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Trip through the Alps


Whenever the Romans heard that Hannibal was on his way, they assumed that he would come by sea, and they strengthened their defenses in and around Sicily. They sould never have guessed that he would get to Rome via the Alps.


J.M.W. Turner: Hannibal crossing the Alps
When Hannibal was planning to march on Rome, he sent scouts out ahead of time to find the best routes through the mountains. He wanted to go through before winter sent in and they would become unpassable. He left Spain in the Spring of 218 B.C., but did not make it to the Alps until late fall and encountered some harsh conditions, costing him dearly in terms of men and elephants. He also had to deal with the local tribes, who would throw down rocks and boulders down the narrow pass at the troops. He lost many men and elephants to falling off the sides of the mountains. He eventually made it out but his numbers were cut in half. He would eventually make up those troops with the addition of the Gauls.

The Romans thought of Hannibal crossing the Alps and sent Publius Cornelius Scipio, Scipio Africanus Major's father, to stop him, but he arrived late. For the next 16 years Hannibal would wreak havoc all of Italy.