Pride of Carthage Read & download Ò 2


  • Hardcover
  • 576
  • Pride of Carthage
  • David Anthony Durham
  • English
  • 07 July 2018
  • 9780385506038

10 thoughts on “Pride of Carthage

  1. says:

    Re Read ReviewEver get sick of hearing about how great Rome was? The roads the aueducts the politics the legislation the big names the militaryever just wanna see Roma herself get knocked flat on her ass and piss herself? Then Hannibal is your man Most people agree that if someone was gonna dislodge Rome's greedy grip from the Mediterranean relatively early in her rise to power it was gonna be Hannibal Whether or not he could have actually have pulled it off still seems to be a matter of debate but there can be no debating that the Second Punic War was one of the most legendary things to go down in human history Hannibal's inheritance of the war from his father Hamilcar his crossing of the Alps and then the series of famous engagements at the Trasimene Lake Trebia and Cannae then his slow loss of grip on the situation of the war and his slide into defeat at Zama by the famous Scipio Africanusit just screams out to be recreated and humans have taken up this challenge for centuries in paintings music etc Was there a Hannibal movie? I can't remember This tradition must have been a daunting arena for Durham to enter but he did a superb jobAs you can see I had some minor reservations the first time through However upon a re read I have to push it to the five stars I almost never read stuff twice and to be compelled to is certainly odd and notable for me I love the characters the writing and the story and revisiting them was a treat The end is still utterly heart wrenching and I kept randomly thinking about it for a couple days afterwards I need to get ahold of Durham's fantasy stuff I've always held that fantasy and historical fiction have always been sister genres and I think that this book is a good example of it the big cast the fantastically huge and scary warI mean fucking elephants crossing the Alps under horrible hails of snow and rain and the hostile attentions of the indigenous peoples? This is otherworldly stuff It's also certainly one of the greatest underdog stories ever Hannibal was basically going it alone against the strongest military power on the Mediterannean Even the Carthaginians were at best unsupportive at worst openly hostile to his cause Even the nature of the armies underscores this as the Carthaginian army was often a dangerously understrength pretty ragtag group of people from disparate nationalities and military styles where as the Roman army was insanely well manned and pretty homogenous at this point if not at Marian levelsSo get this book if you haven't read it I can't say enough good stuff about it This is not episodic historical adventure Hannibal this is a blunt deadly serious look at what it might have been like for him and the people caught up around him in this maelstrom of slaughter and destruction There's a convincing realistic amount of grit gore sexuality so if that kind of stuff is not your bag this is not for you Excluding that I can wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone with an interest in historical novels especially if you have any kind of interest in this particular subject It's a seminal novel for me and as I probably mentioned in my first review totally sated my appetite for Hannibal fiction saving me countless dollars on the multi episodic series that seem to be going on Thanks David Anthony DurhamOriginal ReviewThis novel covers a period of the Barca family's epic war with the Roman Republic starting around Hannibal's attack on Saguntum and ending shortly after the decisive battle of Zama Hannibal is the central character although the book has a sizable cast of people all caught up in the war in some way from members of his family to soldiers and camp followers in his army The Roman side is also represented in the form of the perspectives of several of the major players like Fabius Maximus and Scipio Africanus While the novel is obviously from a Carthaginian perspective and will ultimately probably make the reader hoping for an ahistorical Carthaginian victory the Romans pleasantly weren't rendered as fanged villains although I was again often confronted with the same shocking prideful stupidity that I encountered from the Romans in The War with HannibalI'm surprised at how much I enjoyed the author's style of writing It certainly has a rough kind of poetry and unflinching realism in its attention to detail and description There's plenty of bodily fluids and brutal imagery in this story To state the obvious this was a really painful time to live through and that comes through powerfully This is anything but a boring historical adventure this has to be one of the best novels about war and what it does to all parties involved I've read There's a scene near the end with Hannibal that just reflects all of that so strongly that I'm sure I'm not the only one who was moved by it It really is through the large cast of well drawn human beings that we learn all this I mean it's hard to look at something like Cannae really see the human aspect to it It's just a faceless event but with this novel you can glean a little than thatAs for the man himselfwhat an interesting portrait Durham has drawn here He's both a warm family man and a conuering force of will He has a complex moral system; on one hand he feels it's his duty to war against the Romans to check their growing power which is kind of admirable but on the other he isn't against putting entire towns to the sword in the service of that duty and almost seems to relish maneuvering thousands of Romans to their deaths Durham also does him a favor by painting such a creepy portrait of his general Monomachuswhat a fucking psycho that guy was Hannibal seems like a soft spoken hippie compared to that dude Imagine a giant army of people subsisting on human flesh they capture while rolling around decimating the countryoh wait it happened in Memories of Ice and it was terrifying That book manThere seems to be a good deal of Hannibal fiction out there but I'm not sure if I'll ever try any of it; Durham seems to have written what seems like a definitive fictional recreation of the man as well as many of the people around him Anyone who's interested in Hannibal or the Second Punic War should definitely try this; Durham covers the logistics and reality of war with the necessary detail but it never seems like a dull recitation of military engagements focusing on character driven plot rather than that kind of dry stuff I'm not even sure why I didn't give this five stars I think I had some pacing issues with it or something Definitely nothing major Again anyone interested in the time period or even just an epic underdog story should give this book a try


  2. says:

    Heard many great things about this book from friends you dinny let me downGreat storytelling from the get go with Hannibal front centre with his brothers which after trying another series was exactly what I was after having wanted to read about the period of the 2nd Punic war from Hannibal’s Carthage stanceThe Barca family are characterised as POV main players along with their Roman adversaries The author also includes a few low level characters namely one from the infantry a Numidian scout a scribe a merchant a camp follower giving us their perspective on the campaign which is a welcome angle never an intrusive interlude The author gets this absolutely spot on as you find yourself wanting to know how Imco Aradna are getting on? Are they still alive? Did they survive the battle? Where are they now?The opening chapter is devoted to the evolvement of the characters setting the scene for the clash with Rome which is painted as inevitable from a Carthaginian stance them Romans although fighting elsewhere cannot be trusted which is engrained in the young Hannibal from his father Hamilcar Carthage Iberia Gaul Macedon Rome are all part of the story politics which are revealed to the readerThe journey through the Alps is perilous as the army is decimated shrinks from a likely 100000 to less than 30000 but it works as we know puts the Romans on the back foot with an invading army on their soil Rome’s arrogance dismissal of the Carthaginians as mere barbarian’s plays a part in his victories as well as the Romans seem to blunder forward into most battles all of which Hannibal has prepared a trap tactic to combat the Roman war machineThe tactics of the generals are laid out great to follow the Romans now wary forever changing their tract as the defeats rack up Their arrogance supreme confidence shattered after so many comprehensive defeatsBattle of Cannae was brutal brilliant strategy by Hannibal against an overconfident foe who he then proceeds to slaughter in a box some of these ancient battles are unimaginable the claustrophobia the desperation the brutality the fear kill or be killed the fatigue men fighting to a standstill then merely dispatched The description of the battle the aftermath the injuries of the survivors is uite chilling as you try to imagine the emotion each combatant had gone though during the battle Adreline will carry a man so far but the sheer exhaustion described in the text must have been somethingAfter Cannae the Romans are there for the taking with all their generals dead or defeated only one name steps forward to try save them that of Consul Publius Cornelius Scipio his actions POV as a character now come to the fore which is great as you see how he combatscounteracts Hannibal his brothersAll the major battles events of the 2nd Punic War are coveredThe ending well you all know your history BUT it’s still a gripping finale as it’s all laid outThe book could have been longer for me I say that even as it weighs in at jus under 600 pages or even written over 2 volumes as the wealth of detail at the start does fall away in the later stages of the book especially when we’re away from Hannibal’s POV felt wanted even could have had but it’s still very good right up there with one of my best reads of the yearEven knowing the final outcome through legend its been an enthralling read I give it a full 5 stars


  3. says:

    Splendid and straight onto my list of most admired HFs – and since Hannibal is a real hero of mine and his story nigh perfect for a novel high on that list too My only complaint is that I feel sure this book needed to be 800 pages not 600 At times he moves too fast over the ground so that there are pages almost indistinguishable from a historian’s He uses an old fashioned classic language that I’d say maintains the dignity of the material; there’s a dignity and weight He is not indulgent Although his scenes are deeply emotional – and he conveys the full horror to you – it seems to me he can have effect for a discipline he keeps perhaps like Hannibal’s discipline Along with that he didn’t indulge me when my sentimental side asked for a happy seuel or certain knowledge I don’t mean at the end here but for instance among the love stories – each of which was very particular to the people involved even the sex scenes might only have been acted by those actors – Hanno had the unlikeliest but that got aborted and I did wish to see It’s better that he doesn’t indulge me And war can’t pause for them or for my wish to follow their lives and there is much uncertainty for these people about what’s happening to those they care about A couple of the Barca brothers or sisters I only came to care about halfway or two thirds through This is a good thing Circumstances bring out a side to them I hadn’t met before By the time you’re through this you won’t want to wage war As glorious as Hannibal is The wives’ side – his mother’s disclosures about his father the sister who has been the staunchest of Barcas and insistent upon duty – weighs heavily by the end when Hannibal goes home to face his wife and child The soldiers admit they may have lived their lives uite wrongly – both Hannibal and his father have moments like that – but they know war is a way of life the way of the world and there was never an escape For me the story finishes at the right time but you are left to imagine the remainder of Hannibal’s life the sad remainder and what must have been the ignominy We follow the tales of two men in his army Imco accidental hero and reluctant soldier who hallucinates the ghost of a girl he killed and falls in love with a camp follower who’s had the toughest life in the book Tusselo ex slave of Rome who finds he can never put an 'ex' there although he grow out his African hair and know again his African pride Carthage is very African in this book And Rome – Rome is a danger a danger to the world a new thing in the world think the Barcas It needs to be stopped The Barcas’ commitment to this cause pulls you in –Even though the city behind them Carthage itself proves almost an enemy than Rome to its great men who nevertheless serve it The vicious irony and the sadness of this story are from history but he makes you feel them It was never once too slow for me only in fact too fast When Hasdrubal awaits a fleet and thinks uneasily about how water floats a boat that’s because he’s standing there and thinks and doesn’t always think things relevant to the plot The body language too helps make these people real; once or twice you won’t understand a gesture and neither does the gesturer but it’s what people do For me there wasn’t a tedious page in this book and that includes the military detail that can be so dully written He makes use of his several point of view figures to give us the famous battles from different perspectives another antidote to boredom In the Alps at Cannae familiar as events were I was nothing but gripped and laughed with very excitement Finished yesterday and so soon after I think the whole thing is horribly sad I may be a sop but like I say Hannibal is one of my heroes and I find the histories hard to stand never mind when he’s put into fiction I bawled


  4. says:

    There are a lot of novels set during the era of the Roman Republic yet how many can you name that take place before the first century? There aren’t a lot But those that exist can be guaranteed to focus on the Punic Wars The wars of Hannibal no not that Hannibal aren’t exactly an original subject for fiction They’ve been the subject of plays and novels since Silius Italicus wrote his epic poem Punica back in the late first century Just since this book came out there’s already been a new trilogy on Hannibal by Ben Kane and a whole series on Scipio So what makes this one worth reading?Basically this book is different from the rest because Hannibal is the actual protagonist Most books set in the Second Punic War the first book of Ross Leckie’s Carthage trilogy being an exception focus on the Romans or at best have characters representing both sides Carthage plays very much a second fiddle to Rome This is essentially the other side of the story This book presents an account of the Second Punic War from an unabashedly pro Hannibal viewpoint And Hannibal’s a great character Durham doesn’t downplay his brutality but we never lose sight of the fact that this is how all wars were fought at this time The main Roman complaint was that he had the nerve to do it to them Durham’s style of writing reminds me of Colleen McCullough’s Masters of Rome series While they differ in other ways they both approach the broad span of history as a sprawling series of individual viewpoints This means we get a somewhat fragmentary account of events with the viewpoint switching between character to character depending on the event We are given the highlights of these people’s journeys Anything happening between these viewpoint switches is described as recollection by that character There is no omniscient narrative voice to explain the clear unambiguous facts It’s all subjectiveWhat saves both these works and dooms many lesser ones from becoming nothing but an isolated series of confusingly unconnected moments is that they are so bloody long There are 900 pages of incidents here to cover a few short years of warfare curiously and frustratingly the book compresses everything into five years although it’s supposed to take eighteen With that level of detail you can build a pretty clear picture of the war without need of an omniscient narrator to put all the pieces together for you Accurate observations that the book is too long are rather missing the point it has to be this long to tell the story in this way The only criticism I can make here is that the character scenes shift back and forth too rapidly and are often too short It’s not always clear who the POV character is at any given timeWhat also helps this work is the intelligent choice of POV characters The Barca brothers are prominent of course as is Hannibal’s wife back in Carthage which allows us to witness all corners of the Carthaginian war We also get a ground level view of the human cost of the war from a common soldier Imco Vaca a Numidian eunuch and scout Tusselo and a camp follower Aradna Sparing use is also made of Scipio the future Africanus who provides us with our few glimpses of the Roman experience of the war But while the Romans seize control of events in the second half of the book they are never allowed to completely take over the narrative The Carthaginian characters are at the forefront of this novel and it is their story being toldThe first half of the book is the semipanegyrical account you might expect The Barcas generally come off pretty nobly and heroic All four of Hamilcar’s brood have the seeds of greatness in them though they lack his military genius but they all apart from Hannibal have eually great weaknesses Hasdrubal is a hedonist Hanno is insecure and Mago is inexperienced Heck you could even make a convincing case that Hannibal himself has the great failing of overwhelming hubris By the end his triumphs have ruined them surely than their failings The course of the invasion is covered in great detail with excellent descriptions of what it must have been like to cross the Alps The battle scenes vary in effectiveness depending on whose viewpoint we’re in at the time Some of the choices of viewpoint are odd indeed We get one battle entirely narrated by one of the camp followersThe second half is rather unexpected It’s inevitable that Hannibal gradually losing his control of the situation would result in a melancholy story but what amazed me was how thoroughly the rot set in You don’t even notice it at first but the seeds are there from the beginning I was amazed at how empty a character Hannibal was It’s not obvious when he’s successful but that’s because all that’s keeping him going is his belief in his own destiny to destroy Rome Once that possibility is removed he’s just a paper man While he’s never the avatar of vengeance the Romans portrayed him as without his uest he has nothingEven amazing was how strongly we feel the cost of this disaster Every atrocity and battle undertaken by Hannibal has been justified by its necessity to take down Rome The book never sugarcoats this But by the end all this sacrifice was for nothing The loss of key parts of his body the deaths of his brothers the gradual destruction of his army The atrocities start to take on a useless perfunctory tone Somehow the whole campaign turns to ashes And we’re never really any certain than Hannibal why that is By the end it’s hard to remember or understand the feeling of glory you sense at the beginning All he achieved was the slaughter of millions of people and the eradication of his own home and empire And even perplexingly the Romans come out of the war stronger than when they went in War is a pointless waste and glory ruinousOne issue I do have with the book is the sidelining of any non Barcid Carthaginians In Europe the war was most definitely a Barcid led affair and the focus makes sense but the African and to some degree Spanish wars were a very different matter indeed Carthage was not so unmartial as to have no rival generals but all these men are turned into Barcids Sophonisba here Hannibal’s sister was actually the daughter of Hasdrubal Gisco whose role in defending Africa is taken over by Hannibal’s imaginary brother Hanno I do get the difficulty in having too many characters with the same name but there are ways around it as can be seen with Scipio Scipio Africanus is here called Publius his praenomen to distinguish him from his father confusingly called Cornelius the family name and uncle Why not call Hasdrubal by his other name as well?This is connected to the lack of interest in Carthage in general We learn about the Roman government than we do the Carthaginian one The two were actually very similar with the suffetes serving in much the same role as consuls and the council being very similar to the Senate but you wouldn’t really know that here While the criticisms of Carthage’s ultimately suicidal lack of support for Hannibal’s war are justified I feel like this was a real missed opportunity to portray an African empire as than just a foil for some European conuerors And with two of our POV characters permanently stationed there and several of the others popping in and out there’s no reason they couldn’t have shown thisBoth of these changes serve to twist Carthage into a contemptible nation memorable only because of the greatness of a single family I’ve seen the Carthaginians portrayed as evil but I don’t think I’ve ever seen them worthless Hannibal is a lone hero the only great man to emerge from an empire ruled by greed cowardice and envy We don’t even get a clear idea what the comparative strengths and weaknesses of the Roman and Carthaginian states were Public spiritedness? I was hoping for better from a book by an African American author seeking to expand the representation of African civilizations in ancient historyWhat I was looking for in this book was an account of the Second Punic War from the Carthaginian perspective An opportunity to seize a slice of African history from the hands of the European dominated study of ancient history and bring Carthage to life as something than an adversary or occasionally victim to the real heroes And that’s not uite what this is This is an account of the Second Punic War from Hannibal’s perspective And to a much lesser degree the perspectives of his family and a few soldiers in his army While the book does a superb job at this I feel the absence of any Carthaginian viewpoints outside the Barcids and soldiers from their armies limits the breadth of this tale I feel it could have been a masterpiece instead of just really really good In any event it’s very much worth reading


  5. says:

    WOW What a bloody terrific book I know that probably isn't the most elouent way to say that but I don't think anyone here is going to ping me for thatDavid Anthony Durham is an amazing author Of course he can get caught up in his story and go off on tangents when he shouldn't and in doing this he retracts from the better storyline And he seems to only do it simply because he has had a thought and wants to run with it but all in all he is an amazing author and you can just scan read those parts if you have toThe characters were terrific For the entire middle of the book I actually enjoyed them than Hannibal who sometimes bored me with his morose and melancholy personality I enjoyed the brothers especially Hasdrubal I enjoyed Hasbdrubal and his wife I enjoyed Masinissa and the beautiful youngest Barca sister Their tale broke my heart As did the journey and finale of the Imco and Aradna taleI think you would have to be a pretty tough person to not feel sad in the end The ending was gut wrenchingI would recommend this book to anyone except those that like light fiction This is most definitely not light historical fiction It reuires patience aplenty A less focused reader would give up on it's 600 pages pretty uick I think I don't just read to be entertained I read to learn Pride of Carthage fulfilled both of those desires


  6. says:

    Althought Hannibal's military tactics are fascinating I was not impressed with the explicit sexuality in this book nor the use of the F bomb because that word wasn't even around during that time period It un authenticated the book for me But I did enjoy the voyage of Hannibal's uest in fighting the Romans


  7. says:

    Ok this book was not a good fit There was one major thing that prevented me from enjoying it the time line The book starts with the introduction of POV characters but their background is not described and neither is the Carthaginian culture Author just throws them into the story and gradually reveals who they are I am sorry but such story telling completely missed me The resulting effect was that for the most exciting part of the book I did not really care about the characters and once I started to know them a bit author introduced periodical melodramatic lapses Two times I almost did not finish the book In any case I am sure it is a great book and second reading would probably be great but I do not have time for that Originally wanted to give 2 stars but the ending was uite good and it showed in my rating


  8. says:

    I began reading a hard copy of David Anthony Durham's Pride of Carthage several years ago and never seemed to get around to finishing it until an audio version was recently released on Audiblecom I am one of the unfortunate individuals that becomes unbearably sleepy if I attempt to read a traditional book for than about 45 minutes but I listen to books while I exercise each morning on my exercise bike so if an audio version of a book becomes available I'll usually finish it in due course as long as I don't have other activities interfering with my exercise routine Thankfully this was the case with Durham's novel of Hannibal after switching to the audio versionI have studied Hannibal to some extent and was uite familiar with his military conuests during the Second Punic War But most history texts say little about his personal life and that was what I was most interested in I realize the ancient sources tell us little about the Barcas as a family so I knew much of Durham's characterizations would have to come from his own imagination But still I wanted to have some images to cling to as I learn about Hannibal in the future and this is the reason I chose to read this book So let's examine the cast of characters Durham has crafted for usPolybius tells us that a leader's true character is often obscured by actions he must take in response to circumstances created by his own undertakingHis Hannibal's circumstances were so extraordinary and shifting his closest friends so widely different that it is exceedingly difficult to estimate his character from his proceedings in Italy Polybius The Histories Book IX Chapters 22 26So Durham takes the relatively safe route and introduces us to a uintessential warrior finely muscled an astute judge of character a family man who welcomes his infant son with tenderness and a bit vain In one of the opening scenes Hannibal stands nude before his wife Imilcea demonstrating to her that he has maintained his flawless body despite the latest battle he has fought at Arbocala That image soon fades though as Hannibal suffers first a devastating spear wound then loses the sight in one eye slogging through mosuito infested marshes in ItalyFamily to Hannibal however is first and foremost a responsibility to maintain the ancestral dignitas if I may use a Roman term to define it of the Barcids who were legendary even in Hannibal's own time His father the revered Hamilcar Barca though now dead is a shadowy presence that Hannibal sometimes consciously and sometimes unconscieously defers to in almost every decision Hannibal considersAnd if friends are so influential what forces do we see swirling about Hannibal in his council chambers that will propel him to the apex of victory or foreshadow his eventual defeat?This is where Durham chooses to diverge a little from historical sources We meet Hannibal's brother Hasdrubal a luxury loving but fiercely loyal lieutenant to his older brother Since Durham has read Polybius he is certainly aware that the Barcids were reputed to love wealthFond of money indeed he does seem to have been to a conspicuous degree and to have had a friend of the same character Mago who commanded in Bruttium That account I got from the Carthaginians themselves; for natives know best not only which way the wind lies as the proverb has it but the characters also of their fellow countrymen But I heard a still detailed story from Massanissa who maintained the charge of money loving against all Carthaginians generally but especially against Hannibal and Mago called the Samnite Among other stories he told me that these two men had arranged a most generous subdivision of operations between each other from their earliest youth; and though they had each taken a very large number of cities in Iberia and Italy by force or fraud they had never taken part in the same operation together; but had always schemed against each other than against the enemy in order to prevent the one being with the other at the taking of a city that they might neither uarrel in conseuence of a thing of this sort nor have to divide the profit on the ground of their euality of rank Polybius The Histories Book IX Chapters 22 26However greed is not an endearing trait to modern readers so I can understand Durham redirecting a love of wealth to Hannibal's brother rather than the commander himself to maintain reader empathy with his protagonist We must also consider the possibility that Massanissa though initially loyal to the Barcas was eventually forsaken by the Carthaginians in favor of Syphax another Numidian chieftain So Massinissa's criticism must be viewed skeptically I thought Durham's choice to introduce this aspect to the Barca family without sacrificing respect for Hannibal was reasonableDurham's decision to make Hasdrubal a composite figure of Hasdrubal Barca and Hasdrubal Son of Gisco is likewise understandable Having two Hasdrubals running around could get really messy and an author could risk losing readers partway through the narrative The reason I am sure Hasdrubal is a composite figure is based on a plot development later in the novel Hasdrubal Barca agrees to give his youngest sister Sophonisba in marriage to the dastardly Syphax of Numidia in return for Syphax' Carthaginian support This famous tragedy Sophonisba had been previously promised to Massinissa was initiated historically by Hasdrubal Son of Gisco not Hasdrubal Barca Sophonisba was known to be a Carthaginian noblewoman but not a Barca although Hamilcar is thought to have had three daughters However by making Sophonisba the youngest of Hannibal's sisters Durham strengthens the reason for Scipio's insistence that after Massinissa's defeat of Syphax his wife march in Scipio's victory triumph in RomeThen we meet Hannibal's brother Mago who is portrayed as level headed and strategically skilled a strong right arm who has a knack for thinking outside the box This personality appears consistent with the historical Mago who courageously stood by his brother's side in the crucial center of the Carthaginian line at Cannae and who traveled back to Carthage with the gold rings of the defeated Roman aristocracy to plead for support for Hannibal's continued successThe next choice Durham makes however is much of a leap He introduces us to a third brother Hanno In all of my research I found only a casual reference to the possibility that there was a fourth Barcid lion in Hamilcar's brood Hanno is portrayed as skilled but sourly envious of Hannibal's success and favored position as eldest in the family Hanno's sexual appetites are directed at other men These attentions were viewed as beneath his exalted position as a Barca and an element that promoted his anxiety toward Hannibal and his other brothersI could not find any specific references to the Phoenician view of homosexuality although the home country that spawned Carthage was under the influence of the Persians for centuries and Persia had a long history of antihomosexual tradition Rome at this point in history although condoning homosexual relations with participants of lesser social status slaves captives freedmen etc prosecuted homosexuals in the military sphere considering it damaging to the soldier's image as the supreme example of masculinity If the Roman viewpoint was shared by other military organizations around the Mediterranean then Hanno's low self esteem as portrayed by Durham would have been a probable outcomeI must admit though I found it hard to accept the name of Hanno as a Barca Although Hanno is one of the few noble Carthaginian names it is associated in history with the Barca family's strident opposition in the Carthaginian senate so I would have hesitated to use it for a Barca siblingHowever once again Durham creates this character as a composite of an historical Hanno who was in fact an officer not brother under Hannibal Durham probably chose to create this composite figure to reduce the confusion created by Livy in his history Livy identifies a Hanno who was a cavalry commander at Capua another in command at Metapontum in 207 BC who was sent to Bruttium to raise fresh troops by Hannibal and yet another Hanno who was sent to Spain in 206 BC by the Carthaginian senate where he was defeated and captured by the Romans under Marcus Silanus in 207 BCE Durham's Hanno is defeated and captured in Spain then transported to Italy as a prisoner There he is sereptitiously freed and reappears fighting in Africa as indicated later by Livy in 203 BCE Actually I found Durham's composite device uite effective in keeping the story line relatively continuous It also served as a counterbalance to the heroic aspects of the other BarcasDurham introduces another particularly dark character that kept cropping up throughout the book with a blood lust that Hannibal found difficult to check Monomachus historically named Hannibal Monomachus those Carthaginians used only a handful of names for their noble families that makes reading Punic history really confusing is a warrior who worships the blood thirsty god Moloch and is constantly urging Hannibal to unleash absolute horror upon the Romans Polybius gives us a specific example of this man's approach to total warAt the time that Hannibal was meditating the march from Iberia to Italy with his army he was confronted with the extreme difficulty of providing food and securing provisions both because the journey was thought to be of insuperable length and because the barbarians that lived in the intervening country were numerous and savage It appears that at that time the difficulty freuently came on for discussion at the council; and that one of his friends called Hannibal Monomachus gave it as his opinion that there was one and only one way by which it was possible to get as far as Italy Upon Hannibal bidding him speak out he said that they must teach the army to eat human flesh and make them accustomed to it Hannibal could say nothing against the boldness and effectiveness of the idea but was unable to persuade himself or his friends to entertain it It is this man's acts in Italy that they say were attributed to Hannibal to maintain the accusation of cruelty as well as such as were the result of circumstances Polybius The Histories Book IX Chapters 22 26Durham's Hannibal resists the level of cruelty Monomachus suggests most of the time but later in the Italian campaign when Hannibal struggles to maintain the loyalty of cities that waiver in their support of the Carthaginian cause Durham's Hannibal allows Monomachus to perpetrate a number of atrocities This may or may not have occured in antiuity although Polybius points out some Roman cities suffered treacherous violence at this point in the campaign as soon as Capua fell into the hands of the Romans the other cities naturally became restless and began to look round for opportunities and pretexts for revolting back again to Rome It was then that Hannibal seems to have been at his lowest point of distress and despair For neither was he able to keep a watch upon all the cities so widely removed from each other while he remained entrenched at one spot and the enemy were maneuvering against him with several armies nor could he divide his force into many parts; for he would have put an easy victory into the hands of the enemy by becoming inferior to them in numbers and finding it impossible to be personally present at all points Wherefore he was obliged to completely abandon some of the cities and withdraw his garrisons from others being afraid lest in the course of the revolutions which might occur he should lose his own soldiers as well Some cities again he made up his mind to treat with treacherous violence removing their inhabitants to other cities and giving their property up to plunder; in conseuence of which many were enraged with him and accused him of impiety or cruelty For the fact was that these movements were accompanied by robberies of money murders and violence on various pretexts at the hands of the outgoing or incoming soldiers in the cities because they always supposed that the inhabitants that were left behind were on the verge of turning over to the enemy Polybius The Histories Book IX Chapters 22 26Whether children were singled out for sacrifice is not specified Of course Roman propoganda is always a concern whenever you study Roman history But we do know that Roman parents used to frighten their children with stories of Hannibal at the gates So Durham makes the connection to these stories clear In the novel during Monomachus' raids of villages and towns in the southern Italian peninsula Monomachus seeks out Roman children to sacrifice to his god Moloch providing the reason those stories have persisted through the centuriesIn the opening chapters of the book we also meet one of Hannibal's sisters Sapanibal Sapanibal is tall and athletic with a keen mind We are told she often served as a sounding board for Hannibal on matters of diplomacy and tribal relations She is the widow of Hasdrubal The Handsome or The Fair the man who took over command of Iberia after the death of Hannibal's father Hamilcar until his own assassination Hasdrubal the Handsome is portrayed as an arrogant brute who apparently resented his high born wife and used every excuse to humiliate and psychologically wound her In the novel his womanizing is legendary much to her embarassment Of course ancient scholars seldom bothered themselves with the treatment of famous men's wives so we can assume Durham embellished this relationship for the purposes of drama We do know though that Hasdrubal the Handsome personally negotiated a treaty with Rome that established the Ebro river as the northern most border of Carthaginian influenceThe treaty had been concluded between the Romans and Hasdrubal not Carthage This is remarkable because other Roman Carthaginian treaties were concluded between the two states This suggests that Hasdrubal was considering his position as if he were some sort of king Several ancient sources even suggest that he wanted to become independent This is probably incorrect but his acts may have caused some raised eyebrows in Carthage Jona Lendering Liviusorg 2004So it is not much of a stretch to associate a man who would be king with the personality Durham has created for him The resulting impact on Sapanibal was to make her unwilling to enter into close friendships and to make her skeptical of the motivations of those around her both traits certainly understandable given the circumstancesWe also meet Hannibal's wife Imilce a beautiful Celtic princess who loves Hannibal passionately but seems somewhat mystified by the legacy of war and need for conuest and martial success that rules the Barca family Hannibal's marriage to her was arranged by Hasdrubal the Handsome to strengthen Carthaginian ties to the local populace But Hannibal seems to truly love and admire her for her intelligence and comprehension of tribal politics as well as her devoted care of their son little Hamilcar nicknamed HammerSo the stage is set for the epic drama that is to come as Hannibal sets his sight on the conuest of Rome With Durham's vibrantly drawn characters his subseuent retelling of the victories and later defeats of Hannibal's army have a human uality to them than most dry textbook accounts I have read in the pastBut I was most touched by the story of Sophanisba and Massinissa Although Durham heightened the tale by making Sophanisba Hannibal's youngest sister she was actually the daughter of Hasdrubal Gisco as previously stated Durham's details of the tragedy were taken straight from the pages of Livy and Polybius Appian and Diodorus Siculus I have to confess though that I had never read anything about Sophanisba before and I found the story of her doomed love for Massinissa as compelling as the famous romance of Antony and CleopatraSo all in all I think David Anthony Durham created an engaging narrative solidly based on factual accounts but with creative choices that made sense from both a dramatic perspective and to preserve a reader's overall understanding of events without tripping over too many characters with the same name My only regret is that Durham stopped with Hannibal's defeat at the battle of Zama and did not attempt to speculate on Hannibal's subseuent role in the resurrection of his nation his political challenges and ultimate betrayal by the greedy Carthaginian opposition that lacked the vision to foresee the death of their own civilization


  9. says:

    It is interesting to sometimes ponder on how we choose a book to read I had an interesting experience on this front recently I was on the verge of finishing Neil Gaiman’s ‘Neverwhere’ sometime back At that time I thought on what book I would like to read next The font using which ‘Neverwhere’ was printed made me think of another book I had with the same font In case you are interested in such things this font was ‘Melior’ It is typically used in paperbacks published by Black Swan Transworld They publish books by Sophie Kinsella Joanne Harris and Neil Gaiman among other writers The book that I picked out for further exploration which had ‘Melior’ font was Joanne Harris’ ‘Gentlemen Players’ I took out ‘Gentlemen Players’ from the bookshelf and browsed through it and read the first chapter Then I remembered another book which I had got at around the same time as ‘Gentlemen Players’ I took that book out of the bookshelf When I read the blurb on the back cover and the comments by different reviewers I realized that I had to read this book now That book was ‘Hannibal Pride of Carthage’ by David Anthony Durham So the seuence of events was this Got inspired by the font of current book Remembered another book which had the same font Remembered yet another book bought at the same time which made you nostalgic Picked up the new book browsed it and loved what I saw Selected the new book for reading This is the kind of random way I pick a book for reading I don’t do this all the time but I do it often enough and the results are always surprising I don’t know why I bought ‘Hannibal’ all those years back There was a time I used to read lots of books on history but I don’t read a lot of historical novels Novels which are set in the 20th century don’t count as historical novels from my perspective I have read Alexandre Dumas Walter Scott and Kalki and the occasional murder mystery set with a historical backdrop but otherwise I haven’t really read much historical fiction So I don’t even know why I got this The only reason I can think of is that I remember reading somewhere that Hannibal crossed the Alps on an elephant and went to fight with the Romans and maybe I wanted to explore this through this novel It was nice that all the stars got aligned and by some random seuence of events the time to read this book finally arrived It was a medium sized chunkster – 600 pages – and I read it for the past many days It wasn’t moving as fast as I wanted – I am scared of chunksters – and so I shut myself inside my room like a medieval monk during the past few days and finished reading it Here is what I think‘Hannibal’ is set during the time of the Second Punic War 218 202 BC a war which was fought between Rome and Carthage This novel is a fictional rendering of that war It starts with the events leading up to the war and why it started goes into detail into the different battles which were fought and takes us through to the end of the war and a little bit of the aftermath Most of the story is told from a Carthaginian perspective and so most of the time we sympathize with the Carthaginian point of view Most of the important characters in the story are Carthaginian or fight on the Carthaginian side except for some of the Roman consuls and senators Though a majority of the story is about the war one thing I liked about the book is that there are stories of minor characters which are told in reasonable detail There is Imco Vaca a soldier in the Carthaginian army with whose story the books starts and there is Aradna the Greek ragpicker who follows the Carthaginian army during its campaign and with whom Imco falls in love with and with whose story the books ends There is Masinissa the Massylii prince and expert horseman and the story of his love for Sophonisba the Carthaginian beauty and the sister of Hannibal There is the story of Tusselo the Massilyii who was formerly a slave of a Roman merchant and who now joins the Carthaginian army and wants to fight with Rome so that he can forget his past and free himself of his former life Then there is Silenus the Greek scribe who accompanies Hannibal during his campaign and who knows a lot of history and has a wicked sense of humour Then there are the women in Hannibal’s family – his wife Imilce his sister Sapanibal his brother’s wife Bayala his youngest sister Sophonisba his mother Didobal Then there is Mago Hannibal’s brother the soldier who is a poet and philosopher at heart Somewhere at the beginning of the story we see Mago thinking this He had always been disappointed by that aspect of the great tales All that heroic grandeur resulted in rape and pillage and the utter destruction of a people Towards the end of the war we find him thinking this The last few weeks however – with the mask removed – the unacknowledged images bombarded him unhindered He could not help but recall the faces of orphaned children the suffering in the eyes of captured women the sight of burning houses the cold glances of people being robbed of grain and homes and indirectly of their lives He heard their wailing in some place beyond sound high to the right and back of his head Everywhere were signs of the barbarous nature of conflict ugly to behold Nowhere was it possible to avoid these things It suddenly seemed to him that such scenes were the full and true face of war What place had nobility in this? Where was the joy of heroes? It was difficult to not like Mago Though Hannibal and his campaign and his battles with the Roman army and his crossing the Alps on an elephant  rightly take up a major part of the book my favourite parts of the book were about the minor characters – how they react to the onset of war how they try to get on with their lives the trials and tribulations they face the dreams and nightmares they have the brief glimpses of ephemeral happiness that brings joy to their hearts the helplessness with which they are swept away by events over which they have no control One of my favourite parts of the story is about the way women struggle with their lives after the onset of war – on how they have to make tough impossible decisions and how they are used as pawns in a war which they didn’t start When I read these parts it made me angry and sad David Antony Durham has clearly done his homework before writing this book I wanted to read about some of the things that the book talks about and so I picked a book on ancient history in case you are curious it is called ‘The Classical World An Epic History from Homer to Hadrian’ by Robin Lane Fox It is awesome and read the chapters related to Carthage and Hannibal I discovered that Durham’s book was pretty accurate with respect to historical facts though he himself says in his book that it is only a novel The only inconsistency I found was that though the actual Second Punic War lasted 16 years the war as depicted in the book doesn’t last as long Durham’s prose is plain simple and unadorned with no trace of ornamentation The unkind might even call it pedestrian Many of the scenes described in the book are violent scenes of battle But in between all this plainness and mayhem Durham manages to infuse the book with beautiful scenes One of my favourites was this scene which describes a journey that Tusselo undertakes Nor was nature disposed to aid him The sun burned daylong in unclouded skies Shade was thin and hard to come by and the landscape filled with hulking shapes in the distance Once he traveled a barren stretch of land cut by dry rivers some of enormous girth that might have funnelled torrents but now lay parched beneath the summer sun Later he traversed a wide shallow sea the liuid so potent that it crystallized on his feet and coated them with a crust Round him little thrived save for thin delicately pink birds creatures that stood on one leg and then the other and gestured with their curved beaks as if engaged in some courtly dance On occasion his passage disturbed them and the birds rose in great waves thousands upon thousands of them like giant sheets whipped by the breeze and lifted into the air He never forgot the sight of them Nor of the opal sea in the morning Nor of a stretch of white beach as smooth as polished marble Nor the white winged butterfly that awoke him with a kiss upon his foreheadAnother of my favourite scenes – and probably my most favourite one – was this one It is violent tragic and beautiful She was pretty He could tell this despite her grimy face Her chin was a little weak one eye lower than the other but she was pretty none the less Her body was still boyish but this was not a flaw She was not too young to be taken nor to be sold nor to be rented out He walked round her and stood behind her for some time He had to think about this He was aware as never before how much suffering this girl’s life now offered her Her shoulders were so thin but their frailty would please many Her skin was a translucent covering over her frame She must have been hungry these past months but that too would make some men want her Her hair fell over her shoulder and he could see the pulse of the artery in her neck He reached out and touched it with his fingertips The girl moved slightly but he whispered her to stillness Her pulse was strong warm It seemed irregular in its beating and at first he did not uestion why Someone would profit from her suffering Before the end of the month she would have been used by hundreds of men She would be diseased and battered She would rot from the inside out both body and soul But right now she was sound In sorrow yes In mourning surely But her nightmare had not yet begun in full He – by whatever divine hand – had been given her life to shape Some men would have thought this a great gift so why did it pain him so? Just after the uestion formed in his mind he realized why her pulse seemed strange He snapped his fingers away from her neck and struck the same spot with a slicing sweep of his sword She dropped from the stool and he darted outside a moment later striding away putting the tiny house behind him He would forever remember the moment when he realized that the girl’s irregular heartbeat was actually a mixture of his pulse and hers both of them captured there on his fingertips for the few moments they were connected He might have become a soldier in the last few years but he was still a brother still a child who loved his sisters still soft in some portion of his heart He prayed that the girl might understand his action as he had meant it as a twisted merciful giftAnother of my favourite passages was this one this is the last one I promise Not yet ready to roll the papyrus away he lifted it absently to his nose and inhaled The scents were faint at first reluctant and shy The longer he breathed in the he found traces of fragrances beyond the papyrus’s dry flavour Something of his mother’s fragrant oils came to him Something of Carthaginian palms A taste of sea air and of dust blown high and far travelled on desert winds And there was Imilce Her scent was the last to come to him When it finally revealed itself it was the most potent It filled him with a longing so painful that he pulled himself forcibly from it He threw the letter on the table and stared at it as if he expected it to rise and attack him He had searched for her scent but having found it he knew that such passions had no place in a commander’s chambers They were dangerous than Roman steel or cunningThe story ends badly for most of the main characters Only Publius Scipio the Roman consul comes out victorious at the end of the war But he suffers personal losses – his father and uncle are killed in earlier battles Some of my favourites survive though – Sapanibal gets together with the man she loves Imago Messano Imilce and her son survive and they get together with Hannibal in the end The most interesting ending is to the story of Aradna and Imco When an older companion asks Aradna what she wants out of life she says “Very little I want to go home to Father’s island I want to herd goats on the hills and watch boats pass at a distance I want a uiet corner of the world away from all this Every day I want a little lessAunt I just want peace”In the end this is what happens Aradna had many gifts to thank the goddesses for She had escaped war Scenes of death haunted her dreams but they were no longer the fabric of every waking moment She had found her way to the island she had known only by name and on landing she discovered the remnants of her father’s family an uncle who barely remembered his brother several cousins and a sister in law who – magically – welcomed her without uestion Boys from the village laughed at the strange accent she spoke Greek with but clearly they liked her company They helped her build a hut of stone and clay with a wood framed roof of clay tiles In a pen beside it she raised Persian fowl She helped her reclaimed family harvest their olives and tend their pistachio trees and repair fishing nets for the village fleet She helped an old man from the town raise edible dormice This particularly gave her joy for the suirrel like creatures were shy and uiet with trembling noses and bulbous black eyes and fur so soft she marvelled True they all eventually went into pots to fatten and were sold live at the weekly market but still it was a gift to watch them born to hold them in hairless infancy and see them grow Nobody hungered to rob or rape her Her small fortune was hardly even necessary and yet was a comfort buried deep beneath the earth floor of her dwelling She set her donkey loose to roam the nearby hills though the creature never wandered from her Was this not happiness?That is not the end of it though She waits for Imco Vaca to come back everyday keeping an eye on the ships docking at the harbour I don’t know how long she waited After reading the book I wondered whether David Anthony Durham had a backlist When I checked Wikipedia I discovered that his first two novels are on African Americans in the 19th century and his most recent three novels form a fantasy trilogy ‘Hannibal Pride of Carthage’ seems to be an oddball in his writing resume I liked ‘Hannibal Pride of Carthage’ I am glad that through a complex series of random fortunate events the book jumped at me from my bookshelf and made me read it It also made me want to read on ancient history If you like novels which are based on ancient history you will love this book Have you read ‘Hannibal Pride of Carthage’? What do you think about it?


  10. says:

    I have very little time to read so it took me several months to finish this book It was worth the long haul and as historical fiction I enjoyed it to some degree as much as Colleen McCullough's series However unlike McCullough I was disappointed in Durham's omission of maps one simply isn't enough glossary and a lengthy afterword explaining his changes and motivations in fabricating certain things I know this is fiction not a history text but including facts and contexts can enrich the experience for the readerThe battle scenes were brutal without being overly gory and the descriptions of some of the injuries read as if they were from Homer It is admirable and at the same time horrific that armies slaughtered each other so mercilessly for either courage pride or greed or eual parts of each Durham explores these virtues and flaws in a well written mannerOne gripe is that the characterization was uneven Some characters received undue amounts of attention Imco Vaca serves as an avatar for the everyman Carthaginian soldier or so I assume but his personality is so unremarkable that I was anxious for the story to turn back to the main players Likewise the scavenger woman he intermittently lusts after The cast was too large for the book to give each person hisher due and I think the book would have benefitted if people had been cut out altogether or if the book had been longerThe female portion of the cast is held at arm's length unfortunately Stiff and regal or pale and unsure they did not capture the attention as much as I'd hoped Sapanibal was the only interesting one as another reviewer noted but she wasn't given much face time to develop More scenes like the tongue lashing she gives the politicians in the steam bath would have helpedOverall the characters didn't leap off the page as in McCullough's novels I felt it lay in part to Durham's formal style whereas McCullough tends to make her characters personable if not downright chatty Anachronistic perhaps but they are approachable to modern sensibilitiesDurham doesn't flinch from extended battle scenes and maneuvers which is one aspect of McCullough's novels that bug me her battles are brief or entirely absent So the two complement each other in that regardBottom line It took me 5 months to finally get through this book with my spare minutes of free time and I don't feel that my time would have been better spent reading another book


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Pride of Carthage

David Anthony Durham Ñ 2 Characters

Nting the vast array of other ethnicities who played a part in the war Iberians and Gauls Numidians and Libyans Macedonians and Moors Hannibal's family is brought to life his wife mother sisters and young son as is Publius Scipio the young Roman who was the only match for Hannibal's genius on the field of battle and who eventually defeated him Pride of Carthage is a stunning achievement in historical fiction one that will transport readers to a world of mesmerizing authenticity of character event and deta. Ok this book was not a good fit There was one major thing that prevented me from enjoying it the time line The book starts with the introduction of POV characters but their background is not described and neither is the Carthaginian culture Author just throws them into the story and gradually reveals who they are I am sorry but such story telling completely missed me The resulting effect was that for the most exciting part of the book I did not really care about the characters and once I started to know them a bit author introduced periodical melodramatic lapses Two times I almost did not finish the book In any case I am sure it is a great book and second reading would probably be great but I do not have time for that Originally wanted to give 2 stars but the ending was uite good and it showed in my rating

Review Ó PDF, DOC, TXT, eBook or Kindle ePUB free Ñ David Anthony Durham

An epic work of literary fiction about the superb military leader of Carthage Hannibal Barca and his struggle against the mighty Roman RepublicWith a vast cast of characters and nationalities twists of fate and tales of inspired leadership David Anthony Durham perfectly captures the legendary Hannibal's world in Pride of Carthage Beginning in ancient Spain where Hannibal's father had carved out a Carthaginian empire the novel traces the origins of the war the opening moves and Hannibal's inspired choice to. Heard many great things about this book from friends you dinny let me downGreat storytelling from the get go with Hannibal front centre with his brothers which after trying another series was exactly what I was after having wanted to read about the period of the 2nd Punic war from Hannibal’s Carthage stanceThe Barca family are characterised as POV main players along with their Roman adversaries The author also includes a few low level characters namely one from the infantry a Numidian scout a scribe a merchant a camp follower giving us their perspective on the campaign which is a welcome angle never an intrusive interlude The author gets this absolutely spot on as you find yourself wanting to know how Imco Aradna are getting on Are they still alive Did they survive the battle Where are they nowThe opening chapter is devoted to the evolvement of the characters setting the scene for the clash with Rome which is painted as inevitable from a Carthaginian stance them Romans although fighting elsewhere cannot be trusted which is engrained in the young Hannibal from his father Hamilcar Carthage Iberia Gaul Macedon Rome are all part of the story politics which are revealed to the readerThe journey through the Alps is perilous as the army is decimated shrinks from a likely 100000 to less than 30000 but it works as we know puts the Romans on the back foot with an invading army on their soil Rome’s arrogance dismissal of the Carthaginians as mere barbarian’s plays a part in his victories as well as the Romans seem to blunder forward into most battles all of which Hannibal has prepared a trap tactic to combat the Roman war machineThe tactics of the generals are laid out great to follow the Romans now wary forever changing their tract as the defeats rack up Their arrogance supreme confidence shattered after so many comprehensive defeatsBattle of Cannae was brutal brilliant strategy by Hannibal against an overconfident foe who he then proceeds to slaughter in a box some of these ancient battles are unimaginable the claustrophobia the desperation the brutality the fear kill or be killed the fatigue men fighting to a standstill then merely dispatched The description of the battle the aftermath the injuries of the survivors is uite chilling as you try to imagine the emotion each combatant had gone though during the battle Adreline will carry a man so far but the sheer exhaustion described in the text must have been somethingAfter Cannae the Romans are there for the taking with all their generals dead or defeated only one name steps forward to try save them that of Consul Publius Cornelius Scipio his actions POV as a character now come to the fore which is great as you see how he combatscounteracts Hannibal his brothersAll the major battles events of the 2nd Punic War are coveredThe ending well you all know your history BUT it’s still a gripping finale as it’s all laid outThe book could have been longer for me I say that even as it weighs in at jus under 600 pages or even written over 2 volumes as the wealth of detail at the start does fall away in the later stages of the book especially when we’re away from Hannibal’s POV felt wanted even could have had but it’s still very good right up there with one of my best reads of the yearEven knowing the final outcome through legend its been an enthralling read I give it a full 5 stars

Review Pride of Carthage

Attack Rome via a land route most believed impossible In graphic panoramic prose Durham describes the battles including the icy slaughter of the Trebia; the mist shrouded battle along Lake Trasimene; the battle of Cannae in which Hannibal's outnumbered force surrounded and decimated seventy thousand Romans in a single afternoon; and Zama the hard slog that proved to be the decisive contest Along the way we meet a variety of major historical figures on both sides of the conflict as well as characters represe. Althought Hannibal's military tactics are fascinating I was not impressed with the explicit sexuality in this book nor the use of the F bomb because that word wasn't even around during that time period It un authenticated the book for me But I did enjoy the voyage of Hannibal's uest in fighting the Romans


About the Author: David Anthony Durham

David Anthony Durham was born in New York City to parents of Caribbean descent He grew up mostly in Maryland but has spent the last fifteen years on the move jumping from East to West Coast to the Rocky Mountains and back and forth to Scotland and France several times He currently lives in Edinburgh Scotland Or actually no he doesn't He's back in New England at the momentHe is the aut