248 - 183 BC
Hannibal, son of the Carthaginian general Hamilcar, became
commander in chief of the Carthaginian army in Spain at the age of 26.
He was a brilliant strategist during the second Punic War. Hannibal is popularly credited as one of the most talented commanders in history.
Hannibal marched with his army of 40,000 men and numerous elephants from Spain over the Alps into Italy. In his first few years in Italy, he won three dramatic victories, Trebia, Trasimene, and Cannae, and won over several Roman allies. Hannibal occupied much of Italy for 15 years.
However a Roman counter-invasion of North Africa forced Hannibal to return to Carthage,
where he was decisively defeated by Scipio Africanus at the Battle of Zama.
Scipio studied Hannibal's tactics and brilliantly devised some of his own, and
finally defeated Rome's nemesis at Zama having previously driven Hasdrubal,
Hannibal's brother, out of Spain.