir River, utilizing the terrain to his advantage and fortifying his position with entrenchments and obstacles.


The battle began with skirmishes and maneuvers as both sides sought to gain the upper hand and outmaneuver their opponent. Scipio, known for his strategic brilliance, devised a plan to deceive the Carthaginians by launching a feigned retreat. This drew the Carthaginian forces out of their fortified position and into open terrain. Taking advantage of the Carthaginian movement, Scipio launched a surprise attack on the Carthaginian flank and rear, catching them off guard and causing chaos in their ranks.


The Battle of Ilipa ended in a decisive victory for the Romans. The Carthaginian army suffered heavy casualties, and many soldiers were captured or killed in the rout. Hasdrubal Gisco managed to escape with a small portion of his army, but the defeat at Ilipa effectively ended Carthaginian control over Hispania and paved the way for Roman dominance in the region.

The Battle of Ilipa was a turning point in the Second Punic War, as it demonstrated the effectiveness of Roman tactics and strategy in confronting and defeating the Carthaginian forces in Hispania. The Roman victory at Ilipa further solidified Scipio Africanus' reputation as a brilliant military commander and contributed to Rome's eventual victory in the Second Punic War.

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"The Search for the Battle-site of Ilipa: Back to Basics". Retrieved 2016-04-09.

Livy, 28.13

Adrian Goldsworthy; In the Name of Rome - The Men Who Won the Roman Empire; 2003; ISBN 0-297-84666-3

B.H. Liddell Hart; Scipio Africanus: greater than Napoleon; 1926; ISBN 0-306-80583-9Nigel Bagnall; The Punic Wars; 1990; ISBN 0-312-34214-4.

Polybius; The Rise of the Roman Empire; Trans. Ian Scott-Kilvert; 1979; ISBN 0-14-044362-2.

Serge Lancel; Hannibal; Trans. Antonia Nevill; 2000; ISBN 0-631-21848-3.

Santiago Posteguillo; Las Legiones Malditas; 2008; ISBN 978-84-666-3768-8.

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