Hannibal , or Annibal (in Punic, probably, "favorite of Baal"), a Carthaginian general and statesman, born in 247 B. C, died in Nico-media, Bithynia, in 183. He was the son of Hamilcar Barca, the Carthaginian hero of the first Punic war and leader of the popular party in his state; and the first years of his life were spent amid the impressions caused by the achievements of his father, the disasters which terminated that protracted struggle against Rome, and the horrors of the military mutiny which followed it. Having quelled this mutiny, and prepared for the conquest of Spain, Hamilcar, designing to take with him his son, then a boy of nine years, led him before their departure to an altar, and made him swear eternal enmity to the Romans. Spain, which Hamilcar and his son-in-law and successor in command Hasdrubal conquered as far as the Ebro, was an excellent school of war for Hannibal; and when the young general took the command, on the death of his brother-in-law (221), he possessed all the qualities which could promise success to the great military and political schemes of the house of Barca. His first task was to complete the conquest of the country south of the Ebro. After a few victories, Saguntum (now Murviedro in Valencia) alone remained to be subdued.
This city, a Greek colony, was an ally of Rome; but this was only another inducement for Hannibal to attack it, and at the head of 150,000 men he was strong enough to undertake the siege against the will of his government and the wish of the predominant party in Carthage. Saguntum, after a defence of eight months, characterized by that desperate valor which has marked the struggles of so many cities in ancient as well as modern Spain, fell while Rome was still deliberating on its rescue (219). Hannibal stained his victory by cruelty, but the rich booty sent to Carthage silenced the accusations of his enemies and augmented the number of the friends of war. Rome demanded in vain the surrender of the young general, and at last through her envoy, Quintus Fabius Maximus, declared war. Thus the second Punic war was begun. Unlike the first, which was waged chiefly for the possession of the islands of the Mediterranean, the genius of Hannibal made it a struggle for the destruction of Rome, which he hoped to achieve by an invasion of Italy from the north, and with the assistance of the half subdued subjects of the tyrannical republic, of whom the Insubrian and Boian Gauls had secretly promised a revolt.
Having secured the coasts of Africa by an army of Spaniards, and Spain by another of Africans under his brother Hasdrubal, he started from New Carthage (now Cartagena) in the spring of 218, with 90,000 foot, 12,000 horse, and 37 elephants, crossed the Ebro, subdued in a series of bloody struggles the warlike tribes of northeastern Spain, and passed the Pyrenees, leaving Hanno to guard the passes, and dismissing thousands of native Spanish troops to show his confidence of success. His army was now reduced to 59,000 men, with whom he speedily traversed the country between the Pyrenees and the Rhone, crossed that river, unchecked by the hostile Massiliotes, old allies of Rome, and their warlike Gallic neighbors, and, avoiding the cavalry of P. Cornelius Sci-pio the elder, who had landed on the coast of Gaul, marched up the Rhone and Isere, and through the comparatively level peninsula of the Allobroges between those two rivers to the Alps. It is now generally believed that he crossed the Graian range by the Little St. Bernard, which agrees with the relation of Poly-bius; but some still hold that his route was across the Cottian range by Mt. Cenis (as Livy relates), or Mt. Genevre. The stormy autumn weather and the treachery of the Centrones, a Gallic tribe, greatly augmented the natural horrors of this 15 days' passage of an army consisting in part of horsemen and elephants along narrow paths, between precipices and avalanches, over rocky peaks and ice fields lightly covered with snow.
But the spirit of the general proved equally ingenious in baffling the unexpected assaults of the Gauls, and in contriving artificial means for transporting the army with its trains. Of this, however, no more than 20,000 foot and 6,000 horse could be mustered in the valleys of the Dora Baltea. But the Insubrians and Bo-ians had kept their promise and risen against the Romans; they now readily joined his banners. Having captured Taurinium (Turin), which was hostile to the Insubrians, he defeated Scipio, who had returned with a part of his army from Gaul to meet him on his descent from the Alps, in a cavalry engagement on the Ticino. It was his first battle against Romans, and the first in Italy; and knowing the importance of the first impression, he had inspired his brave Numidian cavalry by a fiery speech. The consul retreated toward the fortified town of Placentia (Piacenza), but could not prevent his colleague T. Sempronius, after his arrival from Sicily, from accepting a battle on the Trebia, in which the Romans were entrapped into an ambuscade by Mago, the younger brother of Hannibal, and completely routed.
Only a part of their army escaped toward the fortresses of the Po. The campaign of the year 218 had thus been a succession of triumphs for Hannibal from the Ebro to the Trebia. The Romans now armed to defend the lines of the Apennines, sending Servilius and Flaminius, the new consuls of the year 217, to Umbria and Etruria, on either of which an attack was expected. Hannibal chose a western passage over the mountains, where he lost all his remaining elephants but one, and having crossed the marshy environs of the Arno, during which perilous march he lost his right eye, he passed by the camp of Flaminius at Arretium (Arezzo), and finally enticed him from his position into a defile between Cortona and Lake Thrasymenus (now the lake of Perugia), where the Romans were suddenly attacked by the Carthaginians in front and rear. Half of the Roman army, together with the consul, perished by the sword or in the lake, and the other half was captured. Four thousand horsemen, the vanguard of Servilius, who was hastening from Umbria to aid his colleague, arrived only to meet the same fate. Rome trembled, and imagined Hannibal already before its gates. (Hannibal ante portas became afterward a proverb.) Q. Fabius Maximus Verrucosus was proclaimed pro-dictator by the senate, and the city was. fortified.
Hut the conqueror, who knew Rome and the power of its despair, having made an unsuccessful attempt to besiege Spoletum, resolved to detach the subjects and allies of Rome from its interest before attacking the city itself. He therefore crossed over to Pice-num, and carried terror and devastation into the lands of the faithful confederates of Rome in central Italy. Fabius now marched against him, and, with that cautious slowness which won him the surname of Cunctator (the Delayer), closely followed all his motions, hovering around him like "a cloud on the mountains," deterring the towns from defection, but carefully avoiding the risk of a decisive battle. By thus keeping Hannibal continually at bay, he procured Rome time for greater armaments. Once he had even the good fortune to surround him closely in a narrow mountain pass; but Hannibal saved himself by having 2,000 oxen with burning fagots around their horns driven upon an eminence, which, making the enemy believe that a sally was intended on that side, induced him to quit one of his main positions. Dissatisfied with the slowness of Fabius, Mi-nucius, his master of the horse, attacked the enemy in his absence at Geronium, and for a trifling success was rewarded by the people of Rome with an equal share in the supreme command.
This emboldened him to attempt another attack, and he was soon ensnared and routed by Hannibal, being saved from total ruin only by Fabius, who hastened to the rescue of his rival. Hannibal regarded this as a defeat by Fabius. "I told you," he said, "the cloud of the mountains would shed its lightnings." He wrote to Carthage for re-enforcements and money; the government refused to send any, for none were needed, his enemies said, after such victories. Hasdrubal, his brother, was fully engaged in Spain by the brothers P. Cornelius and Cneius Scipio. A decisive battle was deemed necessary by Hannibal to destroy the Roman confederacy. The rashness of C. Terentius Varro, one of the consuls of the year 210, soon offered an opportunity for striking a great blow, of which Hannibal well knew how to avail himself. The battle was fought in Apulia, near Cannae, on the banks of the Aufidus (Ofanto). The two consuls, L. AEmilius Paulus and Varro, commanded more than 80,000 men; the Carthaginian generals, Hannibal, Mago, Maharbal, Hanno, and another Hasdrubal, 50,000. Skilful disposition, stratagem, and the Numidian cavalry decided the day in favor of the Carthaginians. AEmilius Paulus, who died the death of a hero, 21 military tribunes, 80 senators, and numberless knights were among the 50,000, or, according to others, 70,000 Roman victims of the carnage.
Only scattered remnants escaped, among them Varro, who now received the thanks of the senate quod de republica non desperasset. This indomitable spirit of the Romans, as well as his own heavy loss, still prevented Hannibal from following the advice of Barca to march immediately upon Rome. He was for the present satisfied with the possession of southern Italy, and entered Capua, which opened its gates, to give rest to his troops. But the rich and luxurious metropolis of Campania proved fatal to their discipline and health, and desertion thinned their ranks. Hannibal had passed the zenith of his good fortune. Marcellus, the sword of Rome, while Fabius continued to be its shield, repulsed him from Nola, and besieged and conquered Syracuse (214-212), a newly gained ally of Hannibal, while another ally, Philip of Macedon, was prevented from fulfilling his promises of aid. Hasdrubal in Spain fought with varying success, P. Cornelius Scipio, the son, recovering what his father and uncle had lost when they fell. Sardinia and the whole of Sicily were soon in the hands of the Romans, who began to harass the coasts of Africa. While Hannibal was effecting his successful march to Tarentum and its occupation (212), other towns were lost. Capua was besieged and hard pressed.
Unable to dislodge the besiegers, he suddenly marched toward Rome, and really appeared before its gates (211), but this diversion remained fruitless. The siege of Capua was not raised, and both that city and Tarentum were lost; and after a victory at Her-donea (210), Hannibal had to keep himself on the defensive in Apulia, Lucania, and Bruttium. His most dangerous enemy, Marcellus, however, fell into an ambuscade near Venusia, and was slain (208). This was one of Hannibal's last achievements in Italy. His hopes rested on the approach of his brother from Spain with a mighty army; but the consuls Livius and Claudius Nero, the latter of whom secretly hastened from the south, where he was observing Han-nibal, to aid his colleague in the north, destroyed in the battle on the Metaurus (207) the new army and every hope of Carthaginian success. Hannibal, into whose camp the head of his brother was thrown by the Romans, now despaired of the result, but still continued the struggle, at least for the military honor of his country, in Bruttium, the southernmost peninsula of Italy, until he was recalled in 203 to Africa, which was now invaded by Scipio, the conqueror of Spain. Immediately on his return, after so many years of absence and victories, he created a new cavalry, and defeated Masinissa of Numidia, the ally of Scipio, but tried to induce the latter to negotiate.
The statement that an interview occurred between Hannibal and Scipio is discredited by some historians. At all events, if they had an interview, it was without results. Hannibal was obliged to accept a battle at Zama (202), in which his large but motley host of Carthaginians, Libyans, Ligurians, Gauls, and Macedonians succumbed to the less numerous but well organized and disciplined army of Scipio. The terror of an eclipse of the sun, and a panic among the mercenaries, chiefly caused this crushing defeat. The second Punic war was soon over; Rome dictated cruel and humiliating terms of peace, and Carthage accepted them (201). But Hannibal's career was not yet ended. Removed from military command through the influence of the Romans, he soon rose to the highest civil dignity in his state, and as suf-fete he evinced the same energy, boldness, and genius which distinguished him as a general. He detected, denounced, and abolished inveterate abuses, reformed the judiciary, reorganized the finances, restored the resources of the republic, and concluded new alliances.
But his hostility to the embezzlers of the public revenues and monopolizers of offices increased and embittered his personal enemies, who denounced his patriotic schemes at Rome, and with a Roman commission sent to Africa even concerted a plot against his life. He sought safety in flight, escaped from the city, sailed to Tyre, and thence went to the court of Antiochus the Great of Syria, whom he soon induced to declare war against the Romans. But though the king treated him with the utmost honor, he was prevented by intrigues, and by jealousy of Hannibal's glory, from adopting his grand plans of a combined attack on Rome in Italy, as well as from giving him a proper share in the execution of his own. He was made commander of a fleet sent against the Rhodians, but failed in the expedition, though he personally distinguished himself. The Romans, having compelled Antiochus to an inglorious peace, asked the surrender of their old enemy, who was, however, informed in time to escape. He repaired to the court of Prusias, king of Bithy-nia (187), passing, it is said, through Gortyna in Crete, where he saved his treasures by placing sealed casks filled with lead under the protection of the avaricious inhabitants, while his gold lay concealed in hollow statues on the open floor of the vestibule.
Anxious to induce Prusias to aid him in his plans against Rome, he is said to have gained a victory over the fleet of his enemy Eumenes of Pergamus. There, too, the Romans persecuted him; and no less a person than T. Q. Flamininus was sent to ask his surrender, and the Bithynian king was weak enough to command the arrest of his guest. But Hannibal was not unprepared, and determined to die a free enemy, and not a slave of the Romans. He took poison, and in his last hour expressed his contempt of his victorious but degraded enemies, and uttered imprecations on Prusias, their treacherous accomplice. He had kept his oath.