Hannibal the enemy of Rome goes into history and one of the most prolific military personnel who took the entire Roman Empire by storm and surprise. Since then, the events of his bravado and bluster have been penned down by different authors from time to time. Leonard Cottrell is one of them. He may not bring about the pure definition of being the most ardent historian, rather he was an archeologist and producer of movies in the same genre, yet he provided one marvel in the context of world history. Authenticity, minute details, comprehensive outlook and deep in its existence defines the work undertaken by Leonard Cottrell to define the works of the so called “Father of strategy” who took upon Roman Empire nearly breaking the concept of them being invincible.
Leonard Cottrell enjoys a repute and background of working on historic events that bear their significance even in the modern day time. In this particular experience Leonard Cottrell has undertaken the challenge of describing the events that took place in 216 B.C along with the impacts and repercussions that followed. The overall adventure was important for multiple reasons. The first and foremost was the fact that military might and numbers is not the only force and variable that determines the party’s success of failure in the war. Rather it is set of other variables that largely upset the enemy. These include the factors like strategy determination, playing with the minds of the enemy, out maneuvering the enemy in ways that are least expected and then finally executing all these principles in the battle field leading up to the eventual success (Cottrell).
The outer edge that the book enjoys is the fact that Leonard Cottrell has undertaken the detailed description of the adventures undertaken by Hannibal in his entire course. This gives an insight into the different battles along with the chronological events accounts of the overall activity that unfolded during his reign and days of stamping authority.
The strategy devised led to the falling of enemy and troops like a house of cards. It did not take long and the entire event took place in a mere matter of multiple hours. If it is Napoleon Bonaparte in modern times who took the entire Europe by storm in his reign lasting for approximately two decades, in old times and in the period of Roman Empire, it was Hannibal who performed the same feat and took the people of his time by surprise breaking the status quo. He made inroads in an unprecedented manner despite the fact that he was not equipped to the fullest in terms of armor and infantry.
Hannibal undertook his expansion that would constitute over nearly 11 thousand miles of journey all the way to his destination and beyond. With areas like Alps and other parts of Spain overcoming his initial goals and motives. The entire quest had the battles of the likes of LakeTrasimene and Zama. The entire sequence of events unfolded in an uneven, unexpected and quite surprising manner with little being expected considering the amount of personnel and other resources Hannibal possessed. But it all came to the strategy that he managed enforcing his presence and keeping the entire cause alive for over decade and a half.
The father of strategy undertook an effective and later world famous strategy of “double pincer” who out smarted the enemy and gave him an edge over them leaving them completely reeling.
The details have been unfolded in the organized manner. With the second Punic War giving a detailed account of how events unfolded and how Hannibal marched towards his destination with the help of his land soldiers and elephants that he largely relied upon.
The book also gives an insight of what exactly brought about such animosity of Hannibal towards the Romans. It is being traced through the fact that the father of Hannibal had bitter feelings and resentment for the aforementioned and as a result the spirit of ill will and hatred ran in the blood and nurturing, bringing out a monster in making in form of Hannibal who ran amok in the corridors of power and strength during the Roman Empire heydays. Hannibal enjoyed the precedence of his family members enrolled in different positions and ranks of military and deriving their spirit of valor drawn on the principles of crushing the enemy absolutely.
The initial undertaking was launched with approximately ninety thousand troops. Through the mid way, he had lost nearly quarter of his ground troops and other valuables that would save him from the enemy, yet his determination, his mind, and his strategy did not deter him and he went on expanding his domain. The fact that his reign in parts of Italy lasted for nearly over decade and a half speak of the achievements and success Hannibal enjoyed in his battlefield endeavors. Number of times he came across the events and scenarios where he had to adopt mid way retreat by avoiding the Roman forces. One of these examples came forth in the event of progress over valley of Rhone.
The entire work has been presented in a very absorbing manner, and also giving the details about the actual accounts. The Battle of Zama did not auger too well for Hannibal and it came along the defeat in the final stage of Roman invasion which ended in ruins and dust at the end of the day. He had to ultimately pay heavy indemnities and live under the harrow of the enemy since he had been defeated on the battle field. The final days of his life had relatively less glamour and glory to it and it is believed that he himself took punitive measures to bring an end to his life, the possible reasons that could be cited are the fact that he could not bear with the defeat, the conditions set forth and the domination of his enemy and dictating terms enforced upon him by the enemy as a whole. Other benefits and edges that the entire work and the writer enjoys are the fact that he undertook the journey to the places that were center of activity in those days. This gave him a firsthand knowledge of the terrain and other factors making it further easy for him to assess and investigate into the possible reasons along with bringing about clarity in his thoughts and expressions. The book would help those who aim to undertake investigate and research study in the field of Roman history and the military battles and the military leaders who made an impact on the history. The author’s contributions would always be remembered and valued in this regard.
The reliance and extraction of the facts and data from the different battles and wars undertaken by Hannibal makes the work of Leonard Cottrell more attractive and unique in its existence amongst the different writers and historians who have given it a shot yet little reaches up to quality of work produced by L. Cottrell.
His work does not suffer from the deviation based on the fact that many historians have given too much importance to the initial day glory of Hannibal as a result compromising the major chunk of the last part of his conquest that came about in form of the Rome’s annexing. Leonard Cottrell also sheds light on the reasons that led to the ultimate failure of overcoming Rome as the ultimate frontier. The final events of the entire saga have been unfolded in quite a dramatic manner which further holds the attention of the readers and forces them to ponder pensively over what could have been adopted and undertaken differently that could possibly have ended the supremacy long maintained. With regard to the critical review, the book may not qualify for the best in the context of vocabulary and expression used, yet it is fully loaded with ideas and information making it far better than many other who may have focused on areas that are more scholarly but void of any details that are provided by Leonard Cottrell himself.
Cottrell, Leonard. Hannibal: Enemy of Rome. Perseus Books Group, 1992.