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Who was greatest general of ancient world?

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Scipio and Hannibal
Scipio and Hannibal

Titus Livius mentions that the two great generals of the Second Punic War: Scipio Africanus and Hannibal Barkas met at the gymnasium in Ephesus. Then Scipio asked Hannibal who he thought is the best commander in history.

Hannibal answered that Alexander the Great, because he conquered all Persia with much smaller army. The Roman asked then whom he would put in second place. The Carthaginian replied that he would mention Pyrrhus of Epirus. After this question, Scypio asked whom he would see in 3rd place. Hannibal mentioned himself, arguing that as a young man he conquered Spain, crossed the Alps as the first man after Hercules, destroyed 400 cities and repeatedly threatened Rome itself.

Scipio laughed and asked him what he would say if the Carthaginian leader defeated him. Hannibal said he would put himself in first place then.

Sources
  • Appian of Alexandria, Roman history

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