Hannibal Essay, Research Paper
Hannibal was the son of Hamilcar Barca. He was a Carthaginian who was born twenty
two centuries ago. He was actually born in Spain but spent most of his life in Carthage so
he is considered a Carthaginian. Hamilcar ruled over a mountainous realm which could
support very little crops or people. This however was his land, called Mount Eryx, in a
region near Tyre. Because the land could support so little people the people were
constantly in need of food to eat. Hamilcar’s solution was to gather a strong force of
mercenaries to raid the adjacent lands and plunder them.
So young Hannibal was raised amid camps of soldiers and with an air of military
and war about him. This is undoubtedly how he learned of warcraft and it had a huge
impression on him being so young. The mercenaries and soldiers told Hannibal of war
and indulged his curiosity when he often roamed the camps in search of answers to his
military questions, he was the lord’s son and they had to do so. Since Hannibal spent a lot
of time in the camps with a wide variety of soldiers from different cultures and
nationalities he picked up on the different languages, beliefs and values of each.
Later during Hannibal’s early adolescence the the mediterranean islands and
Mount Eryx became a point of interest to the mighty Roman empire. At first they offered
peace but eventually demanded that the Cartaginians withdraw from the islands. They
had no choice but to give up Corsica and Sardinia as well as Sicily. The Cartaginians,
needlessto say, were not happy and very bad blood began to grow between Carthage and
For the next eight years it was sort of a cold war between the two empires and
during the temporary stalemate the Cartaginians secretly explored the forbidding Atlantic
ocean as far out as the Canary Islands or perhaps the Azores. They learned a great deal
about the northern parts of the Iberian peninsula. At the end of this period Hamilcar
started to take much of what is now Spain.
In the beginning of the war against the Celtic blooded inhabitants of the land
things went well and over half of Spain was captured. However the natives then suddenly
struck with the might of a people losing it’s home and drove Hamilcar, who was Know
the commander of the Carthaginian force back almost to the sea. The tide turned once
again and Carthage reclaimed one third of the land, but this time at an agonizingly
lethargic pace. It was at this time that Hamilcar Barca was killed.
Hamilcar and his sons Hannibal and another. were marching to battle(by this time
Hannibal was a respected a contributing member of Carthage’s command)when they were
ambushed by the Celts. Hamilcar and his sons managed to escape into a valley and split
up there. The Celts followed Hamilcar while his sons escaped. Hamilcar was slain on the
banks of a river. It is believed that Hamilcars overconfidence with his recent success and
failure to adequately scout ahead brought on the ambush.
Regardless of how it came to pass Hamilcar Barca was dead and as Hannibal
informed the officers of the army they elected Hastrubal the Splendid to lead them.
Enraged at the death of so well-loved a leader by what they considered a treacherous
move, the Carthaginians leveled the Celts and layed waste to their villages, taking almost
the whole peninsula in avery short time. Hannibal however was upset at not being chosen
to succeed his father.