The J. Paul Getty Museum

The Fleet of Hannibal Sailing to Spain

Object Details


The Fleet of Hannibal Sailing to Spain


First Master of the Bible historiale of Jean de Berry (French, active about 1390 - about 1400)





Paris, France (Place Created)


about 1390–1400


Tempera colors, colored washes, gold leaf, and ink on parchment

Object Number:

Ms. Ludwig XIII 3, leaf 6 (83.MP.146.6.recto)


Leaf: 37.9 × 29.5 cm (14 15/16 × 11 5/8 in.)

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Object Description

This portion of the Ancient History to the Reign of Caesar discusses the history of Rome, the long-time adversary of the state of Carthage and the sworn enemy of Hannibal's family. At the tender age of twenty-six, Hannibal was elected commander-in-chief of the Carthaginian army and went on to become one of the greatest military leaders of antiquity. Much of Hannibal's subsequent career was devoted to consolidating Carthage's possessions in Spain, an effort that eventually led to a bitter war with Rome.

In this image, Hannibal and his army set sail for Spain against the imposing backdrop of Carthage's fortified walls. The crowned Hannibal sits high up in the ship to the right, elevated above his troops and the only figure whose head rises up above the water. In another ship, elephants stand equipped for battle, evidence of the army's origin on the northern coast of Africa.

Medieval Beasts (May 1 to July 29, 2007)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), May 1 to July 29, 2007