Hannibal - Hannibal Crosses the Alps
Uploaded by reonu on Dec 13, 2001
The march of Hannibal across the Alps onto Italy is thought to be legendary. Having read this book, that mere sentence is reiterated to its full extent. He had to fight his way through a Roman army, cross the Pyrenees (themselves a difficult range of mountains), then fight his way across southern France, for this area was under Roman control, then cross the formidable Alps. The scope of this accomplishment is often overlooked for Hannibal did much more than cross the formidable Alps. Hannibal Crosses the Alps by John Prevas, in my view, successfully accomplishes in crossing that visible line. He successfully captures every militaristic, psychological, and humanistic aspect of the second Punic War. His book successfully foretells the events leading to the demise of Carthage and the history of the ever brewing hate for the Romans.
“The mountains were a dreadful sight before their eyes, high peaks, covered with snow and stretching to the sky, and all around them everything was stiff with cold. Shaggy, unkempt men perched on the crags above, more horrible to look upon than words can tell. All this renewed the fear of the column.”- Livy.
By now Hannibal had abandoned his Spanish base with his army of 100,000 mercenaries and embarked on one of the most daring maneuvers in military history. He had successfully crossed the treacherous Rhone River, avoided a confrontation with the Roman army, and replenished his troops on “the island” by following the river northward [it is still uncertain to what Livy’s “the island” may refer to]. With guides provided from Brancus, the tribe leader of “the island”, he was successfully guided to the foothills of the Alps. Hannibal had now come to the Alpes du Dauphine. Although formidable mountains of from four to five thousand feet high, behind them, miles and days ahead loomed the most difficult part of the march at even higher altitudes and over more dangerous roadways. Eventually, after being ambushed by the shadowing allobroges and a three-day march, Hannibal’s army had reached the Durance river valley in full sight of their grave.
The aforementioned quote by Livy was used by Prevas to describe the sight seen by the army of mercenaries. The last and the most difficult leg of the march laid in full view for the army to stare at awe. The Carthaginian column now stood at the valley of the Hautes Alpes, the highest and...