Between 218-216BC, Hannibal proved to be one of history’s greatest generals.” How much do you agree with this statement?

Essay by sam_rogers1212High School, 11th gradeA+, October 2014

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Between 218-216BC, Hannibal proved to be one of history's greatest generals." How much do you agree with this statement?

In this essay question I will study Hannibal Barca and his battles, victories, tactics and achievements and then come to my conclusion. I will also look at other key people including the ancient sources and how reliable they are.


Hannibal wants revenge against Rome as he had taken a blood oath for Carthage and his father, Hamilcar Barca. In the blood oath he swore to always be an enemy of Rome. Hamilcar Barca died in battle during the Second Punic war leaving Hannibal in charge of the Carthaginian Empire. Hannibal wants Carthage's place back as ruler of the Mediterranean so he decided to march against Rome. He couldn't not go by sea because of a naval battle Carthage had previous lost causing Rome to control the seas. He could not go by the coastal route because Rome was expecting Hannibal and his army to take this route so they may have set up some form of defences and would have sent the Carthaginians back to Carthage.

This meant that the only way to get to Rome was to march his army, cavalry and elephants over the Alps.

The crossing of the Alps took around 10 days and Hannibal took many casualties because of the conditions as well as two ambushes they faced, one on the ascent by a tribe which had made a trick truce with Hannibal and the other by a Gaul tribe in a valley high in the mountains. They came across a block in the path caused by a fallen boulder. Livy states Hannibal used boiling wine to split the rock while Polybius claims he told his troops to cut a new path around the...