BY: G. A. Henty

Preston/Speed Publication, Mill Hall, Pennsylvania, 1997.

Presented to:

Ancient Roman Literature

March 17, 2004

The Young Carthaginian was written by G. A. Henty. Its storyline was set back thousands of years to the Punic Wars between Carthage and Rome. It was about the adventures and conquests of the Carthaginian general Hannibal, and of his cousin, Malchus. The story took place approximately around 220 B.C. The book followed Hannibal and Malchus through Spain, across the Alps, and eventually to Rome. Throughout these adventures, the story is narrated through the third person.

Three of the major characters in The Young Carthaginian are Hannibal, Malchus, and Nessus. They appeared in most of the book’s major scenes and battles and are, worthy of being noted.

Hannibal was a very important character in the story. He was the General of the Carthaginian army and a cousin of Malchus. Hannibal was a very loyal and strong leader, as well as, wise. He promoted Malchus for his bravery and treated his men fairly and with compassion. The book showed how respected he was as a leader when it said, “Then turning, he [Hannibal] went among the young men of the guard, to all of whom he was personally known, greeting them with a cordiality and kindness which greatly gratified them. Malchus gazed at him with admiration.” In my opinion, Hannibal was a very respectable man, a strong leader, and an adequate general.

Malchus was the second major character of the book. He was the son of Hamilcar, the cousin to Hannibal, and a leader of the cavalry scouts. Though he was young he proved himself to be very courageous and


knowledgeable. During the story, Malchus saved Hannibal’s life by foiling the plans of a band of assassins, fended off a pack of wolves, and fought in many major battles. Throughout the book Malchus became even braver, and learned to accept losses better than he had when the story began. I believe Malchus was well mannered and an intelligent, young leader.

The third and last main character presented was Nessus. Nessus was a close friend and companion of Malchus and saved him from trouble on more than one occasion. He was quick thinking, loyal, and knowledgeable in many ways. He helped Malchus slay a bear which rose against them, escape from natives who wished them dead, and break him free of Roman captors. Nessus’ personality stayed the same throughout the book and so at times he came across as boring, but he always helped Malchus out of tight situations. He was, from my own viewpoint, a good friend and a wonderful fighter.

During the story the reader was faced with many conflicts. One of the conflicts took place during the battle of the Trebia. At this battle, the Carthaginian infantry was much weaker than that of the Romans. However, they had a stronger cavalry, in addition to war elephants, a number of sling men, and Cretan archers. Carthage won the struggle with the Roman army at this battle, but Malchus’ father was lost in this fight.

Another conflict presented itself when Malchus and Nessus found a bear blocking their path. Unfortunately, the fight with the bear led to another conflict. Even though the pair killed the beast, they were not able


to escape danger because their commotion caught the attention of some

unfriendly natives. Nessus and Malchus fled to a cave where the slain bear’s cubs were resting. At night, the two escaped with a rope they had made out of the cub’s hide and walked off the edge of the cliff. However, the natives noticed and began searching the ground. Now out of ideas, Malchus and Nessus decided to climb back up the hill (they hoped their enemy would not think to look for them where they had just escaped from). They finally were able to get away from the natives and return safely to camp.

The point in the story that presented the most tension was when the assassins attempted to kill Hannibal. Malchus had overheard men talking about something and dealing money over it. Though he did not know entirely what the situation was about, though thought it might have to do with Hannibal, and so that