Hannibal Barca (247- 183BC)

Hannibal is one of the most famous generals in history, remembered by scores of school children as the man who took elephants over the Alps to fight the Romans.

He commanded the Carthaginian armies from 220-202 BC, his most famous campaign being that of the Second Punic war 218-202. He was born in Carthage what is now part of modern Tunis and his name means "mercy of Baal". He was the oldest son of the Carthaginian General Hamilcar Barca whose sons where know as the lions brood. Hannibal followed his father's style of aggressive politics and led the Carthaginian army to victories against Rome and her Allies in Spain and worked his way up towards the heart of the Roman Empire. He crossed the Pyrenees and then the Alps with a large army from many areas opposed to Rome and crossed into Italy winning victories at Ticinus and Trebia, he later destroyed two Roman legions at Trasimene Lake and went to on to his famous victory at Cannae one of the most bloody battles in History. The campaign success was not exploited and Publius Cornelius Scipio finally defeated Hannibal on African soil at the battle of Zama on 19th October 202 BC. Hannibal's luck had finally turned , fleeing from country to country he eventually poisoned himself in 183BC to avoid capture. Hannibal is rated as one of the best Generals of the Ancient world renowned for his tactical insight his ability to lead by example and a tremendous ability to understand the psychology of the men he led.

Hannibal's Oath - The Life and Wars of Rome's Greatest Enemy, John Prevas. A good biography of Hannibal, covering his entire life from childhood to his death in exile, as well as the famous period of dramatic victories over the Romans in Italy. Pitched at the interested non-historian, and covers his entire life story, from childhood, through the long years of war in Italy to exile in the east. Paints a picture of an obsessed figure whose career in Italy peaked early, and who spent most of his time in Italy unable to find a way to come to grips with the Romans, before continuing to campaign against them even when in exile (Read Full Review)
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cover The Punic Wars, Adrian Goldsworthy. An excellent work which covers all three Punic wars. Strong on both the land and naval elements of the wars.
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How to cite this article: Dugdale-Pointon, T (23 November 2005) Hannibal Barca (247- 183BC), articles/people_hannibal.html

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