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Hannibal: Rome's Greatest Enemy

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Hannibal Barca was born in 247 BC to the great Carthaginian general Hamilcar Barca and a mother native to Spain. He was born during the First Punic War between Carthage and Rome. When he was six years old, Carthage lost the war, and Rome forced Carthage to pay large amount of money; they were also forced to give up their entire navy, save a few dozen trade vessels. After Hamilcar’s loss, he took Hannibal and his Carthaginian army to Spain to secure more land and money for Carthage. In Spain, Hamilcar forced Hannibal to make a blood oath that he would always be an enemy of Rome. When Hannibal was 18, Hamilcar died, and his son-in-law Hasdrubal took over the Spanish holdings of Carthage. Eight years later, Hasdrubal was murdered, and Hannibal was elected leader of the entire Carthaginian army at the age of 26. Throughout his life, Hannibal faced many trials, such as his crossing of the Alps, the Battle of Cannae, and eventually, his losses. In 218 BC, when Hannibal was 29 years old, he took 50,000 infantry, 10,000 cavalry, and 37 African elephants with him and set out for Italy. With no remaining navy they would have to take a land route, leaving only one option: over the Alps. The route would be treacherous and there was no guarantee it would work, but Hannibal did it. As he once said, “I will either find a way or make one.” As the soldiers walked across the mountain chain, they faced falling rocks, avalanches, and enemy barbarians. Many barbarians had allied with him or had
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