Hannibal Of Carthage Essay, Research Paper
Hannibal of Carthage: “The Father of Strategy” Through out history there have been many great military leaders, Alexander the Great, Napoleon, Generals Washington, Grant and Charles Lewis Puller. The one however that sticks out the most is General Hannibal of Carthage. Often called the “Father of Strategy” his march over the Alps is one of the most famous attacks in military history. Hannibal beat the Roman Army time and time again before in suicide in 183 BC. Hannibal was born 247 BC, the son of Hamilcar Barca, the current General of the Carthaginian Army. Hannibal’s training as a military leader began at the age of nine when he went to Spain to be with his father. At Hamilcar’s request Hannibal pledged an oath of hate towards the Roman Empire because of Carthages lost to the Romans in the First Punic War (261-241 BC). After Hamilcar’s death in 228 BC, Hannibal’s brother in law, Hasdrubal, assumed command of the Carthaginian Army. Seven years, in 221BC, Hasdrubal was assassinated. In those years, during Hasdrubal’s command, Hannibal was the main officer to carry out all of Hasdrubal’s plans. Hannibal was the unanimous choice to lead the Carthaginian Army. Hannibal sought to extend the Carthage domain further in Spain. By 219 he had reached the Ebro River and controlled all south of that but the city of Saguntum, an ally of Rome. Despite strong warnings form Rome Hannibal attacked Saguntum and after eight months of battle, he controlled the city. The Romans saw this as a violation of the existing treaty between Rome and Carthage and demanded the surrender of Hannibal. When Carthaginian government did not hand over Hannibal for his actions, the Romans declared war, also know as the Second Punic War. With a new war upon him, Hannibal conjured up a plan of attack. He evaded a Roman force that was sent to intercept him. In October of 218 BC, he crossed the Rhone river and ventured into what made him so famous. Snow was already on the high passes of the Alps. Hannibal started his march across the Alps with 40,000 men along with a calvary and a large number of war elephants carrying supplies. After the crossing only 26,000 of his troops were still alive due to the harsh weather and skirmishes with the local tribes. To make up for his losses, Hannibal recruited Gallic people of Northern Italy. In December 218 BC Hannibal got victories against Romans and secured the Padus Valley. In the spring of 217 BC Hannibal handed the Roman Counsel Gaius Flaminius, who was killed in battle, a huge loss at the battle of Lake Trasimene. After his victory Hannibal crossed the Apennines and invaded the Roman provinces of Picenu, and Apulia and then back into Campania. Instead of storming Rome, Hannibal marched through Italy in to Apulia and destroyed as he proceeded, but suffered heavy losses in manpower. Hannibal spent the winter of 217 BC in the Apulian plains and in the following summer faced a 54,000 strong Roman army. Hannibal circled around the Romans forcing them in to each other confusing the Romans, then easily destroyed then with his calvary. More than half of the Roman Army was lost. After that huge victory many Indian tribes aligned with Carthage. Syracuse left the Roman cause and Philip V of Macedon became an ally even though he never gave any aid. Many argue that Hannibal’s biggest mistake was not attacking Rome after this victory, when it was in a weak state and when he was at his most powerful state. Hannibal waged war in southern Italy for several years, captured Tarentum in 213 BC and in 210 gained victory at Herdoniae at a great expense to his men. In 212 BC Syracuse fell under Roman attack and fell in three years. Hannibal was recalled back to Carthage to help defend his brothers force form the Romans in southern Spain. Before Hannibal could get there his brother was killed in combat. In 202 BC Hannibal was called to defend the declining Carthage power in the north coast of Africa. Hannibal entered in to battle with Scipio Africanus the Elder. There his younger men fled, some to the Romans, and his veteran warriors were simply beat. Carthage gave in to Rome and the Second Punic War was over. With a peace agreement, Hannibal sought out to gage battle with the Romans. He amended the Carthaginian constitution, reformed the government and made changed to the finances. The Romans saw this as breaking the original peace offering. Hannibal took refuge in Syria and fought with them against the Romans. When Syria was defeated, part of the peace treaty was the surrender of Hannibal to the Romans. Hannibal escaped to Bithynia in 148 BC in northern Asia Minor. Rome once again demanded the surrender of Hannibal. Hannibal ended his life and fight against the Romans by taking poison in 147 BC.