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Hannibal
Twenty-two centuries ago there lived a man named Hannibal, the son of
Hamilcar Barca a Carthaginian. Hamilcar was a general in the Carthaginian
military in the first Punic War. After the defeat of Carthage in the first
Punic War, Hamilcar made Hannibal swear "eternal enmity" to Rome.
In 228 b.c. Hasdrubal, Hannibal`s brother-in-law, succeeded Hamilcar and
became commander. This meant that not only was the leader of the military
but also the political leader as well. In 221 b.c. Hasdrubal was assassinated
and Hannibal became commander in Spain. Hannibal was only 25 years old
when he was put in command of the Carthaginian armies and the Carthaginian
government in Spain. Even at a young age he knew his responsibilities,
so he kept his father's plan of military conquest and his brother-in-law`s
policy of strengthening Carthaginian power by democracy. He married a Spanish
princess and took hostages from the surrounding tribes to ensure their
loyalty to him. As a result of this he expanded the Carthaginian power
toward the Ebro river, which was the written northern boundary of Carthage
by the Rome treaty of 226. Rome attacked Saguntum, a city close to but
clearly on the Carthaginian side of the border. This provoked
Hannibal

to take back Saguntum. The romans considered this an act of war. So in
218 b.c. Rome declared war on Carthage. This begins the second Punic War.
After hearing the declaration of war Hannibal immediately starts off towards
Rome. The problem was he had to go by land because Rome controlled the
seas. Hannibal takes an army of thirty-five to forty thousand men, some
on foot and others on horse, along with fifty war elephants across the
Pyrenees and the Alps in August of 218. Bad luck falls into Hannibal's
lap as early snows and landslides kill many of his men and almost all of
his war elephants. While traveling through the Alps he fights battles at
Arausio and Genua, easily defeating the Roman warriors, although his troops
are in horrible shape. He enters Italy with only twenty-six thousand men
and five or six war elephants in September 218. Hannibal and his troops
spent the winter in Po Valley. In the spring of 217 b.c. Hannibal was joined
by the Gauls, northern Italians who were subdued into fighting the Romans.
Now Hannibal had a sufficient army of infantry and cavalry. The hardened
Carthaginian troops easily crushed the Roman armies in their way, but without
siege equipment the Carthaginians could not destroy the Roman cities. So
instead of trying to siege the city they simple killed the Roman soldiers
and moved on. Some times the Romans would retreat into their city surrounded
by high walls so that they would not die. In 217 Hannibal won a major battle
at Lake Trasimene. Hannibal`s army along with the Gauls would roam the
Italian countryside and destroy any opposing army. In 216 he defeated a
huge Roman army at the city of Cannae in southwestern Italy. At Cannae
the Romans loss was much greater than that of Hannibal suffered. The Romans
lost twenty-five thousand men and ten thousand were captured, on the other
hand Hannibal only lost five thousand and seven hundred men. Hannibal,
being a military genius, let the Romans advance at his main infantry, while
his cavalry charged around the sides easily defeating two other groups
of Roman infantry. Then after destroying the two side groups of Romans
the cavalry swept around the back of the main Roman attack force.
Hannibal

used this strategy often because it worked so good. Even though he was
killing Roman soldiers he was not destroying any cities. Finally, to get
Hannibal out of Italy, the Romans sent armies led by Scipio, a great Roman
general, to attack carthage in Africa. Carthage ordered Hannibal to Africa
to protect the city of Carthage. This was the clash of the titans,
Hannibal

vs. Scipio. They met at Zama, a city near Carthage. This would end up to
be the final battle of the Second Punic War, and the great
Hannibal
would
be the loser. Hannibal escaped but his army didn't. After the war Carthage
had to pay Rome a very large sum of money and agree to terms that they
could only wage war in Africa, even then they had to have Rome's permission.
Hannibal returned to Carthage and became one of the two chief magistrates
in 196. He then challenged the aristocrats of being corrupt, the aristocrats
told Rome that Hannibal was planning another attack on Rome with Antiochus
III of Syria. Rome, already very angered with Hannibal, deported
Hannibal

out of Carthage. So he traveled to Syria and was made a member of the Syrian
court. He then remembered his father's words and advised Antiochus III
to declare war against Rome. Antiochus III did wage war on Rome, the Syrian
War, from 192 b.c. to 189 b.c. Syria was defeated and Hannibal left to
become a member of the Prussian court. He then persuaded Prussia to go
to war against Rome. Instead of directly attacking Rome, Prussia attacked
Rome's ally Pergamum. Rome came into the fight and demanded that
Hannibal

be handed over to them. Instead of being humiliated Hannibal took his own
life in 182 b.c. Hannibal Barca, being eternal enemies with Rome, fulfilled
his father's words and while doing so became one the greatest generals
of all time.

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