The Ghosts of Cannae

The Ghosts of Cannae
Robert L. O’Connell

The epic battle that saw a massive Roman army turned into something “in excess of six million pounds of human meat left to rot in the August sun” of Cannae gets the full treatment here in what is essentially a general history of the Second Punic War. O’Connell’s focal point is Hannibal’s famous victory in 216 BC, but he also goes on to describe Rome’s comeback (which he casts as the revenge of Cannae’s survivors, the legiones Cannenses being the “ghosts of Canne”), and the battle’s legacy, which he sees as having opened the door for the eventual destruction of the Republic, with Publius Cornelius Scipio (later Africanus) playing the role of man on horseback. An accessible study aimed at non-specialists, but still the kind of thing only likely to appeal to hardcore fans of military history.

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