Hannibal’s lifetime path: the map

Copyright David Lindroth

Look at this beautiful map. It depicts the dramatically simplified life path that Hannibal probably took. And you’ll find it in the beginning of my book.

The mapmaker and copyright owner is David Lindroth, a cartographer who seems to specialize in historical, educational, fictional and other unusually interesting maps.

I first came across David’s name when I saw a different version of this map by him in The Ghosts of Cannae, a great book about Hannibal by Robert O’Connell. (It came out last year, after I finished my manuscript, so it was unfortunately too late to be one of my sources.)

So I called David and he made this map for me. We put in some of the battle sites and other places of interest in the book, including Hannibal’s sketchy meanderings in the eastern Mediterranean in his final years.

Anyway, you know I like maps. Enjoy.

11 thoughts on “Hannibal’s lifetime path: the map

  1. Looking at this beautiful map, I rue more and more that I didn’t live when Hannibal did, and so couldn’t participate in his expeditions.

    Oh, to have ridden on the back of one of those elephants in the ice and snow, and through the mountains, hacking importunate Romans to pieces with my sword, and impaling them with my javelin.

    I do hope that by reading “Hannibal and Me”, I will be able at least to experience vicariously what I missed.

    • He probably didn’t hug it as neatly as the map suggests, but yes, in general he stayed in the fertile flats. The inland turn you notice was very bold indeed: It was a turn AWAY from Cornelius Scipio (the elder)’s consular army. H could have defeated it in Gaul (tactical success) but thereby would have been delayed (strategic failure) in his main undertaking: crossing the Alps and invading Italy. So he turned and (as it seemed to the Romans) “disappeared” into the Alps.

    • I wonder if Hannibal, after at last crossing the Alps, felt as U.S. Grant did after first crossing — and then re-crossing — the Mississippi further south below Vicksburg:

      “When this was effected I felt a degree of relief scarcely ever equalled since. Vicksburg was not yet taken it is true, nor were its defenders demoralized by any of our previous moves. I was now in the enemy’s country, with a vast river and the stronghold of Vicksburg between me and my base of supplies. But I was on dry ground on the same side of the river with the enemy. All the campaigns, labors, hardships and exposures from the month of December previous to this time that had been made and endured, were for the accomplishment of this one object.”

    • Very pertinent parallel to Hannibal’s situation after the crossing, Jim.

      It was a strange all-or-nothing, do-or-die situation they found themselves in. I make a lot of it in one chapter of my book. Sometimes generals (and people in other walks of life) deliberately put themselves on the far side of a mountain range or river so that they have no way of turning back.

  2. “Sometimes generals (and people in other walks of life) deliberately put themselves on the far side of a mountain range or river so that they have no way of turning back.”

    I knew about the stone around the neck in suicide, the miserable trick of the shadow to ensure a one way trip to the bottom, unencumbered by the the brighter side of the self intent on reaching the surface. Here it is a risky trick to immobilize the inner ‘coward’ ready to forfeit glory; a burning of bridges, or boats; a bet on the power coming from desperation.

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