Should Hannibal have gone for Rome?
Well… to my mind, he did. I mean, that’s what he was doing in Italy. It’s just that the Romans’ strategy after Cannae was to ensure that a direct assault on the city would always be prohibitively difficult and dangerous. I’m not a military historian or an expert on the Middle Republic, and maybe I’d have stronger opinions about this if I were, but I just don’t think our sources for the Second Punic War give us a good enough picture of the overall strategic situation for there to be any profit in second-guessing the moves of a general who was there on the ground. Like, clearly he thought attacking the city wouldn’t have worked, and he knew a lot more about the capabilities of both the Roman and Carthaginian armies than anyone alive today. Jim the Editor thinks Hannibal probably saw attacking Rome as too big a gamble, risking his entire army and his foothold in Italy when he could just keep wearing the Romans down and demoralising them until they eventually capitulated. That’s not actually what happened, of course, but it’s very difficult to know whether the alternative strategy would have produced better results.