The War with Hannibal: The History of Rome from Its Foundation, Books XXI-XXX (Penguin Classics) (Bks. 21-30)
In The War with Hannibal, Livy (59 BC AD 17) chronicles the events of the Second Punic War between Rome and Carthage, until the Battle of Zama in 202 BC. He vividly recreates the immense armies of Hannibal, complete with elephants, crossing the Alps; the panic as they approached the gates of Rome; and the decimation of the Roman army at the Battle of Lake Trasimene. Yet it is also the clash of personalities that fascinates Livy, from great debates in the Senate to the historic meeting between Scipio and Hannibal before the decisive battle. Livy never hesitates to introduce both intense drama and moral lessons into his work, and here he brings a turbulent episode in history powerfully to life.
a deed of dreadful note
By "macpazfink" - June 3, 2001
I have just finished reading The War With Hannibal, and I must say that not only is it a masterpiece, but it is one of the books I most enjoyed reading. I had never read Livy before and this was a great discovery for me. Although it was written about two thousand years ago, this book is as engaging and appealing as if it had been written today. It is important, however, to make some points clear if you are not acquainted with Livy or other similar classical writers. First, this extense history of the Second Punic War is not history in the modern, scientific sense of this word. It is not a methodic, systematic and objective approach what you will find here: some parts are conjectural, some are simply invented. Throughout his account Livy inserts his political opinions and he is, of course, partial to the Romans. These is not being critical, because we can't judge Livy by our own, contemporary, cultural standards, but just something you should know before reading the book. Second, this... read more
One of the greatest stories in world history
By Johanys - November 21, 2001
The great Roman historian Livy tells a story as interesting as that of the American Civil War. The Second Punic War was a great crisis in Roman history. This book starts with the uneasy peace after the First Punic War between Rome and Carthage. Rome won that war. Carthage swore revenge, and Hannibal devoted his life to conquering his bitter enemy. He invaded Italy via Rome and the Alps with his elephants. No Roman army could stay in the field against his Carthaginians. A Roman consul named Fabius persuaded the Romans not to give battle, and for twenty years Hannibal roamed wherever he liked in Italy. But he wasn't strong enough to capture Rome, and there were Roman generals such as Marcellus who were able to defeat him partially. Meanwhile in Spain a young Roman general whose father and uncle had been killed by Hannibal devoted his life to defeating Hannibal. But not by fighting Hannibal in Italy. Rather, by first conquering Spain, then invading Africa, so Hannibal had to depart... read more
Much scarier than Anthony Hopkins!
By Tricky Woo - October 13, 2003
Popular histories really are sooooo popular nowadays, but few people realise that they have a tradition going back to Ancient Roman times. Mr Livy wrote his masterpiece around 25AD, about 250 years after the Roman Republic was very nearly destroyed by its most serious rival, the city of Carthage, located on the Northern African coast near modern day Tunis. This, the Second Punic War, lasted about 15 years, cost the Ancient World countless lives, and causing widespread suffering. The peoples of Carthage were avenging their own losses during the First Punic War, when the Roman forces narrowly beat and killed their great general, Hamilcar, forcing them to sign a most humiliating peace treaty. And the leader of the avenging Carthaginian forces? The mighty Hamilcar's even mightier son, Hannibal: a young man, born with a sword in his hand, leadership in his blue blood, and a personal vendetta against all things Roman.The amazing crossing of the Swiss Alps by Hannibal's army (which... read more