Essay on Evaluation of Hannibal as a General

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Evaluation of Hannibal as a General When Hannibal left Italy in 203 BC "he had filled Italy…with monuments of his tremendous campaigns"[1]. In this essay I will consider Hannibal's legacy and what aspects of his personality created these 'monuments.' After research,[2] I have set out some criteria of a great general and in this essay I will attempt to establish to what extent Hannibal fulfils these criteria. According to Lazenby, to do what Hannibal did required "great strategic skill, tactical ingenuity and sheer force of personality"[3]. I will consider where these characteristics came from and how he used these characteristics to his advantage in the Second Punic War. After Hasdrubal was…show more content…
He must know the objective. He must defeat his enemies and forces, take the offensive, have unity in his command and know how to economise his army. He must manoeuvre into favourable positions, surprise the enemy, and have security from sabotage or subversion. He must have a good administration. He must adapt to the enemies plan smoothly and rapidly. He must take into account the domestic and foreign reactions to his activities. He should use psychological warfare. He must have a flexible army with the ability to use sophisticated tactics. He must either use force or guile to win the war and put the enemy into a dilemma where they are damned either choice they make. He must understand and utilize all available terrain. The terrain Hannibal faced was and included a daunting journey over the Alps. His strategy was simple. Saguntum was a Roman protected city, situated below the river Ebro, significant because Carthage had influence over all land below the River Ebro (river Ebro treaty 226 BC). Saguntum was seen as a 'listening post' on Carthaginian activities, and so had to be dealt with. Hannibal's strategy was to attack Saguntum, therefore provoking Rome to declare war on Carthage (and not on Hannibal). This was a good time to start a war as Rome was occupied elsewhere - with the Illyrian pirates and with the Gauls. It
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