HANNIBAL THE CONQUEROR
As a a kid I was always amazed by the story of Hannibal traveling from Carthage to Spain and then across the Alps with elephants in order to surprise Rome with a invasion from the North by its meditteranean rival.
On this day in 216 BC Hannibal was contronted with a much larger Roman regiment at the Battle of Cannae (80,000 soliders v. 50,000 soliders) and managed to inflict one of the most catastrophic defeats ever suffered by ancient Rome. He would occupy Italy for 15 years.
Given the epic nature of his achievements and his status as not only one of the greatest military strategist in history it is disappointing that he has not been brought to the big screen in ways some other ancient leaders have. As a result, few are familiar with him and are more likleyh to be familiar with another fear inducing Hannibal – Hannibal Lecter, the fictitious canibal from The Silence of the Lambs. This may change as Vin Diesel may be starring in a Hannibal trilogy which will restore the legacy of one of history’s first and greatest “bad asses”.
It was written that Hannibal taught the Romans the meaning of fear. He became such a symbol of terror, that when faced with an imminent disaster, members of the Senate would exclaim “Hannibal ante portas!” (“Hannibal before the gates!”) to express their fear or anxiety. Statues of the Carthaginian were even erected in the streets of Rome itself to celebrate their defeat of such a worthy adversary.
Military historian Theodore Ayrault Dodge once called Hannibal the “father of military strategy”, because even his greatest enemy, the Roman Republic, would later adopt his tactics. The Romans greatly feared his military genius and in the centuries that followed, came to regard him as the greatest enemy Rome had ever faced.