National Geographic : 1968 Oct
stones. Perhaps a lounging artist notes that shorter skirts are 'in' this year. He will im mortalize the style in a tiny carved gem." To a frontier town called Rome (which they ruled for a century) Etruscans brought the first glint of grandeur. Etruscan seers espe cially impressed the Romans, whose priests could ask the gods only yes-or-no questions. Etruscans could read all kinds of portents for example, in the rumbles of thunder and flashes of lightning interpreted in their sacred Book of Thunderbolts. "Thunderbolt" is the meaning of Barca, Hannibal's family name. It lives on in the name of Barcelona, Spanish city which Car thaginians founded. Hannibal Crushes Roman Force On a hazy afternoon last summer my fam ily watched sailboats racing on Italy's Lake Trasimeno, shrunken from its former banks. We tramped its shores seeking the pass that funneled a Roman army into Hannibal's trap. "By the battle-cry which arose on every side of them," the Roman historian Livy wrote, "the Romans knew they were sur rounded. ... In that enveloping mist... it was sounds, not sights, they turned to face-the groans of wounded men, the thud or ring of blows on body or shield... the cry of fear." Under cover of fog from the blood-redden ing lake 15,000 Romans died that day. More than 50,000 Romans perished in another day's slaughter at Cannae. Who was this man who made Rome trem ble, this man "for whom Africa was too small a continent"? Sorbonne Professor Gilbert Charles-Picard, former Director of Antiquities in Tunisia and an excavator of Carthage, draws a vivid pic ture of Hannibal and his Carthaginian world. A trading empire, Phoenician in origin, Car thage collided with expanding Rome in the western Mediterranean, and the Punic Wars erupted. Punic is Latin for Phoenician. From Carthage's namesake city in Spain, Cartagena, GEOGRAPHIC staff man Tom Allen follows Hannibal's footsteps through grim Alpine gorges. Taunts of the Roman poet Juvenal ring in his ears: "On, on, you mad man... over your savage Alps...." Hannibal finds a great rock blocking his way. He orders his men to build a pyre around it. "Elephants shy, trumpeting their fear of fire," Mr. Allen describes the scene. "Logs crackle in the snow. Men pour their last rations of sour wine over the rock. Acrid mist veils them as they hack at the rock with 560 ERICHLESSING,MAGNUM,ISABELLA STEWARTGARDNERMUSEUM.BOSTON ODYSSEUS Five colossi SOUNTAIN-GIRDED cradle of Western man, the Mediterranean nurtured a brood of immortals who with sword and scepter in scribed some of history's noblest chapters. Odysseus, the star-crossed wanderer, wove a tapestry of myth as he sailed the wine-dark sea on a tumultuous ten-year voyage from smok ing Troy to his home isle of Ithaca.