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From < https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/apr/03/where-muck-hannibals-elephants-alps-italy-bill-mahaney-york-university-toronto>:
[Go there for pix]
The truth about Hannibal's route across the Alps
How exactly did the Carthaginian general and his elephants reach Italy? Scientists have got their hands dirty to come up with an answer
Having battled their deadly rivals the Romans in Spain, in 218BC the Carthaginian army made a move that no one expected. Their commander Hannibal marched his troops, including cavalry and African war elephants, across a high pass in the Alps to strike at Rome itself from the north of the Italian peninsula. It was one of the greatest military feats in history.
The Romans had presumed that the Alps created a secure natural barrier against invasion of their homeland. They hadn't reckoned with Hannibal's boldness. In December he smashed apart the Roman forces in the north, assisted by his awesome elephants, the tanks of classical warfare. Many of the animals died of cold or disease the following winter, but Hannibal fought his way down through Italy. For 15 years he ravaged the land, killing or wounding over a million citizens but without taking Rome. But when he faced the Roman general Scipio Africanus at Zama in north Africa in 202BC, his strategic genius met its match. So ended the second Punic war, with Rome the victor.