The Ghosts of Cannae: Hannibal and the Darkest Hour of the Roman Republic
by Robert L. O’Connell
Published in July 2010
Thibault’s Score: 4/5
I really enjoyed reading the Ghosts of Canna, and appreciated the modern skeptical approach to the source texts. Many historians, especially from the turn of the previous century, are very bad when it comes to being skeptical of the validity of source material.
The writing is clear and simple, and I felt like my time wasn’t wasted. There were neither too many words nor too few. Also, the author manages to keep the complicated amalgam of people and places clear without excess repetition.
The more I study Hannibal, the more skeptical I am the Hannibal really existed. Although this book doesn’t even mention theories about the truth of Hannibal’s existence, it does elucidate the sources used. Basically, everything we know from Hannibal comes from a dozen sources, all of which are written more than a century after Hannibal’s supposed death.
The way O’Connell exposes the characters, environment, locales, and battles is skillful, and I learned a lot. I especially enjoyed the chapters about the later conflicts Rome fought with Carthage after Hannibal left Italy and became a mercenary. For example, I didn’t know how Hannibal had died or about his later battles in Greece and Africa.
Overall, I recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about Hannibal and Carthage. It was much better than the previous book that I read about Hannibal.
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