Fabius, Quintus, Maximus

Fabius, Quintus, Maximus: Verrucosus Cunctator (known as ‘the Delayer’)

(Died 203BC)

Roman general and consul five times between 233 and 209. He was appointed dictator in 221 and again for a second time in 217 after the Battle of Trasimene, during the Second Punic war. Appreciating that the Carthaginian forces were superior to his own, he declined to engage in pitched battles. His unspectacular tactics of slow harassment against Hannibal’s army in Italy at first won little popular support, and the nickname Cunctator was intended as an insult. After the defeat at Cannae (216) the feeling against his strategy waned and the insult became a title of approval. He opposed Scipio Africanus’s aggressive war against Carthage on the African mainland.

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