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julianmeynell

Julian Meynell's Books

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The History of Rome, Books XXI-XXX: The War With Hannibal

The History of Rome, Books XXI-XXX: The War With Hannibal - Livy, Aubrey de Sélincourt, Betty Radice This is the fifth book by an ancient historian that I have read. Livy doesn't have the story telling ability of Herodotus, the commitment to historical insight that Tacitus and Thucyides had, nor the gift for gossip of Suetonius. The book is quite long and bogs down a lot.

Having said that, some of it is quite wonderful, such as Livy's ability to convey how much Rome was rattled by Hannibal, the battle of Cannae and numerous other bits and peces. Despite Livy's hostility he cannot help but admire Hannibal who links the whole book together and provides its narrative thrust. Its a book worth reading for those who like reading ancient historians, but is not really a book from the classical world that anyone should read. Livy is competant but not a genius. However, the war that he describes is one of the most interesting in hostory and is filled with interesting characters.