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Crossing the Alps

 
   
 
Although the Second Punic War ended in the Roman triumph, but the Carthaginian general Hannibal became the greatest military leaders in history. His most famous campaign took place during the Second Punic War, when he caught the Romans off guard by crossing the Alps. Hannibal's march into Italy is legendary. The Roman Senate felt secure from land invasion and took too few precautions. Their confidence is understandable. There was Hannibal in Spain. He had to fight his way through a Roman army, cross the Pyrenees (themselves a difficult range of mountains), then fight his way across southern France, for this area was under Roman control, then cross the formidable Alps. The crossing of the Alps was a heroic effort. The mountains themselves were dangerous, of course, but they were made even more dangerous by the fact that local tribes cheerfully fought anyone who entered their mountains, so Hannibal had to fight his way over the mountains. He arrived in Italy with only 26,000 men and about two dozen elephants. So, while it is true that Hannibal brought his elephants across the Alps, he did so only at great loss. Most died before they ever reached in northern Italy.
 
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