Three men are cycling Hannibal's route from Spain into Italy





In 218 BC Hannibal left the Spanish city of Cartagena with one hundred thousand soldiers and nearly forty elephants. We've just left the same city on three bicycles followed by our BBC television crew. Our aim is to follow Hannibal's path along the coast of Spain, through France, over the Alps, down the length of Italy and back to his home city of Carthage, now a suburb of the city of Tunes, capital of Tunisia.

In the Second Punic War against Rome, after Carthage's defeat in the First, Hannibal's aim was to teach the Romans a lesson and restore Carthage's pride and power. Our aim isn't so grand, but there are some similarties between our adventures. Hannibal travelled with his two younger brothers, Hasdrubal and Mago. We are also three brothers, but rather than generals, we're an archaeologist, a computer programmer and a BBC correspondent.

Our send off in hot Spanish sunshine was probably similar to Hannibal's. This month, the city of Cartagena celebrates its annual Festival of Romans and Carthaginians. The whole city is in party mode and several thousand people dress up like their ancient forebears and stage mock battles, parades through through the main streets and theatrical events. About twenty members of the Carthaginian Association, were on hand in full battle dress, to scream and shout as we rode out of the city on this, the first leg of our five thousand kilometre journey.

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