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From Hutton Webster's, Early European History (1917); edited for this on-line publication, by ELLOPOS
VIII. THE GREAT AGE OF THE ROMAN REPUBLIC, 264-31 B.C.
» Contents of this ChapterPage 4
HANNIBAL AND THE GREAT PUNIC WAR, 218-201 B.C.
BEGINNING OF THE SECOND PUNIC WAR, 218 B.C.
The steady advance of the Carthaginian arms in Spain caused much uneasiness in Rome and at length led that city to declare war. Carthage herself was not unwilling for a second trial of strength. Her leading general, Hannibal, who had been winning renown in Spain, believed that the Carthaginians were now in a position to wage an aggressive war against their mighty rival. And so the two great Mediterranean powers, each confident of success, renewed the struggle for supremacy.
At the opening of the conflict Hannibal was not quite twenty-seven years of age. While yet a mere child, so the story went, his father had led him to the altar, and bade him swear by the Carthaginian gods eternal enmity to Rome. He followed his father to Spain and there learned all the duties of a soldier. As a master of the art of war, he ranks with Alexander the Great. The Macedonian king conquered the world for the glory of conquest; Hannibal, burning with patriotism, fought to destroy the power which had humbled his native land. He failed; and his failure left Carthage weaker than he found her. Few men have possessed a more dazzling genius than Hannibal, but his genius was not employed for the lasting good of humanity.
Cf. The Ancient Greece * The Ancient Rome
Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) * Western Medieval Europe * Renaissance in Italy