Hannibal A Hellenistic Life Eve MacDonald

Publication date:
24 Feb 2015
Yale University Press
352 pages: 235 x 156mm
8 pp. b-w illus.

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If history is written by the victors, can we really know Hannibal, whose portrait we see through the eyes of his Roman conquerors?

Hannibal lived a life of incredible feats of daring and survival, massive military engagements, and ultimate defeat. A citizen of Carthage and military commander in Punic Spain, he famously marched his war elephants and huge army over the Alps into Rome’s own heartland to fight the Second Punic War. Yet the Romans were the ultimate victors. They eventually captured and destroyed Carthage, and thus it was they who wrote the legend of Hannibal: a brilliant and worthy enemy whose defeat represented military glory for Rome.
In this groundbreaking biography Eve MacDonald expands the memory of Hannibal beyond his military feats and tactics. She considers him in the wider context of the society and vibrant culture of Carthage which shaped him and his family, employing archaeological findings and documentary sources not only from Rome but also the wider Mediterranean world of the third century B.C. MacDonald also analyzes Hannibal’s legend over the millennia, exploring how statuary, Jacobean tragedy, opera, nineteenth-century fiction, and other depictions illuminate the character of one of the most fascinating military personalities in all of history.

More about this title

 For an extract from Hannibal: A Hellenistic Life visit the YaleBooks blog.

Eve MacDonald is an archaeologist, lecturer, and travel guide who has participated in excavations around the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and the Caucasus, including the site of ancient Carthage. She has taught at several universities in the UK and Canada and is currently sessional lecturer, Department of Classics, University of Reading. She lives in London.

‘MacDonald has produced a fascinating book....’—Gerard DeGroot, the Times.

“An excellent biography that attempts to understand Hannibal both within and outside the Roman context.” —Richard D. Weigel, Bowling Green Daily News