Hannibal Barca elephants in Tunisia

Hannibal Barca
Crossing the Rhone
Crossing the Rhone


Country Tunisia


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History of updates2021-08-07

Latest document update2021-08-07 11:13:00
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Hannibal Barca elephants, Tunisia , was founded in -218.

Comments / picturesHannibal (Punic: Hannibaal (çðéáòì), "Baal is my grace" or "Baal has given me grace"; 247 BC – ca. 183 BC), son of Hamilcar Barca, was a Carthaginian military commander and tactician, later also working in other professions, who is popularly credited as one of the most talented 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, and the Hellenistic Kingdoms of Macedon, Syracuse, and the Seleucid empire. 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.

218 BC: Hannibal crossed the Alps with thirty-seven elephants and defeated the Romans at Trebbia. Indeed, had not a wounded elephant thrown the others into confusion, the Roman losses would have been even greater (Zonaras, VIII.13, who also relates that the soldiers fought from towers on the backs of the elephants).

Some sources claim that of the six elephants that survived the arduous mountain trek, five died the following winter. The sixth, a one-tusked elephant named Surus, became Hannibal’s mount and mobile viewing platform in the marshes of the Arno.

Surus (the Syrian) is also mentioned as the bravest elephant in the army by Marcus Porcius Cato, the elder in his book Origines.

References for records about Hannibal Barca

Recommended Citation

Koehl, Dan (2024). Hannibal Barca, Elephant Encyclopedia. Available online at https://www.elephant.se/location2.php?location_id=1154. (archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources used for this article is among others:

  • Zonaras, VIII.13
  • Origines, by Marcus Porcius Cato

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