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His younger brothers were Mago and Hasdrubal, and he was brother-in-law to Hasdrubal the Fair.
Hannibal lived during a period of great tension in the Mediterranean Basin, when the Roman Republic established its supremacy over other great powers such as ancient Carthage and the Greek kingdoms of Macedonia, Syracuse, and the Seleucid Empire.
Hannibal is often regarded as one of the greatest military strategists in history and one of the greatest generals of Mediterranean antiquity, together with Philip of Macedon, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, and Scipio Africanus.
Hannibal occupied much of Italy for 15 years but was unable to march on Rome.
An enemy counter-invasion of North Africa forced him to return to Carthage, where he was decisively defeated by Scipio Africanus at the Battle of Zama.
However, there is debate as to whether the cognomen Barca (meaning "thunderbolt") was applied to Hamilcar alone or was hereditary within his family.
If the latter, then Hannibal and his brothers also bore the name "Barca".