Mahaney has accumulated a vast fund of tales in his expeditions to grand peaks on every continent, particularly the Alps, where over the last 15 years he has assessed possible Punic routes by surveying every pass on the French-Italian border. In the Summer of 220 B.C.E. A steep, slippery descent on the Italian side that’s hemmed in by precipices and bottoms out in a valley suitable for pasturing horses and pack animals. Crossing the Alps Hannibal's army quickly advanced towards Italy until it reached the Alps. While in college—he has a doctorate in microbiology from the University of Warwick—Allen realized that he could have a lot of fun and generate research pay dirt by “doing things that other people hadn’t thought of yet”: Hence his current research interests are as diverse as understanding the microbial ecology defining the Anthropocene, corpse microbiology, hunting for microbial genetic signatures associated with ancient comet impact events and, of course, solving the Hannibal Enigma through metagenomics—the study of micro-organisms by direct extraction and cloning of DNA. “Hannibal wasn’t just a brilliant strategist and military tactician,” he says, brandishing a muffin like a boxing glove. The earliest was a naturalist named Cecil Torr, who in his 1924 book Hannibal Crosses the Alps tells us that as a teenager he set out, fruitlessly, to find traces of vinegar used, after fires were set to heat rock, in fracturing boulders that blocked the Carthaginian army. Map of Hannibal's Crossing of the Alps. During the final years of the conflict, their leader in Sicily was Hamilcar Barca, from a prominent family of Carthaginian aristocrats. However, Carthage didn't take their defeat lying down. (If you’re keeping score, de Galbert is a Col du Clapier man. The Alps were tall mountains with difficult weather and terrain. “Naturally, some people are going to be skeptical of our deductions and say they are—for lack of a better word—crap. The Alps towered in his way, but Hannibal turned east and took them on, probably crossing Mont Cenis (arguably by the Savine Coche pass, around 7,500 feet high) in late October. He was ambushed twice in narrow gorges where the locals had purposely led him. Anyone can earn His 1956 essay began with the all-time Carthaginian money quote: “Few historical problems have produced more unprofitable discussion than that of Hannibal’s pass over the Alps.” Walbank, who seemed inclined toward either Col du Clapier or Mont Cenis, was later dressed down by Geoffroy de Galbert, author of Hannibal and Caesar in the Alps, for allegedly misreading Polybius’ Greek. Yep, Hannibal crossed the Alps with his army and a bunch of elephants during the 2nd Punic War. In Alps and Elephants, the first of several books that the evolutionary embryologist wrote on Hannibal, he displayed something of the Kon-Tiki spirit with the claim that he’d personally inspected the topography. Determined to see Carthage restored to its former glory, Hamilcar made his eldest son, Hannibal, swear lifelong enmity to the republic. Fun sports throughout the year! “Over the long term, environmental microbiology could be the key that helps solve many of the big problems—from new drug discovery to energy and carbon capture. “I’m only kidding!”. And both think the other’s inferences are a lot of Hannibaloney. But The Alps weren’t the only obstacle in Hannibal’s path – his first challenge was crossing the mighty river Rhone. 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Hannibal Facts Hannibal Barca was the Carthaginian army general of the 2nd and 3rd century BC who became famous for leading a team of elephants over the Alps to terrorize Roman forces during the Second Punic War. Then again, Patrick Hunt—a historian and archaeologist at Stanford, former director of the university’s Alpine Archaeology Project and author of the new biography Hannibal—makes the same claim for the Col du Clapier. He’s 76 now and hobbled by arthritis that restricts his mountaineering, but his talent for jawing knows no bounds. and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you. He toyed with the idea of becoming a paratrooper and then a train driver before deciding that “a career in science would be cool.” His earliest memories of scientific endeavor include designing a burglar alarm for his bedroom (age 6), leaving homemade stink bombs on his neighbor’s doorstep (age 8) and “looking at bits of unpleasant things” under the microscope (age 9). 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He’s too discerning.”, He was delighted last year when the Belfast Telegraph headlined a front-page feature about his research team: QUEEN’S DUNG BOFFINS GET TO BOTTOM OF HANNIBAL ALPS RIDDLE IN PIECE OF 2000-YEAR-OLD POO. For a while, it looked as though he would have to turn back. of poison, self-administered—his alternative to being apprehended and paraded in chains through the streets of Rome. What's the most difficult hike you've ever done? The Sicilians embroiled the rising republic of Rome in their squabbles with Carthage and transformed a minor dispute into an armed conflict fought largely at sea. Alas, the Romans pulled an upset victory and eventually Carthage not only lost its claims to Corsica and Sardinia, but was left saddled with a debt, which the Barcas helped to pay off by establishing a Carthaginian empire in silver-rich Spain. Much ink has been spilled in pinpointing the route of Hannibal’s improbable five-month, thousand-mile trek from Catalonia across the Pyrenees, through the Languedoc to the banks of the Rhone, and then over the Alps to the plains of Italy. I believe it is mentioned. Nor have archaeologists found evidence of Punic burials or Carthaginian coins. | {{course.flashcardSetCount}} study The Carthaginian general Hannibal (247-182 BCE) was one of the greatest military leaders in history. Andrew Wilson, of the Institute of Archaeology at the University of Oxford, maintains that the date range doesn’t follow from the data presented, and that the MAD layer could have accumulated over several centuries. 's' : ''}}. As you might have anticipated, there’s no clear consensus on whether Hasdrubal took the exact same path, so finding an elephant tapeworm wouldn’t definitively prove the route was Hannibal’s. This plan to invade Italy was quite dangerous, due to native tribes, cold weather, and risk of landslides. “Nada, zero, zip, zilch,” he says. His troops were sent out to cut down trees and … Which is perfectly healthy, of course. “I was a rather confused child,” Allen says. Did you know… We have over 220 college Enrolling in a course lets you earn progress by passing quizzes and exams. When he came down into the plains above Turin he had only 20,000 infantry and 6,000 cavalry; none of the elephants had yet died. But while risks were surely involved in the endeavor, the ‘audacity’ of the scope was fairly well planned by Hannibal. Hannibal traversed the mountains–once thought uncrossable–with a … There are no fewer than a dozen rival theories advanced by a rich confusion of academics, antiquarians and statesmen who contradict one another and sometimes themselves. A: Dung!) Privacy Statement If we turned the clock back 2,000 years and pulled out human strains [of Clostridia] from the Hannibal Mire, would they have the same genetic changes? Smithsonian Institution, Franz Lidz, Photographs by Tomas van Houtryve, Smithsonian Magazine That is, until he discovered how to destroy the massive rocks of the mountains. Hannibal of Carthage led an army over the mountain range of the Alps in order to attack the ancient Romans. Carthage at the time was in a poor condition. Hoping that the sight of rampaging elephants would scare the enemy, he assembled his animal train and headed east. The treacherous mountain conditions decimated his … We know very little about him for certain. Both have scanned satellite images, scrutinized lichen growth and rock weathering rates, and modeled historical glaciation to help envision how the land today may have changed since Hellenistic times. A relative newcomer to the debate, Allen insists that until now no hard material evidence has been presented that would indicate the most likely path. Furthermore, the tribes living in the Alps would fight anyone who came through, so he had to be ready for a rough ride. Hannibal's crossing of the Alps - Film Editing: Yaron Margolin חניבעל ברקה - נחוש להרוס את רומא הוא שעט אל איטליה. Metagenomics is the tool that will allow us to finally optimize our interaction with soil.”, Allen can envision combining meta-genomics with pretty much any scientific discipline, from engineering to theoretical physics to medicine. Exactly which pass that was, of course, has been a source of endless dust-ups among Hannibalologists. Its navy could not carry its army to Iberia (Hispania). A faint scent of mint fills the air. Explain why Hannibal lost so many men crossing the Alps. To his right, Mount Viso—the twin-peaked colossus—looms against a bowl-blue sky. Ancient Origins. “Polybius states Hannibal’s forces slipped through fresh snow to ice below from the previous winter on the initial descent,” he says. Analyses by the team, including carbon dating, suggest that the excreta dug up at the Traversette site could date to well within the ballpark of the Punic forces’ traverse. The Romans declared war on Carthage again in 218 B.C., by which time Hamilcar had been killed in battle and Hannibal was in charge of the army. Edward Gibbon, author of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, was said to be a fan of the Col du Montgenèvre. He convened an assembly and tried to raise their spirits, though his only asset was the visibility of Italy, which spreads out under the mountains in such a way that, from a panoramic perspective, the Alps form the acropolis of all Italy.”. A “white” or “bare” rock place, where some of his fleeing troops spent that night. He pauses. Wouldn’t it be funny, he quips, if the real poop on Hannibal’s alpine trail were revealed in a scoop of real poop? And a point on the summit where the troops could gaze down to the Po River Plain. Absorbed in a fragile trance, Allen studies a knot of tadpoles wiggling in a marshy puddle. He died in 183 B.C. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 96.227.247.128 18:01, 5 March 2015 (UTC) Select a subject to preview related courses: Hannibal faced attacks on his army and his supplies from the very first day. In 1959, Cambridge engineering student John Hoyte borrowed an elephant named Jumbo from the Turin zoo and set out to prove the Col du Clapier (sometimes called the Col du Clapier-Savine Coche) was the real trunk road—but ultimately took the Mont Cenis route into Italy. Hannibal and his army’s crossing of the Alps in 218 BC is often viewed as a military action that is tantamount to daredevilry on a large scale – a feat that is akin to the stuff of legend. In a flurry of purple prose, he adds: “The empty water jug, like a fortress, teetered slightly on the shelf, reacting very differently than water. Hannibal Crossing the Alps (Anibal Cruzando los Alpes) Francisco Goya 1771. “None of the other passes have a deposit on the lee side,” he insists. Chris Allen perches on a ledge of the Col de la Traversette, thinking hard, listening to silence, looking at the unseen. (“Boffin,” Allen kindly explains, is British slang for a scientist with technical expertise.) Conceivably. He is a frequent contributor to Smithsonian. The Romans felt safe, thinking that no general would dare to lead their army through the Alps. We are in the middle of a scientific revolution that most people don’t even realize is happening. “Think of what Hannibal accomplished over six months,” says Allen. After Carthage lost the war, Hamilcar crossed to Hispania to conquer the tribes ofwhat is now Spain. Would there be differences we don’t know about, leading to new hypotheses? credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level. Allen came to the work of de Beer by way of Bill Mahaney, a professor emeritus at York University in Toronto and an outspoken exponent of the Traversette. In contrast to the mild, placid Allen, Mahaney is an irascible mountain man who could start an argument in an empty room. Allen is most excited about having isolated parasite eggs—associated with gut tapeworms—preserved in the site like tiny genetic time capsules. On Allen’s left, a cutting wind scythes across a row of rock needles and down to the valley on the Italian side, nearly 10,000 feet below. And now, staring into the mists of antiquity, he imagines a scene that may have unfolded here 2,235 years ago: the Carthaginian general Hannibal mustering his downcast troops during their brazen invasion of the Roman Republic at the start of the Second Punic War. It’s up to the modern historians to back it up.”. Hannibal did the unthinkable, however, and marched his army across the Alps. “It seems there are definite genetic changes in some modern strains. One of Hannibal’s most important battles in Italy was the Battle of Lake … According to Polybius, Hannibal suffered casualties of 68,000 soldiers -- by abandonment or otherwise -- and was left with 26,000 soldiers and 37 elephants after the crossing. Biology Lesson Plans: Physiology, Mitosis, Metric System Video Lessons, Lesson Plan Design Courses and Classes Overview, Online Typing Class, Lesson and Course Overviews, Science Careers Involving Writing & Editing, Airport Ramp Agent: Salary, Duties and Requirements, Personality Disorder Crime Force: Study.com Academy Sneak Peek. Still, Allen is tickled by the prospect of exhuming a tapeworm from elephant dung during his next field-research trip, on the Italian side of the Traversette. Though Hannibal lost half his army in the Alps, his passage is generally seen as a major achiefment. He impressed the enemy with his courage and daring and swordplay, fighting on the front lines, wading into the thick of battle. Skepticism is what science is all about.”, Allen’s long, ascetic face, with narrow eyes and raised eyebrows, lends him an expression of perpetual seriousness that belies his sardonic good humor. When they finally left the mountains, they were in a perfect spot to attack the Romans by surprise. The First Punic War (264-241 B.C.) While he managed to get clear and had a few peaceful days, he quickly found that the higher into the mountains he went, the more the snow fell. However, to get there, he had to cross an entire mountain range, a span of mountains, to get there. Allen reaches into his rucksack, withdraws a copy of Polybius’ Histories and reads a passage aloud: “Hannibal could see that the hardship they had experienced, and the anticipation of more to come, had sapped morale throughout the army. This article is a selection from the July/August issue of Smithsonian magazine. “When the Carthaginians had to fight, they hired mercenaries, though they had their own elite commanders,” Mahaney says. A huge number of Hannibal's men and most of his elephants died crossing the Alps. The Punic Wars were between Rome and Carthage; essentially a struggle to dominate the Mediterranean I think. Terms of Use The Carthaginian general Hannibal crossed the Alps Mountains between France and Italy in order to bring the Second Punic War to the ancient Romans over 2,000 years ago. What made Hannibal’s feat of crossing the Alps, so profound was the fact that no other army before this time had dared such a fantastic feat. A day’s march from a narrow gorge, where Hannibal’s men walked single file and tribesmen hidden on cliffs began their assault. Since Allen’s conclusions at times rest on the slippery slopes of conjecture, what they add up to is open to considerable interpretation. was fought over control of the strategic islands of Sicily and Corsica. You wouldn’t want to meet them on a dark night, anywhere. However, Carthage did not have the ships needed to attack Rome from sea. “The more genetic information we have, the more precise we can be about what type of animal left the droppings and perhaps its geographic origin,” he says. All who have played the Hannibal game know they must discover in their chosen pass a number of specific features that correlate with the chronicles of Polybius and Livy. Wouldn’t it be something if, on this spot, he marshaled his forces and inspired them to succeed against the odds?” In the spirit of Hannibal, scientists have taken a novel approach to a thorny problem. Walbank certainly thought so. How Do I Use Study.com's Assign Lesson Feature? View in Augmented Reality. Explore connections. flashcard set{{course.flashcardSetCoun > 1 ? “Of course,” he added disarmingly, “I may be wrong.”, F.W. 17th Annual Photo Contest Finalists Announced. He is perhaps best known for his crossing of the Alps to wage war on Rome. or Purchase Painting by Barbara Gray – Click Photo. Working Scholars® Bringing Tuition-Free College to the Community. Speculation on the crossing place stretches back more than two millennia to when Rome and Carthage, a North African city-state in what is now Tunisia, were superpowers vying for supremacy in the Mediterranean. “If Hannibal had hauled his traveling circus over the pass, he would have stopped at the mire to water and feed the beasts,” reasons Allen. Passage is generally seen as a writer the last mountain and could down! From the July/August issue of Smithsonian magazine this is the dawn of the last and. 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