Polybius wrote his Histories "to find out by what means and by what political system the entire world was brought under the domination of Rome." Within the short space of about 50 years Rome went from being a provincial leader of an Italian confederacy to become the Mistress of the Mediterranean. Polybius was one of the first historians to attempt to present history as a sequence of causes and effects, based upon a careful examination of tradition and a keen scrutiny of the facts.
After 18 years of desperate struggle, Rome has gradually turned the tide against Hannibal, and now the Carthaginian finds himself bottled up in the toe of Italy while Scipio ruthlessly tightens the noose around Carthage on the African mainland. Knowing that Hannibal must sooner or later abandon Italy and come to the aid of his countrymen, the brilliant Roman commander prepares for the inevitable test of strength.