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Fabius Maximus, Quintus – Cunctator

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Fabius Maximus, Quintus, called Cunctator (d.203 BC) – Roman general

After the Romans had suffered such catastrophic defeats at the Trebia, Lake Trasimene and at Cannae (see Hannibal, p. 26) in which their best generals were killed or driven off the field, the Senate gave the command to Quintus Fabius Maximus, an elderly man who had been consul in 233 and again in 228. Fabius decided that the Romans must not get involved any more in direct confrontation with the brilliant and seemingly invincible Carthaginian. Instead, they should organize raids on Hannibal’s camps and on his army, when it was on the move. These delaying tactics proved successful. They exhausted Hannibal’s resources while recovering from the awful losses of the campaigns of 218-216.

The Senate gave Fabius the title ‘Cunctator’, which means ‘the delayer’, and today military strategists talk about using fabian tactics when they want to describe this type of warfare.

Fabius Maximus, Quintus - Cunctator

Fabius Maximus, Quintus – Cunctator