Friday, 16 December 2011

Hannibal and Christmas

Christmas is a great time of year - even if you are not religious. But here's a thought: would it have become such a big celebration without Hannibal's victory at Lake Trasimene?

Hannibal in Armenia?
After Hannibal was forced to go on the run (after the Second Punic War) he sought refuge with a number of rulers beyond the reach of Rome. In one story founded on the accounts given by Plutarch (Lucullus 32.3) and Strabo (XI.xiv.6) he joined the rebel forces in Armenia and that he helped to found the new royal city of Artaxata.

Hannibal in the East

After the defeat of Carthage in the Second Punic War, and over the following 50 years, the Romans waged a series of wars in the east - wars in which Hannibal often re-appeared, although now in a more minor role.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Hannibal, Antiochus III and the Syrian War

Antiochus III
After his defeat at Zama and his adventures during the Macedonian Wars, continuing his battle against Rome, Hannibal turned up at the court of Antiochus III - 'Antiochus the Great', the Syrian king and ruler of the Seleucid Empire. Here Hannibal was temporarily sheltered from the Romans, although this refuge did not prove to be long-lived.

Philip V of Macedon and Hannibal

Philip V of Macedon
After his defeat at Zama, Hannibal was hounded by Rome and eventually had to flee Carthage. Where better to go than to the court of a potential ally against Rome - Philip V of Macedon? Hannibal and Philip had plotted together during Hannibal's time in Italy. Now was the time to make good those plans.

What followed was a series of wars in the East - the Macedonian Wars.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Roman Motives for Starting the First Punic War

The first two Punic Wars, covering the years 264-201 BC, represent Rome's first major activity outside the Italian peninsula and mark the beginnings of Rome's Mediterranean imperialism.

However, no historical event occurs in isolation. What were the reasons that propelled Rome into a risky war outside the Italian mainland?

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Was Hannibal 'Black'?

A 'classical' depiction of Hannibal

Judging from the feedback I have received in the past, this is a pretty controversial question. Most classical depictions show him as a bearded warrior - but distinctly not having what we might call 'typical black African features'. Some modern images shown Hannibal as very definitely 'black African', arguing that there has been 'historical racism''.

So what is the truth?

Cato - by Cornelius Nepos

Cornelius Nepos wrote brief essays on a number of characters involved in the history of Hannibal, including Carthage's arch-enemy, Marcus Porcius Cato (or Cato the Elder).

Hamilcar - by Cornelius Nepos

Cornelius Nepos wrote brief essays on a number of characters involved in the history of Hannibal, including Hannibal's father Hamilcar Barca.

Hannibal - by Cornelius Nepos

Cornelius Nepos wrote brief essays on a number of characters involved in the history of Hannibal, including the man himself.

According to his own statement Nepos wrote biography, not history. The lives were addressed to the general public and there are obvious links of genre to the parallel lives of Plutarch. 

Hannibal the Admiral

Hannibal is famous for his military victories. In fact he only lost one significant land battle - at Zama, to a Roman force led by P. Cornelius Scipio Africanus.

However, Hannibal also lost another, lesser-known battle - but at sea. He was bested by Eudamus of Rhodes.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Hannibal in Bithynia and his Death

Hannibal's Death

The end of Hannibal is not glorious - but rather is a story of a man pursued implacably by the Roman state.

Hannibal's last years are spent selling his military services to increasingly unattractive (and unappreciative) rulers in the Near East.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011


Welcome to the Hannibal Barca blog, which is dedicated to the Carthaginian general Hannibal Barca, who waged war on Rome for 16 years in Italy.

This blog is linked to my website on Hannibal Barca and the Punic Wars, where you can find all the background information.