Hannibal, the son of Hamilcar Barca, (247 BC – ca. 183 BC) was a Carthaginian military commander and tactician, later also working in other professions, who is popularly credited as one of the finest commanders in history. He lived during a period of tension in the Mediterranean, when Rome (then the Roman Republic) established its supremacy over other great powers such as Carthage, Macedon, Syracuse and the Seleucid empire. He is one of the best-known Carthaginian commanders. His most famous achievement was at the outbreak of the Second Punic War, when he marched an army, which included war elephants, from Iberia over the Pyrenees and the Alps into northern Italy.
During his invasion of Italy, he defeated the Romans in a series of battles, including those at Trebia, Trasimene and Cannae. After the Battle of Cannae, Capua, then the second largest city in the Roman Republic, defected from Rome and joined Hannibal. Hannibal lacked the siege equipment necessary to attack the heavily defended city of Rome.He maintained an army in Italy for more than a decade afterward, never losing a major engagement, but he was never able to push the war through to a conclusion. During that period, the Roman armies regrouped. A Roman counter-invasion of Africa forced him to return to Carthage, where he was defeated in the Battle of Zama. The defeat forced the Carthaginian Senate to send him into exile. During this exile, he lived at the Seleucid court, where he acted as military advisor to Antiochus III in his war against Rome. Defeated in a naval battle, Hannibal fled again, this time to the Bithynian court.
Hannibal is universally ranked as one of the greatest military commanders and tacticians in history. He was also called Hannibal the father of strategy
The recorded history of Sparta began with the Dorian invasions, when the Peloponnesus was settled by Greek tribes coming from Epirus and Macedonia through the northeast region of Greece, submitting or displacing the older Achaean Greek inhabitants. The Mycenaean Sparta of Menelaus described in Homer's Iliad was an older Greek civilization, whose link to Hellenic or Classical Sparta was only by name and location. What is widely known today as ancient Sparta refers to state and culture that were formed in Sparta by the Dorian Greeks, some eighty years after the Trojan War.
It did not take long for Sparta to subdue all cities in the region of Laconia and turn it into its kingdom. In the 7th century it also incorporated Messenia. In the 5th century BC, Sparta and Athens were reluctant allies against the Persians, but after the foreign threat was over, they soon became rivals. The greatest series of conflicts between the two states, which resulted in the dismantling of the Athenian Empire, is called the Peloponnesian War. Athenian attempts to control Greece and take over the Spartan role of 'guardian of Hellenism' ended in failure. Following the defeat of Athens, Sparta briefly became a great naval power. The first ever defeat of a Spartan hoplite army at full strength occurred at the Battle of Leuctra in 371 BC, after which Sparta's position as the dominant Greek city-state swiftly disappeared with the loss of large numbers of Spartiates and the resources of Messenia. By the time of the rise of Alexander the Great in 336 BC, Sparta was a shadow of its former self, clinging to an isolated independence. During the Punic Wars Sparta was an ally of the Roman Republic. Spartan political independence was put to an end when it was eventually forced into the Achaean League.
After the Roman conquest of Greece, Spartans continued their way of life and the city became a tourist attraction for the Roman elite who came to observe the "unusual" Spartan customs. Supposedly, following the disaster that befell the Roman Imperial Army at the Battle of Adrianople (AD 378), a Spartan phalanx met and defeated a force of raiding Visigoths in battle. There is, however, no genuine evidence of this occurring.
Alexander the great
Alexander the Great (July 20, 356 BC–June 10, 323 BC), known as Alexander III, was an Ancient Greek king of Macedon (336–323 BC). He was one of the most successful military commanders in history, and was undefeated in battle. By his death, he conquered most of the world known to the ancient Greeks.
Following the unification of the multiple city-states of ancient Greece under the rule of his father, Philip II of Macedon (a labour Alexander had to repeat twice because the southern Greeks rebelled after Philip's death), Alexander conquered the Persian Empire, including Anatolia, Syria, Phoenicia, Judea, Gaza, Egypt, Bactria and Mesopotamia and extended the boundaries of his own empire as far as the borders of Punjab. Before his death, Alexander had already made plans to also turn west and conquer Europe. He also wanted to continue his march eastwards in order to find the end of the world, since his boyhood tutor Aristotle told him tales about where the land ends and the Great Outer Sea begins. Alexander integrated foreigners into his army, leading some scholars to credit him with a "policy of fusion." He encouraged marriage between his army and foreigners, and practiced it himself. After twelve years of constant military campaigning, Alexander died, possibly of malaria, West Nile virus, typhoid, viral encephalitis or the consequences of heavy drinking.
His conquests ushered in centuries of Greek settlement and cultural influence over distant areas, a period known as the Hellenistic Age, a combination of Greek and Middle Eastern culture. Alexander himself lived on in the history and myth of both Greek and non-Greek cultures.