Hannibal Essay

1040 words - 4 pages

Hannibal, a Carthaginian general and one of the greatest generals that ever lived was renown for his strategies and courageousness, such as crossing the Alps and using the "bottleneck strategy" at Lake Trasemene. He used strategies that a lot of generals at this time, especially Roman generals, would never think of and in doing this he almost destroyed the Roman republic.

Hannibal's first battle took place when he was only nine. He went on an expedition with his father, Hamilcar Barca, to conquer Spain. From the beginning Carthage’s push into Spain, Hannibal vowed eternal hatred for Rome; Hannibal became Commander in Chief of Carthage’s army when he was 26 after his father was assassinated. His conquest of the Roman town of Sagunto in Spain led to a new declaration of war by Rome; which started the second Punic War and Hannibal’s promise to visit Roman injustice back on Rome a hundred fold. For Carthage to take the town of Sagunto was completely within the rights of the Carthage and the treaty but Rome at the time was getting too big and becoming very imperialistic. All Rome could see was that they had to have all of the Mediterranean and the only thing that stood in their way was a single General and his men. The way in which the Romans were unconsciously straying from "mos maiorum" to manipulate the course of events was disturbing. Though these actions were not entirely the "evil" work of Rome. Hannibal from his earliest memories could recall nothing but hatred for Rome. Hannibal’s Father had instilled a horrifically self-destructive desire within Hannibal to see the fall of Rome.

This desire manifested itself during The Second Punic War, which was the ultimate fight for supremacy in the Ancient World. The victor would have control over the entire Mediterranean Sea and all of the trade routes bringing land, pride, wealth, and dominance over the victors enemies. Hannibal took a 1,000 mile trek from New Carthage, Spain, through the Alps, Northern Italy, and finally to Carthage. Hannibal won most of his battles with Rome, but never got the reinforcement he needed to over take Rome. The men that he had with him at the time were renowned for their loyalty to Hannibal and unconventional fighting tactics. Their "Gorilla" type war fair or wars of "delaying" almost saw the defeat of Rome but Rome finally assimilated these new tactics and used them against Hannibal, the man who had taught them to Rome.

The Second Punic War was a turning point in Roman history, with profound implications for the Republic. The most immediate and obvious effect was the acquisition of territory; in the space of fifty years Rome had acquired most of the western Mediterranean. In doing this, the Romans viewed the war with Hannibal, and Hannibal himself, in nearly mythic terms. Later Romans saw this as Rome's heroic age, a time when the villains were most villainous and the heroes...

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