Saturday, June 28, 2008

Hannibal of Carthage

Hamilcar was the King in ancient Carthage,and he waged war against the Romans.He died in 228 B.C.,and was followed by his son in law Hasdrubal,who was assassinated in 221 B.C.Hamilcar's son Hannibal then became King of the Carthaginians at the age of 26.Hannibal led an army from the homeland of Carthage,North Africa,into Spain.He marched through Gaul,modern France,and crossed the Alps into Italy in 218 B.C.His story for the next 15 years is a history of the most brilliant raid in military annals.Whenever he met Roman armies he defeated them.In 216 B.C. he was attacked by a vastly superior Roman army at Cannae and utterly destroyed it.Hannibal roamed throughout Italy at will but could not capture Rome for lack of siege equipment.Finally forced into the heel of Italy,he had no forces left for operations of any magnitude and he returned to Carthage,where he met his first defeat by Romans.Rome imposed a harsh peace on Carthage,making her give up Spain,give up her war fleet except 10 vessels,making her pay 10,000 talents,($100 million dollars today),and have to agree not to wage any war without the permission of Rome.Finally,they dictated that Hannibal should be surrendered to Rome.Hannibal saved his countrymen this humiliation by fleeing to Greece,but the Roman Senate so feared him they sent soldiers to hunt him wherever he went.Finally,in 183 B.C.,close to being captured,Hannibal took his own life,by poison.Then Rome utterly destroyed Carthage,took the city,killing all but 50,ooo out of a population of 500,000,selling the survivors into slavery,burning the city,ploughing the ruins,spreading salt on the earth,and invoking a curse with great solemnity on anyone who might attempt to bebuild it.

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