in the city of Carthage, which was located in modern Tunis, or the northern tip of Africa. His father, Hamilcar Barca, was a great Carthaginian general of the army who fought in the First Punic War between Rome and Carthage, which the latter lost. At a very young age, Hamilcar made Hannibal promise to hate rome forever. When he was nine, Hannibal went with his father on an a jouney to conquer Spain. During this time Hannibal learned alot about the army. This helped him later in life. When Hannibal's father and older brother died in 229 and 226, Hannibal was elected commander-in-chief of the Carthaginian army. About ten years later, Hannibal, attacked the city of Sagantum in Spain, which was controlled by the Romans. This attack led to the start of the Second Punic War between Carthage and Rome. .
Even before the war started, Hannibal knew what he was going to do. Since Carthage had no navy, there was no hope of going directly from Carthage to Italy over the Mediterranean Sea. Hannibal came up with a dangerous plan. In order to get to Italy over land, Hannibal and his army would have to travel from Carthage-controlled Spain across the Alps and into the heart of the enemy. Hannibal left in the cold winter of 218 B.C. with 50,000 infantry, 9,000 cavalry, and 37 war elephants. While crossing the Alps, Hannibal's men had a very difficult time. By the time they reached Italy, after fourteen days, over 9,000 men died along with most of the elephants. Soon after 14,000 northern Gaul rebels joined Hannibal's army. This group of 60,000 men were stronger then the Roman forces, and after three victories, the Roman senate was weakened. An army of 80,000 Roman soldiers was sent to stop Hannibal's army of now 50,000 once and for all. In July of 216 B.C., the Romans came across the Carthaginians on the Italian east coast. Since there were so many of them, Hannibal realized that he would have to have a good plan,he did.