Historical Personalities & Issues

Compiled & Edited by Phillip True, Jr.

Chapter Ten


Hannibal is said to be the greatest military leader and strategist of all time. Hannibal was born in 247 B.C., when Carthage, then the maritime power, was beginning to decline. The Carthaginians were descendants of the Phoenicians, who were great Black merchants. They traded with India and the people of the Mediterranean, and the Scilly Isles.

When very young, Hannibal accompanied Hamilclar, his father in a bat- tle with the Romans. Seventeen years later, he succeeded his father and became supreme commander of the peninsula. Hannibal had 80,000 infantry, 12,000 calvary, and 40 African war elephants. He conquered major portions of Spain and France, and all of Italy, except for Rome.

Hannibal marched his army and war elephants through the Alps to sur- prise and conquer his enemies. In one battle, the Romans put 80,000 men on the field to defeat Hannibal, led by Scipio. When Scipio attacked with his entire army, Hannibal had so studied the grounds and arranged his men so that they surrounded the Romans. He then turned his armored war elephants loose and trampled them. Behind them, he sent his African swordsmen to complete the slaughter.

In another battle, Rome sent 90,000 men led by Varro and Emilius. With only 50,000 men, knowing he could not win by using his main force, Hannibal placed the weakest part of his army in the center, contrary to the best military rules. With his veterans and cavalry on both wings, the Romans struct them in full center as Hannibal had anticipated. When they were sure of victory by overcoming the center, Hannibal's flank closed in and killed 70,000 men, 80 senators and Emilius.

Hannibal later went on to become a statesman of Carthage, and later took his own life, rather than surrender to Rome.

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