Battle of Lake Trasimene
The Battle of Lake Trasimene was a major battle in the Second Punic War. The Carthaginians under Hannibal defeated the Romans under the consul Gaius Flaminius. Hannibal's victory over the Roman army at Lake Trasimene remains, in terms of the number of men involved, the largest ambush in military history. In the prelude to the battle, Hannibal achieved the earliest known example of a strategic turning movement; the Romans alarmed and dismayed by Tiberius Sempronius Longus’ defeat at Trebia made plans to counter the new threat from the north. Sempronius returned to Rome and the Roman Senate resolved to elect new consuls the following year in 217 BC; the new consuls were Gaius Flaminius. The latter was under threat of recall from the Senate for leaving Rome without carrying out the proper rituals after being elected consul; the Senate commissioned Servilius to replace Publius Cornelius Scipio and take command of his army, while Flaminius was appointed to lead what remained of Sempronius’s army. Since both armies had been weakened by the defeat at Trebia, four new legions were raised.
These new forces, together with the remains of the former army, were divided between the two consuls. After the battles of Ticinus and Trebia, Flaminius' army turned south to prepare a defence near Rome itself. Hannibal followed, but marched faster and soon passed the Roman army. Flaminius was forced to increase the speed of his march in order to bring Hannibal to battle before reaching the city. Another force under Servilius was due to join Flaminius. Before this could happen, Hannibal lured Gaius Flaminius' force into a pitched battle, by devastating the area Flaminius had been sent to protect. Polybius wrote that Hannibal calculated that he could draw out Flaminius into battle and that "no sooner had he left the neighbourhood of Faesulae, advancing a short way beyond the Roman camp, made a raid upon the neighbouring country Flaminius became excited, enraged at the idea that he was despised by the enemy: and as the devastation of the country went on, he saw from the smoke that rose in every direction that the work of destruction was proceeding, he could not patiently endure the sight."
At the same time, Hannibal tried to sever the allegiance of Rome's allies, by proving that the Republic was powerless to protect them. Flaminius remained passively encamped at Arretium. Unable to goad Flaminius into battle, Hannibal marched boldly around his opponent's left flank and cut Flaminius off from Rome, providing the earliest record of a deliberate turning movement in military history. Military historian Theodore Ayrault Dodge describes the significance of this maneuver and its intended effects on the campaign: We are told nothing about it by the ancient authors, whose knowledge of war confined them to the description of battles, but it is apparent enough to us By this handsome march Hannibal cut Flaminius off from Rome... as he was apt to move by the flank past the Roman camp to taunt the Roman general. Here is shown...the clear conception of the enemy’s strategic flank, with all its advantages Nor by his maneuver had Hannibal recklessly cut himself loose from his base, though he was living on the country and independent of it, as it were.
A more perfect case of cutting the enemy from his communications can scarcely be conceived.... If he fought, it must be materially worse conditions than if his line was open. Still, Flaminius stubbornly kept his army in camp. Hannibal decided to march on Apulia, hoping that Flaminius might follow him to a battlefield of his own choosing. Flaminius, eager to exact revenge for the devastation of the countryside, facing increasing political criticism from Rome marched against Hannibal. Flaminius, like Sempronius, was impetuous and lacking in self-control, his advisors suggested that he send only a cavalry detachment to harass the Carthaginians and prevent them from laying waste to any more of the country, while reserving his main force until the other consul, arrived with his army. It proved impossible to argue with the rash Flaminius. Livy wrote that "Though every other person in the council advised safe rather than showy measures, urging that he should wait for his colleague, in order that joining their armies, they might carry on the war with united courage and counsels...
Flaminius, in a fury... gave out the signal for marching for battle." As Hannibal passed Lake Trasimene, he came to a place suitable for an ambush, hearing that Flaminius had broken camp and was pursuing him, made preparations for the impending battle. To the north was a series of forested hills where the Malpasso Road passed along the north side of Lake Trasimene. Along the hill-bordered skirts of the lake, Hannibal camped where he was in full view of anyone entering the northern defile, spent the night arranging his troops for battle. Below the camp, he placed his heavy infantry upon a slight elevation. Here, they had ample ground from which they could charge down upon the head of the Roman column on the left flank, when it should reach the position, his cavalry and Gallic infantry were concealed in the hills in the depth of the wooded valley from which the Romans would first enter, so that they could sally out and close the entrance, blocking the Roman route of retreat. He posted his light troops at intervals along the heights overlooking the plain, with orders to keep well hidden in the woods until signalled to attack.
The night before
Carthage was a Phoenician state that included, during the 7th–3rd centuries BC, its wider sphere of influence known as the Carthaginian Empire. The empire extended over much of the coast of Northwest Africa as well as encompassing substantial parts of coastal Iberia and the islands of the western Mediterranean Sea. Phoenicians founded Carthage in 814 BC. A dependency of the Phoenician state of Tyre, Carthage gained independence around 650 BC and established its political hegemony over other Phoenician settlements throughout the western Mediterranean, this lasting until the end of the 3rd century BC. At the height of the city's prominence, it served as a major hub of trade, with trading stations extending throughout the region. For much of its history, Carthage was on hostile terms with the Greeks in Sicily and with the Roman Republic; the city had to deal with hostile Berbers, the indigenous inhabitants of the area where Carthage was built. In 146 BC, after the third and final Punic War, Roman forces destroyed Carthage redesigned and occupied the site of the city.
Nearly all of the other Phoenician city-states and former Carthaginian dependencies subsequently fell into Roman hands. According to Roman sources, Phoenician colonists from modern-day Lebanon, led by Dido, founded Carthage circa 814 BC. Queen Elissa was an exiled princess of the ancient Phoenician city of Tyre. At its peak, the metropolis she founded, came to be called the "shining city", ruling 300 other cities around the western Mediterranean Sea and leading the Phoenician world. Elissa's brother, Pygmalion of Tyre, had murdered the high priest. Elissa escaped the tyranny of her own country, founding the "new city" of Carthage and subsequently its dominions. Details of her life are sketchy and confusing, but the following can be deduced from various sources. According to Justin, Princess Elissa was the daughter of King Belus II of Tyre; when he died, the throne was jointly bequeathed to her brother and her. She married her uncle Acerbas known as Sychaeus, the High Priest of Melqart, a man with both authority and wealth comparable to the king.
This led to increased rivalry between the monarchy. Pygmalion was a tyrant, lover of both gold and intrigue, who desired the authority and fortune enjoyed by Acerbas. Pygmalion assassinated Acerbas in the temple and kept the misdeed concealed from his sister for a long time, deceiving her with lies about her husband's death. At the same time, the people of Tyre called for a single sovereign. In the Roman epic of Virgil, the Aeneid, Queen Dido, the Greek name for Elissa, is first introduced as a esteemed character. In just seven years, since their exodus from Tyre, the Carthaginians have rebuilt a successful kingdom under her rule, her subjects present her with a festival of praise. Her character is perceived by Virgil as more noble when she offers asylum to Aeneas and his men, who had escaped from Troy. A spirit in the form of the messenger god, sent by Jupiter, reminds Aeneas that his mission is not to stay in Carthage with his new-found love, but to sail to Italy to found Rome. Virgil ends his legend of Dido with the story that, when Aeneas tells Dido, her heart broken, she orders a pyre to be built where she falls upon Aeneas' sword.
As she lay dying, she predicted eternal strife between Aeneas' people and her own: "rise up from my bones, avenging spirit" she says, an invocation of Hannibal. Aeneas goes on to found the Roman Kingdom; the details of Virgil's story do not, form part of the original legend and are significant as an indication of Rome's attitude towards the city she had founded, exemplified by Cato the Elder's much-repeated utterance, "Carthago delenda est", "Carthage must be destroyed". The Phoenicians established numerous colonial cities along the coasts of the Mediterranean to provide safe harbors for their merchant fleets, to maintain a Phoenician monopoly on an area's natural resources, to conduct trade free of outside interference, they were motivated to found these cities by a desire to satisfy the demand for trade goods or to escape the necessity of paying tribute to the succession of empires that ruled Tyre and Byblos, by fear of complete Greek colonization of that part of the Mediterranean suitable for commerce.
The Phoenicians lacked the population or necessity to establish large self-sustaining cities abroad, most of their colonial cities had fewer than 1,000 inhabitants, but Carthage and a few others developed larger populations. Although Strabo's claim that the Tyrians founded three hundred colonies along the west African coast is exaggerated, colonies were established in Tunisia, Algeria, to a much lesser extent, on the arid coast of Libya; the Phoenicians were active in Cyprus, Corsica, the Balearic Islands and Sicily, as well as on the European mainland at present-day Genoa in Italy and Marseille in present-day France. The settlements at Crete and Sicily were in perpetual conflict with the Greeks, but the Phoenicians managed to control all of Sicily for a limited time; the entire area came under the leadership and protection of Carthage, which in turn dispatched its own colonists to found new cities or to reinforce those that declined with the loss of primacy of Tyre and Sidon. The first colonies were settled on the two paths to Iberia's mineral wealth — along the Northwest African coast and on Sicily and the Ba
Battle of Lilybaeum
The Battle of Lilybaeum was the first naval clash between the navies of Carthage and Rome during the Second Punic War. The Carthaginians had sent 35 quinqueremes to raid Sicily, starting with Lilybaeum; the Romans, warned by Hiero of Syracuse of the coming raid, had time to intercept the Carthaginian contingent with a fleet of 20 quinqueremes and managed to capture several Carthaginian ships. Carthage and the Roman Republic had peaceful, if not friendly, relations since signing the first treaty in 509 BC, which had detailed the rights of each power. Treaties were signed in 348 and 306 BC that further established the spheres of influence of each state. Carthage and Rome cooperated against King Pyrrhus and signed a treaty of cooperation in 279 BC. However, Roman involvement in Messina in Sicily in 264 BC led to the First Punic War, which cost Carthage her Sicilian holdings, naval supremacy and a large indemnity; the Roman actions during the Mercenary War favoured Carthage, but they seized Sardinia and Corsica after that war concluded.
Carthage rebuilt her fortunes by conquering parts of Iberia under the leadership of Hamilcar and Hannibal during 237-218 BC. Rome, at the instigation of Massalia, signed a treaty with Hasdrubal the Fair in 226 BC, which established the Ebro as the limit of Carthaginian power in Iberia; the city of Saguntum, located south of the river, became an ally of Rome some time after 226 BC. When Iberian allies of Hannibal Barca came into conflict with Saguntum, Rome warned Hannibal not to intervene. Faced with the alternative of backing down and losing face, Hannibal opted to attack Saguntum; this was the start of the Second Punic War. The Roman Senate had declared war on Carthage after Hannibal Barca had attacked and taken the city of Saguntum in Iberia in 219 BC. Rome had declared Saguntum an ally but had done nothing to help the city during the eight-month-long siege. Once the siege was over, the combatants started to make ready for the coming struggle, to last 18 years; the Roman navy had been mobilized in 219 BC.
Publius Cornelius Scipio was to sail for Iberia escorted by 60 ships. However, Gauls of the Boii and Insubre tribes in northern Italy attacked the Roman colonies of Placentia and Cremona, causing the Romans to flee to Mutina, which the Gauls besieged. Praetor L. Manlius Vulso marched from Ariminium with two Roman legions, 600 Roman Horse, 10,000 allied infantry and 1,000 allied cavalry towards Cisalpine Gaul; this army was ambushed twice on the way. Although the siege of Mutina was raised, the army itself fell under a loose siege a few miles from Mutina; this event prompted the Roman Senate to send one of Scipio's legions and 5,000 allied troops to aid Vulso. Scipio had to raise troops to replace these and thus could not set out for Iberia until September 218 BC. Consul Tiberius Sempronius Longus received four legions and instructions to sail for Africa, escorted by 160 quinqueremes. Sempronius had set sail for Sicily. Hannibal had dismissed his army to winter quarters after the Siege of Saguntum.
In the summer of 218 BC, Hannibal stationed 15,000 soldiers and 21 elephants in Iberia under his brother Hasdrubal Barca, sent 20,000 soldiers in Africa with 4,000 garrisoning Carthage itself. The army that marched for Italy from Cartagena is supposed to have numbered 90,000 foot and 12,000 cavalry, 37 elephants. Hannibal divided his army into three columns before crossing the Ebro River, attacked the Iberian tribes of Ilergetes and Ausetani in Catalonia. In a two-month-long campaign, Hannibal subdued parts of Catalonia between the Ebro, the Pyrenees and the Sicoris river in a swift, if costly campaign; the Iberian contingent of the Punic navy, which numbered 50 quinqueremes and 5 triremes, remained in Iberian waters, having shadowed Hannibal's army for some way. Carthage mobilized at least 55 Quinqueremes for immediate raids on Italy; the Carthaginian navy struck the first blow of the war when a fleet of 20 quinqueremes, loaded with 1,000 soldiers, raided the Lipari Islands. Another group of eight ships attacked Vulcano island, but was blown off-course in a storm towards the Straits of Messina.
The Syracusan navy at Messina, managed to capture three of the ships, which surrendered without resistance. Learning from the captured crew that a Carthaginian fleet was to attack Lilybaeum, Hiero II, at Messina awaiting the arrival of Sempronius, warned the Roman praetor Marcus Amellius at Lilybaeum about the impending raid; the Carthaginian fleet was hampered by bad weather and had to wait before commencing their operation. Although the Romans only had 20 ships present at Lilybaeum, the praetor, after receiving the warning from Hiero, provisioned his ships for a long sail and put a proper contingent of Roman legionaries on board each ship before the Carthaginian fleet appeared, he posted lookouts along the coast to watch out for the Carthaginian ships, giving him early warning and minimizing the risk of surprise. The Carthaginians had broken their journey at the Aegates Islands, when they sailed for Lilybaeum on a moonlit night, they intended to make their approach coincide with the dawn.
The Roman lookouts spotted them well. As the Romans sallied forth, the Carthaginians lowered their sails for battle and moved to the open sea; the Carthaginians outnumbered the Romans, but their ships were undermanned and the Romans had the advantage of containing a larger number of soldiers aboard their ships
Siege of Capua (211 BC)
The Siege of Capua was fought in 211 BC, when the Romans besieged Capua. It is described by Polybius at 9.4-7, by Livy at 26.4-6. Capua had defected to Hannibal after the Battle of Cannae in 216 BC. Hannibal had made Capua his winter quarter in 215 BC and had conducted his campaigns against Nola and Casilinum from there; the Romans had attempted to march on Capua several times since its defection but were thwarted by the return of Hannibal's army rushing to its defence. By 211 BC, Hannibal was busy in the south of Italia and the Romans were ready to try again, banking on taking it before Hannibal's army could return to Capua. Hannibal feared that if he approached Capua, the Romans would withdraw, as they had done on other occasions, only to return to lay siege again once he had left, he thus tried to break the siege by marching on Rome itself, hoping that that threat would force the Roman army to break off the siege and march back to Rome to defend it. Once the Roman army was in the open, he would turn to engage it in a pitched battle and defeat them once again, freeing Capua from the threat.
However, Hannibal found the defences of Rome too formidable for an assault and as he had only planned this movement as a feint, he lacked both the supplies and equipment for a siege. The Roman besiegers of Capua, knowing this, ignored his march on Rome and refused to break off their siege, his feint having failed, Hannibal was forced to retreat south and Capua unrelieved fell to the Romans shortly afterwards. Polybius - The Rise of the Roman Empire, pp 387–394
Battle of Cissa
The Battle of Cissa was part of the Second Punic War. It was fought in the fall near the Greek town of Tarraco in north-eastern Iberia. A Roman army under Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus defeated an outnumbered Carthaginian army under Hanno, thus gaining control of the territory north of the Ebro River that Hannibal had just subdued a few months prior in the summer of 218 BC; this was the first battle that the Romans had fought in Iberia. After the successful conclusion of the Siege of Saguntum, Hannibal Barca had rested his army. In the summer of 218 BC, he had started out for Italy with either 90,000 foot and 12,000 cavalry, or with 26,000 foot and 10,000 horse, he had spent the summer conquering the area north of the Ebro River. After subduing the Iberian tribes, but leaving the Greek cities unmolested, Hannibal crossed over into Gaul to continue his march to Italy, leaving a contingent to guard the newly conquered territories and sending 10,000 less reliable troops home; the Roman navy had been mobilized in 219 BC.
Consul Tiberius Sempronius Longus received 4 legions and instructions to sail for Africa with 160 quinqueremes. Publius Cornelius Scipio was to sail for Iberia escorted by 60 ships. However, the Gallic Boii and Insubre tribes in northern Italy had attacked Roman colonies, causing part of Scipio’s force to deploy there and fresh legions were raised to replace them, delaying his departure. While Hannibal was marching through Gaul, Scipio had landed with his army at the allied Greek city of Massilia, he sent a cavalry patrol north, up the eastern bank of the Rhone River, which clashed with a similar force of Numidian light cavalry and, after a hard fought skirmish, drove off the Carthaginians. Scipio marched north from his base. Arriving at the deserted Carthaginian camp, Scipio learned that Hannibal was three day's march away and decided to send his forces to Iberia under the command of his elder brother Gnaeus, consul in 221 BC, while he himself returned to Northern Italy to organize the defences against Hannibal.
Hasdrubal Barca, the younger brother of Hannibal, had 12,650 infantry, 2,550 cavalry and 21 elephants to guard the Carthaginian possessions south of the Ebro. Hannibal had left a certain Hanno with 10,000 infantry and 1,000 cavalry to garrison the newly conquered territory north of the Ebro; this Hanno has been identified by various authors as Hannibal’s nephew, a brother or no Barcid relation. Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus, with 20,000 infantry 2,200 cavalry and 60 quinqueremes, sailed from Massilia and landed at Emporiae in Iberia; the Greek cities of Emporiae and Tarraco welcomed the Romans, Gnaeus began to win over the Iberian tribes north of the Ebro. Hasdrubal Barca, after being warned of the Roman expedition, marched north with an army of 8,000 foot soldiers and 1,000 cavalry to join Hanno. Hanno had been surprised by the Roman arrival in Iberia. Seeing the grip of the Carthaginians on the newly conquered Iberian tribes loosening because of the activities of Scipio, he decided to offer battle.
Hanno attacked the Romans just north of Tarraco, near a place called Cissa or Kissa. There were no brilliant manoeuvres or ambushes, the armies faced off. Being outnumbered two to one, Hanno was defeated easily, losing 6,000 soldiers in battle. Furthermore, the Romans managed to capture the Carthaginian camp, along with 2,000 more soldiers and Hanno himself; the camp contained. The prisoners included Indibilis, an influential Iberian chieftain who would cause severe trouble for the Romans later; the Romans stormed the town of Cissa, though to the frustration of the Romans it did not contain any valuable booty. Gnaeus became master of Iberia north of the Ebro. Hasdrubal, arriving too late to aid Hanno and not being strong enough to attack the Romans, still crossed the river and sent a flying column of light cavalry and infantry on a raid; this force caught some Roman sailors foraging and inflicted such casualties that the effectiveness of the Roman fleet in Iberia was reduced from 60 to 35 ships.
The Roman fleet, raided the Carthaginian possessions in Iberia. Roman prestige was established in Iberia. After punishing the officers in charge of the naval contingent for their lax discipline and the Roman army wintered at Tarraco. Hasdrubal retired to Cartagena after garrisoning allied towns south of the Ebro. If Hanno somehow had won the battle, it might have been possible for Hannibal to get reinforcements from Barcid Iberia as early as 217 BC; this battle brought the same results for Scipio in Iberia as the Battle of Trebia would bring for Hannibal in Italy: securing a base of operation, winning over some of the native tribes as a source of provisions and recruits cutting off the overland communication of Hannibal from his base in Iberia. Unlike Hannibal, Scipio did not launch a major campaign on enemy territory south of the river. Nor would he cut loose from his base like Hannibal did in the near future. Scipio took time to consolidate his holdings, subjugate or befriend Iberian tribes and raid Carthaginian territory.
These activities laid the foundation for the future Roman operations in Iberia. Bagnall, Nigel; the Punic Wars. ISBN 0-312-34214-4. Cottrell, Leonard. Hannibal: Enemy of Rome. Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-80498-0. Lazenby, John Francis (197
Battle of Nola (214 BC)
The Third Battle of Nola was fought in 214 BC between Hannibal and a Roman army led by Marcus Claudius Marcellus. It was Hannibal's third attempt to take the town of Nola. Once again, Marcellus prevented the town's capture. Upon Hannibal's descent from the alps he had for 3 years won an impressive string of victories against Rome The battle of Ticinus, Trebia and Cannae were some of the more notable victories that he'd won These had been disastrous defeats for the Romans the latter battle; this victory brought the Romans to the brink of despair. The Senate had issued a decree. Mourning was legislatively circumscribed to 30 days, women were not permitted to cry in the public venues. In spite of these and other like measures, there was much despair in the city and there were a number of young Romans of high birth who proposed desertion to all in the army and to establish a new colony elsewhere; this proposed defection was put down and all thoughts of surrender were circumscribed. However, in spite of the tremendous blow to the cause of Rome, Hannibal could not take the city itself - he did not think he had the resources that a siege of the city itself would have required- and as a result did not attempt it.
There were two reasons. Not a single member of the Italian Confederacy broke its treaty with Rome, the roots of Roman power in the peninsula were sown deep, based upon time and the mutual benefit that both Rome and her subordinate allies had received from the alliance. To be sure, there were colonies, detached from the Confederacy in Cisalpine Gaul, but no demoralizing blow had been struck at the Symmachy. So after Cannae, Hannibal set about just this task, it was indeed upon the basis of his being able to detach the confederates of Rome, that Hannibal had calculated upon a lasting victory. Without them, nothing serious could be brought about. So after the battle itself, Hannibal started to conduct diplomacy to this effect. Phillip of Macedon promised a navy and an army to descend on Italy - it was in this way that he hoped to strike a blow at Rome herself while regaining Epirus to his kingdom. In addition to this, Hiero II of Syracuse passed, his successor concluded a treaty with Hannibal. With the end of detaching more confederates from the Roman Symmachy, after the battle Hannibal released all soldiers, enlisted under the banners as a result of their cities treaty with Rome without request for ransom.
However, in spite of the seeming ascendancy of Hannibal over Rome, his cause was in reality anything but that. His military chest was stretched to its limit, to this effect he sent a deputation to Rome that requested money in return for hostages; this deputation was forbidden to enter the city, the Senate forbid anyone from purchasing hostages from the Carthaginians on an individual basis - deeming the enrichment of Hannibal through the wealth of Rome and its citizens to be unacceptable. What happened at this point, was a number of Roman Allies - although no Latin confederate - were detached. Capua, the second city of all Italy and in a commanding position on the crucial plain of Campania was detached; this city had been much oppressed by the Romans, faced discriminatory treatment by the Senate and the chief magistrates of the Republic. This city was said to be able to furnish 4,000 cavalry; this was a major blow to the Symmachy, was in and of itself as demoralizing as the defeat at Cannae had been.
Following the example of Capua was. Hannibal had won over all of southern Italy. From the mouth of the Vulturnus river to the peninsula of Mons Garganus and south nothing could be found except a string of Roman forts holding out and adherents of Hannibal. Dodge, Theodore. Hannibal. Mechanicsburg, PA: Greenhill Books. ISBN 9781853671791. Reprint of 1891 work
Hannibal Barca was a general and statesman from Ancient Carthage, considered one of the greatest military commanders in history. His father, Hamilcar Barca, was a leading Carthaginian commander during the First Punic War, his younger brothers were Mago and Hasdrubal, he was brother-in-law to Hasdrubal the Fair, all commanded Carthaginian armies. Hannibal lived during a period of great tension in the western Mediterranean Basin, triggered by the emergence of the Roman Republic as a great power after it had established its supremacy over Italy. Although Rome had won the First Punic War, revanchism prevailed in Carthage, symbolised by the alleged pledge that Hannibal made to his father to never be a friend of Rome; the Second Punic War broke out in 218 after Hannibal's attack on Saguntum, an ally of Rome in Hispania. He made his famous military exploit of carrying war to Italy by crossing the Alps with his African elephants. In his first few years in Italy, he won a succession of dramatic victories at the Trebia, Lake Trasimene, Cannae.
He distinguished himself for his ability to determine his and his opponent's respective strengths and weaknesses, to plan battles accordingly. Hannibal's well-planned strategies allowed him to conquer. Hannibal occupied most of southern Italy for 15 years, but could not win a decisive victory, as the Romans led by Fabius Maximus avoided confrontation with him, instead waging a war of attrition. A counter-invasion of North Africa led by Scipio Africanus forced him to return to Carthage. Scipio had studied Hannibal's tactics and brilliantly devised some of his own, he defeated Rome's nemesis at the Battle of Zama, having driven Hannibal's brother Hasdrubal out of the Iberian Peninsula. After the war, Hannibal ran for the office of sufet, he enacted political and financial reforms to enable the payment of the war indemnity imposed by Rome. During this time, he lived at the Seleucid court, where he acted as military advisor to Antiochus III the Great in his war against Rome. Antiochus met defeat at the Battle of Magnesia and was forced to accept Rome's terms, Hannibal fled again, making a stop in the Kingdom of Armenia.
His flight ended in the court of Bithynia, where he achieved an outstanding naval victory against a fleet from Pergamon. He was afterwards betrayed to the committed suicide by poisoning himself. Hannibal is regarded as one of the greatest military strategists in history and one of the greatest generals of Mediterranean antiquity, together with Philip of Macedon, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Scipio Africanus. Plutarch states that Scipio asked Hannibal "who the greatest general was", to which Hannibal replied "either Alexander or Pyrrhus himself" Military historian Theodore Ayrault Dodge called Hannibal the "father of strategy", because Roman armies adopted elements of his military tactics into its own strategic arsenal. Hannibal has been cited by various subsequent military leaders, such as Napoleon Bonaparte, as an inspiration and the greatest strategist of all time; the English form of the name is derived from the Latin. Greek historians rendered the name as Anníbas Bárkas. Hannibal was a common Carthaginian masculine given name.
The name was recorded in Carthaginian sources as ḤNBʿL. It is a combination of the common Carthaginian masculine given name Hanno with the Northwest Semitic Canaanite deity Baal, its precise vocalization remains a matter of debate. Suggested readings include Ḥannobaʿal, Ḥannibaʿl, or Ḥannibaʿal, meaning "Baʿal/The Lord is Gracious", "Baʿal Has Been Gracious", or "The Grace of Baʿal". Barca was the Semitic surname of his aristocratic family, meaning "shining" or "lightning", it is thus the Phoenician equivalent to the Arabic name Barq or the Hebrew name Barak or the ancient Greek epithet Keraunos, given to military commanders in the Hellenistic period. In English, his clan are sometimes collectively known as the Barcids; as with Greek and Roman practice, patronymics were a common part of Carthaginian nomenclature, so that Hannibal would have been known as "Hannibal son of Hamilcar". Hannibal was one of the sons of a Carthaginian leader, he was born in what is present day northern Tunisia, one of many Mediterranean regions colonised by the Canaanites from their homelands in Phoenicia.
He had several sisters and two brothers and Mago. His brothers-in-law were the Numidian king Naravas, he was still a child when his sisters married, his brothers-in-law were close associates during his father's struggles in the Mercenary War and the Punic conquest of the Iberian Peninsula. In light of Hamilcar Barca's cognomen, historians refer to Hamilcar's family as the Barcids. However, there is debate as to whether the cognomen Barca was applied to Hamilcar alone or was hereditary within his family. If the latter Hannibal and his brothers bore the name "Barca". After Carthage's defeat in the First Punic War, Hamilcar set out to improve his family's and Carthage's fortunes. With that in mind and supported by Gades, Hamilcar began the subjugation of the tribes of the Iberian Peninsula. Carthage at the time was in such a poor state. According to Polybius, Hannibal much said that when he came upon his father and begged to go with him, Hamilcar agreed and dem