July 28, 2014 at 12:01 pm. Hannibal managed to lead his Carthaginian army over the Alps and into Italy to take the war directly to the Roman Republic, bypassing Roman and allied land garrisons and Roman naval dominance. Only one survived the first battle at Trebia (the Syrian), the others succumbing to the cold. and apparently only had 3 elephants (and 26,000 men) left when he entered Italy. In a bold attempt to take the war directly to Rome, the Carthaginian general Hannibal marched an army across the Alps and into northern Italy. What Was the Role of Hispanian Tribesmen in the Second Punic War. Appian's account says that Hannibal took 37 but also does not number those lost, if any, crossing the alps. They were used in some of the battles on the Italian peninsula, so I … You have successfully linked your account! By entering your details, you are agreeing to HistoryExtra terms and conditions and privacy policy. Hannibal's crossing of the Alps in 218 BC was one of the major events of the Second Punic War, and one of the most celebrated achievements of any military force in ancient warfare. Thanks! History TV and radio in the UK: what’s on our screens in December 2020? Unfortunately, all but one of Hannibal's elephants died while crossing the mountains in 218 BC. As Carthage was in North Africa, elephants were commonly used in war. Please enter your number below. There are disagreements among the sources about the number of elephants which survived the snow and ice of the crossing. The official website for BBC History Magazine, BBC History Revealed and BBC World Histories Magazine, Save over 50% on a BBC History Magazine or BBC History Revealed gift subscription, The year was 218 BC, and Rome was locked in a bitter conflict with its rival, the Mediterranean superpower of Carthage. There is no real certainty of the size of force that Hannibal took with him, though estimates range from 20-40,000 infantry, 6-12,000 cavalry and 40 elephants. You're now subscribed to our newsletter. Although 36 of the 37 elephants Hannibal brought on the journey were African elephants, most likely from Morocco and Algeria, it was the sole Asian elephant that survived. How Hannibal managed to get thousands of men, horses and mules, and 37 elephants over the Alps is one magnificent feat.” • This article was amended … Although the journey was a success, it came at a huge price: forced to face the harsh winter and hostile natives, the Carthaginian army endured heavy sufferings and losses, and none of the elephants survived the crossing – they all succumbed to starvation induced by the icy cold. It's a commonly told tale that Hannibal Barca marched his army which included many African war elephants over the Pyrenees and alps to reach the Italian peninsula, personally I find it very difficult to believe that elephants born and bred in North Africa could survive such a pair of crossings. Book Review: Battling the Gods by Tim Whitmarsh. Thank you for subscribing to HistoryExtra, you now have unlimited access. You will shortly receive a receipt for your purchase via email. His most famous campaign took place during the Second Punic War (218-202), when he caught the Romans off guard by crossing the Alps. The ancient sources don't mention any dying during that part of the expedition, and there were some – again, sources don't seem to say how many – surviving to fight at the Trebia. Neither Polybius or Livy, the 2 main accounts, mention how many elephants, if any, died during the crossing of the Alps. How many (if any) elephants survived Hannibal's crossing of the alps? How many survived the crossing and were they used in battle to any real effect? In a quest to join up with anti-Roman allies, Hannibal led 100,000 troops and 40 elephants on a treacherous journey through the Alps . Favorite Answer hannibal had 50,000 infantry 9,000 cavalry and 37 elephants, he marched to the rhone, avoided battle with scipio, and continued … If, as I suspect, there was some exageration about the elephants then maybe there were other exagerations too. A sort of related fact is that a reportedly effective anti-elephant weapon was the pig. During the fifteen day passage across the Alps, Hannibal lost about half of his troops. So you only need one figure. It seems strange that with estimated deaths of 15000 troops and 17 elephants, as far as I can gather, no remains have been found in the Alps. What happened to the animal afterwards is unknown, although the elephant certainly didn’t participate in any of the subsequent fighting, which led to Hannibal’s eventual defeat. Prevas has made the journey himself many times, so he is able to give accurate site reports of the various routes Hannibal is speculated to have taken over the Alps. Why Did The Roman Republic Transition to a Monarchy? Hannibal fought his first major battle, not against the Romans, but facing instead the combined forces of three Celtiberian tribes in northwest Spain, the Olcades, the Vaccaei, and the Carpetani. I believe that some of the elephants (more than one) did survive the crossing of the Alps. Hannibal traveled with an army of tens of thousands of soldiers and as many as 37 war elephants. In the event, although Hannibal did successfully negotiate the Alpine passes, his losses were considerable. We don’t know exactly how many of the elephants survived, but it is clear that some did survived because the Romans under the Consul Tiberius Sempronius Longus faced them at the battle of Trebia in December of 218 B.C. This article was taken from BBC History Revealed magazine, Save over 50% on a gift subscription to their favourite history magazine. Only about 40,000 made it to Italy. He supposedly rode into Capua upon this one elephant. There are disagreements among the sources about the number of elephants which survived the snow and ice of the crossing. The idea that Hannibal lost all but one of his elephants crossing the Alps is false, although it admittedly has a basis in a more complicated reality. You will receive a link and will create a new password via email. Hannibal set off from Spain with 37 elephants. Over half his army died in the severe, cold conditions, Hannibal himself was blinded in one eye, and it is recorded that only one of his elephants survived the trek. Please enter your email address. He took 37 war elephants (and 46,000 men) with him when he left Iberia (Spain) through Europe to the start of the Alps.He lost most of them to skirmishes and bad weather etc. Quora Question: What Year Was the Rise of Rome? When he came down into the plains above Turin he had only 20,000 infantry and 6,000 cavalry; none of the elephants … There seems to be a problem, please try again. In 218 BC Hannibal decided to out-wit the Romans, and set off with an army of 100,000 men and 37 war elephants. In a bold attempt to take the war directly to Rome, the Carthaginian general Hannibal marched an army across the Alps and into northern Italy. Lost your password? A big day in history: Hannibal smashes his foes “at the very gates of Rome”. We don't know how many elephants survived the crossing of the Alps. This lone elephant was used by Hannibal to ride in triumph into the city of Capua. Hannibal had 37 or 38 elephants with him on his campaign trail from North Africa through Spain, Mediterranean Gaul and the Alps. Its name, according to the story, was Surus, meaning ''the Syrian.'' Credit: Tour de Travoy For years, historians disagreed on exactly which pass Hannibal took through the mountains, although a consensus seems to have been reached in recent years that Col de la Traversette is the most likely route, at an altitude of 2,947 meters (9,670 feet). Favorite Answer. Surprisingly, all 37 elephants survived the march across the Alps! There is no real certainty of the size of force that Hannibal took with him, though estimates range from 20-40,000 infantry, 6-12,000 cavalry and 40 elephants. Artists rendering of Hannibal’s troops crossing the Alps. The Alps towered in his way, but Hannibal turned east and took them on, probably crossing Mont Cenis (arguably by the Savine Coche pass, around 7,500 feet high) in late October. They played a major role in ancient warfare, most notably in Hannibals’ crossing of the Alps (218 BC) as he attacked Rome (how many elephants actually survived this remarkable feat seems questionable). Only one of the elephants survived the war, it seems. The Carthaginian general Hannibal (247-182 BCE) was one of the greatest military leaders in history. Quora Question:Why did Tiberius Gracchus Promote Land Reform in the face of Roman Senatorial Opposition? How many elephants did Hannibal take over the Alps? In the Summer of 220 B.C.E. Those that survived the perilous journey met with a bitter winter and war, as the Carthaginian general Hannibal, who had urged them through the Alps… The ancient Carthaginian general Hannibal Barca famously led his troops, including 37 elephants, across the Alps mountain range to fight the Romans. He was returning from a successful campaign against the Vaccaei and th… If you subscribe to BBC History Magazine Print or Digital Editions then you can unlock 10 years’ worth of archived history material fully searchable by Topic, Location, Period and Person. However, by the next year – after several large battles, probably limited food supply, and colder climate – there was only one elephant left. The Death of Carthage | site by Askmepc, Press Page | Reviews of The Death of Carthage. Hannibal rode the lone survivor. 1 decade ago. Many boots have been worn out in determining the alpine pass through which tens of thousands of foot soldiers and cavalrymen, thousands of horses and mules, and, famously, 37 … At a certain point, anybody who studies the Antiquities will encounter them: war-elephants. They were a deadly weapon designed to charge, trample and generally create a sense of panic in the enemy, but from a Roman perspective, their use was a bizarre novelty. Many troops and animals were killed while crossing the Alps, and to this day, Hannibal’s completion of this journey is … Everything you ever wanted to know about... How Hannibal beat the Alps but couldn’t beat Rome. Hannibal set off from Spain with 37 elephants. They range between 20 and 3. At the time, the young Punic general was fresh from having been appointed commander-in-chief of the Carthaginian army in Iberia following the assassination of his brother-in-law, Hasdrubal the Handsome, the previous year. Looming Large: Hannibal and Elephants “Hannibal Crossing the Alps on an Elephant” by Nicolas Poussin (1620-ish) About Hannibal – we are reading from the Wicked History series, “Hannibal – Rome’s Worst Nightmare”.. Hannibal Barca: an ambitious warrior with strategy skills perhaps surpassing history’s most effective military leaders. The Falklands War: when was it fought, why did it happen and how was it won? 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