Hannibal began his military career under the direction of his father Hamilcar Barca, who was a famous Carthaginian military commander. Hamilcar led the armies of Carthage into Iberia or modern day Spain. During his early years, young Hannibal had served under his father’s command right along with his two older brothers Hasdrubal and Mago. When Hannibal was a young man, his father made him swear that he would never become an ally of Rome. This event would prove to be a defining moment in Hannibal’s life because it is helped to motivate him to fight against the Romans without reservation when he became a leading general in Carthage. Hannibal lived during the end of the third and beginning of the second century BC that is where he appears on the Amazing Bible Timeline with World History (Spain. During his early years, young Hannibal had served under his father’s command right along with his two older brothers Hasdrubal and Mago. When Hannibal was a young man, his father made him swear that he would never become an ally of Rome. This event would prove to be a defining moment in Hannibal’s life because it is helped to motivate him to fight against the Romans without reservation when he became a leading general in Carthage. Hannibal lived during the end of the third and beginning of the second century BC that is where he appears on the Amazing Bible Timeline with World History (free timeline online here)
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Hannibal becomes General
Hamilcar had died during a battle for Iberia and after his death his son Hasdrubal had become the next leader. After his brother Hasdrubal had been assassinated in 221 B.C., Hannibal became the chief military commander of Carthage. Rome had become aware of the fighting ability of Hannibal while he was in Iberia and began to fear his power. They tried to force him into an alliance, but he didn’t comply. Rome then declared an Iberian city called Saguntum under its protection, but Hannibal thought this was a breach of a former treaty that was made with Hasdrubal. He then laid siege to Saguntum, and it fell eight months later. Rome demanded justice from Carthage for this act, but the government of Carthage didn’t agree.
Hannibal then decided to attack the Romans and let them know who really had the power. Shortly before Hasdrubal had died, he had already decided to invade Italy and Rome. He was going to use the help of Celtic tribes in northern Italy to carry out this plan. Hannibal already knew about this plan, but it was put on hold after Hasdrubal’s death. Once these events had taken place, Hannibal decided to carry them out. Rome eventually found out about what was happening, but it was too late. This plan was set in motion, and Carthage was heading straight toward the Italian heartland.
Crossing the Alps
Before he could reach Rome, he had to fight many tribes including Celtic and Gaul tribes. He also had to perform this feat by fighting in the mountainous country and through rivers. He started out in Iberia and continued his campaign until he reached the Pyrenees Mountains. He knew he had to cross the Pyrenees and then the Alps. He finally confronted the Romans at the Rhone River in Northern Italy. Hannibal had a big force of infantry, cavalry and war elephants when he started out on his quest. He took them across the Pyrenees by outmaneuvering many of the tribes in the area and then took his forces over the Alps. This was not an easy feat because the conditions were cold, harsh and unforgiving. He lost many men from this crossing and when it was done, he had about 50,000 soldiers, 6,000 cavalry and about 40 war elephants. He then took on the Romans who had a superior force that was close to 200,000 in number.
What made Hannibal’s feat of crossing the Alps, so profound was the fact that no other army before this time had dared such a fantastic feat. The Pyrenees and the Alps served as a barrier to Northern Italy and when it was breached many people in the ancient world could not believe that any army was capable of taking this action. Hannibal had defied all logic and reason, and this really unnerved a lot of people in the ancient world, especially the Romans. They were used to being the victors, and now they were being confronted by a force that was just as strong and determined as they were. Hannibal’s actions not only frightened the Romans he also caused the other people in the land to become filled with terror. According to historians and scholars, many people in the Mediterranean were involved with this conflict. While Hannibal was in Italy, he managed to defeat the Roman’s numerous times, and he caused serious discord among their allies. Hannibal was eventually defeated in 203 B.C. by Scipio Africanus but he managed to evade capture by Rome before going into self-exile. He continued to fight against his enemy while from distant lands. Hannibal was eventually betrayed to the Romans and poisoned himself before being brought to justice. He died in 182 B.C., and he is considered one of the world’s greatest military commanders to have ever lived.
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