Young Hannibal Swears Enmity To Rome, Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini
Hannibal, son of Hamilcar Barca, (248–183 or 182 BC),
commonly known as Hannibal was a Carthaginian military commander and tactician
who is popularly credited as one of the most talented commanders in history.
His father Hamilcar Barca was the leading Carthaginian commander during the
First Punic War. Hannibal lived during a period of tension in the
Mediterranean, when Rome (then the Roman Republic) established its supremacy
over other great powers such as Carthage, and the Hellenistic kingdoms of
Macedon, Syracuse, and the Seleucid empire.
One of Hannibal’s most famous achievements was at the
outbreak of the Second Punic War, when he marched an army, which included war
elephants, from Iberia over the Pyrenees and the Alps into northern Italy. In
his first few years in Italy, he won three dramatic victories Trebia, Trasimene
and Cannae and made several Roman allies. Hannibal occupied much of Italy for
15 years, however a Roman counter-invasion of North Africa forced Hannibal to
return to Carthage, where he was decisively defeated by Scipio Africanus at the
Battle of Zama. Scipio studied Hannibal’s tactics and brilliantly devised some
of his own, and finally defeated Rome’s nemesis at Zama having previously
driven Hasdrubal, Hannibal’s brother, out of Spain.
After the war Hannibal successfully ran for the office of
suffete. He enacted political and financial reforms to enable the payment of
the war indemnity imposed by Rome. However, Hannibal’s reforms were unpopular
with members of the Carthaginian aristocracy and Rome, and he fled into
voluntary exile. During his exile, he lived at the Seleucid court, where he
acted as military advisor to Antiochus III in his war against Rome. After
Antiochus met defeat and was forced to accept Rome’s terms, Hannibal fled
again, making a stop in Armenia. His flight ended in the court of Bithynia,
where he achieved an outstanding naval victory against a fleet from Pergamum.
He was afterwards betrayed to the Romans, but Hannibal was determined not to
fall into his enemies’ hands. He poisoned himself at Libyssa on the eastern
shore of the Sea of Marmara. Before dying, he left behind a letter declaring:
“Let us relieve the Romans from the anxiety they have so long experienced,
since they think it tries their patience too much to wait for an old man’s death”.
A proto-Princess Leia emerges from this 1,700-year-old terracotta lamp created in North Africa.
We may have Roman North Africa to thank for the famous Leia hairstyle, as this braided look appears on depictions of women in ancient artworks from this region, such as the terracotta lamp (left) at the Getty and the marble sculpture (right) at the Met.