Hannibal’s Elephant Army: The New Evidence

The mystery behind Hannibal’s epic crossing of the Alps with an army of men, horses, and - most famously - 37 elephants is finally solved.

The story of the Carthaginian general Hannibal’s epic crossing of the Alps with an army of 40,000 men, 9,000 cavalry and -most famously of all -37 elephants is one of the greatest legends in human history.  But the details of the journey are a mystery – what route did he take and how did he manage to conquer the treacherous mountain terrain?  Now for the first time an international team of scientists is searching for clues hidden deep beneath the Alps’ rocky soil - their extraordinary discoveries shedding new light on Hannibal’s near impossible crossing.  They are joined by palaeobiologist Dr Tori Herridge and historian Dr Eve MacDonald who follow in Hannibal’s footsteps to experience what it must have been like as this ancient army battled raging rivers, hostile tribes, and most daunting of all the mighty mountain itself.  Tori investigates the story of the elephants – one of the most challenging aspects of the journey – to reveal how they might be surprisingly good at mountain climbing while Eve gets inside the mind of Hannibal himself, trying to understand what motivated this military genius.  The truth behind this epic story, 2000 years in the making, is finally uncovered.  

Production Information

Broadcaster: Channel 4 & France 5 & Channel 13 & WNET

TX Date: February 2018

Format: 1 x 60

Useful Links:

Channel 4: Hannibal’s Elephant Army: The New Evidence 



Executive Producer(s):

Bill Locke


Palaeobiologist Dr Tori Herridge

Historian Dr Eve MacDonald

Prof Bill Mahaney

Prof Chris Allen

Soil expert Prof Randy Dirszowsky

Military historian Mike Loades