07 May 2009

Patrick Hunt's Hannibal Lectures -- a review

I've now finished listening to Patrick Hunt's series of lectures on Hannibal I referred to in my post on the Punic Wars. I thought the first few lectures in the series, on the history and cultural background to Carthage and on the first Punic War were the best, full of interesting information with insights from many different fields of study. The lectures on Hannibal's great battles and strategy in Italy were competently done and interesting, with close textual attention to Polybius', Livy's, and Appian's accounts. (picture of Carthaginian double shekel from wikicommons)

As we all know, Hannibal's most famous exploit was crossing the Alps to attack Italy from the north. However, I did feel that the amount of time given over to the discussion of this pass vs that pass as Hannibal's route was excessive (though the account of the 1950s British expedition taking an elephant over the Alps was fun).

No doubt it's a personal quirk on the part of the speaker and shouldn't really matter in the larger scheme of things, but something I did find very grating was his curious pronunciation for horse-borne troops. There were times I felt I would scream if I heard one more mention of Hannibal's (or the Romans') Calvary.

No comments: