Hannibal: Africa’s Tactical Genius Essay

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Hannibal was a Punic Carthaginian military commander, reputed to be one of the greatest in history and even a better tactician. Hannibal lived in a time of great friction in the Mediterranean where the Roman Republic dominated Macedon, Syracuse and the Seleucid Empire. He was a notable member of the Barca family, a noble family well known for being staunch antagonists of the Roman Republic. His father Hamilcar was a leading commander in the First Punic War, his brother-in-laws were Hasdrubal the Fair who preferred diplomacy to war and the Numidian king Naravas, and both his brothers, Mago (commanded Hannibal’s forces and made decisive pushes) and Hasdrubal (defended Carthaginian cities in Hispania as Hannibal left for Italy in 218 BC)…show more content…
Hannibal was also one of the few historical generals to commandeer a multicultural and polyglot army for years, recognizing the importance of language mastery when it came to seizing and maintaining control over conquered territory and fostering relationships among his militia; uniting them for a single cause: destroying the Empire. Prior to the start of the Second Punic War, on his now-renowned expedition towards Italy, Hannibal and his men fought their way through the Pyrenees, subduing tribes in their wake through advantageous mountain tactics and stubborn fighting. He left 11,000 of his troops to garrison the region and another 11,000 Iberian soldiers behind who were allegedly reluctant to leave their home’s shores. And so he entered Gaul (Western Europe) with a supposed 50,000 foot soldiers and 9,000 horsemen. Realizing he had stretched his forces a little too thin, Hannibal knew he could not afford to irk the Gaulish as he was at a disadvantage when it came to military might. So he avoided war or any hindering forms of opposition from the Gaulish by placating their chiefs and reaching the Rhone River before the Romans could stop him . Hannibal won three major victories over the Italian cities of Trebia, Trasimene and Cannae, breaking records in each battle. The Battle of Trebia was the first battle of the Second Punic War fought in December 218 B. C. under harsh, extremely

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