Hannibal was a general from the republic of Carthage in north Africa and one of the greatest military strategists of all time. Having witnessed Carthage's defeat by the Romans as a child, Hannibal dedicated his life to the mission of thwarting Rome's imperialist ambitions and restoring power to his native Carthage. In 218 BC he famously led an army with war-elephants across the Alps into Italy, where he campaigned undefeated for over 15 years against the Romans. He came tantalizingly close to toppling the power of Rome several times, but ultimately Rome was able to endure. Hannibal finally met his match in the Roman general Publius Scipio, who defeated him at the Battle of Zama, near Carthage, in 202 BC.
But who was Hannibal the man? Was he a cruel monster, as the Roman historian Livy would have us believe? Or was he a great and tragic figure, as others have seen him?
Joining us to discuss the man behind the legend is archaeologist Patrick Hunt of Stanford University. Hunt has lead expeditions across over 25 Alpine passes in search of the route that Hannibal took. He directed the Stanford Alpine Archaeology project for 18 years and also works for National Geographic. His latest book, Hannibal, is out next month.