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This July I’m very excited to be in New York, at Columbia University, 9th to 11th July for the 27th Annual Pacific Rim Roman Literature Seminar.[1] The theme is ‘The Journey in Roman Literature’. I’m giving a 30 minute paper, provisionally scheduled for 9.30am Wednesday morning, titled ‘Hannibal’s Alpine Journey and the Wasteland of Italy in Livy Books XXI and XXII’ … The abstract is:

Hannibal’s journey across the Alps to attack the Romans in Italy is one of the most celebrated and famous events of Roman history. This paper deals with one of major accounts of this event, and its aftermath: the story of the crossing in Livy’s book 21, and the battles which follow it at the River Trebia and Lake Trasimene. In particular, the paper will highlight a number of connections in Livy that are found between the personality of Hannibal, the events of the Alpine journey, and Livy’s representation of the Italian landscape. The paper will argue that, starting with the divine vision of the ‘wasteland of Italy’ that was granted to Hannibal at 21.22.6–9, Livy’s depiction of Hannibal, and his journey across the Alps, have strong correspondences in the way the landscape of Italy was rendered in Livy’s literary scheme. It will show that the manner in which Hannibal inflicted defeat on the Romans, is intimately tied, in a very literary way, to both the representation of the alpine crossing and the content of Hannibal’s dream that precedes it. Although the annihilation of the Roman army at Cannae is the military highpoint of Hannibal’s career, this paper will demonstrate that it is the battle of Lake Trasimene, with its rich tapestry of omens, prodigies, weather, terrain and an earthquake mid-battle, that marks the centrepiece of Livy’s representation and the crescendo of Hannibal’s journey through Italy.

There’s lots of other really good papers being presented over the three days, and the registration is really quite cheap, so if you’re on the USA Eastern seaboard in July this year or feel like a trip there, you should come along, say hello, hear my paper and a whole bunch of even better ones.

[1] No, I’ve got no idea why the Pacific Rim Roman Literature Seminar is in a city on the Atlantic Ocean either, but as it’s Manhattan I’m not complaining.