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OZGOD
17th January 2007, 14:55
I'm defining conqueror in a purely militaristic way, and in terms of ENEMY lands conquered, which excludes religious conversion such as with Jesus of Nazareth, the Prophet Mohammed, Buddha, etc. as well as subjugation of internal lands, such as what Stalin or Lenin did. I'm also excluding conquests that happened with multiple leaders over a long period of time, such as what the Poms did.

Here are some names to think about, who are commonly regarded as having conquered the greatest land areas (in miles/km). I'm sure I left some out.

Genghis Khan [Mongolia]
Julius Caesar [Roman Republic]
Alexander the Great [Macedonia]
Tamerlane the Earth Shaker [Turkestan]
Cyrus the Great [Persia]
Trajan [Roman Empire]
Attila the Hun [Hun Empire]
Adolf Hitler [Nazi Germany]
Napoleon [France]
Victoria [England] (edited from Elizabeth I)
Mahmud of Ghazni [Afghanistan]
Francisco Pizarro [Spain]

Discuss.

Mercenary
17th January 2007, 15:01
It's got to be between Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan. Two mighty men with might armies and almighty ambitions!

OZGOD
17th January 2007, 15:09
I don't know - I have a soft spot for Tamerlane. He did some massive damage to the Ottomans and at its peak his empire stretched from the edges of eastern Europe, through the Middle East, parts of India and most of Central Asia.

Jimmy two-times
17th January 2007, 15:22
If mahmud of ghazi is on the list why not Mohammad Ghauri?

I would say that it is Alexander the Great from that list.

OZGOD
17th January 2007, 15:43
If mahmud of ghazi is on the list why not Mohammad Ghauri?

I would say that it is Alexander the Great from that list.

I did say the list was probably incomplete. Who was Mohammed Ghauri?

voodooray
17th January 2007, 17:08
has to be genghis khan.. never lost a single battle in his entire life

Jimmy two-times
17th January 2007, 17:17
I did say the list was probably incomplete. Who was Mohammed Ghauri?

I was kidding Oz the only reason I mentioned him was that this guy is linked to the family tree :D !

here more info on him.

http://www.storyofpakistan.com/person.asp?perid=P044

siddharth
17th January 2007, 20:00
Alexander The Great,

BAADSHAH
17th January 2007, 20:02
Between Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan (real name Temujin)

Kashif
17th January 2007, 20:18
I'd have thought Alexander the Great. He wanted to rule the whole world!

He eventually died from a battle wound that he got from a little known place called Multan. Dont mess with the Multanis!

Straight Bat
17th January 2007, 20:22
Would Saladin be a contender or does he not count?

suhaib
17th January 2007, 20:36
what about bin qasim or something like that

siddharth
17th January 2007, 20:38
what about bin qasim or something like that
why did you bring up names ,that you were not sure of? :))) .

suhaib
17th January 2007, 20:41
cos i have heard of him so i put him there, ( :20: trying to figure out whats so funny)

siddharth
17th January 2007, 20:47
cos i have heard of him so i put him there, ( :20: trying to figure out whats so funny)
this world is too large for your liking.for example when you say Alexander The Great ,no one would even dare to ask who he is?.the name you are figuring out ,may be a conquerer of some neighbourhoods,certainly can't be the greatest ever.

the Great Khan
17th January 2007, 20:55
Genghis khan..by a mile...if alexander and genghis had ever fought, the khan would have eaten the boy king for breakfast and spawned mixed greek mongol offspring just to spite the greeks..Tamerlane would be next...the rest would be neck and neck...

as for Salahuddin...unfortunatley the great Kurd isnt in the same league in conquering terms...but he has other significance which is more important than mere territorial conquests...

Easa
17th January 2007, 20:58
Genghis Khan, by a fair distance.

Vegitto1
17th January 2007, 21:09
Genghis Khan, becoz he didn't inherit an army and a kingdom like Alexander. Had Genghis Khan been king with a ready-made army by the age of 21/22 then he would have conquered the world.

b0wld
17th January 2007, 22:32
Hazrat Umer Farooq (RA)...he conquered nearly 60 tp 70% of the world... even the great english scholars said that "If another Umer Farooq (RA) would have been born, there would have been not a single non-muslium in this world"

Daoud
17th January 2007, 22:46
b0wld with due respect to Hazrat Umer and to you, he didnt conquer anywhere near 60-70% of the world or even the old world for that matter.

Suhaib is talking about Mohammed bin Qasim who conquered Sindh and parts of Punjab at the age of 17.

Certainly for sheer size of territory, Ghengis Khan is miles ahead of anyone

Joseph K.
17th January 2007, 23:26
Hazrat Umer Farooq (RA)...he conquered nearly 60 tp 70% of the world... even the great english scholars said that "If another Umer Farooq (RA) would have been born, there would have been not a single non-muslium in this world"

Can you give us the names of those great English scholars. Did they say that in chorus?

This thread is more about the most famous conqueror than the 'greatest conqueror'. It has to be Alexander the Great as far as the most famous conqueror is concerned. He was charismatic, a great orator and motivator. He could lead his people to the other end of the world by his sheer personal power. Watch/ read Michael Wood's 'Following the Footsteps of Alexander' (Amazon link) (http://www.amazon.com/Footsteps-Alexander-Great-Michael-Wood/dp/B0002V7OGA) and it will show you how in those days he marched a huge army for 20,000 miles conquering country after country, leading his men into battle after battle, till he got mortally wounded in Multan and died during his return journey. The whole thing is truely epic.

As far as my favourite conqueror is concerned, it has to be Abdul Rehman ad Dakhil, the Ummayad prince who escaped when his whole family was slaughtered by the Abbasids. He single-handedly conquered Spain and built his own empire to outshine even the Abbasid kingdom in Baghdad. People like Abdullah as' Saffah (the founder of Abbasid empire) who killed every single Umayyad within his reach and literally earned the title of as-Saffah (the Slaughterer, the Blood-letter) could not touch him once he jumped in that boat and sailed away to Spain. Alongwith Alexander and Hannibal, ad Dakhil has to be the most fascinating conqueror in history.

the Great Khan
18th January 2007, 03:00
As far as my favourite conqueror is concerned, it has to be Abdul Rehman ad Dakhil, the Ummayad prince who escaped when his whole family was slaughtered by the Abbasids. He single-handedly conquered Spain and built his own empire to outshine even the Abbasid kingdom in Baghdad. People like Abdullah as' Saffah (the founder of Abbasid empire) who killed every single Umayyad within his reach and literally earned the title of as-Saffah (the Slaughterer, the Blood-letter) could not touch him once he jumped in that boat and sailed away to Spain. Alongwith Alexander and Hannibal, ad Dakhil has to be the most fascinating conqueror in history.

yes indeed a fascinating prince and ruler..read maria menocols book ornament of the world..thats a good one for spain...also kubilai khan was an interesting one...

Invictus
18th January 2007, 10:11
Has to be Alexander. Genghis was brutal but just the distance covered in his short life Alexander has to be the greatest.

Big Daddy
18th January 2007, 11:09
I may have my bias but I in my observation the greatest general ever has to be Khalid Bin Walid. This guy brought the mighty Persian army to its knees and took out the Byzantines out of the equation and Romans were also taken to school by this guy. He took part in 80 battles and didnt lose any. He isnt called the sword of God for nothing.

A side note, Byzantines, Romans and the Persians were the 3 Empires vying for World domination during his time. Taking out one of them would have been a Hallmark to any general. Taking out 2 is what legends are made off but how do u define taking out all 3?

PlanetPakistan
18th January 2007, 11:15
b0wld with due respect to Hazrat Umer and to you, he didnt conquer anywhere near 60-70% of the world or even the old world for that matter.

Suhaib is talking about Mohammed bin Qasim who conquered Sindh and parts of Punjab at the age of 17.

Certainly for sheer size of territory, Ghengis Khan is miles ahead of anyone
Yea unfortunately Qasim died at the age of 20(tortured in the prison). Some people say that along with his bravery one of the main reason for his conquest was that the Hindu leader of Sindh was already disliked by his people(who were mostly buddhist) and had totally turned against him during the war.

OZGOD
18th January 2007, 13:16
Would Saladin be a contender or does he not count?

I thought Saladin was a defender rather than a conqueror. A great military general no doubt.

OZGOD
18th January 2007, 13:17
Yea unfortunately Qasim died at the age of 20(tortured in the prison). Some people say that along with his bravery one of the main reason for his conquest was that the Hindu leader of Sindh was already disliked by his people(who were mostly buddhist) and had totally turned against him during the war.

Who's Bin Qasim?

OZGOD
18th January 2007, 13:31
Comparisons of the empires of some of these candidates, courtesy of Wikipedia:

Mongol Empire at time of Genghis Khan's death (circa 1227)
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/b/b1/Genghis_khan_empire_at_his_death.png/200px-Genghis_khan_empire_at_his_death.png

Alexander the Great's empire (circa 323 BC)
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/40/MacedonEmpire.jpg/440px-MacedonEmpire.jpg

The Roman Republic at the time of Julius Caesar's death (circa 44 BC)
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/41/LocationRomanRepublic.png

Roman Empire under Trajan circa 117 AD (note that he had inherited an empire from Julius Caesar and Octavian Augustus Caesar, the first Roman Emperor, but he still led the Empire to its greatest territorial extent)
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/34/Roman_empire.png/250px-Roman_empire.png

Attila the Hun's Hun empire circa 450 AD (the bane of the Western and Eastern Roman Empires)
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/43/Huns_empire.png/300px-Huns_empire.png

Tamerlane the Earth Shaker's empire (circa 1405)
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/9/90/Mongol_dominions.jpg/300px-Mongol_dominions.jpg

And the more modern-day candidates:

Adolf Hitler's short-lived German Reich (early 1940s)
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/7e/Second_world_war_europe_1941-1942_map_en.png/300px-Second_world_war_europe_1941-1942_map_en.png

Queen Victoria's British Empire on which "the sun never set" (circa 1897)
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/28/British_Empire_1897.jpg/400px-British_Empire_1897.jpg

My apologies, I got mixed up with Victoria and Lizzy 1st. That should be Victoria up there. :D

OZGOD
18th January 2007, 13:37
I think my next thread will be on "Greatest and Most Influential Empires In History"...

Solid Snake
18th January 2007, 16:08
This was a really good thread Ozgod, enjoyed reading through it, was very interesting.

I know quite a bit about Abdur-Rehman, and if anyone has read "The hawk and the prophecy", they'd realise how a great leader he really was, to unify a fractured spain after years of disputes between clans and so on was a monumental task, while constantly fighting off attacks from the Abbasids was tremendous!

Alexander the Great also up there, his soldiers loved him, and would follow him to the ends of the earth, though he was eventually stopped at Afghanistan (the most unconquerable place on the planet), he had to make peace deals with a lot of clans, it was more of a truce then a victory IMHO; though his exploits before that are worthy of legendary status.

OZGOD
18th January 2007, 17:34
This was a really good thread Ozgod, enjoyed reading through it, was very interesting.

I know quite a bit about Abdur-Rehman, and if anyone has read "The hawk and the prophecy", they'd realise how a great leader he really was, to unify a fractured spain after years of disputes between clans and so on was a monumental task, while constantly fighting off attacks from the Abbasids was tremendous!

Alexander the Great also up there, his soldiers loved him, and would follow him to the ends of the earth, though he was eventually stopped at Afghanistan (the most unconquerable place on the planet), he had to make peace deals with a lot of clans, it was more of a truce then a victory IMHO; though his exploits before that are worthy of legendary status.

What was the Hawk and the Prophecy? And was Abdur Rehman one of the Almohads?

OZGOD
18th January 2007, 17:37
Nobody thinks that the Pommies are worth a mention? I suppose they didn't conquer as such, more that they strategically influenced...

PlanetPakistan
18th January 2007, 18:01
Who's Bin Qasim?
This guy http://www.storyofpakistan.com/person.asp?perid=P041

PlanetPakistan
18th January 2007, 18:04
Excellent info there OzGod.

Solid Snake
18th January 2007, 18:43
Abdur Rahman was part of the Ummayad Dynasty, they were rulers of the Islamic world for many years, a world that was rapidly expanding. However, an uprising led to a change in power, as the Ummayads were overthrown by the Abbasids, who continued to persecute any remaining Ummayads; they were put to the sword without hesitation. The story goes, that a jewsh soothsayer saw in his dreams the abbasid take over and all the bloodshed that would result- except one Ummayad would survie (Abdur-rehman) who would be there last hope.

Rehman in his early twenties was quickly turned into a fugitive constantly on the run from Abbasid troops, who killed some of his closest family who he was hiding with, including his younger brother, only 13 or so. He lost everything, and could never rest, in fear of the Abbasid pursuers. Eventually, he sailed to spain, where he eventually united all of spain and became the Emir- the prince. Spain (known as Al-Andalus back then) became the education centre of Europe, where art, poetry, justice and equality flourished. A model society lived in peaceful coexistence no matter what tribe they were from, or what religion they followed.

The Hawk and the prophecy relates these events from Abdur Rehmans point of view, it is based on many true historical events, but there is obviously a lot we still don't know. Since it was so long ago, truths become exaggerated to lift people to legendary status- was there really a prophecy? Was Rahman a man thirsty for power his clan had lost, or a campassionate leader who wanted to unite the Islamic world? Only God knows what was truly in his heart. None the less, the book is wonderfully written, and it is an enjoyable experience to read it.

Oh and he was known as The Hawk, because of his excellent leadership in battle, many which he won against the odds because of his cunningness and determination.

Joseph K.
18th January 2007, 18:49
What was the Hawk and the Prophecy? And was Abdur Rehman one of the Almohads?


Abd al-Rahman al-Dakhil

(Also: Abd al-Rahman I)

Islamic ruler of Spain from 767 to 788.

Following the Abbasid dynasty's takeover in Syria, Abd al-Rahman escaped the ensuing massacre, fleeing to Andalucia in Spain, where he founded the Umayyad dynasty, driving out the Abassid governor and making himself Emir of Córdoba in 756. Subduing tribal disputes and Berber uprisings, he also managed to stop Charlemagne's army at the Battle of Roncesvalles, in 778 (see the Chanson de Roland for the Frankish version of these events).

Source (http://everything2.com/index.pl?node=Abd%20al-Rahman%20al-Dakhil)

He was fascinating. Knowing the absolute slaughter his family faced once they had lost their empire (al-Saffah called together the last remaining Umayyads and invited them to dinner. Somebody said something about the cruelities carried out by his guests in their time, as-Saffah literally had them all beaten to death and then set his tables above their dead bodies and dined. The man was a butcher!) he escaped in a boat and built his own parallel kingdom in Spain which at one time even out-shone the caliphhate of Baghdad. Imagine the last remaining Takriti escaping to Syria, taking over the power, and challenging Bush from there while fending off the Poms at the same time! Amazing.

b0wld
18th January 2007, 22:02
[QUOTE=Daoud]b0wld with due respect to Hazrat Umer and to you, he didnt conquer anywhere near 60-70% of the world or even the old world for that matter.
/QUOTE]

READ This:

During `Umar's reign, the Islamic empire grew at an unprecedented rate, taking Mesopotamia and parts of Persia from the Sassanids (effectively ending that empire), and taking Egypt, Palestine, Syria, North Africa and Armenia from the Byzantines.Many of these conquests followed watershed battles on both the western and eastern fronts. The Battle of Yarmūk, fought near Damascus in 636, saw a Muslim army of 40,000 defeat a Byzantine force estimated to number 160,000, permanently ending Byzantine rule south of Asia Minor. Another small Muslim army achieved victory over a larger force in the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah (c. 636), near the banks of the Euphrates River. During the course of the battle, Muslim general Sa'ad bin Abu Waqqas routed the Sassanid army and achieved the death of the famed Persian general Rostam Farrokhzād.

His conquests usually followed watershed battles on both the western and eastern fronts. The Battle of Yarmūk, fought near Damascus in 636, saw a Muslim army of 40,000 defeat a Byzantine force estimated to number 160,000, permanently ending Byzantine rule south of Asia Minor. Another small Muslim army achieved victory over a larger force in the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah (c. 636), near the banks of the Euphrates River. During the course of the battle, Muslim general Sa'ad bin Abu Waqqas routed the Sassanid army and achieved the death of the famed Persian general Rostam Farrokhzād.

In 637, after a prolonged siege of Jerusalem, the Muslims took the city.

A famous story tells of Umar arriving in Jerusalem walking beside his donkey upon which his servant was sitting. `Umar was given the key to the city by the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Sophronius, and was invited to pray at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Historically, The reason behind this welcoming reception from Sophronius was that -according to the biblical prophecies known to the Christian church in Jerusalem at that time- he learned of a time when a poor -but just and powerful- man will come walking beside a donkey (because of his extremely austere lifestyle)with his right hand sitting on it after a prolonged battle in Jerusalem (this description perfectly matched the image of `Umar at the time of his arrival) and will actually prove to be a protector and an ally to the Christians of Jerusalem. In agreement with these prophecies, Umar -out of respect to the Christians of Jerusalem- chose to pray some distance from the Church, so as not to endanger its status as a Christian temple. [citation needed]

However, Jerusalem had probably surrendered at least a year before, and that divergent accounts of Umar's stay in Jerusalem may be related tostages in the Islamisation of the city's holy places. A text, existing in a number of versions, in which Umar receives the submission of the inhabitants of Jerusalem to the Muslims and formally sets out the rights and obligations of both parties, became known as the "Umariyya Treaties" (Ahd Umar), a foundational text of the dhimma. Much of the Pact has been shown to have originated in later times; here, as elsewhere, developments extending over generations have been concentrated into idealised pictures associated with the revered figure of the second caliph. For indeed, Umar's caliphate has traditionally been regarded as the time in which nearly all the major political institutions of Islam had their origin, which cannot have been so in every instance (G.LeviDellaVida and M.Bonner, Encyclopaedia of Islam).

Another interesting story lies in the meeting between one of Persia’s leaders who previously fought against the Muslims, namely hurmuzan(who later converted to Islam).[2] He found Umar sleeping on the ground after he had sought him out for battle and was amazed of his humility and austere lifestyle he found before him. He commented on that by saying his famous phrase: “You ruled by justice, therefore you became safe; only because of that, you are now able to sleep peacefully anywhere."[3]

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hazrat_Umar#Reign_as_caliph

at the time of his reign the above empires made upto 60% of the known population of the entire world. Columbus & Vespucci discovered the America's and the carrebean a long time afterwards...

and for the guy who asking abt the english scholars try amazon & u'll get hits abt books concerning Hazrat Umar.. try reading them for once

qasim722
18th January 2007, 22:02
Cyrus the great or Alexander the great.

qasim722
18th January 2007, 22:06
Hazrat Umer bin Khetab(RA) was also a great conqueror.Micheal H.Hart has mentioned this in his book aswell.

Pathan007
18th January 2007, 22:09
Tariq Bin Ziyad.

Big Daddy
19th January 2007, 04:16
Quran mentions of this king in early times called Zulqarnain, who is said to have ruled the lands in the East and the West. He is the very same guy who is credited in the Quran for imprisoning Yajood Majood, biblical Gog Magog. So I am guessing this guy has to be right up there as well.

naddo
19th January 2007, 05:35
Any other votes out there for Pompey the Great.
Sorted out Spain and finished off the Spartacus rebellion.
A great general.

Raz
19th January 2007, 06:29
I don't know - I have a soft spot for Tamerlane. He did some massive damage to the Ottomans and at its peak his empire stretched from the edges of eastern Europe, through the Middle East, parts of India and most of Central Asia.

That was only because the Ottomons at that time were not regarded to be a strong world power, whereas Tamerlane had been well established by then. It would have been interesting to have Tamerlane at his peak face the Ottomons at their peak under Sulayman the Magnificent.

Raz
19th January 2007, 06:39
I would also put Hannibal in that list, he I believe came the closest general to actually conquering Rome, before the Visigoths eventually conquered it in the 5th Century.

Starting from his North African base in Carthage, Hannibal took off by land with an army numbering in the tens of thousands and 40 of his most feared elephants. He conquered Spain, France, crossed the Alps, a feat which has gone down as being one of the most incredible in military history.

Despite being outnumbered on a number of occasions against the mighty Roman army, Hannibal never gave up and devastated the Roman army, dishing out one of the worst defeats it ever suffered in its history at Cannae when 60,000 Roman soldiers were massacred using the notorious pincer movement. Here he had his Numidian cavalry on the flanks and his infantry and other soldiers in the middle. The Romans advanced and the soldiers in the middle retreated, whereas the Numidian cavalry did not and stayed where it was. What happened then was that the Roman soldiers were eventually sucked in like a vacuum and were surroundered by the cavalry. The retreating soldiers then advanced and oblitered the Romans without mercy.

Had he conquered Rome, it would have been the Carthaginians and not the Romans who would have dominated Europe.

Toony™®
19th January 2007, 06:44
I would also put Hannibal in that list, he I believe came the closest general to actually conquering Rome, before the Visigoths eventually conquered it in the 5th Century.

Starting from his North African base in Carthage, Hannibal took off by land with an army numbering in the tens of thousands and 40 of his most feared elephants. He conquered Spain, France, crossed the Alps, a feat which has gone down as being one of the most incredible in military history.

Despite being outnumbered on a number of occasions against the mighty Roman army, Hannibal never gave up and devastated the Roman army, dishing out one of the worst defeats it ever suffered in its history at Cannae when 60,000 Roman soldiers were massacred using the notorious pincer movement. Here he had his Numidian cavalry on the flanks and his infantry and other soldiers in the middle. The Romans advanced and the soldiers in the middle retreated, whereas the Numidian cavalry did not and stayed where it was. What happened then was that the Roman soldiers were eventually sucked in like a vacuum and were surroundered by the cavalry. The retreating soldiers then advanced and oblitered the Romans without mercy.

Had he conquered Rome, it would have been the Carthaginians and not the Romans who would have dominated Europe.

Vin Diesel will be playing him later this yr.... (could be next)

Toony™®
19th January 2007, 06:47
being a bit of a amateur historian myself...Genghis khan by a distance.. subdued the chinese and persian empires as well as providing the foundations to the mughal dynasty.


The brits did well too considering.

Raz
19th January 2007, 06:52
Vin Diesel will be playing him later this yr.... (could be next)

Really? Can't wait!!

Joseph K.
19th January 2007, 11:14
Hannibal was fascinating. I love to see the small guy beat the big bully, be it al-Dakhil vs al Saffah or the Carthagens vs Romans.

OZGOD
19th January 2007, 11:27
Any other votes out there for Pompey the Great.
Sorted out Spain and finished off the Spartacus rebellion.
A great general.

I thought about Pompey, but I would rate Julius Caesar ahead of him (though Caesar was more of a brilliant military general and politician than a conqueror).

If I had to pick one of the Romans it would probably be Trajan. He conquered Dacia, overwhelmed Nabatea, subdued Parthia, took Mesopotamia and Armenia. It was only his age (so he said) that prevented him from following in the footsteps of Alexander the Great.

In fact, after his death every Roman Emperor, and a few Byzantine Emperors after that, was honoured by the Senate with the prayer "felicior Augusto, melior Traiano" (may he be luckier than Augustus and better than Trajan).

OZGOD
19th January 2007, 11:48
I would also put Hannibal in that list, he I believe came the closest general to actually conquering Rome, before the Visigoths eventually conquered it in the 5th Century.

Starting from his North African base in Carthage, Hannibal took off by land with an army numbering in the tens of thousands and 40 of his most feared elephants. He conquered Spain, France, crossed the Alps, a feat which has gone down as being one of the most incredible in military history.

Despite being outnumbered on a number of occasions against the mighty Roman army, Hannibal never gave up and devastated the Roman army, dishing out one of the worst defeats it ever suffered in its history at Cannae when 60,000 Roman soldiers were massacred using the notorious pincer movement. Here he had his Numidian cavalry on the flanks and his infantry and other soldiers in the middle. The Romans advanced and the soldiers in the middle retreated, whereas the Numidian cavalry did not and stayed where it was. What happened then was that the Roman soldiers were eventually sucked in like a vacuum and were surroundered by the cavalry. The retreating soldiers then advanced and oblitered the Romans without mercy.

Had he conquered Rome, it would have been the Carthaginians and not the Romans who would have dominated Europe.

It was an amazing march by Hannibal over the Alps from Hispania which caught the Roman Republic off guard.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4b/Hannibal_route_of_invasion.gif/300px-Hannibal_route_of_invasion.gif

But that which had given him so much success ultimately led to his downfall - he couldn't maintain a supply line over the mountains, and the journey led to the death of more than half his force. Despite that he had a stunning victory at the Battle of Cannae, which was one of the most devastating defeats in the early history of the (then) Roman Republic, and led much of Italy to defect to Hannibal's side.

He maintained a force in northern Italy for over ten years but didn't have the seige equipment necessary to assault a heavily fortified city such as Rome. And this allowed the Romans to regroup and fight battles of attrition against Hannibal, despite their greater numbers (in fact you could probably say this was one of the earlier times in world history that assymetric warfare had been practiced against an invading force). Eventually the Romans would launch their own counter-invasion of North Africa, forcing Hannibal to return to Carthage, where he was defeated at the Battle of Zama by Scipio Africanus.

And to Raz's point, this was the first battle between Rome and Carthage where Rome had superiority in cavalry and Carthage had superiority in infantry. Scipio used Hannibal's tactics of mobility against him (assisted by the betrayal of Carthage by one of the Numidian kings) and had devised a strategy to defeat the less-mobile war elephants, and this ultimately resulted in a crushing defeat for Hannibal (I think the figure was 30000 dead and half again as many wounded compared to 1500 dead for the Romans).

This battle really established Roman superiority in the Mediterranean and ultimately led to Carthage's downfall and demise.

Here's a picture by JMW Turner of Hannibal crossing the Alps in his painting "Snow Storm: Hannibal and His Army Crossing the Alps".

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f4/Joseph_Mallord_William_Turner_081.jpg/800px-Joseph_Mallord_William_Turner_081.jpg