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Hannibal. By: Cormac McCaughan “Of all that befell the Romans and Carthaginians, good or bad, the cause was one man and one mind---Hannibal.”. Legacy. Impacts on Rome Impact of Military Tactics Impact on modern culture. HANNIBAL’S LEGACY.

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By: Cormac McCaughan

“Of all that befell the Romans and Carthaginians, good or bad, the cause was one man and one mind---Hannibal.”



Impacts on Rome

Impact of Military Tactics

Impact on modern culture

hannibal s legacy

Hannibal had an immense impact on Rome and Romans themselves for hundreds of years after his death.

His legacy extends from diplomatic relations and policies to the very core or mentality of the Romans themselves

His legacy also exists through his battle tactics which have been mimicked by famous generals such as Napoleon Bonaparte hundreds of years after the Second Punic War.

impacts on rome
Impacts on Rome
  • Impact on Roman Foreign Policy:
    • Most obvious and biggest example of Hannibal’s impact on Roman foreign policy was the Third Punic War
    • Rome’s history of fearing invasion, according to Polybius:
    • “In order to prevent such a catastrophe ever happening again, the Roman’s determined to head off external threats before they could pose a direct threat to the states existence.”
    • “Hence the overriding motive for Roman expansionism was above all, the security of the state and this remained so down to Scipio Africanus’ victory at Zama in 202 BC.”
impacts on rome1
Impacts on Rome
  • Impacts on Domestic Policy:
    • Hannibal’s invasion had illustrated perfectly just how vulnerable the Romans were to a land invasion from the north.
    • Rome settled tens of thousands of veterans of the wars in Italy’s Po Valley – shaping the human and economic geography of Italy up to this day.
    • Historian and novelist Anthony Durham stated that:
      • “Hannibal’s invasion of Italy in 218 B.C. at the onset of the Second Punic War was a similar catalyst that moved the powers of republican Rome to make major changes in their foreign policy and domestic economic policy.”
other impacts
Other Impacts

Impact on people of Rome – fear of Hannibal as Rome had been pushed to the very brink of its existence

Total restructure of the Senate and Roman government. Went from a democracy to a dictatorship. Fabius Maximus was made dictator twice to combat Hannibal in Rome.

Forced Rome (to its great displeasure) into using tactics it never would have engaged in before.

However, Rome’s encounters with Carthage did advantage Rome as it enabled Rome to expand its military prowess in things like its Navy and battle tactics.

impact of military tactics
Impact of Military Tactics

Hannibal’s exceptional prowess in military strategy and tactics had an immense impact on modern warfare.

His tactics have been imitated by some of the worlds most renowned generals including:

Napoleon Bonaparte

Alfred von Schlieffen

General Norman Schwarzkopf

napoleon bonaparte
Napoleon Bonaparte
  • Napoleon studied works of great military figures of the past, not just Hannibal.
  • “A gifted strategist”
  • The words Napoleon used to describe Hannibal. Napoleon was a great admirer of Hannibal’s tactics, particularly at the battle of Trebia.
alfred von schlieffen
Alfred von Schlieffen
  • Hannibal’s tactics were even used in World War one.
  • The idea of a pincer movement and envelopment of the enemy taken from Hannibal’s tactics at the battle of Cannae.
  • Attempt to take France in 6 weeks.
gen norman schwarzkopf
Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf
  • American general Norman Schwarzkopf – Iraq war in the 1990’s. Schwarzkopf admitted to trying to emulate Hannibal's success at Cannae when he attacked the Iraqi ground forces.
impact on modern world
Impact on Modern World
  • Huge range of impacts:
    • Film
    • Television
    • Opera/Theatre
    • Comics
    • Novels
    • Military history texts
    • We’re studying him now….
assessment of his career and life

Assessment of His Career and Life





Tim Cornell

Robert L. O’Connell

assessment of his career and life1
Assessment of his Career and Life
  • When assessing the military career of a prominent historical figure such as Hannibal, the historian must ask himself the question: To what extent was Hannibal a successful leader?
  • This can be answered by breaking down the question into smaller enquiry questions:
    • Did he achieve all his objectives (military and non-military)?
    • If not all, why? Were these failures a direct result of Hannibal’s mistakes or were there other factors involved?
    • What was his contribution/impact on the ancient and modern world?
    • What evidence do we have to make such judgments?
    • Historians, ancient and modern?
    • If you were Hannibal, would you be satisfied with what you had achieved, or lament the fact that you got so close to achieving your goal and failed?

Successfully invaded Rome with 38,000 infantry, 8,000 cavalry, and 37 war elephants by crossing the Alps.

Came out the other side with almost half of what he started with. (According to Polybius 20 000 infantry, 4000 horsemen and only a few war elephants).

United tribes of Gaul and convinced them to join him in his campaign.

Did this, according to Polybius and in agreement with several modern historians such as Tim Cornell and Anthony Durham, without any form of mutiny.

  • Won three (3) major pitch battles on Roman soil:
    • Battle of Trebia
    • Battle of Lake Trasimene
    • Battle of Cannae
  • Several other victories in Spain and other regions of Europe
  • However, there is evidence to suggest he was not all that popular back home at Carthage.
    • Senate displeased with his actions
    • Rarely saw his family
    • Cause of economic, political and social tensions between Rome and Carthage
    • The Senate would eventually pull the plug on Hannibal’s war with Rome, ordering him to return to defend Carthage’s assets in Spain instead.
    • He was at Rome’s doorstep at this time. Had he had the support, could he have destroyed it, and changed the course of history?
how it all ends
How It All Ends

Hannibal fled to Bithynia after his defeat at the hands of Scipio Aemilianus (Africanus) in 202 BC.

According to both Polybius and Livy, he remained there until 183-2 BC when the Romans finally tracked him down

It is said that rather than give the Romans the satisfaction of killing him, Hannibal took poison, ending his life.

Was Hannibal a successful leader? Yes/No.


Source: Polybius Histories

“Of all that befell the Romans and Carthaginians, good or bad, the cause was one man and one mind---Hannibal.”

“It is, therefore, very difficult to express an opinion on the natural character of Hannibal, owing to the influence exercised on it by the counsel of friends and the force of circumstances.”

“Hannibal excelled as a tactician. No battle in history is a finer sample of tactics than Cannae. But he was yet greater in logistics and strategy. No captain ever marched to and fro among so many armies of troops superior to his own numbers and material as fearlessly and skillfully as he. No man ever held his own so long or so ably against such odds”

robert l o connell
Robert L. O’Connell
  • Author of:
    • “The Ghosts of Cannae”
  • An example of a modern historian on the strategies, tactics and military genius behind Hannibal’s catastrophic campaign against Rome and its impact.
images interpretations

Images & Interpretations










SébastienSlodtz (French, 1655–1726)His interpretation Hannibal counting the rings of the Roman knights killed at the Battle of Cannae (216 BC).

polybius livy
Polybius & Livy



More atypical Roman historian – sought to make Hannibal out to be a barbarian.

Downplayed Hannibal’s skill and often doctored size of forces faced, i.e. when Hannibal defeated Rome he would say that Rome’s number were already depleted.

“The prevailing notion about him, however, at Carthage was that he was greedy of money, at Rome that he was cruel…”

  • Renowned for being or attempting to be as objective as he possibly can. Thus he is a more reliable and trustworthy source.
  • Sees Hannibal as having exceptional military skill and prowess despite being a Roman.
  • “For steadfastness of purpose, for organizing capacity and a mastery of military science he has perhaps never had an equal.”
modern sources
Modern Sources

Robert L. O’Connell - Ghosts of Carthage

Tim Cornell – Hannibal’s Legacy: The impact of the Hannibalic wars on Italy

Pride of Carthage, A Novel of Hannibal by David Anthony Durham

movies other texts
Movies & Other Texts
  • Huge range of modern interpretations of Hannibal:
    • Film
    • TV
    • Novels
    • Operas/Theatres
    • Comics
    • Novels
    • Military history texts
  • Hannibal Lecter (Next Slide)

Year Film Other notes

1914 Cabiria Italian Silent film

1939 Scipio Africanus - the Defeat of Hannibal (Scipione l'africano) Italian Motion Picture

1955 Jupiter's Darling MGM musical picture starring Howard Keel and Esther Williams

1960 Annibale Italian Motion Picture starring Victor Mature

1997 The Great Battles of Hannibal British documentary

2001 Hannibal: The Man Who Hated Rome British documentary

2005 The True Story of Hannibal British documentary

2005 Hannibal vs. Rome in National Geographic Channel

2006 Hannibal - Rome's Worst Nightmare TV film starring Alexander Siddig in the title role

2008 Battles BC History Channel TV film

2010 On Hannibal's Trail BBC TV Documentary

2011 Deadliest Warrior Weapons testing and simulated combat

2011 (not confirmed) Hannibal the Conqueror Starring: Vin Diesel as Hannibal

  • Books:
    • Livy, The War with Hannibal, transl. Aubrey de Sélincourt, Penguin Books, 1965.
    • Polybius, The Rise of the Roman Empire, transl. Ian Scott-Kilvert. Penguin Books, 1979.
    • Dodge, Theodore Ayrault, Hannibal, Da Capo Press, 1995
    • Ancient History Sourcebook: Polybius (c.200-after 118 BCE):
 The Character of Hannibal/The Battle of Cannae
    • The Ghosts of Cannae - Hannibal and the Darkest Hour of the Roman Republic, Robert L. O’Connell
    • “Hannibal’s Legacy: The Effect of the Hannibalic wars on Italy” – Tim Cornell
    • Scipio Africanus: Greater than Napoleon – B.H. Liddel Hart
    • Pride of Carthage – David Anthony Durham
  • Websites:
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hannibal
  • http://www.experienceplus.com/blog/?p=372
  • http://www.livius.org/ha-hd/hannibal/hannibal.html
  • http://www.livius.org/ha-hd/hannibal/hannibal2.html#Cannae/Zama
  • http://www.livius.org/li-ln/livy/livy.htm
  • http://phoenicia.org/hannibal.html
  • http://www.achievement.org/autodoc/page/sch0int-2
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schlieffen_Plan