A Lesson From Hannibal

Hannibal was perhaps the one general who managed to terrify even the most Stoic Romans. When he appeared in Italy with his war elephants, when he crossed the Alps that no one believed were possible to cross, there was pandemonium in Rome. As his army began to defeat the Roman legions in battle after battle, chaos and despair set in. Eventually though, years of battle took their toll on Hannibal and his fortune shifted. It is here, by way of the historian Polybius, that we have a wonderful Stoic lesson from Hannibal:

“When fortune had deprived him of all hope for the future and driven him to the last extremity, then, while he used every resource which might bring him victory both in his preparations for the battle and on the field itself, he gave equal thought to how in the event of total defeat he should face that eventuality and suffer nothing unworthy of his past career.”