The End of Hannibal

After the Second Punic War, the Carthaginian general Hannibal continued to make war on Rome, as a general for hire by other kings. He was renowned even in his own day as one of the greatest generals that had ever lived. In his final military engagement, as narrated by Justin, he fought at sea on behalf of Prusias against Eumenes of Pergamum. Here’s Justin:

Prusias, defeated by Eumenes in a battle on land, transferred the struggle to the sea, where Hannibal engineered a victory by a novel stratagem. He had all manner of snakes put into earthenware jars, and in the midst of the fighting hurled these onto the enemy ships. At first, the Pontic soldiers thought it laughable that an enemy incapable of using the sword should be fighting a battle with earthenware pots but, when the ships began to fill with snakes and they faced danger from two sides, they conceded victory to the enemy. After news of this was brought to Rome, ambassadors were sent by the senate to force the two kings into a peace treaty and demand the surrender of Hannibal. But when Hannibal learned of this, he took poison and cheated the embassy by suicide.

Justin 32.4.6–8 (trans. Yardley)

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