It was not until the thirteenth year after Hannibal had crossed the Alps that any considerable reinforcement was sent to aid the Carthaginian general. Then his brother Hasdrubal, having raised an army in Spain and Southern Gaul, crossed the Alps to join him. But he was met, as he marched south, by the consuls Livius and Nero with an army greatly superior to his own; and was crushed by them on the river Metaurus, the Spanish and Ligurian troops being annihilated and Hasdrubal himself killed.
For four years longer Hannibal maintained his position in the south of Italy. No assistance whatever reached him from Carthage, but alone and unaided he carried on the unequal war with Rome until, in 204 B.C., Scipio landed with a Roman force within a few miles of Carthage, captured Utica, defeated two Carthaginian armies with great slaughter, and blockaded Carthage. Then the city recalled the general and the army whom they had so grossly neglected and betrayed.
Hannibal succeeded in safely embarking his army and in sailing to Carthage; but so small was the remnant of the force which remained to him, that when he attempted to give battle to Scipio he was defeated, and Carthage was forced to make peace on terms which left her for the future at the mercy of Rome. She was to give up all her ships of war except ten, and all her elephants, to restore all Roman prisoners, to engage in no war out of Africa — and none in Africa except with the consent of Rome, to restore to Massinissa, a prince of Numidia who had joined Rome, his kingdom, to pay a contribution of two hundred talents a year for fifty years, and to give a hundred hostages between the ages of fourteen and thirty, to be selected by the Roman general.
These terms left Carthage at the mercy of Rome, when the latter, confident in her power, entered upon the third Punic war, the overthrow and the destruction of her rival were a comparatively easy task for her. Hannibal lived nineteen years after his return to Carthage. For eight years he strove to rectify the administration, to reform abuses, and to raise and improve the state; but his exposure of the gross abuses of the public service united against him the faction which had so long profited by them, and, in B. C. 196, the great patriot and general was driven into exile.
He then repaired to the court of Antiochus, King of Syria, who was at that time engaged in a war against Rome; but that monarch would not follow the advice he gave him, and was in consequence defeated at Magnesia, and was forced to sue for peace and to accept the terms the Romans imposed, one of which was that Hannibal should be delivered into their hands.
Hannibal, being warned in time, left Syria and went to Bithynia. But Rome could not be easy so long as her great enemy lived, and made a demand upon Prusias, King of Bithynia, for his surrender. He was about to comply with the request when Hannibal put an end to his life, dying at the age of sixty-four.