Monday, March 10, 2014

BLACK HISTORY: Hannibal Barca, The African Warrior - The Greatest Military Strategist Ever, The Archetype For The Modern War Commander!

March 10, 2014 - BLACK HISTORY - Hannibal, son of Hamilcar Barca  (247 – 183/182 BC)  was a Punic Carthaginian military commander, generally considered one of the greatest military commanders in history. His father, Hamilcar Barca, was the leading Carthaginian commander during the First Punic War, his younger brothers were Mago andHasdrubal, and he was brother-in-law to Hasdrubal the Fair.




Hannibal lived during a period of great tension in theMediterranean, when theRoman Republic established its supremacy over other great powers such as Carthage, the Hellenistic kingdoms of Macedon, Syracuse, and theSeleucid empire. One of his most famous achievements was at the outbreak of the Second Punic War, when he marched an army, which included war elephants, from Iberia over thePyrenees and the Alps into northern Italy. In his first few years in Italy, he won three dramatic victories—Trebia, Trasimene, and Cannae, in which he distinguished himself for his ability to determine his and his opponent’s strengths and weaknesses, and to play the battle to his strengths and the enemy’s weaknesses—and won over many allies of Rome. Hannibal occupied much of Italy for 15 years, but a Roman counter-invasion of North Africa forced him to return to Carthage, where he was decisively defeated by Scipio Africanus at the Battle of Zama. Scipio had studied Hannibal’s tactics and brilliantly devised some of his own, and finally defeated Rome’s nemesis at Zama, having previously driven Hasdrubal, Hannibal’s brother, out of the Iberian Peninsula.

After the war, Hannibal successfully ran for the office of suffete. He enacted political and financial reforms to enable the payment of the war indemnity imposed by Rome; however, Hannibal’s reforms were unpopular with members of the Carthaginian aristocracy and in Rome, and he fled into voluntary exile. During this time, he lived at the Seleucid court, where he acted as military adviser to Antiochus III in his war against Rome. After Antiochus met defeat at the Battle of Magnesia and was forced to accept Rome’s terms, Hannibal fled again, making a stop in 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 Romans and committed suicide by poisoning himself.


Hannibal’s celebrated feat in crossing the Alps with war elephants passed into European legend:
detail of a fresco by Jacopo Ripanda, ca. 1510, Capitoline Museums, Rome.

Often regarded as one of the greatest military strategists in history, Hannibal would later be considered one of the greatest generals of antiquity, together with Alexander the Great,Julius Caesar, Scipio, and Pyrrhus of Epirus. Plutarch states that, when questioned by Scipio as to who was the greatest general, Hannibal is said to have replied either Alexander or Pyrrhus, then himself,  or, according to another version of the event, Pyrrhus, Scipio, then himself.  Military historian Theodore Ayrault Dodge once famously called Hannibal the “father of strategy”,  because his greatest enemy, Rome, came to adopt elements of his military tactics in its own strategic arsenal. This praise has earned him a strong reputation in the modern world, and he was regarded as a great strategist by men like Napoleon Bonaparte.

Background and early career

Hannibal was one of the sons of Hamilcar Barca, a Carthaginian leader. He had several sisters and two brothers, Hasdrubal and Mago. His brothers-in-law were Hasdrubal the Fairand the Numidian king Naravas. He was still a child when his sisters married, and his brothers-in-law were close associates during his father’s struggles in the Mercenary Warand the Punic conquest of Iberia. 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 (meaning “thunderbolt”) was applied to Hamilcar alone or was hereditary within his family. If the latter, then Hannibal and his brothers also bore the name ‘Barca’.[14]

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 that its navy was unable to transport his army to Iberia (Hispania); instead, Hamilcar had to march it towards the Pillars of Hercules and transport it across the Strait of Gibraltar(present-day Morocco/Spain).




According to Livy, Hannibal much later said that when he came upon his father and begged to go with him, Hamilcar agreed and demanded that he swear that as long as he lived he would never be a friend of Rome. There is even an account of him at a very young age begging his father to take him to an overseas war. In the story, Hannibal’s father took him up and brought him to a sacrificial chamber. Hamilcar held Hannibal over the fire roaring in the chamber and made him swear that he would never be a friend of Rome. Other sources report that Hannibal told his father, “I swear so soon as age will permit…I will use fire and steel to arrest the destiny of Rome.“[13][15] According to the tradition, Hannibal’s oath took place in the town of Peñíscola, today part of the community of Valencia, Spain.

Hannibal’s father went about the conquest ofHispania. When his father drowned[17] in battle, Hannibal’s brother-in-law Hasdrubalsucceeded to his command of the army with Hannibal serving as an officer under him. Hasdrubal pursued a policy of consolidation of Carthage’s Iberian interests, even signing atreaty with Rome whereby Carthage would not expand north of the Ebro River, so long as Rome did not expand south of it. Hasdrubal also endeavoured to consolidate Carthaginian power through diplomatic relationships with native tribes. As a part of his deals Hasdrubal arranged the marriage between Hannibal and an Iberian princess named Imilce.

Upon the assassination of Hasdrubal (221 BC), Hannibal was proclaimed commander-in-chief by the army and confirmed in his appointment by the Carthaginian government.Livy, a Roman scholar, gives a depiction of the young Carthaginian:

No sooner had he arrived…the old soldiers fancied they saw Hamilcar in his youth given back to them; the same bright look; the same fire in his eye, the same trick of countenance and features. Never was one and the same spirit more skillful to meet opposition, to obey, or to command…

After he assumed command, Hannibal spent two years consolidating his holdings and completing the conquest of Hispania, south of the Ebro.  However, Rome, fearing the growing strength of Hannibal in Iberia, made an alliance with the city of Saguntum, which lay a considerable distance south of the River Ebro and claimed the city as its protectorate. Hannibal perceived this as a breach of the treaty signed with Hasdrubal and so he laidsiege to the city, which fell after eight months. Rome reacted to this apparent violation of the treaty and demanded justice from Carthage. In view of Hannibal’s great popularity, the Carthaginian government did not repudiate Hannibal’s actions, and the war he sought was declared at the end of the year. Hannibal was now determined to carry the war into the heart of Italy by a rapid march through Hispania and southern Gaul. - Wikipedia.


 WATCH: History Channel presents Hannibal the Annihilator.





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