Ancient History Articles


The Irony of Hannibal’s Elephants, Latomus 60.4 (Oct-Dec 2001). To those without a detailed knowledge of the Second Punic War between Rome and Carthage, Hannibal will always be remembered as the general who in 218 BC took thirty-seven elephants across the Alps and into Italy. Although there is no doubt that his name should be forever associated with these animals, an examination of Hannibal’s experiences suggests that his relationship with them ultimately was one of tragedy rather than triumph.

Plutarch and the Death of Pyrrhus: Disambiguating the Conflicting Accounts, Scholia 20 (2011). Plutarch’s portrayal of Pyrrhus’ death cannot be uncritically accepted as accurate. By assessing without prejudgement of merit what the so-called ‘unreliable’ counter-tradition records of Pyrrhus’ actions at Sparta and then Argos, a more consistent and plausible account of Pyrrhus’ death—one more favourable to Pyrrhus’ generalship—can be reconstructed than the version that may be gleaned solely from a reading of Plutarch. A must for anyone who’s ever tried to glean useful information from an online discussion group.

With thanks to Professor Bob Milns.