Cornelius Nepos, 'Life of Hannibal': Latin Text, Notes, Maps, Illustrations and Vocabulary
Bret Mulligan, Haverford College
Copyright Year: 2015
ISBN 13: 9781783741342
Publisher: Open Book Publishers
Conditions of Use
This book is ideal for the intermediate Latin student. A student can pick up the book and translate almost anywhere. The author provides a full introductory treatment to the genre of Biography in the ancient world, Nepos himself, and Hannibal. The... read more
This book is ideal for the intermediate Latin student. A student can pick up the book and translate almost anywhere. The author provides a full introductory treatment to the genre of Biography in the ancient world, Nepos himself, and Hannibal. The Latin is written clearly and punctuated so as to guide students in their translations and there are links to audio files of the text. This book is comprehensive and provides complete contexts for the student/reader.
There are links to listen to sections of text read out loud in Latin - but the links do not quite match. One can still find them - but it takes a bit of searching.
The links to audio files of the text reinforce a current trend of spoken Latin in Classics instruction - and remind the student that Latin can be a spoken language. The treatment of Hannibal and this text's placement in Late Republic politics serve as a guide to examine the multiculturalism of Rome in the Republic - a topic of enduring applicability.
The author's "Four Favorite Constructions" offers both the instructor and the students a guide for reading this text. The punctuation guides the reader in their English translations just as the grammar notes assist the reader with just the right amount of information - leaving the final product of reading comprehension up to the student.
Once accustomed to the format of this book the placement of grammar notes, texts, and links are entirely predictable. Such consistency helps students gain ground in their translation abilities.
The book continues with discrete selections of the Latin with supported commentaries and notes. There are links to further information.
The text is organized with an historical treatment of the Latin author Nepos then Carthaginian history. After setting several historical contexts the Latin text is organized by chapter.
The maps are very good. There is a problem with the interface with links to the Dickinson College Commentaries. The other referenced links provide further study or references. The interface for those links seem to be fine.
The grammar, both English and Latin, is excellent.
This texts offers a source for the examination of multiculturalism in Late Republican Rome and pre-Roman Carthage. The instructor may guide this examination and this textbook is an excellent source for such work.
I plan on adopting sections of this textbook.
Book provides everything an intermediate student needs to read this text. The Latin is clear, the explanations of grammar in the commentary and the glossary make the bar for entry very low. Each section of the commentary has a brief summary of... read more
Book provides everything an intermediate student needs to read this text. The Latin is clear, the explanations of grammar in the commentary and the glossary make the bar for entry very low. Each section of the commentary has a brief summary of the contents of that section which will be particularly useful if a student's attendance is spotty, they will be able to orient themselves rapidly. The essays about the author, context, contents, perquisites and impacts of the events told are written at the appropriate level and were even interesting to me.
The only inaccuracy in the book is that the links to the Dickinson College Commentaries are out of date. It appears that DCC rearranged their website (the links to Allen and Greenough point to a different page) and deleted some files (there are no longer Faraone's recordings of Nepos in Latin). This isn't a critical problem, but I can see it being confusing to some students.
Nepos will never go out of style. The tone and language of the commentary and essays should be durable for years. There are no faddish idioms or hip lingo.
The text should be easily apprehensible by an intermediate Latin student
The text and commentary is even throughout, no shifts in tone or style.
The text and the commentary as well as the essays are easily divisible and excerptable. Each chapter and essay is linked in the Table of Contents. I can see an electronic syllabus using this easily
The book has standard organization for texts and commentaries.
As mentioned above, the links to the DCC site lead to a landing page not the specific items listed. Because text, commentary and vocabare in different sections of the book, students will need to have three browser windows open to do their homework. This isn't grievous, but a little annoying.
The text is clean and clear.
Text is sensitive to multicultural issues internal to the Romans, and this in turn highlights these issues today. Quite useful.
The maps are quite handy and are up to date. Refers to other free texts where appropriate. Some of the commentary items are masterful in breaking down and explaining the structure of a complex sentence. This is an excellent book.
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1: Life of Nepos
- Chapter 2: Reading Nepos
- Chapter 3: Historical Context and 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).