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Minard's figurative map of Hannibal's war

Charles Joseph Minard's last graphic, published when he was 88, shows two military campaigns: (1) Hannibal's march from Spain to Italy some 2200 years ago and (2) Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812. Both maps are shown on page 176 of my book The Visual Display of Quantitative Information

Here is an English translation (by Dawn Finley) of Minard's map of Hannibal's campaign:

Books Probably Used by Minard for Hannibal Map

Minard names two sources: "Polybe" and "Larosa."

Polybe. Polybe is Polybius, Greek historian, c. 204 B.C. to 122 B.C. See Encyclopedia Britannica for brief biography. He is said to have written forty history books of which five are extant, to have been a student of military affairs, and to have traveled the European world, including the areas where Hannibal's march took place. He is the only source contemporary with events pertaining to Hannibal. He is quoted as having said "There are...two ways of improvement, to wit by one's own disasters or those of others; the former is the more vivid, the latter is the less harmful. Therefore, one should never willingly choose the former, since the improvement which it brings is fraught with great danger and pain, but one should always pursue the latter, since in it one can discern the better way without hurt" (Encyclopedia Britannica entry on Polybius by Alexander W. Mair, vol. 18, 1942). Polybius is also quoted with reference to Hannibal "But to speak the truth of him, or of any person engaged in public affairs, is not easy" (from Polybius' "The Character of Hannibal," in The Histories, Book IX, chapters 22-26).

Larosa. After extensive searching for "Larosa," we have miraculously found "Larauza," whom we believe Minard is referring to. He is Jean-Louis Larauza, author of Histoire critique du passage des Alpes par Annibal, dans laquelle on détermine la route qu'il suivit depuis les frontières d'Espagne jusqu'à Turin, par feu M. J.-L. Larauza. [Critical history of the crossing of the Alps by Hannibal, in which is determined the route that he followed from the frontiers of Spain to Turin, by the late M. J.-L. Larauza]. Paris: Dondey-Dupré père et fils, 1826. [Paris: Dondey-Dupré father and sons, 1826]. 222 pages and map, 21 c. This book is listed in the catalogs of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the Bodleian Library, and the Widener Library at Harvard.

--Dawn Finley and Virginia Tufte.

 

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