Battle of Cissa

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Coordinates: 41 ° 6 ′ 57 ″  N , 1 ° 14 ′ 59 ″  E

Battle of Cissa
Localization of the place Cissa near today's Tarraco
Part of an ancient map of Roman Hispania

Location of the town of Cissa near ancient Tarraco
date Autumn 218 BC Chr.
place Cissa in what is now Spain
output roman victory
Parties to the conflict


Roman Empire



Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus

Troop strength
10,000 infantry and 1,500 horsemen 20,000 legionaries and 2,200 horsemen

6,000 dead, 2,000 prisoners


The Battle of Cissa was a skirmish between the Carthaginian forces under Hanno and Roman forces under Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus in 218 BC. At the beginning of the Second Punic War . The scene was Cissa in Spain, the battle ended in a Roman victory.


Hannibal had in the summer of 218 BC BC conquered today's Spain between the Ebro and the Pyrenees and then marched with his army through southern Gaul towards Italy, while his brother Hasdrubal and a general Hanno, possibly also a relative of Hannibal, stayed behind to guard Spain.

The Romans sent one of the consuls in 218 BC. BC, Publius Cornelius Scipio , with four legions and sixty ships to Spain. Scipio tried to place Hannibal in southern Gaul, but could not prevent the Carthaginian army from crossing the Alps . He then returned to Italy, while his brother Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus continued with part of the armed forces to Spain, where he landed with about 20,000 men at Emporiae .

The battle

Hanno was completely surprised about a confrontation with the Romans, he had been assured by Hannibal that the mobilization of the Roman armies would take at least as long as the march across the Pyrenees. When he saw himself attacked by the Roman superiority, he let the entire foot troops rush in open formation towards the Roman main army, but the army, which was partly composed of Celtiberian mercenaries, was hopelessly inferior to the four Roman legions. On the Carthaginian side, 6,000 men were killed, 2,000, including Hanno himself, surrendered and were taken prisoner of war. The remainder tried to flee across the Ebro, but many of the infantrymen were carried away by the river or drowned in the floods; only almost all of the 1000 riders managed to flee and tell Hannibal of the defeat. The exact localization of the place Cissa , possibly the native name of the later Tarraco , cannot be clearly deduced from the sources (see Tarraco # Prehistory and Second Punic War ).


The first battle in the Second Punic War on Hispanic soil was a clear victory for the Romans, Scipio Calvus was able to establish himself in Spain.