‘His Career Was a Failure but of the Most Glittering Kind.’ Is This a Fair Assessment of Hannibal? Analyse Hannibal’s Greatness and the Reasons for His Ultimate Failure.

1885 Words Aug 30th, 2011 8 Pages
At the end of Hannibal’s career as a military commander of Carthage, a main enemy of Rome, it can be said that his career was a failure as he did not achieve his primary objective, the taking of Rome. However, his military achievements glittered and shone because he struck fear into Rome and he also earned himself a place in the modern world as the father of strategy. Hannibal will always be remembered and regarded as one of the greatest military tacticians and strategists in all of European history and is considered one of the greatest generals of the Ancient World. It was his superior strategy and tactical skills that allowed him to compete with and almost defeat Rome, but this greatness prevented him achieving his ultimate goal, because …show more content…
Despite Hannibal’s dazzling military achievements and the eventual establishment of a legacy that outlived Rome itself, it is fair assessment to say his career was a failure. Hannibal’s ambition was to take over Rome, a country he had hated, even from a young age when he had sworn that as long as he lived he would never be a friend of Rome. “He swore eternal hostility towards Rome.” (100 Great Military Commanders, 2004, pg. 14) However long he lingered in enemy land and no matter the great success and imperial tactics Hannibal had achieved at Cannae, he was unable to defeat and conquer the great Roman Republic. As he was unable to defeat the Romans, he was unable to achieve his primal objective which is why his career as a military commander can be regarded as a failure. While Hannibal’s greatness can be seen in his outstanding military strategies and tactics, after crossing the Alps he won a number of decisive victories again the Roman legions. These victories caused Rome to lose most of its armies which made the city virtually undefended; however Hannibal’s approach to military engagement meant he could not take the risk to immediately sack Rome when it was in a weakened state. “Fortunately for the Romans, Hannibal refused to attack and destroy the Roman city of Rome. His hesitancy to attack and destroy Rome allowed the Romans to regroup and fight another day.” (The New Competitive Strategy, 2011, pg. 136) He could not be assured of victory and
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