Hannibal's military campaign against Rome inspired its citizens with the same panic that would later terrify Europeans beset by Mongol invaders from the East. A sworn enemy of Rome, Hannibal succeeded as leader of the Carthaginian forces at the age of 26, following the death of his brother-in-law Hasdrubal. On joining his troops, Hannibal launched an attack on the Roman-held city of Saguntum, beginning the Second Punic War and a process that seemed almost predestined as his army swept like a scourge round the Mediterranean shores. Though credit is due to the wisdom of Carthage's leaders and the loyalty and efficiency of its troops, the larger share must be given to Hannibal, a leader and strategist equal to any the world has known.
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