218 BCE — Hannibal’s army crosses the Alps

Not many people in the world would be crazy enough or determined enough to invade the Italian peninsula by traveling over the Alps from what is now France. They certainly wouldn’t do it with an army traveling variously on foot, on horseback or on elephant-back. But the Carthaginian general Hannibal was that crazy, that determined – and that brilliant. Known as “the father of strategy”, Hannibal wasn’t just one of the greatest military tacticians of his age, he was one of the greatest of all time.

No one in Rome thought he’d be able to muster much of a force, having traveled overland fighting the Roman rearguard all the way from Spain. Hannibal led a force of 38,000 infantry, 8,000 cavalry, and 37 war elephants to the foot of the Alps, and crossed them with a massive loss of life, including almost all of the elephants. But the losses were not as high as his enemies had assumed they’d be. 20,000 infantry and 4000 cavalry survived, and the subsequent invasion of Italy was a bloodbath for the Romans.

Referenced in:

Born fe Rebel — Steel Pulse


  • Type: Limbo
  • Origin: Ross Leckie’s novels Hannibal and Carthage
  • Admission: Carthaginians.

When a Carthaginian dies, they must cross two rivers to enter the afterlife.

The first is the River of Ordeal. I don’t know much about it, but you’ve gotta admit, it doesn’t sound inviting, does it?

The second is the River of Forgetfulness – Ashroket, in the Punic tongue – which is much like the Lethe of the Greeks. When you drink from it, you remember all your past lives, something which you cannot pass to your next life until you do.

On the banks of Ashroket stands a great and giant elm tree, under which throng those cowardly members of the undead wait endlessly to have the courage to do drink.

If at all possible, I recommend that you not be a Carthaginian. I mean, for a start, they ceased to exist as a recognizable people over 2000 years ago, so it’s likely that by now, even the most cowardly shades of the dead have drunk from and crossed Ashroket.
Let’s hope so, anyway.