Ever since the announcement of Hail Caesar Epic Battles, we’ve had Carthaginians on the brain – so much so that this month’s Soldier of Fortune figure is a 28mm version of one of the most legendary belligerents of the Punic Wars – Hannibal Barca!

Soldier of Fortune 012 - Hannibal Barca-  Scourge of Rome Hannibal and Steed Detail

Definitely most famous for a certain feat of pachyderm-borne Alpinism (we’ll get to that, don’t worry!), Hannibal might actually be one of the most underrated commanders of all time. In his own era he was ranked alongside (depending on who you asked) the military legends Alexander the Great and Pyrrhus – not a bad set of company to be keeping – but nowadays his renown as a commander plays second fiddle to his legendary crossing of the Alps.

No longer! In Hail Caesar, Hannibal’s tactical genius takes centre stage and rightly so – in many ways Hannibal was born to be Rome’s nemesis, and thus he’s the perfect leader for a Carthaginian force. The son of Hamilcar Barca, one of the leading Carthaginian commanders of the First Punic War, Hannibal was raised to despise the victorious Romans, reputedly swearing an oath to his father to ‘never be a friend of Rome’. Initially serving under his father and later his brother-in-law, Hannibal would be elected the supreme commander of Carthage’s armies in 221BC, aged only 26. Embarking on a series of campaigns aimed at consolidating Carthaginian holdings for the next two years, he would ignite the Second Punic War with his capture of Saguntum (a Roman protectorate) – from there he would truly begin to forge his own legend.

An 1866 illustration of Hannibal and his army crossing the Alps, by Heinrich Leutemann
An 1866 illustration of Hannibal and his army crossing the Alps, by Heinrich Leutemann

In an operation years in the making, Hannibal forged alliances with the Celtic tribes of the Po Valley, into whose territory Rome had been aggressively expanding. Seizing upon Rome’s distraction, Hannibal aimed to make a daring outflanking march, sweeping from Hispania across the Pyrenees, and over the Alps, sweeping down into northern Italy and falling upon the Romans with the full force of Carthage – elephants and all! There was just a tiny little obstacle standing in his way… something about a snowy mountain range…

Sources vary as to exactly how many troops Hannibal brought with him on this audacious manoeuvre – around 35-45,000 infantry and perhaps 10,000 cavalry, along with 30-40 elephants seems a reasonable average – but it was not a small undertaking. Little is known for certain as to exactly where Hannibal’s army would cross the Alps, but what is without doubt is that it was a brutally harsh crossing, with many casualties suffered to the bitter cold and dangerous terrain. The elephants in particular suffered badly, with very few survivors, but crucially Hannibal had succeeded in his objective – his army had crossed into Italy proper, and could begin operations against the Roman heartland. At the Battle of the Trebia he would annihilate an incautious Roman army, at Lake Trasimene he would defeat another, and at Cannae he would accomplish one of the greatest victories of all time, displaying a level of tactical brilliance far in advance of his enemies.

Soldier of Fortune 012 - Hannibal Barca-  Scourge of Rome - Shieldbearer Detail

This would, however, be the high-water mark of Hannibal’s military career. The Second Punic War devolved into a stalemate thanks to the Romans’ attritional strategy, and Hannibal’s supply lines were stretched dangerously thin in Italy. Compelled to withdraw to Africa, in 202BC he would suffer a stunning defeat at Zama at the hands of the great Scipio Africanus, effectively ending the Second Punic War. After a period of peacetime politics, Roman pressure would force Hannibal to flee into exile, where he would spend some years as an advisor and general for Antiochus III of the Seleucid Empire, an enemy of Rome, before further defeats forced him to take refuge at the court of the King of Bithynia. With Rome applying pressure on Bithynia to hand over their hated foe, Hannibal Barca committed suicide by poison in the early 180sBC, defying the Romans to the bitter end.

The new Soldier of Fortune Hannibal Barca depicts him in all his martial glory, mounted and armoured for war, with his shield-bearer by his side. Both miniatures are absolutely packed with gorgeous detail, making them the perfect opportunity to really flex your painting muscles. From the ornate relief detailing on Hannibal’s shield and helmet to the ostentatious lion’s pelt serving as his saddle, these brilliantly detailed Warlord Resin miniatures take paint beautifully, and will be sure to be the new highlight of your display case – just look at what Design Studio painter Kirsten Williams has been able to achieve!

Soldier of Fortune 012 - Hannibal Barca-  Scourge of Rome

Each month, a different, unique special figure is available to purchase exclusively through The Warlord Games Webstore, for that month only. At the end of the month, a new special figure takes its place. Once gone, those figures will be unavailable for a minimum of two years thereafter, by any means.

Numbered sequentially, it’s easy to keep track of your whole collection of these Warlord Webstore-exclusive figures. Remember that each figure will only be around for a month; don’t miss out on getting hold of the complete collection of Soldiers of Fortune!

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