2/23/14 Black History Hero: Hannibal Barca

In 219 BC Hannibal Barca, perhaps the best known personality in Carthaginian history, seized Saguntum in Spain. Polybius, the Roman historian, reported that this breached an existing treaty and was interpreted by the Romans as a declaration of war. A year later the second Punic War commenced. In May of that year, Hannibal raised an armed force of 90,000 men on foot and 12,000 men on horseback. By the summer, they reached Rhône. However, they were now a much-reduced force of 50,000 soldiers, 9,000 horsemen, and 37 elephants. Celts and Gauls flocked to his standard, however, and increased their numbers. They hated Roman imperial rule and saw the Carthaginian campaign as a way of getting back at the Romans. Hannibal’s forces crossed the Alpine passes at the end of the year. Being in winter, it was a difficult and costly crossing. Many people and animals, unfamilliar with such cold, died. From the north they marched on Italy, however. Penetrating deep into Italian territory, they seized Cannæ in 216 BC, killing 70,000 Roman soldiers. Carthage, on the other hand, lost 5,500 soldiers and 200 horsemen in the same campaign. Next they marched on Rome but were unable to breach the walls. They camped there for years. Sir James Frazer, the author of The Golden Bough wrote, Hannibal “hung with his dusky army like a storm-cloud about to break, within sight of the sentinels of Rome”. In 215 BC he sent two officers to Sicily to seduce the local rulers to break their loyalties to Rome. http://www.whenweruled.com/articles.php?lng=en&pg=15



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