Hannibal had long known his fate should the Romans ever lay hands upon him. He had taken an army right through Spain and into what is now France, crossed the Alps (at a time of year when no one believed it possible), and invaded Italy. Then, for 15 years, he used the country as his battlefield and his home, destroying Roman armies with an almost contemptuous ease. For centuries after his death, Roman mothers would frighten their children into behaving by telling them: Hannibal is at the Gates!
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