Question 24 — Option f – The Near East: Hannibal (25 marks) (a) Describe Hannibal’s early career to 218 bc. 10 marks (b) To what extent was Hannibal responsible for Carthage’s defeat in the Second Punic War? 15 marks 2009

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Hannibal responses

Hannibal questions

45 minutes for two sections

Question A) 10 marker 20 minutes

Question B) 15 marker 25 minutes


Question 24 — Option F – The Near East: Hannibal (25 marks)

(a) Describe Hannibal’s early career to 218 BC. 10 marks

(b) To what extent was Hannibal responsible for Carthage’s defeat in the Second

Punic War? 15 marks


Question 19 — Option F – The Near East: Hannibal (25 marks)

(a) Why did Hannibal attack Italy?

(b) Evaluate the success of Hannibal as a general

2009 trial

  1. Describe the role of Hannibal at lake Trasimene and Cannae 468 words

  2. Asses Hannibal’s impact and influence in his time. 743 words


Question 19 — Option F – The Near East: Hannibal (25 marks)

(a) Describe Hannibal’s background and early career to the beginning of the

Second Punic War (218 BC).

(b) Evaluate Hannibal’s strategies and campaigns in the Second Punic War


Question 19 — Option F – The Near East: Hannibal (25 marks)

(a) Describe Hannibal’s relationship with his opponents.

(b) Assess the achievements of Hannibal

2009 trial

  1. Describe the role of Hannibal at lake Trasimene and Cannae 468 words

  2. Asses Hannibal’s impact and influence in his time. 743 words

a) The militaristic genius of Hannibal is most evident in the battles of Lake Trasimene and Cannae. Both of these battles meant resounding victory for Hannibal’s invasionary forces, with Cannae in particular being a crushing defeat for the Romans. Hannibal’s role in the as military commander was crucial to the success of the battles at lake trasimene and Cannae and he partook in the fighting as well.

Hannibal’s strategic role at the battle of Lake Trasimene in 217 BC was crucial in achieving Carthaginian victory. Hannibal devised and executed one of the most successful and audacious ambushes in all of history, inflicting 15,000 casualties on the Romans while only sustaining around 2,500 of his own.

First Hannibal dictated where the site of the battle would be. He used all the natural advantages that the pass and the steep slope and lakeside provided him. Hannibal then ordered his various mercenary forces along the top of the steep slope looking down into the narrow ravine. He bade them lay quietly in wait until the signal was given by him. Meanwhile Hannibal placed a large and visible force at the end of the ravine, lulling the Romans into a false sense of security as the advance upon their visible opponent. Hannibal had also chosen the particular day and time for the battle; it was early morning with the fog unusually thick. It hid the waiting forces that were camped waiting above the ravine. Hannibal was positioned with the bulk of the army at the end of the ravine. He sent out a group of horsemen to fake an attack on the roman forces and fool them into chasing him into the ravine. Hannibal’s plan worked, and the Romans ran headlong into the trap. Hannibal’s cavalry and infantry came down from their concealed positions in the hills, blocking their entry route and surrounding the Romans from all three sides. What resulted was the slaughter of the roman army. Hannibal’s superior and clever tactics had ensured a Carthaginian victory.

Hannibal’s strategy in the battle of Cannae is an outstanding military and tactical achievement, and has since become the archetypal battle of annihilation. Hannibal employed a pincer movement on the numerically superior roman army, which ensured a decisive victory for Carthage. Hannibal delayed his troops in an outward crescent toward the Romans, with infantry in the centre and Carthaginian and Numidian cavalry on the flanks. Hannibal stood with his men in the weak centre of the crescent and held them to a controlled retreat. Hannibal, recognising the superiority of the heavy roman infantry, let them push themselves into the buckling crescent. He effectively turned the Romans strength into their weakness. Hannibal then ordered his cavalry and African infantry to turn inwards and advance against the roman flanks, completing the encirclement. The Romans lost an estimated 50 to 60 thousand compared to Livy’s and Polybius’ estimates of 5,000 to 8,000 Carthaginians. The totality of Hannibal's victory was so profound that the name "Cannae" has since become a byword for military success. Ultimately Hannibal’s manoeuvring tactics and the ability to turn strength into weakness led to him playing a decisive role in the victory of Cannae, as well as Lake Trasimene.

Good, Roman has a Capital R.


His skill in uniting disparate troops into one army.


There can be no doubting that Hannibal had an enormous impact in shaping the dynamics of the Mediterranean during his time. Hannibal brought Rome to its knees and built Carthage back up to its former glory after the defeat in the first Punic war. Hannibal’s influences goes far beyond his time, with his revolutionary military tactics and evident leadership skills making him one of the most revered military commanders in history.

Hannibal, in his own time, changed the roman political system as a result of his conquests. After Hannibal inflicted devastating losses on the Romans at the Battle of Trebbia and Trasimene, he roamed the Italian countryside at will, raising an estimated 400 rural communities and virtually destroying the agricultural sector, forcing extensive agricultural trade with other nations after the war. Rome, in a state of panic, appointed revered politician Fabius Maximus as dictator of the roman people, to directly deal with the threat of Hannibal. This political concept gave the elected absolute power over all affairs in the roman state. Rome changed the way its politics functioned and introduced a new idea to deal with the dire threat that Hannibal posed.

Hannibal’s conquests also changed the way in Rome dealt with its subject states. After the battle of Zama and the end of the Second Punic war, Carthage gradually began to gain commercial prosperity once more and pose a substantial economic threat to the Roman Empire. Rome, as a result of Hannibal’s conquests, oversaw the destruction of the Carthaginian civilisation just to ensure that no more “Hannibals” would arise from Carthage.

Hannibal’s revolutionary ideas and battlefield tactics had a great influence on the world and how the way in which warfare was fought. Hannibal’s victory at Cannae in particular played a major role major role in reshaping the military structure and tactical organisation of the Roman army. Before the battle of Zama, the strict laws of the Roman state required that military command alternated between the two consuls’, thus reducing effectiveness and ability of the army to function fluidly. In Africa, Scipio Africanus was made general-in-chief of the Roman armies, removing any friction by being sole commander. The restructuring was a direct result of the losses Hannibal inflicted on the Roman army.

The development of Scipio Africanus is a testament to Hannibal’s influence on military tactics. After witnessing the tactical ingenuity at Cannae and Trasimene, Scipio realised that Hannibal was causing warfare to evolve and that to compete, Scipio needed to evolve. It probable that that Scipio would probably never have been the commander he was had it been for the impact and influence of Hannibal. Indeed, as pointed out by Hayes, Scipio used Hannibal own tactics on him during the battle of Zama. Instead of attempting to smash through the enemy with his heavy infantry at Cannae, he divided his troops into sections, therefore enabling his men to combat Hannibal’s elephants and mobile infantry. His victory was a testament to Hannibal’s superior tactics and ingenuity, which is still recognised today. General Dwight D. Eisenhower aptly sums up Hannibal’s military influence in the statement: "Every ground commander seeks the battle of annihilation; so far as conditions permit, he tries to duplicate in modern war the classic example of Cannae"

Hannibal continued to impact even after his formal military career was over. After the defeat of Zama, Carthage was once again reduced to a state of Rome. Hannibal was appointed as a sufete of Carthage, which was an extremely high administrative position. Hannibal introduced many new reforms, which were aimed at a fairer distribution of land and income and reducing the power of the oligarchs. He became a champion of the peasantry, but alienated the oligarchs. He was forced to flee when he was framed and reported to the roman authorities.

Hannibal continued to be a thorn in the side of the Romans as he travelled the Hellenistic east and established himself as military commander in civilisations such as Ephesus. Polybius writes that many Romans still feared Hannibal even in his old age. Goldsworthy mentions that it was possibly due to Hannibal’s impact that the Hellenistic east proved troublesome for Rome. Even after his suicide, Hannibal continued to have a lasting impact.

Even from biased roman perspectives, Hannibal was considered a tactical genius and superb military leader. He brought Rome to its knees, forcing reforms to political and military systems and the nature of roman subjugation. Hannibal also changed the face of military history forever, largely inventing new battlefield techniques to which he used to great success. Hannibal revolutionised much of the ideas of the time and stamped himself into the lives of many during his life.

Ok, needs to be better structured, it is a bit disjointed and confusing.

Relate cause and effect more, show a more direct link between action and result


A) Describe Hannibal’s early career to 218 BC. 10 marks

b) Evaluate the ancient and modern images-interpretations of Hannibal’s effectiveness as a leader. 15 marks

Hannibal was born in Carthage in 247 BC, the son of Hamilcar Barca. one of the sons of Hamilcar Barca, a Carthaginian leader. He had several sisters and two brothers, Hasdrubal and Mago. His brothers-in-law were Hasdrubal the Fair and the Numidian king Naravas. He was still a child when his sisters married, and his brothers-in-law were close associates during his father's struggles in the Mercenary War and the Punic conquest of Iberia.

After Carthage's defeat in the First Punic War, Hamilcar set out to improve his family's and Carthage's fortunes. Hamilcar marched his army to Hispania with the intentions of subduing the native tribes that lived there. Hannibal, on hearing of his father’s mission, bade permission for himself to join the expedition. Hannibal was allowed to go, but not before he was forced to swear to never be a friend of Rome.

Hamilcar proceeded to conquer Hispania, but drowned before the expedition could be completed. Hannibal’s brother in law Hasdrubal took command, with Hannibal serving as an officer under him. Hasdrubal continued the mission and began to consolidate territory captured by Hamilcar and advance Carthaginian interest in Hispania. As part of this, Hasdrubal signed a treaty with Rome that outlined neither Rome nor carhtage would advance their territories beyond the Ebro River.

In 221 BC Hasdrubal was assassinated, and Hannibal was promoted to commander in chief of the army, which the carhtigian senate approved. Hannibal continued the subjugation of Hispania further consolidating territory and diplomatic relationships as done by his predecessors. Rome, worried about the strength of Hannibal in Hispania, made the town saguntum a protectorate of Rome, which lay a considerable distance south of the Ebro River. Hannibal perceived hits to be a violation of the treaty, and lay siege to the city in 219 BC. The city called for Roman aid, but the pleas fell on deaf ears. Following a prolonged siege and a bloody struggle, in which Hannibal himself was wounded and the army practically destroyed, the Carthaginians finally took control of the city. Rome reacted to this violation of the treaty and demanded justice from Carthage. In view of Hannibal's great popularity, the Carthaginian government did not repudiate Hannibal's actions, and the war he sought was declared at the end of the year. Hannibal was now determined to carry the war into the heart of Italy by a rapid march through Hispania and modern day France.


Ancient and modern images and interpretations of Hannibal have usually expressed universal praise for the Carthaginian general, commenting on his tactical brilliance and excellence as a leader.

Ancient interpretations have

The two main accounts of Hannibal by livy nad Polybius are

Hannibal excelled as a tactician. No battle in history is a finer sample of tactics than Cannae. But he was yet greater in logistics and strategy.

Modern images and interpretations Eisenhower dodge and shclieffen and napoleon Hannibal continues to inspire and be studied today as a result of his military genius

  • Images, basques, coins, statues.

  • Modern film, television, theatres, operas, comics, novels, historical writings.

  • Polybius and Livy debate: different interpretations of Hannibal.

  • Polybius sees Hannibal from an objective point of view as a brilliant military leader and strategist – basing his opinions on evidence and his achievements and battle strategies.

  • Livy on the other hand seeks to defame Hannibal – accusing him of cannibalism, barbarism, cruelty and greed.

  • Modern Historians: Robert O’Connell, Tim Cornell, Anthony Durham, Boak & Sinnigen.

  • Robert L. O’Connell particularly good resource for quotes not only on Hannibal but also on usefulness and reliability of ancient historians writing on Hannibal.

Trial 2011

  1. Hannibal’s strategies during the second Punic war can be characterised by military daring, as seen in the successive ambushes and tactical formations which were extremely effective.

Hannibal’s tactics can be characterised as an ancient type of blitzkrieg. Hannibal used mercenaries, relied on open field battles to satisfy his mercenaries and to replenish the resources of his troops. To which he did in the roman countryside. Hannibal’s was not able to fully conquer Rome as he did not engage in siege warfare against the city of Rome. Hannibal’s strategy can be seen as buffalo tactics, strong and quick victories in open pitched battles

In the battles of Lake Trasimene and Trebbia Hannibal relied ambush as the primary weapon of success. Similarly at Trebbia Hannibal relied on baiting the roman forces to defeat them. One morning Hannibal fed his men early and made them prepare for battle in the early hours of the morning. He sent his cavalry across the river to were the Romans were camped, to which the impatient commander sent all of his forces to follow. The Romans, unfed and disorganised, were greeted by the waiting Carthaginian forces who slaughtered them.

At Lake Trasimene Hannibal stationed his troops on one side of the lake strategically positioning them to attack when given the order. He ordered his men to make fires on the ridges of the hills, deceiving his roman opponent Flaminius men that the Carthaginian forces were further than they actually were. Once Hannibal had deceived the Romans he used his cavalry to bait Flaminius men into following them. Hannibal strategically did this at dawn using the thick morning fog to hide his troops. Once lured far enough, Hannibal sprang the trap using some hidden cavalry men to block any chance of escape. Hannibal’s tactics relied on military ingenuity and military formations to defeat his enemy, which was almost always numerically superior.

The battle of Cannae illustrates Hannibal’s tactical genius at systematically destroying his opposition. Hannibal places his lightly armed infantry in the centre, which was complemented by his Numidian cavalry on the flanks. He placed his men into an outward crescent formation, in contrast to the roman consul Varro’s tight and short roman legionaries. Once they engaged, Hannibal ordered the centre to buckle to which Varro ordered his troops to press the attack. As the Romans flooded in the newly created gap, Hannibal ordered his flanks to envelop the Romans, resulting in systematic slaughter.

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