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Even today it is considered one of the greatest military feats ever. In 218 BC, a Carthaginian army of ninety thousand men and three dozen elephants set out to cross the Alps to challenge the might of Rome. The exact route chosen by Hannibal, its charismatic commander, has been a matter of dispute ever since. Now, researchers believe they might be able to track his route. It is one of the mysteries of history, which way the Carthaginian commander Hannibal took in 218 BC to cross the Alps. Now researchers believe to be able to prove his exact route on the grounds of the remnants of horse manure. Even during his own lifetime, Hannibal's feat became legend. In five months, thousands of soldiers and cavalry marched about 1,500 km from the Iberian peninsula across the Alps into Italy. Especially the war elephants drew great attention - such animals had never before been seen in the region. Carthage, a then superpower in the Mediterranean region, had been using these animals for war for a while. The question of Hannibal's exact route across the Alps has always been fascinating adventurers and researchers. Now, a group of researchers believes to be able to prove that Hannibal took the route across the col de la Traversette in 3,000 meters altitude. Geomorphologist William Mahaney says that only from there Hannibal could have looked upon the Po Valley. The scenery is described in the sources. The Canadian researcher and his team, among them microbiologist Chris Allen from the University of Belfast, have analyzed soil samples from the French side of the pass. Intestinal bacteria that were found in these samples that a large amount of animals must have crossed that pass during Hannibal's time. In summer 2017, they have taken samples from the Italian side of the pass. They hope that results will strengthen their thesis. Whichever path the Carthaginian may have taken - marching to Rome was a brilliant tactical and logistical feat.

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Release Date:

Jan 20, 2020





Production Companies:

Süddeutsche TV, Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (ZDF), ARTE
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