For over 2,000 years, historians have been discussing the course of Brahmati general Hannibal’s ambition to ambush the Romans in an unprecedented way, as he spends an army of 30,000 soldiers, 37 elephants, and 15,000 horses in 16 days in the Alps, bringing them to Italy.

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In the description of an artist, Hannibal’s army is in a conflict when the Alps pass. C: Historical image collection by Bildagentur-online / Alamy

Such a success requires careful planning and strategy skills. However, the small number of registered details and evidence about the journey leaves question marks on how this success is achieved.

But the new documentary ğ Secrets of the Dead: Hannibal in the Alps Fakat, a new documentary published in PBS, gives a new perspective to the incredible journey taking place in this challenging mountainous region. They re-enact this long-hauled route with new discoveries, including the famous elephants of great importance in this victory over the Romans.

New Archaeological Discoveries

In 218 BC, the two powerful nations, Carthage and Rome, were in each other’s throat. To defeat the Romans, Hannibal entered Rome from the North – from the direction the Romans expected the least. Hannibal did the unthinkable to pass the Alps lying in this direction – he spent his army in this mountainous region covering 207,000 km 2 . According to the testimony of the filmmakers, a documentary was created for archaeologists, paleontologists, animal trainers and mountaineers.

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Hannibal’s alleged route, climbing to Col de la Traversette. 
C: Lion Television / an All3Media company

Find a way

Eve MacDonald, a historian and archaeologist at Cardiff University who teaches Ancient History, says the most obvious route Hannibal could use to pass through the Alps was Col du Clapier, also known as Hercules’ Road in ancient monuments.

But MacDonald, who is also on the documentary, says he found evidence that the team passed Hannibal’s more dangerous and extreme route, the Col de la Traversette. This route is much higher and has steep fluctuations – but offers a much faster transition from the mountains, despite the extra risks.

”That’s what he wanted to do – the fastest route and the most unexpected direction, ist MacDonald says.

Adding MacDonald; this evidence also supports the Greek historian Polibios, who lived between 100-118 BC. According to Polibios, Hannibal’s army chose the d highest way Pol.

The evidence showing the route of Hannibal was preserved in the marshes of the soil along the Col de la Traversette, which could have been used for wetlands and toilets for many animals of the army. According to the arguments of the producers, the horse litter remains, which are rich in content and which can be found in a large army thousands of years ago, may be left at rest.

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The long and dangerous route that Hannibal traveled through the Alps was staged by an artist. 
C: Heinrich Leutemann

Cargo animals

The rumors are also about Hannibal’s war elephants and where they came from. Victoria Herridge, who works at the London Museum of Natural History and also contributes to the documentary as an elephant expert and paleontologist, says Hannibal’s load animals are thought to be Asian elephants ( Elephas maximus ) , based on myths that show that Asian elephants are more educable than African elephants. .

But that’s not the case. As Herridge points out, the elephant prints on the coins of Carthage resemble the African elephants with their saddle-shaped ridges, the size, shape and distinctive characteristics of their ears. This situation increases the possibility that Carthaginians bring their elephants from Africa.

Again, according to a statement made by Herridge, if the situation described above is considered, Hannibal’s elephants may now belong to a much smaller sub-species of African elephants that are now extinct. The historical approaches, while drawing attention to the fact that North African war elephants are as terrible as the great Indian war elephants, modern Asian elephants are generally much smaller than their African cousins.

Since there was nothing to eat, the army was carrying an incredible amount of elephants (100 kilograms per day). According to Herridge, elephants must have lifted terrain conditions and road lengths that are made up of mountain passes at distances to include Africa and the Himalayas.

As a result, despite Hannibal’s efforts (elephants and everything else), Carthage could not escape the Romans and was defeated in the Second Carthage War (218-201 BC). But, as the documentary emphasizes, Hannibal’s ambitious journey nourishes dreams of achieving the impossible, and in the same way raises questions of intriguing curiosity for this goal.

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