Hannibal Essay Questions

Hannibal Essay Questions-54
It is therefore tempting to regard Polybius as more reliable than Livy.

On the other hand, Livy has his qualities too, because he carefully copies what had been carefully copied.

As a consequence, we cannot choose either of these historical texts as "most reliable".

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.

The Drôme and Isère are possible, and the first one should be preferred because in that case the distance to Gap can be covered in two or three 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.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).The only pass that fits all of the five main conditions is also the lowest, the Col du Montgenèvre between Briançon in France and Susa in Italy.There is an extra argument why this pass is the route taken by Hannibal: the distances best suit the distances mentioned by Polybius (252 kilometers from the Rhône to the beginning of the ascent, and from there to the plain of the Po 216 kilometers).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.It was a common road and the tribes along it knew the mores of international diplomacy (Polybius mentions how the tribe near the pass came to Hannibal with branches and wreaths, the usual symbols of submission.) However, the Carthaginians had already encountered a Roman army near the Rhône; making a detour along the Drôme and the Col de Cabre, and catching the main road again near Gap, was a diversionary tactic to give the Romans the impression that they had been able to divert him from the road to Italy. a) 265 BC b) 250 BC c) 247 BC d) 203 BC 2) When was Hannibal taken to Iberia by his father Hamilcar Barca?Hannibal's route across the Alps is one of those historical questions that cause endless debate even though the subject has no importance whatsoever.This does not prevent us, however, from enjoying the puzzle and adding some extra speculations.


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