Born in 247BC, Hannibal defied the military might of Rome and inflicted many defeats on its forces, until he was eventually outflanked by General Scipio in 182BC and committed suicide rather than face the humiliation of capture.
Hannibal Barca was born in Carthage (present-day Tunisia) in approximately 247 B.C. He was the son of Carthaginian general Hamilcar Barca (Barca meaning “thunderbolt”).
After Carthage’s defeat by the Romans in the First Punic War in 241 B.C, Hamilcar devoted himself to improving both his and Carthage’s fortunes. At an early age, he took Hannibal to Spain and made him swear eternal hostility toward the Roman Empire.
At age 26, Hannibal was given command of an army and immediately set out to consolidate Carthaginian control of Iberia. He married Imilce, an Iberian princess, and conquered or allied with numerous Iberian tribes. He made the seaport of Qart Hadasht (“New City,” now Cartagena) his home base.
In 219 B.C., Hannibal attacked the town of Saguntum (Sagunto, Spain), raising the ire of Rome and starting the Second Punic War.
Arguably Hannibal’s most important traits as a military commander were his astute military mind and his ability to utilise psychological warfare to great advantage, which, according to Polybius is the most valuable asset a commander can have.