Hannibal in Edinburgh

Dennis Proctor describes how a distinguished Scottish soldier in 1775 traced Hannibal’s route across the Alps.

The years around the turn of the eighteenth-nineteenth centuries were a busy period for discussions of Hannibal’s route across the Alps, and much of the discussion revolved around the views of a distinguished Scottish soldier, General Robert Melville, whose name was as well known to amateurs in Paris, Avignon or Rome as it was in London and Edinburgh.

Yet to a modern reader of the literature, he remains a somewhat shadowy figure, like some eminence grise continually prompting from the wings, but never taking the stage himself; for, though his authority was frequently invoked, and always treated with great respect, there is no trace of any published work on the subject by the General himself. It was for this reason, not having been able to track him down at source, that I omitted all mention of General Melville in my own recent book, Hannibal’s March in History.1

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