Hannibal ("mercy" or "favor of Baal"), Carthaginian general and statesman, son of Hamiclar, was born in 249 or 247 BC. Destined by his father to succeed him in the work of vengeance against Rome, he was taken to Spain, and while yet a boy gave ample evidence of his military aptitude. Upon the death of his brother-in-law Hasdrubal (221) he was acclaimed commander-in-chief by the soldiers and confirmed in his appointment by the Carthaginian government. After two years spent in completing the conquest of Spain south of the Ebro, he set himself to begin what he felt to be his life's task, the conquest and humiliation of Rome. Accordingly in 219 he seized some pretext for attacking the town of Saguntum (modern Murviedro), which stood under the special protection of Rome, and disregarding the protests of Roman envoys, stormed it after an eight months' siege. As the home government, in view of Hannibal's great popularity, did not venture to repudiate this action, the declaration of war which he desired took place at the end of the year.