Hannibal Barca

Military Leader

Born: 247 B.C.
Died: 183 B.C. (poison)
Birthplace: Carthage (now Tunisia)
Best known as: The "father of strategy" who took elephants over the Alps
Hannibal Barca is the most famous of the three Carthaginian military leaders known as Hannibal. Hannibal Barca is the one who famously led his forces -- including elephants -- across the Alps and into Rome, where he terrorized Roman forces during the Second Punic War. The son of a general, Hannibal became the commander of the army in 221 B.C. and waged victorious campaigns across northwestern Iberia (modern Spain). Determined to have revenge on Rome for its victory in the First Punic War, Hannibal led his forces in a daring overland campaign in 218 B.C., rather than challenge Roman forces on the Mediterranean. By 211 B.C. he had marched on Rome and had early success, but found it difficult to maintain control and was forced to withdraw and negotiate peace. For the next ten years he failed in his attempts to recapture his earlier military glory, and he ended up taking his own life by swallowing poison.
Extra credit: Hannibal's father Hamilcar was also a great Carthaginian general... The historian Theodore Ayrault Dodge nicknamed Hannibal the "father of strategy" for his habit of outwitting and outflanking the more powerful Romans, and because the Romans eventually adopted many of his tactics.

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More on Hannibal Barca from Fact Monster:

  • Hannibal Barca - Biography of Hannibal Barca, The "father of strategy" who took elephants over the Alps
  • Selected Biographies: B - Selected biographies of well-known people and fictional characters
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