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Hannibal and the Second Punic War - Essay Example

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Hannibal and the Second Punic War

This history of the Punic Wars is grim and intricate. The reason behind the Second Punic war is simple: the defeat of the Carthaginians in the First Punic War. It became necessary for the losing power to develop and maintain a sentiment of hatred and anger against those who had led them to defeat. The best way to regain Carthage's lost prestige was to conquer and replace large tracts of land to their empire. For the Carthaginians, Spain became an area of ample interest. This idea was further encouraged by Hamilcar Barca. As the premier Phoenician General he had been greatly dishonored and incensed over the defeat and the peace terms set out by Rome. This was coupled with the capture of Sardinia during Carthage's own mercenary war. Spain was then seen as the launching point for future action against Rome: a battle that would help resume the reputation that had been lost by Carthage. The events that befell Cartage before the Second Punic War are important because it was Barca's son who continued with his invasion plans: turning the Second Punic War into a battle which would be remembered for years to come.
It began with Barca's designs to construct a strategy that would allow Carthage to retake, establish and maintain its identity. According to the treaty signed between the two countries, Barca had the freedom to expand his conquests in all directions that were meant to be west of the River lberus. This river would flow southeast into the Mediterranean Sea. Its name, Iberus, was later changed, to Ebro. Following the treaty with the Romans meant that the Carthaginians were not to cross the lberus (Arnold 1886). This was coupled with another important aspect to the treaty. The Carthaginians were also bound by the treaty not to interfere with the people of Saguntum. This was a crucial city because it laid between the lberus and the Carthaginian dominions. The Romans knew of its immense significance. They chose this area especially in an effort to control the ever growing Carthaginian forces. They saw the danger of leaving Saguntum to itself and thus enforced another clause in their treaty with Carthage. It was thus that because of Sagnutum's role in alliance with the Romans it was also placed under their protection.
Hannibal was Barca's son and developed the same anger and loss of pride that ran deep in his father's veins. He soon transformed into an ardent General: one whose tactics and style would be revered for generations. It was during Barca's time that Carthage had begun to assume a control over Spain. Rome was concerned by these moves of the Carthaginian army and sought a treaty with Carthage which forbade limited them to expand South of the town of Ebro. It was then that an alliance with Saguntum was signed by Rome. This decision was responsible for giving the Romans a small but significant stronghold in the heart of Carthaginian lands. Thus, the Second Punic War was created by the dispute over the hegemony of Saguntum.
When Hannibal came into power the Romans and Carthaginians were not at a state of war. Both rested in the comforts of the peace deals that had ...Show more


The Second Punic War is considered to be an essential second war fought between Carthage and the Roman Republic. Warriors were brought in from both the western and eastern Mediterranean to participate in this battle. The War in itself stretched over a long period of time, lasting from 218 to 201 BC (Bagnall 2002).
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Hannibal and the Second Punic War essay example
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