Saturday, January 18, 2020

In the book aptly titled Hannibal Essay

In the book aptly titled Hannibal, Serge Lancel provided a nitty-gritty exposition of Rome’s Great Commander life history. Through this book, Lancel aims to provide a concise account of Hannibal’s greatness to enlighten some misconceptions about the hero, and to outline how Hannibal reached the summit of success, in terms of war. The book explicates Hannibal’s historical biography from childhood up to the moment of his downfall, to give the reader a clear picture of Hannibal’s attributes, strengths, weaknesses, and most especially his essential characteristics that made him a true hero. Lancel does not only establish Hannibal’s internal complexities but he also provided a precise status quo of the Carthaginian world throughout the progression of the Great Commander’s life history. With this, Lancel successfully sketched the annihilation of Hellenistic world and the ascension of Rome. Hannibal was brought in to world in 247 BCE at Carthage, which was experiencing a tremendous loss from Rome during the First Punic War (264-241). The domination of Rome during this period has a great influence to young Hannibal’s life because he was the eldest son of a Carthaginian general named Hamilcar Barca. At the age of ten, Hannibal witnessed the step by step triumph of his father through the latter’s accomplishment of other territories for the expansion Carthage empire. Many believed that Hamilcar compelled Hannibal to make a promise that the latter will have a perpetual abhorrence to the Roman Empire. Lancel posited that these could be hearsay only but this event could be true since Carthaginians have all the reasons to detest the Romans. When Hamilcar died in 229 BCE, Hasdrubal the Fair (Hamilcar’s son in-law) assumed the position, and during his reign he changed the landscape warfare by promoting diplomatic means. Eight years after, Hasdrubal was assassinated, which paved way for Hannibal’s commandership over the Carthaginian militia in Iberia. From diplomatic practice, Hannibal went back to his father approach of battle, which is aggressive in nature. His first attack was towards the natives of Salamanca in 220 BCE, followed the seizure Santagnum, which led to a conflict with the Romans because during Hasdrubal supremacy, Carthage and Rome made a treaty to prevent any disagreement between the two empires. Carthage and Rome underwent a negotiation, and while it is going Hannibal continued his goal of extending his territory. When he completely invaded the Iberian Peninsula the Carthage-Rome relationship worsened and catapulted the Second Punic War. Rome sent out reinforcement in Sicily, while Hannibal made a bold move in beleaguering Italy before the former can prepared themselves in the waging war. The existing war gave Hannibal an opportunity to get the support Gaul militia, which in the end made his army more powerful, and resulted, to his second triumph at Trebia River. In March 217 BCE, the Great Commander winning streak perpetuated though in an unfortunate event he lost one of his eyes (some historians posited that this due to opthamalia) during the war. Roman militia’s power diminished as the war went on, in an unexpected happenstance their consul Flaminius was ambushed near the Trasimene Lake. Because of this, Hannibal exterminated two Roman legions, but it did not stop Rome and its allies from engaging and continuing the war. Instead, they aggravated the conflict when Quintus Fabius Maximus was chosen to be Rome’s dictator. The Roman council suggested an end-all be-all war, in which they were successful at its first battle at Cannae but they were eventually defeated when Carthaginian army overwhelmed them in a circular formation. Several of Roman allies was so disappointed with result of the Second Punic War, they decided to turn their back with Rome and decided to join the Carthage Empire. Then at age of thirty, Capua was established as Hannibal’s capital in Italy. He commanded his brother Mago Barca to relate the good news in Carthage and in doing so; Mago decanted hundreds of golden rings taken from the decimated cadavers of Roman army, while he was entering the entrance hall of the Carthaginian senate. Nevertheless, Roman council, along with their remaining allies, still resisted any agreement with Hannibal. Then the Great Commander decided to make an alliance with the Macedonian empire, which he acquired through the approval of King Philip V of Macedonia. With this approval, the Carthaginian forces were joined by Syracuse forces in 214 BCE. Rome did not falter; instead, they started an alliance with the Aetolia since this Greek town has a dispute with Macedonia. In the undying desire of Hannibal to expand his territory, he pursued Cumae and Puteoli ports, in order for him to strengthen his militia, but due to this, Rome found an opportunity to regain its nation’s confidence and to start anew because Hannibal neglected his offensives in Central Italy. In 212 BCE, Hannibal tasted his first failure.

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