Photographer's Note

During the 5th century BC, the Celtiberians built a walled settlement on the hill overseeing the plain; a stretch of cyclopean limestone slabs from the former temple of Diana survives, close to the modern church of Santa Maria, but the settlement site is still older. The city traded with Greek and Phoenician coastal colonies, and under their influence, minted its own coins. During this period the city was known as Arse (Ripollès i Alegre 2002). By 219 BC Saguntum was a large and commercially prosperous town, which sided with the local Greek colonists and Rome against Carthage, and drew Hannibal's first assault, his siege of Saguntum, which triggered the Second Punic War, one of the most important wars of antiquity.
After stiff resistance over the course of eight months, related by the Roman historian Livy and in more detail by Silius Italicus, Saguntum was captured in 219 BC by the armies of Hannibal.

About siege of Saguntum
After Hannibal was made supreme commander of Iberia (221 BC) at the age of 26, he spent two years refining his plans and completing his preparations to secure power in the Mediterranean. The Romans did nothing against him though they received ample warning of Hannibal's preparations. The Romans even went so far as turning their attentions to the Illyrians who had begun to revolt. Because of this, the Romans could not react when news reached them that Hannibal was besieging Saguntum. The capture of Saguntum was essential to Hannibal's plan. The city was one of the most fortified in the area and it would have been a poor move to leave such a stronghold in the hands of the enemy. Hannibal was also looking for plunder to pay his mercenaries, who were mostly from Africa and the Iberian Peninsula. Finally, the money could be spent on keeping down political opponents in Carthage.
During Hannibal's assault on Saguntum he suffered some losses due to the extensive fortifications and the tenacity of the defending Saguntines, but his troops stormed and destroyed the city's defenses one at a time. The Saguntines turned to Rome for aid, but none was sent. In 218 BC after enduring eight months of siege the Saguntines' last defences were finally overrun. Hannibal offered to spare the population on condition that they were "willing to depart from Saguntum, unarmed, each with two garments". When they declined the offer and began to sabotage the town's wealth and possessions, every adult was put to death.
This marked the beginning of the Second Punic War. Hannibal now had a base from which he could supply his forces with food and extra troops.


Wiew on the modern Sagunto from the fortress
(will continue in the next days)

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Additional Photos by Aleksandar Dekanski (dekanski) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 317 W: 129 N: 1311] (8421)
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