Those of you following the progress of the Rome book I am writing will be pleased to hear that I am getting to the end of chapter five -- which takes the story of Rome from being a power in Italy to being a power in the Mediterranean as a whole. Basically I am talking about 300 BC to 146 BC (the defeat of both Carthage and Corinth), and that includes the Hannibalic war.
To be honest, I have never really taught this period (and it is in teaching that you really get to know something), and -- even worse -- I have always rather reacted against the Boys Own Paper view of Hannibal and his war agaimst the Romans. I mean, to be honest, those elephants were a great PR exercise, but more trouble than they were worth. Elephants are risky in battle -- if they get wounded, they are just as likely to run amok over their own side as over the enemy. Hannibal might have had more success without the big beasts.