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Since his meteoric life and tragic death Hannibal Barca comes across the centuries as the military commander with few if any equals A courageous leader brilliant tactician and steadfast soldier in the service of his beloved Carthage Hannibal existed for one sole purpose to defeat and if possible to eliminate the power of RomeLivy p207 Hannibals destiny was already chosen for him before his own birth The only thing that couldnt have been foretold was the outcome of his struggles His father Hamilcar Barca another fearless commander from Carthage was in charge during the first Punic War Hannibal was taken to Spain at the young age of only nine There he was forced to swear hostility to Rome From his fathers death to his own death Hannibal was constantly involved in a struggle between Carthage and Rome Hannibal was placed in the army as soon as his father felt he was old enough to start his vigorous training He learned to handle arms as skillfully as any soldier does and he never asked his soldiers to do something that he himself could not do In 221 BC Hasdrubal was assassinated and Hamilcar died in battle in 229 BC The young Hannibal was given his first command at the age of twenty-six Hannibal was now the commander-in-chief and the Carthaginian government ratified his position He was a brilliant well-liked leader form the start The veterans thought that in Hannibal Hamilcar had returned to life They noted the same energy in Hannibals face the same keen glance He was absolutely fearless in going into danger very prudent when it was on hand No amount of labor fatigued him physically or mentally He endured heat and cold very well What time remained over when his tasks were done he gave to rest Many times the soldiers saw him lying on the ground amid the outposts and the guards wrapped in a military cloakMiller et al Livy p41 Before
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