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Hannibal of Carthage

Why Was Hannibal of Carthage Considered Such a Great Military Leader?

 Hannibal of Carthage
"Why do people think Hannibal was one of the greatest military generals of all time?"
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Rome's enemy Hannibal of Carthage lost the second Punic War (218-201). The terms of the truce were highly favorable to Rome. Carthage agreed to the following terms (Punic War II):

  • hand over all warships and elephants
  • not make war without permission of Rome
  • pay Rome 10,000 talents over the next 50 years.
Even though Carthage lost under Hannibal's leadership and Rome won, Hannibal retained his reputation as a formidable opponent and great military leader. Have you ever wondered why? A sixteen-year old Belgian provides a cogent answer about Hannibal of Carthage on the Ancient / Classical History Forum:

He simply is :-p

After Hannibal got over the Alps, his army was heavily weakened. He only had 25,000 foot soldiers, a couple of elephants and 6000 (excellent) Numidian horsemen left. He had the luck that Scipio didn't arrive immediately (in which case he would have been defeated) but the loss of more than 30,000 veterans was terrible. The Gauls that he managed to persuade to join him were of some use (they could be sacrificed) but weren't the fighters they once were. Above that, the Roman legionnaires were (in that time) the best soldiers of the world. They made up for the mistakes of many generals. Not only did he have to fight these soldiers -- who had the advantage of fighting on their own land -- but the enemy had more than 200,000 of them.

So, with 50,000 men and 6,000 horsemen, Hannibal had to fight 200,000 foot soldiers. Even if he could defeat them, he had to conquer/persuade the Latins, Samnites, Etruscans, Greeks ... to join his cause (he noticed that persuading the Latins was impossible, which was one of the reasons that he lost the war). He didn't win the war.... No, but he managed to stay in the enemy's land for 15 years (218-203)! Plus he didn't lose one great battle (except, of course, Zama). Only a military genius could manage that.


Also see:Major People in Ancient History

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Hannibal of Carthage - Why was Hannibal considered such a great military leader?
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