The elite force: Clad in bronze armor, the Carthaginians are a highly cultured tribe with a developed military and navy.
Region: North Africa
Hannibal Barca, born c. 247 B.C., was the son of the great Carthaginian general, Hamilcar. The Barcas were a family of military leaders, the greatest generals of the Carthaginian armies. Hamilcar had fought the Romans in the First Punic War (264-241 B.C.). He was forced to evacuate Sicily after the Romans destroyed the Carthaginian fleet, a humiliation for which he never forgave the Romans.
Hamilcar passed on the duty of revenge to his young son, who at the age of 9, was made to swear a blood oath, vowing to one day defeat Rome. Young Hannibal was taken from Carthage to the Spanish colonies where he was raised. While he grew up infatuated with war, Hannibal was also highly cultured, and reportedly composed literature in both Punic and Greek.
By the time Hannibal became a general, the Romans, having stolen Carthaginian shipbuilding technology, dominated the seas around southern Italy. Despite the Republic’s supremacy, the Mediterranean route was widely considered the only way to reach Rome. The land route involved the massive physical barriers of the Pyrenees and the Alps. The Romans believed that any war with Carthage would be fought in Spain rather than Italy. When Hannibal finally began his campaign of vengeance over the Republic, he did indeed launch his first attack from the main land.