Joe's Reviews > The Ghosts of Cannae: Hannibal & the Darkest Hour of the Roman Republic

The Ghosts of Cannae by Robert L. O'Connell
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's review
Apr 16, 2011

really liked it
Read in April, 2011

I enjoy reading about the Romans, but even more so, I enjoy reading about those enemies that drove the Romans to extinction, forcing Rome to evolve or die.

On top of that list of existential enemies was Hannibal and Cannae was his greatest victory.

This short but efficient book is largely a survey of the Second Punic War, and its main thesis is that Hannibal's dominance of Rome, made most evident at Cannae, planted the seeds of the Republic's destruction.

For, Scipio may have finally defeated Hannibal at Zama, but the Roman general's fame, in addition to the Senate's exile of the Roman survivors of Cannae, laid the groundwork for the Republic's eventual demise, as Roman armies would soon start looking to their charismatic generals for their fortune, and not to the government of Rome.

Scipio may have defeated Hannibal, but when the charismatic Julius Caesar, followed by his loyal troops, eventually toppled the Republic, the Carthaginian had the last laugh.

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