Hannibal: Crossing the Alps

In 218 BCE, Hannibal Barca's Carthaginian army, accompanied by horses and elephants, completed one of the most audacious military marches of ancient Mediterranean history. Setting off from southeast Spain, on their way they overcame a number of hostile Celtic tribes and traversed two major mountain ranges: the Pyrenees and then, most famously, the Alps. Battered and bruised Hannibal and his men eventually descended from the Alpine passes and arrived in Northern Italy at the end of 218 BC, where they soon clashed with the Roman legions awaiting them near the River Trebbia. This battle, fought on a snowy plain in freezing conditions, was the climax of the 218 BC campaign and the first of Hannibal's great victories against Rome.

From the outbreak of the Second Punic War to the Battle of the River Trebbia, in this two-part podcast Dr Louis Rawlings, Senior Lecturer in Ancient History at Cardiff University, dives into the events of 218 BC and the incredible leadership of Hannibal. In this first episode, Tristan and Louis discuss the background to Hannibal Barca's march to Italy, before focusing in on one of the greatest adventure stories from antiquity: Hannibal's crossing of the Alps.

Episode two, covering the Battle of the River Trebbia, will be released in a couple of weeks.


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