Hannibal was one of the sons of Hamilcar Barca, a Carthaginian leader, and of an unknown mother. He was born in present-day northern Tunisia, one of many Mediterranean regions colonized by the Canaanites from their homelands in Phoenicia, a region corresponding with the Mediterranean coasts of modern Lebanon and Syria.
Hannibal caused great distress to many in Roman society. The Romans even built statues of the Carthaginians in the streets of Rome to advertise their defeat of such a worthy adversary.
Hannibal’s celebrated feat of crossing the Alps with war elephants passed into European legend: detail of a fresco by Jacopo Ripanda. It is remarkable and very cogent proof that Hannibal was a natural leader and far superior to anyone else in the statesmanship.
Hannibal served as a political advisor in the Seleucid Kingdom and Scipio arrived there on a diplomatic mission from Rome. Hannibal is generally regarded as one of the best military strategists and tacticians of all time.
The Romans feared and hated him so much that they could not do him justice, says Livy. Livy speaks of his great qualities, but he adds that his vices were equally great, among which he singles out his more than Punic perfidy.
No captain ever marched to and from among so many armies of troops superior to his own numbers and material as fearlessly and skillfully as he. No man ever held his own so long or so ably against such odds. Hannibal excelled as a tactician.
Sigmund Freud regarded Hannibal as a “hero” in The Interpretation of Dreams. A fictional opera called Hannibal appears at the beginning of the musical Phantom Of The Opera. Kocaeli in Turkey has a cenotaph built in Hannibal’s memory.