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Tunisia 1995

Czeslaw Slania has designed only one stamp for Tunisia in 1995.  The stamp is engraved after the below black/white photo, showing an antique marble bust of Hannibal, found in Capua (Italy).  The bust belongs to Museo Nazionale, Napoli.  Please read below the souvenir sheets a short review about Hannibal's dramatic life.  SG 1301.

Scott # 1078

Marble Bust of Hannibal,
used as a model for the stamp

Scott # 1078a
Souvenir Sheet Perf

Scott # 1078a
Souvenir Sheet Imperf

Hannibal (247-182 BC)
was a Carthaginian general, son of Hamilcar Barca, whose march on Rome from Spain across the Alps between 218 and 217 BC remains one of the greatest feats in military history.

At the age of nine Hannibal accompanied his father on the Carthaginian expedition to conquer Spain.  Before starting, the boy vowed eternal hatred for Rome, the bitter rival of Carthage.  From his 18th to his 25th year, Hannibal was responsible for carrying out the plans of his brother-in-law Hasdrubal for extending and consolidating Carthaginian control over the Iberian Peninsula.  When Hasdrubal was assassinated in 221 BC, the army chose Hannibal as commander in chief. Within two years he had subjugated Spain between the Tagus and Iberus (Ebro) rivers, except for the Roman dependency of Saguntum (Sagunto), which was taken after a siege of eight months.  The Romans branded this attack a violation of the existing treaty between Rome and Carthage and demanded that Carthage surrender Hannibal to them.  The Carthaginians' refusal to do so precipitated the second (218-201 BC) of the Punic Wars.

Crossing the Alps
Hannibal's march on Rome began in 218 BC.  He left New Carthage (now Cartagena), Spain, with an army of about 40,000, including cavalry and a considerable number of elephants for carrying baggage and later for use in battle.  He crossed the Pyrenees and the Rhône River and traversed the Alps in 15 days, despite snowstorms, landslides, and the attacks of hostile mountain tribes.  He recruited additional men among the friendly Insubres, a Gallic people of northern Italy, to compensate for the loss of about 15,000 men during the long march, and subjugated the Taurini, a tribe hostile to the Insubres.  He then forced the Ligurian and Celtic tribes on the upper course of the Po River into alliance. He inflicted crushing defeats on the Romans under Scipio Africanus the Elder at the battles (218 BC) of Ticinus (Ticino) and Trebia (Trebbia), and under the Roman consul Gaius Flaminius at Lake Trasimene (217 BC).  Hannibal then crossed the Apennines and invaded the Roman provinces of Picenum and Apulia, returning to the fertile region of Campania, which he ravaged.

The Roman general Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus Cunctator who was sent from Rome to oppose Hannibal adopted a highly cautious strategy. Avoiding any decisive encounter with the Carthaginian troops, he nevertheless succeeded in keeping Hannibal at bay, thus giving the Romans time to recover from their military reverses.  Hannibal wintered at Gerontium, and in the spring of 216 BC he took up position at Cannae on the Aufidus (Ofanto) River.  There he virtually annihilated a Roman army of more than 50,000 men under the consuls Lucius Aemilius Paulus, who was killed in the battle, and Gaius Terentius Varro (died after 200 BC), who escaped with the remnants of the Roman force. The Carthaginians lost about 6,700 men.

Gradually the tide of war turned against Hannibal.  The Carthaginian government refused to send reinforcements, and Hannibal also lacked siege weapons.  He marched on Neapolis (Naples), but failed to take the city.  The gates of wealthy Capua, one of the Italian cities that had fallen to Hannibal following his victory at Cannae, were opened to him, however, and there he spent the winter of 216-215 BC.  In 211 BC Hannibal attempted to take Rome, but the Romans successfully maintained their fortified positions.  The Romans then retook Capua, as a result of which Hannibal lost the allegiance of many of his Italian allies so dashing his hopes of further replenishing his army from their ranks.  After four years of inconclusive fighting, Hannibal turned for help to his brother Hasdrubal, who immediately set out from Spain. Hasdrubal, however, was surprised, defeated, and killed by the Roman consul Gaius Claudius Nero at the Battle of the Metaurus (Metauro) River.

Roman Victory
In 202 BC, after 15 years, and with the military fortunes of Carthage rapidly declining, Hannibal was recalled to Africa to direct the defence of his country against a Roman invasion under Scipio Africanus the Elder.  When he met Scipio at Zama, North Africa, his inexperienced recruits fled, many deserting to the Romans, and his veterans were cut down. Carthage capitulated to Rome, and the Second Punic War came to an end.

Following the conclusion of a peace treaty with Rome in 201 BC, Hannibal immediately began preparing for a resumption of the struggle.  He amended the Carthaginian constitution, reduced corruption in the government, and placed the finances of the city on a sounder basis.  The Romans, however, charged him with working to break the peace, and he was obliged to flee Carthage, taking refuge at the court of Antiochus III, King of Syria.  He fought with Antiochus against the Romans, but when the Syrian monarch was defeated at Magnesia (Manisa) in 190 BC and signed a treaty with Rome pledging to surrender Hannibal, the latter escaped to Prusias II, King of Bithynia (reigned 192-148 BC), in northern Asia Minor.  When Rome again demanded the surrender of Hannibal, he committed suicide by taking poison. 


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