This Blog

Via Mala
This blog is about Hannibal Barca, the famous General of Carthage who crossed the Alps with his elephants to fight the Romans. This happened around 2,200 years ago.

Carthage - with its capital near Tunis in modern-day Tunisia, North Africa - was a trading empire that had co-existed with Rome for many centuries. Eventually the two empires clashed in the series of three wars called the Punic Wars. Rome defeated Carthage three times, finally destroying the city and the empire.

Hannibal's war was the Second Punic War - he started it by attacking Saguntum in Spain and then invading Italy. He rampaged through Italy for 16 years, inflicting horrific defeats on the Roman forces. He was never defeated in a major engagement by the Romans in Italy but was gradually bottled up in the south of the country. Finally Rome invaded his north African homeland and he was recalled to defend it. There he suffered his first major defeat, which ended the Second Punic War.

Hannibal was then on the run and travelled through the Middle East, selling his military skills - usually to the opponents of Rome's allies.

Finally Hannibal was trapped (in present-day Turkey) and took poison to avoid capture.


I have been interested in Hannibal since visiting - as a young boy - the Via Mala ravine in the Alps, where Hannibal is reputed to have crossed with his elephants. Later on in life I visited Carthage (after crossing the Sahara) and saw what little remains there of the capital city of the great Carthaginian Empire. In later years I have come to appreciate more the sheer feat of willpower that enabled Hannibal to function militarily in the largely hostile environment of southern Italy for 16 years.

This blog was developed from the original web site, which I started in August 2000, when my objective was to develop the most comprehensive site on Hannibal on the Web,