Hannibal on iTunes: From the Classical World to Archaeology Today

hannibal2.jpgLet me elab­o­rate on an item that we touched upon very briefly ear­li­er this week. Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty has rolled out a new free course on iTunes (lis­ten here) that takes you inside the life and adven­tures of Han­ni­bal, the great Carthagin­ian mil­i­tary tac­ti­cian who maneu­vered his way across the Alps and stunned Roman armies in 218 BCE. Pre­sent­ed by Patrick Hunt, the author of the new­ly-released Ten Dis­cov­er­ies That Rewrote His­to­ry, the class also gives you glimpses into cut­ting-edge trends in mod­ern archae­ol­o­gy.

The course, orig­i­nal­ly pre­sent­ed in Stan­ford’s Con­tin­u­ing Stud­ies Pro­gram, will be rolled out in install­ments over the next sev­er­al weeks. Sep­a­rate­ly you can lis­ten to a stand­alone lec­ture that Hunt gave on Han­ni­bal short­ly before the start of the course. (Lis­ten on iTunes here.) For more cours­es like these, check out our pod­cast col­lec­tion of free uni­ver­si­ty cours­es.

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Course Descrip­tion for Han­ni­bal

“Han­ni­bal is a name that evoked fear among the ancient Romans for decades. His courage, cun­ning and intre­pid march across the dan­ger­ous Alps in 218 bce with his army and war ele­phants make for some of the most excit­ing pas­sages found in ancient his­tor­i­cal texts writ­ten by Poly­bius, Livy, and Appi­an. And they con­tin­ue to inspire his­to­ri­ans and archae­ol­o­gists today. The mys­tery of his exact route is still a top­ic of debate, one that has con­sumed Patrick Hunt (Direc­tor of Stanford’s Alpine Archae­ol­o­gy Project) for more than a decade.

This course exam­ines Hannibal’s child­hood and his young sol­dier­ly exploits in Spain. Then it fol­lows him over the Pyre­nees and into Gaul, the Alps, Italy, and beyond, exam­in­ing his vic­to­ries over the Romans, his bril­liance as a mil­i­tary strate­gist, and his lega­cy after the Punic Wars. Along the way, stu­dents will learn about archae­ol­o­gists’ efforts to retrace Hannibal’s jour­ney through the Alps and the cut­ting-edge meth­ods that they are using. Hunt has been on foot over every major Alpine pass and has now deter­mined the most prob­a­ble sites where archae­o­log­i­cal evi­dence can be found to help solve the mys­tery.”

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.