Ab Urbe Condita XXII continues, unsurprisingly, where Ab Urbe Condita XXI left: Hannibal has crossed Alps and is in his winter camp close to Apennine mountains.
Titus Livius follows Hannibal’s exploits as he causes terror and desctruction on Italian soil. Time after time this shrewd general manages to outsmart and outperform his opponents who are hampered by internal strife and conflicts. And there were lots and lots of internal strife. Because two consules were appointed, it was hard to have unified vision on how the war should be fought and Hannibal managed to use this in his advantage. Battle of lake Trasimenus is well remembered because of the massacre of Roman forces that happened there. Even bigger focus Livius gives to battle of Cannae, where Roman forces where soundly defeated. As a historian, Livius doesn’t focus only on Hannibal, but remembers to cataloque and list happenings in Rome, especially religious events and various ominious signs that seem to appear whenever Rome was in deep trouble. I liked this aspect about the book and how Livius highlight personality and character of Hannibal, consules and other notable people.
The book contains preface giving a bit of background for the reader and extensive appendix giving short description what happened after the events in the book and even more details about battle of Cannae (which is quite famous after all). There’s even section by Martti Turtola analyzing battles of lake Trasimenus and Cannae from military science perspective. And if you’re interested on the latin version of Ab Urbe Condita XXII, that’s also printed in the book.
I enjoyed the book quite a bit and the only major thing to complain is that there are no Finnish translations of the later books. If you want to know what happened to Hannibal, you have to read later books in some other language. I’m hoping that there will eventually be Finnish translations of the later books.