The Greek historian Polybius played a defined role in the Achaean League, which strove to maintain a friendly but independent policy towards the Romans. After the defeat of Macedonia in 168 B.C. Polybius was removed, under sentence, to Rome. There he met Scipio Aemilianus, a son of Scipio Africanas, and became the young man's friend and advisor. In 150 B.C. his detention ended and he returned to Greece, but he remained closely associated with Scipio and accompanied him to Carthage in the III Punic War. Polybius drew from many sources that are no longer identifiable, as well as employing documentary evidence, such as the treaties between Rome and Carthage. His aim was partially to assess the climb of the Roman domination and partly to write a practical history for future study. In regards to primary sources, commenting on Hannibal's military, political and social aspects, Polybius is considered the be the most reliable of sources, despite having written about Hannibal seventy years after the war commander's death. This is supported by the great lengths of understanding Polybius strove to achieve, including hiking the Alps himself to appreciate the climate Hannibal and his army faced crossing the terrain.
Titus Livius Patavinus is a comparative source this website will analyse in the deduction of Hannibal's character. Whilst Polybius was thought to be an objective view, Livy offers a prime example of bias. His Roman background and close camaraderie with the Julio-Claudian family. Keeping in mind that Hannibal had been a trying force against the Roman Republic and that Livy lived in the remnants of Hannibal's campaign- his works often emphasised the darker aspects of Hannibal's doings. Unlike Polybius, he held no political or military position and did not experience first-hand the hardships Hannibal must have faced as an enemy force against the Roman army. The sources from which Livy obtained his knowledge are uncertain; however as he showed few signs of travel from his home-town Patavium (now modern Padua); and therefore any written sources he addressed were most likely of Roman influence.