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Hannibal

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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 t...

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... death and destruction for the Romans that Adolf Hitler would to our Civilization. Hannibal’s name became synonymous with the stereotype that Rome had of the Carthaginian perfidy. And it was this that Rome never wanted to see again; so to be a good Roman, one had to be taught what it was to be a "Hannibal" and how not to be a "Hannibal." In the end Rome was taught many valuable lessons and to the victor go the spoils; so it is a measure of the fear Hannibal’s name instilled, that long after he was dead and gone, parents would scold naughty children with the warning that if they weren't good, Hannibal would come to get them in the night.

Italy itself suffered cruelly in the war. Hannibal spent fourteen years there, mostly in southern Italy. As the years went by, the steep hillsides began to lose their topsoil. By war's end, southern Italy was permanently impoverished. In fact, in our own century, in the 1960s, the Italian government began to attempt to recover and reclaim the land from Hannibal, an effort that still goes on intermittently. Hannibal's legacy outlived Rome itself, Cato the Elder would be turning over in his grave if he knew this.
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