Hannibal Of Carthage Found Refuge In Armenia

Hannibal was known for leading the Carthaginian army and a team of elephants across southern Europe and the Alps Mountains against Rome in the Second Punic War.

During the rule of Ardashes I, the great Hannibal of Carthage, found refuge in Armenia and helped and encouraged Ardashes I by his wisdom and counsel. He helped build the city of Artaxata on the banks of the River Eraskh. Artaxata became the capital of Armenia in 189 B.C.

View of Mount Ararat from Khor Virap. The hill where the church was built is the location of ancient Artashat (near the village of Lusarat)

Hannibal, the general of the Carthaginian army, lived in the second and 3rd century B.C. He was born into a Carthaginian military family and made to swear hostility toward Rome. During the Second Punic War, Hannibal swept across southern Europe and through the Alps, consistently defeating the Roman army, but never taking the city itself. Rome counterattacked and he was forced to return to Carthage where he was defeated. He worked for a time as a statesman before he was forced into exile by Rome.

Artashes I – King of Greater Armenia

Hannibal Barca was born in Carthage (present-day Tunisia) in approximately 247 B.C. He was the son of Carthaginian general Hamilcar Barca (Barca meaning “thunderbolt”). After Carthage’s defeat by the Romans in the First Punic War in 241 B.C, Hamilcar devoted himself to improving both his and Carthage’s fortunes. At an early age, he took Hannibal to Spain and made him swear eternal hostility toward the Roman Empire.

At age 26, Hannibal was given command of an army and immediately set out to consolidate Carthaginian control of Iberia. He married Imilce, an Iberian princess, and conquered or allied with numerous Iberian tribes. He made the seaport of Qart Hadasht (“New City,” now Cartagena) his home base. In 219 B.C., Hannibal attacked the town of Saguntum (Sagunto, Spain), raising the ire of Rome and starting the Second Punic War.


  • Bournoutian, George A. (2006). A Concise History of the Armenian People: From Ancient Times to the Present. Costa Mesa, CA: Mazda, p. 29. ISBN 1-56859-141-1.
  • Hannibal and Me: What History’s Greatest Military Strategist Can Teach Us About Success and Failure. By Andreas Kluth. Jan 5, 2012.
  • Hannibal: Pride Of Carthage, David Anthony Durham, February 2011.
  • Tiratsyan, Gevorg (1976). “Արտաշատ [Artashat]”. Armenian Soviet Encyclopedia Volume 2 (in Armenian). pp. 135–136.
  • Hanibal. biography.com

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