In fall, 218 BC, the Punic Army under Hannibal marched from Cartegena in Iberia across the Pyrénées to the Rhône River and over the Alps to the Po River Plains in one of the most ambitious and unorthodox mountain military operations of all time. As winter closed in, the Punic Army regrouped in the upper Guil Valley and prepared to cross the Col de la Traversette to meet the legions of Publius Cornelius Scipio on the Po River. Hannibal altered the center of gravity in the looming Roman/Carthaginian conflict by opening a second front in northern Italia. The environment proved as much an enemy to Hannibal as marauding Gallic tribes, an ever-present and always looming imminent danger during the mountain crossing. Relying on sources in the ancient literature, mainly Polybius and Livy, this volume correlates and analyzes the physical environment with historical descriptions to pinpoint the route taken by the Punic Army. Unlike previous accounts of the invasion by scores of historians who have argued over the route for the last two millennia this volume delves into the historical, geological, topographical and environmental evidence to identify the actual route. Sites are also identified and discussed for potential geoarchaeological interest on the military culture of ancient Carthage.
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