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Hannibal: The Military Genius Who Almost Conquered Rome

Hannibal versus Rome: Watch the rise and fall of one of history’s greatest military commanders.
Hannibal: The Military Genius Who Almost Conquered Rome is rated 4.4 out of 5 by 36.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brought ancient history to life! This has been one of my favorite courses. Eve McDonald does a superb job in tracing the major events in the history of the Carthage-Rome conflict and highlights what made Hannibal such a memorable figure. I was surprised by how much was known from the histories written of the Punic Wars and how Hannibals legendary miltary career remains a fascinating subject over 2000 years later. She truly made this chapter of ancient history come alive for me.
Date published: 2024-05-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very enjoyable and thorough This course wasn't just a great and enjoyable history lesson on Hannibal's life; it offered valuable strategic insights as well. The professor madam clearly knows her subject well and made a topic that might seem dry at first glance very engaging. I'm glad I took this course about a man who inspired such admiration from his Roman enemies, who hated him dearly yet wished they had a Roman military strategist of his caliber.
Date published: 2024-03-30
Rated 2 out of 5 by from I did not enjoy watching this lecture Don't get me wrong: I think Prof Eve MacDonald is extremely knowledgeable when it comes to this subject...but she is just a poor lecturer. She comes across very stiff and she is sitting in some living room with a weird background. She also seems to have a hard time reading the script in front of her. I'm sure she is trying her best but it did not work for me. Overall I did not like the presentation.
Date published: 2024-02-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hannibal I have been a Wondrium customer for years and Eve Macdonald is one of the best and most enjoyable lecturers I have encountered. She is the consummate storyteller and I look forward to watching another course from her. She makes Wondrium worth every penny.
Date published: 2024-02-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the Best Courses from the 2020s Hannibal: The Military Genius Who Almost Conquered Rome by Eve MacDonald is probably the best of the newer courses made by the Great Courses. MacDonald adopts a survey course on Hannibal that is both comprehensive and done in a straight forward, chronological manner. MacDonald teaches, explains, and conveys knowledge on the ancient Mediterranean through her biographical subject, and provides a very capable military and political history of Hannibal and his campaigns. The course is solid. I would consider it one of the greats covering a subject during this period to come out since Fagan and Harl. It makes me want an extended course covering Carthage and Roman North Africa, focusing on a longer political and military history time frame, inclusive of broader social history and thematic elements where relevant. This course demonstrated MacDonald's bona fides, and so I'm eager to see more from her. [I took the audio version of this course, listened to at 1.3x speed]
Date published: 2024-01-23
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Read The Book Instead Regrettably, I have to agree with both Ulysses 1864 (The Video and Sound quality are very poor) and Kluck (Subject matter informative; presentation weak). As another customer who owns dozens of Great Courses history/ancient history DVD’s, I learned long ago to ‘roll’ with each particular professor’s presentation style. But this one was tough! EM clearly knows her stuff, she’s just a very poor lecturer. How is it that she has trouble throughout reading the words that she herself (presumably) wrote for the teleprompter? And why is it that the closed captioning (I’ve given up trying to figure out how to turn it off!) is so frequently WAY off from her actual words? I’d strongly recommend that someone considering this course fall back on the old maxim regarding movies . . . the book is always better. And, there are PLENTY of good, scholarly treatments of Hannibal in print.
Date published: 2024-01-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great presentation of the Punic Wars This has been one of my favorite presentations of Hannibal's campaign. It's not just a military history, but also lays out what sets the stage for Hannibal's campaign and showcases Carthage's trajectory from the start. There are so many interesting and new details to learn even if you're relatively familiar with Hannibal's campaign. On that note, I also love how these lectures showcase not only a military history, but give background on how culture, religion, politics and propaganda all intertwine and play major roles in how wars and even certain battles are fought, and how they influence decisions on a macro and micro level. Fantastic series.
Date published: 2024-01-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very infomative I do read history, but the story of the First Punic War and the Second Punic War was new to me, and I found it informative and interesting. I liked Eve MacDonald's quiet but friendly presentation.
Date published: 2023-11-26
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Overview

Get to know one of history’s most important military commanders—Hannibal Barca—from his early days in Iberia to his famed march across the Italian peninsula in the Second Punic War. Along the way, you will become familiar with the ancient world and its customs, politics, notable figures, and way of life, before turning your attention to the terrifying but impressive conquest that made Hannibal so famous.

About

Eve MacDonald

Even in his failure, his bitterest enemies continued to admire and fear Hannibal. His exploits passed into the realm of myth and legend in his own lifetime, and in his death he has retained a kind of heroic notoriety that few can ever hope for.

INSTITUTION

Cardiff University

Eve MacDonald is a Senior Lecturer in Ancient History at Cardiff University. She earned a PhD in Ancient History at the University of Ottawa. She wrote the book Hannibal: A Hellenistic Life and has published numerous papers on ancient history. She has also worked extensively in the field on excavations, including in Italy and Carthage in Tunisia. Additionally, she has conducted fieldwork at the site of Fulayj in Oman and taken part in excavations of Sasanian Persian outposts in Georgia and Iran for the Persia and Its Neighbours project.

By This Expert

Hannibal: The Military Genius Who Almost Conquered Rome
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Hannibal: The Military Genius Who Almost Conquered Rome

Trailer

The Phoenicians and the Rise of Carthage

01: The Phoenicians and the Rise of Carthage

What do we really know about Hannibal Barca, an ancient Carthaginian military commander shrouded in myth and mystery? Evaluate two key sources on Hannibal’s life and career—Livy’s work on the Second Punic War and Polybius’s The Histories—before diving into the history of Hannibal’s homeland, Carthage.

36 min
The First Punic War

02: The First Punic War

Hannibal lived in the shadow of the Punic Wars, a century-long conflict involving Rome and his native Carthage. Investigate the complicated origins of the First Punic War. Explore Carthage’s early failures from the loss of Agrigento to defeat at the Battle of Mylae. And examine each side’s strengths, weaknesses, and imperial motivations at the start of the contest.

35 min
Hamilcar and the Rise of the Barcids

03: Hamilcar and the Rise of the Barcids

After a string of military losses, Carthage looked like it would fall to the Romans. Get to know Hannibal’s father Hamilcar before delving into how Rome ultimately prevailed despite the elder Barcid’s small but important victories. And explore the civil war that consumed Carthage between the First and Second Punic Wars.

34 min
Young Hannibal in Iberia, 237–221 BCE

04: Young Hannibal in Iberia, 237–221 BCE

What can be said about Hamilcar’s expedition to Iberia and Hasdrubal the Fair’s subsequent takeover of Iberia? How was young Hannibal primed for military service by an adolescence that was steeped in conquest? And why did the negotiations between Carthage and Rome fail to resolve the conflict between both powers? Dive into these questions and more.

33 min
Hannibal Takes Command, 221–218 BCE

05: Hannibal Takes Command, 221–218 BCE

Begin by exploring Hannibal’s early years of military service from how he cultivated troop loyalty to gaining the military victories that impressed and, in some cases, frightened his contemporaries. And wrap up by setting the scene for the Second Punic War, delving into the conflict over and subsequent sacking of Saguntum.

33 min
A New Hercules Prepares to Fight Rome

06: A New Hercules Prepares to Fight Rome

See how careful preparations, intelligence networks, sharp diplomacy, a diverse but well-governed army, and even dreams and Herculean legends helped Hannibal secure meaningful victories in the Second Punic War’s early years. And consider Carthage’s powerful army as it moved and fought its way toward Transalpine Gaul on the French coast.

34 min
Hannibal Crosses the Alps, 218 BCE

07: Hannibal Crosses the Alps, 218 BCE

Hannibal is famous for crossing the treacherous Alps. See how the young general transported his soldiers—as well as a cadre of elephants—across the mighty Rhone River. Investigate the obstacles that faced Hannibal and his army throughout their mountainous journey. And take stock of the impact of Carthage’s incredibly bold incursion into Italy.

33 min
First Victories: Ticinus and Trebbia

08: First Victories: Ticinus and Trebbia

Where did Rome stand, by the time Hannibal arrived in Northern Italy? What do we make of the famed commander’s impressive victory against powerful Roman forces and generals in Trebbia? And how was the skirmish—devastating for Rome, but great for Hannibal and Carthage—interpreted and explained by contemporaries? Tackle these questions and more.

30 min
The Romans Panic: Lake Trasimene, 217 BCE

09: The Romans Panic: Lake Trasimene, 217 BCE

Outmaneuvered and outflanked, the mood in Rome quickly soured. Follow Hannibal’s diverse army of Nubian, Celtic, and Carthaginian men on their trek to Picenum, paying special attention to Hannibal’s incredible ambush of Roman commander Flaminius and his army at Lake Trasimene. Then, focus on how Romans from different walks of life responded back home.

32 min
Cannae: Hannibal’s Great Victory, 216 BCE

10: Cannae: Hannibal’s Great Victory, 216 BCE

Follow Carthaginian troops as they hunkered down for the winter in Geronium only to reemerge stronger in the summer of 216 BCE. See how Rome’s Fabian strategy of containment played out, zeroing in on especially “bullish” confrontation as an example. Break down the Battle of Cannae, a skirmish that cemented Hannibal’s historic reputation.

34 min
Southern Italy Rebels against Rome

11: Southern Italy Rebels against Rome

Buoyed by victory, why was the famed Carthaginian general so hesitant about attacking Rome itself? How did both Rome and Carthage take the news of Hannibal’s plunder of the Italian peninsula? What, ultimately, led to the defection of a key Roman ally, the city of Capua? And what condition was the Carthaginian army in after the partnership? Consider these and other questions.

33 min
Macedon and the Fall of Syracuse, 212 BCE

12: Macedon and the Fall of Syracuse, 212 BCE

See how both Rome and Carthage sustained themselves in terms of money, manpower, and supplies in this critical period. Then, turn your attention to Macedonia and the allegiance it pursued with Carthage. End with a blow-by-blow account of a major turning point in the Second Punic War: the fall of Syracuse to Rome.

39 min
The Scipii and the 10-Year War for Iberia

13: The Scipii and the 10-Year War for Iberia

Rome won the Second Punic War, not in Italy, but in Iberia and North Africa. Delve into both theaters, getting to know key characters, like the formidable Roman Scipiones family. Look at how a series of military victories, along with a leadership shake-up, handed Iberia to the Romans.

36 min
The Tide Turns against Carthage, 209–205 BCE

14: The Tide Turns against Carthage, 209–205 BCE

By 209 BCE, Carthage found itself in trouble. Dive into the many factors behind Hasdrubal’s devastating defeat at the hands of Claudius Nero in the Second Punic War. See how Rome used Hannibal’s own military tactics against him. And, set the scene for Carthage’s eventual ruin in North Africa.

35 min
Hannibal’s Defeat, Escape, and Final Years

15: Hannibal’s Defeat, Escape, and Final Years

End the course by reconstructing the long resolution of the Second Punic War from confrontations in North Africa to the Battle of Zama. Examine the showdown between Roman-allied Masinissa and Carthage-allied Syphax. And explore what became of Hannibal and his homeland in the aftermath of defeat.

37 min