International Diplomat of Mystery : A Study of Hannibal Barca’s Foreign Relations During the Second Punic War
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Hannibal Barca (247-183 BCE) is regarded as one of the outstanding generals of antiquity, and rightly so. He took command of his army at a young age, then quickly grew its members to create what was one of the greatest multi-ethnic, multi-cultural armies the world has ever seen and led them against the Romans in the Second Punic Wars from 218-202 BCE. He took elephants over the alps, was in the Italian peninsula for more than fifteen years and killed more Romans in one day than any other general ever did at the Battle of Cannae in 216 BCE. But how was Hannibal viewed by other great empires of the time? More specifically what were Hannibal's foreign relations like during the Second Punic War? Why was Hannibal's exceptional military success not matched by equal success in gaining allies in his war against Rome, even at the height of his success? Why was Hannibal far less effective in international diplomacy and negations with the rulers in Greece, and Egypt than he was in military strategy? Why was Hannibal able to form a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-national army but not turn that into support from their leaders? This study specifically examines Hannibal's relations with Philip V of Macedon and Ptolemy IV of Egypt leading up too the through the Second Punic War to ultimately answer the question of why Hannibal was not able to gain more over sea allies during this war. Through his interactions with these different kingdoms we are able to gain a deeper understanding of Hannibal not only as a general, but also as a leader of men and as leader of a Nation.