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Hannibal Barca (247 BC-182 BC) was a military commander of ancient Carthage, best known for his achievements in the Second Punic War in marching an army from Spain over the Pyrenees and the Alps into northern Italy and defeating the Romans at the Battles of the Trebia (218 BC), Lake Trasimene (217 BC) and Cannae (216 BC). After Cannae, the Romans refused to fight him in pitched battles, and gradually captured all the strongholds he had gained in Southern Italy. An invasion of Africa by the Romans under Scipio Africanus in 204 BC forced Hannibal to return to Africa, where Scipio defeated him at Zama (202 BC).

Following the end of the war, Hannibal led Carthage for several years, helping it to recover from the devastation of the war, until the jealous Romans forced him into exile in 195 BC. He went to live at the courts of foreign kings - first Antiochus III of the Seleucid Kingdom. In 189 BC the Romans, having defeated Antiochus in a war, demanded that he turn Hannibal over to them and the great general fled again, this time to the court of King Prusias I of Bithynia. When the Romans demanded that Prusias turn Hannibal over in 182 BC, the great general committed suicide rather than submit.

Hannibal is ranked as one of the best military commanders in history, alongside Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Friedrich II and Napoleon.

See also : Military history - Famous military commanders - History of elephants in Europe

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Hannibal is the name of a film made in
2001 starring Anthony Hopkins. See Hannibal Lecter.

Hannibal is also the name of several places in the United States of America: