Hannibal/Hasdrubal/Mago > Danny/Ben/Sam

It sucks that I can’t watch the Beeb from here in the US. That’s because something fun is on the telly there.

Three brothers — Danny, Ben and Sam Wood — are tracing the route that Hannibal took, from Spain through France and over the Alps into Italy, and thence to Tunisia and perhaps onward. (Here is a map of Hannibal’s lifetime path.)

They’re doing it by bike, instead of elephant.

What does this show? That Hannibal maintains his eerie ability to inspire us modern types today, just as he inspired me to write my book.

“So we also feel a certain sense of ‘Hannibal and Me’,” as Danny, also a journalist, emailed me this week.

If you’re in Britain, follow them on the BBC. And good luck, lads!

Here’s a taste:

7 thoughts on “Hannibal/Hasdrubal/Mago > Danny/Ben/Sam

  1. Strong work! I appreciate that Danny/Ben/Sam don’t take themselves too seriously. There’s nothing worse than watching something like a triathalon on TV only to see adults sitting by the road in their underwear complaining about being tired (in a hero-ish way). But it must have taken serious effort just to; (a) organize such a thing, (b) get someone to broadcast it. Do they really haul their bikes across the snow?

    • Wouldn’t you love to join them? In my not-so-distant past, before life dumped responsibilities on me, I would have just showed up with my donkey and asked to ride along.

      Good for the Beeb to say Yes! Can’t see that happening in the US.

  2. Hi Andreas and Mr Crotchety,

    Thanks for your lovely blog Andreas! It will be hard to think of our series now without imagining what could have been with stirring sequences of you aboard a donkey…a creative opportunity lost!

    Yes the BBC is great for picking up ideas like this – hopefully it might reach the US one day. And it sounds a little unlikely but our youngest brother Sam did haul his bike over Col de la Traversette in snow…a mountain 9,500 feet hight (!) It was an impressive endurance and strength test that brother Ben and I were happy to leave to him! I was sipping cafe au lait at the time in the nearbye Alpine town of Briancon. If you’re interested there’s a little more about this mountain climbing following Hannibal’s possible paths over the Alps here:

    http://www.historyextra.com/blog/over-alps

    Thanks again for your interest.

    All the best

    Danny

    • Danny, you and your brothers should make contact with Patrick Hunt at Stanford. As far as I know, he’s the leading scholar right now on that question of which pass Hannibal took.

      I know he also organizes trips to the passes. You might even have run into his group while on your bikes. 😉

  3. Dear Andreas I was so pleased to find your piece about the BBC series “On Hannibal’s Trail”. I watched every episode enthralled. A shame they didn’t visit Villajoyosa , an ancient walled city where they recently discovered the public baths among many Roman sites. It’s a best-kept secret as most tourists go to Benidorm – nearby but worlds apart. We used to visit Sagunto and Tarragona on our way down from England, and I’m going to Cartagena (Nova Carthago) soon. Although it was sacked many times, there are still Roman sites being excavated. Thanks for highlighting Danny’s interesting series.

  4. PS I’ve just contacted the BBC and so far they’ve only shown two of the episodes. I’ve asked them if they’ll show the remaining four. By the way, when I was in Japan in 2010, I had the good luck to see a touring exhibition from Tunisia called “The legacy of Carthage – A journey across the Mediterranean”. It included two huge mosaic floors, really huge. The logistics of transporting them from Tunisia to Japan are barely imaginable…..I must check to see if that exhibition is still on the internet.

    • Well, first of all, how cool is it that “the Legacy in Carthage” is all the rage in …. Japan!

      Perhaps Hannibal turns out belatedly to have won after all. 😉

      I’m delighted that you’re also so passionate about the subject. And I hope the Beeb shows all episodes (why wouldn’t they?).

      Thanks, Elaine!

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