Richard Miles

Elephant Man

Hannibal: A Hellenistic Life

By

Yale University Press 332pp £25 order from our bookshop

The Carthaginian general Hannibal resides in that elite pantheon of outstanding generals that includes Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Napoleon and very few others. As Eve MacDonald makes clear in her new book on Hannibal, it is a reputation richly deserved. Marching a large army up through Spain over the Pyrenees, across what is now France and then over the Alps as winter closed in was an achievement that the ancients thought could only be achieved by those touched by divinity. The fact that he had a squadron of elephants with him merely added to his giant-sized legend (although only one of these lumbering beasts actually survived the odyssey).

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