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Hannibal crosses the interalps March 23, 2014

Posted by Mia in Uncategorized.

I’m a mood reader. I like anything with maps — usually that means historical fiction, but not exclusively. One of my tests for determining my type of good historical fiction is whether or not a map is included at the front. More than one map is better. Genealogical charts also count. Although if there are a slew of genealogical charts, that is not necessarily a plus.

Of course the absence of a map doesn’t prevent me from reading a book; it’s just one of my tests.

I know I have a great read ahead of me when I start looking up stuff (a.k.a. ‘information’) within the first few pages. Could be just an unfamiliar word or italicized phrase; reference to some siege or other, or a body of water. Might be a date or other historical reference, real or imaginary.

So one of my desultory research projects early this morning was to look at a map of Hannibal’s route over the Alps, because (and this is the fun part of reading historical fiction for me) I know positively nothing about Hannibal crossing the Alps. Only that bit about elephants being involved, and now that I’m off Hannibal chasing, I will try to verify whether or not that’s a myth.

Surprisingly tricky to determine, because unlike Xenophon’s march of the 10,000 (excellent map in Xenophon’s Anabasis Loeb library edition) Hannibal’s route apparently is a source of debate and lack of certitude.

To be continued…