“Total war” is the term applied to the intransigent approach with which Rome and its allies “socii” approached conflict against their enemies, including the toughest enemies such as Carthage.
The term has come to mean the general approach by which the Romans waged war: beginning with their approach to the enemy once vanquished. If the enemy capitulated before battle was readied and the siege engines set in place then the treatment would be lenient and almost considerate for having held the good of Rome in proper regard. Those who dared oppose Rome felt the full force of her extreme ways: war would be waged on all fronts, both physical as well as psychological. Losing the war would mean having homes and families torn apart, possessions stripped, wives and families sold into slavery….