This is an historical biography of Hannibal, the military leader of Carthage responsible for waging a dramatic onslaught on Rome during the Punic Wars. One of the few generals of history to be famous for the war he lost, Hannibal's attack in 218 BC - which included his renowned march of elephants across the Alps - ranks amongst the most courageous and ill-fated enterprises in the history of the ancient world. It was after the defeat of Hannibal that Rome was able to assert its strength in the Mediterranean, establishing the Roman Republic as the most formidable force in Europe. The book explores Hannibal's character and career. It shows how his actions as commander of the Carthaginian army in Spain consciously precipitated the Second Punic war in which he intended to exact revenge on Rome for earlier defeats. His march across the Alps, and then his war to wrest control of Italy from Rome - a conflict lasting more than a decade - has an inevitable, tragic fascination. Until now the traditions and the reality surrounding Hannibal have only been told from the perspective of Rome.
Here, Professor Lancel brings his unrivalled understanding of the Carthaginian world to explain the complexities of Hannibal's character and the internal dynamics of the period in which he lived. This definitive biography of one of the most fascinating figures of ancient history offers a fresh perspective on the demise of the Hellenistic world and the rise of Rome.