It has been 2,200 years, and yet we can’t stop thinking about, and writing about, that man.
My book — about our own lives as seen through Hannibal’s — is essentially ready (but still awaiting a publication date from Riverhead, which is killing me). Meanwhile, others are coming out with their books.
The latest is historian Robert L. O’Connell, whose new book is called The Ghosts of Cannae: Hannibal and the Darkest Hour of the Roman Republic.
Here he is on NPR, talking about it.
Separately, geomorphologists (people who study the features of the earth) and archeologists are still debating which route Hannibal took with his army and elephants over the snowy Alps in October 218BC.
William Mahaney, a Canadian researcher, and his team now think that the likeliest pass is the Col de la Traversette in France. They believe they have located geographical features — such as a gorge where Hannibal was attacked by Gauls, or a rock fall that blocked his way — that either Polybius or Livy described.
Their main “rival” is Patrick Hunt at Stanford, who thinks that the Col de Clapier is the likeliest route.
What all these boffins of course hope to find is … evidence. Coins, swords, poop, bones, sandals, elephant tusks, … anything. Whoever finds any dropping of the Punic army is sure to become our era’s Heinrich Schliemann.