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Hannibal’s Secret Weapon: Recruiting Nature into His Arsenal

EVT 581
Feb 5
7:30 pm
Status: No Registration Required
The Carthaginian general, Hannibal Barca, may have been the ancient pioneer of weaponizing nature to expand the power of his typically smaller army in combat engagements. While surprise was almost always one of his greatest assets, especially combined with deep military intelligence and psychological operations, Hannibal’s deep knowledge of local environments and topographies allowed him to exploit his enemies’ vulnerabilities. He invariably arrived first before battle and turned the local conditions into advantages. During the Second Punic War, he made a Roman army cross the freezing Trebbia River, hid his army in fog above Lake Trasimene, and had the Romans chasing a herd of cattle with burning sticks disguised as a moving army at night in Campania. He used an African dust storm at Cannae to blind Roman legions who faced the wind and also employed it to conceal his pretend army units.

In this lecture, archaeologist Patrick Hunt will discuss the general’s tricky tactics that demonstrate why he is still relevant and studied worldwide in military training.

Patrick Hunt, Former Director, Stanford Alpine Archaeology Project

Patrick Hunt is the author of twenty books, including Hannibal, Ten Discoveries That Rewrote History, When Empires Clash: Twelve Great Battles in Antiquity, Wine Journeys: Myth and History, and Caravaggio (Life & Times). He is also a Featured Lecturer for the Archaeological Institute of America, as well as a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. His Alps research has been sponsored by the National Geographic Expeditions Council. Hunt received a PhD from the Institute of Archaeology, University College London.
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