Hannibal Essay Questions

Hannibal Essay Questions-57
Livy states that Hannibal started his march on the banks of a river called Druentia; this cannot be the Durance, because it is too southerly.

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There are two ancient texts that give a description of Hannibal's route.

The oldest is in the third book of the World History by the Greek historian Polybius of Megalopolis (ca.200-118 BCE).

Now that we know that Hannibal crossed the Alps between Briançon and Susa, we can try to find the other stations of his march.

The enemy town that was taken on the third day, can easily be identified with modern Gap, because it is a three days' march downstream from Briançon (i.e., days four, five and six).

So long as the Carthaginians had remained in the plains the various chieftains of the Allobroges had left them alone because of their fear both of the Carthaginian cavalry and also of the barbarian troops who were escorting them.

I have questioned men who were actually present on these occasions about the circumstances, have personally explored the country, and have crossed the Alps myself to obtain first-hand information and evidence.The fort captured by Hannibal's men must be the Mont Saint-Mens (ancient Vapincum), immediately south of the modern town.It is harder to establish the route during the first days.The Carthaginian general Hannibal (247-182 BCE) was one of the greatest military leaders in history.His most famous campaign took place during the Second Punic War (218-202), when he caught the Romans off guard by crossing the Alps.He also added explanations; that these are correct can not be known, but Livy's chronology is precise: Although Livy's chronology is very detailed, there remain certain obscure aspects in his narrative.Polybius understands the military situation better. For example, he explains at the beginning of his story why the Celtic tribes had not attacked Hannibal before he started his crossing of the Alps.This was a very common practice in ancient historiography: the reader expected short speeches in which the actors explained what they were doing and why.These explanatory speeches were usually included before a particularly important action took place.Since Polybius and Livy both liken the Alps to the walls of Rome, it is likely that the speech was already included in the original account.(Besides, the question seems inevitable how Hannibal's men could possibly see Italy if it were snowing, as Livy indicates.) As we can see in the table below, only one pass fits the sixth condition.


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