Lost Kingdoms of South America; Rome: A History of the Eternal City

The last episode of Lost Kingdoms of South America looked at the Chimú people and their Kingdom of Chimor. They lived in the coastal areas of Peru from around 800AD through to 1400AD when they were conquered by the Incas. The coast of Peru is a desert broken up by river valleys created by the melt water from the Andes running down to the Pacific Ocean.

Cooper started the programme in the ruins of Chan Chan – the capital city of Chimor, which was fairly large & would’ve been inhabited by ~35,000 people at its peak. I’m not sure if this was just the people who lived inside the city (the elite in palaces, and the artisans in houses squeezed in between) or if it also included the poorer people who lived around the walled city & grew food etc. The city is now a tourist attraction & actually a lot of what you can see is reconstruction based on photos & drawings from the past.

The Chimú had arisen after the collapse of a preceding civilisation, the Moche. They grew from a small settlement to a medium sized kingdom on the basis of their irrigation works. Cooper spoke to an archaeologist who works on this, and he was saying that the biggest problem the Chimú faced was that “if all you do is add water to the desert, then you get nothing but wet desert”. Which made me giggle a bit, I liked the turn of phrase. Basically they had to bring in top soil from the river valleys as well as build canals. And unlike our canals which are built straight they built their canals with twists & turns to slow down the water & prevent it eroding the land so much.

The management skills that the culture had to develop to build up their irrigation systems translated well to the management of an empire, and the Chimú set out to conquer themselves one. One neat thing while watching this programme was that J & I had been talking just beforehand about something we’d seen a while ago about some other South American culture (the Lambayque people) and then it turned out they were one of the people’s the Chimú conquered. Cooper told us one reason the Chimú kept conquering was that each new monarch inherited the title from his or her predecessor, but the wealth was inherited by other members of the family. They had to make their own reputation to receive tribute, and the best way to do this was to conquer somewhere new & prove you were worth giving food & wealth to.

Before we watched this episode J & I had been laughing about how all the previous episodes had been dwelling on the happy, happy, hippy side of the cultures, and how all the cultures chosen had apparently got no or little hierarchy. But then this one was the complete opposite – the Chimú had a very strict hierarchy, and you couldn’t change the class you were born into. They even had it built into their creation legend – the commoners came from a copper egg, the women of the royal families came from silver egg, and the men of the royal families from a golden egg. The King was so important he walked on crushed Spondylus shells (which were even more valuable to the Chimú than gold).

And it seems that they practised human sacrifice, of children. The remains of some children between 10 & 14 years old, and in good health, have been found – each was bound and then had their chests cut open & the ribcage forced open. So here we’re back to the gruesome sorts of things one thinks of about Mesoamerican & South American cultures – like the Aztecs & the Incas. The sacrifices were probably due to the extreme weather events that the Chimú land suffered – during an el Niño year the desert can experience extraordinarily heavy rainfall. Around the time the child sacrifices were made there is a band of clay (wet desert!) in the strata, indicating a particularly bad spell of this sort of rainfall.

Overall this was a good series & Jago Cooper is a good presenter. I enjoyed seeing the remains of the different cultures & the scenery of the places they lived – and I thought they did well with emphasising both the differences between the sorts of lives these various people’s lived & our own, and with making them feel like real people. Perhaps a bit too much emphasis on the happy, happy hippy thing in some of the episodes (particularly the one about the Tiwanaku).

We finished off two series this week, because the third episode of Rome: A History of the Eternal City was also the last. This covered the 600 years or so of Rome’s history – at a gallop! It started where it left off last time – with the Papacy leaving Rome to take up residence in Avignon. Montefiore told us how St. Catherine of Siena was so horrified about the Papacy not being in Rome that she wrote several letters practically commanding the Pope to return, and then eventually travelled to Avignon herself and brought the Pope back.

During the Renaissance the Popes and the elite families of Rome indulged themselves in decadent & lavish palaces full of works of art. This is the time of the Borgia Popes, and the time of Michaelangelo etc. And even the Papal residences began mingling classical pagan themes with Christian themes in their decoration. To add to all this expensive building & decoration Pope Julius II (chosing his papal name partly in honour of Julius Caesar) decided it was time St. Peter’s Basilica was rebuilt in a suitable style. To pay for these works the Church sold indulgences – forgiveness for your sins (even the ones you hadn’t committed yet). And this is what so incensed Martin Luther that he kicked off the Reformation.

Because the subject of this series is Rome Montefiore then told us about the counter Reformation – the Catholic Church’s own answer to the excesses of the Renaissance. Although that didn’t mean giving up the lavish art habit – Pope Fig Leaf as Montefiore said he’s remembered (real name Pope Clement XIII) just had them paint over the genitalia in the Renaissance art so the paintings were more modest. And Montefiore went to a church which had a large Baroque statue of the Ecstasy of St. Theresa which might have everyone clothed, but it’s still spectacular & lavish & sensuous.

Montefiore moved us pretty briskly through the rest of Rome’s history picking out just a detail here & there. The sack of Rome by unpaid mercenaries at the end of the Reformation period was used to highlight the ludicrousness of a more modern Pope’s flouncing about being “practically a prisoner” when he wasn’t nearly so threatened (personally or physically). But the threat was still there as this was the end of the Church’s domination of Rome – the fascist Mussolini dealt the death blow when he confined the Pope’s authority to the area of the Vatican State, and the rest of Rome was then under secular Italian rule. And that’s pretty much where we left the story.

I did enjoy this series, but it felt very rushed to fit the whole three millennia into 3 episodes. Even though the theme was the religious history of Rome it felt a bit too much like a history of the papacy for the last couple of episodes.

Lost Kingdoms of South America; Rome: A History of the Eternal City

The third episode of Lost Kingdoms of South America was about El Dorado – and the cultures that might’ve been the truth behind this Spanish legend. The legend as we know it today is about a golden city, but the original Spanish writers talk about a man who scatters gold dust over himself “as if it were salt” and washes it off in a sacred lake – a man who regards the wearing of solid gold ornaments as “vulgar”.

The culture that probably gave rise to these legends are the Muisca who lived in southern Colombia until around 1600AD. They were a couple of loose confederations of villages covering quite a large area – no single leader for the whole group, but they shared a culture. There’s DNA evidence from burials that’ve been excavated which shows that the elite were not a hereditary caste – the burials with lots of grave goods aren’t more related to each other than they are to the burials without grave goods. The archaeologist telling us about this bit said they also didn’t use violence to determine who had power, but I’m not sure what he was basing that on.

They didn’t appear to regard gold as valuable in itself, nor did they wear gold ornaments. Gold is also not found on Muisca lands. But they did trade salt they mined from their land for gold from other peoples – and they ascribed spiritual significance to it and used it to make offerings to their gods. Cooper spoke to a man whose people carried on some of the ancient traditions and their stories tell that one of the rituals took place on a sacred lake, and this could well be the source of the El Dorado legend.

The form of their offerings (well, the ones that have survived) were little flat figures, each one uniquely decorated. They were made by the lost wax method of casting, where first you make a wax model of the thing you want to make, then you encase it in clay and fire that (so that the wax evapourates) and then pour in the molten metal. When it sets, you break it out of the mould. Cooper visited a man who makes replicas of these today, which was kinda neat – he used a blowtorch to melt the gold 🙂 The figurines are distinctive not just in decoration but because they don’t really seem finished – as they were never worn or displayed they haven’t been polished and there are still rough edges from breaking it out of the mould.

Cooper also talked about the Tairona culture who lived in north eastern Colombia on the Caribbean coast. They were a culture that had a common ancestral language & culture with the Muisca, that had originated in Mesoamerica. The Tairona also put spiritual significance on gold, but expressed this differently – their gold ornaments were very different in style (including reclining bat-men as fertility symbols) and they were finished & polished. Their significance was to do with their shininess, and other shiny things were also spiritually significant. There are descendents of the Tairona still living in Colombia today, and still living in traditional villages – there was a segment of the programme in one of their villages with Cooper talking to one of the few of the villagers who spoke Spanish.

The second episode of Rome: A History of the Eternal City covered the rise & fall of Christian Rome from the beginnings of Christianity until the Popes left Rome for France in the 14th Century. At the beginnings of Christianity’s presence in Rome it was just another one of the many small cults that had sprung up in the empire (like the Mithras cult we listened to an In Our Time about the other day). The thing that set Christianity apart was that Christians refused to make the proper sacrifices to the state gods (like the Emperor) and so when scapegoats were needed it was easy to see them as unpatriotic. So they were persecuted and their deaths were often public spectacles – especially during the reign of Diocletian.

This changed when the Emperor Constantine won an impressive victory after ordering his soldiers to display the sign of the cross. After this he tolerated, and promoted, Christianity within the western Roman Empire – even converting himself on his death bed. One of the things Montefiore showed us in the programme was one of the relics that the Emperor’s mother brought from Jerusalem to Rome. I knew she’d brought what she thought to be the cross that Jesus was crucified on to Rome, but I hadn’t known she’d brought a staircase back with her! This is apparently the staircase that Jesus walked up on the way to his trial by Pontius Pilate, and even today pilgrims come to go up it on their knees so that they have touched the place that Jesus put his feet.

St Peter (one of the apostles) was one of the early Christian martyrs in Rome – the obelisk he was crucified in front of still stands outside the church that was built over his tomb (St Peter’s Basilica). The Roman bishops used this link with St Peter to strengthen their position in the church – saying that they were better than other bishops because they were the successors of an apostle. Montefiore showed us the tombs of the early bishops of Rome, which have their title “Papa” which as their status increased gradually became the title of the supreme head of the (latin) Church.

The programme covered the next thousand or so years pretty quickly, dwelling on just a few stories. The first of these was the fall of Rome – sacked by the barbarians, who were actually also Christians (albeit of a different type). And another was the period around the 10th Century which is sometimes called the Pornocracy (it really is! or at least wikipedia agrees with my recollection of the programme). This was a scandalous period with a family that makes the Borgia legend seem tame – one of the key figures was a woman who was the lover of at least one Pope, had at least one Pope murdered and made sure her son (by a Pope) was raised to be Pope himself. Other Popes of the time were related to her family as well – one was her grandson.

Rome’s Lost Empire

Sarah Parcak is an archaeologist who uses satellite imagery to identify previously unknown ancient sites that might be worth excavating. We’ve seen her in a couple of programmes about Ancient Egypt, because she’s discovered the probable sites of several new pyramids as well as some towns. Rome’s Lost Empire was presented by Dan Snow and showed us the sites Parcak found when she used her technology to investigate the Roman Empire.

I’ll start with my criticism of the programme & get that out of the way – it felt more like a Discovery Channel programme than a BBC one. The narration by Snow was full of superlatives – everything was the most important whatever, or the best or the biggest. And they were setting out on a journey to solve a mystery! Which would revolutionise Roman archaeology and history forever! And now we have proof that this was the best something in the history of somethings! Which is … not a style I’m particularly fond of in documentaries. Particularly because every time someone announces that “this evidence proves X” I immediately start coming up with explanations Y, Z, α etc that might also fit the data. What’s wrong with a sober assessment of the probable explanation, with appropriate caveats and reservations. And it was unexpected, as I’ve not had that problem with previous programmes that Snow has presented. He did have some good lines tho, and the less bombastic stuff was good.

So we were treated to a mystery to be solved – how did Rome control such a large empire with such a relatively small army of professional soldiers (~300,000)? And this was the thread that tied together their investigation of four different areas of the Roman Empire – Rome’s main harbour (Portus), an army encampment in Transylvania, the area around Petra in Jordan and the North African Wall. I don’t think they really came to any conclusions, but it provided a lens through which to look at each area.

They also wove the programme together by splitting up the stuff about Portus and spreading it throughout the whole programme. I’m going to talk about it all at once though, as that’s easier. This was the area where Parcak had the most trouble with her technology as the site of the harbour is pretty close to the current airport, and those bits not under runways are pretty populated. However she did manage to find indications of three new sites. The first of these was probably a canal – it was previously known that there were canals between the River Tiber & the harbour, this is the first evidence of one that ran from the other bank of the river up to Rome itself. Which would be a great help in both getting ships to Rome fast (on a straight line path rather than the winding river) and in managing traffic flow on the waterways to Rome. The second of her potential sites was an oval shape, positioned in the land near the waterways & harbour proper – this was the right size & shape to be an amphitheatre, providing entertainment to the people who lived and worked there. And the third was potentially the base of the Portus Lighthouse, which is known of but has never been found. If they can excavate that and confirm it then that’s a pretty exciting discovery.

The Portus segments also showed us some of the excavation work that is going on there. They had some pretty neat CGI to show us what the buildings they’re finding would look like superimposed on the actual landscape (with Snow, Parcak & the archaeologists they’re talking to standing there in front of them too – it looks pretty real). The harbour and its buildings were build not just for functionality but also to impress. So this was part of how Rome exerted control – by looking like it should be in charge.

The first of the non-Portus segments was about a site in Transylvania. When the Romans conquered Transylvania they first had to start by crossing the River Danube at a point where it’s about a mile across and has treacherous currents. So being the engineers they are, they built a bridge – it took two years, and as Snow pointed out, the psychological impact of this bridge being inexorably extended across the river to allow the Roman army to invade must’ve been considerable. Once conquered Transylvania had to be pacified, and there have been remains of Roman forts found in the dense forest of the region. They went to one of these, which is reasonably small – it would’ve been able to house about 1500 troops. Parcak then went up in a plane to use a technology called LIDAR to generate a map of what the landscape of the area around this fort looked like under the trees – I didn’t really understand the description of LIDAR, I think it’s a bit like RADAR but with lasers and somehow they can subtract the reflections from the trees and just look at the reflections from the ground. This allowed Parcak to identify what looked like a wider fortification around the known one, capable of housing a great number more troops on a temporary basis. They then trekked through the forest to see if it was really there (it was). That bit was a little amusing – they set off walking in a line, a couple of local archaeologists, Snow, Parcak … and a man with a gun. I guess the local wildlife is still pretty wild. Anyway, this segment illustrated conquering and controlling by armed force.

The next section was about Petra, and of course we were treated to them riding through the well known bit. The surrounding area is more desert like (now) and so Parcak’s tech worked well – she identified several square sites that looked to the eye of the local archaeologist as if they were potentially farmsteads. So they went out to visit one to have a preliminary look at the sorts of pottery you could find. This mean we had an amusing bit with Snow (a historian, not archaeologist) saying the sort of things we all think about how the ability of archaeologists to date pottery just from small fragments is astonishing & faintly magical. And then we saw Parcak and the other archaeologist confidently pick up a handful of broken bits of pot & say this was definitely occupied during Roman times 🙂 This segment was illustrating “conquering” an area not using military force – Petra was not only agriculturally rich in ancient times, but was also on the trade routes from the Arabian peninsula into the rest of the world and rich from charging tolls. Effectively the Romans extended their protection and help with enforcing the tariffs in return for a cut of the proceeds, and so everyone was happy.

And the last segment was about the North African Wall – which ran along the edge of the fertile North African plains to protect this farmland from the nomadic tribes to the south. This (like Hadrian’s Wall) wasn’t a hard & fast boundary that no-one was allowed to cross, instead it was permeable and allowed traders and civilians to go to & fro whilst providing a barrier to opportunistic raiders. The local archaeologist they met up with in Tunisia took them to see a part of the wall, and they discussed how hard it was for him to find where the forts that he knew must be there were in what is now a trackless desert area. Parcak’s imaging allowed her to pinpoint 30 or so square sites that looked like they might be fortifications and so they drove out to one. It had clearly been dug over by locals at some point, but one of the deep holes left showed them that there were centuries of occupation (and again pottery told them this was during the Roman era).

So while I took exception with the language of “we’ve proved X, we’ve solved mystery Y”, this programme did show us how Parcak’s imaging technology had provided four teams of archaeologists with new, potentially exciting sites to excavate. And they wouldn’t’ve discovered them anywhere near as fast by searching the old fashioned way by driving or walking over the land.

Ice Age Art: A Culture Show Special; Rome: A History of the Eternal City

There is an exhibition that’s just started at the British Museum about Ice Age Art and to tie in with this there was a Culture Show special covering both the exhibition and Ice Age art in general. The presenter was Andrew Graham-Dixon – we’ve watched a few of his programmes before including something about the art of Spain, and also something about the Treasures of Heaven exhibition at the British Museum a couple of years ago.

The two themes of the programme were firstly an emphasis on just how old all of these objects are, and secondly how these people were people just like us and much more sophisticated than the stereotype of a “prehistoric caveman” would lead us to expect. The programme looked at these themes by showing us some of the objects in the British Museum exhibition (and talking to the curators etc about them) and by showing us some of the cave paintings – particularly some in Northern Spain.

There was also a segment of the programme where Graham-Dixon met with an experimental archaeologist who makes replicas of some of these objects using the same techniques and types of tools that the originals were made with. I found this particularly fascinating, and it was astonishing how long it took – he was saying that the smaller pieces took about 80 hours each, but a larger piece might take on the order of 400 hours or more. He (and several of the other people interviewed) was saying that the time it took together with the skill & artistic talent shown in the pieces we’ve found imply that being an artist was a specialised profession in the hunter-gatherer societies of the time.

And they were also saying that art was clearly important to these societies – you don’t put that much effort and resources into something you don’t think much of. Perhaps it tied into their religion(s) – in particular the female figures seem to be biased towards representations of fertility, which might have religious significance. Perhaps it was also a means of communicating between groups of people, or over time – the subjects of the art are normally the natural world, the animals that they would hunt and that they shared their environment with. And in a world where people were significantly outnumbered by animals, and where they depended so much on the environment around them for survival, close observation of nature would be a necessity and showing each other what they’d seen would be important. This then shows up in the art – the detail & life-like rendering of animals in some of the pieces is astonishing.

On the subject of people being outnumbered by animals – at one point Graham-Dixon said that the population living outside Africa during this era was something like 100,000, less than the medieval population of Paris. And if the numbers of people are astonishingly small, the time spans are astonishingly large. The range of dates for cave-paintings or objects are from 40,000 years ago to 13,000 years ago – the whole of “history” is small compared to that. And these objects are as ancient to the ancient Greeks as they are to us, to all intents and purposes.

I’m looking forward to seeing the exhibition at the British Museum even more after seeing this programme 🙂

In an attempt to clear some stuff of our PVR (which is why we’ve had a bonus TV night or two this weekend in addition to our normal Wednesday night) we started watching one of the series we’ve got recorded in HD. Rome: A History of the Eternal City is a look at the history of Rome from a religious perspective, presented by Simon Sebag Montefiore who we’ve previously seen present a programme on Jerusalem. This first episode covered ancient Rome from foundation through to just before the conversion of the Empire to Christianity – a large amount of ground to cover in an hour!

The programme opened with some scenes from modern Christian Rome – the crowds coming to watch a statue of the Virgin Mary being paraded around the city first by boat and later through the streets. Montefiore then pointed out that this pageantry had roots in pagan Rome, and explained that Rome has always been a sacred city. He then went on to re-tell the Roman foundation myth – the story of Romulus and Remus, twins who were suckled by a she-wolf after they were abandoned at birth. As adults they were to found a city, but fell out over where it should be sited – both saw omens from the gods indicating that their preferred site was the favoured one. The dispute was only resolved when Romulus killed his brother, and founded the city of Rome on the Palatine hill. The archaeological and historical evidence is that Rome grew out of the union of villages in this region, but from very early in its history it was a sacred area. The dead could not be buried inside the walls of Rome, and soldiers could not bear arms there. This sacredness extended even below ground, and Montefiore visited the sewer that had existed since ancient times (and is still part of the sewer system today). This originally drained the Forum, which flooded frequently, and also symbolised the purification of the city. There were rituals about washing things away in the sewers, including the body of at least one Emperor.

We then had a (fairly brisk) trot through the history of ancient Rome, with an emphasis on how the secular and the religious intertwined. He talked about how the priesthood influenced decisions during the early period when Rome was a monarchy – we got a demonstration of how the omens were read in the liver of a sheep (this being a modern sheep the liver wasn’t particularly blemished, I imagine a less healthy sheep would give more interesting (but less good) omens). Even once Rome was a republic many of the same religious ideas were still present – that the city was sacred, and that they had some divine right to conquer. The Senate even finished off a temple planned during the reign of the last King – it was a replacement of secular power that didn’t affect the religious life of the city. The Romans worshipped many gods & goddesses & would incorporate foreign ones into their worship. The programme noted in particular the Magna Mater, originally a foreign goddess, whose worship & priesthood was brought to the city after omens suggested that she was the only way to save the city from Hannibal during the Second Punic War. The arrival of the Magna Mater was in a ceremony very reminiscent of the modern day procession of the Virgin Mary that the programme opened with.

At the point where the Republic turned into an Empire there were also changes to the religious landscape. Over his reign Augustus gradually set up the Imperial cult – partly by deifying Julius Caesar, and then adding “son of a god” to his own titles. And by setting up altars around the city which emphasised the divinity of the Imperial family, and encouraged people to make sacrifices to him. This was alongside the other gods & goddesses, but still served to help the political elevation of the Emperor as sole ruler.

An interesting programme, although I think that many of the details have escaped me – in part because it covered so much in just an hour.

In Our Time: Hannibal

The famous Carthaginian general Hannibal was the subject of the In Our Time episode that we listened to on Sunday … unfortunately I can’t hear the name without thinking of Hannibal the Hamster, the hero of a book I had when I was little (and my pet hamster was his namesake). But I did manage to put that aside, and listen to the story of a much more impressive Hannibal. The experts on the programme were Ellen O’Gorman (University of Bristol), Mark Woolmer (University of Durham) and Louis Rawlings (Cardiff University).

They opened by setting the scene – Rome and Carthage each with an empire facing off across the Mediterranean. The Carthaginian empire had grown from Phoenician trading outposts, and was centred on the western Mediterranean with important holdings in Sicily and Spain as well as their North African heartland. Rome, obviously centred on Italy, were the new kids in town and the first war between Rome & Carthage (the First Punic War) started over control of Sicily. Hannibal’s father Hamilcar Barca was the general in charge of the Carthaginian army during the last part of this war – he didn’t win, but it seems he was probably never actually expected to win as the army was underprovisioned for that sort of undertaking. Also after the end of the war (Carthage lost) he wasn’t punished, which supports this – the Carthaginians had no qualms about executing generals that they felt had failed.

After the First Punic War Carthage’s finances were in trouble, which was even more of a problem than you might expect because their army was made up of mercenaries who promptly revolted when they weren’t paid. Hamilcar put down this rebellion, and then took the army off to Spain to secure & improve the Spanish holdings – Spain being a major source of wealth for Carthage due to the silver mines. And this is where Hannibal enters the story – he’s 9 at this point, and gets taken along with his father to Spain to live and campaign with the army. And this is really where & how he learns to be such a good general – he lives with the army so knows the men and what will motivate them etc. And gets to see how to run campaigns first hand.

Once Hamilcar dies (in battle) Hannibal’s brother-in-law takes over the army and gives Hannibal the job of cavalry commander. Once his brother-in-law dies (assassinated) Hannibal gets the job of overall commander – he’s only about 25 at this point, but has 16 years of military experience. Then Second Punic War kicks off – starting over control of a particular Spanish settlement which is under the protection of Rome. And right from the outset Hannibal demonstrates some of the genius for which he’s remembered – one of his key qualities is the speed at which he (and his army) reacts to events. Rome warned Hannibal off attacking the Spanish settlement, but by the time either Rome or Carthage had reacted Hannibal had already seiged and razed the city.

This is the point where Hannibal starts the journey that he’s most remembered for – he marches his 80,000 strong army north through Spain and into Gaul, then east to the Alps and across them to northern Italy. He had to do this because Carthage were no longer the major naval power in the Mediterranean, and if they’d sailed to Rome they would have had even more trouble. They had to fight their way through both Spain and Gaul, and provision the army from the land they march through. Then they crossed the Alps during the winter. This whole journey reduces his army to approximately 26,000 men – through desertions, through leaving garrisons behind en route and through deaths as they cross the Alps. He still has some of the war elephants too! Despite these crippling loses Hannibal goes on to win over 20 battles against Roman armies that outnumber him, due to his superior tactical skills (including paying a lot of attention to and making use of the lay of the land he’s fighting on) and the superior mobility of his troops. At one point he has the chance to march on Rome, but doesn’t take this opportunity – opinion is divided on whether this was the right decision. Perhaps he might’ve won the war if he’d marched on Rome then, perhaps he was right and didn’t have enough troops to properly seige the city for long enough for it to fall.

Eventually the Romans stopped trying to meet his army on his terms – instead they used delaying tactics to avoid battle but keep the army occupied. And then attacked Carthage itself forcing Hannibal to bring his army back home to save the city. This is the battle he lost, losing the war for Carthage – a while afterwards this was used as an excuse to send him into exile and he lived in a series of provinces/kingdoms that were being threatened by Rome offering them his advice on how to campaign against the Romans. Eventually one of these handed him over as part of their peace treaty with Rome, and rather than be captured he took poison.

Hannibal is still remembered (and respected) today because the Romans were impressed with him, and afraid of him. He was apparently used as a bogeyman for Roman children. And his tactical skill was respected even into modern times.