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Literature / Africanus Trilogy

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If you want peace, prepare for war.
Africanus is a Historical Fiction novel trilogy written by Spanish author Santiago Posteguillo between 2006 and 2009. The title comes from its first book, Africanus: Son of the Consul, which was followed by The Accursed Legions and The Betrayal of Rome.

It follows the lifes of Scipio Africanus, Hannibal and Titus Maccius Plautus through the Second Punic War and the Roman-Seleucid War, covering most battles and political figures of the period.

The trilogy provides the examples of:

  • Artistic License – History: While Posteguillo's knowledge is undeniable, it doesn't stop the books from needing their own page for all their historical incoherences.
  • Artistic License – Medicine: Taking a ballista shot to the leg was a safe way to become crippled forever in the setting (heck, people retired after taking an arrow to the knee, didn’t?), assuming you didn't lose the entire limb with the impact. However, Hannibal basically no-sells it and is perfectly well after the siege of Saguntum, not even limping. The whole incident is real, as Hannibal got wounded in the leg in Saguntum, but it is thought to have been a javelin, not a ballista shot (and we we don't know whether he suffered lasting effects of it, which he probably did).
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  • Artistic License – Religion: The Celtic deity Dagda is a god of fertility, not a goddess of the underworld as Ilmo claims.
  • Ascended Extra: Maharbal is Hannibal's de facto second-in-command in the story, while the real Maharbal was a very minor figure, a cavalry commander whose main contribution to the sources was giving a single, memorable What the Hell, Hero? quote to Hannibal.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: To a staggering degree with Quintus Fabius Maximus, who is almost turned into his historical antithesis here. In real life, he was the maximum defender of Rome, a man who rejected personal political benefit in order to, who often arbitrated between Senatorial factions to keep Rome united, and who was certainly one of the most loved figures in the history of Rome. In those books, he is instead a manipulative, power-hungry megalomaniac that is a literal sexual deviant and who not only initiated the war explicitly to get personal benefit, but also let every Roman defeat happen in order to keep thriving himself.
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  • The Vamp: Sophonisba manages to turn Syphax to the Carthaginian cause through sex, and almost gets the same with Masinissa.

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