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Hannibal

      Hannibal (the grace of Baal, the Hanniel of Scripture) was the son of the great Carthaginian general Hamilcar Barca, and was born in 247 B.C. It is said that in his ninth year his father led him to an altar and bade him swear eternal enmity to Rome. From the age of nine to eighteen he was trained in war and diplomacy under Hamilcar in Spain; and from his eighteenth to his twenty-fifth year he was the chief agent in carrying out the plans by which his brother-in-law, Hasdrubal, extended and consolidated the Carthaginian dominion in the Peninsula. On the death of Hasdrubal, in 221 B.C., the soldiers with one voice chose Hannibal, then in his twenty-sixth year, as their general. Forthwith he crossed the Tagus, and in two years reduced all Spain up to the Ebro, with the exception of the Greek colony of Saguntum. That town, which claimed the protection of Rome, fell in 218 B.C., and the Second Punic War, or, as the Romans justly called it, "the War of Hannibal," began. Garrisoning Libya with Spaniards, and Spain with Libyans (a precaution against treachery), Hannibal set out on his march for Rome. In the summer of 218 B.C. he left New Carthage with 90,000 foot, 12,000 horse, and 37 elephants, crossed the Pyrenees, and gained the Rhone, where his passage was barred by a host of Gauls. The general thereupon sent part of his troops two days' journey up-stream, with orders to cross the Rhone and fall on the rear of the barbarians. His orders were executed by Hanno, and the p...

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