Cornelius Nepos, 'Life of Hannibal': Latin Text, Notes, Maps, Illustrations and Vocabulary

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Bret Mulligan, Haverford College

Pub Date: 2015

ISBN 13: 978-1-7837413-4-2

Publisher: Open Book Publishers

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

1. Life of Nepos
    Historical Context
    Works of Nepos
    The Lives of Famous Men
    The Lives of Foreign Commanders
    Other Works
    Reputation in Antiquity and Beyond
    Friendships and Social Context
    The Caecilii Metelli
    Atticus and Cicero

2. Reading Nepos
    Four Favorite Constructions
    Three Key Words
    Why Write Biography?
    Nepos and Non?Roman Cultures
    The Biographical Tradition in Greece and Rome
    Nepos’ Audience

3. Historical Context and Hannibal
    Early History of Carthage
    First Punic War (264?241 BC
    Between the Wars
    Second Punic War (218?201 BC)
    Evaluating Hannibal


Chronology of Hannibal’s Life

Text of Nepos’ Life of Hannibal


Full Vocabulary for Nepos’ Life of Hannibal and Prologus to the Lives of Outstanding Commanders

About the Book

Trebia. Trasimene. Cannae. With three stunning victories, Hannibal humbled Rome and nearly shattered its empire. Even today Hannibal's brilliant, if ultimately unsuccessful, campaign against Rome during the Second Punic War (218-202 BC) make him one of history's most celebrated military leaders. This biography by Cornelius Nepos (c. 100-27 BC) sketches Hannibal's life from the time he began traveling with his father's army as a young boy, through his sixteen-year invasion of Italy and his tumultuous political career in Carthage, to his perilous exile and eventual suicide in the East.
As Rome completed its bloody transition from dysfunctional republic to stable monarchy, Nepos labored to complete an innovative and influential collection of concise biographies. Putting aside the detailed, chronological accounts of military campaigns and political machinations that characterized most writing about history, Nepos surveyed Roman and Greek history for distinguished men who excelled in a range of prestigious occupations. In the exploits and achievements of these illustrious men, Nepos hoped that his readers would find models for the honorable conduct of their own lives. Although most of Nepos' works have been lost, we are fortunate to have his biography of Hannibal. Nepos offers a surprisingly balanced portrayal of a man that most Roman authors vilified as the most monstrous foe that Rome had ever faced.
Nepos' straightforward style and his preference for common vocabulary make Life of Hannibal accessible for those who are just beginning to read continuous Latin prose, while the historical interest of the subject make it compelling for readers of every ability.

This book contains embedded audio files of the original text read aloud by Christopher Francese.

About the Contributors


Bret Mulligan's research focuses on the twilight of classical culture, the period now known as "Late Antiquity." In Bret is interested in the adaptive strategies taken by authors when they must contend with a frightening accumulation of tradition, a cultural moment that has many similarities with our own age. The engagement of late antique authors with their artistic predecessors allows me to dabble in the full range of Classical antiquity. And since this period was also when much of Classical culture was packaged for transmission through the medieval period to us, it also serves as an ideal jumping off-point for my interest in the Classical Tradition and the continuing influence of Classical culture. His publication include 'Translation and the Poetics of Replication in the Late Antique Latin Epigram', in The Living Past: Recasting the Ancients in Late Latin Poetry (forthcoming) and 'Coniuratio! Ethopoeia and Reacting to the Past in the Latin Classroom (and Beyond)', Classical Journal 109.3 (Feb/Mar 2014).