Author and Mountain Guide
Q/ Hannibal is often lauded as one of the greatest leaders of ancient history. Do you think he deserves this position even though in the end he lost the 2nd Punic War?
One of the greatest leaders of ancient history, yes, of course, especially for his boldness and his imagination. But many greek leaders before him were maybe better of him for the miltiary strategy... But it's difficult to say...
Q/ Did Hannibal ever have a chance against Rome? Why did he lose?
I think he was too distant, too isolated of his country... The Romans were too numerous. And of course at the end he loosed too time in Campany....
Q/ What do you think of Wood Brothers aim to ride Hannibal's route on bicycles, from Cartagena to Carthage?
It's a very nice idea but long is the road, isn't it ?
Q/ A number of professional historians have retraced Hannibal's route and you are one of them. Is it possible to confidently identify Hannibal's route over the Alps and why?
I'm not a professionnal historian, I'm sorry ! But according to Tite Live et Polybe (in french), on the pass, on the top of the Hannibal's route in the Alps, there was no tree, no grass, only stones and fresh snow on old snow of the last year... And from this pass, the Carthaginians saw the Pô's plain. And after the pass, they came to the Taurini... Col Clapier, col Malaure or col Traversette are possible... We must find the Sirenos book to be sure...
Q/ What is the main reason why didn't Hannibal attack Rome?
In french, at school, we say "les délices de Capoue"...
Q/ When most people think of Hannibal they think of elephants? Were they really a major part of his arsenal?
Only for the fear that these elephants caused to his enemy. His 6000 riders were maybe more dangerous than 37 elephants !
Q/What is an example of an important question/mystery about Hannibal and/or the Carthaginians that is still unanswered?
The pass in the Alps !
Q/Is there a piece of our historical record missing? I mean, is it fair to say that the Phoenicians and the Carthaginians are a bit of a mystery to us, even though they were an important civilization?
About the Phoenicians and the Carthaginians, I think the historians don't know really how was organized their society, their traditions, etc... We know the roman's civilization, but not very well the Carthaginians. Maybe that explains why we can dream when we study the Carthaginians... or Hannibal ! People like mystery !